Hello, lovely readers! This is my first time writing for the Sherlock fandom, so hope you like- and of course, please review if you so choose. I love reviews like John loves jam. :)
Warning: Slash, so if that makes you uncomfortable... well, you know what to do. Also contains copious amounts of Johnlock-y fluff. :)
Disclaimer: I don't own Sherlock, as much as I wish I did.
The Science of Seduction
It wasn't the first time that Sherlock Holmes and John Watson had to dress at a level that was considerably nicer than their regular attire for the purposes of a case. They had done so multiple times, whether it was investigating the shady details of the life of a prominent socialite, or catching a part-time drug-dealing multimillionaire heiress in the middle of a "business" transaction. After all, appearance was the first thing a person noticed about another, and if that crucial step was cursorily ignored, then it was pretty much guaranteed that a case was shot to hell.
It was, however, the first time that John managed to look a hell of a lot better than Sherlock in his attempt at cleaning his appearance up, a fact that the women, and a couple of men, would not let the two of them forget.
The location: a borderline-gaudy, ornate mansion nestled in the center of Chelsea, the residence of ridiculously wealthy Edmund Worchester, a self-proclaimed "philanthropist of science," and his lovely Italian wife Celeste, whose marriage with Worchester was the source of buzz from a plethora of tabloids due to the claims of Celeste being Worchester's so-called beard. It was rumored that Worchester actually had a thing going on with business mogul Daniel Rollins, which was why Sherlock and John were even there in the first place. Rollins had been violently murdered in his penthouse home two days ago, and Celeste Worchester was inching closer and closer to the top of Sherlock's list of suspects.
The event: Celeste Worchester's thirtieth birthday party, although "party" would be a severe understatement. People from the farthest corners of the world had come to celebrate with the Worchesters, and the celebration itself was equipped with a world-renown string quartet, seemingly endless gourmet catering, and no guest wearing anything that cost under €2500. No guest of course, except for Sherlock and John, who weren't exactly invited, but, of course, that was beside the point.
The fact was, John was earning more suggestive stares and appreciative smiles in his direction than was Sherlock, and although Sherlock initially couldn't have cared less, it was proving to be a drag to the case when they couldn't even take five steps towards Celeste without getting stopped by a disoriented, inebriated admirer.
After he had managed to wrench the tenth "Hello, sexy!" off of John's arm, Sherlock grumbled, "Honestly, John, people are so disgustingly dull. You'd think that one of these sex-crazed animals would try something different. What's the appeal in being called 'sexy'?" Sherlock's face was contorted in genuine confusion, his eyebrows furrowed in thought and stark, grey eyes narrowed in frustration.
John hid an overwhelming urge to laugh as he looked at his socially oblivious friend. "You know, Sherlock, in some cultures—no, scratch that, in all cultures—it's considered a compliment to be called sexually attractive. If I didn't know any better, I'd say you're jealous."
Sherlock scoffed. "Please, John, as if I'd ever let myself indulge in such a trite emotion."
But he had to give those "sex-crazed animals" credit where they earned it. John was looking quite dashing in his navy blue suit, which accentuated the deep blue of his eyes and the lingering blonde in his hair and somehow managed to breathe a whole new definition to the shape and lines of his frame. Maybe it was the fact that it was the complete opposite of John's usual outfit choice of pants and a jumper, or maybe it was the intoxicatingly dim lighting of the Worchester estate, but Sherlock was finding it increasingly difficult to look away from his friend, or rather, the hoards of people ogling his friend.
Sherlock, usually on the receiving end of the desperate innuendos and embarrassing come-ons, didn't look terrible himself, donning a suit in a dramatic shade of charcoal grey, a color that usually led to people of both sexes alike to swoon upon seeing him, but as Fate would have it (although he didn't believe in something as mindlessly absurd as Fate), it was John's night.
The pair had finally approached Celeste Worchester herself, who looked like nothing less than a masterpiece in an elegant red cocktail dress and matching stiletto heels. She was preoccupied with serving drinks to her adoring guests, but when she noticed Sherlock and John making their way towards her, she quickly emptied her hands and beckoned them in her direction.
"Of course, I should have known that my party would be conspicuous enough to attract the likes of Sherlock Holmes!" Celeste exclaimed, drawing Sherlock into a very much one-sided hug and letting him go hesitantly. "I'm a big fan. Why aren't you wearing that charming little hat of yours? It would have completed your outfit, my darling!"
"Really? Of all of the possible conversation starters imaginable, she picks the hat! John, she's boring already! Too dull to be the killer," Sherlock quipped snarkily, locked in a state of sulk. John cleared his throat, muttered something indiscernible about Italian women being his one weakness, and smiled nervously at Celeste.
"And you must be Mr. Holmes's doctor friend," Celeste purred excitedly, locking eyes with John and offering him a devious smile. Leaning towards his face with hers, she whispered, "I read your blog religiously, Doctor Watson. Though, I didn't expect you to be half as attractive in person from your picture online." She began running her hand across his chest, eliciting an embarrassed flush from John and an increasingly exasperated eye-roll from Sherlock.
"Uh, we had a couple of questions for you, Mrs. Worchester, if you didn't mind," John stammered, trying not to stare at the plunging neckline of Celeste's dress or breathe in her tempting perfume as she continued to lean in towards him. "Questions about the murder of Daniel Rollins."
At the sound of the name, Celeste released a laugh, a deliciously musical sound that John was able to feel every syllable of due to the close proximity of her body to his. Sherlock watched distastefully as Celeste grabbed John's hand and pushed him into the nearest armchair as she responded, "Daniel Rollins? Oh please, it's bad enough that the lawyers are getting on my back about the death of my dear cousin, I don't need you to either! Unless you'd like to, you know, literally get on my back."
"Oh, for God's sake," Sherlock hissed, not knowing what to feel: pity at the cringe-worthy hormonal woman dying to sink her nails into a flustered John, or surprise at the revelation that Rollins was the hormonal woman's cousin. The case was growing increasingly complex by the minute, and if they didn't get any answers out of Celeste soon, Sherlock would grow restless.
But, for now, it seemed like the birthday girl had other plans in mind, as she began running her fingers through John's hair and loosening the hold that his tie had around his neck. Sherlock observed John's reactions closely, fascinated at how quickly he morphed from a man of caution and restraint to someone who had appeared to have lost any and all inhibitions, letting his own hands do some exploring of their own.
And then, as Sherlock noticed John whispering something against the crook of Celeste's neck, he quickly realized what his friend was up to. He confirmed it once he actually heard the words come out of John's mouth.
"So how exactly was your relationship with your cousin, Mrs. Worchester?"
"Certainly not as fun as this relationship, I hope," she cheekily responded.
Sherlock wanted to laugh at the absurdity of it all. John Watson, seducing the answers out of a murder suspect? He thought he'd never live to see the day. There was nothing seductive about John, whether it was his too-innocent smile, or his kindhearted demeanor. But the John Watson in front of him at that moment was begging very much to differ.
Sherlock watched with an unhealthy fascination at this alter-ego of John Watson that Celeste Worchester seemed to bring out, his confident, knowing smile, his authoritative fingertips unafraid of touching what was not his to touch, his voice that dropped an octave, rivaling the deep baritone of his own in level of velvetiness. Before he knew it, Celeste was putty in John's fingers, revealing that not only was Rollins her cousin and that rumors of a relationship between him and her husband were in fact true, but also that Rollins was a drug addict who got his supply from none other than his clandestine boyfriend. Apparently, he hadn't been paying Edmund for the past few weeks, a fact that definitely made Edmund a bigger suspect than his wife in Rollins's murder.
Before he could let John physically express his "gratefulness" to Celeste for dispensing this invaluable information, Sherlock brusquely cut in by saying, "Dull."
John froze at the sound of Sherlock's cutting voice, releasing Celeste as if she were a bug and turning towards Sherlock with a bemused expression on his face. "I'm sorry… but what?" he asked, his skin still flushed from his previous actions.
"This case. It's so painfully dull. Mrs. Worchester is clearly lying, presumably to save her own skin," Sherlock responded, taking in John's shocked expression as he pushed Celeste off of him and got off of the armchair, seemingly repulsed by his actions.
Celeste, on the other hand, smiled gleefully, turning towards Sherlock with a look of interest plastered on her flawlessly made up face. "Really? And how the hell could you possibly figure that one out?" she asked, crossing her legs and sneaking a sideways glance towards John, who could now only regard her with disgust, as he was always quick to believe Sherlock when he made such observations about a suspect during a case.
"Your outfit," Sherlock said simply. "Specifically, the shoes. Daring, really, to wear the murder weapon only two days after committing said murder, but you, you're a special case. Diagnosed with histrionic personality disorder, I'd say, six months ago. It explains the sexual innuendos and aggressive behavior towards John, and it explains your need to indirectly flaunt the fact that you believed you got away with murder by wearing those ridiculous things on your feet. It doesn't hurt that the stab wounds on the body match your shoes perfectly as well—twelve centimeters in length and one and a half centimeters in width. You could have also done a better job with cleaning the heels as well—nail polish remover only gets half the job done. During your brief dalliance with John, with a simple shine of my black light, I could see that you had missed a spot on your right shoe.
"Rollins was your cousin and your husband's boyfriend, yes, but not a drug addict. The coroner's tox screen results were clean, meaning that the last time Rollins could have possibly taken anything remotely close to a drug would be two months ago, making your claim that he wasn't paying Mr. Worchester for his drugs during the past couple of weeks false. Additionally, your husband is no drug dealer—in fact, he's never had a recreational drug in his entire life. How do I know this? His background as a philanthropist, of course, but also his posture. He stands with a slight hunch in the back and his hands are in a constant state of jitteriness. One explanation: Huntington's disease. He can't have recreational drugs, unless he has a death wish, which makes you nothing but a liar, Mrs. Worchester. You were jealous of the attention your husband gave to your cousin instead of you, and when you heard that he was leaving his fortune to Rollins instead of you in the event of his premature, Huntington's induced death, you couldn't take it anymore, so you killed him. Boring. Predictable. Dull."
With a sharp intake of air and a quick text message to Lestrade, Sherlock turned back to John, who, predictably, wore an expression of unadulterated awe on his face. "Let's go, John, our work here is done."
Dramatic as always.
The cab ride home was laced with uncut tension. Sherlock was unsure on how to address John's sudden transformation into Mr. Smooth back at the party, and John was unsure on how to redeem himself after having had a hot-and-heavy with a murderer. So they both were nestled in an awkward silence, neither one wanting to be the first one to address the events of the past few hours.
John decided he couldn't take the silence any longer. "Uh, Sherlock, about earlier—"
"There is nothing that needs to be said about earlier, John, except that your behavior was simply atrocious," Sherlock cut in, his deep baritone voice coating John's ears.
John felt heat rise up from the back of his neck in embarrassment. What had happened with Celeste at the Worchester party was mortifying, but it was true. He had a weakness for Italian women; they seemed to bring out a side in him that he never knew existed until that particular side to him went off and did something idiotically stupid. And this time, it seemed, the idiotically stupid thing that he went off and did was disgust his best friend with his rusty seduction techniques.
"Yeah, sorry about that," John mustered weakly as the cab came to a stop in front of 221B. As he exited the vehicle and began lumbering up the stairs behind Sherlock, he continued. "I don't even know where to begin in explaining the logic behind my actions."
"The logic is obvious, John. You were attracted to her, and who wouldn't be? She's Italian, after all. But that's not what I'm talking about. Your technique in seducing her. It was simply atrocious." Sherlock paused, making John bump gracelessly into his back as he didn't anticipate Sherlock's very sudden halt. "Why Mrs. Worchester was so smitten with you with those moves, there's no logic in that."
John felt his mouth drop in surprise and anger. "Let's not forget that the fact that Mrs. Worchester was 'smitten' with me led to you solving the case! And since when is Sherlock Holmes the expert on seduction and women? What happened to you being married to your work?"
It had to be illegal, the way Sherlock's eerily silver eyes probed into John as he let John's words dissipate into the night. "You forget that I observe people on a daily basis, John. I can easily deduce the reasons as to why a person may feel happy or sad, scared or excited. What's not to say I can deduce how to make someone aroused?"
John swallowed nervously, not at all liking the way he felt a pleasant shiver down his skin as he heard Sherlock say the word "aroused." As he watched Sherlock turn back around and continue slinking up the stairs, he had to fill his mind with thoughts of Celeste to distract himself from the intriguingly fluid way Sherlock seemed to carry himself. He followed, as usual, close behind.
But John couldn't ignore the niggling sensation in his mind that was urging him to ask Sherlock what was wrong with what he was doing with Celeste—for future reference, of course. It was for the sake of future reference, and future reference alone, that he let the next words tumble out of his mouth, before he could let rationality enter the picture and keep him silent.
"How would you have done it, then?"
If John was just a little bit more observant, he would have caught the faint hint of an upward quirk in Sherlock's lips that vaguely resembled a knowing smile, a very possible indication that Sherlock had manipulated John into asking his loaded question. But John, unfortunately, wasn't just a little bit more observant, and the minute gesture slipped away, missed.
"Done what, John?" Sherlock asked innocently, gazing into John's eyes, which were laced with confusion, frustration, and something more—curiosity, was it?
Upon entering the flat, John spied the nearest armchair and promptly collapsed on it, tired from the harrowing events of the night and exasperated at Sherlock's feeble attempts at beating around the bush. "You know perfectly what I'm talking about, Sherlock."
"No, I believe I don't." Sherlock had followed John to his armchair and was now leaning over him, peering inquisitively at his face and altogether making John feel a thousand shades of uncomfortable.
"Fine, if you want to play stupid—"
Sherlock rolled his eyes. "John, you know better than to use that ghastly word to describe me."
"All right, how would you have seduced her?" John had to practically bellow the words, Sherlock's ridiculous behavior infuriating him more and more by the second.
Sherlock, on the other hand, straightened himself up, backing away from John's armchair in a manner that John couldn't describe as anything besides predatorily—which was, of course, odd. It was almost as if Sherlock was preparing himself to actually demonstrate his hypothetical seduction technique, which was absolutely ridiculous, as that would be a very un-Sherlock thing to do.
So why did Sherlock have a mysteriously mischievous glint flickering in his eyes, or a self-assured, cocky grin playing at his lips as he was slowly retreating? And why, why, did John feel his throat run dry, his muscles tense against the soft fabric of his chair, or his heart beat at a rapid fire rate at the sight of his very male, very asexual flatmate?
"Uh, Sherlock," he began nervously, his voice dangerously nearing an embarrassing high-pitched squawk, "just what are you—"
"Answering your question, John, don't be inane," Sherlock quipped, adjusting his jacket and fixing his tie. John couldn't help but follow Sherlock's fingers with his eyes as they deftly traveled over the buttons on his suit and wonder how his fingertips would feel undoing the buttons on John's. Promptly afterward, John fought the urge to slap himself for daring to think that.
"I don't want a demonstration—" John began weakly, not at all liking how Sherlock reached over to dim the lights in the flat, and while he did so he gave John a spectacular view of his lean muscles through the stretched fabric of his almost-on-purpose-too-tight slacks.
"Enough, John. Your childish nervousness is preventing me from executing step one of my seduction process," Sherlock drawled, keeping his eyes trained on the squirming doctor.
"Step one? You have steps?" John asked, unsure of whether or not this was an appropriate time to laugh at the humor of it all, or be offended at the fact that he called John immature. "That's it, I'm going to bed." He got up from the chair and was about to take another step when Sherlock swiftly approached him and pushed him back into the chair, hands enveloping the good doctor's shoulders and leaving them what John could only call tingling once he let him go.
"Yes, I have steps, and you will sit through each and every one of these steps and tell me if they would work on Mrs. Worchester when I'm finished," Sherlock breathed, never breaking eye contact with John.
John mentally debated whether or not now would be the right time to tell Sherlock that whatever he was doing was clearly working, as any memory of Celeste Worchester flew out of his mind. He decided against it, as Sherlock was very determined to see this whole thing through.
"The first step, my dear Watson, is confidence," Sherlock began, using such a velvety tone that John couldn't help but close his eyes and wallow in the soft echoes his flatmate's voice left grazing against his skin. He couldn't help but feel flustered at the sight of Sherlock circling around his armchair in a poised, assured stance, that arrogant smirk stretching his full mouth into a very appealing shape indeed. "Asserting one's confidence is critical in arousing anybody, and judging by your rapid respiration rate and heartbeat, I can tell that it's working very well."
John had to remind himself to breathe before he could let himself say anything. "There's a difference between being confident and being a downright bigheaded arse, which you seem to be," he snapped, trying to insult Sherlock into giving up on this ridiculous demonstration.
"Oh, come now, trying to hurt my feelings—which you know perfectly is a concept that should never be associated with me—is never going to work," Sherlock chuckled, the very sounds of his deep laughter doing odd things to John's train of thought. "You're clearly very uncomfortable in this situation, meaning that I'm ready to move on to step two of my process—making the target comfortable."
"Oh, so now I'm a target?" John asked angrily before coming to the final realization that nothing he could say would stop the consulting detective.
Sherlock ignored John's feeble efforts at diverting his attention and continued with his lesson. "There are two ways I could make you comfortable—the first being the obvious. Creating a lighthearted mood with humor always relaxes anybody. However, as you seem to be in an utterly humorless state right now, I'll have to go with the other way."
"And what would that be?" John asked nervously, unable to fathom how he could possibly feel comfortable in a situation where he was being seduced by a person who had once claimed that relationships were not his "area."
Sherlock chose this moment to lean dangerously close to John's ear and whisper, "Physical comfort, of course. I can't help but notice how you're awfully tense, Doctor, and tense muscles will do nothing in helping me with this demonstration." His words left a trail of goosebumps down John's neck and a warmth that was too pleasant for John's liking, considering who was the root of said warmth.
Before John could bring himself to protest—after all, there wasn't any point in protesting now, since he was pretty much a helpless cause at this point—he felt Sherlock's fingers brush ever so gently against the sides of his chest, leaving behind a buzzing fire that left John breathless. "Face. Neck. Shoulders. Arms. Abdomen. Feet. Common areas of tension on the body, and all parts that seem to be tense on you, John. Looks like I'll just have to fix that," Sherlock bluntly stated, not bothering to wait before he put one leg on either side of John, locking him into his position on the armchair. John merely soaked it all in, the close proximity between Sherlock's body and his, the fact that their breaths seemed to be shared, their chests rising and falling in a coordinated waltz, the fact that he was, essentially, being straddled by a whole lot of consulting detective and that he, surprisingly enough, didn't seem to have a problem with it.
Sherlock began step two of his demonstration by letting his hands fall on either side of John's face, resting at his temples. He pressed lightly, the stress ebbing away from the doctor almost immediately. The hands traveled down behind John's neck, down his back, until John was left in a state that was considerably more relaxed than how he started out initially. His entire body felt played, like an instrument, and Sherlock was the musician that was drawing out a melody from within him.
Sherlock suddenly drew back, and it took every fiber of John's being not to pout in disappointment. "I believe step two is very much complete, wouldn't you agree, John?" Sherlock suggested, a small smirk on his face as he examined his handiwork carefully. John's skin was flushed a lovely rosy color, his mouth was slightly parted in anticipation, and his eyes were shut tightly, as if he was trying to commit this moment to memory forever.
"I'd agree with that, yes," John breathed once he was confident that he could form coherent sentences. He allowed his eyes to open and watched as Sherlock gave him a smile that he rarely ever saw on him in public—a smile that actually reached his vibrantly blue eyes, that gave his otherwise unreal face a uncommon touch of humanity.
"Good. The next step is teasing," Sherlock continued. "I'm sure you can figure out what that entails." Without giving John a second to process his words, Sherlock let his lips settle on John's cheek and began leaving soft, light touches along various areas of John's face. John's breathing sped up once more as Sherlock's feathery kisses trailed along his jaw, the crook of his neck, the bump of his collarbone. Eventually—to John, it felt like an unnecessarily cruel length of time—his mouth neared John's, but before actual contact ensued, Sherlock backed off, leaving a painful emptiness behind in John that demanded satisfaction. This cycle repeated itself before John couldn't take it anymore, whether it was the frustration at being led on and then promptly denied, or the curiosity of how Sherlock's lips would taste against his, John entangled his fingers in Sherlock's unruly curls and pulled him in to bridge the gap between them.
The kiss was awkward at first—it was to be expected—both of them trying to take control of who led, neither one willing to follow the other. John felt himself being pushed deeper into the armchair from Sherlock's enthusiasm, the consulting detective's hands trying to travel every inch of John, while John was trying to do the same to Sherlock. Sherlock's lips felt unusually but pleasantly soft against John's, and before he realized what was happening, Sherlock had managed to pry John's mouth open and capture his lower lip between his teeth, leading John to make a painfully embarrassing gasp of surprise. John fought back by letting his tongue enter Sherlock's mouth, making Sherlock release a low growl from the bottom of his throat. They continued at trying for the upper hand, but then the dynamic changed, and soon, their mouths were moving at a pleasant rhythm that left both of them breathless when they finally broke apart.
"Oh, that's good, John," Sherlock whispered, the deep timber of his voice doing ridiculous things to John's heart rate. "You took us to the last step without me even having to explain anything."
"And what would that be?" John asked, wanting nothing more than to continue where they had left off. His fingers were still buried in Sherlock's hair, and he took that moment to run his fingertips through and relish the silky texture.
"Reciprocity," Sherlock responded with a devious grin, bringing his face closer to John's. "Get the target all hot and bothered from the teasing so that they end up initiating the sexual activity for you."
John felt an embarrassed flush heat up from the back of his neck as he realized that initiated whatever it was that he and his flatmate were doing. He, John Watson, who loved anything and everything about women, from their long, mysterious eyelashes to their soft, lovely curves, had gotten "hot and bothered" from his very unwomanly best friend. He chalked it up to being lightly drunk from the many cocktails he had downed at the Worchester party—it definitely wasn't Sherlock's slender and lean frame, his untamed mop of black curls, his low, appealing voice, or his unearthly ice blue stare that lead to John being in the compromising position that he was in at that moment—far from it.
"Stop thinking, John," Sherlock snapped, breaking John's train of thought, his hands cupping John's face. "After all, it worked so well the first time." With that, he pulled John in for another heated kiss. This time the pace was much slower, and it was clearly Sherlock who had control. His lips ravished John's hungry mouth and John could do nothing more but release sharp, ragged breaths as Sherlock's fingers skillfully found the sensitive areas of John's body, namely the nape of his neck and the soft patch of skin on the small of his back. Sherlock tore his lips away from John's and brought them to his ear instead, giving a light nibble on his earlobe before whispering, "Bedroom?"
"Oh, God, yes."
"Excellent." After another long, passionate attack on John's neck with his mouth, Sherlock whispered, "You go on up, I'll be right behind you." He watched in both awe and amusement as John sped off with the same agility that he had whenever they had to chase a runaway suspect during a case.
John may have gotten more observant since meeting Sherlock and residing at 221B, but he was unusually and uncharacteristically dense during this whole Daniel Rollins case. It had never occurred to him that Sherlock had never once shown him the dead body of the victim, let alone a photograph. It had never occurred to him that Edmund and Celeste Worchester were actually, quite happily married, and that Celeste, although a very flashy and colorful person, didn't actually have histrionic personality disorder, let alone a single murderous bone in her body. And most of all, it had never occurred to him that Lestrade had never actually once contacted Sherlock regarding a case for that entire week, or that the murder of such a high-profile businessman was never published in the press.
But John was not that observant, at least, not yet. With a sly smirk, Sherlock turned to his mobile phone. To a mysterious contact only labeled as "C.W.," he swiftly typed, Thanks. –SH
Not wanting to leave John waiting for too long, Sherlock left his phone behind on that magical armchair and slipped away hurriedly.
Within a minute or so, the mobile phone beeped in response.