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Il Bolero

Chapter Text

“But Sherlock, I-”

“Molly, the shop is right there. If you don’t feel able to do something as simple as shopping without looking nervous the entire time, then leave.”

Molly pulled her lips into a tight line. “Okay. Let’s go.”

Sherlock led the way to the red door of Il Bolero.

They were greeted by a woman in her fifties, hair pulled back in a tight bun, smiling warmly at them. Molly was wide-eyed and taking it all in. The small shop was so narrow it would have felt like a cramped closet if it weren’t for the high ceilings. Every inch of the right-hand wall was covered with delicates. Brassieres, panties, garter belts, and corsets in every color, shape and size. The left-hand side was for accessories and the cash register. The dressing rooms were at the far end, hidden behind plush dark purple velour drapes.

“Sherlock, you didn’t say this was a lingerie shop.”

Sherlock was chasing a serial killer and he was thrilled about it. It was exactly what he needed after months of dull thefts and badly executed frauds. Even cold cases couldn’t keep him busy. He was driving himself up the wall. Cocaine had been becoming an appealing option when Lestrade called him about this case.

Three murders, and they all had one thing in common: all the victims had visited this shop within 36 hours of being found bound and strangled.

Due to his distracting divorce procedures, Lestrade had overlooked the credit card receipts that connected the victims to the shop. Rather than informing him of it and going through the tedious and lengthy process of having all the employees brought in for interrogation, Sherlock opted to pay the shop a visit. After all, if the staff didn’t know they were under investigation, they wouldn’t try to hide anything. Not that anyone ever managed to hide anything from Sherlock.

He turned to Molly. “It doesn’t matter what they sell. You’re here as a distraction.”

“But Sherlock,” Molly insisted as her blushing increased, “it’s lingerie.”

“It wouldn’t matter if it was horse manure. The investigation led here, so here we are. Now go shop.” Sherlock manoeuvred her further into the shop. “And take your time,” he added quietly.

Before Molly could add anything, another employee, a blue haired woman in her thirties, came over. Sherlock left Molly with the clerk and wandered off. He knew he could have managed alone but having Molly as a distraction made the process easier.

He spoke with the woman behind the counter first. She was one of the owners, and obviously not a suspect given her arthritis. While he listened to her talk about the history of the shop, Sherlock managed to spot the shift schedule behind the counter. The shop had at least six employees.

He then went to check on Molly, an excuse to get a look at the blue haired clerk. They were currently discussing garter belts, which explained the bright red blush on Molly’s cheeks. Blue Hair was also innocent. Well, of murder, not of the drugs she sold on the side. It was something she started recently… Ah, recent divorce. Legal fees. Still not a murderer.

Sherlock idled further down the shop. It was better not to make Molly more nervous then she already was.

As he moved towards the dressing rooms, a corridor on the left revealed itself. The lingerie displayed there offered a different variety of options than the front room. The brassieres and corsets were covered with jewels and mirrors. Some were made of leather, and those ranged from plain black leather to coloured to being covered with straps, metal rods, and hooks in various places. Underwear that barely covered anything, or with holes in key places and- oh God was that latex? How… impractical.

The corridor lead to a room with softer lighting. Every inch of display space held chains, whips, paddles, rope, floggers, and spreader bars of all different shapes, sizes, and colors.

Sherlock had done his research. He was aware of the lifestyle that this shop catered to. Even if he didn’t quite understand the appeal, he had found their website elegant and professional.

Nevertheless, as he stood in the middle of the room, he found himself overwhelmed. Looking at pictures of individual items and reading their descriptions was one thing. Seeing them all at the same time as his mind supplied image after image of their uses was another.

Sherlock took a deep breath, fighting to keep his focus. He spotted the riding crops, the only familiar items in the room from his brief time horseback riding.

He let himself gravitate towards the crops, taking one off the rack. It was fine leather, springy, good quality. He had tested it on himself once. He wanted to know what the horse would feel. It had hurt, obviously. Even after all his research, Sherlock was perplexed by pain in a sexual context. He understood how some people could be aroused by domination, by causing pain. But experiencing pleasure from pain? Besides the appeal of the endorphin release after long term exposure to pain, it left him baffled.

“Looking for something in particular?”

Pushing aside his theories, Sherlock turned and found himself looking down a short blond man in his early thirties. He did not look like the type to work here at all, not with that lumpy oatmeal sweater. This man’s fashion sense, or lack thereof, made no sense in this shop, but then again, neither did those latex pants hanging in the corridor.

Until he noticed the man’s hands. A doctor. Interesting.

Sherlock put on an amiable smile. “I’m not sure. I’m a bit new to all this.”

“Well, that’s what I’m here for.” The clerk nodded towards the riding crop Sherlock was holding. “For you or your partner?”

Sherlock wondered if he should get Molly and pose as a fake couple. Given her reaction when they came into the shop, it was probably for the best not to involve her.

“For me.”

“And how experienced is your partner?”

“Nonexistent.”

“And you?”

“Enough to be interested in learning more.”

“Mm. I know the riding crop got really popular with all the 50 Shades stuff, but I wouldn’t recommend that for beginners. If I may?” The clerk pulled the crop from Sherlock’s hands gently. He put it back in its place and reached for a black leather paddle. “Instead, I’d suggest something like this. It’s made to be similar to a hand.” He placed his hand on the oval part of the paddle, confirming it had practically the same shape and size.

Sherlock found himself staring at the man’s hand, or rather his wrist as gravity pulled down his cuff to reveal a fading tan line. Along with the haircut, his stance, this man had military written all over him.

Army doctor. Very interesting.

Definitely not a serial killer.

The clerk handed Sherlock the paddle and waited. What was Sherlock supposed to do with it? To prevent looking too lost, Sherlock did the same as he did with the crop, holding it at either end and giving it a bit of an arc. Only the paddle reacted nothing like the crop and barely curved. Sherlock took the handle and tapped the oval part in the palm of his hands a few times. The thick leather gave it a nice weight, and the metal strip inside gave it a nice spring.

“It’s a nice alternative when the spanking lasts a while. To give the hand a break, you know?”

Sherlock did not know but he understood what was implied.

“This one is a bit more intense.” The clerk pointed to a wooden paddle. “It’s… honestly, it’s simpler if you try them out.”

Sherlock blinked. “Try?”

“It’s best to know what you’re going to feel. You don’t have to, but I’d recommend it. And these are expensive and non-refundable. Is your partner with you? I can pick a few options for you to try out.”

“No.”

“It’s fine, you don’t have to, I was just offering.”

“No, I mean, I don’t have a partner.”

“Oh, well, I could test them on you if you want.”

Sherlock blinked rapidly as he processed what was happening. The casual tone was throwing him off.

“You’re offering to spank me?”

“As a courtesy. It’s okay if you’re not comfortable.”

Being offered to test various spanking tools was definitely on the odd side of the spectrum of things that had happened to Sherlock during an investigation.

“Alright.”

Sherlock’s eyes widened. What was he doing? He already knew this man wasn’t a suspect. He didn’t need to do this. So why was he watching an Army doctor grab a bunch of spanking tools and following him into the next room?

Before he could figure it out, Sherlock found himself standing in the center of the new room and slowly turning to look at everything. The previous room was tame compared to this one. It was almost like a historical exhibit of torture tools. The walls were covered with ornamented knives, daggers, metal restraints, even what looked like a medieval torture chamber that could be suspended to the ceiling. There was a pommel horse in one corner and a polished wooden chair with a hole in the seat in the other.

It was interesting really, how they had adapted everything into ‘safer’ versions.

The clerk headed to the small counter with a display of different sizes of stainless steel rods, cock rings, and collars. He neatly aligned his selection of tools on the counter and turned to face Sherlock.

“I’m John, by the way. I figured you should at least know my name before I start spanking you.”

“Sherlock.”

“Nice to meet you Sherlock. Take off your coat.”

John sounded exactly like a doctor instructing his patient to undress. It was giving Sherlock a false sense of security. After all, he wasn’t getting a physical but getting spanked. Then again, this was probably easier for John than giving prostate exams.

As he put down his coat on the counter next to the tools, Sherlock figured breaking into the owner’s office didn’t seem like such a bad idea compared to this.

“I’m going to start with the leather paddle. Now, stand straight, chin up, eyes straight ahead. Good. I am going to aim for the meaty part of your arse, just above the thighs.”

Sherlock felt a gentle press of the leather paddle on the area and stopped breathing a moment.

What had he gotten himself into?

“It’s important that you stay still so I don’t hurt you. The pain won’t be so bad since you’re dressed, but during a scene, it can be very painful, and not in the good way. So don’t move, okay?”

Sherlock hoped Molly didn’t finish up front until he was done here.

John put a hand on his shoulder. “Sherlock?”

“Hm?”  Something in John’s tone made him turn.

“Everything alright?”

“Yes, fine.” Sherlock lied.

“You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to.”

He wasn’t sure if it was John’s open face, the genuine concern, or Sherlock’s own bullheadedness to finish what he started that urged him forward.

“I know.”

“Okay. But if you want to stop at any moment, just say so.”

Sherlock nodded.

“I need a verbal answer.”

The multiple consent disclaimers he had seen during his research flowed through Sherlock’s mind. Suddenly the word felt loaded, as if the syllable was about to push him off a cliff.

“Yes.” The word came out with the breath he didn’t know he was holding.

There was a slight hitch in John’s breathing, subtle, but Sherlock heard it. Interesting. Was it the consent, the context, or Sherlock himself that was arousing John?

“Ready?”

“Yes.”

The moment seemed to stretch, even though Sherlock only waited three seconds before the paddle landed on his right arse cheek. There was more sound than actual pain. It barely hurt, mostly a sting, but nothing lasting. 

“You alright?”

John’s voice startled Sherlock. He had tuned everything out for a moment, concentrating only on the sensation. Odd, he didn’t even notice he was doing it.

“Fine.” He replied, but the word sounded perplexed, just as he felt.

“What do you think of the sensation?”

“I don’t have a basis of comparison to have an opinion on.”

“Okay.”

“What’s the next one?”

John seemed to get the message and switched out the paddle.

“Leather, just like the first one, but stiffer.” John handed it to Sherlock to inspect.

Sherlock tested the spring, hitting his hand harder than earlier. The sting was more pronounced. He handed it back, already attempting to imagine how it will feel. John took his place next to him and placed a hand on Sherlock’s shoulder once more.

“Ready?”

“Yes.”

Sherlock took a deep breath and just as he let out the air, the paddle hit his left arse cheek. The pain was the same but stronger.

How would it feel directly on skin?  

“Still alright?”

Sherlock blinked a few times. “Yes.” He had tuned out again. He didn’t mean to, it just happened.

John switched out the leather paddle for the long wood paddle that resembled a cricket bat, polished to a shine and decorated with a leather cord at the end.

“This one is not forgiving. It will hit across the arse all at once. I’ll go easy, just enough so you get an idea. Ready?”

“Yes.”

This time Sherlock didn’t have to wait. It was so sudden he almost gasped in surprise as the length of the paddle struck the width of his arse. The sensation was completely different. Barely any sound, just a dull thud as the hardwood hit his clothed flesh. But the impact was much harder than the leather ones, making the initial pain intense at first, the area throbbing before decreasing in waves, like a stone in still water.

If the first two hits had made him tune out for a second, this one felt like his head had been submerged in water. His mind stilled, focused solely on the throb of his arse.

He had never taken the time to analyse pain like this. Most of his experiences with pain were a hindrance, something that slowed him down, making him curse his transport.

But this. This was fascinating.

“You okay?”

Sherlock turned to John and blinked slowly. “Wouldn’t this bruise after a, um, session?”

John seemed surprised by his question.

“Some people like that, seeing the bruised skin afterwards. Feeling the pain for a few days after the scene.”

Sherlock didn’t quite know why but he somehow understood. The thought was… comforting.

He looked at John. “That was you going easy?”

“Yes.”

“Can you go again at your regular strength?”

The hitch in John’s breath was louder than earlier.

“I’m not sure that’s… a good idea.”

He was resisting. Why was John resisting? Was it because he was afraid to hurt Sherlock or was it because he was aroused by it?

“Please.”

Sherlock shouldn’t be insisting, this was dragging on for much longer than it needed to. But there was something about how John’s eyes went half-closed at his plea, before glancing at the door.

“Fine,” John said calmly but a bit raspier. “But just one.”

Hm. Arousal then.

“Ready?”

“Yes.”

Sherlock wished he didn’t sound so eager. He counted down the three seconds until impact, but it didn’t come. He resisted turning his head to see what John was waiting for. Was he trying to create some type of anticipation? Or was it due to him needing a moment to-

“Oh!”

Sherlock gasped before he knew what was happening. The pain was so intense he almost took a step forward, but he somehow managed to stay in place. He was breathing heavily as the width of his arse throbbed in pain and drew his complete attention and-

Everything else disappeared. Nothing but the dull throb of his arse.

And John.

Oh, Sherlock was very aware of John. He was holding Sherlock’s shoulders and looking at him with a concerned frown. His hands were so warm, his hold strong but gentle. His mouth was moving.

How long had his mouth been moving?

“Sherlock? Can you hear me? Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.” His voice sounded odd. Bit sluggish.

“You sure?”

“Yes.”

If only John knew just how fine he was.

“We should stop-”

“No,” Sherlock whispered. “Keep going.”

John licked his lips. Sherlock suddenly became aware of just how close they were standing to each other. John must have come to the same realisation and took a step back.

“The riding crop.” The plea rushed out of Sherlock.

John closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Sherlock found himself pleased to see John struggle with his arousal. He had never had such an intense urge to seduce someone, especially after so little time. But he wanted to see what it would take for John to lose control, to give in.

Without opening his eyes, John took the crop off the counter.

Sherlock raised an eyebrow, he could see the ease with which John held it, the practiced movement as he tested its strength and tension with both hands, giving the tool a slight arc before letting his arm drop down to his side.

Oh. This was John’s instrument of choice.

John finally looked at Sherlock, pupils blown wide. The sight made Sherlock shiver, quickly soothed by the warm weight of John’s hand on his shoulder as they took their positions.

John cleared his throat, but his “Ready?” still sounded raspy.

As did Sherlock’s “Yes.”

He didn’t have to wait the standard three seconds. A whistling sound was the only warning before there was a loud crack. Sherlock instantly felt a stinging sensation in the center of his left arse cheek before it started burning. Contrary to the wide paddles, the crop’s impact was small yet brutal. The pain reminded him of burns. He wasn’t fond of the sensation, but very interested in John’s skill.

“Again?”

“Yes.” Sherlock replied before his brain could catch up with his mouth.

The crop whistled through the air and landed in the center of his right cheek this time, the pain blooming into an intense burn.

“You okay?”

“Yes.”

“That’s it, you’ve tried them all.”

The sinking feeling was destabilizing. Sherlock didn’t want it to be over. He hadn’t felt this relaxed in years, not since he stopped taking drugs. They had been his escape for so long, his tools to help him focus, help him block out the constant input. And now, in the middle of an investigation, Sherlock had accidentally discovered a solution he had been looking for for years. What was confusing was how he had to stop himself from leaning closer towards John, and how his cock was now half hard. But most concerning was how Sherlock didn’t want to try and understand. He wanted to grab whatever this was and never let go.

“Sherlock?”

Molly’s high voice, though soft, felt like it popped the invisible bubble surrounding them. And with it, the input all came back in a rush, like a bucket of cold water.

“What?” Sherlock almost barked at her.

“I’m, um, done, if you are.” Molly replied, looking down.

The case.

What had he done? He had forgotten about the case. Had let himself, no, insisted on getting spanked by John. He was aroused by it. This was unacceptable, letting himself get distracted like this.

“Yes, I’m done.” Sherlock grabbed his coat. “Let’s go.”

“Wait.”

Sherlock stopped before John enunciated the T, and it made him want to scream. He had lost control of his body, and he didn’t know how to get it back. His panic must have been visible if John’s concerned frown was anything to go by.

“I-I just want to make sure you’re alright.”

“I’m fine.”

“If you have any questions…” It seemed like there was something else John wasn’t saying, but Sherlock couldn’t figure it out.

It didn’t matter, Sherlock needed to leave. He needed to think, and that wouldn’t happen here.

“I’m fine. Thank you.”

With a last nod, Sherlock turned away from John, not bothering to check if Molly was following him.

Molly’s purchases were waiting for her at the cash register. A pale blue corset with white embroidered flowers and matching garter belt. It was beautiful and suited Molly perfectly.

While he paid, Sherlock couldn’t manage to shake off… whatever state of mind had been triggered by that spanking. He needed to get back to Baker Street as soon as possible.

Molly grabbed her bag, trying not to look guilty about buying something she seemed genuinely happy to own, and they headed towards the exit.

Sherlock felt something then, something making its way through his muddled mind. He looked over his shoulder and caught a glimpse of John, standing half-hidden behind the rack of stockings, staring back.

A part of Sherlock wished John hadn’t been there. Another was pleased to see whatever had happened, whatever was still happening, seemed mutual.

He had a thousand questions. And he couldn’t utter a single one.

The bell above the door rang, and like a frightened deer, Sherlock left.

He managed to shake Molly off, after she insisted he come by the morgue the next day to collect a large bag of body parts as a thank you.

But any hope Sherlock had of focusing on the case was lost as soon as he sat in the cab. His arse was still tender. The vibrations of the cab caused the skin of his arse to throb, like an echo of the beating it had received. The more he focused on the pain, the more everything dropped away. It was so… peaceful.  

When the pain started to fade, Sherlock squirmed in his seat, playing with the sensation. It didn’t take long for his cock to take an interest. It was so odd, finding a space where his mind was calm, yet his body reacted this way. Probably the endorphins. He was so focused on the floating sensation in his mind that he didn’t realise he was cupping his half hard dick through his trousers. Sherlock had a fleeting thought that he should pull it away. Instead he felt his hand press harder, and the answering rush of blood in his cock, making it fully erect. Mixed with the tenderness of his arse, Sherlock bit back a moan and rearranged his coat to hide his crotch.

Rather than dealing with his erection, Sherlock headed for his computer as soon as he got home. He had research to do.

A bit of hacking led to John’s military file. It confirmed Sherlock’s deductions about John being an Army doctor, but he couldn’t have guessed John was a Captain. Impressive. Discharged after getting shot in the left shoulder. Hm. Why wouldn’t John try to find work in a clinic? Was his need for an adrenaline driven lifestyle that substantial?

The internet led Sherlock to John’s blog, which contained a link to the Il Bolero website, and another to a sort of Wiki-BDSM website. Sherlock found himself reading about subspace, which confirmed that the headspace he had found himself during his time with John was common.

This must be why John asked if he was shopping with his partner. He’d been worried about Sherlock’s aftercare. It made his cock twitch at the memory. He had been hoping his erection would wilt, but it seemed his research topic was keeping it interested.

Was that why John looked concerned when he left? If he had lingered, would John had offered to take him home for aftercare? They could have taken the cab together. Sherlock could have basked in subspace while John got them home.

What would have John done, seeing Sherlock squirm on his seat?

Would he have covered Sherlock’s cock with his hand, like he did?

Sherlock leaned back in the couch, eyes closed, concentrating on the throb of his dick.

Come to think of it, John must have known Sherlock might end up in subspace. He would have been on the lookout. That would explain John’s reaction after the first hit with the wood paddle.

A shiver went down Sherlock’s spine at the memory. The pain had been so intense, but the calm that overtook him had been such a rush. Would he be able to recreate the effect himself? Hm. If John wasn’t there it didn’t seem so… enticing.

That moment just before Sherlock left, when their eyes met, just the memory made him moan. Giving in, Sherlock’s hand slid down his chest and cupped himself through his trousers.

Would John have dared to do such a thing in the shop? Sherlock’s cock hardened at the thought.

He never really bothered with fantasies but imagining John testing the paddles on his bare arse had quite an effect.

Go on then.

John’s voice in his head made Sherlock lick his lips. With a shaking breath, he raised his hips off the couch, and slid his trousers and pants to his knees. With his now very hard cock exposed, he grabbed the base and bit his lip.

Like that?

Sherlock imagined John’s hand instead of his own, pulling gently, slowly, from base to tip and down again. With his other, he reached down, cupping and teasing his balls before reaching around to press the tender areas of his arse. The combination was incredible, making him squirm on the couch, half thrusting into his hand.

I said don’t move.

Sherlock fell back down, the command, even in fantasy, made his cock harder.

More?

“Yes.” Sherlock whispered.

He wanted more, so much more. Sherlock had never experienced physical pleasure like this; his brain had always been in the way. But now that everything was tuned down, that he was home, alone, Sherlock let his body take over. He let the sensations wash over him, the pain and pleasure blending together, moving him closer to the edge.

It was overwhelming. He had never felt his body chase pleasure like this. His hand was moving furiously on his cock, while the other dug his nails into the skin of his arse. It made his legs tensed, his back arched off the couch, and his breathing sound like a constant moan.

Sherlock imagined John hitting his arse with each instrument, one after the other. There was something about John’s skill with the riding crop. It made Sherlock want to take his time, imagine John showing off, drawing patterns on his arse and back, making sure he would feel the pain for days.

I want you to think of me, every time you move, every time you sit down, every time you press your fingers-

“Oh!”

His orgasm felt like the butt of a gun to the back of his head. Sherlock barely registered his wanton moans as he came all over his shirt, his nails digging into the skin of his arse, his trousers pulling against the skin. He had never experienced an orgasm so intense. When he came to, he had one hand holding his softening cock and the other trapped between his arse and the couch.

His body still sluggish, barely responsive, Sherlock managed to pull up his pants and trousers. He looked around for something to wipe his sullied shirt that didn’t involve him getting up from the couch. Coming up empty-handed, Sherlock opted to pull it off. It fell to the floor with an unceremonious flop, while he reached for the blanket on the backrest of the couch and let himself drift asleep.