Based on an RP I did with thesherlockedboffin. Disclaimer before you embark on this story: This chapter starts out slow, but the story's going to pick up steam soon, and shit will hit the fan. Please don't read if you're not prepared for severe misery or don't want to invest in a story in the long haul. The estimated amount of chapters to this story is 40. It's a doozy. I hope, however, that the payoff in the end is worth it.

1: Blind Date

Sebastian was late, purposefully so. He liked giving the impression that he didn't need to wait around for people. He enjoyed the power of making them wait for him. He scanned the restaurant and spotted the army doctor almost immediately. He looked good, better than his picture, in his jacket and tie. He was smaller than Sebastian had thought he'd be, stocky and compact. Excellent. Sebastian straightened his own tie, which he felt extremely awkward in, squared his broad shoulders, and strode up to the table.

"Captain John Watson? Colonel Sebastian Moran. Good to meet you in person, finally." He held out his hand to shake and gave a cocky grin.

John gave a sigh of relief. He'd been sitting at the table for a full twenty minutes, fretting about whether he'd been stood up or not. He gave the man a warm smile and stood to shake his hand. God, he was tall. Broad-shouldered, too—and very attractive. His pictures hadn't done him justice. John's heart tripped a bit. "Hi. It's nice to meet you."

John gave a small, embarrassed smile as he sat back down. This was his first time going on any sort of date with a man, and he was nervous. Irrationally so, he berated himself. He'd seen battle, he'd been through war. Surely he could come out of a same-sex date intact.

"May I say, you're looking very fit tonight," Sebastian said, scanning the wine list. Screw the wines, bring on the scotch. They had good selections here, which is why he'd chosen the place. He absently felt at the gun concealed in his jacket. He really didn't hope Jim would call with an assignment tonight, but he needed to be prepared, just in case. And he'd feel naked without at least one gun on hand.

John blushed in surprise and gave a little laugh. "You're looking quite good, yourself, a tie suits you," he said. Sebastian hadn't been dressed up in any of his online profile pictures.

Sebastian grinned, and they picked out their scotches, giving their orders to the waiter. Once he'd gone, Sebastian turned to study his date. The doctor looked nervous and fidgety. Either he was someone out to kill him (it wouldn't be the first time), or he was just a nervous dater. Either way, cute.

"So John…are you still a doctor? Aren't civilians funny?"

"Yes, I'm a doctor still. It's uh...' he gave a little chuckle, 'Well, it's certainly not Afghanistan. I'd be lying if I didn't say I missed the rush a bit. God knows I wasn't diagnosing elderly women with UTIs out east.' He grinned as the waitress came over and he ordered the drinks for the pair of him before turning back to Sebastian. 'And how about yourself? All that your page said was "Freelancing".'

"That's accurate. I could never settle into a desk job," Sebastian said. He didn't want to scare John off on the first date (did he just find himself thinking first date? Usually Sebastian had a quick fuck and moved on) by revealing that he was a mercenary. He decided to change the topic. "So, doctor, correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem rather nervous." He smiled and ran a hand through his hair, then scratched at his scruff. "Why would that be?" He was used to making men nervous. He was attractive and he knew it.

John gave him an apologetic smile, chuckling nervously. "You caught me. It's been a while, is all. I haven't been on a proper date in ages. It's not you," he assured him. "Did you want a starter?"

"Nah, I was never one for appetizers," Sebastian said, meaningfully making eye contact with John. The man had nice eyes, kind but sad. "I'll go right to the main course."

John didn't miss the innuendo, but ignored it. "Sounds good to me." He scanned the menu. Every once in a while, he'd take a little glance up at the other man. He was handsome, very much so, with cool grey eyes, a strong jaw with a bit of stubble, and his grin, though cocky, was undeniably attractive. His pictures didn't do him justice. "Fillet mignon sounds rather good tonight.' Was it because he had a fierce appetite for meat? John flushed a bit at the dirty thought.

"Steak for me as well." Their drinks arrived and Sebastian clinked glasses with him. "Cheers. So, John...why'd you leave the military?"

John sighed and took a sip. "Wounded in action. I got shot in the shoulder while going in to retrieve a downed lieutenant. And yourself?"

Sebastian twitched a smile as their feet met. He would have this man by the end of the night, he was sure of that. "I was...discharged," he said, leaving out the "dishonorably" part out of it. He debated whether he should play nice or let John know exactly what he was getting himself into early on.

John's brow furrowed. He considered asking why, but the man seemed to hesitate, which probably meant he didn't want to say. 'I see,' John said, taking another sip. 'So this freelancing you do, what is it freelancing for?' he asked, folding his hands and looking at him with interest, 'No wait-let me guess...' his eyes narrowed a bit, a little smile spreading on his face, 'Body guard?' he guessed, pointing at him.

Sebastian smiled, raising an eyebrow. The man was quick. Good. He didn't want to waste his time on an airhead. But airheads generally didn't become captains in the army...or doctors, for that matter. "What gave it away?"

A grin spread across his face. "I was a captain in the military." He leaned forward and raised an amused eyebrow. "Did you really think you could hide a concealed weapon from me?" he asked a bit quieter, not wanting any of the other diners to hear.

Sebastian smiled back. Oh, this was delightful! "Don't tell me you don't feel better when you have a gun strapped to you, John." He drank some of his scotch and said, just to rile him up, "And don't expect being a captain to impress me. I outrank you."

John gave a good-natured shrug, not phased by Sebastian's comment he took a drink, 'Of course it makes me feel better, that doesn't mean I do it though. It's not often that I actually find myself in need of my Browning. Oh, the dreary lives of civilians. It' relaxing, but a bit too much so,' John said thoughtfully, rubbing his chin. He shrugged again, 'Maybe I'm just an adrenaline junkie, though.'

"Yeah, well maybe you should come work for my boss. He's always in need of a good marksman, and he pays well," Sebastian said. "He can be a right pain in the ass, though. Thinks he's God's greatest gift and all that. The man is brilliant, but he's such a prat about it."

John gave a little chuckle. "Thanks, but no thanks. I've my own genius to take care of. In fact, there's barely room in the flat for him, me, and his ego. It's probably why he never does the shopping—not enough room in the cab to get it home."

"Oh. with someone?" Sebastian straightened, shifting his feet away from John's. "Is that why you're so nervous? You're cheating?" He smiled, but his heart dropped. He didn't want to get involved in that kind of shit. He'd been with cheating men before, and it was far too drama-filled and tiresome. Sticky emotions got involved at it always ended ugly.

"Oh! No—no, no! It's nothing like that. He's just a colleague, a friend. Sorry—

didn't mean to make it sound like that." John took another drink, finding himself relaxing a bit.

Sebastian leaned back, relieved. Once the food came, they continued getting to know each other. Both of them had alcoholics in the family, which made Sebastian feel an even deeper kinship with John. He leaned back as the plates of food were set in front of them and started in on his steak. Their live-ins both seemed to be big-headed, intelligent people who were always plotting or scheming by themselves. Halfway through his steak and into his second glass of scotch, Sebastian reached over to grab the peppershaker, but ended up resting his hand close to John's, beginning to trace his thumb slowly along the underside of his wrist. "I'll be frank. I like you, John Watson."

John smiled, looked down at it and moved his hand so that he could hold Sebastian's, his cheeks flushing slightly. "The feeling is mutual. God...I don't even know how long it's been since I've had not only an actual, proper conversation with someone about something other than..." He lost his train of thought as Sebastian began to run his fingers up and down John's knuckles. "…crime diagnostics."

Sebastian grinned at John's blush—adorable. "I know what you mean, oddly enough." He frowned as his phone rang. Jim. "I'm sorry, I have to take this. My boss will skin me if I don't." Literally.

"Boss, you gave me the night off, remember? ...Well, I couldn't give two fucks. ...No, you won't." He paused and glanced sideways at John, then murmured quietly, "Get someone else to do it. O'Seanassy. ...Yeah, I did wear the Westwood one, what's your point? ...Yeah, tomorrow. I'll be there." He sighed and pocketed his phone. "Sorry. He gets...unreasonable if I don't answer."

John gave him a warm smile. "No worries—I'm actually on call right now. I can't imagine I'll have to go in, but just in case." He took another bite of the steak, "This is delicious, by the way—excellent recommendation of a restaurant."

"I'm not generally a restaurant person, not that I bother to cook, but I figured this was a special occasion. I'm not a dating kind of man," he said. "And judging by your nervousness, you don't go on many dates either."

"Hey now!" John remarked, a mock-offended look on his face, "I'm relaxing—

look at me. Two glasses of whiskey in, and I've loosened my tie a bit, too!" He smiled at the other, sitting back, "I'll tell you what, though. I'm not much of a suit and tie person. This whole getup is a bit uncomfortable."

"We'll have to get you out of it, then," Sebastian said, then laughed nervously. He couldn't believe he'd said that out loud. That sort of line was typical for him, but he was usually yelling it over throbbing music while grinding against someone in a darkened club. It felt out of place and juvenile in a nice restaurant. He felt his own face burning—he had forgotten he even had the capacity to blush—and crammed another forkful of steak into his mouth.

John's eyebrows went up. He liked Sebastian, and he would go home with him in an instant, but he didn't want a one-night-stand. He could tell Sebastian was embarrassed by it when his face immediately turned bright red. It was...well, it was really kind of cute on the face of the tall, broad-shouldered man. John bit his lip and cleared his throat. "I uh...I don't mean to give you the wrong impression, Sebastian, but I don't really think going home together tonight would be a good idea. I don't have a very good track record when it comes to dating so...I'm kind of looking for something that starts a...a bit slower." He averted his eyes, feeling ridiculous. He hoped he hadn't messed this all up. "So...I mean...I mean, I understand if that's not really what you're looking for. I won't be offended if you want to call it a night or...or something." John cleared his throat again and ducked his own red face into his food, taking another large mouthful.

Sebastian swallowed, surprised, and moved his hand away from John's. "Oh. Right. That's...I mean, I get it." He didn't get it. He was totally flummoxed. He had turned on the charm, and it had been working! He supposed he hadn't been with someone like John before, someone who actually went on dates in the first place. "Sorry. The whole dating's new to me. I'd rather not call it a night, if it's all the same to you. I was thinking of getting another whiskey and finishing my steak. And talking to you about what your favorite kind of gun was. Can you guess what kind I have on me right now?" Good, yes, change the subject. Sebastian tried to be as smooth as he could, but he felt like a fucking idiot. Usually he wouldn't give a fuck, but he wanted John to like him.

As they turned the conversation over to guns, John wondered if maybe he should've just played along with the suit joke and went home with him. Maybe that would've made it easier. Too late now, though he couldn't help but wonder what he was missing out on. Sebastian was probably a good kisser. With looks like those, he likely had loads of experience. Maybe he wouldn't even like John. Maybe John was too inexperienced for him and he'd want nothing to do with him anyway. John gave a silent, inward sigh as he finished off his food.

Sebastian laced his fingers together after wiping them off and considered John again. "John...bit of a personal question. Have you dated many men?"

"Hm? What?" John sighed. Fantastic. "Not...particularly," he said, burying his face in his napkin, trying to hide the blush as he "wiped off his mouth."

God, he'd embarrassed John. He was just so adorable. Sebastian had no doubt that Doctor Watson could intimidate people, but right now he looked so vulnerable. It made him want to kiss him all the more, to show him what a proper kiss was like. "It's kind of cute. I just wondered. You seem new to this whole thing."

Cute? He seemed cute? John's blush intensified and he cleared his throat. "Ah. Well...I'm...I'm sorry if I gave you the wrong impression or anything." Now here he was all flustered and embarrassed all over again. Lovely. He was making such a fool out of himself. He couldn't wait to go home, have Sherlock give him a glance, and flatly state that his date had gone poorly as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. Bloody brilliant.

Sebastian wondered if he would seem too forward if he touched John's hand again. Maybe John just wanted him to back off and go home. Sebastian wasn't one to give up easily, however. He touched John's knuckles and stroked up his tendons to his wrist once again, and he was delighted when John turned his hand over to hold Sebastian's across the table. "Well, I'm flattered that you decided I was worth taking the plunge for, if you are new to the whole thing. Frankly, even someone fit like you isn't going to find someone as ruggedly attractive as me to wine and dine on any given day..." He grinned, hoping to set John at ease instead of send him running for the door.

"Oh! Are we ordering desert, then? I think I saw a delicious piece of humble pie that you might like," John grinned.

Sebastian laughed, a genuine belly laugh. Oh God, when was the last time he'd actually laughed like that? Probably when he and Jim had killed that homeless woman and she'd fallen in such a comical way that they'd both had tears in their eyes. But this made that moment seem like the cheap thrill it was. "I was never one for pie, humble or otherwise. But an after-dinner coffee would suit me well."

"Coffee it is."

Sebastian insisted on paying for dinner, despite John's protestations, then guided John out of the restaurant and down the street to a cigar parlor that had fantastic coffee. He put a hand on John's back as he walked alongside him. The doctor was a full head shorter, which he liked. He wondered how John would feel in his arms. He was certainly compact, but there was a softness around the edges that Sebastian found appealing.

John smiled a bit to himself as they walked. He liked Sebastian's hand on his back. It was...what? Comforting? Safe feeling? Did it make him feel special or wanted? None of those seemed to be it, though the feeling was all encompassing of them.

Sebastian guided him into a warm-looking cigar parlor and ordered two black coffees. "The thing I like about this place, they don't fuck around with those damn lattes and macchiatos and all of that shite. Good black coffee, plain and simple. Mind if I smoke, or will I get the 'smoking kills' lecture, doctor?"

John pursed his lips for a moment. He had figured that the man smoked, seeing as he was taking them to a cigar parlor. "Obviously you know the risks, so there really wouldn't be much point in me laying down the law.'

And besides, John would never admit it, the thought of Sebastian with a cigarette poking out the side of his mouth while smoke curled out from between his lips was incredibly sexy.

"Thank fucking Christ," he muttered, reaching for his pack. He wondered if he should tone down the swearing, but then thought, why should he? He swore all the time; no sense lying to John about it. He lit up and took a long drag, exhaling in a sigh of relief, then grabbed their two coffees and found a secluded nook for two by the window. They settled onto the padded benches, elbows touching. This was better, Sebastian decided as he blew smoke slowly through his mouth and nose.

Oooh God, yes. John was acutely aware of the fact that he was staring, his mouth hanging open a bit, but he couldn't do anything about it for a long moment. He finally got ahold of himself, cleared his throat, and took a sip of his coffee. "So, tell me a little bit more about yourself. What do you like to do in your spare time? Any hobbies?" he asked, trying not to drool as he stared across the table.

"Hunting. Big game hunting." Sebastian smiled. Any doubts of the doctor still being interested in him were put to rest, judging by John's expression. That was a look of want. Sebastian felt himself growing hard under the table as he imagined kissing John, of shoving him up against the wall and tasting his neck, his chest, his cock… He shifted away so John wouldn't notice his problem under the table. "Honestly, guns are my main passion. My work involves them, but I can't get enough of them in my spare time either. How about yourself?" He took another drag of his cigarette, courteously angling his lips so that the smoke floated up towards the ceiling, rather than into John's face.

John swallowed and took another sip of his coffee. "I do a bit of...snooping in my spare time. My flatmate—the genius I told you about is sort of a private eye. Every so often, I'll help him out on cases a bit. I don't do much besides follow him around, but it's good fun,' he smiled, laughing a bit.

"Private eye, huh?" Sebastian frowned. Sounded like that stupid detective Jim was so obsessed with, the one with the absurd name. Sherlock Holmes. He wondered if John had heard of him, or if his boss had. Ironic, that John was seeing the other end of the crimes. Maybe he'd investigated murders Sebastian had done. Not bloody likely, though. He was good at disposing of bodies and keeping it neat. With Jim's jobs, police or detectives never got involved. Except for that Sherlock character.

John smiled and laughed, self-disparaging. "Right. Nobody's called it a 'private eye' since 1943, I reckon." He leaned back to look at Sebastian. "What kind of game is your favorite to hunt?"

He crossed his leg toward John, liking the way their forearms touched when they were both resting on the table. He couldn't help but bring his hand up and run his fingers along the back of John's neck, right where his short blonde hair stopped. He must've drunk his scotch a bit too fast; he felt somewhat tipsy.

"I love the game that's the hardest to kill. The kind that takes strategy and long camp-outs. Deer and elk aren't deadly, but they're fast and scare easy. Very rewarding." He stroked up and down John's neck very lightly. John hadn't told him to stop yet, and his skin felt so good underneath his fingers. "But the deadly game is a whole other challenge. I took down an elephant last year in the Serengeti, but it almost cost me my life. Lion hunting was also thrilling..."

John's eyelids dropped closed as Sebastian talked. God. It felt so right. John was very seriously considering saying fuck it, and dragging the other man home with him, but he held his ground. "I've never actually been hunting before," he said leaning slightly closer to Sebastian. "I suppose I did a bit of fowl when I was younger, with my father, but, it's been...twenty years?' He took another drink, suddenly feeling old.

Sebastian nodded. John had mentioned that his father had died, and he wondered if it had been the drink that killed him, as it had killed Sebastian's father. Well, the drink and a car. Stupid bastard. He decided not to bring it up, as the topic would be a mood killer, and John was looking so relaxed and content.

He began gently massaging the back of John's neck with his fingers and thumb, taking a long drink of his coffee as he did so. "You should give bigger game a try sometime. It's exhilarating. There was this wild boar that I took down a few years ago, nearly gored me. Some say that wild boars are as dangerous a game as bears, and the scar in my thigh will attest to that. But it's so rewarding, when you bring down a beast that could have killed you, and hang it on your wall as a prize..."

He slowly slid his thumb up John's neck, up to the base of his hairline. Maybe he needed to back off a bit.

John felt a pleasant current of electricity run up his spine as Sebastian's fingers massaged his neck. His body was becoming increasingly rubbery, and he had a feeling he was slowly leaning ever closer toward Sebastian. "Yeah...yeah, I'd like that." While John liked the rush of war, he wasn't fond of killing people. Animals, though—that could be fun. Under the right conditions. He leaned a bit into the other man's hand. Jesus, he knew what he was doing.

Sebastian smiled. "Bet you would..." he said lowly, then caught himself and slowly slid his hand away from John. "Sorry. Moving fast. But, John, I was wondering...could we...I mean, would you be interested in...doing this again sometime?"

John opened his eyes and smiled, relieved that Sebastian didn't find him a waste of time. "Yeah. Yeah, I'd really like that. Tonight's been brilliant." Surprisingly, so, he thought to himself as he finished off the rest of his coffee.

Sebastian smiled, then lit up another cigarette, his other one gone to ash. "Good. You choose where we go next time. You can just give me a call or a text and we can set something up." He smiled at John over his lighter and then took another drag from his cigarette. He was glad John didn't mind his smoking, otherwise that would've been a deal breaker. It was bad enough that Jim didn't let him smoke around him. He released the smoke, letting it blossom out his lips to the ceiling.

"Right, will do," John said, standing up. Sebastian stood up too, pulling on his overcoat. He didn't want to leave, but he figured he should give John some space.

"How are you getting home?"

"Taking the Tube—trying to cut back on unnecessary expenses," John said as he stood and pulled on his own coat. 'Thanks though-and it was great meeting you...' Now what? Did they kiss? Hug? Shake hands? What was the protocol for first man-dates when they ended in a public place? John had absolutely no idea.

"Want a lift? I drove. It's faster, and it'll save you a few pounds on your Oyster card. And it's a much smoother ride than the Tube, guaranteed." Sebastian smiled, now excited to show off his car. He'd bought it a few months ago, a black Audi R8, and rarely got to give others rides in it, besides Jim, who didn't care at all about cars.

"Oh! Um...sure! That'd be fantastic, actually, thanks!" John smiled over at him and followed as Sebastian turned the other direction, heading back towards the restaurant.

"I'm parked just here," Sebastian led John to his car and unlocked it, holding the passenger door open for him.

"Holy shit! This is your car? This is fantastic. An R8, yeah?" John whistled as he looked it over, "I…might have to knock you out and steal this beauty from you." He ran his hand over the top and looked over at Sebastian, grinning a bit. "Can't say I feel guilty that you paid for dinner now."

Sebastian laughed, pleased at John's enthusiasm. "It would be very ambitious of you to try and knock me out, little man." He got into the driver's side and buckled up. The darker side of him was tempted to knock John out and just take him home without any more of this infernal waiting. He'd done his fair share of abductions in this car, but those people usually ended up tortured then dead. He felt protective of John, and wanted John to think the best of him. He would play the gentleman. "So. Where to?"

"Baker Street," John said, a bit distracted as his eyes slid over the dash, admiring the black, leather interior.

Baker Street? A coincidence, surely. Sebastian had done a number of jobs around Baker Street lately, and Jim was always obsessing over it. He was fairly sure that Sherlock Holmes lived on Baker Street, although Jim never shared these sorts of details with Sebastian, and Sebastian frankly didn't care anyway.

He shook his head and began talking to John about good local shooting ranges, and other good restaurants around the area. "Do you like dim sum? I know a few good places in your area. And some good Thai places. Anything spicy and I'm in."

"There's an excellent little Thai place just around the corner from me." John smiled over as the drove, chatting about other good restaurants, settling on one for their next date that was over in Hammersmith.

When they arrived, John found himself not wanting to get out of the car. "I had a lovely night...and uh...I look forward to seeing you again." He hesitated, once again unsure of what to do before he unbuckled his seatbelt.

"Yeah, me too." Sebastian looked back at the flat, then over at John. He couldn't just let John go without doing something. In a swift decision, he unbuckled his seatbelt and leaned over, grabbing John's tie to pull him close, and then locked his lips firmly with John's.

John raised his eyebrows in surprise as Sebastian grabbed his tie, turned on by his boldness. Sebastian's kiss was firm but not pushy. There was no invasive tongue or persistent working open of John's mouth. His lips were soft, and that paired with the slight bristle of his stubble and the faint taste of coffee and cigarettes on his breath, made John melt against him and he kissed back, a hand going to the side of Sebastian's face.

Sebastian was surprised at the warmth of John's hand against his face. He could have kept kissing for a long time, but he finally forced himself to pull away, looking into John's eyes. "Call me," he murmured, his lips still so close to John's that he could feel John's breath.

"I will," John said a bit breathlessly. He couldn't help but go in for one last, small kiss, lingering just a moment before he tore himself away and exited the car. He bit his lip as he tried to keep an almost painfully wide smile off his face and headed up to the flat.

Sebastian watched until John had shut the door to the flat, then drove off, a goofy grin on his face the whole way home. He felt absurdly happy. His first ever date that hadn't ended with a fuck, and it had all been so very worth it. He couldn't wait to see John again.