A/N: Hello dears. After all that angst, a bit of relief was needed. Especially for my poor reviewers D:

Decided to delete my rant, as I still don'tttt really know whether I had warrant to be pissed off. OH WELL. Don't really care. From now on, if you don't like my writing just get the hell off my property.

But for every horrible person, there are ten lovely ones. Thank you very much for your reviews. Don't be too sad! There is happiness coming :)

Disclaimer: Not mine.

Chapter Fourteen

With all hopes of spending the night with John dashed, Sherlock decided to turn his attention squarely to the case which had been dominating the last month of his life. The more he thought about it, the more he felt that he had failed.

The first time he had ever failed to solve a case. And this one had seemed so easy. It had obviously been either the husband or one of Finch's disgruntled victims. But it seemed so unlikely that months after kicking the habit, Joana would be hunted down by a scorned lover. Especially when they were so rich and powerful and most likely wouldn't have made such a meal of the entire process.

The previous night John had walked out, muttering something about the pub. Five hours later Sherlock had heard him stumble drunkenly up the stairs to his own room.

Sherlock didn't have time to dwell on whether John would call his bluff and really leave. He didn't have time for the terrified churning sensation in his stomach that erupted at the mere thought of John. Or of considering what caused it.

No. He had to turn his thoughts to solving Joana's murder. John had ceased being an asset and had become a distraction. A terrible distraction.

Sherlock spent the night concentrating on numbing every part of himself. It was easier than he had thought. By morning he could open his eyes and go into the kitchen without any fear of what his and John's first meeting since their second explosive argument would entail.

It turned out that his confidence and indifference were unneeded. John was already gone. Where, Sherlock had no idea but he had taken almost everything he owned, which usually laid scattered about the place. Except his phone of course, which was still missing in action.

Sherlock sat down on the sofa and took out his own phone, determinedly shoving every shred of curiosity about where John had gone from his mind. He intended to do this without any further interruptions from the police.

He had thought that Joana's death had been all about her mother. That someone had targeted her because of her mother's malevolence, but perhaps he had been focusing on the wrong person. Perhaps he was missing something.

Finch had been her usual, destructive self. She had seen her chance to snag a story. That was all she cared about and Sherlock had fallen so easily into her lap.

He closed his eyes with a pang of shame as he thought of how he had come so close to giving her what she wanted. She would never have left John alone, not even if he had given her the interview. There was only one method of resisting her; he would have to ignore her. It sounded petty and childish but there was nothing else to be done.

"But it just doesn't make sense," he exhaled in frustration, leaning back in his seat and staring at the screen of John's laptop, on the cushion beside him, "if it wasn't her then why."

Why.

There seemed to be a mess of useless evidence. The fake suicide, the glasses, the phone call they had overheard from Thomas's wardrobe. Finch's assertions about her son-in-law, Finch's assertions about Terry Kirk, when it couldn't have possibly been him.

It just didn't make sense.

And Thomas Shaw's endless reminders that he had an alibi. That he had been seen by a roomful of men. Well, it only took one loyal friend to insist they had seen him and the rest would convince themselves that they had too.

Well, he had certainly moved on very quickly from his wife. If Sherlock had nothing better to go on, he at least had that.

He felt for his phone and hastily texted Lestrade.

I want all the information the police have on Thomas Shaw. I'm coming in to get it. Now.

...

John had gone out with the intention of fetching the remainder of his belongings from his office in Lambeth Medical Centre. He was a bit hung-over from the night before, which was both a charm and a curse. A charm because it blotted the uncomfortable thoughts that had been circulating in his mind since he and Sherlock had argued.

He had met a girl at the pub. Pretty, slim brunette type who wore slightly too much make-up to hide a minor case of adult acne and liked tequila almost as much as she seemed to like cheap perfume. They had chatted and then, drunk as he was and determined to hurt Sherlock as much as possible as he was, had gone home with her at eleven or eleven-thirty. But the night which had started out so rotten, became even worse when it was obvious that his body was going to let him down.

After ten minutes of humiliation, he finally had to concede defeat and abashedly dress, desperate to get as far from her as possible. She was cringingly understanding and sympathetic, clearly thinking that this was a common occurrence for him.

His cold comfort was that it hadn't happened in Baker Street.

He reached the medical centre and found it reasonably quiet. Losing a doctor had probably affected the intake of their patients. The receptionist started when she saw him, but hastily recovered with a wide smile.

"John," she said politely, "how are you?"

"Ah, not bad," John said, deciding to make an effort to appear normal and unruffled by all of the attention that had been on him in the last two weeks. "Yourself?"

"Yes, perfectly well," the receptionist said briskly. "She's in an appointment but she should be out in soon."

John nodded, not surprised that she knew why he was there. "I'm going to clear up the rest of my stuff," he said, "while I'm here."

He let himself into his office and glanced around. It was more or less how he had left it. It didn't have much of a personal touch to it, no photos on the walls or certificates or silly little ornaments, like other doctors seemed to favour.

He took the boxes that were still stacked in the corner from when he had moved everything in, just a few months prior.

"Just when you think you have all the sections of your life sorted out, one of them has to cave in," he muttered, kneeling by his bookcase and beginning to pack the medical journals that crammed most of its shelved. "Or a couple."

Jobless, homeless and loveless. He had lost everything he had built for himself within a few moments. The moment he had kissed Sherlock that day in Shaw's garden. He should have known then that he was doomed. You couldn't just kiss someone and expect that nothing would come of it. No, things didn't happen like that. Sherlock might think that, the whole world might think that but a kiss... A kiss was important.

Ok, he corrected himself, a kiss was important once you turned at least twenty-five. Anything that happened before then was too foggy with alcohol and self-conscious lust to be taken too seriously, but anything past twenty-five meant something.

And sex... Well, what that meant was far too philosophical to be considered while packing books into a box.

He heard the door opened and turned to see Sarah standing in the doorway, a file clutched in her arms. She didn't look surprised to see him.

John stood, forgetting that he was still holding a medical paper on Sexually Transmitted Diseases in his hands. "Sarah," he said, surprised that he sounded so calm.

"Hello," she said, closing the door behind her and betraying for the first time a slight edge of unease as she turned back to him, her eyes darting to the paper in his hands. "Meg told me you were here."

"Yes," John said, hastily stuffing the paper into the box and straightening back up, "I just came to..." he gestured to the box.

He didn't really know how to address the subject he had come to speak to her about. The blind anger he had experienced when first reading the article had leaked away. It had been spent on Sherlock and Finch, very little had been left for Sarah.

"You don't have to leave," Sarah said quickly. "We could really use your help. We're one doctor short and it's been chaos here-"

"I think it's best, under the circumstances," John said coolly, turning to his desk in the act of clearing off his old schedules.

"Look, I'm really sorry about that stupid article," Sarah said emphatically. "I had no idea it was going to be like this."

John looked at her in disbelief. "Why would you speak to her? Did I hurt you that badly?"

"She called me," Sarah said, shaking her head, "asking all sorts of questions. I know it's ridiculous but you have to believe me that I didn't say half that crap she wrote. All that crap about knowing that you and Sherlock were lovers. It's pure fantasy."

If it had been anyone else, John would have told her to fuck off but she spoke so earnestly and this was a woman who had proven to be a sensible and responsible woman in the weeks he had known her. The esteem he had once held for her was gone but he did not believe her capable of this extent of slander.

"You shouldn't have said anything," he said gruffly, sitting down heavily in his old chair. "You should have known she wasn't exactly trustworthy."

"I know," Sarah said, with a sigh, "I know. I was stupid, but I didn't do it on purpose."

John didn't reply. He was still tossing up whether to forgive her or not. As earnest as she sounded, she had been the prime source in the article.

"Who was she anyway?" Sarah said. "One of Sherlock's exes?"

"No, just some writer," John said, leaning on his hand with a tired sigh. "Sherlock's got himself tangled up in some mess, as usual."

Sarah laughed. "I can see that, and he's dragged you in too. As usual."

"Not for very much longer," John said in a low voice. "He's kicked me out."

"Oh?" Sarah said, sounding very surprised. "Trouble in paradise?"

John sent her a dark look.

"Too soon?" she said with a wan smile.

"A little," John replied, turning away to hide his smile.

"Well, look." She paused. "Why don't you come back here to work? We could use you and you'll need some money to find a new place."

"Thanks," John replied, feeling grateful in spite of himself. "That would be very helpful."

He stood, glancing down at the box. "Well, I suppose I should unpack. Or maybe I should go home and start looking at flats for rent on the net."

"That second idea sounds wise," Sarah said wryly. "Start on Monday, nine sharp."

"Thanks," John said, moving to leave.

As he passed her, she stepped closer to him and for a moment John thought she intended to kiss him but he hastily moved backwards.

"Sorry," he said, taking a slight pleasure in rebuffing her. Well, he needed a little payback for what she had done. He wasn't Jesus. "No more office romances."

She didn't look stung, in fact she smiled slightly. "You really do have feelings for him, don't you?" she said.

John was taken off guard by the comment and felt himself colour before he could think of an adequate response.

Sarah laughed and held the door open for him. "Don't worry. It'll be our little secret."

...

When it came apparent that Lestrade was not going to reply to Sherlock's text (that is, after ten minutes of impatiently pacing about), Sherlock decided to send a few follow-up texts. Well, twelve.

Finally, thirty minutes later, Sherlock's phone rang. He eagerly snatched it up.

"Lestrade?" he barked.

"Yes, Sherlock, it's me," Lestrade replied tiredly. "Are you busy?"

"No," Sherlock replied impatiently, "I need Shaw's files, I want to bring him in and ask him a few questions about these business associates of his, about Yvonne-"

"That won't be possible," Lestrade interjected flatly.

"What do you mean?" snapped Sherlock. "I need to-"

"He's dead."

Sherlock blinked, staring blankly ahead. "What."

"He was found dead this morning," Lestrade replied. "In the same fashion as Joana, strung up by his neck. Only this time it was in his girlfriend's house. She came home to find him hanging from the gables in the garage. And this time, I don't think it was fake."

"What," Sherlock said vaguely. "But... that can't... it doesn't make any..."

"He committed suicide," Lestrade replied sharply. "What's so unbelievable about that? His wife had just been killed."

Sherlock frowned at the phone. "But he was well-off, he had a new girlfriend, a new house, why..."

"Use your head, Sherlock," Lestrade said irritably, "pretend for once that you posses human feeling and think how you would feel if someone you loved dearly was slaughtered."

Sherlock, before he could stop himself, thought about John. The image of John, white and lifeless, hanging by his neck flashed painfully across his mind.

"We'd like it if you came over and quickly glanced- just glanced mind- at the body," Lestrade said gruffly. "Just to make sure this is what it is."

Sherlock didn't reply. He had just realised that, for the first time in his life, he had put himself into someone else's shoes, had considered their position and shared their pain. He had felt something on a human level, a real, human level. It startled and confused him.

"Sherlock?" Lestrade said sharply.

"Ah, yes, yes," Sherlock said hurriedly. "I'll be there in ten minutes."

He hung up and went for his coat.

Lestrade texted him the address and when he arrived , he found a small collection of police and forensic officers milling about the place, clearly waiting for him to declare it a clear suicide so they could go home.

The garage was open and Lestrade was standing outside it, apparently in conversation with Anderson, his head tilted towards him. Anderson noticed him over Lestrade's shoulder and said something to Lestrade who turned and waved him over.

Sherlock went over to them, not particularly caring what Anderson had to say but nevertheless glad that John would be spared another episode like the one in Scotland Yard.

"Finally," Lestrade said, seeming tense, "hurry up, will you?"

Sherlock ignored him. "What time did the girlfriend find him?"

"Nine o' clock this morning," Lestrade replied, "she says she went to the gym at seven, went to coffee with her mother, got back, couldn't find him, looked all around and then... well, she found him."

He jerked his head inside the garage. Sherlock turned. Shaw's handsome, suited figure was hanging like a ragdoll above the bonnet of his Lexus.

He went inside and walked around the inside of the garage. It was extremely clean. There was barely any clutter at all. No tools, no paint, no old Christmas decorations, no car oil. Just one very clean Lexus and a dead man.

He went to the edge of the bonnet of the car and cast his eye down the glossy paint finish. As he had expected, there was a very slight footprint of dust and dirt from where Shaw had stepped on it. There was no doubt he had stepped on it to reach the rafters.

"I need to talk to her," Sherlock said over his shoulder. "The girl."

"What girl?" Anderson snapped.

Sherlock turned to him, raising his eyebrows. "Yvonne."

Anderson's eyes narrowed suspiciously. "How do you know her-"

"Shut up," Lestrade snapped. "Why do you?" he said to Sherlock.

"He most certainly took his own life," Sherlock replied. "Any idiot could see that. But I'm not convinced as to why."

"His girlfriend is being treated for shock in the Royal London Hospital," Lestrade replied.

"Alright, I'll wait a few hours until she's sent home," Sherlock replied.

"My, my," Anderson said snidely, turning slightly pink when Sherlock turned his eyes sharply onto him, "turning a bit sentimental in your old age, Sherlock?"

"No," Sherlock replied through gritted teeth, "I just don't want to be surrounded by nosy nurses and doctors."

Anderson sniffed disdainfully and turned away.

"Well," Lestrade said reluctantly, "if you must. But I want this wrapped up today, Sherlock. A grief-stricken husband taking his own life is not a crime."

"Yes, yes," Sherlock said, waving a hand impatiently. "I have to go."

"Back to his lover," Anderson smirked.

"Shut it, Anderson," Lestrade barked. "Go and make yourself useful."

Anderson rolled his eyes and slunk away.

Lestrade waited until he was out of earshot. "You haven't been hanging around that Finch woman again, have you?" he said in a low voice.

Sherlock looked up from his phone. "No. Why?"

"She's published another article online," Lestrade said, glancing around. "Shorter one. Not particularly juicy. Just any old rubbish like usual." He hesitated, seeming uncertain. "But there's this video-"

"What?" Sherlock looked up sharply.

"It's obviously not you and John," Lestrade said hurriedly. "But the suggestion is there..."

"Which news site," Sherlock said bluntly, already on Google.

"Well, it's not... exactly one..." Lestrade said uncomfortably. "It's more like... every news site that happened to get wind of it."

Sherlock stared at the screen of his phone. "She's just never going to stop," he said numbly, lowering it down beside him.

"Just stay away from her," Lestrade said aggressively. "I warned you. You knew what she was like. She's tasted blood, she won't stop now. The best thing you can do is not give her any more opportunity to do this."

Sherlock hated to admit it, but Lestrade was right.

"In fact I forbid you from going anywhere near her," Lestrade said firmly. "I forbid you. That's an order."

"I'm not your lackey," Sherlock said disdainfully.

"No, but you work for me all the same and if you don't do what I say, I can easily leave you out of the loop the next time a juicy, little case comes available," Lestrade said calmly.

Sherlock didn't believe him but he chose to pretend that he did. "Ok," he said, as meekly as he was ever going to.

Enjoy this moment of submission, he thought as Lestrade gave a satisfied nod of his head and returned to his lackeys.

"Give our love to John," Donovan sneered as he passed, but Sherlock was too lost in his own thoughts to hear her.

He suddenly felt strangely liberated. He no longer had to speak to Finch. He was certain, in his heart of hearts, that she had no information about her daughter's death, that no angry celebrity had been responsible. He was becoming more certain that Thomas Shaw had been the guilty party and, overcome by guilt, had taken his own life.

This was his new theory anyway. He still needed to speak to Yvonne. But, joy of joys, he would never again have to crawl to Finch, begging for information, selling his soul for her petty information and hurting John so terribly in the process-

He stopped short where he was.

John.

No. All was not yet well. Not even close.

...

John was walking down from Lambeth Medical Centre when something suddenly hit him like a brick. Finch had called Sarah. How the hell could she have Sarah's number? How could she even know who Sarah was?

John had mentioned Sarah's name once. So had she hunted through every Sarah in the phonebook until she had found the one who knew John Watson?

John was suddenly gripped by an intense fury that he hadn't felt for a very long time. Or perhaps ever. He had been irritated with Lestrade, he resented Anderson and Donovan and he had been disappointed with Sarah. But this was a different brand of anger; it was in a different realm.

He had stopped where he was on the stairs but hurriedly regained his pace and caught the first cab he saw. He now knew where his phone was.

Fifteen minutes later, he arrived at Finch's house and spilt out onto the footpath, without looking at the driver as he stuffed a twenty pound note at him. He knocked, determined to keep his temper but not to leave until he had his phone. He was not going to leave without his phone.

A few moments later the door was answered.

"I know you have my-"

John cut off. It wasn't Mrs Finch. It was a short, grey-haired woman in an apron.

"Yes?" she said, eyeing him up and down suspiciously.

"I'm here to see Georgette Finch," John said forcefully. "She has something of mine."

"Do you have an appointment?" the woman said, raising an eyebrow.

"No," John said, "but my name is John Watson. Tell her, she'll know who I am."

The woman stared at him for a moment and then turned and shuffled inside. John waited impatiently on the stairs, jigging from foot to foot and hardly able to resist the overwhelming sense of outrage coming across him. He just couldn't believe that people like her existed.

A moment later the woman reappeared. "You can come in," she said, in a voice that suggested that if it were up to her he wouldn't he stepping foot inside.

John walked past her and straight towards the living room.

"Wait!" she called after him but he didn't turn.

He opened the door and found Finch at the writing desk, her back to him. She turned when he entered but her facial expression did not change. John closed the door behind him, right in the face of the furious cleaner.

"Doctor Watson, what a pleasant surprise," she said with a wan smile, standing and dusting the pencil shavings off her lap. "I was just in the middle of-"

"Do you have my phone?" John said abruptly.

She raised her eyebrows in an almost impressive display of surprise. "Pardon me?"

"You have my phone," John said, deciding that questions weren't going to get him anywhere. "You have my phone, I left it here and you kept it. Or you took it. Either way, I want it back."

"Is this about those silly, little articles I wrote?" Finch laughed.

"This is about the fact that you have my phone and used it to harass my ex-girlfriend," John snapped.

"I assure you she gave up the information quite willingly," Finch smirked, going across to the sofa and dropping down onto it. "She was quite eager to tell her tale."

"Not everyone is like you," John said. "Not everyone has a tale to tell. Sarah, for all her faults, isn't a sneak. She wouldn't have said any of those things."

"Well," Finch fought a malicious smile, "sometimes artistic licence has to be taken."

John wanted to ask her why she had done it. He wouldn't to ask her why she was so hell-bent on smearing Sherlock. But perhaps she just enjoyed hurting people.

"You know," John said quietly, staring at her, "people say that Sherlock is a psychopath, but I think people like you are the true psychopaths. He may only help people as a by-product of what he does but at least he doesn't hurt people just because he can."

"Sherlock wasn't hurt by my article though was he?" Finch replied with a wan smile. "He's too emotionally numb to be affected by something like that. But I bet you were."

"I don't pay attention to trashy magazine crap," John replied furiously, in an attempt to hide the obvious.

"It's alright," Finch said, with a rueful smile, "any normal person would have been."

John could see that she was twisting the topic away from what he had come there for. He shrugged off her words. "I just want my phone," he said stonily.

Finch didn't reply for what felt like an age. Her expression was as cool as glass, if John had ever doubted that someone had a soul, it would be her.

Finally, she stood and, without saying a word, crossed the room and left. John stared after her, wondering whether he was about to be kicked out or if she was going to call the police.

Moments later, she returned. And in her extravagantly manicured hand was his phone. She held it out for him, with a slight shrug. "We all do things that we are not proud of when we're desperate," she said.

John took it from her, barely daring to believe that it was his. But when he turned it on it was obvious that it was. The screensaver, the icons, the phonebook. Everything was how he had left it weeks ago.

"That is some poor excuse for theft," he said coldly, sliding it into his pocket.

"I just wanted Sherlock to realise the gravity of his situation," Finch said coolly, taking her seat back on the sofa and lighting a cigarette from her pocket.

John watched as she took a drag and exhaled it slowly between her plump lips.

"My daughter is dead," she said, leaning back in her seat. "Sherlock might be concerned about losing his live-in whore, but I lost my only child."

"What?" John said, taken aback. "Live-in whore?"

Finch laughed humourlessly. "Sorry, darling," she said, "I mean, lover."

"Wait, wait, wait," John said hurriedly, ignoring the jibe, "why was he worried about losing me? What the hell are you talking about?"

Finch hesitated, the cigarette poised in front of her lips. "Oh, you poor, stupid man," she finally said with a shake of her head, "has it really taken you this long to realise that Sherlock Holmes is in love with you?"

John stared at her. "How would you know something like that?"

"Shortly after my, very successful I might add, article was published and you threw your little tantrum," she said, every word filled with a venomous regret, as though it was taking every effort to tell him this, "he came to me to do another interview-"

"What?" John burst out.

"He thought that if he did an interview with me," Finch said condescendingly, "that I would leave you alone. For a cold, unfeeling bastard he certainly spares a lot of time obsessing over you and your happiness."

John was thunderstruck. If he hadn't learnt to take everything Finch said with a truckload of salt he probably would have texted Sherlock right then and there and demanded if it was true.

"Are you lying?" he asked, forcing himself not to betray any of the emotions he felt.

Finch gave a genuine laugh, it peeled out with a strange, tinny quality to it. "I never lie, darling," she gave a smile, "I merely embellish."

"Are you embellishing then?" John snapped, glancing at the door.

Finch sighed, with a roll of her eyes. The cigarette was trickling ash all over the floor. "Oh, well. I suppose you can't win them all."

John didn't know if this was an affirmation or not but he didn't wait another moment to find out. He turned and tore out of the room, down the hallway and out of the front door. He had no idea of how he intended to get back to Baker Street, but he knew that if he had to walk, hitchhike or fly he would get there.

...

Sherlock arrived home to find it still deserted. John wasn't home and there wasn't any sign that he had been there. Sherlock flopped down onto the sofa and lay there in silence.

He had a feeling that he was on the verge of a breakthrough in the case. He didn't know why or how but he could feel it. He felt that cutting Finch out of the equation had brought him closer to the truth than ever before.

He sat up and glanced at his phone. There were no messages. He was waiting for Lestrade to text him and tell him that he could speak to Yvonne. He didn't know how he was going to wait when he had so many questions that felt like they needed answering right now.

His eyes fell on a jumper John had left behind on the arm of his chair. Sherlock glanced around, as though he expected to see some ogling onlooker. He slid out of his seat and went across to it, trailing his fingers up the soft material.

"Why does he wear these stupid things?" he asked out loud, plucking it up between his finger and thumb and looking at it closely.

It still had the price sticker on. Typical John.

He held it up in front of him, noting how there were bits of cotton and tissue stuck to it. His palms seemed to be slightly clammy, despite the coolness of the day.

Before he was entirely aware of what he was doing, he held the jumper up to his face and inhaled. It still held the stiff scent of when it had been bought but mingled with it was John's own brand. A mixture of cheap men's deodorant, a vaguely mediciney smell that he supposed had been acquired via the medical centre and a musky, human smell that he supposed was just John's own.

He breathed it into his nose and mouth, closed his eyes and imagined that it was John that he was clinging to. He felt a shiver go up his spine.

The door opened without warning and Sherlock dropped the jumper onto the seat beside him so quickly that he surprised himself with his own reflexes.

"John-" he said huskily, knowing that he was flushed with arousal.

John said nothing. He closed the door behind him and in one swift movement crossed the room and was pressing Sherlock hard against him with what was an exceptionally deep kiss. One of his hands held the back of Sherlock's neck, not roughly but with a firmness that Sherlock hadn't felt him use before.

He touched John's waist and felt John's hand slide up into his hair, clutching tightly to him and at the same time forcing his tongue between Sherlock's lips. Sherlock felt a trickle of saliva leak from the corner of his mouth and clung tighter to John's waist. John was so close that they were almost entwined and John's hands were threaded through his hair, holding him firmly against him.

When they finally broke apart, all of the indifference Sherlock had carefully constructed overnight had vanished in a matter of moments. John gently loosened his grip on his hair and slid his hands down so they were cupping Sherlock's face.

"I'm so sorry," he said softly, a strange expression on his face.

Sherlock pulled back a little, he felt a little claustrophobic and overwhelmed by the suddenness of everything.

"What?" he said stupidly.

John loosened his grip on him, sliding his clammy palms down to Sherlock's chest. "I'm sorry for being... being such an idiot."

"Do you expect me to just fall into your arms then?" Sherlock said wryly. "You might be feeling sentimental but there is still the question of my apology."

John looked, as he had intended, incredibly taken aback. He had obviously assumed that the smouldering kiss would conveniently make Sherlock forget about the events of the past two days.

"Apology?" John said incredulously.

"Or do you think just because you're as hard as a mastiff in heat that it would wipe my memory?" Sherlock said archly.

John went pink and turned away with a huff. "I'm not apologising."

"Well," Sherlock took a seat on John's jumper, to hide it from his view, "I can't but wonder what brought on this sudden change of heart."

"I spoke to..." John broke off, turning to him irritably. "What about my apology?"

"Why on earth would I need to apologise to you?" Sherlock said, in a genuine amazement.

"You..." John stared at him, clearly fighting a growing sense to smack him, "you are so pitiless, so blind to other people's feelings. Didn't you see how that article upset me?"

"Yes," Sherlock said, "but there was nothing I could do. I told you."

"But even when there's nothing to be done, you could have said something," John snapped, losing his patience. "You could have said something!"

"Said what?" Sherlock burst out in frustration. "What did you want me to say?"

"That it would be alright!" John almost shouted at him, his eyes flashing with anger. "That things would be alright! That I would be alright!"

"Oh, I see," Sherlock said coolly, leaning forward in his seat and forgetting about John's jumper, "you wanted me to drip sweet nothings in your ear."

"Fuck," John burst out. "You are so... so... frustrating."

"And you are so blind!" Sherlock retorted. "Arrogant, ridiculous, blind idiot."

"Well, maybe I should just move out anyway!" John shouted at him. "If I'm such an idiot! If I'm so unworthy of you!"

He stomped across to the armchair and yanked his jumper out from underneath Sherlock. Sherlock stood up quickly, staring at him indignantly.

"I'm sick of being treated like your personal assistant, your personal whipping boy, your personal property!" He stalked over to the kitchen counter, flinging his jumper across the cluttered bench and sending a tea cup skittering off the side.

Sherlock heard it smash against the tiles. He watched silently as John stared around the room, spotting his laptop on the sofa, where Sherlock had been 'borrowing' it.

"And I'm sick of you using my things! I earn my own money, I buy my own things! I don't need you touching it!"

"Then get out!" Sherlock said angrily. "No one's stopping you!"

"I will!" John roared.

"Fine!" Sherlock snarled.

They stared at each other in silence, both of them panting, both of them flushed and gazing at each other in intense frustration.

Sherlock wasn't aware of moving, but the next thing he was conscious of was being pinned against John, his hands roving desperately over the smaller man's back and kissing him viciously. John's hands were clutching his hair again and he was returning the kiss with equal ferocity, his teeth nicking Sherlock's lips.

Sherlock wound his hand around John's shirt and tugged him roughly towards him and towards the bedroom. John did not protest or resist. True, he was too busy ravaging Sherlock's mouth- and cheeks and chin and jaw and neck. He stumbled forward, allowing himself to be guided towards the door.

John only seemed to become aware that they had been moving when Sherlock's back hit the door of the bedroom. John broke away, his breathing fast and haggard. The same as Sherlock's. Sherlock smiled wryly at him, running a hand through the doctor's slightly too pristine hair.

John's hands were still clutching the collar of his shirt and his eyes were fixed on his, as though he didn't dare blink for fear of losing sight of him.

He didn't speak. Sherlock assumed it was because he was too choked with lust to form words, but in reality it was because he didn't trust himself to speak without his voice betraying the depth of his feeling.

Sherlock fumbled with the doorknob and fell back against it, dragging John with him. John slammed the door behind him and hastily tore at Sherlock's shirt, his fingers clammy and fumbling ineffectually with the buttons. Sherlock relieved him of the duty, tearing his shirt off with an impatient motion.

"Sherlock!" John said in a muffled voice, as buttons rained down onto the floor.

Sherlock didn't reply, he did the same to John's shirt and without pause moved his fingers to the band of his jeans. John's mind somehow kicked into action and his finger clumsily undid the buttons on his own trousers. He stepped out of them and kicked them away, taking advantage of Sherlock's temporarily distracted state to run his hands up his slim, pale body and paw at his hardened nipples.

"John..." Sherlock gasped, curling his back.

"Hurry up," John breathed.

Sherlock let his jeans slide down his thighs and kicked them away, yanking John forward from around the waist and pushing him towards the bed.

John fell back against the bed, and was soon joined by Sherlock, who knelt over him and took his time in sliding his hands up John's body as he gently leant his body against his. John leant his head back with a breathless sound, goosebumps erupting beneath Sherlock's touch.

"Are you cold?" Sherlock said.

Dressed only in their underwear and pressed as closely as two people could be, it was obvious and fascinating to see how the arousal and cold was affecting the other's body. The erect nubs of their nipples, how the skin of their stomachs flinched at their touch and, of course, their twin mounds of arousal pressed against each other and only contained by a thin layer of cotton.

"No," John replied, resting a hand on the nape of Sherlock's neck.

Sherlock cocked an eyebrow, not believing him for a moment but not quite concerned enough to cease their ministrations to go and turn on the heat.

He allowed John to tug his mouth to his in a softer, chaster kiss than before and run his hand down between them to paw at the bulge of his sex. It throbbed at John's touch, as though it recognised the calluses on his hands, the shape of his fingers.

Sherlock gave a low growl as John squeezed it, rubbing his palm into the base and then rocking his hips upward to meet his.

"Fuck," John breathed, panting a little at the sensation.

Before he completely lost control of himself, Sherlock moved backwards off of John and stood. He thumbed the band of his underwear, revelling in the way John's eyes roamed hungrily over his body. He struggled upright, leaning on his elbows and watching in fascination as Sherlock finally released himself from the restraint. The rush of cold air wasn't altogether pleasant.

John sat up with some difficulty, as Sherlock laid down beside him, basking in John's gaze.

"How can you be so confident?" John smiled, trailing his fingers down Sherlock's stomach to the tussle of dark hair around his straining manhood. He threaded his fingers through it and relished in Sherlock's gasp.

"I know what you think of me," Sherlock said, with a lazy flutter of his eyelashes. "Why should I care what anyone else thinks about me?"

John rolled his eyes, though Sherlock thought something softened in his manner. He fumbled with his own briefs, his eyes never shifting from Sherlock's body. He paused, his thumbs hooked underneath the band. A moment later he tore them down and off.

Blushing a little, he turned back to Sherlock, who was watching him with eyes darkened with lust. John leant down and pressed his lips against Sherlock's chest. Sherlock gasped in surprise. John smirked into his skin and kissed lower, parting his lips and allowing some of his saliva to drip onto Sherlock's skin. He kissed just above his navel and then just below and paused only on the sensitive skin around his pubis, holding his lips against it for a few moments just so he could enjoy the small, breathless sounds of pleasure Sherlock made, as he desperately tried to create friction against John's mouth.

John finally stopped teasing him, when Sherlock's breaths became increasingly frantic and mingled with increasingly vocal moans, and leant back on his heels.

"Lie on your front," he said.

Sherlock hesitated, blinking hazily at him for a moment and then obeyed, rolling onto his front. John swallowed. Sherlock turned to look at him and John swallowed thickly, the saliva thick in his throat.

"You know after the first time we..." Sherlock paused with a smile, "fornicated, I bought a bottle of something called... ah, lubricant."

John had to fight a smile. "Yes, I've heard of it. Where is it?"

"It's in the top drawer of the chest," Sherlock said, resting his chin on his hands.

John fetched it. He had to admit that he struggled to imagine Sherlock walking into a supermarket or chemist to buy lube, amongst the other sex products, goat's weed and condoms.

It was in a white and blue tube. It could have been toothpaste if it hadn't been for the word Amorous printed across it. John pulled the top off and squeezed some of it into his hand. It was a clear gel and didn't stick between his fingers, like some of the cheap lubes he'd had had experience with.

He knelt by the bed, touching Sherlock's thigh with his clean hand. "Part your legs a little bit wider," he said softly.

Sherlock obeyed, John saw his fingers curl into the covers and his back tense in apprehension. John slid his hand higher up Sherlock's thigh and gently touched his exposed entrance.

Sherlock exhaled sharply. "Ah! John, it's cold."

"Sorry," John murmured, taking every care to push his finger inside as gently as he could.

He could feel that Sherlock was incredibly tense. He slipped a finger deep inside and felt Sherlock's body spasm.

"John!"

John didn't reply, he slid another finger inside. The tightness almost took him by surprise. After being trespassed upon twice, Sherlock still felt as taut as a virgin and it sent a gush of heat down through John's body.

He slid his fingers out and Sherlock turned to look at him again, a slightly dazed expression on his face. John squeezed a bit more of the gel onto his fingers and applied it to his cock, sliding his fingers around the heated appendage and gently caressing it up and down to ensure that he didn't hurt Sherlock.

He looked up to find Sherlock staring at him with a heated, wanton expression, his eyes darting between John's face and his slick manhood.

He met John's eye and, with almost agonizingly slow movements, crawled onto his hands and knees, treating John to an eyeful of every private crevice of his body. John's sex gave an appreciative throb and heat pooled around his crotch.

Sherlock back was curved, his head was raised and his palms were pressed hard into the bed, in evident apprehension of what he knew was coming. John touched his cock to Sherlock's red, stretched entrance and they gave a strangled moan in unison.

"Yes," Sherlock said, and John could feel he was trembling slightly against him, "John, take me. I need to feel you... feel you inside of me-"

John bit his lip to bridle his moan and held Sherlock's waist gently with both hands so he wouldn't forget himself and take him too roughly. He wanted to be gentle with Sherlock, he didn't want this time to cause him any discomfort, before or after the fact.

Sherlock's whole body curled as John pushed inside of him. The familiar, yet at the same time overwhelmingly intense sensation, pulsed through John, the delirious pleasure of being joined with Sherlock's body and of having such a passionate intimacy with him rushed through him in a heated wave.

"John..." Sherlock whimpered, his cool, composed, cynical expression long melted away.

John wondered what people would say if they could see Sherlock when he was like this, when his raw sexuality was brought sharply into focus. The thought sent a shiver up John's spine and he thrust inside of Sherlock with more force than he had intended.

Sherlock have a strangled whine, clawing at the covers as John's sex hit that strange part of him that sent unrestrained pleasure through his privates and then slowly, like lava through his entire body. John bent down over him, so that his body, cold but damp with perspiration, was pressed against his back. He felt one of John's hands clasp his pulsing sex and clumsily stroke it, his fingers damp and clammy.

Sherlock had never felt so owned than at that moment. The sensation of John's weight against him, of his cock buried so deeply inside of him and of his hands caressing him with ungainly tenderness filled him with overwhelming ecstasy and a dizzy certainty that this was the embodiment of perfection.

John's stomach muscles were tautening with every thrust and roll of his hips inside of Sherlock, Sherlock could feel them moving against him. John's nipples brushed against his skin, hard from the cold and from intensifying arousal. Sherlock couldn't help thinking how he would love to feel John's nipple in his mouth, to taste it and to bite it-

"Ugh-John," he moaned, hunching his back and pressing his chin to his chest as he felt John's ball sac cuff him as he entered him.

He hadn't realised such intimacy had been possible.

"Shhh," John said shakily, his hand leaving Sherlock's tingling manhood and curling around his waist to hold Sherlock even tighter to him.

"I need you..." Sherlock garbled, not aware that he was speaking.

John panted, leaning low over him, his breath hot in Sherlock's ear and his movements becoming rougher. "Yes..." he hissed, pressing his face against Sherlock's shoulder. "Fuck..."

He gently suckled on Sherlock's skin, wanting to brand him as his before he came. He bit him very carefully and felt Sherlock jerk against him with a pleasured cry.

"Oh! John," he moaned, "I'm going to..."

John held him hard against him. "Shhh, it's alright," he said huskily.

Sherlock wasn't aware of speaking or thinking or moving. His body was rocking up and against John, his back was arching on its own accord every time John impaled him on his cock and his own was throbbing viciously, begging for release.

Sherlock felt John's hand on his, felt his damp fingers entwine between his and gave a low, helpless groan.

"Oh-oh John."

John loved hearing Sherlock say his name before he climaxed.

Sherlock's seed burst violently onto his own stomach. He gave a desperate cry, tossing his head. John's eyes rolled back in his head, he closed them tightly and tore at his lip as his own orgasm overcame him in a forceful wave.

"Ugh," he said thickly, thrusting once more and coming deep inside of Sherlock.

He felt it leak sluggishly down his thighs.

Sherlock's head was still bowed. His hands twisted into the covers and John's hand threaded through one. If John hadn't still been buried to the hilt inside of him, he could almost have been praying.

John straightened up with some difficulty, and gently pulled out. Sherlock collapsed against the bed, his slender frame heaving.

John dared, in his current pleasure drunken state, to stroke back Sherlock's hair from his face. "Are you alright?"

Sherlock nodded, his eyes hazy and looking exhausted.

John arranged the pillows at the head of the bed and leant against them, still catching his own breath. He gazed at Sherlock's fallen figure.

"Sure you don't want a cup of tea or something?"

"I thought a cigarette was traditional," Sherlock replied wryly, rolling onto his back and crawling upright.

"Nice try," John said archly.

Sherlock didn't reply. He deposited himself next to John, staring across at the door. He looked incredibly and gorgeously dishevelled. John's continuous attacks on his hair had taken their toll and John's bite mark on his shoulder was very red against his white skin.

John gazed at him, wondering how he could have had such remarkable fortune and misfortune to stumble across a man like Sherlock Holmes.

"Finch told me what you did," he said at length, feeling vaguely sheepish.

Sherlock glanced at him. "What did I do?"

"You gave her the interview she wanted." John hesitated. "So she would leave me alone."

"Don't melt all over me," Sherlock replied abruptly, though his cheeks coloured slightly. "I just couldn't stand your whining."

There was silence. Sherlock stole a look at John and then hastily looked away.

"Well, thank you," John said at length. "I means a lot to me."

"Don't thank me yet," Sherlock replied coolly. "I doubt that we've seen the end of her."

"You know," John said, with a small smile, "I don't think I care. I think I finally saw her for what she was today: just a sad, bitter old woman."

There was another silence. This time broken by Sherlock.

"So who was it?" he asked, not looking at John.

"What?" John said, sinking lower against the pillows. He would have liked to lie against Sherlock but he didn't suppose the detective would approve.

"Who made you so frightened of your own sexuality?" Sherlock said calmly, glancing at him with a knowing look.

John stared at him. This subject again. Sherlock just never gave up.

He didn't reply immediately. As much as he wanted to tell the truth, he didn't know whether he trusted himself not to react badly to having such a closely guarded secret floating about.

He decided to flip a coin, of sorts.

He leant his head against Sherlock's shoulder, expecting to be shrugged off. To his surprise, Sherlock, admittedly after something of a pause, slid his arm around John's shoulders and allowed him to rest his head against his chest. He smelt of cologne, semen, sweat and Sherlock's own familiar scent.

"My father," he said at last.

Sherlock didn't speak.

"My father wasn't very... ah, new age, shall we say," John went on, hardly believing he was saying this when all the counsellors he had ever seen had never been able to extract it from him. "He made it crystal clear what he would do to us if we turned out "that way"."

He gave a humourless laugh.

"By the time I got to high school I was so filled with shame and dread that it didn't take much to convince myself that I was as straight as a ruler."

John's words were filling him with an overwhelming sense of regret and guilt.

"I managed to enjoy having sex with women. I liked it actually. So, the occasional longing for another man didn't frighten me as much as it could have."

"Well, you fooled me," Sherlock spoke at last.

"I had years of practice," John said in a low voice. "God, this is depressing."

"Yes, I suppose the thought that you've spent twenty years of your adult life repressing your sexuality and forcing yourself to live your life according to the whims of your controlling, aggressive father would be slightly depressing," Sherlock said with a yawn.

John rolled his eyes. "It's difficult to change a habit of a lifetime," he said.

"Excuses, excuses," Sherlock said, not opening his eyes.

"Oh, please," John said. "You're the most repressed, stubborn, unchanging person I've ever met."

Sherlock opened his eyes and turned to look at him. His dark eyes seemed to bore right through him to the bone.

A moment later he spoke, his voice low and caressing. "It'll be alright," he said softly.

John felt his heart stir inside of him, his grip tightened on Sherlock's chest.

Sherlock smirked and laid back against the bed. "You should have seen your face. I thought you were going to start humping my leg."

"Sherlock!" John said, abashed.

"Oh, don't look so surprised," Sherlock said mildly. "I am the most repressed, stubborn, unchanging person you've ever met, after all."

John glowered at him. "Wanker."

"Idiot."

TBC