Disclaimer: I do not own "Sherlock" or the original characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Nor do I own the song "Never Again" by Nickelback.

Warning: foul language, abuse, implied non-con, and boyxboy lovin'.

Author's Note: Yep. Here I am, again. Writing another story that isn't one of my WIPs. Someone shoot before it gets any worse. Definitely AU.


Jim shrugged out of his suit jacket, hanging it up in the closet with methodical movements. He silently smoothed out a wrinkled that wasn't there and snapped the door shut. His tie came next, a slow loosening of the silk around his neck. Shoes were toed off gently, one by one. The top button of his shirt had already been undone by the time the knock resounded at the door.

A low, frustrated sigh escaped him. It was an unwanted interruption. A break in his carefully crafted routine. How he loathed when things didn't go according to plan. He stomped across the marble floor, slick and black beneath his socked feet. He ran a hand through his hair until it stood on end as he reached for the door. How dare someone come to his home like this? His sanctuary? Whoever it was, they were certain to meet a fearsome death if it wasn't bloody well important. He wasn't there to be at some stranger's beck and call. He was there to find a calm in the storm he called life. This was his escape, and in order for it to be affective, he had to have order. Structure. He needed structure—

Jim froze, the door hanging wide open as he stared at the slighter, fidgeting man in his doorway.

Though he'd never admit it out loud, Jim had a keen adoration for cornflower blue eyes. It was his Achilles' heel, so to speak. So, when Jim first laid eyes on the man down the hall, he'd known he was utterly smitten. With his awkward gait—due to an injury from the war (Afghanistan or Iraq was still debatable)—and his absolutely horrid jumpers, his neighbor was the epitome of ridiculousness.

But then Jim had seen his eyes, and he had to quickly reevaluate his initial judgment. He'd come to find that the ex-army veteran was interesting, and he had certainly piqued Jim's nearly obsessive fascination. That was how he'd found out about his neighbor's partner, Sebastian Moran, also a veteran home from abroad. He would've dug deeper into the odd pair if he hadn't been so distracted by a certain Consulting Detective— and a cabbie that had to be plucked off after getting too cocky and trying to take out Jim's only source of amusement.

Which was why Jim was surprised to find his neighbor, hideous jumper and striking eyes, standing at his door. He hadn't thought he was the type to reach out and be social—all the cues had lead him to think otherwise—so he was certainly shocked to find him there. Though, he wasn't exactly complaining.

"Hello," he greeted, offering a small smile.

All Jim wanted to do was run his fingers though that sandy blonde hair. Pull a little bit. Tug him into a—

"Not sure if you even know me or not," he muttered, the faintest of blushes tingeing his cheeks as he stretched his free hand out to shake Jim's; the other was gripping the handle of a cane quite severely. "I'm John. Just moved in last week with my partner."

Moriarty's critical gaze took in everything. The obvious pain he was in, even though it was not due to his previously injured leg. If anything, the injury was psychosomatic. But there was pain. Somewhere. The neat hair cut, plain and nondescript clothes, and tight posture screamed militant background—but Jim had already gleaned that from the first moment he'd seen him. And the blush. The blush that spoke of embarrassment and of a humbleness not often seen anymore. The blush that Jim wanted to lick right off of his face.

"James Moriarty," Jim reached out, taking the other man's hand; it was a gesture that he generally referred to with disdain, but the relevance of his compromise in character would go unnoticed by brilliant eyes and a lopsided grin.

"Lovely," John replied, and Jim noted how clean his hands were—much like a doctor's—and where the rough patches indicated the common and steady use of a gun and possibly even a scalpel. "Very lovely. It's a pleasure to have finally met you."

Jim let his hand slip from his grasp. "Was there something you wanted?"

"Oh, yes!" John scrubbed the back of his head and shuffled his feet. "This is a bit—I'm sorry to bother you, but it's my boyfriend's birthday tomorrow. I'm trying to bake him a cake, and it seems that I don't have enough sugar. Mind if I, um, borrow a cup?"

The brunette was momentarily awed—an ex-army doctor that baked cakes. The idea was laughable and far too adorable. "Sugar?"

"Yeah, just a cup or so. It's a family recipe, and it is giving me hell." John seemed equal parts exasperated and bemused. "Trying to get it in the oven before he comes home tonight. It's supposed to be a surprise."

Jim's dark eyes flickered over John's form. He knew that there had to be beauty underneath all of the frumpy layers. Knew that there was strength. He wanted to unwrap him like a pressie. But he could see affection in John's gaze. As much as he wanted him, he was at a point where attachments like that would only serve as a detrimental distraction.

"So, have you got a cup?"

Jim stepped aside, silently welcoming the other man into his home. Probably the only person who would be. John smiled and limped through the threshold.

"So," Jim shut the door softly, watching the way John took in the complete order of the flat—black furniture on white walls with bits of stainless steal here and there. He was sure it looked frigid. "Think I can steal a slice of this surprise cake when it's finished?"

Nothing could have prepared him for the blind panic that lit up in his neighbor's eyes. "No! I'm sorry, it's just—"

"No need to get your knickers in a twist, Johnny boy." Jim chortled, brushing past and into a chrome filled kitchen.

John's sudden tension eased, and Jim knew in that moment that there was something more to his neighbors' relationship. That maybe his limp had nothing to do with an old war would and everything to do with something a lot fresher. A lot more domestic.

The shorter man walked into the kitchen and whistled softly. "Great place you've got. A lot cleaner than ours. Granted, we're still at the 'boxes' phase."

Jim nodded, reaching up into a cabinet to pull down a glass jar of sugar. "Big move?"

"The biggest."

He feigned surprise because, really, he'd all but predicted it. "Where from?"

"Afghanistan."

Jim paused in his movements, facing the cabinets as a small, triumphant smile spread over his lips. "Afghanistan?"

"Yes. I was a medic in the army there." John was staring out the window, taking in the view provided from the sitting room, when Jim turned back around with a measuring cup filled with sugar. "Seb—Sebastian was in the same platoon as me. Well-accomplished sniper. Quite brilliant, actually."

Jim held out the cup to him, and John took it eagerly. "And you came back to London because you were invalided?"

"Afraid so. Shot in the shoulder and stabbed in the leg. Caught fever after that, so they sent me home."

"And your boyfriend…"

"Sebastian."

"And Sebastian was sent back because?"

Jim watched the way the blonde's throat worked, and he wanted to lean forward and mark it. Claim it. But he was distracted by the obvious nervousness that came with it.

"Don't rightly know," John cleared his throat and glanced away, obliviously wanting to hide something. "Anyways. I ought to be going. Got a cake to bake. Thanks again for the sugar."

He walked him to the door, holding it open for him as he made his way out. His greedy eyes took the opportunity to take in the doctor' very fine backside. The thought of taking it on every surface of his flat nearly made him groan, and he had to silently reprimand himself for thinking something so foolish. So primal. So mundane.

John paused in the hallway, offering that same lopsided grin that made Jim weak at the knee. "Maybe next time I'll get to find out what you do."

"I'm a professor."

Blue eyes blinked back at him. "But you're so—"

"I'm also quite brilliant. Genius, I believe the term is." He leaned casually against the jam, hands tucked into his pockets. He was surprised that he was bragging about his part-time, mostly false job. He knew that he was just trying to impress John.

John laughed. A low, mellifluous sound. Jim knew that he'd do almost anything to hear that, again. A frightening prospect that made knots tighten in his gut.

"Well, professor, if you ever need any stitches, you know where to find the closest doctor. Thank you, again."

"I'll be sure to call on you if I'm ever bleeding out," the sad part was that it was probably the only part of their conversation that was absolutely true.

Jim waited until John had retreated into his own apartment before he shut his door, again. His strict routine had been fractured, and there was no changing it. Huffing out a breath, he flipped open his phone. He had background checks to do.

TBC.


A/N: Thank you so much for reading the first chapter of this about seven part story. There will be a sequel. And to those waiting on my other stories to update, I'm sorry. It'll happen. Eventually.