If you can't believe I wrote this, then you're in good company: neither can I.
Title: No Knot Unties Itself
Fandom: BBC Sherlock
Warnings: Japanese rope bondage, threesome, BDSM elements, sub!John, non-penetrative sex
Word count: 3810
A/N: Written for the prompt "Whatever will Lestrade say?" for come_at_once's 24 hour porn challenge. Title is from First Midnight from the musical Into the Woods.
Summary: John's good at untying knots. Lestrade finds out where he gets all the practice.
John Watson, Lestrade had noticed, was very good at untying knots.
It was one of many occupational hazards that came from working with Sherlock Holmes that a bloke periodically found himself getting kidnapped or captured by one nefarious criminal or other that Sherlock had managed to irritate. Lestrade had been there a few times himself, back when chasing after Sherlock and waving his police badge to keep the ruddy great git from getting himself killed had been a distressingly regular occurrence.
These days it was John who usually ended up being the one who got carried off with Sherlock's madness, which Lestrade's blood pressure certainly appreciated even if he did feel rather sorry for the poor bugger.
John seemed strangely well-equipped to dealing with hostage situations, however: he had an uncanny knack for being able to worm his way out of cuffs, knots and whatever else London's criminal classes tied him up with. It was a talent that had saved his and Sherlock's hides more times than Lestrade really wanted to count. Lestrade wasn't sure where a doctor - even an army doctor - picked up those kinds of skills, but he couldn't deny that they were useful.
"You're going to be buggered the day someone uses zip-ties instead of rope," Lestrade said conversationally to John, after one such foiled hostage-taking during which John had somehow got himself loose from where he'd been strung up by his wrists from a ceiling beam.
To say that the criminals had been surprised by John's Houdini act would have been an understatement. Lestrade could sympathize.
John chuckled. He looked a sight: his shirt was ripped and rumpled, there was blood drying on the side of his face from a cut on his forehead that John had assured the medics was hardly worth worrying about, and he was favouring his left shoulder which he'd apparently wrenched during his daring escape. "I'll have to start carrying a box-cutter," he agreed. "Not sure where I'd hide it, though."
"How did you get so good at this anyway?" Lestrade asked, part idle chitchat and mainly legitimate curiosity. "Getting out of ropes and handcuffs, I mean."
"Sherlock makes sure I get a lot of practice," John said, with an oddly cheeky grin.
Lestrade nodded. "I suppose he does at that. You might want to try not letting him get you kidnapped so often."
"Quite possibly." There was amusement lingering around the edges of John's eyes, like he was enjoying a joke that Lestrade wasn't privy to. He scratched absently at the blood on his face, careless of the way the slide of his shirt cuff put the raw chafing on his wrists in sharp relief.
And, well, it would have taken a better man than Lestrade not to find the sight of proper, unassuming John Watson looking disheveled and bright-eyed with the red crisscross of rope burns marring his skin more than a little appealing.
John's expression shifted, turning vaguely quizzical, and Lestrade belatedly realized he was staring. He forced himself to look away from the edges of damage peeking beyond the cuffs of John's jacket, only to find Sherlock watching the pair of them with his 'deducting face' on. Lestrade hurriedly arranged his face into something neutral, hoping desperately - but without much expectation - that all of his thoughts about how he'd like to see how far those new bruises went and what they looked like against John's skin weren't immediately obvious to Sherlock.
Sherlock's sharp eyes stayed fixed on him long enough to make sweat start to bead at Lestrade's temple, then cut deliberately away, dismissing him between one heartbeat and the next. Lestrade let out a careful breath; he knew better than to think he was off the hook, but he wouldn't regret having some extra time to come up with a decent apology.
Except, Sherlock didn't bring up Lestrade's moment of… indiscretion that day, nor on any of the subsequent occasions when he showed up to solve crimes and terrorize Lestrade's men for the next several weeks. As the time stretched out, Lestrade found himself relaxing almost despite himself, pleased that Sherlock had apparently decided that it wasn't worth his effort to air Lestrade's dirty laundry when there were so many other reasons he could berate him in public - mainly his perceived inability to solve even the most simple of cases.
Of course, Lestrade should have known that Sherlock wasn't the type to do anything of the sort. Not that it would have made what came next any less of a surprise, mind, but a little forewarning might have been nice.
Lestrade knocked again on the door to 221 Baker Street, wondering how long he was going to have to stand there before someone let him in. Mrs. Hudson was clearly out but the lights upstairs were on, so someone had to be home. It wasn't unusual for Sherlock to ignore the door in favour of conducting an experiment or reading or staring at the walls or whatever bloody else he was up to, but Lestrade couldn't imagine what John might have been doing that was important enough to keep him from the door. Especially when he'd been the one who'd told Lestrade to come over in the first place.
Sighing, Lestrade dug his phone out of his pocket to double check his messages. Right at the top was the text from John that he'd received that morning:
Found the blood samples from that case last week in the soap dish. Come by after work to pick them up? - John
Even if John hadn't known exactly what time Lestrade's shift was over, Lestrade had no doubt that Sherlock would have deduced Lestrade's arrival time down to the minute. So what was keeping them?
While he stood there, debating the merits of ringing John's phone versus pitching a rock at the window, Lestrade's mobile beeped with an incoming message:
It's open. SH
And then, immediately on the heels of the first:
Don't forget to lock it behind you. SH
Now thoroughly suspicious, Lestrade nevertheless let himself into the building, locked the door and headed up the stairs to Sherlock and John's flat. This door was also unlocked, so Lestrade took the implicit invitation and walked inside.
Then immediately stumbled to an abrupt halt, mouth gaping open.
Well, a slightly hysterical part of his mind said, That explains why John couldn't answer the door.
There, in the middle of the absent chaos of the sitting room, was John, bound and kneeling on the floor without a stitch of clothing on. But bound was too mild a word to describe what Lestrade was seeing. John was facing away from Lestrade and his hands were tied behind his back with soft-looking rope that had been twisted into the most complicated series of knots that Lestrade had ever seen. The rope crisscrossed John's upper arms several times before spiraling down to bind his wrists at the small of his back in a strangely graceful set of angles.
Three loops of rope climbed around John's neck and up over the crown of his head, twining across the front of his face in a pattern that Lestrade couldn't make out from where he was standing.
More rope snaked down John's lower back and over his hips, delving into the cleft between his buttocks before flaring out and down his firmly muscled legs in a diamond pattern that bound his thighs and calves together and forced him to sit back on his heels.
John shifted slightly and Lestrade watched the stripes of rope wound around him alternately slacken and press tighter with the motion, digging into London-pale skin and leaving mottled abrasions in their wake.
The overall effect was startling and surprisingly erotic and Lestrade felt a familiar tingle of interest in his gut that really wasn't appropriate right now. Belatedly remembering that he ought to be doing something other than lurking in the doorway and staring, Lestrade cleared his throat.
John didn't so much as twitch in acknowledgement and Lestrade frowned. He started forward, hands reaching out to start unwinding all that rope.
Suddenly, Sherlock's voice intruded into the quiet. "Do shut the door, Lestrade. I can assure you that this is completely consensual, but John won't appreciate the draft."
Lestrade looked around and found Sherlock in the kitchen, hunched over his microscope and not paying the slightest bit of attention to the ex-army doctor tied up in his sitting room.
Lestrade walked over to join Sherlock. "Sherlock, what-"
"Kinbaku," Sherlock said, not bothering to look up. "Japanese rope bondage. It's also known as shibari in some BDSM circles, however your sexual predilections are too narrow for you to have come across either term before. It's meant to represent the perfect union of intimacy, elegance and eroticism."
Lestrade glanced back at John, still and silent on the floor, and had to admit that it certainly managed that. From his new angle, Lestrade could see that the ropes crisscrossed loops and diamonds over John's front as well and that the rope wrapped around John's head formed a thick, graceful mesh of knots that was acting as a blindfold. John also, Lestrade realized, had a ball gag in his mouth that stretched his lips into a very pretty looking 'o'.
"So, what do you say?"
Lestrade blinked back towards Sherlock. "I don't-"
"Yes, you do," Sherlock interrupted. "You just don't want to admit it. You'll be pleased to know that you're not the only one who likes to see John tied up. And that I'm willing to share." Sherlock lifted his head away from the microscope and fixed Lestrade with a piercing look. "Any more inane questions or shall we move on to the main event? John's been waiting long enough as is."
Undecided, Lestrade looked again at John, who was still kneeling there as though they weren't talking about him mere feet away.
"It's because he can't hear us," Sherlock said, anticipating Lestrade's thought processes as always. "Sensory deprivation heightens the remaining senses, in this case, touch. He's been there for approximately one hour and thirty seven minutes, in addition to the time it took to prepare the bindings. Between the rope and the plug, I'm sure John is more than ready for some additional stimulation."
"Plug?" Lestrade repeated.
Sherlock ignored him and stood. "Come." Lestrade followed helplessly behind as Sherlock led the way to John's side.
Without ceremony, Sherlock reached out to place his hand on the angry snarl of scar tissue on John's shoulder. John's entire body went taut in surprise and a low, needy groan rumbled up from his throat.
Sherlock's other hand came up to cup the side of John's face and Lestrade watched, stunned, as John nuzzled into the touch, head rolling trustingly into the cradle of Sherlock's palm. For his part, Sherlock was watching John with an expression that was no less intent than usual, though there was something in his eyes that looked uncharacteristically fond.
Sherlock let John rub against his palm for a moment longer, then swept both hands down to John's chest. The tenderness vanished between one moment and the next and then there was nothing but possession in the way Sherlock's fingers traced the lines of arching rope down the length of John's chest, all the way down to where John's cock was standing proud and angry-looking in the middle of an intricate collection of interlacing diamonds.
John's spine arched into the touch, tremors rippling under his skin as muffled moans spilled out from behind the gag. Feeling rather like moaning himself, Lestrade reached down to adjust himself in his trousers.
Sherlock raised an eyebrow at him. "Don't tell me you're just going to watch."
Lestrade swallowed hard. "I-"
Sherlock pinched one of John's nipples, wringing an anguished cry out of him, and Lestrade found himself circling behind John to stake out his own space across that sweat-slicked skin. He stood there for a moment, watching the flex and twitch of John's fingers in time with the ruthless sweep of Sherlock's hands. Hesitantly, Lestrade reached out to touch John's bicep where it bulged between the tightly lashed coils of rope. John groaned out an indecipherable mess of sounds at the brush of Lestrade's fingers but made no attempt to avoid his touch, even though he had to know that it wasn't Sherlock's hand.
"Of course he knows you're here," Sherlock said. His eyes never left John's face. "Why do you think I had him text you?"
"I still expect those blood samples back," Lestrade said, though he honestly couldn't have cared less at this point. Reassured that this really was going to happen, he let his touch grow more confident, pulling and kneading firm flesh to make it rasp against the ropes. John groaned again and his head dipped down to his chest like it was too heavy to lift.
Lestrade kept his touch light and teasing; Sherlock had decided to add his mouth to the proceedings and Lestrade thought John would appreciate the contrast of sensations. He let his eyes track lower in concert with the sweep of his hands and found himself captured by the rhythmic flex of John's buttocks as he swayed between the two of them. The rope snaking down John's cleft was rubbing the skin raw and Lestrade found himself tracing the same path with his fingers without really thinking about it. John squirmed, toes curling, and Lestrade's eyebrows arched up nearly to his hairline when his questing fingers brushed against the base of what was undeniably a buttplug nestled snugly in the tangle of rope tying John's arse to his ankles.
"Bloody fuck," Lestrade breathed, more turned on than he could ever remember being.
Lestrade gripped the end of the plug as well as he could through the rope and gave it a gentle push. The results were beautiful: John howled, his spine curving into such a lovely arc that Lestrade simply had to do it again. He plucked at the ropes wrapped around John's hips with his free hand, most of his attention focused on the way John's hips were rocking shallowly into the push-pull of his hand on the plug.
He played with the plug for a time while Sherlock scraped his lips and teeth across John's hypersensitive skin and John shook and shuddered between them. Eventually, Sherlock lifted his head and met Lestrade's eyes over John's shoulder. John groaned and wilted slightly at the loss of stimulation and Lestrade pressed hard against the plug to keep his interest.
"He's behaving admirably, wouldn't you say?" Sherlock asked, as mildly as if he was inquiring about the weather.
Lestrade nodded fervently. "He's amazing, Christ."
"Then I'd say he's earned a temporary reprieve. Would you care to do the honours?" Sherlock stepped back entirely, unbelievably calm considering he had John shaking himself to pieces under his hands. Lestrade wondered if that was Sherlock's natural arrogance coming to play or if Sherlock's control was part of the game they played as well.
It took Lestrade a moment to figure out what Sherlock meant, and then he was practically tripping over himself to kneel in front of John and wrap his hand around his weeping prick. John groaned loudly and arched into his touch, his whole body bowing upwards as he tried to thrust into the loose tunnel of Lestrade's hand. The ropes dug harshly into his legs with the motion and Lestrade just held him for a moment so that he could watch the way angry red abrasions stretched out in delicate diamonds across John's skin.
Then Sherlock's hands were on John's face, tipping his head back to give access to the vulnerable arch of John's neck. John shuddered limply and surrendered to Sherlock's demand, tilting his head even further when Sherlock latched his mouth onto the patch of skin under his jaw.
Lestrade rubbed his thumb experimentally over the head of John's prick, smearing the precum gathering there and making John shudder in the most delightful way. Grinning darkly to himself, Lestrade left Sherlock to his own devices and set about finding out what it took to make John lose himself completely.
He teased the hot flesh with firm, slow strokes that dragged his gun calluses against sensitive skin and fanned the heat rising in John's blood without giving him the final push he needed to reach orgasm. Sherlock was tracking a line of bruises down the length of John's throat while his fingers worried at the ropes wrapped around John's neck. John thrashed helplessly between them, stripped of all his defenses.
John's moans had turned into desperate almost-sobs by the time Lestrade finally put him out of his misery. He jerked John's prick firmly, rubbing his thumb deliberately against the swollen glans. With a broken sob, John fell into orgasm; his whole body arched, every muscle straining against the rope and his cock spurted in Lestrade's hand. Lestrade watched, rapt, and kept working John's prick until he'd shuddered through the aftershocks and started wincing at the overstimulation. He let go and John collapsed like his strings had been cut, still on his knees but doubled over until his head was nearly on Lestrade's knee.
"Jesus," Lestrade said devoutly.
Sherlock pulled back and Lestrade saw a few drops of blood beading on John's skin where Sherlock's teeth had dug in. "Indeed."
With an efficiency that was unexpectedly careful, Sherlock untied the gag and worked it out of John's mouth. John sucked in a ragged breath, chest heaving.
"Sherlock," he gasped. His voice was whisky rough and edged dangerously close to a moan, but was otherwise more familiar than Lestrade realized he'd been expecting. This was not a situation in which Lestrade had ever expected to hear that tone of vaguely scandalized satisfaction coming out of John's mouth.
Granted, he'd never really expected to be in this situation in the first place, either.
Lestrade watched the pink dart of John's tongue across his dry lips and his cock throbbed in pained sympathy.
"Later," Sherlock said, in the tone of voice that passed for amused with him. His hands shifted up under the edges of John's rope blindfold and John remained still while Sherlock removed the ear plugs.
"John," Sherlock said and a tension that Lestrade hadn't even realized that John was carrying melted out of his shoulders.
"Buggering Christ, Sherlock," John said feelingly.
Sherlock's answering smile was decidedly smug. "You're welcome."
John panted a few more times, then his blind face tilted up towards Lestrade. "Hi, Greg," he said and Lestrade started.
"J-john," Lestrade responded awkwardly, feeling a flush rise to his cheeks as he cast about for something to say to a man he'd just jerked to orgasm. "Alright?"
John's answering smile was tired and gently amused. "Aside from the way I'm going to be sore for a week, yeah."
Sherlock snorted. "Hardly. You've had far worse than this."
"Can't argue there." John shifted, an expression somewhere between discomfort and arousal flashing across his face. Lestrade abruptly remembered that, even though he'd come, John was still trussed up like a turkey with a plug up his arse.
"Shouldn't you-?" Lestrade asked Sherlock, with a vague gesture at John.
"Hmm," Sherlock said. "No, I don't think so."
"Sherlock," John said, in a tone of voice that went straight to Lestrade's prick. He wouldn't have thought that John even knew how to beg but, as it turned out, it suited him very well.
"Yes, John?" Sherlock answered silkily.
"Still no." Sherlock leaned in and his shirt brushed against John's bare chest. John's answering shudder rippled beautifully under his sweat-slick skin. "Surely you didn't think we were done."
"Sherlock," John breathed again, a plea and a mantra, and Sherlock brushed a light kiss against the corner of John's mouth. John turned his head immediately, trying to catch Sherlock's mouth, but Sherlock bypassed the open invitation in favour of tracking up to John's ear and pressing a wet, open-mouthed kiss there. "How long do you think it will take you to get yourself untied?"
John groaned unhappily. "Oh, you utter wanker."
Sherlock's hand on John's chest turned into rake of short fingernails across one of his nipples that made John arch and hiss. "Quiet or I'll gag you again. I'm going to Bart's at seven," he said then. "So you'd better not take too long. I'm sure Lestrade doesn't want to stay here all night."
Actually, Lestrade disagreed with that statement quite vehemently, but a single sharp glance from Sherlock was enough to keep him quiet.
John hung his head. "Still a wanker," he said, but he was already sitting up straighter, twisting his hands to reach for the knots around his wrists.
"You wouldn't really leave him here," Lestrade said, trying not to make it sound like a question.
Sherlock shrugged. "It wouldn't be the first time. How else is he meant to learn?"
"But-" Lestrade started, then trailed off, not sure how to bring attention to the fact that he was still hard as a rock in his trousers and would like to get off himself sooner rather than later.
Of course, Sherlock didn't need him to give voice to his complaint to know exactly what Lestrade wanted. "If you insist. John," he said to John, whose shoulders were rolling in time with the careful fumble of his fingers. "I have to finish my experiment. The Detective Inspector wants his cock sucked. Take care of it."
John huffed out a sound that was suspiciously like a laugh but didn't resist at all as Sherlock wrapped a hand around the back of his head and pushed him down until his chest was on his thighs and his upper body was wedged between Lestrade's legs.
"Wait-" Lestrade started, only to break off with a strangled curse when John nuzzled unashamedly at his heavy erection. His hands came up without his volition to grab John's head, feeling the weight of the rope digging into his palms and John's tender skin. John shuddered, lips parting to let him mouth at the shape of Lestrade's prick through his trousers and Lestrade hesitated, fighting the urge to grind John's face against him.
Sherlock rolled his eyes. "Really, Lestrade, you needn't worry about hurting him; John is perfectly capable of letting you know if you go too far. I expect both of you to be quiet," he said then, heading back into the kitchen. "I need to concentrate."
John hummed his agreement against Lestrade's prick and Lestrade groaned.
"I will gag you, Detective Inspector," Sherlock said calmly and Lestrade's mouth snapped shut with an audible click. Sherlock reclaimed his seat at the kitchen table, reaching for a new slide. "Try not to distract John too much. His shoulder's going to stiffen up if I have to leave him tied up all night."
MORE A/N: Talented practitioners of kinbaku can do amazing things with it: like this, or this, or this or maybe this. All images NSFW.
Also available on AO3