Title: Less than Three Minutes
Fandom: BBC Sherlock
Tags: John with a sneezing fetish, asexual Sherlock
Notes: Written in honor of the launch of the Alphabet Soup discord group!
“I can't believe you didn't see it,” Sherlock said, waving his hand at the table where the dinner party had been seated. “It is obvious someone on the kitchen staff warned those two diners specifically not to touch that particular course. That way, they could participate fine in the rest of the meal without arousing suspicion but make it through alive.”
Greg shook his head. “No... can't be that. The cooks had absolutely no contact with the members of the dinner party. They wouldn't have even been able to write a note on a napkin.”
For a brief second, Sherlock looked annoyed—perhaps at the fact that Greg doesn't believe him or the fact that Greg doesn't instantly understand the situation. But then he took a breath and let it out. “It's elementary." Greg narrowed his eyes at him. "No, it is. They teach the alphabet there, don't they? It was alphabet soup. The staff spelled out 'SOUP IS POISONED' in letters before sending it out to the table. One of the oldest tricks in the book.”
Greg stared at the dinner settings, saw the little bits of letters floating around in the bowl, and groaned deeply. “You solved it.”
Sherlock nodded. “Of course. That's what you pay me to do, isn't it? Solve mysteries.”
“Well, I'm not bloody paying you this time, am I? I... I-huhhh... HUH HUHHH-GIHSCHhhhhhh!”
“Oh, Greg. Bless you. Here. Lift your head a mo.” Greg did so, obediently, and John wiped his nose dry for him with an extra soft tissue.
Greg sniffled a little and raised his eyes to meet John's. “He solved it in less than three minutes.”
John nodded back. “Well, he is the best. I'd expect nothing less from him.”
Sherlock beamed. “Why, thank you, John.”
Greg waved his hand toward the television set. “Yeah, but it's a two-hour murder mystery and he solved it before the opening credits even rolled! How am I supposed to relax now?” He sniffed again and rubbed a finger back and forth under his nose. He lifted his head off the couch cushion that was resting in John's lap. “Couldn't get another tissue, could I, loves?”
Sherlock pulled one out of the box in his lap and handed it across the couch and over to John. John wiped gently at the underside of Greg's red nose for him. “Better? Or do you need a blow?”
“huh...” Greg's eyes started to close. His body, lying on its side on the couch, shuddered. Sherlock reached over and tugged the blanket up a little, rubbing Greg's upper arm. “uhh-huhhhh!”
“Oh, or maybe you need me to catch another sneeze for you?” Eagerly, John adjusted his grip on the tissue so it covered his palm. He held it out in front of Greg's face at enough distance where he could still watch the detective inspector's nose wrinkle and twitch, filling with that desperate urge to sneeze. His heart beat faster.
“huhh huh-uhhh... Huh... HUH... HUH-HUH-HUHHH-UHKTChhhhhh!” He sprayed the tissue, which John then moved forward to rub and wipe his nose with. Greg took a deep breath and let out a long, wet blow after which John folded the tissue and wiped Greg's nose one last time with it. “Thanks,” he sighed. “Guess I did need a blow.” A smile twitched at the corners of his mouth. “And judging by the hardness I feel under this couch cushion, you could probably use one, too.”
Mortified, John turned red in the face from ear to ear. “Oh dear Lord, could you really feel it all this time?”
Greg smiled. “Yeah. Don't be embarrassed, love. I'm flattered. Sniff! Sick and tired, but flattered. Sniff! And maybe a little restless. Switch it to a cooking show, will you, Sherlock? That's something you won't ruin for me.”
Sherlock flipped channels with the remote. There were four bakers competing for a large cash prize. “The man in the black apron is going to put bacon in cupcakes and win the pot,” he said matter-of-factually.
Greg rolled his eyes. “Not even the great Sherlock Holmes could know that.” The contestants hadn't even started yet, so he didn't believe a word Sherlock said. He nuzzled his face back against the pillow, rubbing his cheek firmly into the thing.
John took a quick, involuntary breath and bit his lip. “Don't!” he whispered. He reached out for Greg's shoulder, freezing him in place. His fingertips brushed the back of Sherlock's hand, which was still rubbing up and down Greg's arm. And, for a moment, it seemed that he would be all right.
But then Greg's head moved forward, cheek against the cushion again, and John felt the movement like a long stroke from base to tip. He winced and tensed up. “Greg... no...”
“Cah... huhhhh! Can't help it. Huhhh! UHH-HUTCHShhhhhhh! Uhh...” He sniffled. “Ugh, my nose! God, this is a devilishly ticklish head cold.”
John hunched forward, trembling uncontrollably. He practically panted, “Greg...”
Greg glanced over at Sherlock, who nodded back at him and pulled a new tissue out of the box. He extended his arm and brought the tissue to Greg's face, not to catch a sneeze but to wave the edge of the tissue against Greg's sensitive nose. Greg gasped and closed his eyes. “Ihh-Giiihhhh I cah... I... huhhhhh gotta... huhhh! Uhhhhh... sneehee... snee-huhhh... Guhhhhh!” And at the very last second, Greg shoved the cushion off John's lap and onto the floor. Desperate for something to sneeze into, he turned his head and buried his nose between John's thighs. “HUHKXXshh!”
“Oh fuck! I'm gonna...!” Eyes tightly closed, John jerked in place. Blindly, his hand found Sherlock's hand and squeezed it so tightly. Sherlock held tight, his thumb caressing the back of John's hand at the same time. John's other hand found the back of Greg's head and flexed against it, tugging at the hair. “Please, just... one more...” he panted. And then he added. “Quick!”
Greg nodded, his nose rubbing against the erection still trapped in John's trousers. “ihhgehhh... ihh hehhhhh ehh huhhh huhh-KShhhhhh!”
As John's pelvis thrust upward against Greg's face, the rest of his body stiffened. He held onto both men as if for dear life. Then his body relaxed back against the couch and his quick breathing began to slow again. “Don't think... I'll ever stop loving this... or being embarrassed by it.” He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Cheers.”
“Glad you liked it.” Greg dragged his runny nose across John's thigh, sniffling wetly. “Bud I thidk I'b godda deed a tissue bore thad ever dow. Sniff! Sniff!”
Sherlock provided. He handed one to John, so John could wrap it around Greg's nose and wipe tenderly. And he handed a whole bunch to Greg so Greg could stuff them into John's pants and clean up a little. He was going to need a shower. Hell, Greg could probably use a shower, too, and probably someone tall and strong to hold him up while John washed and while the hot steam filled the stall and helped calm his nose. Sherlock rose from the couch and helped both his men do the same. He prodded them up the stairs to the bathroom.
By the time they were coming back downstairs, the baking show was just wrapping up. The man in the black apron showed his winning bacon cupcakes off with a flourish to thunderous applause from the studio audience.
Greg just stared. Then he turned to Sherlock. “How the hell could you possibly have known that?”
Sherlock just shrugged. “That episode was a repeat. It aired last week the night you were working late.”
Greg grabbed the couch cushion off the floor and struck Sherlock in the side with it. Sherlock grabbed it, pulled it free of John's grip, and tossed it back onto the couch. Then he pointed his finger. “Go on. Get comfortable.” Greg curled back up on the couch. Then John and Sherlock joined him, fitting themselves warmly on either side of him. “Let me know when you're hungry,” Sherlock said, addressing them both. “I'll heat up some alphabet soup—of the unpoisoned variety, of course.”