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The List

Chapter Text

The community theater was doing their annual fundraiser and right away had run into several rather dark problems. Different people had auditioned for the various roles but one way or another many of them had met with rather painful accidents that had then taken them out of the running. Sherlock had been hired by the manager to see what he could discover but it was John that ended up doing all the legwork for the detective. “Why do I have to be in the play?” demanded John angrily.

“Perfect, keep that emotion going, remember it. You’ll need that later.” said Sherlock who was very excited. John was absolutely perfect for the role as the lead. “You’ll need to grow a beard. I’ve taken the liberty of binning your electric razor and all your disposables.”

“You did what? That shaver was a Christmas gift from Harry!” John seemed actually angry but Sherlock chose to ignore it. John always got angry and always reined it in. It was one of his most useful traits, his self-control. “I could have just not used it. You didn’t need to bin it.”

“She didn’t even buy it for you John. She ordered a leg-shaving kit for herself online but she was drunk and ordered the regular kit for men instead of the one for women. I’m doing you a favor, it was a terrible brand.” John was glaring at Sherlock who thought John’s expression was rather enticing. His blue eyes really snapped when he was getting mad and his brow furrowed in the most delicious way when he was frowning but Sherlock had learned that John had limits. Pushed too far and John had no problem breaking out his fists. Sherlock was quick on his feet and had learned the read the signs on John’s face that let him know that punches to the face were very soon no longer going to be subtext.

John decided to move on to his next point, “I don’t know anything about acting.” John was a naturally honest and straight-forward person. Sherlock was the one who constantly thought up new disguises and came up with clever ways of pretending not to be himself. John had learned a bit about it but had never once been in a play, never-mind the lead!

“It’s community theater John, a few hours a week. I know you can manage it.” said Sherlock flippantly.

That had been a month ago and the play involved hours comparative to having a full time job that paid nothing. John was busy all the time with rehearsals as well as still working other cases for Sherlock and working at the clinic. Most nights he fell into bed exhausted, his script still in his hand. Sherlock felt very satisfied by the state of affairs, especially since John was too busy to date and spent all his free time not at work with Sherlock, which was the right and natural way John’s life should be organized.

John disagreed again, “I’m taking a night out.” he said one evening when Sherlock tried to drag him out for another case. Admittedly it was only a three but anything was better than nothing sometimes. John already had his coat on which Sherlock had mistakenly thought meant John was coming with him. “I’ll be back after the pubs close if I’m unlucky.”

John left Sherlock standing there, not realizing that a scowl now resided on his face. John was going on the pull tonight! How DARE he blow Sherlock off in favor of trying to find a random bed-mate? Sherlock did some calculations in his head. The last time John had been successful on one of these little bar hunts was nearly half a year ago, oddly, right after his divorce from Mary. He’d received his signed copy of the papers, left the flat and come home the next day reeking of overly sweet perfume, a very faint mark low on his neck where someone had kissed with extra-enthusiasm. After that there had been nothing, just the odd evening out with people like Lestrade or the many old friends John had made while in the army.

Sherlock was several blocks away from Baker Street before he realized he was searching for John. Tonight was Thursday, potentially a good night for anyone too impatient to wait till the actual weekend for their fun to start. John would be looking for someone blatantly eager, and easily seduced. Sherlock knew from John’s bank records the sorts of places he liked to frequent and based on John’s mood tonight Sherlock made a decision that he would never refer to as an educated guess and hailed a taxi.

Sherlock got there first and was able to sit at the bar waiting for John without looking like he was doing anything of the sort. He privately congratulated himself when he saw via the bar mirror an angry John standing at the entrance looking shocked as well. John stormed over, “Why are you here?” he hissed. The bar lights made the red in John’s beard especially delightful.

“I’m having a drink! Why are YOU here?” demanded Sherlock who knew very well why John was there. There were scores of women everywhere, all done up as racily as they could manage, many eyeing the other women as well as the men. Sherlock had been sized up and smiled at invitingly several times already.

“I wanted a night out. You’re ruining that. Go home Sherlock.” said John sternly.

“I can observe….”

“No you can’t. All I want is an evening out to just be out. Go home Sherlock!”

Sherlock protested by pulling a face and drawing himself up to refuse but suddenly John’s entire demeanor changed. His small body seemed to shift and alter the tiniest bit and suddenly John’s presence seemed to blank out everyone else present and Sherlock was one hundred percent focused on the tightly wound man in front of him. John’s voice was sharp and crisp. Sherlock barely stopped himself from shuddering with outright pleasure when John barked out his order, “Go home Sherlock. Now.”

Sherlock was in a taxi and on the way home before the spell broke and he almost gasped in horror. What had John just done? How had he made Sherlock simply do as he was told without question? No one had that ability! Sherlock prided himself on his prickliness. He wasn’t interested in getting on with people, and he certainly wasn’t interested in obeying them!

John came home only ten minutes after the pub closed. Sherlock was in his room, his door firmly shut but as soon as John’s bedroom door closed for the night Sherlock went out to the front room and inspected John’s coat. It smelled of alcohol and faintly of women’s perfume but nothing blatant. John might have flirted but had either gotten no further or had chosen to simply leave his night as mere conversation. Interesting.

The next morning John was still angry with Sherlock but that was alright because John was marching around in the most delicious way, his motions all precision and barely restrained violence. Sherlock ensconced himself at the breakfast table, for all intents and purposes doing an experiment with fanatical concentration but in reality he was observing each and every move John made.

He was different somehow and Sherlock felt that weird shudder of pleasure try to wrack him once more. “Where are all the eggs? I was going to make eggs for breakfast today.”

“I used them to incubate some things. You can run down to the shops later.” Sherlock winced inside. He hadn’t actually meant to use them all. He was going to leave three behind for John’s breakfast in case he was especially hungry but had gotten distracted and ended up using the entire dozen before he’d caught himself.

“No I can’t because I leave for work in twenty minutes and I’ve….you know what? Never mind.” John poured coffee into an insulated cup, screwed the lid on with unnecessary ferocity and stormed away. Sherlock missed him instantly and stood at the window watching John’s rage filled walk with growing dismay. He’d stood there for nearly half an hour after he lost sight of the doctor before he realized what he had done and he reeled with shock this time! Sherlock was openly and actively pining for John! WHAT!!!

Sherlock drank his tea quickly and sat himself on the sofa to think. He locked himself into his mind palace and with feverish intent began sifting and sorting through everything he knew about John to try and pinpoint when this madness had begun. After an hour or so he found it. It had been some time just after they’d met and Sherlock was having communication problems with the Yard and their inability to just let him do his job. John and Anderson had been having words with one another. John always tried to avoid confrontation but he really could only be provoked so far before he snapped. John had snapped. With that crisp barking voice he’d cleared Anderson away and allowed Sherlock to view the scene in peace. That was the first time Sherlock had felt pleasure at the tone of command in John’s voice.

Still that had been ages ago and Sherlock hadn’t been quite so mindless in his reactions, had he? He searched his memories anxiously, how could he have missed this change? What was so different now?

Oh god.

The beard!

John’s beard was well grown now, neatly trimmed and tidily maintained. It changed how John appeared, making him seem somehow more than he had previous. It had a definite ginger color to it as well, and led Sherlock to wondering if other patches of hair might also not exactly match the hair on John’s head. That’s when Sherlock realized he was turned on for the first time in years and he was horrified anew.

John could never know! That would unbalance everything Sherlock had grown to depend on. Sherlock was the one who made the decisions! Sherlock was the one who dictated their lives. John made things happen but ONLY because Sherlock had caused him to do so. Feeling this new way about John was the exact opposite of what Sherlock was prepared to accept as his functional social paradigm.

Two nights later and it was opening night for the play. Sherlock had entirely given up the idea that he could ignore his transport which had grown rapidly insistent that he resolve matters in an expeditious manner. Sherlock had long since solved the not-very-interesting mystery but John had refused to drop out. “They can’t find another lead in time. I made a promise Sherlock. I’m doing this, so thanks for your support.”

Sherlock very rarely understood when John was being sarcastic and missed this time too, “You are entirely welcome John. I’ll give you my critique of your performance later though; I know how you prefer discretion for that sort of thing.” Sherlock then went back to ignoring John who went on for a bit in his delightfully angry voice before leaving for the playhouse.

Sherlock dressed as if he were going to the opera and sat in a nicely private box so he could view John without disruption. Things went from bad to worse from the second the curtain rose till it finally fell heralded by a thunderous standing ovation. The players came out and did a bow again, John waving to small groups of people who whistled and cheered for his performance while Sherlock sat rooted to his seat, completely unable to move.

The theater emptied slowly and Sherlock waited until he was as alone as he could get before he got up. Very carefully Sherlock pulled on his Belstaff and walked awkwardly to the front street where crowds of people were clamoring for a side-door appearance by John. Sherlock flagged a waiting taxi and got himself home before anyone could see that his hand in his pocket was holding back the firmest erection Sherlock had ever experienced.


Oh my god John!

He’d been transformed onstage. John’s natural commanding ability had been further morphed and enhanced by the simple yet effective coat and braid he’d been wearing to depict his character. The beard was part of his onstage identity but it combined with the vibrant red of the coat, the gold of the braid complementing the gold in John’s hair and the hint of it in his skin, well, it had been devastating. When John’s voice crackled over the audience, filled with dark menace and power Sherlock had discovered his hand was at his lap, palming himself unconsciously and he blushed, grateful for the privacy he was in. Imagine how embarrassing that would have been if he’d elected to sit in the front rows?

Sherlock fled home without waiting for John, locking himself in his room and for the first time in years he’d been forced to masturbate, resorting to saliva because he hadn’t needed to get lube since college. Sherlock was still mostly dressed. He’d pushed his trousers down below his knees with his pants, knelt on his bed with his shoed feet hanging over the edge and come so hard after less than a minute that he couldn’t stifle the very audible groans of satisfaction his transport manifested along with an almost embarrassing quantity of ejaculate.

Sherlock had to remake his bed once his thighs stopped trembling and his vision cleared. It took a few minutes to find a replacement blanket for the one he had just thoroughly soiled. By the time he was done, washed up, finished his sneaky smoke because he’d told John he’d quit, washed up again AND brushed his teeth, John was finally back. He was tired. “I need tea.”

Sherlock made John tea while he changed and cleaned up. John grunted his thanks and sat at the table, “You didn’t come tonight.” stated John flatly.

Sherlock was surprised and almost blushed at John's unintentional innuendo, “I did come tonight. You just couldn’t see me from the stage. I was in the central private box.” John hadn’t looked up even once and perhaps that was a good thing. Sherlock had no idea what his face had been up to while John performed. He hadn’t even been able to keep track of his hand! John was clearly waiting for some kind of comment, “I was very impressed.” That seemed a safe enough thing to say, certainly better than, “I was harder than diamonds by the last scene, how about a shag John?”

John looked happily surprised but then, “Why didn’t you come backstage? I was waiting for you.”

“You were? Apologies John, I simply assumed you were busy with your new fans.” There had been quite a crowd at the stage door.

John groused, “You’re my best mate and the only reason I was even doing this, so yeah, I was expecting you. I did that door thing for only five minutes. It felt weird.”

“I enjoyed the play. I will of course attend the entire run.” Sherlock was trying to come across as supportive and not needy because John was giving him one of those John looks that told Sherlock John didn’t quite believe him. “You did this to help me John. The very least I can do is watch.” Then mount him and rut like an animal but John couldn’t know that. Not yet at least.

As soon as he was locked safely in his room for the night Sherlock began devising a plan to get John into bed with him. Seducing John couldn’t be hard; the doctor had a high sex drive that hadn’t been properly satisfied in ages. Sherlock found an online magazine that provided a helpful list of things to consider and decided to ignore the fact that he’d never had sex before as irrelevant. Things went in, moved around a bit until you came and then you cleaned up. It seemed very straightforward.

Sherlock downloaded the list and began going over it thoughtfully.

1: Cross His Path...the Right Way – Sherlock had no idea what that meant so he pondered it for a minute or two and made a note. His efforts to ‘accidentally’ hang out with John the other night had not gone well. Clearly more planning was required.

2: Relinquish the Reluctant Dude – That sounded an awful lot like giving up so Sherlock crossed this piece of advice off his list. If he stopped doing things just because John didn’t want to they’d never get anything done and Sherlock would never get to have sex with John. He went back and crossed the item off a second time, for emphasis.

3: His facial muscles relax. – That wasn’t news to Sherlock. He’d been reading John’s facial expressions since the second they’d met. John was 67% more relaxed with Sherlock than any other individual including family members. Sherlock had made note of that fact ages ago.

4: He introduced you to a bud. – Sherlock got excited at this one once he looked up the euphemisms for ‘bud’. John had in fact introduced Sherlock to several of his VA friends, almost shyly presenting the taller man as his best friend. Did this mean that maybe John had hidden feelings for Sherlock? That would certainly make this whole thing easier.

5: His body faced you. – that was just stupid. John’s body always faced him. It was as if Sherlock exuded some kind of magnetic force and John’s entire being responded to it. That was old hat and not helpful right now at all.

6: He asked questions. – Sherlock got all melty inside. John did ask questions, lots of them. He asked Sherlock more questions than absolutely anyone, struggling to follow along with Sherlock’s incomparable mind like a dim but devoted pet. It was absolutely the most adorable thing the soldier did. Sherlock circled this one, surely it was important.

Now that he had a guideline of sorts Sherlock sat himself down for a long think. He didn’t want to make mistakes. The play would continue for the rest of the month and after that the beard would go so Sherlock didn’t have much time. He wasn’t sure why the beard was so very important but it was high on his list and hadn’t changed much in status despite the lack of evidence. Sherlock understood that he didn’t have much experience with relationships but surely he could manage to at least get John into bed! List in hand Sherlock began to plan.

The Costume