Consulting Husbands: A Switch in the System.

Sherlock ran on autopilot as he went through the day. He had a lot on his mind. He was questioning everything he's ever done over the past five years. Entering a relationship, getting married, having children with...Moriarty.

James made a shocking accusation, observation or whatever the hell it was. He accused Sherlock of loving Jim Moriarty and not James Moriarty. It was ridiculous, insulting and just a downright idiotic deduction.

But what if it were true? And would it matter in any case?

They've been married for four years, they have two young offspring they are responsible for and they have already integrated their lives completely. Legally, and mentally even.

Would James really leave him now after all they built together?

That would be a very ignorant move on James' part. They needed each other to survive.

Sherlock could not see James throwing that all away simply because he was wrongfully jealous of another version of himself with a different personality. Or, at least, the detective hoped to never see James do such a thing. It would ruin them both.

"Ta." Scottie said once his dad cut his sandwich into pieces. He frowned as Sherlock kept cutting it into even smaller and smaller pieces. "Ta!" the toddler said again, louder. His sandwich was starting to look more and more like a pile of crumpled bits. "Ta, dah! Ta!" He whined and beat his fists against the table.

Sherlock blinked, looking down at the mess he made of Scott's lunch. It was still edible, but after four years he knew better than to even attempt it. "Sorry. I'll fix another." He mumbled and threw the 'sandwich' and its plate into the trash.

His husband was very well off and he could care less about washing a dish. He threw them away all the time. Every week, there was always a new set that would appear. The detective never acknowledged it and certainly wouldn't start to do so now. It was trivial and not worth his thoughts. Sherlock didn't have to think about stupid, normal things with James around. In fact, he didn't have to think about much at all besides their intimacy and their offspring. As well as some cases from Lestrade. They were never high profile cases, not really anyway.

It appeared that all of the very good criminals have faced extinction. Although, if you were to ask Mycroft, he would say that Sherlock has 'slain' them all or that murder has 'run out of fashion'. Idiot.

Who could get tired of something so exciting, stimulating, fun?

Oh, that was a bit not good wasn't it? Pardon him.

What he meant to say was; Adrenaline inducing, intelligence increasing, interesting. Though, those words did not feel right in the slightest. They did not accurately describe his interest, not to him. Those words were boring. Murder was riveting. James was riveting, also. However, neither held a connection to the other, of course.

The tall man turned, gathering ingredients to construct another sandwich to the children's liking.

"Cut mine!" Isobel demanded, calling him back. "Now, daddy!"

The detective came when needed, like a parent did (to his knowledge). He did not mind how the request was communicated to him. He only followed through with what was asked of him. John always told him how 'ill-mannered' Isobel was, that she shouldn't be able to talk to him however she wanted.

Sherlock saw no distinction between the ways his child asked him for something she wanted. The outcome was the same. He would do his best to get what the girl wanted and if for some reason he couldn't or if he did not want to be bothered, then he made sure James got it.

New clothing, no matter how ridiculous or expensive, toys ranging from dolls to ones that mimicked weapons. He's become so domesticated, so normal. He thought it felt hateful, but perhaps he was feeling hate towards something that he couldn't quite place.

"Cut it into a skull shape!" Isobel said, half excitedly and half demanding.

Sherlock rolled up the sleeves of his robe without much thought and set to work on cutting his daughter's food into the odd shape with perfect symmetry.

"What happen to your arms?" Isobel stared at the dark hand prints on her dad's wrists. "You have ouches."

"I'm fine." Sherlock sighed.

"Lots of ouches, daddy." She pointed to the matching marks on his neck. "They look cool!" Isobel stood up in her chair, beaming with curiosity. She was like Sherlock in that way. She was always fascinated by the new and the strange. "How?"

How was Isobel's favorite word. She loved to ask how things came to be, how things happened, how everything.

The detective loved to explain it all to her, to show her the wonders and logic of the known universe. This time around, however, he wasn't sure it was best to do so. "Sit down and eat. You are very young and cannot possibly grasp the concept of physical gratification between two consenting parties-"

In that moment, James came up the last few stairs and entered the kitchen. "Afternoon."

"Pa!" Scottie reached his chubby hands out to his other father.

The boy's curls were tousled and a raspberry was blown unpleasantly into his cheek.

"No, pa!" Scott grimaced and pushed James away.

James chuckled. One of the best parts about being a parent was annoying your children. Embarrassing them was also up there on the list but the they were too young for that. One day, he supposed. It was going to be very fun. Along with threatening other parents at school functions.

The Irishman planned to go around and greet the three loves/leeches of his life that lived off of him. He kissed the children's head, being ignored by Isobel and swatted away by Scott.

James saved the best for last, it seemed. He was in the process of moving on to his husband when his eyes caught up with him.

"Sherlock." James said simply. "We talked about this. We don't want idiots to talk. They'd get it wrong." He automatically set to work on adjusting the detective's robe.

"Daddy's showing us his ouches and telling us how!" Isobel declared.

Their daughter did have a problem of stating things as fact when they did not even occur. The detective repeatedly reminded her that just because she wished something was so, it did not make it reality nor persuade it to be. Isobel was a very intelligent child at the age of four and a quarter, although she was stubborn, ill mannered, and had a bit of a temper, Sherlock and James classified this as normal behavior. They, too, were prone to antisocial behavior, outbursts, and frustration as children. Gifted people were often judged, seen as strange or 'socially unacceptable'. It was nonsense, and the couple refused to let Isobel go through the same torment as they had.

Still, Sherlock was annoyed by her false admission to James. The last thing he wanted was to be blamed for something he hadn't done.

"She is not telling the truth." Sherlock glared at the four year old.

"Am so, daddy!" Isobel glared back.

"Please, just shut up." The detective snapped at her.

James set his jaw at that, scolding. "Oi! Don't tell her to shut up. She's four."

The little girl agreed. "Yeah, daddy."

"Bellie, shut up." James said.

Sherlock rolled his eyes as hard as he possibly could. The double standards were not making him very thrilled either.

Scottie was pouting, looking very grumpy. The little lad still hasn't had his lunch and his papa did that gross thing to his cheek. He was used to the shouting, and only got upset when it got to higher volumes. Which, lately, was more frequent than not.

James looked at his spouse in slight anger. "What happens behind closed doors with us, stays between us. Or do you not remember that part of the arrangement?"

"I remember the conditions of our contract." Sherlock said, point blank. "No renewals, no way out, until death. I said as much in my vows. It would seem as if you are the one not remembering your side of things."

The ex-criminal's eyes flashed with emotion, briefly. His head started to tilt. "What is that supposed to mean?"

"Barely anything, obviously." was the response.

"What haven't I done? Tell me, right now, what I'm not doing, Sherlock, I do everything!" James exclaimed, quickly. "I give you everything but you're still miserable. Nothing satisfies you. Only the palm of Jim's hand it seems."

"Don't." Sherlock warned him, though it sounded more like a plead. "Just, stop."

James did, and took a breath. He ran a hand down his face and abandoned his argument. He looked over his son and found another battle, one he could actually win. "Why did you only feed one of them? Scottie's wasting away."

"I wasn't showing them anything." Sherlock sighed, reassuring his husband again. This time he was believed, or rather, James accepted his answer to spare him. "I was about to feed the child. I wouldn't let him go without nourishment. Obviously."

"But you'd let people see these marks and then I wouldn't be able to remind you to give him nourishment at all." James huffed, calmly, yet it caused a spark to go off inside of the detective.

It was enough to ignite the start of a row. Their rows always became a war. A short one that Sherlock always lost in the end. It was pointless to escalate the situation, but it's been so very long since Sherlock last entered a battle. He didn't care about a victory. He wanted the heat of the battle. Lately, he's felt so very frozen in time.

Furthermore, he did nothing wrong. Why should he have to hide his body in his own home and from anyone else? There was nothing wrong about what they did. Who cared if idiots talked?

The marriage alone had everyone talking for four and a half years. There was nothing more to talk about, in Sherlock's opinion. There was even less that Sherlock wanted to hear about. One of those things was criticism for supposed 'actions' his husband took against him.

They were married and no longer enemies. They did not spend their days finding ways to best each other. The two men worked together to build a life. At least, that is what Sherlock tells himself. In reality, perhaps the only things that have changed was their living situation, the children, and the legal title of their relationship.

"I am serving lunch." Sherlock said with hostility. "Sandwich?" He was still very much angered at James for his accusation the night before. In a petty form of retaliation, he picked Scott's barely recognizable sandwich and plate from out of the trash. He forced it into Moriarty's hands, starting to exit stage left. "Do, enjoy it, daddy."

James' hand slammed the plate of trash down onto the table with enough force to break it into three, unequal pieces. He snatched Sherlock's shoulder, yanking him back. "You don't talk to-" he suddenly stopped, feeling oddly as if he were in two places at once. Inside of a padded room feeling disgusting, and right here in the present moment where he was confused but very angry.

The flat fell into silence and the two consultants fell into a glaring competition. They stood in the middle of the kitchen, their son and daughter watching them. Scott was frightened and Isobel looked on with growing interest.

"Let go of me." Sherlock warned slowly. "Now."

James blinked twice. His head cleared very shortly after. His grip released, arm falling to his side. Shutting his eyes, he counted to thirty-two before opening them again. "May I see you in the bedroom?"

"No." snapped the detective, immediately. "You absolutely may not."

"Go in the bedroom, Sherlock. Now!" James demanded, raising his voice. He added a hiss. "Or else."

Sherlock raised his voice as well. His husband had no right to demand he transport his transport anywhere he did not want to. Then James had the audacity to attempt to threaten him into submission. Especially with that hiss, the one that always got under his skin, that made him...made him so- "Or else what!" he retorted with a shout.

"Or else I'll-" The ex criminal didn't know what he had been planning to say. Luckily, he never got to say it. He was effectively cut off by a deliberate cough from the sitting room.

Moriarty sighed at their rotund guest. "Afternoon, Mycroft."

Sherlock grunted in annoyance, not bothering to look over at his brother. He stormed to the refrigerator to make his whining son a sandwich and kept the front of his body concealed from sight.

"Afternoon…" Mycroft eyed everything and everyone. The hastily prepared food, his giddy niece and fussy nephew, his brother's turned back, his brother's….person.

"Say hello to your uncle, don't be rude." James instructed the children.

"Unc." Scottie grunted as a hello. The lack of lunch was very appalling and he wasn't interested in company. Also, his uncle smelled like cake but never brought him any.

"Mycroft, daddy has ouches!" Isobel informed him, making her papa grunt and give her a stern look. "And papa wants daddy to hide em." She added, looking away from his warning glare.

"Daddy is fine and I don't want him to hide anything. Although it would be a lot more respectable if he did." James explained.

"Sherlock." Mycroft said calmly. "I wish to speak privately in your bedroom."

"Unfortunately for you, I am not a genie and I do not grant wishes." Sherlock retorted. "Piss off."

"Then I suppose I will have to call up John Watson to give you a very thorough examination for signs of abuse, which you will not be able to refuse." His brother threatened.

Sherlock spun right around to shout. "I do not need an examination and I am not being abused!" He faced his brother now. Realizing his mistake, and that he had been tricked into showing his body, he grunted.

"I never said you were." Mycroft rose a brow, eyes scanning over his younger brother's bruises. "But the evidence does appear to speak for itself."

James knew exactly where this was headed and he hurried to put Isobel and Scottie down from the table. He ushered them upstairs. "Go play some loud music."

"Hungry, pa!" Scottie cried.

"I want to watch the row!" Isobel exclaimed.

"Go." James gave them one look and the two headed to the stairs. He stopped Isobel briefly. "You and I will be having a chat later on."

Once the children were upstairs and the adults heard music that wasn't nearly loud enough, the accusations began.

"It appears you are violating the terms of your release." Mycroft said immediately, watching the Irishman's adam's apple bob nervously.

"No he isn't." Sherlock cut in, defending his husband. "He hasn't violated anything!"

"Only you." Mycroft gestured over the 'abuse' with his eyes.

"Everything is consensual, Mycroft. We have a very good sex life and life overall. We are FINE. We are married, we can have sex! Which I recall you so kindly informing me, didn't alarm you."

"Healthy sex doesn't alarm me, Sherlock. This does not appear to be that and I am very alarmed about it, yes." admitted the British government.

"What the hell do you know about health? You scarfed down a jam filled donut on the way to this flat!" The detective waved his arm, drawing attention to the purple stain on the man's tie.

James snorted, shaking his head. While he loved to watch their rivalry in full swing, he couldn't let it escalate. Sherlock was not the best at keeping a conversation with his brother brief and the fatty was so very hard to get rid of these days. Ever since his baby brother started a relationship with the most dangerous criminal in the country, Mycroft's large arse was always hovering over their flat. Honestly, James was sick of the repulsively unpleasant view. Also, insanely irritated, but he had to play nice around big brother. He was always watching.

Mycroft sent a glare over to his younger sibling. "Do not try and distract me, brother. Have you forgotten this has happened before? I am concerned. This man has abused you and broken bone. How can I be sure it is not happening again when the evidence is the same?"

"He is not abusing me." The detective shook his head, adamant. "Not again. He's not put his hands on me in any way that I haven't wanted him to!" Sherlock declared.

Mycroft gave a nod, knowingly. "And that is what concerns me the most."

Sherlock swallowed and said nothing.

James shut his eyes. He ran a stressed hand through his hair. He didn't know it was so obvious. Was it? That they both enjoyed James getting rough in the bedroom, that James liked giving rough treatment just as much as Sherlock liked receiving it.

Perhaps, they were not being as careful as they ought to be. Perhaps, it was that they didn't care. Adrenaline was like pure serotonin to them. It sent buzzing and currents throughout their brains, making it a somewhat better place to be in. They needed distractions constantly and even then, they were never close to enough. The children helped to keep them on some form of a path. They did their best to keep them alive, clothed, and everything else. Isobel and Scott were a good distraction that kept them busy, yet still, were not enough to free them from the chaos of their minds.

"I have...a domination kink." Sherlock said after a moment to his brother. "And I will testify to that in court if I must." He made it very clear that he would stand by his husband if any claims were made against the man.

James' heart, or whatever it was that Jim left behind of it, welled up with love and he wanted to take Sherlock right there against the kitchen table to show his appreciation. He knew he could be abusive. Not on purpose, not really. The personalities in his head were so different and fought for dominance. He tried to keep them controlled but parts of them slipped. They came out and they hurt people. They hurt his husband who did nothing but try to help and love him. Though Sherlock got off on the pain, that wasn't an excuse. He shouldn't be enabling both of their addictions.

James knew he needed to be better. He had to be better and he knew he couldn't use Sherlock as an outlet to let out those urges. He shouldn't, but Sherlock loved it.

Sherlock loved for James to take control, to dominate his body and mind as if he owned them both. Perhaps, somewhere in the back of his mind, James knew that he did.

"I am well aware of that fact." Mycroft said calmly. "I do not have any intentions of filing a claim for the moment."

"Then why are you here?" Sherlock glared, making sure the man knew his presence was not wanted. His brother was infuriating, always sticking his fat nose in places it did not belong and one place he was certain it did not belong was in James' and his bedroom.

"I am here to give fair warning that I will not stand for any kind of unhealthy or potentially harmful behavior. I am simply letting you know that I will be watching for any mistakes." Mycroft informed them sternly. He looked directly at James Moriarty. "Whether they are accidental or not."

"Wonderful." Sherlock directed his brother's attention from James to the stairs. "Get out."

"This matter is not the only matter for which I arrived to discuss." Mycroft told them. He was most satisfied when his brother and (reluctant) brother-in-law allowed him to continue speaking. He decided to remind them of how in debt to him they actually were. The couple seemed to conveniently forget that fact. "I thank you for the lack of protest at my extended presence in this flat, which I have allowed you to purchase- no, allowed you to manipulate from an old woman down on her luck with payment. I will try not to burden you with my company for much longer. You appear to not want me around. It is not as if Moriarty's freedom and whatever little..arrangement..you both have made depends on my doing.."

"Get to the point, Mycroft." Sherlock urged. "We have hungry children to tend to. We would not like for Isobel to bite Scott again. He is up to date in his vaccinations, however we would rather not risk an infection."

"This is more pressing than cannibalistic children, Sherlock. This is of grave importance to me and I would like for you both to treat this with the utmost importance as well." Mycroft Holmes glared between the two men.

"Fine, vanilla-iceman." James said, giving his attention. "What is it? What else are you here for other than to worry about how hard I hit your brother's arse during very hot and satisfying sex?"

Sherlock's mouth twisted into a smirk almost as big as the one James' had on.

Mycroft ignored both the statement and the image that followed it. "I am here…to see that everything is prepared for the Christmas gathering taking place in the upcoming months." If he saw the looks of disbelief and annoyance being directed at him, he gave no sign of it. "I overheard it was being held in this flat and invitations have already been sent. Mine must have gotten misplaced. Most fortunately, I have been informed of the event in advance and have arrived to discuss arrangements for the catering and refreshments." Mycroft's eyes lit up and he gave an unsettling smile. "Now, let's discuss flavors of frosting."

The 'British government' made himself comfortable, crossing a leg over the other and leaning back.

Mycroft thought carefully over his next words. "I am partial to chocolate, myself."

Sherlock and James looked at each other, the same thought surfacing in both of their minds. They held the same idea of an appropriate form of retaliation and initiated it immediately.

.

.

.

.

.

After much yelling and threats thrown back and forth, balance was once again restored in 221B. The footsteps that failed to hide their frustration, disappeared down the stairs. The front door to 221B was shut a bit less than politely.

Once they were alone in the sitting room, Sherlock flung his weight forward and onto his husband.

James gave a gasp of surprise. He was suddenly shoved back against the table, Sherlock sealing his mouth in a passionate kiss. When Sherlock pulled away for breath, James was left trying to catch his own. "What's that for?"

"I will die over and over, countless times, before I let anyone extract you from my grasp." Sherlock declared.

James gave a whistle. "Oooh sexy."

A warn chuckle from Sherlock. "It was sexy of you how you told him to shove his cake up his arse and revoked his invitation to Christmas."

James hummed in mock thought. "Hm, I've threatened you too with a wooden spoon before but it never caused you to want to top."

"Be serious." Sherlock gave him a (mostly) unamused look.

"Serious it is, then. But honestly, dear, topping sometimes wouldn't kill you." James told him. He then gave a nonchalant shrug. "I know you didn't want him to come and as your husband, the wonderful one that I am, it's my duty to spare you the headache of idiots who don't understand us. Besides, I want our guests to be able to actually have food. Fatty would eat it all…"

Sherlock frowned, suddenly remembering his own words from last night. He let out a sigh and looked away from his husband's gaze.

"James…"

James' hand came up to rest on his cheek. "What is it, Sherlock?"

"You are.. correct in your assumption." Sherlock said solemnly as he removed the hand from his face. He did not deserve the affection or any love from this wonderful man. "I do love Jim." He shut his eyes, not wanting to see the disappointment in his husband's expression. "I don't know why. Maybe I'm just as sick and insane as he is-"

"Sherlock."

"Let me finish. Please." The detective pleaded, eyes clenched tight. He heard nothing and so he continued. "I love Jim Moriarty." A pause. "However, I married James Moriarty and I love him much, much more. Even though I appear to be displaying the opposite, I would be an idiot to want you to be him. I may find his...mannerisms..arousing, but I will not compromise your mental health because of my own twisted fantasies. I am truthful in the words I speak but I understand if you would want to possibly separate, as I have not exactly been attentive to-"

James cut the rambling idiot off with a kiss, pulling Sherlock down and right up against him. He kissed him with a passion and burning desire. He switched their places, turning them around and pushing the detective's back onto the table. Suddenly, he didn't mind topping. He climbed up over him on the table. Their tongues clashed and battled until James pulled Sherlock's into his mouth, sucking tenderly. He clearly won that sparring match, judging by the low groan emerging from the back of the detective's throat.

Sherlock didn't know how he ended up laying with his back on the kitchen table, with James kneeling over him and his curls resting over a sandwich, his legs parted up on the table. All he's aware of in this moment is the warmth of his husband's mouth and the firm grip on his waist that clearly showed domination.

The ex criminal ended their heated kiss and moved along to mouth at Sherlock's neck. His hands tightened their hold around the taller man's waist. "I'm never going to let you go. At our wedding I said I wanted you forever and I meant that, Sherlock...I made a vow to you that I would keep you until the day of my last breath and far after that has passed. I always keep my word. You know that…"

Sherlock arched into the lips and suction moving against his skin. The lips that spoke words that promised him a life without loneliness. They promised security and stability, which were things Sherlock now needed to survive. Sherlock could not be left alone again. He knew it would cause him an early death. He needed to be distracted, from boredom and throwing himself into dangerous situations.

James' vows were a sweet symphony to the detective. The words were like a calming melody and a warm blanket. They soothed him and made him feel protected when all his life he'd willingly put himself in danger. More often than not he was that danger to himself. He remembered all those times waking up in dens and gutters, alive and alone, and he no longer wanted to wake up alive if he was going to be alone and he no longer wanted to be alone if he was going to be alive.

James Moriarty was his security, his floatation device, his keeper, his everything now.

Normally, after hearing James' reassure him of their future and the love James had for him, Sherlock felt relieved for the most part. Yet with every word, he also felt denial because how could this possibly last?

"Why would you choose to love me? I'm selfish, insane, infuriating, practically a psychopath. I-"

"Stop it." James lifted the man's chin so they were eye to eye. "Open your eyes and look at me."

At first Sherlock turned his head away. He did not want to look, maybe he was afraid momentarily of falling back into their arrangement. It didn't matter, of course, if he was reluctant. James warned him in the beginning that there was no return from this. It was set in stone that he couldn't go back. He wouldn't. Sherlock's face was turned for him.

"I told you to look at me, Sherlock. I don't repeat myself."

The detective opened his eyes then. He had been trying to hold in the wetness but it began to roll down one of his cheeks.

James wiped it away with a thumb, staring straight into the eyes of a man who had so much knowledge and so much pain, just like him. They were the same and they needed each other. Their marriage could not fail, James would not allow it to. He loved Sherlock. Why didn't the man see that? They also had an agreement. He knew Sherlock would never go back on it. He also knew how to ensure that fact.

"You are the best and wisest man, I have ever met. You are a wonder, marvelous, brilliant. You're an anomaly, Sherlock Holmes, a carbon copy who shares my level of intellect." James told Sherlock, staring directly into the multi coloured eyes. "Believe me, when I say, I didn't just choose to have you. I had to have you and make you mine. After I gained control of my own transport I went straight to find you, didn't I? I asked for your help and you saved me from a horrible existence and an early death. How would I not love you? Don't be stupid. Jim is a psychopath and you are nothing like him and you're nothing without me. Do you understand? You're perfect. You're my love, my soulmate and pet. I'll never let you go. You'll always be mine, Sherlock. Say it."

This was a renewal of their agreement, their relationship contract. Though James told him in the beginning there would be no second decision of any of it, Sherlock knew that Moriarty was giving him a very small chance to get out, for only a moment.

The detective tried to think for what seemed like an eternity but wasn't very long at all. Time moves slower with James, things feel better, his mind was quieter.

Sherlock was sick of leading his life into ditches and gutters. He lost everything he secured for himself over and over. He did not want to drive forward his own life any longer and as it turned out, James was an excellent driver. He took Sherlock down a road of stability, of normality, or however close to it that they could achieve. What they were doing, being partnered or whatever it was, was good. It was working better than anything Sherlock has ever tried to keep himself in line. A success, in the detective's book.

James knew what he was going to say, of course, before it was said. James knew everything. He knew exactly what to say and how to say it, how to keep Sherlock who so desperately needed to be kept and needed to not be in control. He knew his detective wouldn't back down and leave him, not now, not ever.

"I will always be yours, James."

And there it was. James captured his lips in another kiss, murmuring against them with certainty. "The world is ours, Sherlock." He said quietly before another kiss. "Ní féidir le rud ar bith stop a chur orainn anois…"

Sherlock knew every word Moriarty spoke to be true, especially that last bit in the Irish language. Terrified, and incredibly in love, the detective pulled him down into a very desperate kiss, clutching the raven hair between his fingers.

A chuckle escaped James' otherwise occupied lips.

The light kissing gained more depth and detail. The shorter man bit and sucked on his lover's lips, swirling his tongue to part them. He took delight in the way Sherlock moaned and pulled at him, needing him, needing his presence, the proof of his conviction. Their hands were all over, roaming, grabbing, pulling at whatever was in reach.

Sherlock had to stop for breath, resting his head back against the table. He shut his eyes and gave his surrender to the man above.

James was always better at holding his breath, at being in control of everything but his mind, and so he didn't need a pause. Hesitation was not what he was known for. His mouth relocated to his husband's neck, contracting his lip muscles to create a partial vacuum which he then maneuvered over Sherlock's throat. Or in much simpler wording, leaving a multitude of love bites wherever he could on Sherlock's skin. He created new marks and even made older ones darker.

The detective was arching. He held the back of James' head in place. His groans rumbled in the back of his throat. Just when he was about to politely request, (definitely not beg), to be escorted into the bedroom before their children returned to the kitchen, Sherlock felt a presence. He turned his head immediately towards the sitting room. His husband took that opportunity to switch to the other side of his throat. Consistency was always key, James always said.

Sherlock was surprised to see John Watson staring back at him, looking mildly uncomfortable. His bliss and throbbing erection died down very quickly. "James, you may want to stop now."

"Hmm..I definitely don't." James mumbled, going right back to his task, teeth and tongue assaulting Sherlock's pale skin.

"We have a guest. We have to-" Sherlock couldn't bite back his groan when teeth bit into a very sensitive part over his larynx. "John is here."

Lifting his head, the former criminal saw for himself that the army doctor was standing not ten feet away. "Afternoon, Watson." He greeted kindly, making a show of licking his lips.

"John." Sherlock looked very much alarmed. "Why are you here? Has something happened?" He figured something must be wrong. His friend rarely stopped by these days. John wasn't consistent with visiting, ever since Mary's funeral and even more so after Sherlock married Moriarty.

"I..just thought I'd stop by..." John's eyes trailed over their compromising position. He still couldn't believe any of it. Even after all these years. The dating, the marriage, the children, the...sex. It all alarmed him. "I brought lunch." The doctor held up the plastic bag that he clenched with his fist. "But it seems you both gave up on lunch and went straight for dessert." Why did he say that? He coughed awkwardly, looking away from them. "And once again, I'm very happy I didn't pull Rosie along."

Sherlock raised his brow, confused. Did he miss a visit from John and his goddaughter? "What do you mean again? When did you-"

John cursed himself for his mistake. He promised Jim- James that he wouldn't bring up what he witnessed that night to Sherlock. Luckily, a little girl came hopping haphazardly down the stairs.

"Bored!" Isobel declared. "And Scott is stinky! Hello, Uncle John. You are still boring."

James finally removed himself from his position of being on top of John's best friend, much to John's relief. Although the swelling in the man's trousers was still at half mast.

"I'll take care of it and give you both time to catch up." James picked up his daughter and headed for the stairs. "Not much I can do about the being boring part, however." He giggled along with Isobel.

"Thank you." Sherlock nodded as he slid off the table and stood. He adjusted shirt and tied his robe, patting down his hair to look more presentable. Walking over to sit in his chair, he blinked at John expectantly. "You can sit down, John." He said after a moment.

"Oh, right-" John looked around for a seat. His chair was still where he left it but there were different pillows and blankets draped over it. He remembered this was now Jim's chair and no longer belonged to him.

"James won't mind." Sherlock added.

"Right." John sat down in the seat that used to feel so familiar, inside the house that he used to call home. It was neither now and he didn't think it would be ever again, but Sherlock was happy and (somewhat) safe. That was all that mattered to him. Right?

"It's good to see you, John. You look well. Gained another five pounds."

"It was three "

"Five."

"Four, you wanker." John couldn't stop his grin from forming. He missed this very much. "And I won't go any higher. How've you been? Sorry I haven't come around in a bit. Rosie and work and everything…"

"I understand very well that parenthood doesn't leave much time for pleasantries." Sherlock reassured his friend. "I haven't been out on a case in over a month. My time as of late consists of solving cold cases for Lestrade, minding my offspring, and having sex with my husband."

John tried to hide his apprehension. "Didn't need to know that last one, but I'm glad you understand."

Sherlock lowered his brow, showing a bit of confusion. "I was under the impression that in a friendship, especially between men, it was the custom to brag about their sexual encounters as a form of bonding."

"We are not going to bond over you and Jim having se-" He stopped mid sentence, staring at Sherlock closely now. "What is that?"

"What is what?"

"You've got a bit of...irritation...peeking out of the collar of your gown." John observed, pointing at it. "And it isn't from what I just witnessed in the kitchen." he added. Love bites did not look like this so quickly and safe ones didn't look like this at all.

Sherlock quickly pulled his gown collar up further. "It's fine. Just a bit of a rash. Not the least bit concerning."

"Well, does it hurt? Itch? Did you go to a doctor for treatment? ...What am I saying? Of course you didn't. Let me have a look. I'll give you a script for something to take care of it." The doctor stood, ready to lend a helping hand like any good doctor would.

The detective stood as well. "That's not necessary, John. I'm perfectly fine."

"Well I'll just make sure. Let me see." John urged. He furrowed his brow when Sherlock put distance between them. "I said let me see, please." He said more forcefully.

"You are not entitled to look at my body and you have no right to ask me to shed my clothing and so I will not show you anything." Sherlock said decisively and quickly. It sounded very rehearsed.

John blinked at the random outburst that actually wasn't random at all. He had his suspicions but now he knew for sure. He felt his anger rise but not at Sherlock, never at Sherlock, not for this. This has happened before. He sighed. He hoped and prayed it would not happen again.

"Sherlock, you don't have to stay here. I can help you. Everyone would help you and the kids get away from him."

Sherlock narrowed his eyes. "Get away from whom?"

"From Jim, Sherlock! He's obviously beating you... again! And when I get my hands on him-"

"His name is James, you will not be putting your hands on him, and no, he isn't beating me."

"You said you wouldn't do that." John shook his head. "You said you would never again lie to me about this. That if he was hurting you, you would talk to me. We had an agreement."

"He didn't hurt me, John. I asked for it." The detective waved his hand, inadvertently showing the finger-shaped bruises on one of his wrists. He attempted to cover them again but his best friend grabbed his arm, causing him to wince.

John pulled up the sleeve, looking at Sherlock with sympathy. "This isn't your fault no matter what he says. No one asks to be abused like this."

"I do." Sherlock yanked his arm away, walking away from the shorter man. Why was everyone so insistent on getting involved in what he did in the bedroom? And why were they so quick to paint his husband as some monster? "This visit has been very tedious, please show yourself out of our home." He put up the cold wall he often used as a defense mechanism. He used it especially when someone tried to come between him and James. It happened far too often.

"This was our home first." John reminded him. It seemed Sherlock often forgot that and it stung quite a bit.

"You were the one that left and missed your chance. That is your concern and not mine." said the detective.

John felt like he'd just been slapped in the face and by his best friend, no less. Things have changed a lot since Moriarty came to be a permanent part of everyone's lives, but he now realized the one thing that changed the most, was Sherlock. "What the hell has he done to you?"

Sherlock gave a hard stare. "Everything you apparently could not."

John's anger fell right there on the floor where he stood. He suddenly was overwhelmed with shock, sadness, grief...but he was surprised to find that he didn't feel any regret for how his life turned out. The anger returned at once.

"Everything I couldn't?!" John exclaimed with a laugh. "Sherlock, I've always done everything for you! And now I'm trying to protect you. Jim is-"

"James!' Sherlock shouted.

Needless to say, the doctor ignored it. "He's dangerous and unstable! He's not good for you!"

"Then who is?"

John fell silent, thinking over his words. "I don't know." He decided to say. "But it isn't him. He is going to end up killing you and I cannot sit by and let that happen."

"Then you may stand, and leave, while you are at it. I do not need saving. I am not your damned damsel in distress!" Sherlock said, angrily.

"Sherlock!" John cried in exasperation and surprise.

"You have no say in what happens in my life. You are not my husband, John!"

"No, I don't have a say, and no I'm not your husband," John told him. "But if I was, if I was your husband, I still would not have a say in what you want in life. I wouldn't try to control you and dictate every move you make. That's not what a marriage is."

"It is what our marriage is." Sherlock hissed. "Maybe I need to be controlled and dictated. Maybe that is what is required."

"Is that what you want then? Not a loving husband, but a dictator? That's...insane, Sherlock."

"He loves me. He told me he does."

"And that's enough? Even if he hurts you, even if he hits on you then turns around and tells you he loves you? That isn't love." John looked sad but the detective couldn't tell exactly for whom.

"There is no wrong way to love." Sherlock said. "There are all different kinds of love in the world and never the same kind twice. What would you know about the kind of love James and I share? What would you possibly know about what it takes to love someone like me!" He yelled.

"I'd know a lot about it." John looked at him, solemnly. "Because, I loved you and I still love you, Sherlock."

The detective gave a bitter laugh, shaking his head.

"It's true and you know that." The doctor told the detective. "But he tells you different, doesn't he? He tells you that nobody else loves you like he does, that he's all you'll ever need."

"Stop it." Sherlock warned. "Stop talking."

"Does he not do that? I've heard him. I've heard him say you're the same person, that you're meant to be together, that you are exactly the same."

"Stop it, John."

"But that's not true. You know it's not true." John saw the moment his friend froze, no longer trying to refrain him from speaking. It was his naivety that pushed him to say what he's been thinking all along. He bit his tongue before, at the altar, at the birthing of both Isobel and Scott, at the first time he saw Sherlock with a black eye, and what good did it do? His best friend was still living with a maniac and being hurt before his eyes. He refused to allow it to go on. He wouldn't lose Sherlock again to this man. "He says he'll take care of you, which he has, but is it worth it? Staying when you know one day he could roll over with a temper and that'd be the end. He's a monster, Sherlock. He is and he always will be. He's manipulating you. How can the most observant man in the world not know that? How can you not see that? He's a psychopathic murderer and you sleep beside him, completely vulnerable. It boggles me, it really does. You know what he's capable of, what he's done and still you stay by his side. Why?"

"He's my husband." said the taller man, as if it was the easiest thing in the world to say. It gave John nausea. He then added, "and you are a hypocrite." There was no need for unnecessary details. John knew exactly what he was referring to.

"I was going to leave." John defended himself, immediately. He had been. He was planning on leaving her before she was killed. "You knew that."

"I am aware of what I knew then." Sherlock told him. "However, now that there is evidence countering your claim, along with the fact that you weren't actually the one to part from the relationship, what I knew then is rendered irrelevant."

"She died, Sherlock."

"Which means that she was the one to leave, John."

John took a breath out of his nose, muttering under his breath. "Insane. All of you. How I got stuck with three psychopaths, I have no idea." He said in his usual way.

Sherlock felt pain in his chest at John's words. A psychopath, that's what John said. He's repeated it time and time again. John never used to call him that. Now it seemed to be all John ever said. All because Sherlock married James and moved on.

The detective did not understand it. He didn't retaliate like this when John married and moved on. Sherlock did everything in his power to make sure John was happy and had his support. John's behavior was a clear double standard and it made Sherlock physically hurt inside. He wanted it to stop because he could not handle rejection from John Watson. He never could. It destroyed him every time. James and practically everyone knew this about him, that he wasn't right without John, except John. Though Sherlock was adamant that no one could be that oblivious. John had to have known already, had to have known all along.

Sherlock wished his best friend would stop hurting him over and over. It was too much, once again, and he commenced with his usual routine of isolation and began to shut John out.

"I am very sorry you had the misfortune of meeting such an abundance of individuals with psychopathic tendencies, including myself. I'm sure that if you had a chance to turn back the time we shared, you would have taken the opportunity to 'steer clear'."

John's brow furrowed. "Now wait a minute, Sherlock-"

"While it is too late for that, it certainly isn't too late for this. To tell you that my relationship is no one's business, and, as hard as it is to believe for some very odd reason, it isn't yours either." Sherlock looked at John with a cold stare.

It was one John hasn't seen before. Not on the detective at least. He was used to the cold hearted stare when Sherlock put up this wall to block him out, but this wasn't it. It was a real look of hatred and it caused John pain. Especially since he assumed the hate was meant for him.

Sherlock added sudden death to the fatal wound. He was far past insult to injury at this point. "You were my blogger and colleague. You are not and never will be anything more. I am married to James and he is all I will ever need. I do not need you as my keeper. That role is adequately filled and your application rightfully denied. Far too late, you've missed the deadline."

John exhaled through his nostrils but it did nothing to ease the complete outrage he felt in that moment. He let it out, mouth moving way before he even thought about the words coming out of them. "Is it good he has you then? You two must be a match made in heaven. Was he right from the beginning?" John demanded, not knowing if he actually wanted these questions answered or if they were rhetorical. If he even meant what he was saying at all. "Are you exactly the same as Jim Moriarty? Not caring about any possible consequences for your destructive and insane actions, leaving a bloody blood trail wherever you go, leaving people in ruins. Maybe I'm the most least observant man in all of London and I'm the one who's been fooled this entire time. Been taking me for a ride then, have you Sherlock? I have half a mind to get off of it. Throw myself if I can."

Sherlock's eyes widened but he didn't say a word. His body, his mind, they felt numb with each word John spoke and he found that he didn't want to listen to his friend anymore. He wanted John to leave. He wanted to see his husband immediately for reassurance. He wondered when he became so emotionally dependent on Moriarty, and when John began to see him as a monster too, as a fake too. Though, James wasn't a monster nor a fake. Jim was the monster and the altar was not around. Why did no one understand? John always used to listen and try to understand the things Sherlock explained but not anymore. John treated him differently now that him and James were together. Everyone did. He expected it from the others but not John, never from John.

"You may do as you please, John." said Sherlock. "I certainly did not stop you from going through your own escape hatch after I returned."

"Are you serious? What, is this revenge for Mary? Is that what this all is? The marriage, double the children, the public displays of inappropriate affection?"

"This is not about you." Sherlock seethed with rage. "Nothing I have ever done since I have married James has ever been about you. I recall you abiding by that in particular when you were wed off."

"Oh my god." John exclaimed in disbelief. "Everything is a game to you, a ploy, a tactic just to prove a bloody point! To be correct! Do you take anything serious? Have you ever taken anything serious? Do you actually care about anything other than your own selfish needs? Ever since you've been with him you've become more and more of a-"

James walked down the last few steps and into the sitting room. "I would advise against finishing that sentence, Doctor Watson."