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A Study In Ludus

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At nine o’clock on the dot, Sherlock Holmes arrived on John’s doorstep. They exchanged slightly awkward, even borderline bashful, greetings at the door before heading inside the flat.

“Kettle’s just boiled,” John told him, taking Sherlock’s coat to hang it up. “Ah… are you hungry? I was thinking about ordering some takeaway later. Wouldn’t mind sharing.”

Sherlock sat on the couch, shifting a bit anxiously, “…I don’t really get hungry.”

“Doesn’t surprise me.” John huffed, shaking his head, “But you’re skin and bones. You really should try and eat more.” he advised, fixing their tea in the kitchen, before bringing two mugs out for them. He set Sherlock’s down on the coffee table, and spared a glance toward the teen… only to notice he looked a bit uncomfortable. “Everything alright?” he asked.

Sherlock pursed his lips together, apparently debating whether or not to be honest – before blurting out, “I’ve no idea how to behave.”

“You’re telling me.” John jabbed with a playful smirk.

The dark-haired genius huffed and rolled his eyes, “Not in general, though thank you for the insight into your overall opinion of me. I meant here… with… you.” he spat, ruffling a hand through his hair erratically. “I am uncertain as to how I should act. These new ‘rules’ and… following your lead. I don’t know if this is just ‘tea’ or if it’s ‘tea-and-extended-company’ or ‘tea-that-will-lead-to-sexual-activity’…” he listed. John coughed a bit as some of his beverage went down the wrong tube, but cleared his throat, and continued to listen to Sherlock ramble on, “Am I permitted to be candid with you now? May I sit close to you? Am I allowed only to text you? Is this a sympathy visit? How am I to know if we are progressing or not? Are y-”

“Sherlock enough.” John groaned, interrupting him. Sherlock snapped his mouth shut and scowled; crossing his arms over his chest in a petulant manner, and looking very much the part of a bratty child. The professor couldn’t help but chuckle quietly as he took a seat in his chair, “I’m sorry if this is confusing. I didn’t mean it to be.” he admitted, “I just wanted to… slow this whole thing down, you know? To be honest, I expected you to lose interest once I put some distance between us and limited our contact to texting.”

The younger slouched back into the sofa, “I nearly did. I considered you something of a ‘lost’ cause. But giving up completely would interfere with my plans and I wasn’t about to let a slight lag in the progression of our relationship hinder me.”

“…Plans?” John repeated, furrowing his brow in a rather perplexed manner.

Sherlock immediately realized his slip, and froze for only a second, before responding, “The plans for my seduction. Of you. I’ve already explained in great detail how much I… desire you. And your company. Plans in the greater scheme of things. If I’d had my way we would have slept together by now.” he smirked, trying to turn the conversation back into a playful one.

John seemed to accept the answer, and shook his head, “You’re not the first person to underestimate me,” he sipped on his tea, “and just because others might jump at the chance to keep your… er… ‘attention’… doesn’t mean I would.”

Sherlock released a slow breath. That had been entirely too close. He had to wonder why he’d blurted out such an obvious mistake; referring to his ‘plans’, his little wager with Jim. What was it about John Watson that made him want to be so straightforward? So much… /himself/, as opposed to the ‘promiscuous’ young man who had already seduced three other professors in their institution?

“So…” John smiled, “Tea and takeaway?…”

The teenage genius shifted his eyes around John’s flat, “If you’ll permit me… I’d like to look around. I might be able to deduce more about you by observing the habitat in which you live.”

“Well I guess that’s as blatant a request as I’m going to get for ‘give me a tour’.” He teased warmly, standing up with mug in hand to show Sherlock around.

 

 

 

To the surprise of both John and Sherlock, the evening had been rather enjoyable. As they had toured John’s small flat, Sherlock had spouted off deductions, only getting every 1-in-8 facts wrong each time they came to a particular object or picture. Once they’d had their fill, John ordered Chinese – and much to Sherlock’s chagrin – he did end up eating, as John distracted him with lively conversation and debate. Afterwards, in a rare, blissful haze of being well-fed and talked-out (for once), Sherlock and John settled on the couch to watch some telly. There was some kind of Doctor Who marathon on, which Sherlock didn’t care too much for… but amused John with lazy deductions and stabs into the plot holes and lack of logic.

Sherlock surprised himself at how languid and comfortable he felt, leaning up against John as they watched and continued to speak quietly. He’d never had this kind of… whatever… before. Perhaps others would call it a relationship. They were friends, at the very least, and he trusted John – though knew deep down John shouldn’t trust him because his motives were untruthful. But he wanted John to trust him, badly, and that in itself was causing Sherlock’s conscience to do somersaults in his stomach.

When John noticed the time, he offered Sherlock a spot on his couch for the evening. The teen accepted, of course, and was set up with a comfortable blanket and pillow before John left him with a sweet, chaste kiss to his cheek, and headed off to bed. Sherlock lay there for about another hour and a half, before he was certain John had fallen asleep. Abandoning the couch, the student slipped down the hall and into John’s bedroom; crawling into the professor’s bed and settling himself down beside the older male.

He spent a few hours simply staring at the man. John Watson should be the plainest man on earth. He should be dull; his occupation was. He should be boring; the way he addressed others and was more than accommodating, pleasant, not quite a pushover but he liked to please. So Sherlock was baffled as to why. Why his stupid brain and underused heart was lurching toward gaining John’s trust, knowing him intimately; better than anyone else. He was so wrapped up in this internal enigma, that soon, he drifted off to sleep.

John was the first to wake. It was almost half-past six in the morning, which was when he usually got up to begin getting ready for his day. And to be honest, he couldn’t bring himself to be surprised that Sherlock Holmes had managed to sneak his way into his bed. He huffed a quick breath out of his nose, and shook his head fondly as he stared down at the sleeping student. He looked much younger when he was relaxed and peaceful. John was about to shift out of bed and let Sherlock sleep, when the genius opened his eyes – startling himself to wake, as if he’d felt John staring at him.

“I fell asleep.” Sherlock stated with something akin to disdain in his voice.

John smirked, “Oddly enough, not where I left you either.” he commented casually. Sherlock looked up at him a bit sheepishly for once, as if expecting a reprimand. Of course, John didn’t have the heart, and simply settled for a small smile and a “Good morning.”

“Morpn-nhg…” Sherlock muffled the greeting back, looking away from John and snuggling back into the pillow he’d commandeered for himself. “I never sleep.”

John propped himself up on his elbow as he yawned, “Then you were due for a good one,” he scratched the back of his head, “I’ve got to start getting ready. There’s a few things I need to do before class this morning…” he explained.

The dark-haired youth groaned and flopped back down, huffing and making a show of burrowing as far as possible back into the sheets and pillows. John chuckled; something warm and strong lulling his heart and body forward, as he instinctively leaned toward Sherlock. The other seemed to sense the shift, and looked up; sleepy eyed, curls loose and tousled in all directions…

John couldn’t help himself. He leaned forward, down, and placed a gentle kiss on Sherlock’s lips. The teen seemed to stop breathing all together; his heart rate increased ten fold, his skin was tingling, and all he could do was stare in awe at John. It had happened. The wall had been breached, and John was beginning to see him as a romantic prospect…

Sherlock absently tilted his chin up again – and John responded with another smile, and another kiss. The genius closed his eyes and pushed forward a bit more to engage a bit more pressure between their lips. He nearly trembled when he heard John give a low, content hum from the back of his throat… before he was pulling away and slipping out of bed.

“I’m going to have a quick shower.” John explained, grabbing his clothes while sneaking the occasional glance back toward Sherlock. “When I’m done – you can have one too, if you’d like. We’ll grab a tea, and maybe a pastry on the way… I’m a bit behind schedule now.” he smiled once more at his student, before disappearing from the room and down the hall.

Sherlock didn’t exhale the breath he’d been holding until he heard the bathroom door close. It escaped from his lungs with a whoosh, and he collapsed back onto the soft mattress.

“…Interesting.” he murmured to himself. His lips still tingled from their first kiss. It wasn’t much, but with the confidence, and yes, even the gentleness, in which John had kissed him told Sherlock that Professor Watson was an experienced lover. He knew what he was doing, and it seemed, he was playing a game just as much as Sherlock was.

Of course John’s game was nothing but playful - with the best, and most hopeful, intentions in mind. He was certainly interested in Sherlock now. And that kiss indicated he was finally ready to, perhaps… invest a little more of himself, his trust, to the brilliant teen.

…Suddenly Sherlock felt a bit sick.

This was going to be so much harder than he’d imagined.

 

 


Despite the fact Sherlock’s day was littered with boring lectures and hourly breaks didn’t help clear his mind of John. And their kiss; their first kiss. He continued to replay it in his mind over and over again… the gentleness, the warmth. No. Sherlock had never been kissed like that before. How could something so brief take over his focus for an entire day? It was infuriating.

His mobile buzzed, and the young genius tugged it out of his pocket eagerly, hoping John was offering another evening in his flat,


How’s your progress, darling? JM


Sherlock winced; his mouth turning up into a small snarl, before he hurriedly typed back:


Going better than yours. SH

Stayed over at his flat last night. His bed. First kiss achieved. SH

Watson’s a pushover. JM

A challenge, actually. SH

Things not going well with Professor Moran, I take it… SH

Only a matter of time. JM

Stubborn doesn’t mean impossible. JM

More fun if I break him anyway. JM

You seem worried. SH

I’m not. JM

Wouldn’t be the first time you lost to me. SH

You’re only two to one. Not that much of a lead, poppet. JM

About to be three to one. SH

It’s that unwarranted confidence that’s going to get you into trouble one day, my dear. JM

Are we done? SH

I’ve a Professor to seduce. SH

Shouldn’t take long. SH

Remember: pics or it didn’t happen, Sherlock. JM

I’m not allotting you a win based on hearsay if you sleep with that gimpy little do-gooder. JM

I’ll have sufficient proof. SH


Sherlock was about to stuff his mobile back into his bag… but decided to change course, and instead, text John while his competitive spirit was high:


Dinner? SH


It was only a few minutes before John was responding:


Maybe. JW

You never told me you play the violin. JW

How did you know that? SH

Saw a photo of you playing. Few years ago at some campus event. JW

Dull. SH

Nope. Not dull. JW

You weren’t there. SH

All the more reason for you to play me a private concert. JW

In exchange for dinner. JW

You’re joking. SH

No violin. No dinner. JW

No… anything else, either. JW

I want to hear you. JW

Fine. SH

I’m looking forward to it. JW