"But it's for a case!"
John rolled his eyes. Despite Sherlock's delusions, "it's for a case" was not a free pass allowing him to demand absolutely anything with no questions asked. John dearly wanted to flash his flatmate a two-fingered salute and go back to the table where his date was patiently waiting for him, but two things stopped him. One: the woman (some work friend of Mike's) had literally spent two thirds of the conversation so far talking about her rock collection, despite John having nothing to contribute on the subject of geology. And two: Sherlock was dressed for clubbing. He looked like pure sex. Tight black pants, even tighter grey mesh t-shirt, chunky belt, and some shiny black boots. It wasn't the first time John had seen him dressing "gay," but Sherlock had certainly outdone himself tonight.
"She's not going to sleep with you anyway," Sherlock whined. He poked his head around the corner of the restaurant's back hallway, where he and John were conversing in hissed whispers after John received the mid-date text "meet me at the loo."
John looked too - his date was currently toying with her phone, a vacant expression on her face. Sherlock was probably right. Hell, he was always right about this kind of thing - John didn't really even need to ask for the clues anymore. He sighed. "Fine. I'll go, I just need to-"
"She's texting her girlfriend," Sherlock interrupted. "Lesbian but not out at work; didn't know how to tell Mike she was already seeing someone. She was going to let you down gently with some sort of platitude about being 'not right for each other' after dinner. You can text her after you change."
John looked down at the bag of clothing Sherlock held out. It was way too small for the material in there to actually comprise an entire outfit - not one that wouldn't match Sherlock's mesh top, anyway. "What's wrong with what I have on?"
Sherlock groaned aloud. "John, we are going to a gay club." He gestured toward his own outfit. "You need to look like you belong there."
Right. John looked down at his shirt, then undid the top two buttons to expose a small V of skin. "There - I'll fit in fine."
"John, have you ever been to a gay club?"
"Yes; have you?"
Sherlock narrowed his eyes at him, but stopped insisting John wear whatever undoubtedly horrifying ensemble he had in the bag. John texted his date because he was too much of a coward to go apologize in person while she was texting her girlfriend, then tracked down his surprised server to give him forty quid (more than enough) and followed Sherlock out the door.
"So what exactly do you want me to do?"
Sherlock leaned back against the window of the taxi and hmmed. "Our suspect is a frequent visitor at The South Pole - yes, I realize the name is terrible innuendo - and Lestrade was able to confirm that he will definitely be there tonight. He's almost certainly involved in the money laundering case from three days ago. I need to let him pick me up, try to impress me with his financial status, and give me a few clues as to his current situation. I need you there to extricate me afterward - it would seem suspicious if I'm draped on him all evening but refuse to go home with him at the end of the night. He'll warn the others if he realizes what we're doing."
John pinched the bridge of his nose - even for Sherlock, this was a new level of no bloody boundaries. "You want me to go with you to a club, wait around twiddling my thumbs while I let you get pawed by a criminal, then out-flirt him and talk you into coming home with me instead?"
"You could dance while you wait, if you wanted to." Sherlock frowned. "You said you've been to a gay club - when?"
"Not everyone in the army is straight, Sherlock."
Sherlock nodded, his confused expression clearing. "Accompanied your peers to a gay club as a group bonding exercise, then. I didn't envision that scenario."
John grinned. "Did you just admit you were wrong about something?"
"I . . ." Sherlock sat up straighter, adopting what John privately thought of as his believe-me-because-I'm-posher-than-you expression. "I merely was missing a vital piece of data about your army companions' sexual orientations."
Damn straight. Or bi, as the case may be. John didn't correct him.
The club was loud, hot, and smelled like sweat. Pretty much exactly like what John remembered from the last time he went clubbing. Sherlock abandoned him two minutes in, sighting his quarry and cutting away through the crowd without a word. John fought his way to the bar to buy a beer - the only one he was intending to allow himself that night - and found a corner on the balcony where he could people-watch.
It really had been a while, John realized. The first gay club he'd ever attended - his second year at St. Bart's - had really been more of a dare. Mike had been teasing him about being bisexual but "so predictably domestic" in his pursuit of a nice, quiet girlfriend. In response, John dragged Mike and their friend Rupert to the nearest gay bar and proceeded to absolutely and forever cement his place in their minds as the best damn dancer there. He and Rupert had ended up side by side against the back wall of the club, being blown by twin twinks with rainbow-colored hair and exquisitely talented mouths. When John flipped his partner around to return the favor, he was gratified to see the man practically incoherent within a minute - and getting some jealous looks from Rupert's partner, who wasn't enjoying himself anywhere near as loudly. Saturday club nights with Rupert became a more or less weekly thing, minus Mike who was straight and said he'd been hit on by enough gay men in one night to last a lifetime. Opportunities to indulge while in the army hadn't been anywhere near as plentiful, but "Three Continents Watson" wasn't a nickname for nothing.
John smiled a bit wistfully at the memory and tried to focus back on the present. And on Sherlock. Their suspect turned out to be a bear, both in the metaphorical sense and also in the "large, hairy gay man" meaning of the word - broad-shouldered, overweight, and with a wild-looking scraggly beard. He was also a terrible dancer. John watched with one eyebrow raised as Sherlock casually slipped in next to him on the dance floor and started to grind against his arse - the suspect looked over his shoulder and got a good look at Sherlock (who was doing a damn good impression of a horny, tipsy twink), then commenced waving his pelvis about like he was attempting to ride a bucking bull. Other dancers started giving them a wide berth. It was truly embarrassing to watch, but Sherlock feigned complete oblivion.
The two of them migrated from the dance floor to the bar, where the man bought Sherlock three drinks in a row and Sherlock flirted mercilessly. John didn't lip-read as well as Sherlock did, but their body language told the whole story - Sherlock leaning in, depositing casual and not-so-casual touches on the man's body, and the suspect absolutely drinking it up. He kept standing up straighter and puffing out his chest, possibly in an attempt to look taller than Sherlock. (It failed, but only just - Sherlock was a shade taller, but the suspect easily had four stone on him.) No amount of good posture could have redeemed his horrible fashion sense, though, and when even John could pick up on bad fashion . . .
After forty-five minutes or so, Sherlock glanced up at the balcony where John had stationed himself. It was the first time he'd acknowledged John's presence since they'd first arrived, and John took it for the signal it was. He squeezed his way down the stairs and back up to the bar near where Sherlock and the suspect were chatting. By the time he got back in line of sight, the man was attempting to leave a whiskery hickey on Sherlock's neck and Sherlock was visibly rolling his eyes even while sighing and going boneless against him.
Right, enough of that. John slipped two more buttons free, exposing more of his chest, then started his approach.
Sherlock and the suspect broke apart, the suspect glowering and Sherlock smiling a bit vaguely. It really was amazing how he was able to pass for ten years younger just with a bit of eyeliner and a completely new set of mannerisms.
"Been looking for you for ages," John continued. "Don't know how a tall bloke like you can disappear so thoroughly in the crowd, but there you are. I still owe you that drink. And the mind-blowing shag I promised."
Sherlock licked his lips. "I . . . I assumed you'd left."
"And miss my chance with that gorgeous arse?" John gave Sherlock a thorough once-over, letting his appreciation for Sherlock's lean form in that tight mesh shirt show plainly through in his gaze. Sherlock swallowed hard.
"I've already got a drink," he said softly, glancing down at the glass on the counter next to him. It held something electric pink and probably disgustingly sweet. John sighed inwardly, then grabbed the drink and upended it one go.
"There - no more drink. No obligation. Just you, and me, and the way I'm going to bloody well make your head spin again out there on the dance floor." He reached out to slide a hand across Sherlock's back to encircle his waist. And then let his fingertips slip a bit lower, dipping just under those tight black trousers over Sherlock's hip. "Tell me - you ever actually come in your pants while dancing? Because I damn well aim to get you close."
Sherlock stared at him, his eyes wide. "John," he breathed.
"Sorry, mate," John told the suspect. "I called first dibs tonight."
Sherlock bit his lip and gave a tiny shrug. His awed-clueless-twink mask was back into place for a moment - but it was brittle, like he was having to really work to keep up the ruse. "He did, Luis. Sorry - maybe some other time?"
Their suspect looked like he wanted to murder John, thoroughly and painfully, but at John's come at me and you'll regret it glare he backed up a bit. Damn right. It wasn't much - Luis wasn't going to give up entirely just yet - but John had no intention of waiting around and inviting more argument. "Come on, babe, let's go show 'em how it's done."