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The Case of the Disappearing Oxfords

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Collage of John Watson very dapper in a grey striped suit, a pair of black oxford shoes, and in the background, Sherlock looking riveted.


“Right, I’m off, thought I’d try to get there early.” John hopped about on one leg, forcing his foot into his trainers with the laces still knotted.

“No,” said Sherlock, not looking up from an article on the identification of diatoms.

“You what?” John stopped hopping. “I think you’ll find I am off. Remember, I told you it’s my old Med School Class Reunion? Fifteen years, Jesus. It’ll be absolutely dire. Don’t suppose you want to keep me company?”

“No,” said Sherlock again. “And no, you’re not going.” John opened his mouth indignantly, but Sherlock cut him off. “Not like that, you’re not.”

“Like what?” asked John, baffled. “By Tube? I have to. Mike was going to give me a lift but he can’t now, his beamer slipped a disc or something.”

“Dressed like that,” said Sherlock sternly. “Quite impossible. Can’t let you out of the house.”

John looked down at himself. Brown cords, check shirt, neater than usual brown corduroy jacket in honour of the occasion. The white trainers didn’t match the rest, sure, but they were comfortable and he didn’t have any good shoes at present. People never looked at your feet, anyway; John knew he didn’t. Well, except for Sherlock; he looked at people’s feet all the time. He obsessed about people’s feet, in John’s opinion. “I don’t know what you’re on about. I’m not dressed any differently than normal.”

“Yes, precisely,” said Sherlock, nodding. “I knew you’d be difficult about this, but John, you really can’t go to a gathering of medical practitioners dressed like that. You prefer to blend in, don’t you? Well, then.”

John glared at Sherlock. “All right, since you’re the fashion guru here. What would you suggest? I won’t wear black or navy or pinstripe, I look like a bankrupt undertaker in them.” He warmed to his topic. “The reason I don’t dress up is that I look daft in suits, and pointy-toed Italian leather shoes just pinch my feet and make me trip over. Face it, Sherlock, I’m a sartorial disaster and there’s nothing you can do.”

John went to get up and head for the door. “I’ll make you a deal,” said Sherlock, narrowing his eyes. John frowned. He always lost wagers and deals, especially with Sherlock. “If I can find a suit and shoes that you like, and that make you look good, you’ll wear them to the reunion.”

There was no way he could lose, really, and no obvious hidden traps. Very probably several non-obvious ones, but John was feeling a little reckless and he had to admit that he hadn’t relished the thought of looking like a penniless librarian amongst all the bespoke tailoring.

Striding over to Sherlock, John offered his hand, “All right, deal”. He looked at his hand. “Should I spit in it?”

Sherlock shuddered delicately. “Please don’t.” He rose and headed for his bedroom, turning back at the door. “Wait here until I call you.” Rustling noises and the sound of the wardrobe door opening. “Right, you can come in now. Eyes shut, please.”

John shrugged and made his way carefully to the bedroom. There, he was pressed down to sit on the bed and gently stripped down to his underwear. It felt odd to be unable to see while being undressed. Odd, and arousing – John had to focus on the bones of the wrist, listing all the names in alphabetical order, so as to quell his incipient erection.

Next he was urged up and helped to don a shirt, to step into trousers, and finally, a jacket. No tie, Sherlock just did up all the buttons. That was good: John hated ties.

“Can I open my eyes now?” He asked.

“Just a little longer, said Sherlock, a lot closer than John had realised. What with his closed eyes, and Sherlock messing about on his knees near John’s groin, it was getting a lot harder to, well, not ruin the line of the new suit.

Sherlock had removed the trainers and John’s old socks – clean on, thank Christ – and had slipped thinner, silkier-feeling socks on his feet and up his calves. Sherlock’s long fingers seemed to graze his leg rather a lot, as he adjusted the socks. Then Sherlock took his right foot and he felt a brief pressure, almost like a kiss, on the dorsum. Silly of him to imagine that. His foot was slid into a firm yet comfortable shoe, and Sherlock rested the sole on his thigh while he slowly tightened the laces, tying off the final bow with a flourish.

By the time the whole ritual had been repeated with his left foot, John was struggling with his composure. Luckily, Sherlock gave him a few moments alone before asking for the obligatory fashion show. A quick recitation of the cranial nerves and he was much more presentable.

John made his way to the long mirror Sherlock kept in one corner, and peered at himself. Huh. The suit was grey-brown with a lighter stripe, and really quite stylish. It fitted him perfectly and looked surprisingly trim. Under it was a black button-down shirt, no tie. On his feet were black wool-silk socks and glossy black leather shoes. John grinned at his reflection: he looked great. Definitely good enough to go up against any of the Harley Street crowd and hold his own.

He strolled out into the living room and posed, quite enjoying himself. Sherlock allowed himself a small, self-satisfied smile. “Yes, very nice, John. Very nice indeed.”

“You win,” John conceded cheerfully. “The suit’s great, and the shoes are very smart – where did you find it all?”

“Here and there,” said Sherlock mysteriously. “The shoes are Oxfords: full brogues, also called wingtips, from the pattern of the stitching.”

“Oh yeah,” said John, looking down, “so they are.” He straightened. “Right, then. I really am off this time, or I’ll be late. Thank you, Fairy Godfather. They won’t all turn into cabbages and pumpkins at midnight, I hope?”

Sherlock snorted and waved him away.

John had an excellent evening; the clothes and shoes helped. He felt good so he was relaxed and cheerful when catching up with old acquaintances, and more tolerant of the inevitable idiots.

Sherlock was asleep by the time he got home. He hung up the suit and put the shoes away in the back of his wardrobe to keep for special occasions. He would have to settle up with Sherlock later; hopefully he could pay by instalments.


“Sherlock? Have you seen my shoes anywhere?”

No answer, but that wasn’t unusual. Sherlock was in the kitchen throwing pulverised kidneys at a newspaper he’d pinned to the wall. John hadn’t dared to ask why.

A month had passed since the reunion, and Harry had decided he should take her out to dinner for her birthday. The restaurant she’d chosen was pretentious enough to warrant his good suit and the Oxfords, but John had hunted everywhere in his room and the damn shoes had just plain vanished. He put the suit and shirt on, anyway, and padded about in his socks.

Sherlock couldn’t have borrowed them: his feet were two sizes larger than John’s. Still…John went downstairs and stuck his head into Sherlock’s bedroom. Some sort of science experiment covered the dresser. Glass retorts held a thick brown liquid that looked like slowly bubbling mud, and definitely didn’t bear closer examination. It smelled faintly sulphurous and he gave it a wide berth, stepping carefully around a series of small brick towers dotting the floor. Some of the bricks looked to have been hit with a hammer, and one had a bullet embedded in it.

There was a wet spattering noise from the kitchen, and John could hear Sherlock muttering something angrily. “Sherlock! You didn’t borrow my shoes, did you?” John called, not expecting any answer. None came.

He opened the door to Sherlock’s wardrobe; not that he used it as a wardrobe. This week, it contained a headless department store mannequin of indeterminate gender with a crossbow bolt embedded in its abdomen. John frowned: he hadn’t seen a crossbow anywhere.

There was a black velvet bag on the top shelf of the wardrobe. John pulled it down and, hey presto: the Oxfords. A smaller velvet bag within held shoe polish and some rags. John examined the rags. Damn, he’d rather liked that old cardigan.

He took the shoes out to the living room, then approached Sherlock in the kitchen. Sherlock had stopped flinging chopped liver or kidneys or whatever it was, and was sitting on a kitchen chair, arms crossed and long legs stretched out before him, glowering at the newspaper, down which reddish substances were trickling.

“It’s no good,” Sherlock said irritably, “I’m going to need actual brains, not offal.”

“Actual brains, right,” said John.

“They’re stickier,” Sherlock explained.

“Mmmm,” agreed John, not wanting to think about it. “Sherlock, why did you have my shoes? The black Oxfords?”

Sherlock stiffened, and looked across at him, finally taking in the suit John was wearing. He sat up, affecting nonchalance. “Technically they’re still 36% my shoes, at your current rate of payment.”

John rolled his eyes. “Yes, but they don’t fit you, so why would they be in your wardrobe?”

“Just exercising my custody rights,” Sherlock said, carefully not meeting John’s eyes.

“Your what? Custody? Of my shoes?”

Our shoes, at present,” muttered Sherlock.

“But what were you doing with them?” John asked, baffled.

Sherlock looked away and a flush rose up his cheeks.

“Really?” asked John, intrigued.

Sherlock looked down at the table and drummed his fingers on the wooden surface.

“Is it the shoes as such, or the fact that I’ve worn them?” asked John, curious.

Sherlock got up, unfolding rapidly and striding into the living room where he threw himself onto the sofa. He sprawled there, annoyed. “Both, of course.”

John’s pocket buzzed. He checked his phone.

Sry, cant make it. Talk 2 u 2morrow. Harry.

John wasn’t all that sorry to have been let off the hook: a posh dinner with Harry wasn’t high on his Sound of Music list. He hoped she wasn’t drunk again.

He waved the phone at Sherlock. “Harry. Dinner’s off.” He sat down next to him on the sofa. Sherlock grudgingly moved his leg. “So. I’m all dressed up and nowhere to go.” Sherlock pursed his lips, frowning. “Except for my shoes, that is,” John continued, nodding at the velvet bag. “Would you like to put them on for me?”

Sherlock went very still, then lifted his head and met John’s eyes. “Yes.”

John smiled. “Okay. Where do you want me?”

“There will do,” said Sherlock, gathering his limbs and standing. He fetched the shoes and knelt between John’s bent legs, sitting back on his heels. Placing the bag on the floor beside him he undid the drawstring.

Reaching up, he pushed John’s knees apart a little more. John felt his cock swell inside the fitted pants. He shifted his hips, making no effort to conceal the developing bulge.

Sherlock licked his lips and opened the velvet bag, taking out the left shoe. He picked up John’s foot and brought it to his mouth, bending to kiss the top, then rested it on his thigh. Sherlock’s long fingers caressed the silky fabric of the dress sock and he slid his hands up underneath the pants leg, fingers brushing John’s skin. John’s breathing quickened.

Lifting John’s foot, Sherlock slid it into the unlaced shoe. There was something about the perfect fit that was suddenly, powerfully erotic, and John couldn’t suppress a gasp. Sherlock smiled and stroked his ankle. Then he lifted John’s foot, shoe and all, and bent his head, rubbing his face along the glossy black leather and nuzzling the instep, breathing deeply through his nose.

The pressure in John’s groin increased, and he shifted again, one hand gripping the arm of the sofa, the other flexing on the fabric of the cushions beside him. He closed his eyes, then opened them to see Sherlock pulling the laces tight with his teeth. John groaned, trying not to move, but the pants were almost painfully tight now. “I’ll just…” he whispered, and opened the top fastening. Better.

Sherlock was tying the laces off in a neat bow. He bent and kissed the black leather, then ran his tongue along the edge of the stitching. His eyes were shut, long lashes dark on his flushed cheeks. He took the rounded toe and mouthed the smooth leather, licking and sucking at it.

“You’ll need to clean those again, later,” John said, voice gone hoarse. Sherlock shuddered.

By the time Sherlock had tied the bow on the second shoe, John was desperate. “Sherlock, I have to,” he gritted, undoing the zip on his pants with a gasp of relief. His cock pushed up into the opening, and he slid one hand into his underwear and gave himself a stroke. Below him, Sherlock watched, eyes dark. He put John’s foot back on his thigh and sat back, spreading his knees in invitation.

John slid his foot down, brushing the leather toe across the bulge between Sherlock’s legs. Sherlock shivered. John pressed his foot more firmly into Sherlock’s groin and Sherlock shifted, grasping John’s calf in both hands so that his foot was positioned just right, then raising up and flexing his hips to rub off against the shoe.

Sherlock’s head fell back, long neck exposed, eyes closed. His breathing was ragged, cheeks flushed, and John’s hand sped up on his cock, hips thrusting, watching Sherlock rut frantically against his best Oxfords. John came with a shout, the involuntary jerking of his foot causing Sherlock to grunt, hips stuttering as he collapsed forwards, twitching against John’s leg with a last aftershock, his head coming to rest on John’s thigh.

John ran a hand through Sherlock’s hair, catching his breath. “Might have to get the suit dry-cleaned,” he said, after a moment.

“I should think so,” Sherlock said drowsily. “I do have a controlling interest in it, after all. I expect you to maintain standards.”

“Yes, you’re certainly high maintenance,” John murmured, running a finger around Sherlock’s ear.

Sherlock snorted against his leg but didn’t move. His head was a warm weight.

John smiled. “You can do the shoes.”

- the end -