John was a little flabbergasted by the text he received. Of course, he was already a little flabbergasted by the well-groomed man who he was fairly certain was trying to chat him up. At least that is what he assumed was happening what with the whole “crowded close in a booth with a hand on his thigh” thing was. He had shifted slightly to reach his mobile when it went off, which the man had taken as encouragement, and John was too distracted by the message to notice until the hand had shifted decidedly upwards.
The message, in all its simplicity, read, “Help. – SH.”
John immediately glanced up through the throngs of people gathered about, expecting to see his flatmate and friend in the midst of some life or death situation, likely involving billiards cues or shattered glass bottles. Instead, he saw Sherlock nearly crowded into a booth of his own by five well-endowed and very determined ladies. He snorted and texted back, “You should be flattered.”
He turned to the man at his side, shifting subtly away and forcing him to release his loose grip, to try to get him to refocus on the events of three nights prior, which was the whole reason John and Sherlock were at this overpriced pub-turned-club in the first place. He opened his mouth to ask the next question on his predetermined list, only to have his mobile beep at him once more.
“I don’t do this sort of thing. – SH,” it read.
John snorted and quickly texted back, “And I normally let large men feel me up? You would be the first to tell me to get the intel I need and get out.”
The large man in question did not seem bothered by his distraction, simply taking it as an opportunity to move closer. John actually managed to get out one of the questions this time, and received a somewhat informative reply in return, before his phone beeped again.
“You are secure enough in your sexual identity to cope with such advances. I *have* no sexual identity to cope with. – SH.”
John did feel a bit sorry at that. Sherlock was clearly outnumbered and in a situation he had no idea how to deal with. He replied that he would be with him in a minute and ignored the beeped response that was likely telling him to hurry. He asked one final question of his witness and politely agreed to take his name and number for future contact, though he doubted it was the contact the man had in mind.
He said his goodbyes and made his way over to where Sherlock stood cornered like a wild animal by what appeared to be a bachelorette party, but not before he snapped a discreet photo with his phone. He slid between a blonde and a brunette with ease and snagged Sherlock by the sleeve to drag out into a more open area. “Sorry ladies, he’s taken,” he called over his shoulder as he subtly steered him towards the door, ignoring the pouts he received in reply.
Once out in the crisp evening air, the thrum of the club’s music not much more than a thud of base against the brick walls of the alleyway, Sherlock breathed deeply and said, “Thank you.” He adjusted his perpetual scarf and started back towards the main street before he asked, “Taken, John? A clever ruse, especially considering your activities only moments before. Perhaps they think I should cuckold you for your behaviour though.”
John simply shrugged and freed his mobile from his pocket again, confirming the missed message was as suspected. “You are taken. You said yourself that you are married to your work. No ruse needed,” he replied as they paused under the dim streetlight.
Sherlock’s lips quirked in thanks once more and he attempted to hail a cab, not once apologizing for the cuckold remark. Because of this, John did not feel entirely bad about pressing send as he slid in beside Sherlock, offering him far more room than his witness had back at the club. Besides, Sally would most definitely appreciate the image.