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Sharon

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“John, what’s this site you’ve logged on to? ‘The Science of Seduction’? Seems like an interesting, if plagiaristic, blog. What were you looking for?”

John marched over and shut the laptop with a smart tap. “Quit messing about with my stuff, Sherlock.”

Sherlock looked John up and down. Shaved. Showered. Ironed shirt. Overly fragrant. Extreme use of hair product. “Going out? And is the ‘Science of Seduction’ somehow involved?”

“I have a date, if you must know.”

“Who’s the lucky lassie?”

“I met her on the Science of Seduction. IF you MUST know.”

“I do need to know. You’re my blogger. You’re my . . . what is it Mycroft calls you?”

“Just bloody stop.”

“He says you’re like one of those toys, those little cans that go ‘moo’ when turned over. I believe their motto is ‘it lives in a pocket.’”

“Why are you deviling me like this?”

“I’m trying to learn all the facts. What’s her name?”

“Right.” John stopped as if considering something. “Okay, right. Her name is Sharon. Sensible name, nice picture. Indicates she wants a good time.”

Sherlock fixed his eyes on the closed laptop. “Sharon, eh? Well, obviously not in line for the throne. I know that name was most popular five or six years before you were born, so she probably posted an old photograph, or else a picture of someone else. I suspect that, from her apparent friskiness and her age, she’s been married twice.” He looked up at John. “Chacun a son gout”

“Good night, Sherlock.”

“At least two children, but more likely three,” Sherlock shouted as the door slammed. Then he heard John’s precise tread all the way down the stairs; the door to the street slammed more softly, and Sherlock opened up John’s laptop again.

 

It had been difficult to find an online list of twenty-five people who could calculate prime numbers to near infinity in their heads, but Sherlock had found it.

Then the door opened.

John was back. He’d been gone two hours.

“Oh, hullo, John. Is this the average length of a ‘date’?’.

John took off his jacket. He wouldn’t even look at Sherlock. He just sat down in his chair silently, with that inward look Sherlock knew so well.

“Perhaps ‘average’ was the wrong choice of word. By the way, what degree of dissonance was there between the anticipated ‘date’ and the actual one?”

“Don’t mock me.”

Sherlock was shocked into silence.

John gave him that under-the-eyebrows look. “It was absolutely miserable, Sherlock. And you were wrong. She hadn’t been married twice. She was married now.” He gave a sigh. “We went to a room she’d rented. And we started . . . that was when a big steaming Scotsman burst through the door. I couldn’t understand a bloody word he said, but he seemed to indicate that he was fookin done with Sharon’s hoorin when they had babby at home.“

Sherlock looked as if he were hearing about a new kind of fur-bearing dinosaur. “Go on. This is quite interesting.”

“No, it wasn’t interesting at all. It was bloody humiliating. I’m going to bed now. Good night, Sherlock. I’m going to have to sleep this one off.”

 

One week later.

 

John opened the door and dragged his duffel in. Then he brought in Sherlock’s travel lab.

Sherlock set his rolly suitcase in the corner. “John, it was just another bog man! I mean, it’s nice that we discovered a new bog man. The North of England can’t have enough bog men, really. But an alien! How absurd!”

“But what about that space craft lying next to your so-called ‘bog man’?”

“I thought we’d been over this. What makes so many people think that . . . that structure was a space craft?”

“Sherlock, you yourself agreed with the scientists. All of you said it was a heretofore unknown metal alloy. Impossible to date. I find that intriguing. Or suspicious.”

Sherlock sat on the sofa. “It wasn’t a space craft. It was just a slice of a giant meteor which must have landed on that spot about fifteen hundred years ago and frightened the natives no end. But, after a week or so of contemplation and ‘prayer’ and other preposterous ritualized activity, the tribe came to the usual conclusion. They strangled their prince, bound up his body, and dumped him in the bog. And from their point of view, it worked beautifully. There have been no known meteor strikes in the West Yorkshire area since then.”

“How do you know those bindings weren’t restraining straps? If the space craft could be invented, so could restraining straps.”

“Well, John, we’ll have to see what the ancient Chinese astronomers say, once the scientists finish dating the prince.” Sherlock paused. “Or after they check with the Persians. Or the Aztecs.”

“Still, it looked more like an alien than a man.”

Sherlock lay back. “That’s so . . . anecdotal, to say the least. Face it, you just want to go back up there and chat up Dr. Alison Busby. Worming your way into her graces by agreeing that it’s a space alien. I can just envision the headlines! ‘The Roswell of Yorkshire – see the space alien now!’ Imagine the sweeties they can sell. Sugar Swirling Rockets! Sour Alien Faces! Choco-mint Space Shocks!”

“Well, I can’t imagine the sweets a bog man would inspire.”

“Nevertheless, it’s a bog man.”

John lifted his eyebrows. “With a parenthetical possibility of being a space alien.”

“I suspect that you’re preparing to blog about it just to impress Dr. Busby.”

“Well, now that you mention it . . . ‘The Space Invasion of Northern England’. It’ll write itself.”

 

Sherlock padded into the living room; as usual, the tea had miraculously appeared. “Where shall we go for breakfast, John? The same old place?”

John was in his chair; he had that stare again.

Sherlock sat on his sofa. “Did the blog not go over well?”

“Oh, Alison posted a note that she loved the write-up.”

Sherlock peeked at John over the edge of his teacup. “That was good?”

“She also said her boyfriend Bryan loved it even more. He’s starting his own blog now. Putting a private fence around the whole Northern space alien thing. ‘thnxkbai, AB!”

“You’re not hungry then.”

“So damn frustrated I could eat Mrs. Hudson’s curtains, but, no, I’m not hungry. Yet.”

“I believe this event is on the edge of tragic right where it meets comic.”

John said nothing.

“Come on, John. Breakfast will cheer you up.”

 

Sherlock walked his toast strips around his fried eggs trying to achieve an equanimity of yolk and crumb. “I must say, John, your moods, which have always been, well, moody, seem quite tied to the idea of sexual achievement. I suspect this is normal among soldiers, actually their main raison d’etre, probably since, you know, that first war 12,000 years ago on the Northern Sudanese border, or else at good old Nataruk in Kenya. Of course, many believe there was almost constant warfare between the Neanderthals and the Cro-Mags. Occurring as rhythmically as football matches. Girls and boasting, that’s all it ever is.”

John drank some coffee. “Sherlock, your life is perfectly balanced between work and work. But I’d like a life which balances work with passion, emotions, etc. It always seems that, just when I think I might be on the verge of this balance, something deeply unsatisfying happens.”

“You were a boob to expect to find l’affaire Sharon satisfying.”

John looked at Sherlock, and Sherlock looked back. Against his better judgement, Sherlock found the fatigue in John’s face distressing, the circles under his eyes, the deepening creases in his cheeks. When they had first met, John had looked like a schoolboy, even with the cane, the limp, and all that. Had he, Sherlock, destroyed John’s joy in life? How could someone age so quickly?

“John, are you getting enough to eat?”

John wasn’t looking at him.

“How about a bun? One with icing? And a cappuccino. A cappuccino with some crisps. Once I had to fly to some assignment, and cappuccinos and crisps were all that were available. Eerily tasty. Mycroft’s doing,” he added hastily.

“I’d like a drink, actually.”

“Let’s wait on that, John, until lunch at least. Or elevenses.” Sherlock tried to give John a big smile. Squinted eyes, lips practically touching his dimples.

John seemed to tolerate the smile. “What shall we do until then?”

“John! You never get bored. I’m the one who always gets bored! Listen, why don’t you let me buy you something nice and new to wear? Maybe a new, even better jumper than ever before!”

 

“Sherlock, you can’t spend that much for a simple jumper like this.”

“But it looks good on you, and besides Mycroft gave me an extra thousand this month. Told me to keep my mouth shut. Although I had no idea what he was talking about, I said, you’ll have to pay the price, brother dear. Actually," Sherlock looked up, "I snarled at him when I said it!”

“Maybe he thinks you saw those naked pictures of you-know-who on that laptop he left at the flat!”

“Pictures of whom!” Sherlock said, excited as a young girl.

“This is not the place to discuss things like that.” But even as John was protesting, he was also looking at himself in the three-way mirror. “I adore cashmere.”

Sherlock stroked the jumper. “You look good in this color too. Light blue cashmere. It suits your . . . caramel looks.”

“Caramel looks. Sod off.”

“Won’t you need a scarf to go with it. More cashmere, perhaps navy and white stripes. Or maroon. Oh, maroon. Yes. That would be the perfect addition.” Sherlock nodded at the waiting clerk.

Sherlock was right. The maroon scarf was perfect.

John smiled at himself in the mirror, and Sherlock leaned over his shoulder. “Let’s get some takeaway, John, go back to the flat and swan about in front of the mirror the rest of the evening.”

"Right,” John said. Now he was the one deploying the dimples.

 

That was when it started.

 

John had a mock fashion parade up and down the living room, while Sherlock shouted out mock orders. “March. Now double fast. Now sway, you bitch.”

John laughed at that.

Sherlock patted the seat beside him. “You can sit now.”

John sat down, and Sherlock put his arm around John’s cashmere shoulders. “Oh, Sharon, you’re so much fun.”

John laughed. “I do look a picture, don’t I, Sharon?”

“Oh, you don’t half. Here, Sharon, just let me give you a kiss, a reward for participation.” And he kissed John’s cheek very very lightly.

John looked radiant, young again. “Did you get your damned Wooly’s lipstick on me again!”

“Oh, no, the Bruiser’s gonna see it! You’ve completely bolloxed it this time, Sharon. He’ll cashmere-jumper you, he will!”

 

John was reading the papers when Sherlock came down for morning tea. He merely glanced at Sherlock, but he was smiling. And he had on the blue jumper.

“Oh, Sharon, you look fresh as a daisy this morning.”

Now John looked directly at Sherlock. “And so do you, Sharon my dear.”

“What’s in the papers, Sharon pet?” Sherlock sat in the chair beside John and squeezed his knee.

“Oh, you’re fresh as butter, aren’t you, Sharon!”

Sherlock gasped in a theatrical way. “Oh, you!”

“Well, Sharon, I’ll be on the sofa watching telly.” John took his tea to the sofa, and Sherlock followed him.

“Umm, what’s your favorite show again, Sharon, I have forgotten. Oh, wait, ‘The Stove of an Englishwoman,’ isn’t it? Cooking in glass pots so you can see the food congeal.”

They both laughed.

John finished his tea. “Well, Sharon, luv, I’ve got to get back to work.” And he went over to his laptop.

Sherlock stood up and took the dishes into the kitchen.

Uh-oh.

He’d forgotten that he’d left those casually-pocketed bog man fingertips in a bowl in the sink.

Well, he’d return them as soon as he scanned in the fingerprints and did some DNA testing.

Meanwhile John was working away on their site.

“I’m going over to St. Barts, get some DNA work done. Any new cases?”

“Let me do some filtering.”

 

Impossible. Sherlock was looking at something that he couldn’t be looking at.

He ran the DNA test again.

Then that girl came in right in the middle of the repeat test. “Sherlock, I’m leaving now. Think of a good excuse for being here in case the boss comes in.”

He looked up at her. “Thanks, um . . .”

“Molly,” she said one half-second before Sherlock said “Molly.”

“Good night,” she said and slammed the door.

Sherlock picked up one of the bog bits; it looked rather like a cooked black olive. He replaced it in the bowl, and then tented his fingers as he thought.

 

John looked up as Sherlock came in. “Sharon!”

“Sharon!” Sherlock responded; then he walked over to John’s desk chair and leaned down and touched John’s head with his cheek. “Shouldn’t you be putting on your bunny slippers and jammies! I do like to see a girl take care of herself.”

“Climb into that peignoir, Sharon, and we’ll have a big cuddle on the sofa.”

“I’m going to get refreshed; let’s meet on the sofa in ten minutes.”

“Oh, right,” John said. “Plus: B.R.T.S.”

Sherlock lifted his eyebrows questioningly.

“Be Ready to Snog.”

Sherlock returned in exactly ten minutes. “Darling, are you cooking beans and toast, or should we have take-out tikka marsala?” he drawled and then sat close beside John.

“Oh, take out, definitely. We can afford it!”

They sat there in silence, Sherlock idly moving his hand over the sofa arm.

Then John stood up and dialed the corner curry place. “And shall I pop out for some syrah, Sharon? I’d like to see you a little drunk tonight.”

“No, pet, we’ve got a cheap cabernet which will do just fine, make my head fuzzy as a poodle’s.”

Another pause.

“John, I’m working on a very interesting case. I’d like to run something by you after supper.”

“You want to start now while we’re waiting.”

“Sharon, sweetie, it’s really an after-dinner conversation.”

John stood up and gently touched Sherlock’s cheek. Then he leaned into him. “I hate to wait, Sharon.”

 

The first rule of Sharon was don’t talk about Sharon.

 

“See these fingertips?”

“What have you done! Those belong to the alien!”

“Nope. Nor do they belong to the bog man.”

“Sherlock, what are you saying?”

“These fingertips belong to a recently deceased earthling. Just as you or I might be described.”

“Your testing shows this?”

“Well, ummm, what it shows is human DNA mixed with some sort of human-compatible DNA. So, no, not really you or me, exactly. But . . . ah, would you like to see the DNA reports?”

“How did he get that look on his . . . face, or whatever it was?”

“You mean, the smashed-like-a-run-over-muffin-face,” Sherlock said. “Yes, it looked as if his skull had been removed.”

“Oh, god, Sherlock, was it a child? The height would be right for a child.”

“But remember the feet and hands. They were adult-sized. Plus the bones were fully-knit, just like the rest of us Earthlings.”

“So a deformed person was murdered. Right. That does change things.”

“John, we may have to go back there, this time with a warrant. Let’s notify Glen.”

“Glen! Who’s Glen?”

“You know Glen! Glen Lestrade. ”

 

They could hear Lestrade stomping up the stairs, and Mrs. Hudson was right behind him.

John met them at the door. “He’s calling you ‘Glen’ now.”

Lestrade pushed his lower lip out. “What is it, Sherlock?”

“Murder most foul,” Sherlock called from the sofa.

“Oooh,” said Mrs. Hudson, “that’s right up your alley, isn’t it, Sherlock?”

“Who’s dead? I haven’t heard about any recent unsolved murder, and I would know, wouldn’t I?” Lestrade said patiently.

“It’s up north, near West Yorkshire.”

“Not my division, boys.”

“Oh, my, I’ll fetch some tea,” said Mrs. Hudson.

“Listen, Lestrade, I thought you could contact the authorities and use your powers of telepathy, or black magic or whatever they are is to ease our investigation up there.”

“I generally use my mobile, Sherlock. Now what are the details?”

 

“Alone at last,” Sherlock said as he sat back on his sofa.

John was standing at the door to make sure everyone was gone. Then he turned to Sherlock and smiled. “Oh, Sharon, I thought they would never leave!” And he walked over to the sofa and sat as near to Sherlock as he could.

Sherlock turned to him; there was a very tender look on his face. “Oh, Sharon, you heartless wench.”

John smiled at him and scooted away; each man sat quietly thinking his own thoughts until it was fully dark outside.

 

“Hmmm,” John was looking at his laptop. “That’s not good.”

Sherlock was scanning the morning papers. “What’s not good?”

“I can’t find Alison’s boyfriend’s blog.”

“Perhaps all that shagging they were doing wearied him.”

“I can’t find her either. I can’t find her account. I can’t even find any indication either of them ever existed. I’m ringing Lestrade. We need to go there now.”

 

Baggage in hand, they met Lestrade at Scotland Yard.

“Okay, lads, I’ve talked to Chief Inspector Carr and his people up in Yorkshire. Not surprisingly, they weren’t enthusiastic about working with you again, Sherlock, not after the dust-up over the bog man.”

“Alien,” John said at the same time Sherlock said, “Murder victim.”

“Whatever. Off with you now. You can always ring me if I’m needed.”

Sherlock straightened up. “I don’t think we’ll need you, Detective Inspector Lestrade.” Then he walked off.

John held back for a moment, and he and Lestrade exchanged looks. Then they both nodded.

 

Chief Detective Inspector Carr was a rough-looking bulldog of a man. “Welcome back, boys! Still lookin' for your outa space man, are you?” Belligerence seemed innate to him as his pulse. “Lestrade called me, but he wasn’t quite clear on what I was supposed to do with you now. We’ve got a crack team searchin' for Busby and Singleton, so it’s not like you’re necessary.”

Sherlock and John were a little intimidated.

Carr gave them a big crooked smile. “Why don’t you go back to your poshy inn or whatever, put on your silky pyjamas, drink your tea from them little china cups, and we’ll ring you when we need you.”

Sherlock lifted his head. “We’re going to talk to Dr. Busby’s landlady. We’ve some theories we want to check out.”

“Theories!” Carr practically spat the word out.

 

Sherlock had to use every bit of his charm to gain access to Alison’s flat.

The landlady, a dead ringer for Mrs. Hudson, said, “I hope neither of you is in love with Ali. She’s quite devoted to her boyfriend.”

“Bryan Somerville?” John asked.

“Oh, yes. Bryan. He basically lives here. I ought to raise the rent, but they’re such a sweet quiet loving couple. Never hear a peep out of them. He’s always on his laptop, and she’s always studying something or other. Best tenants I’ve ever had.” She opened the door. “Well, not the neatest, maybe, but you know what I mean.”

The apartment smelled musty, disused.

“Oh, my, I must air it out. Now where did you say they’d gone?”

“We hoped you’d know. They didn’t tell you, Mrs. . . .?” John asked.

“Sellers. I’m Mrs. Sellers. They’re always renting a van and going off on camping trips on the moors. You know, I wonder if they would get married if I threatened to raise the rent until they do. Sometimes all people need is a little push.”

Sherlock was going through the apartment thoroughly with his looking glass. “Does the flat always look this untidy, or does it seem as if it’s been broken into?”

“Ooooh,” said Mrs. Sellers. “I can’t quite say. You know,” she lowered her voice, “these intellectuals, how they are and everything. Oh, well.”

Sherlock looked down at the desk. He could shuffle through it fairly easily with his mind. “Bryan’s a writer, you say.”

“Yes, for those, you know, journals.”

“Intellectual journals, right?” John said.

Mrs. Sellers nodded. “Scientific, all of them. None our newsagent carries.”

“Would you say he was the sort of man to pour his tea on his documents and then go out on the moors?” Sherlock asked.

“I would hope not!” Mrs. Sellers said with vehemence.

“Then I doubt they left here willingly.” And Sherlock pointed to the spill on the desk top. The overturned cup was still there, and it had soaked through several pieces of paper, leaving them illegible, the wet print running together like modern art.

“Would you mind if we called the police?” John said.

“Oh, no. Do you think something bad has happened?”

“There is that possibility," Sherlock announced.

 

“Now what?” Carr growled.

Sherlock stood up very straight. “I have reason to believe that Alison Busby and Bryan Singleton were abducted from their flat.”

“Abducted, eh?” Carr stretched up the syllables. “Aren’t your little friends from outa space allus abducting someone or another so as to perform wicked sex experiments on them?”

“I’ve seen it on telly,” one of Carr’s subordinates shouted, and everyone in the office started laughing.

Sherlock ignored their laughter, and John stood beside him, letting the soldier in him show.

“Bring me a livin’ bit of evidence of ‘abduction’ and I’ll look into it,” Carr said and turned away to hide his grin from Sherlock and John

 

John and Sherlock drove back to the site again where now a little old man with a stick and a fuzzy dog was walking around.

“Verily, right out of Thomas Hardy. Here, let’s see what Father Time knows,” and Sherlock jumped out of the car.

 

“Oh, me, I see things, terrible things, on the moors all the time. You can’t miss ‘em”

“Things?” said Sherlock, “what sort of things, Mr. . . . ??“

“Oh, all round these parts call me Old Gortie, they do. And what sort of things? Well, men from the moon. Landing pretty as you please right in front o’ me. But I knows the moon rays bear poison, so I cleared right steer of 'em.”

“How do you know they were moon men?” John asked.

“Ah, weel, truth to tell, I only saw the rocket. But it had moon writing all over it, plain as day. I took mah leave, I can tell you.”

Sherlock and John were listening carefully to this.

“They hadda been moon men, because of the Communists, you see.”

“Communists?”

“Oh, aye, Communists wearing great red hammers and sickles, with antennae sticking out of their heads like bugs has. I figgered it was to get radio images from the moon.”

Sherlock took a deep breath. “What’s your dog’s name?”

“Mah wee sweetie? Why, that’s Georgianna, that is. Say ‘hullo’ to the nice boys, Georgianna.”

Georgianna woofed.

“How did Georgianna react to the moon rocket?”

Old Gortie laughed. Most of his teeth were missing. “She took off like she was a moon rocket herself.”

“And how about the Communists? What was her reaction then?”

“I hushed her and held her close they were that frightening. Oh, I steered clear of them too. It looked like they had taken prisoners and was heading off towards the old shoe-blacking factory where the moon men was a-waitin’ on 'em.”

“The old shoe-blacking factory?” said John.

“Aye, the old shoe-blacking factory. It’s been closed for donkey’s years. Scared Georgianna and me so bad we hightailed it out of there.”

 

John and Sherlock had an adequate supper at the inn.

“Was it tiny china teacups, Sharon, or fancy ones? You know the ones we were to sip from.”

“Well, Sharon,” replied Sherlock, “hate to break to news to Carr, but I’ve had fancier AND tinier tea cups.’ He leaned over to whisper to John. “Let’s go back to the moors again. That old man’s remarks intrigued me.”

 

When they got to the site, it was deserted.

“Good,” Sherlock said. “Let’s unpack our gear."

“Sherlock, where did you get this fancy metal detector? I’ve never seen anything like it. We could have used it in Afghanistan.”

“Make a deduction, John. Just try.”

“Oh, I get it. Does the great Himself know you have it?”

“I used one of his access codes to have to it shipped to St. Bart’s. Surprisingly easy, really. Now, do you have your big military flashlight?”

“Why, yes, Sharon, I do. Would you like to hold it?”

They both giggled.

“Sharon, you shameless tart!” Sherlock said. "Let’s get going.”

The Yorkshire moors were good for hiking.

They walked at a right angle from the roadway, towards the place where the victim/bogman/alien had been found. And suddenly they found themselves on the edge of a high cliff made of open rock.

“Too bad it’s night time, or I could take a photo of the great consulting detective, collar up, enigmatic look and all.”

“Oh, yes, Sharon, and you could keep a copy of it in your white plastic purse. Write ‘I love him so’ on it.”

“Oh, Sharon!” John said.

A rough cool breeze came up; Sherlock’s coat billowed in its wake. The moon was nearly full, and they could see each other’s expressions easily. Then they looked away to the view.

“I know you’re not one for scenery, Sharon,” John whispered. "You’d rather be snogging in front of telly, you would, but even you must admit this is quite impressive.”

“Oh you, let a footie team walk by, and you’d go ‘scenery wot scenery'.”

But Sherlock didn’t look at John – he looked at the landscape below, the crooked little creeks, the distant roadway; trucks and cars drove by, turning off this way and that on who knew what mission.

Then he took John’s hand in his with a fierce grip, and John gripped him back.

 

The time had come.

 

The breeze died away, and they stood like statues in the strong moonlight.

And it was just a moonlit moment before Sherlock turned to John and embraced him. John leaned against him with his chin up. Then they kissed, their first real kiss, their wet tongues touching, playing, their hearts pounding, Sherlock rubbing John’s back, John hanging onto him tightly.

Only some small animal running through the bushes below the cliff startled them into breaking from the kiss.

“Kiss me again,” John whispered.

Sherlock bent over, and the kisses became marathon, breaking only for a nuzzle against soft skin, or a teasing rub of lips, or deep breaths against hair or collar.

“I think we’re way off course,” Sherlock finally said. “Let’s take cover . . . and . . . think about the directions we want to go in.”

The soldier versus the detective. “Let’s just back to the inn,” John said.

After they parked their car, they stayed there for more kisses; they both knew what would happen when they returned to their room, but they still wanted kisses, not mere kisses, but kisses that seemed to go right to each man’s heart.

Finally: “I can’t wait anymore, Sherlock. Please let’s go in.”

 

Only a few gold-colored lamps were still lit, and the night clerk barely stirred from his novel as John and Sherlock walked in.

John waved his key card, and the clerk nodded in a sleepy way.

They walked through the carpeted hall until they came to the room. Sherlock took John by the shoulders. “Are you sure?”

John straightened up. “Yes, I am.”

However, the energy shifted a little as they entered their pleasant warm room.

Sherlock took off his coat and sat in the one easy chair. He was tenting his fingers.

John walked over and knelt in front of him. “Please, Sherlock, please.” He took Sherlock’s hand in his own. “I’ve wanted to do this since the first night I moved into Baker Street.”

“It might change us,” Sherlock said in his precise way.

John had nothing to say to that. He squeezed Sherlock’s hand. Then it hit him. “Just pretend I’m Sharon.”

Sherlock tilted his head to the side. He seemed to be calculating something. Then he smiled. “But you are Sharon! Off with the jumper, unbutton the blouse. Let’s have a look at those tits!” He began to unbutton his own shirt.

John took his jumper and shirt off as quickly as he could. Now they were both naked from the waist up. Sherlock moved his hand down John’s chest and began to caress his left nipple.

“You slut,” John panted, “where’d you learn to do that?”

“From watching you out on the landing with every first date you’ve ever had.”

John ran his hands up Sherlock’s pale chest, but it wasn’t enough. He reached around Sherlock and brought him as close as he could, rubbing first gently and then ferociously against him. “Let’s take this a step further.”

“Oh yes,” Sherlock hissed, and, still clutching each other, they moved to the bed.

Sherlock sat down first. John couldn’t read his face in the dark, but he was sure, it just had to be, that Sherlock was ready, was ripe. Then he heard Sherlock breathe out, and he knew he was right. He sat on the bed beside Sherlock and pulled him over to face him. Then there were more hungry kisses and caresses.

At last John stood up and undid his trousers. “They’re beginning to hurt.”

“Mine too,” Sherlock whispered. John reached down to pull Sherlock’s trousers off as well. Then he sat back down on the bed.

They were naked. Aroused. Breathing together. “Have you ever done it with a soldier, Sharon?” John whispered.

“No, but I will, Sharon. First squaddie that comes along.” And diffidently he moved his hand down to John’s hard cock. It was big and fat, and he rubbed his thumb over the wet head wonderingly.

“Bet that surprises you, eh, girl. You probably don’t know what they say about short men.” And he grasped Sherlock’s erection, more slender than his but still impressive. And, as they began to rock into each other’s hand, they kissed as hard as they could.

“I don’t think I can hold it any longer,” Sherlock whispered.

“That’s good. That’s great.” John slid down the bed, put his mouth around Sherlock’s cock, and made it pulse against the back of his throat.

Then Sherlock erupted, wet and sweating in a way John had never seen before. He lay full length on top of Sherlock’s wet body, and began to rub his erection against him. Sherlock moved his hand down to stroke him, and John came too, spattering all across Sherlock’s chest. At that, Sherlock grabbed his head and they kissed again, kissing deep, till they were completely breathless.

John lay back down on the bed, their damp bodies touching.

“Is that a Duran Duran song playing in your head, darling?”

“A what?” Sherlock gasped.

Enough play. “Sherlock, don’t regret this. Because it was the most wonderful experience of my life. And I’d like to do it again. Soon.”

“My heart has never beaten this fast,” Sherlock said with amazement. “This is a new world for me. The body of a man as a laboratory.”

“Yes, let’s be each other’s lab rats.”

Sherlock sat up on the bed. “John, I don’t know what love is. I suspect it’s a cultural entity, changing from year to day, from country to town, from man to woman. But this feeling I have . . .”

John sat up too and kissed Sherlock’s neck. “Not so analytical. Let’s just say that we belong to each other now.”

“I have always entertained the notion that I owned you.”

 

The next morning, John was surprised to find Sherlock dressed and waiting.

“John, I think we should return to the scene of the crime.”

“Ohhh, Sharon, you are a saucy one!"

 

“Ah, just as I suspected. Old Gortie is waiting for us. He must have some more commie-lunar-moors related information for us.”

Old Gortie and Georgianna ran towards the car when they saw who it was.

“The coppers are here!” Gortie was breathless. “They want to lock me up for interferin’ with evidence. You must help me, you must! I hear they,” then he paused before he spelled out the word k-i-l-l, “the poor prisoner’s pets. I canna let tha’ happen.”

Then he pointed towards the horizon.

Carr and some of his men were snaking slowly towards them.

“Carr,” Sherlock called out. “What’s going on?” Then, softer, to old Gortie and Georgianna. "You two make tracks now."

“I ought to ask you that," Carr said as he grew closer. "I figger you’ll both sing like songbirds once I have you incarcerated for mucking up official police business.”

“I beg your pardon,” Sherlock said. “I serve here by the authority of Scotland Yard.”

“Hah, those damned ponces.”

“You can call Chief Detective Inspector Lestrade. Or better yet, call the British government. I’ve got his number right here.”

 

The cell was bigger than one would think, but still distinctly Northern.

“This is not how I imagined we would spend, you know, the night after,” John whispered.

‘I don’t think that Carr is playing straight with us.”

There was a knock at the steel door of the cell. Then it opened, and a small sallow policemen in uniform stepped in. “Yer man Lestrade called. You’re free to go. For now.”

 

They dined at the inn. Some of Carr’s men, all black eyebrows and low foreheads, dined near them.

“You think they’re watching us?” John said in a low voice.

Sherlock picked at his soup. “That’s so you, Sharon. You think every man in the place wants in your pants.”

“Um, in your pants. I have to say, Sharon, that’s a very evocative phrase.”

“Hurry up with the sodding food, so we can have sex, you bitch.” Then Sherlock touched his napkin daintily to his lips.

 

As soon as the door was locked and a piece of paper taped over the tiny peephole, they fell into each arms.

“I’ve been waiting for this all day,” John breathed. “I can’t even think straight anymore.”

“Mmm, just kiss me,” Sherlock said.

John kissed him, only stopping to unbutton Sherlock’s shirt and undo the top of his trousers. He loved rubbing against Sherlock’s nipples. “Sharon,” he sighed.

“Sharon, wouldn’t you be more comfortable if you were completely naked?" Sherlock undressed John with rough motions before undressing himself.

John put his hands on Sherlock’s shoulders. “Let you suck your cock again. It’s . . . “ Since John couldn’t find the words, he simply knelt in front of Sherlock and took him in his mouth as deeply as he could. The thought fleetingly crossed his mind that he would very soon have to learn how to relax his throat muscles completely, but all that was lost in the sensation of Sherlock’s cock and groans.

As if sensing John’s thoughts, Sherlock took John’s head in his hands and began to fuck his throat. But it was all right, it was great. John grabbed Sherlock’s slender hips so hard, he had to be bruising them.

Sherlock began to run his hands through his curly hair; then he groaned as he finished. “You get up here on the bed, Sharon." he said. "I want that cupful in my mouth now.”

“Oh, Christ, that throat. I’ve dreamed about it since that first time at St. Bart’s," John said as Sherlock began to use his tongue and lips.

They were both dizzy when they finished, lying together, puddled in their sweat and pounding blood.

“Sherlock, it’s our second anniversary!”

“Oh, Sharon! The second night of our forbidden love! Shall we get into the shag-van and go back to our honeymoon spot?”

“But first a visit to the Adult Shoppe, Sharon," John said as he nuzzled Sherlock's neck. "I’m sure they remember you from all the other times you went there!”

“Naughty knickers. Pasties ‘n’ glitter. Numbing cream for the excitable man. They must know you so well by now!”

“Sherlock, I mean, Sharon, where did you hear of such things?”

"From the pop-up ads on your blog.”

 

Back at the site, the moon had waned, but the moor was still clear as day. They held hands as they watched the road.

“Look at all the little turn-offs, Sharon,” Sherlock said. “I wonder where they lead.” There was a pause before he flipped out his mobile and did an Earthsearch. “Hmm, A629 leads to an abandoned . . .” he tapped a few more keys. “It leads to what was once a shoe-blacking factory! Call Lestrade!”

 

“Lestrade, have your men completely search the place.”

“Sherlock, if you’ll notice, I'm here alone. I’ll have to let Carr’s men do it.”

“You’re bloody well right, Lestrade. Mah site. Mah crime. Mah men. I can’t have you fookin’ Londoners mess up this crime scene. Now get in there, lads, and make a thorough search.”

Lestrade looked at John and Sherlock. “What can I say? Northerners terrify me.”

 

Soon they heard shouts.

“I’m going in,” said John, and Sherlock and Lestrade were right behind him.

Carr was leaning over a man’s body on the floor.

“Is it . . . ,” John began.

Then a woman slipped from the shadows and knelt to whisper to the body.

“He’s alive,” Lestrade called out.

“Ay, great policemen work, weren’t it? Case solved, and point to Carr,” Carr said and punched Lestrade lightly in the chest.

Alison was coughing. “Alison,” John said. “Are you all right? Can I check you out?”

“No, check Bryan first. He's hurt!”

Carr's men were carrying in a stretcher for Bryan.

“Don’t pick him up until I check him out. I’m a doctor,” John said. “I want to do a preliminary examination.”

Lestrade broke away from the shouting match with Carr. “Tell me about it, Miss Busby.”

“They broke into our flat.”

“Who?”

“I think they were Russian, or Eastern Europeans of some sort. They kept saying ‘vare izit? Vare izit?’ I have to say, they seemed rather dull-witted. Then they forced us into the back of their van. Bryan was fighting them, but they broke his shoulder, I think. Then, I don’t know, they seemed frightened of something. Their leader appeared to have a headset of some sort, and he was receiving instructions from some outside source. He gave a sort of signal, and they all just left. It was so strange. But they did leave us some sort of survival hamper, so I was able to bandage Bryan up. I was afraid to leave him. But if no one had come for us today, I was going to walk down to the roadway and flag someone down.”

John stood up and dusted off his hands. “They’re taking him to hospital. He’ll be fine.”

Everyone began to walk out of the blacking factory.

Alison held on to John’s arm. “John, I want to apologize. I think I led you on. You are very attractive, you know. But it’s always been Bryan for me. Yet . . . still . . . thank you for your attentions.”

They gave each other kind smiles.

“This experience has made Bryan and I realize we need to make it permanent. We’re getting married. I mean, who knows what the future will bring?”

John smiled. “I couldn’t be happier for you. Let me know where to send the wedding gift.”

 

As the ambulance pulled away, Lestrade and Carr were squaring off like boxers.

“It’s mah crime scene, Lestrade, you bloody fool!”

“Look, Carr, it’s the nation’s crime scene, and the nation is my division!”

Everything was slightly amusing until Sherlock said, “oh, god,” in an agitated way.

“What is it?” John asked. Sherlock’s agitation made him nervous.

“Look!” and they watched a familiar black car, glossy and expensive, pull up in front of the factory.

It was Mycroft. of course. He got out of the back – regal, sedate, almost smiling, and, of course, holding his umbrella in the most nonchalant way. He strolled towards their little group as if in time to some music in his head.

Lestrade went out to meet him. He touched Mycroft’s elbow, and Mycroft lifted his head in greeting.

“Oh, Christ, Sharon, it’s the Bruiser,” John whispered.

“Shit shit shit.”

“He’ll find out you have a paramour!” John’s whisper was very loud. “Oh, Sharon. You’re in for it now.”

“Sharon,” Sherlock hissed, “you don’t even know what a paramour is! You never got that far in school.”

“Yes, I do. I seen him on telly. Marcel Paramour.” And John began to laugh helplessly at his own joke.

“Marcel Paramour! Never say that name to me again, Sharon!”

John put his hand over his mouth, and Sherlock held back his laughter.

“Uh oh, Marcel’s looking at us,” John said. “He doesn’t look happy. No, don’t look at him, Sharon.”

By now Sherlock was laughing out loud. “Have you heard the theme music they play when Marcel comes on telly?”

“Oh, yes, Sharon. Scary, innit? A-brumpa-brumpa-brump-brump,” John said in a deep voice, moving his hands back and forth like a robot, and they both doubled over with laughter.

“Don’t look! Don’t look!” Sherlock said suddenly. “He’s coming towards us.”

Indeed, Mycroft was striding manfully towards them. “Will you two quit?” he huffed. “An important Russian diplomat is due here any minute, and I don’t want to him to see me with the two village idiots.”

John and Sherlock kept snickering.

Another dark, important-looking car drove up.

“You simply must shut up,” Mycroft hissed.

The driver got out of the car; he wore the outfit of a Russian soldier. He opened the door to the back seat, and a chunky man with slightly slanted eyes and a bowl haircut emerged. Mycroft walked over to greet him. Then he handed him a folder of photographs, and they began to speak volubly in Russian.

Lestrade came up behind him. “Lads, you can have your giggles after this Russian toff leaves. Mycroft is getting very near the edge.”

“You’d know, wouldn’t you?” John said and laughed.

“Marcel,” Sherlock whispered as he giggled.

Lestrade put his arm on John’s elbow. “John?”

John quit laughing. “I know, Greg. I’m stopping now.” Then one last laugh.

 

Mycroft motioned to Lestrade. Lestrade walked over and listened to Mycroft; then he nodded. “Listen,” he called. “We’re going to drive over to the landing site.”

When everyone was out of their vehicles, Mycroft spoke to the head Russian. “Dmitri, this was where the craft landed.”

“Vare is the . . .” Dmitri moved his hands around.

“The spacecraft?” Mycroft said. “It’s in London. I’ll let you examine it when we get back.

“Poor devil,” Dmitri said as he waved the folder at Mycroft. “The world must never know.” He shook his head sadly.

“After we release the body to you, what will you do with it?” Mycroft inquired.

“We’ll open a little Hall of Heroes in Navoiy. The first Uzbeki astronaut. As with so much of the Soviet space program, it is for the best that we suppress any specific details.” He turned to his driver. “Let us go, Vlad.”

They all watched as the Russians drove away.

“Carr,” Mycroft said. “I’ll have someone from my office come and clean up the paperwork.”

Carr and his men climbed into their vehicles. Then Carr rolled his window down. “Ye better prepare a proper cover statement.”

“You mean, one that makes your men look good,” Lestrade shouted.

“And why wouldn’t it!” Carr shouted back; then he rolled up his window and he and his men zoomed off.

 

Now it was just the four Londoners.

"What was that all about?" Lestrade asked.

Mycroft leaned into Lestrade. “The victim was a SEGA, that is, a Soviet Experiment Gone Awry.” He sighed. “Part chimp, part Uzbeki.”

Everyone was silent for a moment.

Then Sherlock spoke. "That wraps up this case. But, Mycroft, what about the naked pictures of you-know-who on your laptop?”

Lestrade’s eyes widened, but Mycroft was imperturbable. “I saved them on a memory stick and put it in a safe. Shut up, Sherlock.”

And he let a laughing Lestrade accompany him to his car.

 

“Ah,” said John as he opened the door to 221B. “It’s nice to get back to our old stomping grounds.”

“Stomping. Oh, Sharon, is that what you’re calling it now?”

“Yes, Sharon, I am. And I’m in bloody great need of a good stomp. Look here, we’ve had some fun, but I want to go to the next step. Did I tell you I’m a doctor?” And he sat down at his desk.

“What a lie! You was a nurse’s aide for eight days back in school.”

“But, see, I’ve got these books. Proper big medical books, professional and all.” Then John whispered, “Sharon, I want to fuck you.”

Sherlock made a huge gasp. “I don’t even know what them words mean!’

“Well, here, Sharon, I’ll draw it for you.” And he began to make lines on a piece of paper. Then he pointed at it. “See, that’s you with a huge erection.”

Sherlock smiled at John. Then he took the drawing and turned it this way and that. “It never is. This is a hat rack!”

“Hat rack! I beg to differ! This is a superb drawing of a big girl with a big hard-on.”

“Stomp?” Sherlock whispered.

“Stomp,” John echoed.

And they kissed.