Synopsis: John & Sherlock go undercover at a gay bar
Written for Kyna
Fluff for now, eventual smut
John Watson was startled awake by the sound of his text alert and, still groggy, rolled to grasp for his mobile.
Out for the day. New case. Meet me tonight. Deep cover necessary. Try to look less… like you. –SH
Also, pack a bag. We’ll be gone two nights. –SH
John sighed. Not again. Eyes still bleary from sleep, he slammed his head against the pillow.
Address to follow. –SH
Wait. You said to look less like me. Less like me how? –JW
We’ll be meeting at a gay bar. Dress to fit in. –SH
John closed his eyes tightly and hoped he was dreaming. Upon opening them again, the messages remained on his phone and his reality hadn’t changed in the least. Why were they going to a gay bar? He could ask, but it didn’t matter. He could already see that conversation playing out in his head.
“The case, John.”
“Yes, but why?”
“THE CASE, JOHN.”
He refused to participate in that specific exercise in ignorance. Therefore, the good little soldier would do as he was told, no matter how much he wanted to disobey. After all, seeing Sherlock ‘dressed to fit in’ would make the whole thing more than worth it. He wasn’t sure Sherlock would even know what ‘fitting in’ would look like. For that matter, he wasn’t sure he knew either.
Later that afternoon, John stood in front of his closet with a small overnight bag open on the bed behind him and stared blankly at the fabric hanging before him. He reached in several times, partially withdrawing a different hanger each time and putting it back. He was getting frustrated with so little direction from Sherlock.
“Fit in?” he scoffed quietly to himself. “Oh, for chrissake, what am I doing? They’re just people like everyone else. They can’t all have superb fashion sense.” He hoped that was true.
He slipped into what he considered to be his smartest button-up shirt and a decent pair of slacks. He started to grab a jumper but stopped, internally berating himself for being so predictable. A quick look in the mirror confirmed he had no idea if he had succeeded in Sherlock’s challenge or not, but it was his best effort. After neatly folding and packing two days’ and nights’ worth of clothing into his bag, he shook his head as he glanced at the mirror once. Oh, Sherlock, what are you getting me into this time?
Truthfully, it didn’t matter. He had once tried to come up with a scenario Sherlock could put forth which he’d reject, but nothing had been evident. He’d follow that man to hell and back if he even hinted at wishing it so. Sometimes, John wished he could have his loyalty to Sherlock surgically removed from his brain.
John studiously arrived a few minutes early at the address he’d received and shook off his nerves before walking in. It was loud, lights flashing and men everywhere. He looked around cautiously, noting he had never walked into a club looking for a man before. His eyes scanned each face in the crowd quickly and efficiently, but Sherlock’s was not amongst them. Disheartened, he crossed the room to the bar and leaned against it, his position allowing him to continue to watch the door for the detective’s grand entrance, which would surely be a sight to behold. Sherlock didn’t fit in anywhere, and John certainly couldn’t imagine him fitting in there.
The bartender’s voice behind him asked if he wanted a drink, and he spun at the sound. He was there on business, but a drink would help calm his frazzled nerves. He ordered a beer and then wondered if he should have chosen something else. “Stop it, John. Don’t stereotype,” he scolded himself.
The bartender handed John his beer, and it sloshed when he flinched at the palm suddenly against the small of his back. “Fit in. Fit in,” he reminded himself, turning with a smile. He had prepared himself for a great many things, but he was completely unprepared for what he actually saw.
He found himself staring at a long, elegant neck adorned with a thin black and grey striped scarf, which hung effortlessly down a charcoal grey t-shirt pulled taught across chiseled musculature and ended near the man’s right front jean pocket. His arms were shrouded in a black, leather motorcycle jacket, and snug, slightly faded black jeans hugged his thighs and groin, affecting John in a rather unexpected way. As a blush fell across the Army doctor’s cheeks, he dropped his gaze and stared down the man’s black Converse trainers with white toe caps, sidewalls, and laces. When he was finally somewhat composed once again, he worked up the nerve to look at the face of the man who was effortlessly disarming him in the most alarming ways.
A nest of unfamiliar ginger ringlets framed a pair of unmistakable crystalline eyes, universes swirling about within them just as John had become accustomed. He knew those eyes, but it couldn’t be. “Sh-Sherlock?” he whimpered, shuddering at the desperate timbre of his own voice.
“Not a word, John.” Sherlock snapped. “The hair… it was an unfortunate accident. Molly assured me she knew what she was doing, but she clearly did not.”
“I… it’s…” John’s hand moved upon its own volition, reaching to touch the copper swirls, quickly distracted by one errant curl hanging delicately against the detective’s forehead.
Sherlock’s hand caught John’s before he reached it. “What are you doing?”
“Nothing.” John shook his head, trying to reclaim his now-shaky grasp on reality. “I was just…” Don’t say attracted. Don’t say attracted. “…distracted.”
“I know; it’s dreadful. Please, don’t remind me.”
John was slowly regaining his sense, seeing things more clearly. “Since when do you care about your appearance? You, with your ‘just transport’ and all that.”
“Even a genius of my caliber is allowed brief moments of vanity. I’m sure you wouldn’t understand.”
“Hold on a minute… Did you just call me stupid or ugly?”
Sherlock expression told John he recognized the ‘you’ve-said-something-a-bit-not-good’ tone. “No, I—”
John didn’t need an apology or even to watch the brilliant man suffer. He was satisfied enough knowing he was learning to recognize his social mistakes. “Never mind, Sher—”
A long, thin finger was pressed gently against John’s lips. “You can’t call me that here. Deep cover, remember?”
“But you’re still calling me John.”
“Yes, well, John is rather common. I’ve met…” Sherlock stopped, obviously trying to think over the loud thumpa-thumpa of the house music. “I’ve met 316 other Johns. How many people have you met who share my name?”
“316 Johns? Ironic, isn’t it?”
“First, I suspect you don’t actually know what that word means. Second, I’ve probably deleted whatever obscure reference you’re trying to make. Third, the question, John… How many?”
John sighed. He had learned to pick his battles, and this wasn’t one he wished to pursue. “Obviously, none, Sher—”
The offending digit found its way back to John’s lips. “Have you learned nothing from our exchange?” Sherlock’s voice was practically a low growl. “Call me Andy.”
“Oh, I knew an Andy once. He was a great bloke. We went to uni—”
“Yes, I’m sure. Drink your beer, John. I’ve got work to do,” Sherlock said, with not so much as the slightest hint of interest in his voice, and immediately disappeared into the crowd.
John shook his head as he raised the slightly soiled glass to his mouth and took a swig, resolutely noting the quality of the drink had no direct correlation to its insufferably high price.
“Lover’s spat?” a strange voice purred lasciviously into his ear.
The doctor’s body tensed, completely uncertain of how he was meant to respond. He had been so busy bickering with Sherlock, he’d forgotten to get the specifics of their cover story. He torqued his neck to try and get a glimpse of the voice’s owner. “I… we… no…” he stammered, turning to face the young man. Blonde hair, blue eyes, twenty-two or twenty-three at most. Jesus, I’m old enough to be his father. Say something, anything. “We’re not… together.” The last word caught in this throat as he desperately tried to set eyes on Sherlock for reassurance.
“Hey, it’s your story. You can tell it any way you like.” He smiled at John, his grin devoid any innocence it may have once held.
John’s mind raced. Such common words in such an innocuous order had never before sounded so filthy. He was flattered. Oh, god, really? Flattered? He had to answer him and blurted out the first syllable which came to mind. “No.”
The man… just a boy, really… laughed. “No?”
Jesus, John, that didn’t make any sense. Get hold of yourself. John grasped at thin air for an intelligent retort which seemed not to exist, opening his mouth to speak but closing it again before uttering a peep.
“Oh, darling, I don’t feel like a threesome tonight. Lovely thought, though.” Sherlock’s voice broke John’s silence, relieving the Army doctor of his conversational burden.
“I thought you said you weren’t together.” The young man smirked.
“It’s just part of the shtick,” Sherlock said reassuringly. “Now, off with you. Time for the grown-ups to talk.”
“Grown ups?” He glared at Sherlock. “Fuck off.”
John watched intently as his pursuer sneered and slunk away before turning to his flat mate. “I didn’t know what to tell him. I wasn’t sure if we were supposed to be a couple.”
“Well, we weren’t, but I couldn’t sit idly by and watch you do… that, whatever it was you were doing. Furthermore, I can clearly see why you’ve had such a difficult time keeping a girlfriend.”
“You’re the reason I can’t keep… wait… watch? Were you off watching me?”
“Of course I was. What else would I have been doing?”
“Why were you watching me?”
“The case, John. I swear, it’s like you must be told every little thing.”
John winced against his palm. “I don’t even know what the case is!” he erupted, far too loudly if they had been in nearly any other environment.
“Keep your voice down. Under cover, remember?”
“I don’t care. Just tell me, Sherlo—… Andy.”
“There’s a murderer on the loose, picking men up from this bar, and you’re just his type.”
Rage swelled in John’s chest. “Murderer? Here? I’m bait? I’m fucking BAIT?”
“See, John? This is why I don’t tell you things. I knew you’d just overreact.”
“You’re playing silly buggers with my life, and I’m overreacting?”
The detective sighed. “You’ve never been in any real danger. He kills them after they leave the bar, and you certainly didn’t appear to be on the verge of leaving with anyone.”
“I could have, you know? He wanted me.”
Sherlock rolled his eyes. “He wanted an orgasm,” came his flippant reply.
“Yeah, maybe… “ John was furious. If Sherlock were anyone else, his antics would be the height of passive-aggressiveness. But, no, it can’t be that simple with Sherlock. How can someone naturally be such an annoying dick all the time? “But he wanted it from me.”
“Well, he can’t have you,” Sherlock snapped possessively, and John noticed the subtle twitch of his facial muscles giving away the fact he hadn’t meant to say it. At the very least, he hadn’t meant to say it in that way.
John didn’t feel like dwelling on what Sherlock’s outburst had meant. “You said I was just his type… What’s his type?” And how offended am I going to be by your answer?
“Male, Caucasian, thirties, fit, attractive, light hair and eyes.”
The doctor waited for the insult which wasn’t coming and finally replied once he realized just that. “But, I’m not in my thirties…”
“Yes, well, you happen to look a few years younger than you are, luckily for me. I didn’t want to have to phone Mycroft in order to get someone else.”
The daft genius before John hadn’t even intended to compliment him, probably wouldn’t have ever done it intentionally. “Th-thanks,” John stuttered. It was hard to act normally around Sherlock when he looked so different, so unfamiliar… so beautiful. “Was that man… was it…”
“No, John. It wasn’t him. He was much too young to fit the profile and played guitar. The man I’m looking for does not. Besides, I’d never have let him get that close to you if he was the killer.”
John cocked his head to one side, watching Sherlock’s hand unconsciously move to his chest and settle on the scarf very near to his heart. “What are you doing?”
“Me? Nothing.” The detective’s hand receded and he whipped around to glance over the crowd once more. “He’s not here, not tonight. Let’s go.”
(to be continued)