It's been over a year for this story? Feel free to gut me with sharp pencils. I have no excuses, but I do have some new ink, so take this chapter because that helped the gears start grinding again. It won't be a year wait for the next chapter, I promise. –TPP

Part Two {The Blind Artist}

If John hadn't thought he was attracted to Sherlock before, he had zero excuses to talk himself out of the crush now, considering Sherlock was hastily disrobing in the middle of the shop, exposing what looked like miles of perfect pale skin. Ink loved skin like Sherlock's, a pearly white that would suck ink up and never let it go. Tattooing him would be easy, and John couldn't wait to get started. Sherlock already had a few pieces on his ribs and winding around onto his back, some hyper-realistic pieces that were to be expected of somebody as logical as Sherlock but there was some interesting surrealism too, one of the pieces being elements of the periodic table that turned into perfect honey comb. When Sherlock turned completely around to grab headphones out of his bag, John's jaw dropped at the amazing red dragon that took up the entire top of Sherlock's back, the dragon offering a wicked grin with realistic smoke, lying on a bed of gold and jewels. It was perfect, packed with color and so much texture John's fingers itched to run across it.

"I love that piece too," Greg offered with a smirk, "I'm thinkin' Mikey here is gettin' one just to piss him off."

"Of course not," Mycroft huffed, rolling his eyes, "He got a dragon to piss me off. He knew I'd been planning one for a while and he's quite the brat, if you haven't already noticed." "Brother do shut up," Sherlock murmured, holding his laptop with one hand and typing on the keyboard furiously with the other. John could see he was on his blog, the photos being zoomed in on and scrutinized so John sat quietly. After a few minutes, Sherlock slammed the laptop lid closed.

"I like you," Sherlock announced, putting his laptop away.

John's heart hiccupped in his chest, "Uh, thanks?"

"Your work. It's good," Sherlock added, moving to stand directly in front of John. John wasn't sure if he was happy to be sitting on his work stool or not, considering Sherlock was so tall. John gulped when he noticed two black studs in Sherlock's navel: belly button piercings had no right to look so good on a man, but John's mouth was totally dry staring at the piercings, his eyes falling on the sharp cut of his hip bones.

"Would you like me to take my pants off?" Sherlock asked, long fingers sliding into his belt loops.

John blinked, "What?"

"My pants. Do you want them off?"

Get a grip, John, "The piece. Right. Erm, I guess it depends on what you want and where you want it."

"I have no preference," Sherlock replied, dropping his pants without any further prompting, revealing black boxers covered in what looked like spray-painted yellow smiley faces, "Whatever you decide, whatever style, so long as it takes several hours."

"Wait, you don't…you don't even want to know what I'm tattooing?"

Sherlock shrugged and held his arms out, turning around, "Doesn't matter. Open canvas."

John had had some crazy clients in his time, but never someone who didn't even want to know or care what art was placed on them for the rest of their lives. Thankfully everything Sherlock had was impeccable, but Greg was amazing like that. John was just thankful Sherlock had enough common sense not to just walk into any parlor and take any artist.

In fact, it looked like all the work on Sherlock's body was in Greg's style, so John felt ridiculously honored to be allowed to put his work on this interesting man's skin.

It was quick work from there once John decided to tackle a calf piece. It would take roughly 5 to 6 hours, especially in color. It didn't take him long to draw up a solar system with some bright stars and constellations. He had Sherlock lie down on his stomach and get comfortable. Calf pieces could be tricky, as one was lying down and it put pressure on your lungs for a long period of time, but Sherlock waved off his concerns and told him to lay the stencil and get on with it.

"If you need a break, just let me know," John said, having already shaved the area, set the stencil, and prepared his inks.

Sherlock nodded, headphones in, something heavy slamming through that had to be metal as he closed his eyes and relaxed. John laid the first line on a planet, already entering his zone. It was actually helpful that Sherlock had no intention of talking to him during the piece: John tended to be quiet while working, his colleagues always teasing him and asking him if he was a surgeon. He had the precision of one so he didn't mind the jokes. He sunk further and further into his head space as the tattoo began to take form, Sherlock solid as a rock, never flinching, no trembles. Never had he had a client so still.

"Seems you both escape into head spaces," Mycroft said, watching over John's shoulder. He'd been cleaned up and covered a while ago, it seemed, but John had been oblivious, "You don't need to worry about him. He's in his mind palace, so he probably won't be responsive until you're completely finished."

"Mind palace?"

Mycroft smirked, "It's where he goes to think. Endorphin rush helps him. It's far better than the alternative."

"And that would be?"


Thankfully, John had just finished a line and was mid-wipe when Mycroft had dropped that or John would've had a wonky line at his level of surprise, "SHERLOCK?"

"Oh yes. After the…incident, he managed to get clean. Only stays clean if his mind stays active, you see. The endorphin rush from tattooing…well, it's his new drug, I suppose, and far less likely to kill him."

John changed inks, staring at Sherlock's unfinished leg before looking up at Sherlock's face, his eyes closed as they'd been since they started.

"I thought I'd explain a bit, considering you live with him now. He'll be high for days, probably won't sleep, and may proposition you for sex."

John had to set his gun down and look over at Mycroft, trying to decide if it was just a big brother trying to take the piss.

"He's a different creature, my brother. I'm just offering a word of warning before you're confronted with a side of Sherlock you have yet to witness. He's quite fond of you, and only God knows why you tolerate him in return, but he's never kept a roommate for this long…"

"It's only been a couple weeks."

"Yes, yes it has. That is quite the record," Mycroft said with another smirk, tapping his umbrella like a cane.

Where had that come from?

"It was nice to finally meet you in the flesh, John Watson," Mycroft announced before nodding towards Greg, "Gregory, I'll see you in a few weeks."

"Ta," Greg offered, and John ignored the intense eye fucking going on there because it was making him more than uncomfortable. His boss and his roommate's brother? Just not on.

Mycroft left, and John went back into his zone, not reemerging until he'd placed the final shade of purple ink at the base of the piece. He wiped it down, admiring the work, although Sherlock's skin was an artists' wet dream, it was sensitive and was flaring an angry red around the outline edges already. He wiped it down good before covering it carefully, his fingers probably lingering a little too long on Sherlock's ankle before Sherlock stirred, cracking his back and moaning, a moan so obscene it had almost everybody in the shop staring at John's work station.

Sherlock sat up, blinking slowly, mouth open as he stared at John before offering a smirk. John knew he was flushing an incredible red and it just wasn't fair: Sherlock's hair tossled from sleep, his eyes bright, almost feverish.

"Thank you, John," he drawled, his voice low and heathenish as he carefully began to put his pants back on. John couldn't help but notice Sherlock's semi erection in those boxers, his nipples pebbled under the tight t-shirt.

Sherlock pulled at his wallet chain, retrieving large notes and holding them out in front of John.

"That's too much, Sherlock," John said, counting the notes again, "Nearly double what I asked for."

"Enjoy it, John," Sherlock said, sliding into his coat, "If it makes you feel better, I nicked it from Mycroft before we started."

"Sherlock, that's even worse!"

"He won't miss it. If you need to soothe your charming morality, put it towards the rent," Sherlock smirked and winked, "I'll see you at home."

And like that, the man was gone like a whirlwind, leaving John with far too much money and a healthy dose of lust.

Despite what Sherlock had said, John didn't see him when he finally got home that evening. He'd gotten takeaway and ordered extra because he had yet to see Sherlock consume something that wasn't full of sugar or caffeine.

He sat up and watched some telly but got bored so went to take a shower, fighting the urge to jerk off the entire time.

He was such an idiot. It was a bad, bad idea to get involved with a roommate, much less one he had just met. Sherlock, however entertaining, was still almost a total stranger to him, and he needed to keep that in mind. He liked this place, it was convenient for work and a place he wouldn't be able to afford on his own, so thinking with his dick was out of the question.

"Pull yourself together, Watson," he ordered himself, wrapping up in a towel and heading to bed.

He slept like the dead, surprisingly, only waking up when his nose demanded it.

Something was burning.

He hopped up, rushing out of the room and to the kitchen that was currently filling up with smoke, the smoke detector finally going off and setting John even more on edge as he grabbed a pot of coffee that had been sitting on the table for probably days and throwing it at the stove burner.

The flames went out and John got on a chair and fanned at the alarm before it finally turned off, John cursing all the while.

"Sherlock!" John bellowed, ready to punch him in the face. What bloody idiot walked away from a gas stove?!

John went into the living room, seeing Sherlock sitting on the couch, fingers steepled in front of him as he stared at the coffee table that was currently covered in all kinds of cups and containers. Sherlock held out an eyedropper with some kind of orange liquid in it before putting a few drops into one of the tea cups, watching the reaction.

"Sherlock, you could've burned the bloody flat down!" John harrumphed, standing next to Sherlock with his hands on his hips, "What the HELL were you thinking?"

"Making tea," Sherlock said, narrowing his eyes at the chemical reaction before picking up another cup and administering the same treatment, "A lot of tea. Don't drink any of it, John."

"Wouldn't dream of it, you fucking idiot."

"Good, unless you want to be drugged."

"What exactly are you on about? And I thought you didn't do drugs anymore!"

"I don't," Sherlock said, grabbing at a nearly-finished lit joint in a crystal ash tray and taking a long hit before setting it back.

"Is that a spliff? What the hell Sherlock," John said, falling into his favorite chair.

Sherlock rolled his eyes, "Tetrahydrocannabinol is not exactly what I would consider a high-risk drug, but if you must shame me, please feel free to do so."

"Then what on earth are you doing with the tea?"

"Not my tea," Sherlock said, making a sick face as he smelled at another, "Studying the competition. It's low doses, for certain, but just enough for a pick me up. Harmless, really, but it's. Still. Cheating."

"What? Who?"

"My arch enemy."

"Arch enemy? Do people even have arch enemies?"

Sherlock looked at him with a face that, yes, was very, very stoned, "What? Do you not have one?"

"Besides my alarm clock? No."

"Really? Boring."

"You still haven't explained what the hell you're actually up to."

"It's not what I'M up to, John. It's what HE's up to, and he's ALWAYS up to something, ever since we were kids. Oh, oh this is just conniving on his part, knowing he can't beat me at a gentleman's duel, so he resorts to the cloak and dagger of it all, yes, very tricky…"

Sherlock was sipping at another cup of tea now, making John nervous, "Sherlock, you just told me not to drink the tea."

"It's drugged, it's how he's doing it, it's how he's selling so much of the piss!"

"Sherlock, you're not making ANY sense…"

"Moriarty!" Sherlock yelled, throwing one of the cups across the room and watching it shatter against the wall. He threw another one, this one empty, before John stopped him from throwing another one.

"Are you insane?! Stop throwing things!"

Sherlock huffed and collapsed back onto the couch, burying his face into it and not moving.

John waited, but it looked like Sherlock had zero intention of moving.



"Who the hell is Moriarty? And why are you getting high on his tea?"

Sherlock sat up slowly, blinking slowly at John, "I figured it out, that little snake. I'm going to put him out of business, and then he'll leave my city for good. I figured it out, I solved the puzzle…"

John's eyes nearly bugged out of his head as Sherlock slid off the couch and approached John before climbing into his lap, straddling him. Sherlock craned his neck and blinked down at John, John barely able to breathe.

"We should have sex now."

John blinked, "WHAT?"

"Sexual intercourse," Sherlock said slowly, placing one of his hands on John's chest and leaning into him, that biteable mouth so close John's heart rate kicks up, "I like to celebrate when I solve something. Let's celebrate, John."

"Sherlock, you're high as balls and you're not making any sense," John offered gently, trying to move Sherlock off of him slowly.

"When I'm sober, then, if that's what you're worried about," Sherlock said, rocking his hips and making John freeze, "However I may not be as amicable to you fucking me then as I am right now. Perhaps then all I'll want to do is suck you, and even then there is no guarantee I will let you fuck my mouth, even though judging by the dilation of your pupils right now, it is something that you wish for very, very much."

"Stop, Sherlock," John finally said, trying to control himself, especially with Sherlock talking like THAT with THAT VOICE, "This isn't right."

"Why not?"

"We barely know each other, and you're high, and I'm not a one-off kind of bloke," John said resolutely, even though he'd had a line of one night stands that would give the length of the Great Wall a run for its money, "so if you're messing with me, I'd appreciate it if you just didn't."

Sherlock studied his face, making John feel like he was going to be red for the rest of his life, and then Sherlock frowned before tsking.

"Mycroft," Sherlock said, getting out of John's lap and pulling off his robe. Thankfully he was in black jeans that looked like they'd gone through a shredder and a Sick Puppies tank top or John would've been worried about his libido. Sherlock started rummaging around the table, finally finding his phone and sending off a text message at rapid speed, "Let me guess, he told you I'd try to sleep with you."

"Um, er, yes, he did say that."

"Spoil sport. What a twat. Always interfering," Sherlock mumbled, pocketing his phone before putting on a pair of boots that John had nearly tripped over last night thanks to their precarious placement near the hallway, "Well? Aren't you coming?"

"What? Where?"

"To the gates of hell," Sherlock said, texting again as he headed for the front door, "The lair of Satan himself."

John sighed, getting up and tagging along. Honestly, how could his day get any weirder?

The cab ride was short, and John realized they weren't far from Sherlock's shop before they turned down a dainty avenue with expensive boutiques and hipsters walking their dogs.

The cab stopped and Sherlock got out, John right behind him, wondering why he got stuck paying the cab fare but it was too late to argue that now.

John stared at the store before laughing, clutching at his stomach as he had himself a long, good laugh while Sherlock just stared at him with narrowed eyes.

"What's so funny?"

"Oh. Oh my god," John had tears in his eyes at this point, his stomach in knots, "Oh my god, you're this worked up over a TEA SHOP?"

"Not just any tea shop, John," Sherlock said, pointing a finger menacingly at the flamboyant black and pink sign with fancy script with one word on it, "My greatest business rival and largest pain in the arse this city has ever known."

John finally composed himself enough to follow Sherlock into the brightly-colored shop, a bell tinkling merrily behind them as the two men made their way into MORIARTEA.