(The Very Complex) Pairings:
- Sherlock/John queerplatonic life partnership
- John/A Series of Lovers He is Very Gentlemanly Towards to Satisfy His Needs
- Sherlock/Irene romantic but not sexual
- Irene/A Series of Lovers She Not At All Lady-Like Towards to Satisfy Her Needs and Occasionally Pay the Bills
- Sebastian/Jim married for 5 years
- Mentions of past Jim/Sherlock non-con sexual
"Working together has proven necessary and therapeutic for both of them, yet the geniuses can't resist taunts, some laced with intense bitterness. At which point Irene, John, and Sebastian will Remind Them Lives Are At Stake and We Don't Have All Day."
In 2011, the world's only consulting criminal baited, tantalized, and cavorted with the world's only consulting detective over a period of several days.
It stopped being a game - for the detective, anyway - when the detective offered himself to the criminal, in any capacity, in order to save the life of the detective's only friend, a former army doctor.
It definitely stopped being a game for the criminal when the army doctor teamed up with a professional dominatrix/blackmailer to rescue the detective.
And it changed shape entirely when the criminal's right-hand-man, a former army sniper, cut a deal with a government official (some would say the government itself, especially this official's younger brother, who happens to be the aforementioned detective) to save the life of the criminal. It is interesting to note that a) the deal was with a steep price and b) the motivation could not have been anything other than love.
In 2012, the man once known as James Moriarty attempted suicide unsuccessfully for his fourth time. "You're not going to let me, are you, Sebby?" he asked the man cradling him gently on the bed in their tiny flat, rocking him like a child after forcing him to vomit up the various pills and alcohol he'd taken earlier.
"No, Jim. Never." Definite and solid. Like the man once known as Sebastian Moran himself.
"I'm blind. I'm fucking blind, and I can't move my legs, and neither of those things are ever changing, and every day I wake up with Sherlock's fucking brother laughing at me in my head."
Jim felt a kiss where his jaw met his ear. Sebastian stroked his hair, ignoring the squirms. "I never saw him laugh. Did you?"
"It's an expression, you dimwit." Jim stabbed at the much-larger man's muscled torso with a shaky forefinger.
"Will you marry me?"
"First, that's changing the subject in an extremely disrespectful manner, and second, we're already married. The documents Mr...Mr...Mr. Holmes gave us have us as Mr. Simon and Mr. James Conan-Doyle. We even have rings."
"But those aren't really us. Let's elope. Get out of this arse-end of nowhere of a Kiwi village and go to Auckland for a honeymoon. I'll get you a Braille tutor and one of those Braille typewriters and lots of books you can read once you've learned it, and you can write that treatise on clearing up various misconceptions in advanced calculus you always ramble about when you're high. I'll even find someone to publish it, whether or not that takes putting various academics into chokeholds."
There was such a long silence that Sebastian started to think Jim had fallen asleep. Ever since Mycroft Holmes had ordered Jim's eyes surgically removed, along with vital nerves severed so he was paralyzed below the waist - though since Jim had forcibly taken Sherlock Holmes' virginity before The Woman betrayed both of them Sebastian could grudgingly see his point - it was really, really difficult to tell whether Jim was asleep or just silently coming up with elaborate murder schemes. His breathing patterns tended to be similar in either case.
Jim did, finally, say, "Do you suppose anybody's translated any smutty books into Braille?"
"Let's find out."
In 2013, Sherlock Holmes had dinner with Irene Adler.
"It took you such a long time to respond to my invitation that I started to think you never would," she said as she took her seat.
"It's for a case," Sherlock said, glancing at the menu. "Avoid the oysters here, there's a disgruntled busboy that works on Tuesday and Thursday nights."
She laughed. "You're so sweet, even when you're showing off."
"Why did you help John save me?"
"Why did you not ask me until two years later?" When she saw something vulnerable in his face at the question, she reached to touch his hand.
He grabbed her wrist. "Don't."
"Do you let Doctor Watson touch you?"
"Yes, inasmuch as that happens, which isn't particularly frequent. What does that matter?"
She withdrew her hand but her eyes were steady and warm. "It matters everything in the world."
He let that go for the moment, because the mystery involving a former president of the Czech Republic
was far too interesting and Irene's whispered-about liaisons with his niece too substantial a lead to be ignored. But he filed it away in one of his mental folders.
In 2014, Professor James Conan-Doyle became the youngest and most heavily disabled professor of advanced mathematics in New Zealand history, which despite being a rather narrow category was still something people praised. He declined all interviews and other media attention.
A young adjunct named Katherine Winter became his assistant in all professorial duties that required sight, though after the first semester he was able to pinpoint chattering students with even more accuracy than most ordinary instructors. Kitty, as her friends called her, soon became the only person other than Jim's husband Simon that Jim seemed to enjoy interacting with outside of a strictly professional setting. She did wonder why after a few drinks Jim would frequently call her "Molly" by accident. Usually after that he would add something like, "Sorry - sorry, you're better than Molly, a lot better, at least you know your cosines from your parabolas and when a man is or isn't interested in you..."
On most days of the week he lectured while wearing a special pair of mirrored aviator sunglasses, but on Fridays he would come with a pair of glass eyes from his collection he had custom-made, some of them normal-looking but in unusual colors like violet, topaz, or blood red, then others with slit pupils, some pitch black, and most memorably ones that mimicked the effects of those stick-on googly eyes (only on a larger scale). On Halloween he wore none and just let the students gape at his sockets.
Lost them in a bombing, was the story. Was in military intelligence in Afghanistan. Lost the use of his legs, too. How sad. How brave. How inspiring.
His wheelchair too frequently rammed into people who dared to inquire after details for it to be accidental. If his husband was pushing the wheelchair sometimes said people were even knocked over.
In 2015, Sherlock abruptly fell silent in the middle of a sentence about how idiotic Inspector Dimmock was for not noticing the tan lines on the murder victim's big toe and how this meant the geese could not possibly have been in the broom cupboard.
"What is it, Sherlock?" John asked him.
"He's alive," Sherlock whispered.
"Who?" John asked.
"Excuse me..." one of the police offers began.
Sherlock waved everyone off. "Come with me, John. Need data."
"But the murder..."
"This is far more important, and anyway it's patently obvious that the granddaughter did it."
Dimmock protested, "But she's six years old!"
"That's why it was so obvious; small children are terrible at subtlety in their violent crimes. I'll text you the details. The important thing, John, is that Mycroft lied to me, and I need to find out why."
In 2016, Irene Adler discovered a conspiracy that she could have turned to her advantage, yet was so terrible that she couldn't bring herself to. Instead, she called Sherlock.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. If you need money to make it worth your while, I have a couple people I have fascinating pictures of whom I can call."
"The case has its own merits. Take care of the expenses we incur in solving it and I'll call it even. It might be more than we can do by ourselves."
"Are you saying -"
"No, no, it's not that I can't intellectually manage it, but first off I only speak French, German, Arabic, fingerspelling, Morse Code, and a very minor amount of Mandarin; John can barely get by in Farsi these days, and his Semaphore is appalling..."
"Don't worry about that. I speak Japanese."
"I have many Japanese clients."
"Ah. Convenient for us, then, assuming you have vocabulary beyond what is strictly necessary for your appointments."
"You can get pretty far with just that, but I actually am quite fluent."
"And also there are some things the Yakuza keep very closely guarded among themselves. It's possible that we'll need someone who's had dealings with them."
"I mean, other than recreationally, no maligning of your profession meant."
"You have no idea how tedious some of these submissives are to keep happy, but I appreciate the addendum."
"Give me time to research. I have a backup plan, but I'd very much rather not use it."
"Thank you, darling."
"Dinner? John will be there."
"Has he given up on keeping girlfriends, then?"
"Seems to have. These days he mostly just disappears for a night and comes back obviously post-coital the next afternoon. Definitely doesn't pay for them, but doesn't go back to them either."
"That's probably best all round. In that case I'll bring Mary. She loves being a footstool and I haven't let her leave the house all week yet."
"I'm sure John will at least be diverted in his attempts not to stare."
In January 2017, Jim was just about to leave the classroom after a reasonably successful day, when all of a sudden most of his nightmares were realized (not the ones about all his teeth falling out or the ones about Seb turning into a pile of angry raccoons with sniper rifles and grabby little hands, though, thank God).
"Cab for Professor James Conan-Doyle," said a voice he would have known anywhere.
Kitty didn't notice anything wrong, and gave him a quick, "Goodnight, Professor," before dashing out the door.
"Goodnight." Surely Sherlock couldn't simply kill him right there. That would look awful in the papers.
"Mycroft was thorough indeed." Was he gloating? And then, oh-so-considerate, "Careful, you're backing into a wall."
This was just annoying. Jim prided himself on his ability to navigate the classroom and the first floor of his house - the basement was where Seb kept his weapons, carpentry tools, and anything else dangerous, and Seb carried him up to the bedroom every night and down every morning - as long as things stayed in their places. Even the kitchenware and food in the lower cupboards were organized so he could make his own toast and tea, though making Seb do the real cooking was just as much hanging on to what power he still had as it was a safety consideration. They ate at restaurants a lot, though, especially since Jim could usually extort a pity discount.
His thoughts were getting off track. "How did you find me?"
"Some of your students have a Facebook fan page devoted to their favorite professor. Apparently quite a few fancy you. How heartwarming - a intelligence agent wounded in Afghanistan becoming a highly respected maths instructor despite now being both blind and paraplegic. I'm surprised it hasn't been made into a film."
"There were offers. I turned them down."
"What do you want, Sherlock?"
Only at this point did the anxiety in Sherlock's voice make Jim realize that he wasn't the only one distressed by the situation. "I'm here for a consultation. I'm trying to take down a chapter of the Yakuza that has overstepped their bounds, and though we most likely both loathe each other to the very core of our beings, you know the criminal underworld like nobody else. And I know you've been aching for the game."
Jim laughed, feeling a little bit of the old fire in his veins. "How very sentimental."
Sherlock huffed. "I wouldn't call it that. Do we have a deal?"
"Your - your brother, he said Seb and I mustn't come up on the radar again."
"And so long as you are helpful, I can assure you that you won't. Not in a way that will upset him. Don't worry, I'm not a kidnapper, not like some."
"Oh haha, how very hi-larious."
"I believe John has just explained the matter to your...spouse. Here they come. I suppose you have my congratulations. Do you do any other teaming up on unwilling victims these days, or was that just part of your wild and dizzying courtship?"
"Please, Sherlock, I actually have a life here. A legitimate life where nobody dies."
"If you touch him, at all, even once..." Sebastian hissed.
"Seb, we're working with them," Jim said, his voice taut.
John added, with such mildness that it chilled Jim to the bone, "Turnabout is fair play; I suggest you count on the continued unfairness of life."
Then a woman's voice broke into the uncomfortable silence. The Woman. Jim wished, for just one mad second, that he could have leapt out of his chair and strangled her. "Petrol's expensive here and the car's still running, gentlemen; I suggested we go to the hotel to talk."