Rated: Adult – explicit. Read at your own discretion.

Pairing/Characters: Jim/Sherlock

Warnings: Dub-con (extremely dub), violence, d/s elements, drug use (detailed), as well as allusions to murder.

A/N – Previously titled "Methods of Payment", written for a kinkmeme prompt (link at my Livejournal). It has now been rewritten from the start and reposted under a new title.

Thanks to everyone who followed this story as it progressed! I hope the final version meets your expectations. I'd suggest to read it from the start, as some parts were rewritten or expended.

Beta: the wonderful mugenmine (at Livejournal).

Summary: Set pre-series. Unable to pass on the opportunity to finally meet Sherlock in person, Jim disguised himself as a drug dealer, knowing full well that Sherlock would do anything to get his next fix.

by AM_HatesCaptcha

It all started because of Carl Powers.

Poor little Carl Powers, he was so significant in his insignificant little way. After all, it was Carl who taught Jim that human beings were the best kind of game.

He didn't know what made him take Carl's shoes. The poison was nigh undetectable, Jim made sure of that, had planned for it. But in the midst of all the excitement, he decided he wanted to keep a piece of Carl with him, a token from his first big catch.

He realised his mistake afterwards, but it was already too late. He couldn't return the shoes, didn't really want to, to be honest. He hid them where he hoped no one would think to look.

The shoes were still missing, though, and Jim waited for someone to make a connection, an assumption, a guess in the right direction… But no one ever did. Jim could hardly believe it when no one had even suspected the real reason behind Power's sudden fit in the pool.

Jim used to fantasize about the look on their faces once they learnt the truth about him. The truth about small, unassuming Jimmy Moriarty. But the ordinary people… the ordinary people were stupid. They couldn't see murder if it was staring right at them from behind the barrel of a gun, a ticking bomb or a little runt of an Irish boy, with too big hands and feet and a university level math book tucked under his nose. Ticking in his own very special way. Tick tock.

He waited, but no one seemed to grasp the significance behind Carl Power's missing shoes. Well, almost no one.

He only got to see the other boy once, and very briefly. Life was just so cruel to him, sometimes. It was the first time he even caught a tiny glimpse of someone else who also ticked a little differently.

He had Carl to thank for that initial impression. Actually, no, he had himself to thank for it, Carl was just the catalyst. He laughed at Jim, so Jim stopped him laughing.

Besides, Jim was so curious. Carl was so still when they finally managed to pull him out of the pool, so different from when he thrashed about in the water just moments before, and really, he didn't look so different, just another kind of vacant. He was turning blue and so still and finally interesting, so much better than the hairy animals that always made such a fuss when they died, with their bulging eyes and sharp claws. Carl almost looked like he was sleeping. Jim wondered how his brain looked when it started shutting off. Vowed to find out on his next (un)intended.

But the other boy, the other boy wasn't vacant at all. He came out of nowhere; Jim only caught sight of him when the police came to escort him out of the school. He made such a fuss, Jim heard but did not see, at first. There were so many living bodies blocking his view of the commotion at the school grounds. Usually when so many of the student body crowded around like this it meant a fight, and those were dull too, not enough blood or broken bones (Jim usually had to maneuver them for it to go that far, but that got boring fast).

He was about to walk away from the crowd when he first heard the muffled yelling about shoes, and just like that things were suddenly interesting again. He made his way back inside the crowd just in time to see another boy, maybe older than him, maybe younger, but not one he'd ever seen before, being dragged away by two policemen, ranting about Carl Powers and shoes and incompetent idiots who won't listen.

Jim only caught a glimpse of him (images branded and held in a special room in his mind that would one day be full to the brim of all things Sherlock). He saw dark unruly hair, gangly limbs and bright, wild eyes before the crowd closed around him again and the boy disappeared inside a police car.

He listened to the snippets of conversations:

"Did you hear that kid going on about Carl being murdered?"

"Yeah, my mum said he came to the funeral. She said the police got involved there, too."

"What the hell? Poor Mrs. Powers, I hope they lock him up."

"Yeah, he was going on and on about Carl's Nikes. Nutter..."

Jim should have been worried, but 'giddy' seemed like a much better alternative at the time. The shoes were safely hidden by then and no one could possibly link him to either Carl or the chemicals. But how did he know? Where did he come from and how did he know that the shoes were important? Jim couldn't wait to find out all he could about the mysterious boy.

Unfortunately, that had proven to be more difficult than he initially anticipated. The boy had given the police a fake name. He didn't go to their school, and Carl's family and friends didn't recognise him. No one knew where he came from or why, aside of his insistence that there was something illogical about Power's death.

Eventually, Jim managed to get his hands on the police's report, only to discover that it was a dead end. The police didn't take the boy seriously, and let him off with just a warning. What's more, all the details surrounding his identity had proven to be false, no one at the police station even bothered to verify his existence.

It felt as if the universe was mocking him. Jim seethed at the injustice of it all. He was left again to play with the ordinary people. And they broke so easily.

Years passed before Jim laid eyes on him again.

Jim Moriarty was no longer a boy. He wasn't a man either, but a ghost. The world was his haunted house.

He spent years behind the scenes; whispering, advising, cajoling, but mostly watching as they moved about under his instructions, eager to do his bidding, performing like chess pieces in a game only he knew the rules for.

He liked to make them jump and dance. Soon enough his name was imbedded in their minds even if no ever said it out loud. He shadowed them, like he did their fathers and grandfathers (everyone knew that, of course, the name had been around forever), pulling strings and lurking just out of sight. No one quite knew when the web started, or when they became a part of it.

No one ever got to him. That was the beauty of it. He never needed to get his hands dirty anymore. He only made his suggestions and watched, unseen, as they scrambled in their hurry to follow. He grew bored, of course. Their requests were rarely creative or inspiring. A waste of his talents.

Yes, he was a man of many talents, but one in particular stood out: he specialised in creating a very particular type of puzzle. The kind of puzzle where the pieces fit together neatly but the picture on the cardboard cover was a lie. A lush, green landscape when it should have been a battlefield.

He was very fond of games.

One day, he was surprised, perhaps pleasantly surprised, to find one of his perfectly put together game pieces shuffled, bent, and refitted. He wasn't surprised that it happened in London (always his favourite playground.)

Jim was ever so delighted when it happened again. Someone had walked in on one of his little projects and caught on to everything Jim set to hide, saw past the truth and the lies.

That someone now had Jim's attention.

It didn't take long for Jim to find out about Sherlock Holmes. He was male, in his mid-twenties, and a junkie. Not someone Jim would usually bother with, but given the circumstances, he wondered if he should make an exception.

Then the surveillance pictures arrived, and Jim became so happy he could sing. It took almost ten years, but Jim had finally found him. The pictures revealed a young man with dark, unruly hair, long limbs, and bright eyes. Not a boy any longer.

It was the same old story. A spoiled, bored rich kid from an upper-class home, falling out of his family's good graces. University dropout. Old Money spent on expensive addictions up until the day his family decided they'd had enough and blocked his funds. Homeless now, living in cheap hostels or under bridges for the past several months. Rock bottom, some would say. A disappointing end to what was once a promising beginning.

Only, that wasn't quite the whole truth.

The pictures and snippets of information weren't enough for Jim. He then set out to do something he hadn't done in years: He told his men to stand down, and sought Sherlock out personally. He got involved.

Oh, Jim only watched him. Not always from afar. Jim knew how to blend in, knew how to stalk in plain sight. He observed with disguised interest, watched Sherlock Holmes on his good and bad days.

Some days Sherlock was exactly as he appeared: just another wasted life, tweaked half out of his mind, huddling in on himself in a drugged haze (the streets offered very little privacy.) He was dependent on a dangerous mix of stimulates and opiates, and on all account his life seemed like it was on a brisk spiral downwards.

But on some days, some days something would catch Sherlock's attention, a newspaper clip, a random person on the street, a mystery to uncover.

Some days the police would seek him out, and Jim knew it had nothing at all to do with charges of possession.

Jim found that Sherlock was very peculiar about his preferences, particularly when it came to his precious cocaine. He liked his coke at a precise 7% solution, steering clear from the freebase mixtures that flooded the underground market (Jim should know).

Sherlock turned up his posh nose at what he thought were lesser drugs, always so haughty despite everything. He was disdainful until the point that his need became so great he'd stooped down and settled.

Lately, Sherlock seemed to prefer the services of one particular dealer. He wasn't Sherlock's regular one, nor did he deliver the most high quality product on the streets. Jim couldn't discern what brought on the switch in Sherlock's interest, but disregarded the small mystery. All that mattered to Jim was that the dealer was accessible, nothing more.

Sherlock and his dealer were set up to meet at the usual place, a back alley near the dealer's dingy little basement flat, where they exchanged drugs, money and information. Sherlock was very good at multitasking. Jim couldn't wait to finally meet him.

Like all of Jim's disguises, he donned it like a second skin. It didn't take much; some baggy clothes, a change of accent and of body language, that extra bit of facial hair and the subtle odour of cheap beer and cigarettes that no doubt would be picked up by Sherlock's magnificent nose. Sherlock's sense of smell was yet unaffected by the drugs; he preferred to abuse his vascular system instead. Perhaps he considered snorting too undignified.

The rest of Sherlock, Jim noted with predatory delight, was no less magnificent. If he wasn't the most well kept junkie Jim had ever seen, well, he'd be damned. Again. Jim had to suppress a giggle at that thought. Drug dealers weren't supposed to giggle on the job, at least not the kind Jim was pretending to be.

Sherlock was a little under-dressed for the chilly October evening, wearing nothing except dark jeans, a button down shirt that was too big for his slight frame, and a violin case slung across his shoulder (his only valuable possession, Jim knew, he never saw Sherlock without it).

Sherlock on his part looked surprised to see Jim there. "Where is-"

"- A little tied up at the moment," quite literally. "He asked me to come instead. Don't worry; I've got just what you're looking for."

Sherlock didn't look any less suspicious, but his hands were shaking and Jim knew he wouldn't need much convincing.

Jim's smile was all teeth. "Come right on in."

Jim was right; Sherlock stepped past Jim with only a moment of hesitation. Disappointing, really. But drug addicts were easy to play. Even if they knew they were walking into a trap, walk in they would, if only for the promise of the illustrious high.

Jim got curious, however, when Sherlock's eyes darted about the room intently, not alarmed, but observing, taking in every tiny detail in the room. Sherlock's brow creased in thought.

Whatever it was, it was obviously not Sherlock's first concern. Jim wasn't sure what he was looking for, but it didn't seem to matter, once Jim followed him inside the flat, Sherlock's interest returned back to Jim.

The little basement flat was grimy and smelled vaguely like each of its previous owners. Jim would scrub himself clean, after, but for the moment he was enjoying, no, basking in the filth. Sherlock's presence made everything hum. It made his veins sing and his heart dance. He fought for a moment just to stay in character.

The man in question watched him closely; searching for weapons, for clues, it didn't matter. Jim only ever showed what he wanted others to see. Sherlock, for all his wasted genius, was no different.

Not that the man looked much like that genius at the moment. His earlier façade was slipping, the proximity to his poison of choice made the hunger rise to skin surface level. The shaking wasn't reserved just to his hands anymore.

The tremors had to be entirely psychological, for cocaine withdrawal was emotional first and foremost, and from what Jim discovered about Sherlock by then, he knew that the man considered emotions a waste of time, even weakness. No wonder, then, that he channeled his dependency into something physical.

Still, Sherlock fought to contain himself, struggling to put on a blank mask even as he surveyed his surroundings with obvious impatience.

"Well?" Sherlock asked a little sharply, placing his violin case at his feet. Jim wondered about it for a brief moment. Sherlock hadn't sold it yet, despite how obviously desperate he was for a hit. The violin would have paid for several. Not very normal junkie behavior, Jim mused.

Jim smiled, teeth gleaming, and reached under the sink for the stash he knew was kept there.

"Looking for this?" Jim offered, raising the baggie up in an offer. It was small, barely enough for a single dosage.

"Is that all you have?" Sherlock asked in obvious displeasure, even as he eyed the little baggie closely.

"Just the appetiser," Jim said. "Now let's see how much you've got."

Sherlock nodded. "The usual?" He asked, and stated a price.

"Afraid not," Jim said with a grin. "Price's gone up. Double or nothing."

Sherlock scowled. "Since when?"

Jim sighed. "Don't be difficult, it's just business."

"I don't have that kind of money on me." Was that a hint of desperation in his voice?

"Well, good luck elsewhere." Jim snorted, and shoved the baggie into his pocket. "Although…" He paused to look at Sherlock up and down in his most obviously lewd manner. "I'm sure we can work something out," Jim said, running his tongue over his teeth.

"Work something out?" Sherlock asked bitingly. "I don't suppose you take credit?" He asked, eyes darting about the room.

"Honey, you don't have credit." Jim said in stark amusement. "Don't worry, I'll be delicate." He breathed out. He moved closer to Sherlock, close enough to smell him, brushing his hand over Sherlock's slim waist before reaching around to grope the pert arse.

Sherlock twitched for a second, but then he nodded his consent, eyes downcast. Too quickly, Jim thought. Obviously not the first time he made such an exchange. And here Jim thought he was going to spoil a virgin. Well, you don't always get everything you want.

Sherlock moved to take the drugs from Jim's pocket.

"Let me," Jim said, before Sherlock could protest. He pulled out the baggie, but held it out of reach. "I insist. Sit down."

Sherlock eyed the drugs in Jim's hand hungrily, but relented, only stopping for a moment to pull out a fresh syringe of his own and set in on the table. He slumped down in a chair and rolled up one of his sleeves.

Shooting up was never one of Jim's pleasures, but doing it for Sherlock, oh, it was a treat. Jim pulled up a chair in front of Sherlock, and ran his hand over his bare arm, stalling on the tiny semi-fresh holes on the inside of his elbow. He smiled, and swiftly tied the tourniquet around Sherlock's bicep.

He swabbed Sherlock's skin with rubbing alcohol, delighting in the barely felt twitch the other made when the alcohol made contact with the open puncture wounds.

Sherlock pulled his arm free from Jim's grip, pumping his fist. Jim smiled and watched him from the corner of his eye; the way he licked his lips and flickered his eyes to watch Jim work, the slight tremor in his lashes, silently urging Jim to go faster.

The steps were easy, and Jim performed them with little hesitation. The powder and water dosages were precisely measured; Jim knew Sherlock would appreciate the gesture. He lifted the spoon to his eyes, watching both as the powder dissolved into liquid as well as Sherlock's intense gaze behind its rim.

Jim absorbed the liquid with a cotton ball. Almost there. Smiling, he reached for a syringe and drew out the liquid, paying close attention to the dosage once again.

"Ready?" he asked.

Sherlock nodded in reply, eyes fixed on the syringe.

He located a vein, and then slid the needle in carefully. Sherlock did not even flinch, so accustomed he was to the process. He watched unblinkingly, mouth slightly open as the needle pierced his skin just so. Jim pulled on the plunger, watching Sherlock's blood whirl together with the drug. He felt a sudden urge to bring it to his lips; he wanted to taste it, Sherlock's blood mixed in with liquefied euphoria. Maybe Jim was the real addict between them.

Perhaps later he could convince Sherlock to draw some blood, just for Jim. Maybe if he threw in something extra.

Jim released the tourniquet. Sherlock bit his lip as the liquid was slowly, so slowly, pushed into his vein. He slowly rested his head back and closed his eyes, waiting eagerly for the inevitable high. His breath came in short, shallow bursts.

Jim drew the needle out, swabbing the puncture wound with rubbing alcohol. He rose from his seat and placed both hands on the back of Sherlock's chair, leaning in close enough that his breath stirred Sherlock's curls. He watched the rapid display of emotions on Sherlock's face in fascination. The rush was almost instantaneous, he knew.

Sherlock's face was beginning to flush, his lips were slightly parted. Jim smirked and sank lower, darting his tongue into Sherlock's mouth, who moaned at the intrusion.

Jim drew back, straightening and pulling Sherlock up with him. Sherlock's eyes opened, his pale irises were only a thin line surrounding his dilated pupils.

"Feels good, baby?" Jim asked in amusement.

Sherlock blinked, then grimaced and shook his head. Not like no, more like shut up, I'm thinking. Jim tried to pull him closer, but Sherlock brushed him off and stepped back. He nearly stumbled, but quickly regained his step. Jim sat down in the vacated chair, eyes following Sherlock with rapt attention.

Sherlock was muttering to himself, running his hands through his hair as if it would speed his brain along. He paced about in the dingy room, body practically quivering in agitation.

"Where did you say he went? No, you didn't say, did you?" Sherlock muttered. "No, shut up, don't answer. Not important." He said, pulling at his hair. Sherlock snorted with laughter.

Then, suddenly, he stopped. His whole body straightened and slowed, the only movement was the faint but captivating way his heart hammered away, visible in the line of his throat. He turned toward the wall. Reaching slowly, he ran his index and middle fingers over it, almost caressingly, staring at the red tiled bricks in fascination. He then flattened both palms over the flat surface, his breathing audible and ragged. He shut his eyes and leaned forward, sniffing.

"Yes," Sherlock said, radiating with happiness. "Oh, yes."

Jim rose from his seat to step behind him, hands circling Sherlock's waist.

"Can you see it?" Sherlock asked reverently, his voice low. He straightened back, though his eyes were still closed. "It's there, inside."

"I'm afraid the wall is getting in the way," Jim replied. "What am I supposed to be seeing?"

"The body!" Sherlock exclaimed, turning around to glare down at Jim. Jim raised his eyebrow, twisting his neck around Sherlock to look critically at the wall. Sherlock practically hummed in excitement.

"The tiles are all wrong; she's been dead for over six months." Sherlock interrupted Jim's observations. "Smell that." He ordered. Jim did, and a small smile crept up when he realised he could not smell anything. Not even the murky smell of the flat.

"He used an odour neutralizer." He stated. "How d'you know it's not just a dead rat?" Jim asked, fascinated.

"Use your eyes," Sherlock snapped. "I told you, look at the tiles. They're perfect." He exhaled slowly, his back against the wall. "Perfect…" He mumbled. He closed his eyes, resting his head on the wall. He was sweating, his breathing erratic. Jim decided to help him by loosening up his shirt buttons, starting at the top.

Then Sherlock looked at Jim again, contemplative.

"I didn't think he kept her here." Sherlock said. "Why would he keep her here?" He asked, eyebrow rising in apparent confusion. "It doesn't make sense," he snarled then, and rubbed the back of his hand over his mouth, inhaling sharply. His head jerked forward, and then hit the wall behind him with a hard thump.

Jim smiled, and continued his foray down Sherlock's shirt. "Maybe he liked the company?" He suggested.

Sherlock looked at Jim in surprise. Then he started laughing, holding on to Jim's shirt for support. After several moments he relaxed again, and looked at Jim with so much naked emotion Jim thought he was going to cry.

"Thank you," Sherlock said, smiling brightly. He leaned down and clamped his mouth over Jim's. The kiss was messy and ended abruptly. "For bringing me inside," Sherlock clarified.

"So, you never came indoors?" Jim asked, he placed one hand on the wall, running it over the brick tiles. They looked newer than the ones in the other walls, but Jim was still unsure if Sherlock was right or just hallucinating.

Sherlock didn't reply. He pushed Jim away, and stalked to the middle of the room. His hands were clamped before his face. His eyes were closed, head tilted slightly, breathing fast through his nose.

"Listen," Sherlock said. "Listen." He stopped by the table. "The ship is going to leave the Port of London on Tuesday noon," Sherlock muttered to himself then, dead body seemingly forgotten. He froze, and then turned to Jim in alarm. "What day is it?" He asked.

"Wednesday," Jim supplied, quite cheerfully.

"Oh, God." Sherlock grabbed his head, moaning in distress. He dropped down to his knees, and leaned forward until his head touched the filthy floor. "How much do you have?" He asked, voice muffled.

"Crashing already?" Jim asked. He tutted in faux disapproval. How long has it been, ten minutes? And already Sherlock was craving another hit. It was only going to get worse until he's sated again, Jim knew. Cocaine came and went fast.

Jim straightened up from where he'd been leaning on the supposed gravestone. He stalked closer to Sherlock and then sat next to him, hand coming down to pat the back of Sherlock's head. He rubbed his scalp; hard enough to shake Sherlock's head from side to side. Sherlock allowed it.

"There's still the subject of payment," Jim murmured. "Now, what do you say we take care of that first?"

Sherlock looked up from under his hair (too long now, urgently needing to be cut. Maybe Jim would save a lock after Sherlock dies, as a memento.) He contemplated Jim's face, lost in thought for a few moments. Jim took the time to watch the tiny flickering movements of Sherlock's eyes, almost black now but still impossibly sharp behind the haze of the drug.

After a moment, Sherlock sat back on his heels, and launched himself at Jim, kissing him urgently and awkwardly. One hand clumsily reached down to unbutton Jim's jeans.

"Easy, tiger," Jim laughed. "There's no rush."

"Come on," Sherlock said. "Don't you want to fuck me?" He reached into Jim's pants, squeezing Jim's dick through the fabric.

Jim grabbed Sherlock's elbow, pushed his hand away. "In a hurry, love?" Jim murmured. "I rather hear you beg for it, first." He said with a grin, and hauled them both to their feet.

Sherlock, startled, swayed a little in Jim's grip. Jim pushed them both until Sherlock's back hit the nearest wall, one with older tiles and perhaps nothing dead behind it. Sherlock's head bumped on a dusty picture frame someone put up there a long time ago. It fell off its catch and shattered by their feet. Neither of them paid it any mind.

"What do we say, Sherlock?" Jim asked, tone both playful and berating. He pulled off Sherlock's unbuttoned shirt, and tossed it over a chair. "I'll help you; starts with a P…?" He added for Sherlock's benefit.

"Don't play games with me." Sherlock warned, though his words were uttered with little heat.

Jim ran his hands admiringly over Sherlock's bare flesh. He started at his shoulders; Sherlock's skin felt feverish, though he shivered under Jim's touch. His hands slid lower, lingering on Sherlock's chest and going lower still. One by one he pressed his fingers against each of Sherlock's protruding ribs, sharp and clearly distinguishable under his pale skin. He dropped his fingers to Sherlock's stomach, following the trail of hair under his navel. Sherlock brushed his hands away impatiently, undoing his jeans buttons himself.

"So unromantic!" Jim chided. "Do you do this often?" He pushed his hand into Sherlock's undone jeans, grasping him through the thin material of his pants. "Sell your arse for a quick fix?" He grinned.

"It's only a body," Sherlock muttered, half to himself. His hips pushed forward against Jim's hand and he gasped. Sherlock's feet buckled, so Jim pushed him back further, holding him securely against the wall.

Sherlock licked his lips, and lowered his gaze to watch Jim, suddenly contemplative. He brought his hands to Jim's wrist. Slowly, he pushed back Jim's sleeve, brushing his fingers on Jim's skin, though he kept his eyes on Jim's face. He ran his hand up from Jim's wrist to his inner elbow; the press of his fingers was insistent and studious. Bizarrely, that strange but modest touch felt more intimate to Jim than Sherlock's previous kiss. Another wave of excitement rushed through Jim's body.

He'd been so right. Sherlock was entirely too distracting. Jim didn't know if he wanted to kill him afterwards or keep him.

"What's your name?" Sherlock asked then, head tilted slightly.

"John," Jim replied, blurting out the first name that came to his mind.

"John?" Sherlock repeated, doubtful.

Jim's smile deepened. "Smith." He added.

Sherlock snorted at the obvious bluff. He sighed when Jim continued to fondle him through his pants, more firmly then.

Jim pulled back abruptly, causing Sherlock to stumble on his shaky feet. Sherlock caught himself, looking at Jim in surprise.

"Well?" He asked. "Do you want another hit? You'll have to earn it, darling." His accent was slipping, but Jim found he didn't care much.

Sherlock's eyes flicked to the table, where his poison waited for him. He looked at Jim questioningly.

"Please," Sherlock said, stumbling a little on the word, as if it was foreign to him. It sounded strange and unsure coming from Sherlock's mouth. Jim thought he could help him practice.

"Not yet," Jim said soothingly, and rested his hands on Sherlock's shoulders, pressing down. Sherlock, getting the hint, dropped down to his knees, not caring about the broken glass that littered the ground.

"Hands behind your back," Jim instructed. "Good," he breathed when Sherlock obeyed immediately. Jim didn't even need to restrain him, did he? It didn't mean that he wouldn't, later. He caressed Sherlock's face, fingers rubbing over lips sensually.

"You'd really do anything," Jim said with a smile. He drew his hand back, and waited for Sherlock to close his eyes. He brought his hand down quickly, delivering a stinging slap to Sherlock's face. Sherlock's reeled back under the strike, head bumping against the wall.

"Wouldn't you?" Jim asked darkly, rubbing his fingers on the reddened skin.

"Yes," Sherlock answered, his voice unsteady. He stayed exactly where he was, kneeling on the filthy floor with his hands held together behind his back.

"I think my shoe needs polishing," Jim murmured. "Be a dear and clean it?" He brought his right leg forward, raising his eyebrow expectantly.

Sherlock leaned down with hardly any hesitation, and dragged his tongue over Jim's trainers. He worked diligently, his eyes tightly shut and hands clamped together behind his back.

"Yes, I think you would." Jim said in obvious pleasure. He leaned down to pick Sherlock up by his hair, meeting his eyes.

Jim smiled, and pulled down the front of his pants, freeing his cock from the restraining clothing. Sherlock didn't hesitate when he closed his mouth around Jim's cock, engulfing him in a tight heat.

No inhibitions, Jim thought, and then Sherlock sucked hard, and for a moment Jim couldn't think at all.

It was marvellous.

Sherlock was enthusiastic, sloppy where he needed to be, working under a rhythm only he could hear.

He was fast, though. Too fast to Jim's liking, he didn't want it to be over too soon. He pulled savagely on Sherlock's hair, pulling him away. Sherlock gasped out at the rough treatment, and his teeth grazed the sensitive skin of Jim's cock.

Jim hissed at the painful contact. Sherlock glared up at him with somewhat glazed eyes, one hand coming up to curl around Jim's wrist, attempting to tug it off his hair. Jim's grip did not budge.

Jim bent forward, gripping Sherlock's chin hard enough to leave red fingerprints behind. He brushed his thumb over Sherlock's wet lower lip, pushing it into Sherlock's mouth and between his teeth.

"I said," Jim hissed through his gritted teeth. "No rush." He tugged Sherlock's head up by his hair, bringing their mouths together in a desperate kiss. Jim inhaled sharply through his nose, and pushed his tongue between Sherlock's teeth, brushing the tip against the roof of Sherlock's mouth. Sherlock tasted of cigarettes and Jim's own pre-cum. Jim pushed him away abruptly.

"I thought you were a pro." Jim clicked his tongue in disapproval, thumb and forefinger still clutching Sherlock's chin. "Really, Sherlock, you should know better than to use your teeth," Jim said, voice full of accusation.

Sherlock exhaled, and shifted more comfortably on his knees. "Aren't you being a little melodramatic?" He asked, his unsteady voice belying his provoking words.

Jim smiled cheerfully, and used the back of his hand to deliver another ringing slap to Sherlock's face, which snapped to the side from the force of the unexpected strike. Sherlock groaned in surprise. He started to say something else, but was stopped when Jim placed his fist against his mouth, pushing it a little between Sherlock's teeth.

"Don't interrupt me." Jim warned. "Relax." he said.

Jim straightened up, freeing his unbuckled belt from its loops, testing its strength with a quick pull. Sherlock looked up at him with apprehension, but didn't resist when Jim wrapped it around his throat. Jim tightened the belt just hard enough to make Sherlock gasp. Satisfied with his handiwork, Jim looped the makeshift leash around his hand.

He pulled on the leash, urging Sherlock to move away from the wall, with a silent warning to stay on his knees. Sherlock followed his lead awkwardly.

He grabbed the back of Sherlock's knees, pulling them toward him and causing Sherlock to fall flat on his back. A few pieces of broken glass embedded themselves in Sherlock's skin, but he didn't seem to notice them. There was a cigarette butt next to Sherlock's face, and Jim flicked it off with the back of his hand when he crouched down on one knee beside Sherlock.

Jim patted Sherlock's cheek, where the skin was reddened from his strikes. "I was only returning the favour." Jim said, though he was hardly apologetic. "Be glad it's not eye for an eye." He grinned broadly, and reached down Sherlock's body to cup his cock through his pants. "Or would you like that?" He murmured, and tightened his grip, though not enough to hurt. Sherlock swallowed, his eyes fluttering shut.

"There's a good boy." Jim murmured with a half-smile. He leaned closer to Sherlock's face, his hand wrapping around his own momentarily forgotten hard-on, still hanging out of his undone jeans. His other hand gripped Sherlock's neck, bringing him closer.

"Why don't you prove to me that you're sorry?" Jim said, brushing the head of his penis over Sherlock's lips. "Kiss it all better?" He asked.

Sherlock eyes blinked open, and he complied, silently pressing a kiss to Jim's swollen glans, Jim's pre-cum dripping to smear on his lips.

"Good," Jim said, grinning broadly. He let go of the leash for the moment. Without bothering to undress himself, he pulled Sherlock's jeans down his thin legs, followed by his pants.

Jim stood, looking down at the vision Sherlock made, splayed out on the unwashed floor, naked and flushed. He stepped on Sherlock's chest, causing him to grunt breathlessly. His foot left an impression on the pale skin. He studied the mark in fascination. If he were to kill Sherlock just then, his shoe would remain imprinted on Sherlock's skin. Not forever, though, just until the skin rot off. Jim decided that just wasn't good enough.

Jim took off his shoes and socks, kicking them aside impatiently. Experimentally, he nudged Sherlock's face with his big toe. He pushed it into Sherlock's mouth, smiling even more broadly when Sherlock immediately began to suck and slide his tongue between Jim's toes and over his nails.

He pulled out of Sherlock's mouth and stepped on his face instead. He didn't put his weight into the step. After all, he didn't want to damage Sherlock (yet), just humiliate him a little bit. He deserved it. He deserved it for wasting his perfectly perfect mind. Didn't Sherlock know how rare he was?

Jim realised he was furious all of a sudden.

"I'm disappointed in you, Sherlock." He said, his mouth set in a grimace. He pressed Sherlock's face down, hard, against the cement floor. Sherlock's answering huff tickled Jim's damp toes.

"Join the club," Sherlock chuckled darkly. He sighed deeply then, looking up at Jim from the corner of his eye. "Let me have another." He asked.

"Not yet." Jim answered with a grin, moving his foot down to Sherlock's neck. He pressed just hard enough so that Sherlock's next words would be uttered breathlessly.

"Then fuck me already." Sherlock said, his voice tight. He broke out of the position Jim put him in, pushing the foot off his face. He kneeled in front of Jim, and placed his trembling hands on Jim's thighs.

"Let me have another," Sherlock breathed, gaze flickering toward the table, toward his tourniquet and syringe and the thing that gave them purpose. "Let me have one more, and I'll do anything you want."

Jim stroked Sherlock's cheek, marvelled at the heart shaped mouth that blew fast, hot breaths on Jim's exposed cock.

"How can I say no to this face?" Jim crooned. "Wait here."

Sherlock followed him with eager eyes, but his face fell with disappointment when Jim returned with only the tourniquet in hand.

"I thought-" Sherlock started, but Jim shushed him with another painful strike to the face. Sherlock reeled back, gasping. Jim waited until he turned back to face Jim with a desperate glare.

"You thought wrong," Jim supplied darkly. "Give me your hands."

Sherlock looked hesitant, so Jim struck him again, using the tourniquet instead of his palm this time. The plastic buckle missed Sherlock's eye narrowly, leaving a bloodied graze on his cheek instead. Sherlock exhaled, not in pain, for the drug still inside him dulled it considerably, but in anger. He tuned it down, desperation evident in his every bone.

"Please," Sherlock said, the plea sounding more earnest than ever. "Please, I… I can't think."

"Your hands," Jim repeated, and this time Sherlock complied without hesitation. He briefly entertained the thought of tying Sherlock's hands behind his back, but he decided he'd rather Sherlock's hands where he could see them.

The tourniquet was a professional-looking little thing, stiff blue fabric instead of latex, and a plastic buckle to ensure easy self-administration. Jim smiled when he fastened it around Sherlock's wrists, not tight enough to stop his blood flow but enough to keep him restrained and limit his movements considerably.

"Is it painful?" Jim asked in honest curiosity. They both knew he wasn't talking about the tourniquet around Sherlock's wrists.

"Yes," Sherlock answered in plain irritation. "Stop-" He swallowed, blinking away tears. "Stop torturing me."

"Tell me where it hurts." Jim said, running his hand through Sherlock's dark curls. His erection hadn't subsided in the meantime, not at all, not with Sherlock kneeling at his feet, wearing nothing but a belt around his neck, a tourniquet around his wrists, and a look that said he'd do anything, anything at all. It was painful, but Jim didn't want it to end.

Sherlock sighed. "Everywhere, nowhere, I can't-" He stopped, shivering. "Please." He said quietly.

Jim pulled Sherlock up to his feet, using his hair as an anchor. He pressed his mouth to Sherlock's lips in a deep kiss. He caught Sherlock's lower lip with his teeth, biting down hard enough to draw blood. Sherlock didn't react, maybe hadn't even felt it.

He used the leash to lead them to the bedroom. It was bare and cheap, holding only a mattress and a small cabinet, as well as a heap of dirty clothes by the door. The mattress was bare and stained after years of use. With what, Jim didn't want to know. He manoeuvred them both toward it regardless.

"Only the best for you, my dear." Jim said, grinning.

He pushed Sherlock down on his back, not releasing the leash and grinning in satisfaction when Sherlock gasped again from the way the belt tightened around his throat. Jim pulled on it again, watching in pleasure when Sherlock's face reddened and his breath hitched. It was only several moments later that he loosened his hold.

"This is all your doing, you do know?" Jim said, sitting down beside Sherlock, fist clamped tight around the leash. Sherlock, unable to speak, just looked up at him, mouth opened slightly as he panted. Jim bent down to flick his tongue into Sherlock's mouth.

"Mmm, poor little rich boy," Jim said. "You could have been amazing, Sherlock. You had everything. Look at you now." Jim chuckled.

He released his hold on the belt, and Sherlock gasped when the pressure eased on his neck. Jim flipped him then to lie on his belly, drawing Sherlock's legs apart impatiently and moving in between them.

Pausing, he reached into his jeans front pocket, producing a condom and swiftly bringing it down on his hard cock.

"Safety first," he told Sherlock, snickering. He slapped his arse playfully, and then used his hands to spread Sherlock's arse cheeks. "There's just no telling where you've been, eh?"

Jim spat on Sherlock's opening, no lube in sight. "That's fine," He said, "You can take it, can you, Sherlock? Such a pro." He entered him in one fluid move, grunting a little with each of his thrusts.

He reached around Sherlock's body, lifting his hips off the mattress. He fondled Sherlock's erection, marvelling in his grunts and whimpers. It wasn't long before Sherlock came in Jim's hand. Jim wondered how much pleasure Sherlock felt, if at all, at that stage of withdrawal.

He pulled out of Sherlock's body with a sigh. He turned Sherlock around onto his back once again before removing the condom and tossing it away, not caring where it landed.

Jim straddled Sherlock's head, knees causing the mattress to dip. He wrapped his hand around the half forgotten leash, using it to pull Sherlock's head up. Jim gasped when the wet mouth surrounded him once again. His knees slid down the mattress until he was half-lying on top of Sherlock, his cock buried inside that sweet mouth.

He pushed his pelvis down, building up a rhythm. Jim grinned to himself. Sherlock was being incredibly careful with his teeth. He lifted up his hips, and Sherlock followed, neck straining to keep Jim in his mouth.

Almost reluctantly, Jim pulled away, parting with Sherlock's mouth with a wet pop. He moved to sit on Sherlock's chest, ignoring the pained groan. Letting go of the leash he wrapped his own hand around his dick, his other hand settling in Sherlock's hair. He didn't need more than a few quick jerks.

Jim gasped out when his orgasm hit, one hand on his flesh and the other holding on to Sherlock's hair. Thick white spurts hit Sherlock's face, staining his mouth, chin and dribbling down his nose. Jim smiled sleepily in satisfaction, his cheeks flushed bright red.

He collected the semen with his thumb, half spreading it into Sherlock's skin, and then dipped his finger into Sherlock's mouth, making him suck on his thumb long after the semen had been licked clean.

"Very good," Jim said approvingly. "At least you'll always be good for one thing, yeah?" He slapped Sherlock's cheek lightly, with fondness, before releasing the belt from around his neck. He tossed it on top of the pile of dirty clothes.

Sherlock raised his wrists questioningly, looking at Jim in agitation. He swallowed nervously.

Jim smiled, and stood. He left the room, returning with his coat in hand. He settled again at Sherlock's side, pulling out a packet of cigarettes from one of the coat's pockets.

He rattled it for a moment, and then took out a cigarette and a lighter, stretching next to Sherlock's bound form. He inhaled with a pleasured sigh, and twisted to lie on his side, resting his head on Sherlock's chest.

"Want one?" He asked, looking up at Sherlock's face. He tipped the cigarette to Sherlock's mouth, which latched on to it instantly, chest rising under Jim's cheek with the strength of his inhale. Jim smiled, and pulled the cigarette back to his mouth. He let it dangle there for a moment, tip dangerously close to Sherlock's skin.

Sherlock's next exhale sounded like a sob.

"What's the matter, not having fun anymore?" Jim asked loudly, visibly startling the agitated young man.

"Did he send you?" Sherlock asked roughly, voice shaking in despair. "I know he did. Why?"

Jim tutted, "Losing our mind, are we?" He asked. He lifted his head, leaning forward to mouth the words on Sherlock's throat. He lowered his mouth to the crook of Sherlock's neck and shoulder and bit savagely, causing Sherlock to jump. He flicked his tongue at it as if to apologise for the bite. He sucked the skin to his mouth, the stubble on his chin scratching the pale flash.

"Stupid boy," Jim said. He leaned back on his elbow beside Sherlock, taking another long drag on his cigarette. He held it between his middle and index fingers, using the pads of his fingers to caress Sherlock's arm, starting at his wrist, where the tourniquet chaffed his skin, up to his inner elbow, fingers moving over the assortment of tiny needle pricks.

He pressed the tip of his cigarette to that place, causing Sherlock to flinch miserably, breath caught in his throat.

"Who do you think sent me, Sherlock?" Jim asked, tossing the butt of the cigarette away and staring in fascination at the burn mark it left amidst Sherlock's track marks.

"I know he sent you. I know." Sherlock continued, his breath hitching. He closed his eyes tightly, trying to stave off the tears. He started laughing, then, even as he cried. "You're here to teach me a lesson, aren't you? So I'd come crawling back? Beg for forgiveness?"

He pushed Jim back with strength that belied his bony frame, bound wrists pressed to Jim's chest. He climbed on top of him, bringing his mouth down to Jim's lips, kissing him savagely.

"You can tell him," Sherlock said when he pulled back from Jim's mouth, "that I don't need his help."

"Maybe you need my help, then?" Jim asked.

"Stop playing games!" Sherlock yelled, looking perturbed when Jim merely grinned back at him. "You're not a bloody dealer. Not with that pedicure, and that stupid accent you keep dropping. Idiot!"

He rolled off of Jim with a groan, balancing his weight on his already bruised knees.

"Are you sure you don't need my help?" Jim asked. He reached to the coat again, and produced another baggie, larger this time, the white powder drawing Sherlock's attention instantly.

Jim smiled, and moved forward to release the tourniquet from around Sherlock's wrists. He dropped the baggie into Sherlock's expectant hands. Sherlock watched him, wide eyed, before limping hurriedly out of the room. Jim settled on his back, closing his eyes.

He lit another cigarette, listened with a little satisfied smile to Sherlock shooting up in the next room. After a few moments, silence prevailed in the little basement flat.

Jim growled, and jumped up to his feet. The door to the flat stood ajar, Sherlock's violin case, his clothes, and most importantly, Sherlock himself, were all gone.

Jim's face twisted in anger. Then, he smiled.

Shadows jumped at Sherlock at every turn, sounds buzzed inside his skull and ants crawled under his skin. He willed himself not to panic, and hurried to put as much distance between himself and the basement flat as he could. He collapsed in a back ally, clutching his violin case to his chest.

He clamped a hand over his mouth, stilling his breath and forcing himself to be silent. After several long minutes, when no one followed him into the ally, he rose to his feet, and peered around the corner to make sure he was alone.

Finding no one, he allowed himself to relax, lowering the violin case to the pavement. He still had the drugs clutched in his hand. He opened his palm, and stared at the contents. He bit his lip, then licked it when he found it was still bloodied.

Sherlock stepped toward a near sewage drain. Feeling as if he was dreaming, he turned his palm over, and watched, as if in slow motion, as the plastic baggie tumbled from his hand and into the drain. He heard a small splash as it disappeared inside its depths.

Sherlock swallowed, forcing his eyes away from the drain. Then, he set his jaw, and reached with unsteady fingers to button his shirt. He didn't bother to do so before bolting from the flat.

He did bother to shoot up before he left, however.

He noticed a payphone not too far away. He walked toward it with some trepidation. It didn't look operational; the booth's door was missing, and the rest of it was covered in graffiti. The phone itself missed its plastic casing, and the cradle hung off its hook.

He decided to leave his fate to chance. If it works, I'll do it. Sherlock thought. Only if it works.

He stepped inside the booth, and pressed the disconnect button. He exhaled, and brought the phone to his ear. The dial tone was loud and clear.

Sherlock's fingers hovered over the dial pad, long enough to kill the dial tone, and he grimaced in irritation. He pressed the disconnect button. This time he did not hesitate before he made the reverse charge call to a number he thought he would never use again.

"You win," Sherlock said when the call was picked up. He shut his eyes tightly. "Come get me," he said, not bothering to state where he was. He swallowed his pride, and added. "I need help." He pretended that his voice didn't break then.

Sherlock placed the phone back on its hook, and sat down on the pavement. He wrapped his arms around his legs, and rested his forehead on his knees.

He could already feel the crash coming, and hoped someone would come to get him soon.

Sherlock was never going to forgive his brother for this.

Years passed before Sherlock laid eyes on him again.

Sherlock was older then, and wiser, perhaps. He tried to take better care of himself, and mostly succeeded, even if he still faltered from time to time. But he was clean. Most of the time.

Sherlock's road to sobriety had been a long and hard one. However, he couldn't deny the encounter was the turning point that set him on course. He'd been so rattled, so horrified at what had become of him… That he did something he had never done in his adult life – he asked for help.

He didn't dare delete the encounter from his mind. It served as a reminder and a warning. He never did forgive his brother for setting him up the way he did.

Mycroft, to Sherlock's great irritation, had never acted smug about it. Not during Sherlock's months in rehab, or whenever he'd relapsed. Smugness; Sherlock could handle. Concern… not so much.

Mycroft's meddling had always infuriated Sherlock, but it devastated him when he learned how far that meddling went. Mycroft never brought the subject up, not as a threat or as a gloat, and so Sherlock never did, either. But the resentment remained.

It was only when he met the man once again that Sherlock learned how wrong he had been.

Sherlock hadn't recognised Molly's boyfriend when they'd first been introduced. He had no reason to make a connection between the nervous, twitchy man and the pseudo drug dealer he met only once. They looked similar, yes, but so did many people.

The two men had nothing in common save for general appearance, and even that didn't amount to much. After all, almost ten years had past since the encounter.

Molly's boyfriend sounded and acted completely different from the man from Sherlock's past, and did so naturally enough to throw off Sherlock's keen senses completely. Sherlock was appalled at how easily he'd been fooled.

"I gave you my number, I figured you might call."


Recognition finally dawned on Sherlock. The sharply dressed man revealed himself at last, looking nothing and everything like the drug dealer Sherlock encountered years before. He smiled at Sherlock, something like pride flickering in his gaze.

Sherlock's biggest fan.

He made the wrong deduction. He spent years thinking it was his brother who set him up with the man as a wake up call, when in fact, he'd been dealing with something altogether new.

"Jim Moriarty." The man introduced himself at last. "Hi."