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The Man Who Beat Sherlock

Chapter Text

When Sherlock Holmes comes to see him, Ian Adler listens to what he wants, which is very different from what he actually needs.

They sit in the elegantly furnished front room. Ian calmly sips the tea prepared by his personal slave while Sherlock, who ignores his own cup, arranges the crime scene photographs on the marble-topped coffee table.

The male victim was a bondage enthusiast found strangled in his flat. Sherlock, having heard that Ian can work miracles with ropes and straps, wants an expert opinion.

“Look at those red marks on the ankles and upper thighs.” His long white finger stabs at one of the pictures. Ian sees a chemical burn on the knuckle.

Plays with corrosives. Not afraid of danger. Intriguing.

“What about them?”

“I want to know what kind of bondage device was used. I understand that this is your area of expertise.”

Sherlock is irritable, but he’s also nervous. His light grey eyes keep darting all over the room, taking in the oil paintings, period furniture and occasionally Ian himself.

He’s trying to convince himself that he’s only here on official business, Ian realizes. A lot of his ‘visitors’ do that in the beginning.

Business before pleasure.

Examining the gruesome pictures, Ian immediately recognizes what type of restraint was used to keep the victim’s legs bent at the knee. He’s not surprised that Sherlock wasn’t able to do the same: from what he has heard, anything to do with sex leaves the famous detective without a clue.

Sherlock waits impatiently for an answer. Instead of giving it to him, Ian leans back in the leather armchair, crosses his legs, and tries not to smile over the rim of the bone china cup.

“No need to be so smug,” the detective snaps. “Just tell me what type of restraint the killer used.”

Ian sets the cup down, next to a pile of his brochures. They all depict him looking exactly as he does now: pale and angular and dressed entirely in black leather. “Actually, I believe it will suit your purposes better if I show you.”

“Show me?”

“Yes. I understand that you’re a hands-on type of person. So am I.”

Sherlock’s eyes widen. When he doesn’t protest or leave at once, Ian does smile. He loves it when he is right about people.