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The manoeuvre tight between the close shelves, a man brushes by behind John. Sticking a thumb between the pages of his potential purchase, John glances at him. The first look is automatic. The second is compelled. One word occupies John’s mind, and that word is Hello.

A tall fellow poured into narrow jeans and a tight shirt, the man tucks a blue scarf into the pocket of his posh coat. His sharp gaze scans the books over even sharper cheekbones. Wind-tousled, his dark curls fall into place as he lifts his chin to inspect the top shelf. A hint of red clings to his cheeks and ears, brightening his pale face. Leather-clad fingers slide a high book from its perch. He tucks the book beneath his arm while shedding his gloves, two long pulls of leather from his hands. The gloves join his scarf. Gently, with unthinking care for the book’s spine, the man eases the cover open. Blue-grey eyes rapidly inspect the pages.

John’s mouth goes dry. He tries to look down at his book, but his head won’t bow. People don’t look like that in real life. Jesus, those cheekbones. Hell, that neck. Not even the coat’s popped collar can conceal that neck.

“Get to the point or go away,” the man says, still skimming his book.

John tears his gaze away immediately. “Sorry.” He drums his fingers on the hardcover and pushes out, “I don’t usually see people speed-reading.”

“That’s not why you were staring.”

John smiles politely, not that Cheekbones is looking at him. “I wasn’t staring,” he says quietly.

Cheekbones glances up and his eyes promptly pin John to the bookshelf behind him. His lips turn in disapproval, possibly at the staring, possibly at the poor lie.

“I was looking intently,” John says, all cheek, joking enough that he could still claim to be straight if this bloke lost it. Or maybe he couldn’t, should Cheekbones turn out to be a human lie detector, but John doesn’t think he’s about to be punched in a bookstore.

“You’re new at this.” It’s not a question.

John smiles even more politely. “I take it you’re not.” A miracle: his gaydar is actually functioning for once.

“I’m an expert in looking intently,” Cheekbones replies. John’s gaydar makes a few confused beeps before promptly sizzling and frying beneath that laser focus. Even while dismissive, his deep voice is so sensual that John wants to call it sexual, but he second-guesses himself.

“Oh?” John is nothing if not a master conversationalist.

Cheekbones narrows his eyes. He scans John with such focus that John’s imagination provides holographic lines like on Star Trek. “You’re an army doctor, recently returned from a tour abroad where you came to terms with your bisexuality. You’ve yet to act on your sexuality, but not for lack of trying. You think of yourself as too old for the queer club scene and thus are taking your chances throughout daily life.”

John blinks. John stares. John asks, “Do I know you?”

Cheekbones scowls. “That’s a terrible line.”

“No, I mean, how...?” John gestures with a book and an empty hand.

“Simple.” He takes the book from John. “Medical textbook: you were reading, not skimming, not bored. Haircut and posture say army. You’ve just assumed parade rest, in fact.”

John startles, consciously tugging his hands back to his sides.

With a smirk, Cheekbones continues, “You’re uncertain in approaching other men, but you have the confidence of someone with reasonable sexual success. So, experienced with women. Bisexual, possibly pan, but certainly interested in both men and women.”

“How did you know it was my tour that did it?” John asks.

A small shrug. “Shot in the dark. The decision to act had to be recent and your tan has yet to fade. Which was it, Afghanistan or Iraq?”

“Afghanistan,” John answers, stunned. “How did you know I haven’t been clubbing?”

“That one’s obvious.”

“Not to me.”

Cheekbones fixes his stare on John’s face. He also clearly doubles as a furnace, as the temperature of the room skyrockets. “If you were in a setting where you were confident of a stranger’s sexuality, you would have succeeded by now. Your hair’s grown out slightly: you’ve had enough time.” He hands the book back to John and promptly resumes looking at his own.

John takes the book and sticks it back on the shelf, hopefully near where he found it. He doesn’t really look on account of being unable to stop staring. “That... was amazing.”

Cheekbones glances up. “What was?”

“That. What you just did. That was amazing.”

“Was it really?”

John nods. “Incredible. Absolutely... incredible,” he finishes lamely.

“That’s not the typical reaction.”

John cocks his head to the side.

“People usually storm off,” Cheekbones explains. “Too invasive.”

“Oh,” John says. “Did you want me to storm off? I mean, I can leave you alone. If you’d like.” He fidgets slightly under that blue-grey gaze. “Do you want me to leave you alone?”

Without looking away from John’s face, Cheekbones snaps his book shut. The sound is loud in their aisle but muffled by the shelves. Abruptly, John worries about being overheard. The bookstore is always cramped, but it’s effectively empty this time of day.

“Why are you interested?” Cheekbones asks.

“What, you don’t already know?”

Cheekbones smirks and promptly sends a flash of heat down through John’s belly. “I’ve seen a mirror, Doctor. Or do you prefer ‘Captain’?”

“I prefer John,” John says. “John Watson.” He offers his hand.

Cheekbones doesn’t take it. “Do you have a reason beyond my face?”

“There’s the rest of you, too,” John says bluntly. “And I don’t see many people speed-reading about snake venom. You’re a bit of a posh prat, but I’m mostly inured to that.” He smiles after, so polite that it comes out on the other side.

For a moment, Cheekbones weighs him. “...You can stay.”

“I can also go for coffee,” John offers. “Provided you came too, I mean.”

At that, Cheekbones rolls his eyes. “Boring. Predictable. No.”

John shrugs, his ego far from stung. “I was going to suggest a shag in the storage room, but that seemed a bit forward,” he jokes.

At least, John thinks it was a joke. He’d meant it as one. Except Cheekbones’ eyes light up at the words and John is suddenly back on the metaphorical table.

“It is a bit forward,” Cheekbones agrees, a distinctly predatory gleam in his eyes. Jesus Christ. “I’m not sure how worthwhile it could be. Experience tugging on your own cock doesn’t qualify you for mine.” Jesus. Christ.

“I’m a good kisser,” John says.

Another eye roll. “Everyone thinks that.”

“Everyone? Blimey, someone’s been kissing and telling. Had no idea I was so famous.”

The sass nearly earns him a smile. “Fine,” Cheekbones says. He puts the snake venom book back on the top shelf. The fabric of his shirt stretches nicely beneath his jacket and coat. “Go on.”

“Go... for coffee?”

“Don’t be tedious.” He steps closer, his long legs negating the small distance between them. An insignificant gap remains. His open coat brushes against John’s hands. His mouth is at the level of John’s eyes, bidding John’s chin to rise. His whisper is low and dark and lovely: “I’m giving you a trial run.”

John clears his throat. “Here?”

“No, in New Scotland Yard. Obviously here.”

They’re in a secluded spot, surrounded by solid bookshelves, but John glances around all the same. They’re quiet, but they could be quieter. “What happened to the storage room?”

“You’ll see it if you pass the trial run.”

“You might not pass,” John says. “You’re a bit of an arse.”

“You’re interested, I’m bored,” Cheekbones replies. He threads a finger between the buttons of John’s coat and draws him forward. “Impress me or leave.”

“I take it back: you’re one hell of an arse.” With that, John rocks up onto his toes to kiss a startled grin. A brush of the lips and little more, the contact is soft and strikingly warm. John slips one hand beneath that thick, popped collar and curls his fingers against a vulnerable nape. Sinking back down to his heels, he draws Cheekbones down with him, withdrawing just slightly faster than he pulls.

Their mouths very nearly part before John finishes his tactical retreat. Cheekbones follows him faster, catches him with mouth and hand. His long fingers tug at the front of John’s coat without unbuttoning it. John tilts his head, playing with pressure. The contrast between soft lips and rougher cheek sends an odd thrill down through his centre.

John breaks the kiss to slide his nose against the other man’s. It’s a quick move, no matter how languid the motion of his neck in performing it, and John switches sides thusly. He curls his fingertips into Cheekbones’ nape and gives him a light scrape of nail, barely any. When Cheekbones inhales sharply through his nose, John focuses on his lower lip. In an anchoring touch, he lays his free hand against a thick lapel.

Their breathing turns muted, hushed rather than soft. They twist into each other a bit more, mouths falling open one tiny increment at a time. John kisses his mouth open with due diligence, and only then does he make the first brush of contact with his tongue. He shifts his weight when Cheekbones presses in and lets himself be backed against the bookshelf. He settles there gently, one hand leaving the posh coat to reach behind himself and hold the shelf.

Face turned upward, he opens his mouth farther and coaxes out Cheekbones’ tongue. He digs in his fingernails as he welcomes his soft, wet guest. A short suck on his tongue teases at a blowjob John isn’t about to give—not yet, anyway, maybe a date or two in—and Cheekbones cups his neck in his pale hands. Their kisses deepen and John giggles at the taste.

“You could have said you’d just had coffee,” John murmurs, too breathless for a full whisper. He feels more than sees the answering eye roll, and he doesn’t really care. The height difference makes it easy to slide his mouth along a slightly rough jaw line. He presses a kiss to Cheekbones’ neck only to lift his face and give a quick nip to his earlobe. John is very, very good with ears. He brushes back dark curls for better access, and Cheekbones tilts into the touch, stooping.

One of Cheekbones’ hands threads through John’s hair, anchoring him in place. John tries to be quiet about the sounds of his mouth on skin. The more ragged Cheekbones’ breathing grows, the more difficult it becomes.

They could be caught. They could be found like this, John snogging a frankly gorgeous man. Bit embarrassing, yes, but also a bit like being walked in on with a model.

John returns to the neck after running through the old ear standbys. He ducks his head down low, trying to make sure he won’t leave any visible marks, but if using his fingernails has taught him anything, it’s that Cheekbones loves a bit of teeth.

Cheekbones presses forward, crowding him against the bookshelf, and hello. God, cocks are hot. He’s never thought much about the heat of his own, but someone else’s is another matter. He shifts his hips, wanting more than hot pressure against his stomach.

Books slide backward on the shelf behind him, knocking against the backboard. A hard line digs into John’s back regardless of how he tries to shift away from it, but, oh, the shifting.

One of his hands threaded through John’s hair, Cheekbones grips John’s hip with the other. “Stop moving,” he hisses, voice impossibly deeper.

“Stop trying to shelf me.” A furtive whisper, he hardly makes it out before his mouth is otherwise occupied. Cheekbones gives him more tongue now, not at all shy. The bookshelf creaks behind John, and they both freeze, mouth still very much on mouth.

They breathe into each other for one tense, straining moment before Cheekbones pulls back. He pulls John with him. “Fine,” he says as if granting John some generous favour. He’d be more convincing if he didn’t sound like a breathless thundercloud. “Storage room.”

John tamps down the reaction to question his luck. Instead, he takes in the man in front of him, sleek lines delectably rumpled. Mouth dry, John nods.

Cheekbones nods back and turns around, walking like a man with a good sense of direction and one hell of an erection. John follows with less of the first and a bad case of the second. He sticks his hands in his coat pockets in the attempt to make it less obvious, holding the fabric forward as inconspicuously as possible.

Two bookshelves over, there’s a locked door and no sign of anyone else. With a quiet efficiency that ought to be worrisome, Cheekbones jimmies it open. He enters and John follows, closing the door carefully behind them.

“Lights?” John whispers.

Cheekbones clicks on a desk lamp. It’s not just a storage room, it’s also a tiny office. They’re going to have sex in someone’s office. Fucking Christ.

“Ah,” Cheekbones says. He swipes a box of tissues off the desk and sets it on top of the filing cabinet next to John. With that, he sets his fingertips against John’s chest and gives him a light shove toward the wall. Feet planted, John sways before holding steady. Cheekbones’ eyes gleam.

“Play nice,” John teases.

Kiss-reddened lips curve into a smirk. “No.” He presses forward, his chest pushing against John’s. His left arm rises up over John’s head, forearm planted against the wall. His right hand strokes down John’s abdomen and John reflexively sucks his stomach in. “You wouldn’t want that anyway.”

John giggles, a high, nervous sound. He shifts against the wall, tugging Cheekbones closer by his coat lapels. Cheekbones smothers John’s giggling with his mouth.

The kiss moves from John’s mouth to his ear. John tilts his head further, offering up his neck, and he hears, “Open your trousers.”

The giggling stops. It freezes in his throat, as if any puff of breath would blow away the tissue paper promise of sex. John’s hands drop to his belt. The sound of rustling cloth dominates the room, blotting out even the pulse racing below his skin. He lowers his zip and pulls himself out through his briefs. His cock bobs up eagerly.

“I feel like I’m in the loo,” John says without thinking. Either the comment or John’s resulting awkwardness earns him a deep rumbling chuckle.

“Do strangers often wank you in the loo?” Cheekbones asks. With that, his hand skims down John’s stomach, over the waistband of John’s briefs, and, God, those fingers. He begins with such a light touch, two fingers in a V framing John, stroking him and making him twitch.

“No,” John whispers, “but you could change that. Really wouldn’t mind.” He lifts his mouth for more kissing, but Cheekbones returns to John’s ear. At once relaxed and tense, John sprawls against the wall as long fingers give way to a confident palm. John rides up into the touch, eyes closed, mouth open, hips seeking.

Cheekbones twists his palm around the head before slicking John with his own precome. Breath shallow, face hot, John bunches the fabric of the posh coat in his hands. The lips at John’s ear move down to his neck to press open-mouthed kisses there.

They find a rhythm, John thrusting, Cheekbones pulling and stroking. When John’s close, Cheekbones drops his hand down to fondle John’s balls through his pants. John’s cock thrusts up against his wrist. John reaches for himself, needing more, and Cheekbones’ hand closes around his. Jesus, his fingers. They work John together.

John’s other hand tugs at the back of Cheekbones’ neck, tugs until Cheekbones’ nipping at John’s neck stops and the mouth-on-mouth kissing resumes. John would show off, but he’s in no state for technique. He gasps and groans, savouring a wet mouth that no longer tastes of coffee. He digs his nails into Cheekbones’ nape, can still do that, and Cheekbones presses him into the wall as if about to fuck him through it. His cock shoves against John’s hip through their clothing. All the while, his hand remains mobile on John’s cock, threaded through John’s fingers, pulling him inexorably closer.

John scratches this time, a hard drag of the fingernails, and a low growl rumbles from the back of Cheekbones’ throat and into John’s mouth. John can barely breathe, can’t keep his eyes open, can only feel wet, sliding heat of hand and tongue. His damp skin blazes beneath his clothes. The heat is everywhere, discomfort and tantalization both, pushing him forward even while it distracts his body. Their hands work faster, their rhythm falling apart. John’s belt jingles.

He chokes out a sound, not even a word. Cheekbones silences him. The arm over John’s head vanishes, and John hears the noise of a tissue plucked from its box. He comes, his breath stopped up against Cheekbones’ mouth. The muscles in his thighs jump. He squeezes his eyes shut even tighter, tension rippling through his body on its way out. His hand twitches on Cheekbone’s nape. He startles at the touch of come-smeared tissue against his cock.

“Oh my God,” John gasps hoarsely.

Cheekbones nips at his ear. “Go on. Show me what you’ve learned.” He tucks John away as he speaks, this touch somehow more intimate than all the rest. He zips John back up and fastens his belt to its correct hole.

John keeps breathing, an accomplishment in itself.

“Well?”

“Give me a minute.” He slips one hand beneath Cheekbones’ coat to pull him closer by the arse. He likes the feel of a cock against his stomach, he realises.

“Now, or I come on your shirt.”

“Wanker.”

“Mm, yes.”

Giggling, his head light and hollow, his limbs lethargic, John strokes his knuckles down Cheekbones’ chest. “Can’t reach.”

Cheekbones shifts back just enough to let John’s hand through. The awkward angle shakes his confidence but doesn’t deter him from unfastening the belt he finds. The buttery leather slides from the belt loops the moment John releases the buckle, the weight of the metal stripping the belt from Cheekbones’ trim waist. The buckle clinks onto the floor, but Cheekbones doesn’t seem to mind. John’s the one who listens for any sound outside the office door.

“It’s locked.” Cheekbones’ whisper holds more condescension than reassurance.

John rolls his eyes. “Right, because no one working here will have a key.” He lowers Cheekbones’ zip anyway, careful not to snag his erection. Christ, that’s lovely. He touches with an explorative hand, not yet seeking to pleasure, but Cheekbones hisses out through his teeth. “Mm, look who’s close.”

“Look who’s, ah, making me wait...” He drops his forehead onto John’s shoulder, his hair tickling the side of John’s face.

Just for that, John starts slow. Half of technique is confidence, of knowing he can touch. The other half is paying attention. Cheekbones loves a thumb circling his slit, almost as much as he enjoys having his foreskin played with. He likes to rock into John’s hand. He holds onto John’s shoulders, still pressing John back into the wall while John works him. John feels a strange sort of scrape beside his neck and realises Cheekbones has just bitten John’s coat.

John’s sweaty hand turns slick with precome. His wrist begins to ache with the unfamiliar angle. “Can I give you a reach-around?” he whispers.

Cheekbones’ hair rasps against the side of John’s face as he nods. Relinquishing his grip on John, he puts his forearms back on the wall. John slips around him, presses against his back through the long posh coat, and uses his hands as he would on himself. He drops his mouth between Cheekbones’ shoulder blades and nuzzles there, the cloth much too thick for any biting to be felt. John’s too short to bite any higher, not with Cheekbones leaning forward and his collar popped.

“Reach back,” John instructs.

Cheekbones gives a questioning hum. His arse rocks back against John’s oversensitive crotch. It fucking hurts, but the hurt is fucking.

“Reach back. C’mon. Like you were grabbing my hair.”

Making little noises against one arm, Cheekbones reaches behind his head with the other. John lifts his head from the posh coat to pull the nearest two fingers into his mouth. He suckles gently, certain to work his hand faster, and Cheekbones grinds his arse against John all the more insistently.

The first scrape of teeth is to see if John is right. The second scrape is to tease.

The third time is a bite.

Cheekbones makes a garbled noise, his middle and ring fingers curling inside John’s mouth. His index finger pets John’s cheek. He doesn’t withdraw his arm in the slightest. John pulls his head back, scraping his teeth down those fingers while giving them a good suck.

With a muffled groan, Cheekbones comes in John’s hands. John releases Cheekbones’ fingers, but Cheekbones tries to push his fingers back into John’s mouth. John sucks on them gladly. Gorgeous hands. He doesn’t mind letting Cheekbones ride out his afterglow like this in the slightest.

Eventually, Cheekbones straightens and pulls out a tissue for John’s hands and another for his own cock. They drop all the tissues in the bin, John a bit embarrassed, Cheekbones evidently shameless.

Cheekbones tucks himself away and stoops to pick up his belt. Watching him thread it back through his belt loops is a delicious joy, a striptease no less effective for being in reverse. Chin lowered to watch his hands on his buckle, Cheekbones looks up at John through his eyelashes.

John steps forward and kisses him, rough about it. He nips at lips and tongue, and Cheekbones’ hands fumble inside John’s coat. No sooner does John hum than Cheekbones removes his hands, instead wrapping his arms around John’s back.

“Tomorrow night, seven o’clock,” Cheekbones murmurs against John’s mouth. “Come over if I don’t have work. Bring takeaway and condoms.”

“Yeah, okay,” John agrees instantly, his lungs empty except for those words.

“Good.” Cheekbones presses a smirk against John’s lips. John tries to kiss it off him, but to no avail.

An increasingly sated snog later, Cheekbones pulls back. “I’ll leave first. If you don’t hear anything, assume it’s safe to follow.”

“Wait.” John catches his arm. “I don’t know where we’re meeting. Hell, I don’t even know your name.”

Cheekbones’ smirk only grows. “The name is Sherlock Holmes, the address is 221B Baker Street, and my number’s in your phone.” With that, he tosses John Harry’s old mobile.

“What--?”

He winks as John gapes at him and promptly swishes out the door.

John stands mystified and well-shagged in equal measure. Then he checks his contacts list and finds an entry labelled “SH.” He looks at it for a moment before typing out a text.

How’s Chinese?

His mobile buzzes before he can so much as pocket it.

Perfect. SH

Grinning fit to break his face in half, John clicks off the office light and sneaks out the door.