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Five Acts Meme!!

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Five Acts Meme!!

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My most favorite of favorite memes has come around again!



+ Post a list of your five favorite acts/kinks to read about. Check out this list if you need some inspiration. At the bottom of your post, add what fandoms/pairings you're interested in.
+ Read other people's lists; the master list of lists is here.
+ Post comment-fic based off of other people's interests.

Hosted by the amazing toestastegood

nb: you do not have to sign up for the meme to write fills!



Acts

1. Painplay. I have a particular liking for knives/cutting, but whatever floats your boat, as long as it's RACK (risk aware consensual kink).

2. Voice kink. I love a scenario where one partner talks the other one through something--step-by-step narrative or instructions somehow becoming erotic. But really, any kind of dirty talk/ intense response to a particular voice is awesome.

3. Fever. A subset of my general h/c kink. Can involve sexual content or not. I particularly like delirium/distorted perception/ fever dreams/ thinning of barriers between memories and the present.

4. Touch. Any scenario in which touch becomes the most important sense. Could involve sensory deprivation or oversensitivity for some reason, or whatever you like.

5. Dancing. Characters realizing or exploring their mutual attraction through dancing together. Could be fast or slow, public or private.

Fandoms & pairings

Hawaii Five-O: Anyone/Anyone. Really--I am happy with all pairings here!
Sherlock: Sherlock/John, Sherlock/Lestrade, John/Lestrade.
Sherlock RPF: Martin/Benedict (but if you could keep this one shy of adultery, I'd appreciate it).
Sherlock Holmes (book or Ritchie 'verse): Holmes/Watson.
White Collar: Neal/Peter, Neal/Peter/El, Peter/El.
The Eagle(movie and book): Marcus/Esca.
Southland: Cooper/Sherman, Lydia/anyone.
Supernatural: Dean/Cas, Dean/Lisa.
Merlin: Arthur/Merlin, Merlin/Gwaine.
& what the hell Camelot: Gawaine/Kay, Morgan/Vivian, Vivian/Merlin.

fills:
Sherlock/John, fever, touch, dancing by brighteyed_jill
Steve/Danny, fever norgbelulah
A Fine Edge, Steve/Danny, knives and painplay by whiteraven1606


fills by me
Steve/Danny, fever, R, for norgbelulah
Your Queen, Merlin/Igraine (Camelot), power exchange, NC-17 for zelda_zee
Certain Events in Lambeth (Lestrade/Sherlock, non-con, NC-17) for brighteyed_jill

  • This is the kind of thing that makes me fall in love with the whole experience of fandom all over again XD
  • Sherlock/John: fever, dancing, and touch

    “I’m cold,” Sherlock said, which wasn’t right at all, because John felt hot like bare feet on desert sand. Besides, Sherlock didn’t notice mundane physical things like temperature unless they could be pressed into service as clues.

    “What?” The question was a dry rasp in John’s throat.

    “The mold. I should have noticed the connection before,” said Sherlock. “The very same kind was growing under the sink in the loo at that dance studio.”

    “Yes.” John blinked against the sunlight streaming in through the window. He couldn’t remember the details of the case they were on, or even what sort of crime they were investigating, which was sure to make blogging the events a challenge. “Did we catch the killer?” Safe bet: Sherlock preferred murder.

    “Don’t concern yourself.” Sherlock’s blessedly cool fingers pressed against John’s forehead. Why was Sherlock sitting next to his bed? “I can track down more criminals from this room than Dimmock could running around the streets of London with a bloodhound.”

    “Blood.” John’s hand drifted up and came to rest rather painfully on a thick bandage covering his right side under his vest. The wretched heat boiling through John’s veins seemed to radiate from there.

    John lifted his eyes to Sherlock, who looked a far sight more pale and haggard than usual. He’d stopped fiddling with his phone, and his attention had settled on John’s bandage. He watched it intently, as if examining the wound that must lay beneath.

    “Are you hurt?” John asked.

    “No.” Sherlock picked up John’s hand by the wrist--his fingers were a cool circle like a metal bracelet--lifted his hand off the bandage, and tucked it up against John’s chest. “I wasn’t there in time,” he muttered. “Though if it’s any consolation, we did both get a soaking in the Thames.”

    John frowned. “I’ve told you and told you not to jump in the river.”

    “I had a good reason.” Sherlock seemed to realize he still held John’s wrist; he snatched his hand back. “Sarah said the fever might not break for another twelve hours or more.”

    “Fever. Right.” Knowing the why of it didn’t make the stifling confines of his skin any easier to bear. John thought he could feel the scratch of his wool suit against his back, the pinch of dress shoes. “Formal clothes are such a bother.”

    Sherlock moved beside him, and then a cold, moist cloth settled over John’s eyes and forehead. Sherlock tugged at the hem of John’s vest. “Should I take this off?”

    “I don’t think the others would appreciate that,” John said reluctantly. “And I’d catch hell from Harry.” Then he frowned. “You don’t have to lead all every time. I may be short, but I’m not exactly clumsy.”

    “Do you want me to go?” Sherlock asked.

    “Then I won’t have a partner. There are always more women than men at these classes. Opportunity, of course, but I’d rather dance with someone who knows what he’s doing.”

    Sherlock favored him with a slow smile. “When did you take dance classes?”

    “For Harry’s wedding. Disaster, the whole undertaking. I’m glad you know the steps.”

    “Yes.” Sherlock’s hand gripped John’s right, and his other hand tucked into the edge of John’s hip. “I’ll take care of you out there.”

    “Mm.” John let his eyes drift closed. The heat seemed more bearable now, not like burning sand, but like a sun-touched wooden dance floor. “Next time,” he said. “Let’s wait for a song that plays less rough. A waltz, maybe. No one gets stabbed and dumped into the Thames during a waltz.”

    “I’d have thought you’d prefer to tango.”

    “Takes two,” John said sagely, then giggled.

    “Waltz it is.” Sherlock let go of John reluctantly. He picked up his violin from the case at his feet and tucked it under his chin.

    Sherlock played. John kept his eyes closed. He floated along, not like in the cold darkness of a river, but swept across the dance floor by a partner who could read every move in his body and his face: effortless and sublime.

    The music swept to a graceful finish, and Sherlock’s fingers landed on John’s cheek again. “Sleep,” Sherlock said. “I’ll be here.”

    “You’ll tell me when it’s time for the next dance?”

    “Yes.”

    “You won’t dance with anyone else while I’m sleeping?”

    “No. No I won’t.”

    “Well, then.” With a satisfied nod, John settled back into sleep, and dreamt of dancing.
  • Won't Let You (1/3) - Hawaii Five-0 - Steve/Danny - Fever

    Danny came back from the hospital after the Sarin nightmare with a cold, the freaking sniffles. It figured, or so Danny said. He also said the same thing happened after he and Rachel came home with Grace. He was just apparently exceptional at getting sick in hospitals.

    Steve hadn’t realized Danny even had the goddamn cold until after they had everything laid out on his kitchen table, beers open, and ready for an exciting night of paperwork.

    Of course, they argued about it, like they do. They argued about Danny’s fitness for the stress of doing the paperwork, about Steve’s relative ability to complete the paperwork himself, about Danny’s imminent need to get the fuck home and go to bed, and finally about the comfort of Steve’s leather couch where Danny ended up crashing because he looked like he was about to keel over anyway.

    Steve can’t quite remember which side of each argument he was actually on, but he’s fairly satisfied that Danny’s staying, instead of attempting to drive home, late at night, with a head cold of mysterious origin.

    He is however a little disappointed he couldn’t convince his partner to take some freaking medication. But stubborn Danny Williams had said it would likely be gone in the morning, no fuss, no muss.

    When Steve is awoken in the middle of the night by a repetitive banging sound, he wonders if Danny wasn’t being just a little bit cocky. Well, first he wonders what the hell Danny is doing.

    He finds his partner on the floor, sweat soaked and loose-limbed, leaning against Steve’s fridge and pounding his head every three seconds or so against the hard aluminum door.

    Once the full picture of what is actually happening is processed by Steve’s sleep-deprived brain, he rushes over, crying, “Jesus Christ, Danny,” and seizing Danny’s face between his hands to make him quit doing that.

    Danny’s skin is hot, hotter than Steve had felt it get under a fairly serious sunburn a few weeks back, and Steve knows this little bout of the sniffles isn’t anything to sneeze at any longer. Danny puts his arms up like he’s going to shove Steve away from him, but there’s no strength behind it and, disturbingly, no intelligent recognition in his eyes, either.

    He keeps trying to jerk his head out of Steve’s grasp, in that same repetitive motion, prompting Steve to soothe, “Hey… hey, Danno, calm down. It’s okay. It’s just me.” Steve gets his face real close to Danny, and looks hard into his eyes. “It’s just me, okay?”
    • Re: Won't Let You (2/3) - Hawaii Five-0 - Steve/Danny - Fever


      Finally some recognition does enter Danny’s expression and he smiles weakly, what little fight was in him snuffing out like a candle. “Heeey,” he draws out in a quiet, breathless voice, “M’Garrett to the rescue.”

      “Right,” Steve agrees. “What are you doing down here on the floor, buddy?” He tries to stop his hands from moving across Danny’s flushed cheeks or from sinking into the sweat-dampened hair.

      “I can’t get up,” Danny mumbles with this crazy desperate edge to his voice and something like real fear in his eyes. “I think they broke my legs.”

      “Danny, man, your legs are fine. No one broke them. You’re at my house, on the floor, in front of the fridge.”
      “Then, why won’t they work?”

      Steve tamps down on the rising panic within him that this is way more serious than he had originally thought and takes a deep breath. “Okay, Danno, I want you to think for a minute, like really hard, because if you persist with this, I’m going to have to take you to a hospital.” At that Danny’s eyes go wide and Steve continues, “I know, right? You just got back from there, and we don’t want to do this again and again in some kind of vicious cycle, do we? You remember earlier, right? You had a cold, crashed on my couch. Then what happened?”

      Danny just blinks at him for a long moment and pulls himself up, pressing closer to the fridge door. “Fridge was cold… is cold,” he corrects himself slowly, like speaking takes a special effort, or maybe it’s just that making sense does. “I ‘member waking up hot. Hot like now. I wanted…” he pauses and Steve smiles at him, encouraging. “I wanted something to drink. Then…my legs didn’t work anymore, or… my head…or something.”

      Steve draws his hand across Danny’s forehead and then around to side, feeling for the knot that might have already formed. Danny winces and tries to pull away, but Steve won’t let him. “Do you remember why you hit your head like that?”

      “Wanted to wake you up, I think,” Danny replied in a small voice. “Different pounding… better…then, things got… wrong…” he mumbles and trails off.

      Steve realizes this is probably the tail end of Danny making sense again for at least a little while. He cups his hand around the back of Danny’s too hot neck, pulling his attention back from where it had wandered towards the ceiling.

      “All right, Danno, let’s get you to bed.”
    • Re: Won't Let You (3/3) - Hawaii Five-0 - Steve/Danny - Fever - ariadnes_string - Expand
    • Re: Won't Let You (3/3) - Hawaii Five-0 - Steve/Danny - Fever - ousoonerfan - Expand
  • A Fine Edge 1/2, Steve/Danny, painplay, voice kink

    Danny touched Steve’s stomach. “You’re really sure about this? Because I’ve got to tell you this makes me wonder about how they train...”

    “Danny.” Steve touched Danny’s wrist and pushed his hand down towards his groin. “We’ve talked about this. I want it and you can do it.”

    Licking his lip, Daniel nodded and focused on Steve’s hardening cock. He urged Steve to spread his legs wide. Rubbing gently at the skin at the base of Steve’s prick, Daniel lifted the small knife and laid it against the skin of Steve’s inner thigh. “You have to hold still, Steven. Very still or I’ll hurt you more than you want.”

    Steve let his head loll to the side as the knife sliced a neat short line across his skin. “Danny...again. Do it again.”

    Daniel slid his gloved covered thumb across the thin cut and then made a parallel cut beside it. He relished the quick intake of Steve’s breathe and how he said Daniel’s name with such a shaky voice.

    “Talk to me...Danny.”

    Making a new cut along the top of Steve’s thigh, Daniel glanced up at him to find his eyes were wide and mostly unfocused. “Wow. You look so hot like this. The way you’re breathing so hard and how you’re just relaxed, waiting for me to make you hurt.”

    Steve let a small noise escape and started to stroke himself.

    Daniel made several more small cuts across the front of Steve’s thighs and out to Steve’s hipbone to make a single cut there. “You like that, Steven?”

    “Lo-love it...Danny, please.” Steve flopped his free hand as though he’d started to grab Daniel, but lost track partway through the movement.

    “Where else, Steven?” Daniel gently pulled the tip of the knife across the cuts where they were closed or closing up. He could tell Steve’s skin was on fire where he’d been cut. He thumbed the cut closest to Steve’s scrotum and watched Steve jerk and whimper. “More dangerous? Or should I move to less erotic seeming places?”

    Steven arched as Daniel trailed the knife along Steve’s ribs up to trace around the tattoo on Steve’s left arm. He started jacking himself faster as Daniel rubbed the flat of the blade across Steve’s tattoo. “More.”

    “Hmmm. Well, let’s see what I can do.” Daniel sat the knife down and picked up a wooden clothespin from the pile. Gently pinching up skin, Daniel clipped it do Steve’s scrotum.

    “Oh.” Steve stilled for a moment and looked down at himself before dropping his head back to the bed. “Oh, God.”

    “I think you like that. Don’t you, Steven?”

    ****

    Steve whimpered as Danny pinched another spot of skin with his clothespins. His voice washed over Steve and he could feel everything that Daniel had done either burning or hurting and it was exquisite.

    “Never going to make fun of my clothespins again are you, Steven?”

    Trembling, Steve held his free arm out towards Danny. “Please.” His own voice was just wrecked and Steve rubbed his cock-head as Danny started to pinch skin on the inside of his elbow.

    “Does it hurt enough yet, Steven?” Danny grabbed one of the first clothespins and squeezed it hard.

    Steve gasped as he arched off the bed. Slowly dropping back down, Steve tried to focus enough to ask Danny to do that again, but he didn’t have to as Danny pulled sharply on another spot.

    “Don’t want to pull it off, just make your skin stretch. Right, Steven?” Danny leaned over and bit at the tip of Steve’s shoulder where his tattoo started. “Want to more pain?”

    He had to work hard just to nod. Danny’s face floated into view.

    “Steven, you have to tell me it is okay.” Danny petted his neck and shoulder with his gloved hand.

    Working his throat, Steven managed to force out a sound that must have pleased Danny because he moved back down Steve’s body.
    • Re: A Fine Edge 2/2, Steve/Danny, painplay, voice kink

      ****

      Daniel took a deep breathe and took the knife back up. He watched Steve lay there panting, his skin flushed until he thought he could manage to make the last cut. Taking the knife, Daniel clamped his other hand on the clothespin on Steve’s scrotum. Steve froze completely and while he was still Daniel made a quick, straight cut from one side to the other across the head of Steve’s cock above the slit.

      Steve exploded, his movements frantic and Daniel pinched and pulled on various clothespins as he was splattered with Steve’s semen. Daniel listened avidly to Steve’s grunts and moans as he orgasmed.

      “So good, Steven.” When Steve slumped back, Daniel started pulling the clothespins off with harsh tugs. Steve gasped and twitched with each one. Daniel straddled Steve’s hips and rubbed his thumb across that last cut on Steve’s cock as he jerked himself off.

      “Danny.” Steve moaned his name and Daniel shuddered through his own orgasm. He leaned forward to rest his forehead on Steve’s chest as he tried to keep breathing.

      ****

      Steve floated as Danny cleaned them up. He was hurting, but it was all muted and his skin was hyper aware of every touch. He absently rubbed the edge of the gel that Daniel had spread on the cuts.

      “Stop that, Steven.”

      He shivered and rolled onto his side as Danny laid down beside him. He pulled Danny in and they kissed for long moments. Then he pulled back and grinned at Danny. “Thank you, Danno.”

      Danny smiled his pleased with everybody smile and propped his head on his hand. “It was good for you, Steven?”

      Steve shivered and skimmed his fingertips along Danny’s side. “You know it was.”

      His smile widened and Danny flopped forward to press himself to Steve’s side. ‘Yeah.” He yawned. “Sleep, Steven.”

      He closed his eyes and wrapped an arm around Danny. Content with the world for the moment, Steve went to sleep.
    • Re: A Fine Edge 2/2, Steve/Danny, painplay, voice kink - ariadnes_string - Expand
    • Re: A Fine Edge 2/2, Steve/Danny, painplay, voice kink - ousoonerfan - Expand
  • Someone Else's Door - White Collar - pre-P/E/N - fever, touch 1/2

    Neal’s head pounded as he tried to get the very stubborn key into the lock. Try as he might, he could not get the damn thing to fit in the lock. He gave the door a frustrated kick and groaned. June was gone for the weekend - no one was around to let him in. He kicked the door again, forgetting how much it’d hurt the first time. If he could just think hard enough to remember how to pick the lock...

    Neal swayed forward dangerously when the door he’d been leaning against suddenly swung inward. He blinked in confusion at the woman standing in front of him.

    “El?” he croaked. “What are you doing here?” She blinked back at him, looking as confused as he felt.

    “...I live here, Neal,” she said reasonably. It took a moment for Neal’s fever-addled brain to process the statement. Then it took him another moment to look more closely at the door he was standing outside of.

    “Oh,” he remarked. He could’ve sworn he’d headed to June’s... “Peter’s not gonna be happy.” Elizabeth frowned at him before she laid a gentle hand on his arm.

    “You okay, Neal?” she asked, sounding concerned. “Peter said you two were working on a case.”

    “Oh, yeah. Finished it...I think.” Neal let himself be pulled into the Burkes’ living room. He didn’t resist when El pushed him down onto the couch.

    “Neal, honey, you’re burning up,” she said as her hand brushed against his cheek. Neal’s eyes drifted shut as he tried to lean into the touch.

    “Think I’m sick,” he mumbled, hoping she never moved away from him. She felt so warm...

    Neal.” Neal forced his eyes open as he realized Elizabeth had been saying his name for awhile. She sighed as she looked him over. “No wonder you forgot how to knock,” she said. “C’mon, Neal. Oof! You’re heavy!” Elizabeth complained as she tried to get him up off the couch.

    “Are you kicking me out?” he asked, determined not to pout but not above making himself heavier in her arms.

    “Of course not!” El said, sounding genuinely affronted. She let out a breath as she finally gave up and let Neal drop back to the couch. “I was trying to get you upstairs to bed where you’d be more comfortable.” Neal head heard El be exasperated with Peter often enough to recognize the tone.

    “Oh,” he said. He settled in amongst the cushions. “I’m comfy here.” Elizabeth sighed and gently swung his legs up onto the couch.

    “I can see that.” Neal had heard that tone, too - fondness. Neal hadn’t realized he’d closed his eyes again until something brushed against his cheek and made him open them. Elizabeth was unfolding one of the throw blankets over him. She smiled down at him when she caught him watching.

    “Anyone ever tell you you’re adorable?” she asked, reaching down to brush the hair from his forehead. Neal shivered as her cool fingers stroked along his aching, overheated forehead and his eyes drifted shut again.

    “Sry ‘bout your door,” he mumbled as the fingers kept their soothing pace.

    “Shh. It’s okay. Get some sleep and you can apologize to it in the morning.” Neal made a hum of agreement before he followed El’s suggestion.

    ---

    • Someone Else's Door - White Collar - pre-P/E/N - fever, touch 2/2

      The door banged open and Neal would have fallen off the couch in shock if Elizabeth hadn’t tucked the blanket in tight around him. He groaned as his entire body throbbed in protest at the movement.

      “Neal!” a voice that sounded like a very angry Peter shouted. Before Neal could work up the energy to respond, quick footsteps and the sound of a slap against fabric came from the direction of the door.

      “Don’t you dare wake him, Peter Burke!” El hissed. Neal realized his flail apparently hadn’t been as pronounced as it’d felt - they didn’t know he was already awake. Neal squinted across the mostly dark living room to make out the shadow of the Burkes standing near the door.

      “Wake him? He was supposed to be back at the Bureau hours ago!”

      “Back at the Bureau? Peter, tell me you did not send him out on some sort of mission today. He’s sick!”

      “He was fine...”

      “His temperature was 103 when he got here!” Neal didn’t exactly remember Elizabeth taking his temperature, but he figured he should take her word for it.

      Peter was silent for a moment. “Is he okay?” he asked eventually, sounding vaguely concerned. Neal watched the taller shadow turn toward the couch.

      “He will be if you let him rest,” Elizabeth told her husband. “I’m sorry I hit you.” Peter chuckled quietly in the dark.

      “You barely tapped my jacket,” he dismissed. “And you were just looking out for Neal.”

      “Someone has to,” Elizabeth muttered. Peter sighed.

      “I know, hon,” he said. “He did good work today, despite being sick. It’s just been awhile since he ran off on his own.” It was El’s turn to sigh.

      “Well he came here and that’s good enough for me. Go on upstairs; I’m just going to check on him again.” Peter’s shadow headed for the stairs while Elizabeth’s moved toward him.

      “You can come upstairs too, if you want,” Elizabeth said quietly as she perched on the edge of the couch near his hip. It really didn’t surprise Neal that she knew he was awake. He sighed happily as her fingers stroked through his hair again. It was a tempting offer. Very tempting.

      “I think I’ll save that adventure for some time when my skin doesn’t hurt,” he croaked. Despite the darkness, he could make out the smile on Elizabeth’s face.

      “I’m gonna hold you to that, Neal,” she promised. She bent down and pressed soft lips to his forehead and straightened his blanket as she sat back up. Neal smiled at the gesture. “Get some rest. If Peter so much as tries to kick you out of here before I’m satisfied you’re better, I’ll threaten to invite his mother for a weekend visit.” Neal tried to laugh and ended up coughing instead. “Actually, I might do that anyway. She’d love you. It’d drive Peter crazy!” She sighed again as she stood.

      “Good night, Neal.”

      Neal smiled in her general direction, heavy eyelids already drooping shut again.

      “G’night, El.”
  • Coming together (BBC Sherlock RPF) (1/2)

    Rating: 12 (language)

    It's the night before the read-throughs of the second series start, and Martin is feeling amazing. Because tomorrow he doesn't just get to be John Watson, he gets to see Ben become Sherlock again. Which is still one of the most staggering things he's seen.

    Playing John feels easy, right, like slipping on a comfortable pair of jeans. From the moment Martin read that line in the first script, 'Nothing ever happens to me', and then looked at his own slightly worn face in the mirror saying it, there John Watson was. An ordinary, unremarkable man, the kind of unshowy hero Martin would really like to be, whom people overlook till he saves their lives for the third time. As easy as breathing, sometimes, being John. Or at least as easy as dreaming.

    But Sherlock – Sherlock's lightning-fast abrasiveness - isn't easy for anyone to take on. Particularly not sweetly amiable Ben. But then that's Ben's speciality, the extremes. Not just Frankenstein, but the Creature as well, throwing himself into the parts till he half destroys himself. Martin hopes he's recovered from that stint - he's heard all about him injuring himself, and losing his voice. Ben needs to look after himself a bit better. Still, his voice sounded OK when they spoke last, and tonight they can have a nice sedate night in the pub and not do anything stupid, like have Ben get pneumonia. Take things easy before the big day.


    • Re: Coming together (BBC Sherlock RPF) (2/2)

      They end up back at Ben's, because it turns out to be the only way they can get some privacy. What must it be like for him being so famous now, Martin wonders. And then somehow they're falling into being Sherlock and John already – or at least Martin's falling into being John Watson. That's the way it's worked from the beginning. Reaction before action. As soon as Martin started saying John's lines, easing into John, Ben had something to work off, a hard core of reality around which Sherlock's brilliant lunacy could then play.

      "It's the Hound first, isn't it?" says Ben, grinning. "What on earth is Mark going to do with that?"

      "Beats me," Martin says, smiling up at him, "but I hope John gets to shoot it. Preferably just as it's about to rip Sherlock's throat out."

      "Maybe I should save John this time."

      "Doesn't work like that. Because you are an idiot, and I have to come along and save your sorry arse for you."

      "My beautiful and very talented arse." The grin is widening.

      "Yes, well, moving right along," Martin says. "Just because I don't have half of London swooning over me naked on stage...Anyhow, we'll be on Dartmoor. You can't go ripping people's clothes off on Dartmoor, you'd get gorse in embarrassing places."

      "Do you reckon Mark'll try something like that again?" Ben asks, still in his ordinary Ben voice.

      "I have no fucking idea what goes on in Mark's brain," he replies, and then remembers. "I'm sorry. John doesn't swear, I need to cut that out."

      "You've disappointed me, John." Suddenly Sherlock is there, not Ben. Let's see how long we can keep him, Martin thinks.

      "Ordinary people swear." He grins disarmingly. "Ordinary people do lots of ordinary things, because they are...ordinary."

      "Ordinary people are boring." Sherlock retorts, staring at Martin – and Martin knows it's Sherlock, because only Sherlock's gaze can pierce through you as if he's cataloguing every thought you've ever had.

      "You think everything's boring. People, food...breathing."

      "Bodies are just transport, a support system for the brain. That's all that really matters."

      "Seems a waste. Cutting yourself off so much from life. How can you know about people if you don't know what they feel?"

      "Oh, but I understand people," Sherlock says, and the smile on his face is glorious and terrifying, as he suddenly leans in, six inches from Martin's – John's – face. "I understand all about you, John Watson. You'll do whatever I say, won't you?" His voice is intimate, the purr of a lion that wants to seduce you into stepping into its jaws voluntarily.

      "There are limits," John says firmly.

      "Are you sure? I told you to get my phone once, when it was in my pocket. And you did it. So where are the limits? Suppose I told you to unzip my trousers, pull them down round my ankles, so I was standing there just in my underpants, would you do that?"

      "No, of course not. That would be ridiculous." There's a knot of tension building in John's stomach.

      "Are you sure, John? I think you would if I asked you to. And suppose I asked you then to take my underpants off? Wouldn't you put your fingers onto my skin, feel its warmth as you start to drag the fabric down..." Sherlock pauses, and the silence strings out between them. Impossible to break it, to say anything. He can't think straight with those words in his head.

      "You're blushing, John." A hint of glee in Sherlock's voice – no, Ben's voice. Time for a quick exit, Martin thinks.

      "And why the fuck can't Sherlock take his own trousers off?" he demands. "Even Mark can't come up with an excuse for that one."

      "Moriarty," says Ben cheerfully, "He's moved onto explosive underwear now. Stop giggling, Martin, we're serious actors."

      And Martin knows, with sudden awful certainty, that at some point in tomorrow's read-through, Ben is going to mutter 'underpants' in a voice so low that only Martin can hear, and he will crack up, and look a complete idiot. But he smiles at Ben all the same, because what else are friends for, but to drive you mad in every conceivable way?
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