Original Story Title: Practical Angora Goat Raising
Original Story Link: http://archiveofourown.org/works/123329
Original Story Pairings: John/Sherlock
Original Story Rating: Teen and up
Original Story Warnings: None
Remix Story Title: Practical Angora Goat Raising (The Observer's Paradox Remix)
Remix Author: mad_maudlin
Remix Beta: thegiantsquid
Remix Britpicker: snowybryneich
Remix Story Pairings: John/Sherlock
Remix Story Rating: R
Remix Story Warnings: None
"Practical Angora Goat Raising (The Observer's Paradox Remix)"
John was important. John was necessary.
John was good.
Sherlock was not quite prepared to venture into any other domains of vocabulary with regard to John, yet. But that was all right--"All fine," John said, yes, John was fine—because John understood, about the unique mechanisms of Sherlock's brain, at least as much as anyone not Sherlock ever could.
John understood, and this was more precious than any other piece of him.
"S'pose I'll just have to make do with my hand," John said with a dry smile, but this was not fine, even Sherlock could tell that John was not fine with this. Of course; obvious. John flirted, John didn't even notice when he was flirting, John looked at legs and hands and mouths and buttocks with dilated pupils and elevated respiration.
"The simplest solution seems to be to obtain your sexual gratification elsewhere," Sherlock said, not without reluctance, because the option was both risky and efficient—efficient because there things he could not do; risky for much the same reason.
John looked up from his laptop again, frowning; the light from the windows had gone from sun to sodium while Sherlock performed cost-benefit analyses in his head. "I'm not cheating," he said, after a moment's thought.
"It's not cheating if you have permission," Sherlock pointed out.
"No," said John, as if describing the weather, and turned back to his comments.
Sherlock sighed. Planned.
These are the things they did not do: kiss. Hold hands. Share the same bed. (It would be impractical anyway.)
These are the things they did do: share meals. Share laughter. Sit slightly too close on the couch, watching terrible films and even worse telly precisely because they were terrible, because Sherlock enjoyed dissecting the flaws and John enjoyed watching him, just watching, with a smile.
"Look at his shoes," Sherlock wailed at the man in the trenchcoat, "haven't you got eyes, he's at least two sizes smaller than the killer--" But of course, they don't listen, they carry on with their ridiculous theories spun out of a paucity of the available evidence. John called it narrative causality; Sherlock called it idiocy.
John, incidentally, was suddenly squirming in a fashion he probably believed to be subtle.
It was the work of a moment to realize why—well, the proximate cause, at least. Harder to work out why John was suddenly aroused, why now, when they had just been sharing a companionable evening with a stack of DVDs and some adequate Thai take-away. Sherlock hadn't even done anything.
Data: John's last date resulting in sexual intercourse had been nearly a month ago.
"John," he started to say, exasperated and little—yes—concerned. Or perhaps confused. Neither of them were exactly familiar emotions. Was this going to happen routinely, then?
"I don't want to talk about it," John said flatly, staring at the telly with unblinking eyes.
Sherlock returned his attentions to the trenchcoat man and his laughably inept detective work, but John had moved an inch and a half to the right, a noticeable and unsatisfactory gap.
Sherlock gets erections; he has no physiological issues there. Usually he ignores them. Sometimes he masturbates, quick as he can, just to make them go away. Ignoring them is usually easier.
Incomplete data; no theorizing ahead of the evidence.
John was still friendly with several of his exes, for certain values of "friendly." Sherlock had never had anything in particular against Sarah Sawyer; she was neither ignorant nor cowardly and it was hardly her fault that she was completely unnecessary anyway.
Sherlock would've gladly murdered her when John came back with crumbs on his cuffs and a slant to his mouth that boded of arguments to come.
"How was your lunch date?" he asked acidly, but John was distracted, tugging on his tie and muttering about today's spate of high-maintenance patients. Sherlock had been the one to suggest he pursue his own sexual gratification elsewhere; John had rejected the idea out of hand; Sherlock was no less irritated, and no less illogical for being so, and that only irritated him more.
There were no DVDs that night, or the one after
John's eyes fixed for two-point-three seconds too long on a pop-up for a pornographic chatroom before he closed the window. Sherlock could not tell if he was worried or enraged.
Perhaps compromise was in order. Sherlock could compromise.
"Sherlock, what--!" John yelped, the Evening Standard flying from his hands as Sherlock opened his flies. He was in jeans tonight, not having gone to the clinic; the zip stuck.
"Be quiet," Sherlock said, worming his fingers into the front of John's pants, "unless you have something original to say."
John's penis was hot and damp against Sherlock's palm, and Sherlock set to it, adjusting his grip periodically to avoid straining his wrist, shifting his feet amid the crinkling drifts of paper. He had planned this out, calculated, because it could be a solution—he could stop calculating risks and John would stop avoiding him and they could go back to how things had been without any ridiculous women in the way. Sherlock counted down, in his head, how many seconds, tens of seconds, over a minute, good god, was John trying to drag this out--?
And then John made an absurd noise and Sherlock's fingers were gummed with hot semen. He quickly extricated his hand and found a tissue with which to clean it. "There," he pronounced as John gasped and panted. "Now stop moping. It's distracting."
John tucked himself in, gathered up his newspaper, and left the room without saying a word.
He just doesn't see the appeal; there is a gap there, a difference in configuration that he stubbornly refuses to see as a deficit. He had thought John understood.
Perhaps understanding was insufficient for these purposes.
Sherlock did not sulk, but neither did he take cases or change out of his dressing gown; John spent too much time out of the flat, at the surgery or on "walks," and he was taking his crap telly with Mrs. Hudson in her flat instead of leaning companionably against Sherlock's shoulder. This was all wrong.
Clearly meeting John halfway had failed. Clearly he had erred in his calculations, just has he'd erred in suggesting John seek lovers on the side. Clearly he was theorizing off insufficient evidence.
Data. It always came back to data.
"John," he called, when he heard footsteps on the stairs, but John marched stolidly past with a cup of tea in one hand and a handful of chocolate digestives in the other. The door of his room shut firmly, a few decibels short of a slam.
But perhaps he needed to try another methodology.
"Show me," Sherlock asked, the dim silence of John's room on a Sunday afternoon—a time calculated to ensure, if not his goodwill, then at the very least his ambivalence, and perhaps that was enough to ensure cooperation in a much-revised experimental protocol.
Sherlock Holmes doesn't admit he is wrong often, if ever. But occasionally it can be inferred.
John looks up from his laptop, frowning in a gentle way. Whatever he concluded from Sherlock's arrival, he closed his laptop and set it aside. "Show you what?" he asked warily.
"For yourself," Sherlock clarified—intended to clarify, that is, but John could be so ordinary at times. He pulled up the chair from John's desk and sat, made himself as comfortable and confident as he could manage. "Show me what you do."
John's face did something fascinating and special every time he caught up to Sherlock's deductions. It was like that now. "Oh. Er—okay."
He undressed completely, and efficiently, folding his clothes and setting them on the dresser by the window. Did it matter, whether he was completely naked? Or was this an observational aid for Sherlock's sake? The questions settled on his tongue and Sherlock swallowed them. He was here to observe. John was healthy and physically fit, if a little softer than he'd been as a soldier—despite his frequent protestations, nothing in his and Sherlock's lifestyle burned six thousand calories a day. Sherlock noted a scar from an open appendectomy, another from a long but shallow shrapnel wound on his right thigh, and three on his left shoulder—the divot left by the bullet and the two surgical incisions, one parallel to his collarbone and one across the scapula.
Data. Sherlock observed all and said nothing, for now.
John settled back on the bed, now. His penis was flaccid, pillowed against the sparse hair of his scrotum, the foreskin loose around the glans. John produced a small bottle of lotion from the nightstand (aloe vera, Sherlock had already correlated the faint scent with previous incidents)--and now John began to stroke, slowly, just a thumb and two fingers curled down along the perineal raphe.
Sherlock learned forward, trying to get a better view of the motion. The chair creaked, and John gasped—gasped because he was watching Sherlock watch him, watching Sherlock who was watching John's penis finally begin to grow erect.
John was stroking more steadily now, eyes heavy-lidded as he watched Sherlock take his observations. He was using his whole hand, now, and holding his thumb parallel to the shaft so that he could pause between strokes to rub at the meatus, to manipulate the foreskin: pushing it up over the glans and then stretching it back, before another few slow strokes, fingers tightening slightly just before reaching the frenulum. How much pressure was he exerting? What was the average speed of each stroke? Impossible to tell under these conditions. He should've brought a stopwatch.
John spread his thighs slightly, and with his other hand began to gently touch his testicles, cupping them against his palm while applying slight pressure with his thumb. John's heart rate, normally a steady 72 at rest, was clearly elevated above 130, his respiration heavy and harsh. In the hazy afternoon light, a fine sheen of sweat coated his chest and abdomen, his forearms and thighs, and his face was red with exertion. "Interesting," Sherlock murmured, in spite of himself, and John's coordinated movements faltered and then sped up. His fist tightened, thumb back in a perpendicular position, the foreskin barely able to stretch over the glans now as he torqued his hand up and down—and he was rocking his pelvis into the motion now, eyes falling shut as if he had to concentrate intensely on something, a faint tremor building in the adductors magni.
He'd told himself this would be for observation purposes only, but John had already reacted to him—the old observer's paradox. A little controlled manipulation of environmental variables surely wouldn't be amiss.
He said, calmly and quietly, "John."
The results were dramatic: John cried out and shuddered, and an astonishing amount of semen spilled out of his penis. He cupped his hand around the head to contain the ejaculation, but only barely. After several seconds, John's body relaxed, and he heaved himself over onto his side, still cupping himself and the messy after-effects; respiration still elevated, heart rate barely beginning to slow, but all the tension of the previous few moments was transformed into lassitude, dopamine and oxytocin soothing and softening his frame.
"Did that do anything for you?" John asked, when his breathing had approached a more normal rate. There was pleasure and just a little hope in the lines around his eyes.
"Not in a physical sense," Sherlock admitted. John's face fell a bit, the same shut-off look he'd been wearing around for weeks. "Do you always add a twist to your strokes when you are close to coming?"
"What?" That got John's attention, turning frustration into confusion. "I...don't know?"
Sherlock hummed to himself, reviewing all the new information, all the possibilities. "A long-term observation then," he concluded. "To collect more data."
John's smile was wide and wonderful, and Sherlock decided that he was going to enjoy this particular investigation.
Sherlock obtained a lab notebook, and a stop watch, and a measuring tape; he had designs on a camera and a graduated cylinder, but John wouldn't let him steal those from Bart's or the Met, so they would have to wait until the end of the month.
John smiled more and went out less and sat just a little too close while they watched telly.
"Don't you look cheerful," Sally Donovan said, lifting the tape around the crime scene, and John was the one who answered with a jolly, distracted yep! as he ducked underneath. She blinked, and then gave Sherlock an extra-dirty look, as if he'd broken him.
Sherlock smiled at her benignly, and lead the way to the body.
John is necessary. John is important. John understands.
Sherlock's working on it.
Remember to leave feedback for both authors!