As Sherlock stepped out of his cab and onto a busy street in New York City he took a small moment to savor the last cab ride he would be able to afford until he got some sort of paying job. Which wasn’t very likely to happen quickly, or easily, because he was planning to get a job on broadway. He hated how cliche he seemed. An esteemed ballet dancer in London that desired glitz and glamour over tights and tutus no matter how hard his parents tried to push him into going to the Royal Ballet which he had already been accepted into. When he told his parents of his plan to leave London and move to America they were (unsurprisingly) enraged, told him that they would cut him off if he went through with his plan. He of course knew that not having his parents money to fall back on in the beginning, in times of trouble or when he just couldn’t find work, would be a great hinderance to his plan, but there was no way that he would be able to stand doing only ballet for the rest of his career. He loved all types of dancing but his passion was in singing and modern dance. He was of course going to find a way to make his dream a reality no matter how hard it was going to be.
He stepped out onto the pavement and breathed in the city. It wasn’t London, his favorite city, but he definitely could get used to waking up here every day. Sherlock was lucky enough to have Mycroft give him some support by renting him out a cheap hotel room for a few months. He knew Mycroft could afford a much, much nicer place, but he was thankful he would have somewhere to stay while adjusting but of course he wouldn't tell Mycroft that. He walked in, checked in, and made his way to his room, a standard two queen beds, bathroom, a tv, and a fridge was all he had. It wasn’t anything extraordinary, but it wasn’t too bad. It would do for now. He put his things on one of the beds and flopped himself down. He closed his eyes and smiled, even giggled a bit. He was high on his dream. The first steps of his plan were complete and he was so elated to be in New York, so close to the heart of Broadway. He got up to look out his window, the view was of tall buildings and busy streets, yellow cars and pedestrians. He loved it, even watched the pattern of people unfold before his eyes for a while. Thinking he had spent too much time being so maudlin he quickly decided that the best hiding place for the rest of his money would be in the mattress. He took a knife from his luggage and ripped a hole in the mattress. Stuffing the rest of his money inside. Wasting no time, he decided it was time to head out. Snitching today's paper from the lobby he left the hotel in a pair of black leggings, a black shirt with a denim jacket, a comfortable pair of sneakers, and all the dance shoes he owned. The nearest audition was for an off-broadway production of Aladdin, a well reviewed musical that was likely to make it onto Broadway. A perfect place to start. He set-off to the audition, walking the way to save money, and to begin properly mapping out New York City in his head.
After an exhausting day of auditions (a total of 4) Sherlock got some quick cheap food and was headed back to his hotel room. He decided to go down a street he hadn't yet traveled on. It was dark and the night crowd was out in the city. People walking by in nice suits, some in tuxedos, and some people in dresses and heels. He loved night life especially in the city. The sights and the sounds of New York at night were intoxicating to him. There was some wonderful jazz music coming from a club on the street and Sherlock gravitated towards it. He came upon the place the music was coming from and became increasingly intrigued by it. There was a large sign above the place that said "Burlesque Lounge" with flashing lights. The entry way was just to a fire escape (that had been fashioned into a balcony for the lounge) on his left side, and stairs going down into the lounge on his right. As he was looking down into what was certainly the entry to the club, the door from the fire escape attached to the building beside the club slammed open. A woman with striped tights and a brightly colored tutu walked out and lit a cigarette. She caught him staring and smiled at him. He swallowed. A moment later a man walked onto the balcony.
"Coco, Coco Puff" he said in a rushed tone, "You're on in 5 let's go." Obviously Coco was an entertainer. A dancer most likely going by the way she had stood with both of her hips turned out. He unquestionably had to go into the club.
He made his descent into the club and took note of the posters with the performers names on them. The club seemed to have a decent amount of dancers but the posters conveyed the message that a girl named Irene was the main star of the show. The first door Sherlock went through opened up to a hallway that was filled with paintings and other works of art that all fit together like Tetris pieces. There were a few people down the hall that were just standing together in small groups of two or three drinking and talking, he walked past all of them and finally made it to the club. The room was dark and there were tables of people facing the stage. The performers on the stage were dressed promiscuously, intertwined with one another and bouncing with the music. He thought for a moment that he had made his way into a strip club but quickly realized how preposterous that was as the audience was silently watching, was a mix of all genders, and there were no poles to speak of. There was also a live band. Not really anything someone would find at a typical strip club. He was mesmerized by the dancers simplistic sexy movements, so much so that he hadn’t realized there was a man standing at a podium probably waiting for a payment for entry. Sherlock looked over at him.
“We may not have windows, but we do have the best view in the times Square District” Sherlock recognized the line from one of their posters hanging in the entrance. How dull and customary. “20 bucks”, the man quickly added after. Sherlock didn’t respond and kept staring at the dancers as they moved into a formation along some steps that were on the stage. “Babycakes” he said, obviously getting irritated, “I’ve got a club to fill here.”
“Right” Sherlock said taking his eyes off of the stage to dig through his bag for some money. Sighing he handed over a 20 dollar bill to the man who took it from him quickly.
“Enjoy” he said with a smile. Sherlock walked past him and started towards the bar for a seat. As he made his way over, he stopped, noticing a new person on stage with a black and pink leotard on with glitter and rhinestones all over it that was long in the back, fishnets with heels, and a hat on top of her head that was covered in dark curls. The girls around her kept dancing as she started singing. She had a marvelous voice and sherlock couldn’t look away from the spectacle. She stood there snapping her fingers on one hand with the music, and sang. The song was an original one and the woman singing it was most certainly the writer, and if he wasn’t mistaken, the owner of the club. You could tell by the way she owned the stage, her presence was overbearing amongst the younger girls surrounding her, not just a good performer, but a person in charge. She barely danced on the stage but her voice and subtle movements drew all of the attention to her. It became apparent that the song she was singing was a song about the club, “Welcome to Burlesque” she even talked about the girls that were performing in the dance, “You may dream of coco, do it at your risk”. The song was the introduction to the show, of course it was done by the owner of the club. Sherlock deduced as much as he could about her and her styles so that when he auditioned, he could be the person she was looking for.
When the dance ended Sherlock clapped enthusiastically. This was exactly what he had been yearning for, singing and dance. Singing original and new songs. And the dance style-God-he couldn’t wait to audition. It was a mixture of so many things at once and it was all so sensual, he had to be able to perform here. He hadn’t realized that he was still clapping as the next number started.
“Did you enjoy the opening number then?” came a voice from the bar startling Sherlock out of his applause. He looked over to the bartender. He was a shorter man of stockier build. Blue eyes and golden hair with a beautiful-flirty-smile on his face. What was most interesting was the scarred flesh peaking out of his black vest on his left shoulder.
“Thoroughly” came Sherlock’s reply. The man wet his lips.
“Could I get you a drink?”
“If you’re paying.” Sherlock had spent most of all the money he was allowing for the day.
“Welcome to New York.” He smiled as he set a glass in front of Sherlock who was surprised that he was actually going to get his drink for free. And a little relieved. “Where are you from?” He added on.
“Ah. Figured with the accent and all.” He told him as he raked his eyes over Sherlock’s body.
“Of course” came Sherlock’s short reply and he looked back at the dancers on stage.
“Hey love mind doing your job now?” The bartender snarked at another worker.
Sherlock looked back at him and asked, “Who do I need to talk to for an audition here?”
The man looked unsurprised at his question and pointed to a door near the stage and said, “Go through that door and ask for Sally, she’s the woman in charge here.” Sherlock nodded at him and began to walk away from the bar when the man said, “Hey London” and Sherlock turned back around.
“My name is John by the way. And you're welcome.” He said as he winked.
Sherlock rolled his eyes at the man but said “Thank you John” anyways and with that resumed walking away and to the door that John had pointed out to him. When he entered backstage He was almost knocked over by two of the performers trying to get dressed in time for their next number. He was looking for the woman from the first number who was obviously the Sally John was talking about. He spotted her Curly hair and starting walking toward her. She was talking with the man who Sherlock had seen earlier on the balcony. He had greying hair and wore glasses. They were talking together and laughing as he approached them. Then another man came up to Sally and the grey haired man gave her a wary look after seeing him approach, and walked away.
The man had black slicked hair and he marched toward Sally with purpose. Sherlock stopped walking and started listening, not wanting to interrupt a conversation between the two.
“Sally, have you read this note from the bank?” He asked her angrily. Sally already looked fed up with their conversation.
“Anderson, how many times have I told you? No business during business hours.”
The man, Anderson apparently, just seemed to get more frustrated.
“Look” he began, “Victor Trevor is coming in tonight.” Sally stopped putting make-up on and turned away from her mirror to Anderson with an angry look on her face. “Our problem isn’t going away and you know he can help us! We need to talk about this! You won’t talk to me about it at all! Ever!” Sally started to walk away from him.
“Well I didn’t divorce you just so I could spend more time talking to you.”
“Okay, but I still own half of this place and we need to sort this out.”
“I know we do. But right now I’m trying to run a show.” Sally said as she walked away from the conversation. Anderson huffed and walked away from Sally deciding not to pursue the conversation further. Sally sat down at a mirror and began doing her make-up again. Sherlock realized that the club had a bit of financial trouble based on the conversation. He thought for a moment that maybe he should forget about an audition here, but he just couldn’t pass up an opportunity to perform in such a place. Even if it was shut-down at some point, it would still be a great experience, right? So, Sherlock took the opportunity to go and talk to her.
“Hello Sally my name is Sherlock Holmes and I am here to audition for a spot on your team.”
Sally looked up at him in the mirror.
“Um, hello, Sherlock. Getting right to the point then are we?” She didn’t wait for Sherlock to say anything before she asked, “where have you danced.”
“I have danced with a private instructor since I was three years old and was trained for classical ballet as well as contemporary ballet. I have, though, dabbled in all forms of dance.” Sherlock pulled out a copy of his resume that he had been using for the days auditions and handed it to Sally. “There you will find a list of all the productions I have been in as well as a more detailed list of my other skills and more specific dance skills.” Sally stared at him for a few seconds and then laughed after he had finished talking. “Okay hun just give your name and number to Greg and he’ll let you know when we are having our next audition.” She said condescendingly as she pointed to the grey haired man she had been laughing with earlier. Sherlock was unhappy with the response he got from Sally and he couldn’t believe that she would brush him off like that.
“When exactly will your next audition be?” He asked sally in a more demanding tone. She completely ignored him and continued to apply her make-up.
“Greg where the hell is Irene?” Sally yelled.
“Late. As usual.” Greg replied. Sherlock quickly spoke up.
“I’m never late. Ever.” He was willing to kiss some ass here if it meant he could have a job dancing at the club. Greg looked up at him.
“That’s great but we’re trying to put on a show here”, Greg started directing Sherlock to the door, “Maybe come back another time.” Sherlock was starting to get angry, even upset. How could they not see that he was the perfect person to add to their team? He wanted this job so badly and now that it was slipping away from him, he was getting even more attached to it.
“No,” Sherlock replied, “You don’t understand, I must have this job.”
“Look kid”, Greg began, “You have great enthusiasm, but terrible timing. Leave your name and number with John at the bar and we’ll get back you you okay?” Sherlock wasn’t confident that they would contact him but he didn’t want to seem more desperate than he already had.
“Okay. Thank you.” He said a bit sheepishly and went to make a hasty exit. Right as he turned around he ran into a woman wearing an expensive coat and big sunglasses.
“Excuse you.” She said as she walked past him recovering gracefully.
“Ah! Greg! Look who finally decided to show up!” Sally said loudly while putting her arm around Greg.
“You know”, Greg started, “I was just thinking that it was really too bad that you missed the first number Irene. But I’m so glad that you will be here for the second” he finished sarcastically.
“Sorry love I was getting my nails done. You really can’t put that off. And there was just no other time that was going to work for me” Irene said with a shrug. Greg rolled his eyes at her and sally told her to be ready for her next number. Sherlock not wanting to interact with the woman began to walk away quietly.
“Who are you love?” Sherlock knew she was talking to him.
“My name is Sherlock.”
“Oh my. You sound quite posh don’t you? Look it too. Mind getting me a drink dear?”
“Yes I do mind. I don’t work here.”
“Ah, that’s a shame. I wouldn’t mind seeing your face around here every now and again” She told him as she winked. She turned around then and resumed putting on her make-up. So, Sherlock turned away from her and walked out of the backstage brewing up an idea.
When he walked back out John was scolding that waitress again for standing around on the job. Perfect. Sherlock took off his jacket and went straight to a tray, picked it up and began taking drink orders and picking up empty glasses. He brought it back to the counter where John was at to put in the orders.
“Three shots of patron a cosmo and a screw driver.”
John looked up at him, “what are you doing?”
“Oh please you know what I’m doing. If by the end of the night I’m not better than your current waiter I’ll leave and you won’t have to deal with me again but if I’m better, which I will be, then you will hire me as her replacement. I know you have been planning on firing her for at least two weeks now so there is no reason not to let me do this.”
John smiled at him and shrugged. “Fine, but you aren’t getting paid for tonight.”
“Fine”, Sherlock replied and smiled back at him, he really was quite handsome and Sherlock was deeply interested in learning more about him. For reasons he didn’t really understand.
Sherlock went about taking orders and giving out drinks as Irene came out for her next number that she was featured in. She slid down a wall of pearl beads hung up on strings and onto the stage in the splits. She looked stunning. She was wearing a black bikini top and bottoms with heels and fishnets. Her red lipstick looked amazing on her bringing her entire look together. When the singing started, Sherlock was very surprised to find out that she wasn’t the one singing. It was an old recording of Diamonds are a girls’ best friend and Irene was lip syncing. Only Sally sang her own songs? Now that he looked back on it, Sally hadn’t even asked Sherlock about his singing, only his dancing. Maybe Sherlock’s singing skills could give him an advantage here.
The night went on as well as Sherlock’s seemingly endless amounts of drink orders. The work was monotonous but he got to watch all the numbers which he had already begun to memorize in case he ever needed to know one, or maybe he would get his break when he had to fill in for another performer. Sherlock noticed Sally and Greg sitting at the bar talking to John while glancing over at him, so he tried to get as close as possible to them without it seeming obvious he was listening in on the conversation. He heard John say something about him just picking up a tray and working and then Sally asked John when he had become in charge of hiring.
“Sherlock”, Sally yelled over at him, “come here.”
Sherlock set the rest of the drinks down at the counter before walking over to Sally.
“You look great Sherlock but you have a nice ass don’t cover it with a long shirt. You’ve got it so flaunt it. It’ll help with tips too you know.”
Sherlock tucked his shirt into his leggings at the back to appease Sally and wondered why he didn’t think of that before. He needed money and generous tips, of course this would help.
“And Sherlock, don’t ever undermine me like that again.”
“Yes ma’am” he turned to walk away.
“And Sherlock”, Sally said yet again, “Don’t ever call me ma’am again.”
“Yes ma’am. I mean Sally!” He quickly corrected.
“Just get on the floor.” Sally told him in a more joking manner than before. Sherlock picked his tray back up and went to go take more orders, John smiling at him as he walked away from the bar. He went to go pick up some empty drinks bending over the table a bit for the man seated at a table right behind him. He didn’t have any drinks yet and was obviously a wealthy man. Sherlock was going to get as much out of him as he could.
“Excuse me”, Sherlock looked behind him at the wealthy man, “a bottle of your best champagne for the table.” Sherlock smiled slightly and turned to give the order to John. “And could you tell Irene that I’m here” it sounded more like a command than a question. Oh. Irene. He was dating Irene.
“And you are?” he asked a little irritated. The guy smiled, with extreme flirtation before responding.
“Victor Trevor. And you are?”
“Sherlock, unique.” And with that Sherlock walked away from him. He looked back at him once he had reached the bar and he was still staring after Sherlock. Sherlock flushed, looked away and down at his tray quickly. Sherlock’s willed his mind to slip away from thoughts on Victor and towards focusing on the dances. He was frustrated that he let his mind take a break from learning the dances. He set his tray down and became completely lost in his mind. Imagining himself up on stage leading the number instead of Irene. Dancing and singing.
“Sherlock”, he felt a tap on his shoulder. John was trying to get his attention, Sherlock looked up at him and blushed out of embarrassment. How long had John been trying to break him out of his spell? John didn’t seem bothered by it and smiled when Sherlock finally made eye contact with him. “What do you need?” and Sherlock gave him the recent orders. “Ah, Victor Trevor must be here then” John said after hearing the order.
“Is he a regular here?” Sherlock asked to clarify John’s statement.
“Yes, he is. Real estate guy, dating Irene.” Sherlock already knew he was dating Irene but now he was connecting the dots between Sally and Anderson’s conversation earlier. Obviously they were in financial trouble at the club, Anderson is willing to sell out to Victor, Sally loves her club and refuses. Was he dating Irene just to be closer to the club? To build some sort of trust? Irene seemed like a bad person to choose for that mission going by the way she interacted with Sally and Greg. Obviously neither of them truly liked her, they just liked the crowd she brought in as a headliner. He looked back at Victor who was greeting a colleague and her husband as they all sat down at his table.
“Ah”, Sherlock said to John, “thank you.”
“No problem” John said as he set the drinks on Sherlock’s tray, obviously not realizing what he was being thanked for.
Sherlock turned his attention back to the stage where a new number was being performed and he became captivated once again. In a moment of elation and want Sherlock said to John, “God I need to be up there.”
“Ah but the question remains; do you have the talent?” John said back to him.
“Good! Because you’re on” he said as he nudged Sherlock’s tray towards him with another wink. Sherlock smiled and rolled his eyes at John as he picked up the tray and went back out into the audience.