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Thursday, December 9th, 2010 11:33 pm
Story: Holmes-Breaking
Author: The I-Could-Have-Danced-All-Night [personal profile] loveslashangst
Beta: the [insert-clever-quip-here] [personal profile] ophymirage
Characters: Sherlock Holmes, Dr. John Watson, Harry (Harriet) Watson
Rated: NC-17 for mature content, sexually suggestive thoughts and behaviour, language, naughty stuff and mild boysex. Also rated SC for “Serious Crack”.
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of these characters, I just play with them for my (and your) amusement.
Spoilers: I pretty much assume that you’ve seen all three episodes of the new “Sherlock”. This is also unrelated to any of my other Sherlock fic.
Summary: John has finally had enough, and decides to find out if you can teach a theoretically-post-adolescent feline new tricks.

Okay, so here’s the dealio...

OMG WIN! I got to dance [O sez: and dance, and dance, and OMG DANCE MOAR] all weekend, and before that, I hung with O and her family, which was a very pleasant way to spend Thanksgiving. There was costuming and millinery and DICKENS, oh my! I began this little crack-tastic piece on the plane out, and now I’m elaborating a little as only my slightly-unhinged mind can.

My grasp on reality is, of course, not helped by the fact that[Bad username or unknown identity: ”wordstrings”] has a new fic out, and it is God-Awesome. So if I’m a little madder than usual, thank her.

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

On with the show...

“Squirt-bottle,” says Harry’s voice firmly in the earpiece of the mobile. “It’s the only way.”

John can’t have heard her right. “Beg pardon?”

“Squirt-bottle,” she repeats. “Worked perfectly with Georgie.”

John presses his back to the wall outside 221 Baker Street and stuffs his free hand into his coat pocket to slow the process of his fingers turning to ice. “Georgie was a cat.”

“So’s your boyfriend.”

“He’s not my boyfriend, Harriet,” says John tartly.

“But he is a cat.”

“He’s…” Though the suggestion is utterly preposterous, he's somehow tongue-tied for a witty response. And he’s not thinking about Sherlock, bringing body parts home and strewing them all over the... No. It's ridiculous, and Harry's just wrong.

“Pernickety,” she says.

“Particular,” he corrects.

“Demanding.” She’s trying not to laugh, the bitch. (He can call his own sister a bitch, especially when she’s being so damn superior.)

“It’s fine.”

“He’s mad and lazy and self-centred and--”

“You’ve not even met him.” And even if it WERE true, now she’s really got his back up.

“Haven’t I?” she says. “What about your blog?”

“Bugger the blog!” he says, loud enough to make a couple passing by look askance at him. He gives an apologetic smile, then turns away, enunciating quietly into the microphone. “Harry. I am not using a squirt-bottle to train my flatmate.”

“You should,” says Harry. “Think of it as housebreaking.”

“All personality flaws aside,” he says through his teeth. “I believe Sherlock knows his way around the loo.”

“So do most cats,” says Harry. “Fine. Holmes-breaking, then.”

And she hangs up on him.

It only takes a grand total of three days -- not even a full seventy-two hours -- before Sherlock leaves a bouquet of fingers, nails neatly painted with different colours of varnish, neatly arranged in one of the mismatched snifters that have held more horror-house experiments than brandy, in the exact centre of the kitchen table.

John stares at the grisly centrepiece, wondering if it’s an experiment, or merely Sherlock’s idea of festive decorations for Christmas. He blinks at the utter absurdity of the question, and leaves for work still stunned by the offering.

By the time his morning tea break arrives, he queues up in the checkout at the nearest Tesco to the hospital, nothing in his basket but a squirt bottle.

He doesn’t really expect it to work. Even as he fills the thing later that evening with chilled water and waits for Sherlock to return from wherever he’s disappeared to. (Without texting. Or calling. Or leaving a note.) He swears to himself that nothing Sherlock can say or do will dissuade him from finally putting his foot down.

Of course, then comes the determination-eroding wait. In a chair. In the kitchen. With the squirt-bottle. Sometimes he feels he’s spent half his life waiting for Sherlock He’s always being left behind in odd places. Always ignored until Sherlock deigns to find him useful. Always putting up with the rudeness… and- and the impatience… and… lack of the most basic considerations. And… always... something... else...

He starts awake at some ungodly hour of the night. Sherlock sits across the table from him, shaving mirror disconnected from the bathroom wall and propped against a pile of 19th-century surgical anatomy texts. The top one is open to facial muscles. He’s clearly using it as a guide to finish the stitching on a rather nasty gash, which runs from his temple halfway down his cheekbone.

John muses dourly -- and a bit blearily -- that when it heals, it’ll look like a duelling scar. “How’s the case?”

“Finally getting interesting,” says Sherlock. He pulls a pair of kitchen shears from a glass half-full of a liquid that might once have been water. Uses it to snip the end of the thread stitching his fresh wound, which will almost certainly mean in a few days’ time the damn thing will go septic, and John will have to scribble off another scrip for antibiotics. And then Sherlock will be thoroughly miserable and put-upon until John loses patience and insists on cleaning the damn thing out properly.

Sherlock’s carelessness with his own health and body really is the final straw. John raises the bottle, levels it at Sherlock, and gives him three dousing squirts.

The detective recoils, spitting incoherently with startled rage.

“Iodine,” says John firmly. “Or at least hydrogen peroxide.”

Sherlock glares. “I hardly think...”

John douses him again. Three more squirts, each backing him up another step across the manky kitchen. “If you won’t ask me for help like a reasonable human being, you will at the least use proper sterilization procedures when you are injured, or I will stand by and watch as you suffer an infection that makes you lose an eye.”


Another squirt, just to let him know John’s serious. “Medicine cabinet in the bathroom upstairs. I’ll give you the count of twenty -- head start to recover your pride. You think this is irritating? I can come up with worse.”

Sherlock’s fits of self-indulgent temper always verge on Puccinian melodrama, but the longsuffering irritation with which he sulks toward the door makes John think Sherlock should’ve been a silent-film actor.

“Fifteen… fourteen… thirteen.” John aims a final squirt at Sherlock’s heels, just to press his point.

With one more insulted glare down that long nose of his, Sherlock stalks up the stairs.


Sherlock HATES the squirt-bottle. Aside from the obvious indignity of being subjected to the same training one might use for small household pets, there’s the humiliating fact that the damn thing proves appallingly persuasive.

And John wields it as he does any other projectile weapon -- with absolute calm, unerring aim, and no remorse whatsoever. The more Sherlock tries to ignore it, the more thoroughly he’s soaked with bloody COLD water. Whenever Sherlock dodges, John’s aim improves. On the few occasions he tries to disarm John, he ends up flat on his back, undone by the superior hand-to-hand training that military service has afforded.

He’s never entirely sure how he feels about being so completely disarmed and put down. It happens so seldom that on some days it’s a turn-on.

On others, he just lies for a moment, plotting his revenge until the room stops spinning.

Insult to literal injury, the wound in his cheek heals much better after John helps him dress and tend it properly. And it’s nice to have the antibiotics BEFORE a raging infection can take hold -- saves time and prevents his being impaired. (Privately, he fancies it looks like a duelling scar.)

So Sherlock grudgingly tolerates this “game” for the better part of a week while they’re sorting the case. But after he’s able to hand Lestrade perfection again, all bets -- and gloves -- are off.

Not being an idiot, Sherlock’s first line of defence is to simply dispose of the thing. It is, after all, merely a plastic bottle with a screw-top head and standard trigger-pump, as seen in a million English households. Hardly an enemy worth engaging.

Of course, while the bottle may be ordinary, John is no such thing. And in his expert soldierly hand, the bottle develops more lives than the cats it’s supposed to train.

The first time John falls asleep after the case is solved, Sherlock pounces on the thing, viciously pitches it in the rubbish, and smugly congratulates himself on his victory.

Then, thinking better of it, he bundles up the rubbish, bringing it down to the bin and thoroughly out of the flat. Foe vanquished, problem solved. As he trots happily back up the stairs, he even entertains the notion that he might expect a warm smile and a bit of gratitude on John’s part for tidying when he returns to 221B.

What he gets is a face-full of freezing cold water that leaves him sputtering.

“You will not attempt to remove the squirt bottle from the premises,” says John firmly. “Nor will you disable, modify, destroy, or otherwise tamper with it. Are we clear?”

“John, I--“ The water in that damn thing is COLD. It creeps up into his sinuses and makes him sneeze. He retreats until John stops pelting him.

“Are we clear?” John repeats.

“Crystal,” he says, regrouping for a foe that is finally worth engaging. “Doctor.”


The game is fun, John has to admit. Sherlock is damn clever (and quiet as an actual bloody cat) in all his schemes to remove or disable the squirt bottle without detection.

First, Sherlock tries to distract him with noxious fumes that make them both have to leave the apartment, gasping. And after the usually sweet-tempered Mrs. Hudson completely loses said temper and gives them both a thorough talking-to, John makes sure to douse Sherlock completely.

Gluing the thing inoperable is equally ineffective, as John became quite familiar with all manner of chemicals while in the field (amazing what comes in handy in a pinch), especially solvents. Sherlock might think he’s clever -- true scientist to the last, he tries about twelve variations on this strategy -- but John is well chuffed at being able to foil several of the formulae. And what he can’t solve is discreetly vanished into the bin and replaced with one from his stash from the Super-Secret Hiding Place.

He counts it an odd kind of victory when he comes home to find furniture overturned, cushions emptied of feathers, shelves bare of books (which are scattered or stacked, apparently according to their personal and professional value to Sherlock), and the consulting detective himself sprawled too-casually in an armchair in the middle of the mess, looking completely (and unconvincingly) innocent. Just to annoy him, John goes to his room, which is entirely too neat and tidy.

He comes back down to the living room. “It was a double-bluff.”

Sherlock can’t control the grin. He takes his dousing with good humour before he retreats down to Mrs. Hudson’s.

Next, John might’ve predicted sleight-of-hand, but even with his gorgeous and dextrous hands Sherlock cannot make the squirt bottle vanish half so well as he’d have John believe. It’s funny, actually, watching him try.

John can’t control the chuckles as he waits on queue at Tesco’s with a trolley-full of squirt bottles.

They were even on sale.


When all reasonable attempts fail to eliminate the enemy squirt-bottle, Sherlock is pressed into the unreasonable ones. After a good four hours of rigging as silently as he can, Sherlock is ready to steal the bottle from its place under John’s pillow. He mans the remote and is in the process of operating the device, when a gimbal fails, the pillow drops, startling John awake.

Fortunately for Sherlock, it’s too late. The trebuchet is already engaged, the squirt-bottle is hurled toward the door, and Sherlock catches it one-handed. A very groggy John blinks blearily at him and he’s out the door, unable to repress the giggles anymore.

John’s surprised “--the FUCK?!” only makes him laugh harder. Of course, John will have another of the damn things squirreled away in wherever his super-secret hiding place is. (Which Sherlock WILL find one of these days.) But he can’t stop laughing, even as he retreats yet again down the stairs to the relative safety of Mrs. Hudson’s flat to escape the soaking.

Sherlock decides that, setbacks aside, deviousness is the best tactic. He hacks John’s new password on his laptop and uses John’s e-mail to arrange a “date night” with Sarah -- knowing damn well she won’t shag John even if he asks for it. John is annoyed, but too much the gentleman to clue his would-be girlfriend in to the true nature of the invitation.

Of course, as soon as John’s safely in his cab, Sherlock ransacks the flat with renewed vigour until he finally finds the super-secret hiding place. It turns out John’s refitted a defunct dumbwaiter (which was NOT on the original plans -- annoying) with some creative machinery of his own, and the process of unloading level after level takes significantly more time than Sherlock had planned.

He makes sure to keep in constant contact with the proprietor of the Indian restaurant where John and his so-called girlfriend are. (“Chula”. Excellent curry, miserable puddings.) And as Sherlock hopes each level of the dumbwaiter will be the last, he wonders exactly how many discount shops John has visited lately.

Unfortunately, the deeper he goes, the more booby traps he triggers. Fortunately, an eavesdropping waiter lets the proprietor know of John’s plans to follow dinner with a movie, and the man texts him at once, which allows Sherlock to keep moving. By the time he brazens his way through to the bottom level, Sherlock’s soaked to the skin and the pile of bottles is waist-high.

He of course eliminates the lot of them, except for one, on which he uses the thirty-second epoxy he just perfected this afternoon. He leaves the disabled bottle as an ironic calling card on the still-open dumbwaiter.

Then, because there’s still a full half hour left before the film lets out, Sherlock indulges in a thorough -- and thoroughly unnecessary -- ransacking of John’s room, even taking the time to make an elaborate (if soggy) sculpture out of his bedclothes, before rushing downstairs just in the nick of time to arrange himself in an indolent lounge on the sofa.

Sherlock’s favourite part of the exercise is Sarah’s reaction. He watches through sidelong glances as she and John come back down the stairs, him blushing and apologizing and her laughing. She kisses John’s cheek. “This is a sign.”

“Of what?” says John.

“That you need to sort some more things with your flatmate,” says Sarah, flicking her eyes in Sherlock’s direction. (Which he pretends not to have heard.) Then she leaves, which is even better.

With a furious glare at him, John hastens after her.

Sherlock decides to retire. Not retreat, just retire. His works is done, and there’s no sense hanging about when…

John pounds at Sherlock’s bedroom door. “SHERLOCK!”

Repressing his grin, he opens the door, preparing to crow his triumph.

And gets a faceful of cold water.

“Missed one,” says John smugly.


John is pretty well convinced he’s won and will keep winning until Sherlock changes the game.

Until now, it’s been a contest of wills and intellects. John congratulates himself that he’s been able to keep one step ahead, if not by raw brainpower, then by sheer stubbornness (and what is becoming a running joke at the nearby discount stores.)

Then, as he’s about to enjoy his morning cuppa before heading off to the clinic, Sherlock inquires, “From which bowl did you take your sugar?”

Sensing that he’s being saved from certain death, John freezes, cup suspended in mid-air. “The blue one, Sherlock, because that’s where we keep the sugar.”

Was where we kept the sugar,” Sherlock says smoothly, pushing forward a mauve bowl. “Now it’s where we keep the arsenic.”

Sherlock takes his dousing, retreating out of his chair with a laugh. Really annoyed, John lunges after him, but instead of having the satisfaction of chasing the lanky man down the stairs to Mrs. Hudson’s, Sherlock stands firmly in the kitchen doorway.

He’s gotten used to being able to blast Sherlock with water whenever he wants. But this Sherlock doesn’t seem to care.

Instead, this slightly-sodden Sherlock catches him in his arms and kisses him soundly.

It’s John’s turn to retreat, sputtering. “What was that for?”

Sherlock takes a step forward, and John forces himself not to retreat. “You will,” says Sherlock firmly in that velvety voice, “learn to see the humour in a situation.”

“Arsenic,” he says. “In the sugar-bowl.” Defending himself should not be necessary in this case.

“And I would never have allowed you to come to harm,” says Sherlock.

“You kissed me,” he says. Again, the obvious shouldn’t require explanation, but…

“I wanted to get your attention.” Sherlock’s eye sparkle.

His lips are warm. Almost burning. “You have it.”

Sherlock leans in. John’s heart skips and stutters. Sherlock’s mouth stops, just a hair’s breadth from his. “Good,” he murmurs.

When he leaves, John is certain he’s never been so discomfited in his life.


It’s not so much that John stops using the squirt-bottle altogether, but that he seems a bit more cautious and judicious. Sherlock allows him the occasional correction, especially because he always waits until they’re alone, but today is not on, because the accomplice was a stupid cow, no matter how rude that is to say aloud.

So they get back to the flat, John produces the squirt bottle, and Sherlock pounces.

The kiss last time was just the press of lips. This is a full-on snog, a mashing of lips and tongue that leaves John blushing and breathless. He’s quite lovely that way, almost as much as Sherlock expected.

“‘Stupid cow’ is not on,” gasps John.

Sherlock kisses him again. “I’m right.”

John’s beginning to cling to him. Any further protests are lost in the kiss.

Whoever knew Classical Conditioning could be so much fun?


“Come again?” says Harry’s voice in the mobile.

“Kissed me,” John says quietly, hyper-aware of the possibility of being watched and overheard on the street, but he just can’t stay inside after… that.

“Just once?” She doesn’t have to sound so… encouraging.

He sighs, annoyed, then admits, “No.”

“So how is he?”

“Not helping.”

“Did you like it?”

“Not relevant.” And he’s blushing again. What is it about Sherlock that makes him blush like no other person can?

“Actually, it is,” says Harry. “It goes right to the crux of your problem.”

“He’s not my boyfriend.” His mouth’s gone dry.

“But he could be,” says Harry. “He’s mad and exciting and you fancy him.”

“I do not,” says John hotly. Bugger it. He sounds like he did when, as a pasty ten-year-old, he insisted that Jenny Cross was not in fact the prettiest girl in the whole form.

“Johnnie-love,” she says in her best superior-older-sister-voice. “I’ve read your blog. You fancy him. Even if you don’t want to shag him, you’ve got a thing for him. So back to the question: Did? You? Like? It?”

Words fail him… again.

“That good, eh?” she says, amused. “Must’ve been quite the snog.”

“It was just so…”

“Passionate?” she offers.

“Unexpected,” he corrects.

“Delicious?” And damn her, she has him thinking of the way Sherlock’s mouth fit his, moving with his in ways he’d never seriously entertained.

Is still not entertaining. “I’m not gay.”

“You make it sound like a bad thing,” she says, a warning.


“Confused?” she offered.

His shoulders relax. “Yes. That.”

“He’s very striking. I can see the attraction.”

“Then maybe you should date him,” But he’s only half-serious.

“Not my type,” she says.

“You’ve not met him.”

“I like them sweet, supportive, and female,” she says. “Is he any of those?”

He lets his silence cede the point. Takes an unsteady breath. “What does it mean?”

“Nothing,” she says. “Or everything. Depends on whether or not you want to be trained.”

He blinks. “Trained for what?”

“To forgive him his trespasses,” she says. “Or something.”

“You can’t train someone just by kissing them.” The moment the words leave his mouth, he realizes how ridiculous the statement is.

Harry’s laughing too hard to properly say goodbye.


When Sherlock hears the slow tread of John’s returning feet on the stairs, he finally allows himself to take a deep breath. John’s tread is uneven, a sign that his friend is discomfited; the psychosomatic injury always reasserts itself in response to emotional turmoil. Debatable whether this will be detrimental or helpful to Sherlock’s attempt to shift the ground under the game they’ve been playing.

And Sherlock liked that last kiss a bit more than is really comfortable. John was meant to be the only one he’d intended to rattle.

John hangs up his coat deliberately. Next to Sherlock’s coat. Very likely a mistake to theorize without too much data, but the action is a conscious one, not an habitual movement -- Sherlock can see the set of John’s shoulders, the way he inhales, then exhales before placing it on the hook. Not muscle memory there. A certain air of ceremony. Conclusion inescapable: he’s come to a decision.

This whole affair had begun as an experiment. Now Sherlock finds himself intrigued at such a deliberate decision. He kissed John as payback. Now John looks as though the correction has become something more.

John turns, tugging almost unconsciously at his impeccable (slightly-shabby) jumper. Sherlock watches, loving each movement. John is off-balance. Uncertain. Disarmed in ways that go beyond the loss of a plastic bottle. His vulnerability is beautiful.

“Sh-“ John swallows hard against what sounds like a lump in his throat. “Sherlock.”

Sherlock lets steepled fingers fall into being folded across his chest. “John.”

John’s chin raises slightly, the courage of the soldier. “You kissed me.”

“I did.” Every line of John’s face is fascinating. Mesmerized, he watches John -- usually so still and stolid -- shift his weight from one foot to the other.

“And…” Another swallow. Been a long time since he saw John this uncertain. “And I liked it.”

Unexpected, but not unwelcome. Not even slightly. The game really is getting good. Sherlock gives John his full attention. “Did you?”

John gives a short, curt nod. “I did.”

“So this would be… what?” Sherlock says carefully. “The moment you offer to surrender your squirt bottles for the sake of a kiss?”

John’s eyes go all determined. “Not going to happen. You’re still incorrigible.”

He feels a smile quirk the corner of his mouth. “But it’s fine, it’s all fine,” he quotes.

“Yeah,” says John, though it’s not really an admission. “I lied when I said that.”

Sherlock raises himself to sitting. “Did you?”

“Some things…” John is struggling to keep the eye contact, which means he’s trying to be completely honest. “Some things are more fine than others.”

He uncoils from the sofa.

John’s breathing speeds slightly, chest rising and falling.

He pads over to where John is standing.

John’s heart must be pounding so hard, and yet he seems to welcomes it.

Sherlock moves to stand in front of his flatmate. “Is this fine?”

John almost reaches for him, but stops himself. (Self-conscious again.) “It might be.”

He slides first one hand, then the other around John’s waist. Quirks an eyebrow to seek permission.

“Fine.” John is watching Sherlock’s mouth as though it’s the most interesting thing.

He pulls John close.

“Fine.” John sounds surprised and breathless at the sudden heat and proximity.

And now this experiment is proving to be more enjoyable than any he’s tried. He kisses John, very gently.

John’s hand catches at his elbow. “Still fine,” he says when they part.

“Good,” he murmurs, and begins to kiss John in earnest.


John’s not sure how he went from Not Being Gay to being unable to strip off his clothes fast enough, but he’s relatively sure that either Harry or Sherlock or both are to blame. And yet everything is fine. It really is. It’s dizzying how fine it is to feel Sherlock’s bare and slightly cool skin beneath his hands. To keep assaulting that kissable mouth with his own. To press his body to Sherlock’s. To find himself in (his own) bed with the world’s only consulting detective. To shiver and shudder and wonder a bit crazily what’s supposed to come next.

There is lubricant from his drawer. Sherlock’s hand wraps around his cock. His hand finds the velvety firmness of Sherlock’s cock. He’s overwhelmed by the weird feeling that though this really is what he wants, he wishes he were a little more fine so that he could do more than just feel Sherlock’s beautiful dick surging again and again into his fist. A braver man would be up for whatever Sherlock might offer…

Check that. No telling what Sherlock might offer. Far better to slide in the perfectly-tight ring of his fingers. To love the hot hardness of Sherlock’s cock in his own hand. To surrender at last to a kiss that until now he’s been telling himself he doesn’t want. To come, shuddering, because of Sherlock’s touch. To hear the unguarded surprise in Sherlock’s groan of pleasure when he comes.

And to feel the giddy weight of his lover after. To look with fresh (and admittedly slightly bleary) eyes at the mad genius he adores. To see Sherlock looking back, equal parts surprise and pleasure at whatever it is he sees.

“Again?” the man offers, after a bit.

He grins at the thought. "Give me a few minutes, and… yes. Definitely, yes."

Sherlock kisses him. “I’ll look forward to it.”

“Not going to stop correcting you when you need it,” John says.

Sherlock smiles with sensual challenge. “Neither will I.”

Cross-posted to [community profile] sherlockbbc, [profile] 221b_slash


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