John stood patiently at the end of the stage's jutting apron, feeling more awkward than he thought he had ever felt in his life. He had one eye on Harry, who was being suspiciously well-behaved, and the other eye politely on the stage, which was the setting of a queer burlesque he'd been sent to as Harry's chaperone.
The presenter was out onstage at the moment—a rather large, if shapely, woman clad in a pink plunging neckline and a long, flowing skirt that started at either hip and trailed after her (there was probably a name for it, but John certainly didn't know it). She wasn't at all John's type, but he had to admit she had a certain grace about her.
But she was gay. As was everyone else in the club. And John… preferred women. He wouldn't say that he had never been attracted to men before, and he'd even fallen into bed—or, more accurately, army-bunk—with a few, but he'd never considered himself "queer," as the kids say.
The portly presenter was introducing a man with a strange name whose "vaguely tubercular, Romantic beauty is known to cause men and women with PhDs in comparative literature to scream aloud."
John snorted with amusement.
"No, no," an unfamiliar woman standing next to him, who had obviously had a few drinks already, said loudly into his ear. She put her arm around him and gave him a sloppy smile. "I've seen him before," she confided, a dreamy look on her face, "He's good. Almost makes me want to turn straight just to fuck him."
John nodded and smiled noncommittally.
"No, no, you'll see," she persisted, smacking him on the shoulder as she withdrew her arm, "He could use a good fucking."
The curtains parted shortly to reveal an empty stage with a chair in the middle of it and a close-by cord dangling from the ceiling. The back wall was lit up, only showing the silhouette of the exotic dancer sliding out onstage. All John could see was short, curly hair, a slim figure hidden in a sleek pantsuit, and a pair of heels.
As the music started, John wasn't quite sure they hadn't gotten it wrong, because the tall, lissome creature that walked out on stage moved with a feline grace that John, at least, usually associated with women. A harsh drum beat accompanied slow, deep slides as the dancer used those long legs to their full advantage.
For every step, the dancer would sink deep down into a hip and stretch their front foot forward. This continued until one last step placed the dancer precisely in the middle of the stage.
And then they paused, standing perfectly still for several counts.
"Prepare to have your mind blown," the woman murmured in his ear, "By Sherlock Holmes."
As if on cue, the music changed, and the lights came up, revealing the suit as somehow having been on a rack the whole time. The dancer, with one sharp move, pushed it neatly off into the wings.
Oh, he was male all right, if the Adam's apple was any indication. But John wasn't looking at that. Nor at the glittery, unearthly makeup that adorned the dancer's skin—Sherlock. That was his name. Somehow it suited him. No, John barely even noticed the black clinging outfit, and the bulge it emphasized between Sherlock's legs.
We've been here too long tryin' to get along
Pretendin' that you're oh, so shy
I'm a natural ma'am doin' all I can
My temperature is runnin' high
It was the legs themselves that had John's undivided attention, as Sherlock leisurely stalked toward the chair. He pointed at it sharply, sat down, and proceeded to stretch his body into one long, maddening arch for a tantalizing second, before pulling his limbs in, leaning his elbows on his knees. In the midst of the cheers that followed, Sherlock turned his head toward the audience, making the glitter that artfully adorned his face flash in the lights. And the smirk he wore on his lips seem to communicate perfectly everything already written in his body—the disdain, the confidence, the allurement, and the desire—as he turned to look around. As those eyes seemed to meet his for a second, John got the impression that with one look, this man would know exactly how to destroy you.
Cry at night no one in sight
An' we got so much to share
Talking's fine if you got the time
But I ain't got the time to spare, yeah
And then the real dancing began. The music changed again, and Sherlock was up out of the chair, pressing his arms hard against it, rolling his back. Then he was down, sliding like a liquid to the floor. His legs curled under him for a moment before he stood, alternating his weight to either side until he was upright.
He spun, his arms extended in every direction, his head rolled, and his hips gyrated in a flurry of movement before he sank once again to the floor, just in time for the chorus of the song.
Do you wanna touch?
Do you wanna touch?
Do you wanna touch me there, where?
Every girl an' boy needs a little joy
All you do is sit an' stare
Beggin' on my knees baby, won't you please?
Run your fingers through my hair
The man had just swept past all of John's sexual inhibitions, his unwillingness to be in a gay relationship, his "preference" for women—everything he'd taken for granted suddenly became a rule only after this exception.
And then suddenly John realized what Sherlock had been doing during his slightly-obscene writhing on the floor as he sat up, holding what looked like most of his clothing in one hand.
My, my, my whiskey and rye
Don't it make you feel so fine
Right or wrong don't it turn you on
Can't you see we're wastin' time, yeah?
This he discarded carelessly over his shoulder, and was essentially left with nothing but several artfully-arranged strips of fabric for clothing. He sat back down on the chair, elbows on his knees again, as he snapped open the cuffs on his wrists and flicked them over his head.
Then there was a long, slow stretch as his hand reached up to the cord that John had entirely forgotten about, until then.
Do you wanna touch?
In the beat after the title question, Sherlock tugged hard at the cord and what must have been a bucket of water was emptied over him.
Do you wanna touch?
Do you wanna touch me there, where?
The club screamed. Sherlock flipped his hair, getting several members of the audience wet, though how much that really had to do with the water was anybody's guess.
"He's a dream," the same woman murmured in John's ear, seemingly throwing herself into the role of the little devil on his shoulder, eagerly leading him into temptation.
Do you wanna touch?
Do you wanna touch?
Do you wanna touch me there, where, there, yeah?
Sherlock was beating the seat of the chair, then he was suddenly standing on it, extending a leg, and the gyrating began again in earnest.
This time he was moving faster, with sharper movements. Sherlock got down on his knees and contorted his way down the apron of the stage, which under normal circumstances served as an extension of the bar, leaving lipstick and streaks of glitter on various members of the audience until finally he got to John, at the very end.
Sherlock was, by that point, straddling the bar entirely. He crooked a finger at John.
John blinked, looking out of the corner of his eyes to see if the dancer really meant him. But even if he had had any doubt about stepping forward, he didn't have time to think about them. The decision was made for him when his helpful commentator/shoulder-devil shoved hard on his back and he stumbled forward. As soon as he was in range, Sherlock wrapped his long fingers around the back of John's skull and pulled him forward the rest of the way. John's lips met Sherlock's in a blinding kiss, leaving him stunned and speechless as it was over just as suddenly as it had begun. Sherlock was standing, his dance picking up even more speed, and his feet moving faster than should have been possible before John had even remembered to breathe again.
Sherlock ended back in his chair, lounging casually as the curtains closed.
You touch me you know where, there.
John didn't remember much about the performances following Sherlock's. His shoulder devil had apparently moved on, though, because she didn't embarrass him further by drawing attention to his flushed cheeks or his blown pupils, or how he'd had to adjust his belt, and John stayed in a blissful daze until the performances ended and the floor was opened up to dancing.
He'd been trying to push his way to the side of the room, when he felt fingers wrap around his wrist. John turned around to say "no" for the third time in the last three minutes since the performances had ended, but when he did, his mouth fell open without making a sound.
Sherlock seemed to know that John had expected to reject whoever it was that had grabbed his hand, because he smirked when John just gaped.
Without further ado, Sherlock tugged on John's wrist and John found himself weaving expertly through the crowd towards a dark, relatively quiet corner.
A deep, sensual voice emerged from the dancer's throat. "Why are you here?" he asked.
"Erm… sorry?" John stuttered.
"You don't consider yourself queer," Sherlock told him. It wasn't a question. It was as if he were stating the obvious, "So, why are you here?"
"Sister," John replied, unable to form a more complete sentence.
The dancer nodded as if cataloguing this information, then looked out at the crowd, scanning the faces.
"That one?" he finally pointed to a woman with short blonde hair who was apparently deeply engaged in an experiment to find out whether two people could exchange tongues. John sighed. At least she wasn't drinking.
"Yeah," he said, "That's her. How'd you know?"
"Simple. You've got the same hair, the same facial structure," he said dismissively, "But you…" He turned eyes that John suddenly realized were a piercing blue back onto him. "Army man?" Sherlock asked after a moment's thought.
John stiffened, caught off-guard by the swiftly-changing conversation.
Sherlock just grinned like a Cheshire cat. "Thought so," he said, "But not combat. You're an army doctor, honorably discharged. You got shot. The question is, where?"
John blinked. "In… in the shoulder," he stuttered, "But how…?"
"No, not where on your body," Sherlock corrected, rolling his eyes at what had obviously been John's mistake, "Where were you when you got shot?"
"Afghanistan." That was a question he knew the answer to without thinking.
"Ahhh," the man said, as if that explained everything. "Sherlock Holmes," he announced, "Though I'm pretty sure you liked my performance enough to remember that…"
"John Watson," John replied, trying hard not to blush, "Sorry, how did you know all that?"
"I'm a detective… of sorts… I'm good at observing and then making deductions from my observations," Sherlock told him, "This"—he gestured to the club as a whole—"is just a hobby that helps pay the bills."
Rather than even try to comprehend that, John said instead, "You can't be getting paid that much, not enough to live in London."
"A-ha. Clever you," Sherlock bestowed a small smile upon John, adopting a coquettish, leisurely pose against the wall. "I said hobby. Means I enjoy it, not just making money at it. Living in a bedsit at the moment. As are you. Fancy a flatshare?"
John blinked hard. "Sorry, what?" He must not have heard right over the music.
"You," Sherlock purred, lips pressed against his ear to make sure he was heard, "Me. Flat. Share."
John still didn't know what to say to that, now that he was sure he'd heard it right. His mouth opened and closed a few times, until Sherlock took pity on him and pulled him close to purr into his ear again. "Come home with me," he said this time, "No strings attached. If we hit it off, lovely, if we don't, you leave in the morning and we never see each other again. And believe me," he added, preempting John's only objection to this plan, "You will have made a decision by morning."
John was seriously considering the offer. Until he remembered Harry. His face fell.
"I can't—" he started to say, but Sherlock cut him off.
"Get her in a taxi and send her home, with or without the woman sitting on her lap, your choice—or hers. Just pay the cabbie a little extra to take her straight home no matter what she says."
John debated that option for a good ten seconds, before he realized he'd kick himself every day of his life if he didn't follow the intriguing exotic dancer home that night.
"Yeah. Ok," he said, nodding at Sherlock, "Give me a minute."
"Perfect," he purred, "meet you out the front."
As if responding to some signal, a throng of admirers were approaching Sherlock, making John feel as though he were swimming upstream. It seemed his drunken friend was not the only one of the ladies there that night who felt like trying to seduce Sherlock. John worried, momentarily, that one of them, or one of the gentlemen pressing up against Sherlock, many of which looked more suited to Sherlock than he was, would succeed, and he would be left standing stupidly alone outside, until he got so many pitiful glances that he decided to give up and go home. He subdued this anxiety with difficulty as he reached Harry bundled her into a cab with minimal grumbling, mostly due to the fact that she was still attached at the lips to the woman she'd met.
John was just turning around and preparing for the humiliation of being left standing on the curb alone when Sherlock called his name from just a few metres away, at the door of another black cab.
Without hesitation, John clambered onto the seat next to his radiant, glittering "date," and finally thought to ask, "My place or yours?"
And in short order they were on their way.
God only knew where Sherlock kept the keys that he produced to open the door to the building, and then to his flat, because the pockets in his long coat certainly hadn't jingled. When Sherlock flipped the light on, John noticed that it looked a lot like his own bedsit—counter, refrigerator, sink, table, chair, desk, and bed. The configuration was slightly different, but not significantly.
Sherlock didn't let him admire the view for long. As soon as he'd wrestled the door closed again, he tossed his keys expertly onto the desk and even before they landed had his arms around John's neck and his tongue exploring the older man's mouth.
But John was not called Three Continents Watson for nothing. He could adapt quickly, and in moments he was kissing Sherlock back with just as much force and intention.
In fact, John wasn't nearly as rusty as he thought he'd be. In a short time, he'd managed to kiss Sherlock breathless, and the dancer was arching his neck and moaning as John's hands slid down over Sherlock's arse and squeezed.
John took the opportunity to suck hard on Sherlock's neck, which had the younger man bucking into him. Sherlock growled and turned them so he could press John back against the wall.
"You're good," he said into John's ear before nipping at his earlobe.
John moaned. "You're not too bad yourself."
"So I've been told," he murmured, breath hot against John's lips.
For several minutes they simply fought for dominance, kissing and nipping and petting at each other, grinding together and enjoying the feeling of each other getting harder with each pet, kiss, and bite.
Finally, Sherlock started leading John away from the wall. It seemed he'd made this transition before, because he was certainly in no position to see where he was going, yet he rather efficiently backed himself up against the bed.
"Clothes or bed first?" John managed to ask between moments of his lips being entirely occupied.
John didn't even have time to agree wholeheartedly before Sherlock had let himself fall backwards and pulled John down with him.
They landed in an awkward tangle of limbs, but there was no awkwardness in it. It was simply a matter of John moving to cover Sherlock with his body, and Sherlock wrapping his legs, still clad in ridiculously-high heels, around John's waist.
The heels were the first to go, not because John didn't like them immensely, but because he foresaw problems if they continued to be on Sherlock's feet throughout the rest of the encounter. John reached around and unzipped the side of first one shoe, then the other, and Sherlock obligingly kicked them both off, to land with a thump next to his bed.
Shortly after that, John found himself consecutively sitting up, his jacket, jumper, and vest stripped off, and then lying on his back as Sherlock removed his trousers, socks, and shoes all in one go. These joined the ever-growing pile.
Sherlock was left with the strappy costume he'd been dancing in.
John felt rather plain in his unexceptional black y-fronts.
"You're gorgeous," Sherlock said, seemingly reading his mind before descending over him, tracing the scars scattered across his torso, finally coming to the ugly remains of the entry-wound.
Though Sherlock had aligned himself perfectly to maintain a slight friction between his cock and John's, his fingers lingered curiously at this large scar.
"Sniper," he said decisively, "Clean bullet-wound by itself, but then there was the shrapnel." As if illustrating his point, he ran his fingers feather-light over the other marks on John's skin, which were indeed the result of shrapnel that he'd been hit with after he'd already been shot.
As if aware that John's thoughts had turned to painful memories, and as if to distract him, Sherlock dragged his bare leg, pointed toes and all, up John's and back down again. "Was there ever actually anything wrong with the leg?" he asked, all honest curiosity, before kissing him again. John wasn't sure if it was the way Sherlock was handling his scars, or if it was the speed with which he was doing so that allowed him to bypass all self-consciousness that he might otherwise have felt under such scrutiny. Whatever the reason, he was so successfully distracted that he had completely forgotten the question by the time his lips were free again.
"No?" Sherlock guessed into the resulting silence, sliding down John's body. John shot him a confused look. "The leg," Sherlock prompted, tracing the planes of John's torso.
"Psychosomatic, I'm told," John managed with difficulty as Sherlock's hand reached their hips and gave them both a rough stroke.
"Thought so." Sherlock's eyes raked across the rest of his body as he sat up on his hands and knees, before sliding back to sit on his heels, still straddling John. He began peeling off the strips of fabric covering his torso, eventually pulling them over his head as though they put together an ordinary vest.
He smirked back down at John, who was visibly struggling to figure out the mechanics of his partner's costume. "Don't worry," Sherlock said, "You'll figure it out eventually."
And then he slid onto his side next to John and wriggled out of the trousers—pants—strips that were all he had on left, exposing a long, erect cock.
Sherlock stretched out luxuriously, putting his lips close to John's ear and whispering with expert enunciation, "I'm going to ride your cock. How does that sound?"
"Oh, God, yes." John flailed his way out of his own underwear and went back to kissing Sherlock fiercely, grinding against his hip.
"Lube?" he murmured when he had regained the power of somewhat rational speech.
"Mmm," Sherlock agreed, and tugged John's lower lip between his teeth, stretching away before he was off searching in his bedside drawer.
John kissed up Sherlock's bare back while the man searched, but before long, the small tube had been thrust into his hand and Sherlock twisted himself around to kiss John properly again.
John was vaguely aware that Sherlock's hands were piling up pillows so he wouldn't strain his neck trying to watch from a good angle—a danger he hadn't thought of until that moment but seemed as obvious as it would have been painful if forgotten.
Sherlock twisted them both to lay John's head on the pile of pillows, which really did give him a wonderful angle. He tugged Sherlock toward him until he was straddling John's torso and John could hold his hip with one hand and penetrate him with one finger of the other.
Sherlock moaned as John pressed first one, and then in short order a second finger into his partner and began to stretch him carefully. Sherlock bent over almost double to give John bruising kisses while he was stretched, and moaned encouragingly.
John moved to put another finger up Sherlock's arse, when his lover protested.
"Don't need it," he said shortly.
"I know you're thicker than the average British male, and when we're in another configuration, I'll let you," Sherlock told him, anticipating his protest, then smirked, "But I'm on top tonight, and I want to feel your cock stretch me."
There was nothing John could have said to that had he had the presence of mind to say anything, which he really didn't. He withdrew his fingers obediently, and tried not to gawk while Sherlock positioned himself, then slid a condom over and lubed up John's cock, which was achingly hard with the mere anticipation of what was about to happen.
Both men hissed in simultaneous breaths as the head of John's cock breached Sherlock's body. Sherlock took his time sinking down fully on John's indeed thicker-than-average cock.
By the time Sherlock was fully sitting, John's hips had nearly thrust right off the bed, holding the younger man up just slightly.
And then Sherlock began to move. At first it was tentative, and John could feel the tightness of Sherlock's channel stretching around him. Then it was exploratory, as Sherlock found a steady rhythm and made slight changes to the angle every time he came down.
John, by this point, had fisted his hands into the sheets, and could not stop himself from pressing up into Sherlock even farther.
Sherlock was maintaining eye-contact, a fascinated expression on his face. John didn't want to think about the stupid look he was probably returning, but Sherlock's eyes drank up every change in his features, as though cataloguing, or analyzing, or both.
Then, suddenly, Sherlock's eyes widened and he let out a deep moan. John angled his hips just a little more, a tactic which apparently worked to Sherlock's satisfaction, because after that, the pace picked up and Sherlock started to look a lot less concentrated.
The sound of skin meeting skin mingled with the creaking of the bed and their pleasured moans to fill the small room with noise that soon contained John's slightly incoherent ramblings, mostly containing oaths and Sherlock's name, and Sherlock's simple mantra of "John, John, John, John, John."
Sherlock peaked first, rutting desperately through his orgasm, spilling himself across John's chest, and quite simply the contractions of Sherlock's muscles were enough to tip John over the edge as well.
When their breathing had returned from gasping to something resembling normal, if labored, respiration, Sherlock gingerly pulled off John's cock, and before John could tell him not to bother, was gone and back with a damp flannel, with which he cleaned John thoroughly before tossing it away in some nondescript direction.
John beamed at his new lover as the younger man came to rest beside him.
"Uhm…" John hesitated, "About that flatshare…"
Sherlock smirked at him. "What about it?" he said in feigned ignorance.
"Are you still… are you sure…because if that happens once a month I will be incredibly happy, and…"
"I told you you'd know by morning. I am never wrong," he said, smiling himself, "And it will happen more than once a month. If you are at all consistent it might happen more than once a day. I'll even let you lead next time, which, before you ask, I estimate to be in about…" Sherlock twisted around to look at the clock lying on his desk, blinking its lighted numbers at them, "Six hours."
John chuckled, shaking his head. "Hang on," he said.
Sherlock stiffened slightly, but had relaxed before John could assess why it had happened.
"How did you know I like morning sex?" he finished.
Sherlock melted further into him, resting his head on his arms and his arms on John's chest.
"I told you," he said, "I am never wrong."
John couldn't help himself. He began to giggle. Then to his surprise and utter delight, Sherlock began to giggle, too. They shared lazy, mirthful kisses until they fell asleep, tangled in each other.
John couldn't remember ever trusting anyone so fully so quickly. Sherlock couldn't remember trusting anyone so fully before in his life. He knew even then that he had chosen well.
And so they lived. They did wake up in the prescribed six hours, give or take twenty minutes, and they did fuck again.
And then John was in Sherlock's life, and it is known as a universal constant that when a Sherlock Holmes finds a John Watson, mysteries are solved and lives are saved, and, in this case, glitter is worn and John does indeed figure out the mechanics of that shirt-vest-type-thing.