A Kiss and a Cuddle Should be Sufficient

Chapter 3

In which the killers catch up with Sherlock and John, with painful results, and Sherlock makes an apology which is not accepted.

Author's Note: So I'm thinking I've got a lot to live up to after yesterday's cavalcade of steamy reactions! Slightly quaking in my boots about what you might think of this concluding episode. All I can say is that if you liked yesterday, you are really going to love what I'm working on at the moment! (John discovering the joys of a prostate massager should be an image that will keep you going for a little while!) Also apologies to the various corporations who have offices in Central London, cubicles of which I apparently set fire to yesterday!

Warning: Violence. With piano wire.

Piano wire is thick and strong and sharp. It cuts through human flesh like, well, like cheese wire cuts through cheese. And between the wire, and the strength of the man who held it, John barely stood any chance.

They had left the party. The cold air stung on their burning cheeks. Sherlock seemed focussed on the imminent arrest, but John's mind was still back on the sofa in the first floor room, with the writhing bodies and the vision of his sensual flatmate in full orgasm. Perhaps that was why he did not hear footsteps behind them, when he would normally have been hyper-alert in such a situation. Post-coital glow can inhibit the instincts of even the most talented of career soldiers, after all.

Sherlock was the first to go down. The younger man who had propositioned them stepped out of the shadows and bent over his prone body. John saw some kind of cosh in his hand. He only had time to glimpse it from the corner of his eye before the wire was around his throat.

But there was a tiny interval, a fraction of a second, in which his soldier's brain combined with survival instinct, and his hands jerked up. So when the wire tightened from behind him, it closed not only on his exposed throat, but on the palms of both his hands too. And then he was pushing the garrotte away from his larynx with every ounce of strength he had.

The wire cut into his flesh. He felt the heat of blood running down his forearms. A body was pressed against his back, tugging, throttling. His hands and feet became cold. He gritted his teeth, trying hard to breathe between them. The pressure grew.

I'm going to die. I'm actually going to die this time.

His vision began to dim, the orange of the sodium street lights paling to amber, black spots appearing. The pain in his throat intensified.

No. I'm not giving in, you bastard. No. Just-no!

He was on the floor, face down, his assailant's knee between his shoulder blades. Still struggling, but failing now, growing weaker. Less oxygen.

No air. No air.

Please. Please?

And then it stopped.

He was on his back. The pain in his throat seared through him but the pressure was gone. He could see street lamps and stars, faint, high up. And then a face, distant and bloodied, but familiar.

'John? John, hang on! Hang on!'

Fluorescent strip lights, rippled ceiling tiles and the smooth glide of a hospital trolley. A deep serenity flowing over him, the relief of being in some else's hands. The nagging tug of pain in his throat and hands.

People talking around him, a woman in surgical greens and a stethoscope, a man in a navy and white nurses' uniform top. They sounded a long way off, voices from the other end of a tunnel.

Wah wah wah.

The doctor leaned over, looming into his field of vision.

'You need an operation on your hands, John. We're going to take you down to theatre now.'

He blinked. Opened his mouth to speak. Nothing but a hoarse rasp came out. Pain closed his eyes.

Commotion. His eyelids were sticking together. The door burst open in a flurry of tweed.

'John! John!'

John opened his mouth to speak the sacred word, the familiar name, but nothing came out except pain.

Sherlock sat resolutely at his bedside for two days, infuriating the nurses, interrogating the doctors, until he was satisfied that John's wind pipe was not going to close up and suffocate him as a result of the bruising.

The operation to repair the tendons in John's palms had gone exceptionally well – the surgeon was a friend who had hurried in to do the job as soon as he had heard the news, and he was the best in his field. John would never again be capable of the kind of precision surgery he had performed on the battle field, but as a GP he didn't need to be. He was simply relieved that he was not going to lose either his hands or his fingers. A little woozy from the anaesthetic, he just wanted to go home to his own bed.

'Your voice has changed,' Sherlock groused. 'It's all gravelly. I don't like it.'

'I'm just glad I've still got it at all,' John rasped.

Once a series of consultant appointments had been lined up, and dressings changed, the medical staff were happy to discharge him. And only too glad to be rid of Sherlock, who had virtually ignored his own concussion once the wound in his head had been cleaned up and stitched, and had made it his business to harass everyone within a five mile radius.

It was late when they got back from the hospital. They had not spoken a word on the taxi ride home. Sherlock was radiating a kind of tension that made the air around him almost twang.

John's throat and hands were hurting a great deal, and all he wanted to do was to slump into his armchair by the fire and doze. He didn't feel like dealing with a wound-up Sherlock, but he knew he would get no rest until he had.

Sherlock helped him with his coat, standing at his back to hitch it off his shoulders and ease the cuffs over his bandaged hands. John flopped into his chair thankfully, but Sherlock perched on the edge of his, still in his Belstaff, gloved hands pressed palm-together and pinned between his thighs.

'Alright, out with it,' John croaked.


'Oh, come off it! You want to say something so for God's sake, say it.'

'Well, since you ask, I think I should apologise.'

'For what, getting me throttled?'

'Well, to a certain extent, yes, but I was thinking more of what happened before that.'

John sat back, wondering what was going to come next. Seeing Sherlock apologise was rare enough, but seeing him squirming under the weight of social embarrassment was worth recording for posterity, since he never usually gave a damn what people thought.

The half of John's brain that was not involved in gloating was, however, occupied with rerunning the voluptuous memory of his friend bucking, half naked, in his lap, his cheeks flushed, his cock pulsing.

Oh God.

'Look,' Sherlock said, beginning to turn pink. 'I really didn't expect it to go that far. I thought a little kiss and a cuddle would be quite sufficient, but-'

'A kiss and a cuddle?' John coughed. 'And you never thought to mention this to me?'

Sherlock gave him a filthy look. 'Are you suggesting you would have cooperated if I had?'

John huffed. He didn't want to have an argument, but that was all they seemed to do sometimes. Sherlock pouted, but battled on:

'I repeat, I only meant to kiss you sufficiently to convince them, but then, well, it all got a bit heated, so, er-'

'So you're trying to say sorry for what happened?'

'Yes, I suppose so.'

'You're sorry we had sex?'


'Well, I'm not.'

Sherlock's head snapped up and he stared in shock. John shrugged.

'I wish I could tell you I was, but I'm not.'

'But you-' Sherlock spluttered. 'You're always going on about how you aren't gay!'

'Oh, wake up and smell the coffee! Aren't you supposed to be the observant one? Surely you've worked it out by now?'

Sherlock opened his mouth to say something succinct and cutting, and then obviously thought better of it, because he shut it again with a snap.

'I love you, you idiot,' John said, by way of exposition.

Sherlock gawped.

'But. But-'

'Not gay,' John agreed. 'Nope. I think it's a bit like what you said when we were in Dartmoor, about friendship. Remember?'

'Er-' He obviously didn't.

'You said you didn't have friends, you just had me. Well, I don't have male lovers. I just have you. I suppose I'm a Sherlo-sexual.'

They both burst out laughing. It was ridiculous, a crazy situation. Ridiculously, insanely perfect, John realised. Even though laughing made his throat hurt.

'I imagine at this juncture I am supposed to say something comfortingly reciprocal.'

'No need to lie, Sherlock,' John said, and then Sherlock looked pained, and the penny dropped. 'Ah, as I always suspected. All that stuff about being a sociopath is just what you tell people to make them go away so they won't hurt you, isn't it?'

Sherlock looked at his tangled hands in shame. 'You knew?'

'Come off it, it's the oldest trick in the book! I'm not as much of a thicko as you seem to think I am.'

'I never thought you were a thicko,' Sherlock protested. 'You just aren't a genius-'

'Like you?'

'Like me.' He sat back and gave John an appraising look.

'So what about this comforting reciprocation you promised?'

Sherlock's eyes narrowed. 'Alright: my life before I met you was miserable. I don't want to go back to living like that. In fact, I have no intention of it, at least not without extreme and irrevocable cause.'

Now it was John's turn to narrow his eyes. 'Which means?'

'I like you. You make me happy.'

'Well,' John huffed, heaving himself up out of the armchair, 'I suppose that's the best I'm ever going to get out of you.'

'Oh, and this,' Sherlock said, getting up as well. He had closed the gap between them before John had time to blink, and then the little doctor found himself swept up into wiry arms.

Sherlock kissed him.

It was wonderful. Better than he remembered. Sherlock's lips were soft and plump and luxuriant, and John thought he could happily endure the pressure and caress of them forever. Except that was not the way it happened. They came up for air, and Sherlock breathed in his ear.

'How are you feeling?'

'Better all the time.'

'I thought we might go to bed.'

'Did you, indeed?'

'Mmmm, what do you think?'

John reached up and tangled his fingers in Sherlock's glossy dark curls.

'I'm not going to any more orgies, you know,' he felt required to point out.

The corner of Sherlock's mouth curled up into a familiar, mischievous smile. 'Of course not. You'll have your hands full enough with just me.'


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