John grimaces as he takes a sip of his beer.
This must be the absolute worst pub in London.
The beer tastes like piss, the service is slow, half of the lights on the ceiling don't work and neither does the air-conditioning.
He takes another reluctant sip of his beer and grits his teeth.
He wouldn't dream of going anywhere else on a Saturday night though.
Because every Saturday night “Tall Dark and Handsome” comes to this particular bar to dance.
John wouldn't miss it for the world.
Of course “Tall Dark and Handsome” isn't the guy's actual name.
John has no idea what his name is.
He's never worked up the courage to actually go up to the guy and talk to him.
He is way.....way out of John's league anyway.
The guy is gorgeous, tall, elegant.....and when he dances.....oh boy......he's in a league of his own.
He'll move to the music, to the beat, as if he owns it.
Long, well toned limbs moving and flowing gracefully as his black curls sway around his face like a dark halo.
John watches him longingly from his seat at the bar every Saturday, sipping his lukewarm piss-flavoured beer just to give himself something to do.
Just so he doesn't look like such a creeper.
He drags Mike and Greg along every week too for good measure.
It's not creepy as long as you're not ogling some very, very attractive stranger alone right......right?
John sighs as he puts down his glass on the bar in front of him. It sticks to the surface slightly.
Just to his left he can see “Tall Dark and Handsome”. He's got his eyes closed and his head tilted back as his hips sway seductively to the music.
He's dancing alone.
John has never seen him dance with anyone.
People have tried.
Of course they have.
How could they not?
But every time someone slides up to him and tries to dance along he usually just turns around and walks away or leans in and says something that makes the other party retreat hastily.
Apparently he hasn't found anyone worthy enough to dance with him yet.
John can see why.
He has never seen anyone move like that.
It's as if the guy is made out of music. His limbs notes that come together to form the dark, seductive melody that is his body.
John's throat goes dry as the object of his affection whips his head to the side as his hips move in the other direction. Perfectly in tune with the beat.
John un-sticks his glass from the bar only to find it empty. He forgot he'd already finished his drink.
His mind has been occupied elsewhere.
Not for the first time he wishes he was a better dancer but, alas, he's got two left feet.....to put it mildly.
He possesses the rare talent to dance slightly off beat, even when he's not trying to.....especially when he's not trying to do so, and trip over his own shoes in the process.
His “moves” have, on occasion, been described as “a tone-deaf, new-born foal trying to escape from a floor covered in tar”.
John sticks his glass back onto the bar's surface and sighs again.
His chances of wooing the dark stranger are approximately close to zero......probably even lower.
So he just doesn't even try. Save himself the embarrassment.
He just settles for admiring him from afar and convincing himself that that's definitely not creepy at all.
“Here you go!”, Mike yells over the far too loud music as he puts another full glass of beer in front of him as he lowers himself down onto the bar-stool next to John.
He pulls a face somewhere between disgust and annoyance.
“Honestly, John”, his breath feels warm and moist on John's ear as he leans in close in an attempt to make himself heard over the music, “I just don't see why you like this place so much.....I mean......this is the worst beer I've tasted in my life!”
John just shrugs, something only halfway resembling a smile on his face.
He can't tell Mike why he's here. Not really....not yet anyway.
He's only known he's bisexual himself for a little bit over a year and he's definitely not “out” yet.
It had all started when he figured out that this strange feeling he got in his lower abdomen whenever he got close to James during rugby practice was actually sexual attraction and not indigestion.
He had lain awake several nights in a row in an attempt to figure out what to do with this brand new epiphany.
He never quite found an answer.
Mostly because, every time James would even so much as talk to him, he'd basically lose all knowledge of the English language and would just stammer through some random string of words while he smiled doofily.
James had, very quickly, decided he was an idiot and had just stopped interacting with John altogether.
James also has a girlfriend.
There's that little fact too.
John takes a sip of his new beer.
He tries not to grimace this time because Mike might see him do it and put two and two together and realize he's not actually here for the beer at all.
He'll have some explaining to do then.
He's not ready for explaining. Not yet at least.
From the corner of his eye he can still see the dark and handsome stranger. He's got his back towards John now. The view is spectacular. The muscles of his back in full view as his t-shirt is pulled tight as he rolls his shoulders to the rhythm. And then there's his backside....enveloped in dark, tight jeans...... John wishes he could look at him more directly. He wishes he didn't feel like such a creep doing it.
He wishes, not for the first time, that he actually had some halfway decent dancing skills, that he was braver, that he had a good opening line prepared.....
Somehow, “come here often?”, didn't quite seem like it would be enough.
Suddenly the stranger turns around again. Perfectly timed to beat and nothing but elegant of course. John almost chokes on his own tongue as suddenly their eyes meet.
He coughs and Mike looks at him questioningly.
“Where's Greg?” John says, still slightly coughing, in an attempt to direct attention away from himself.
Mike rolls his eyes theatrically.
“Loos”, he says, “I told him to stick to just pints in this place.......he had to get all adventurous and get a cocktail.....”
John gives Mike another only halfway decent smile as he tips his glass towards him in a mock gesture of a toast.
“You not getting anything to drink?” he yells at Mike as the music, for no apparent reason, suddenly gets a lot louder.
Mike just laughs as he shakes his head.
“Nah, mate”, he says, “I'm just humouring you in coming here.....honestly....this must be the absolute worst pub in all of London.”
John agrees with Mike. Of course he does. The place is a dive that any self respecting health inspector would shut down based on the outside alone. But he can't say that. Mike will never want to come here again. And then he'll never see “Tall Dark and Handsome” again. And so he just shrugs, takes another sip of his beer, pretends to like it and covertly glances at the dancing figure to his left.
“It's not as bad as all that”, he says.
Mike laughs again as he gets up once more. One hand on John's shoulder as he does so.
“I'll go and see if Greg needs help”, he says, “be right back.”
John just nods.
He looks at Mike's retreating form until he can no longer see him in the surprisingly large amount of people inside the small pub and then he looks back to his left.
The gorgeous stranger has one arm in the air and he's moving it down slowly and gracefully as the music swells to a crescendo.
His long and elegant fingers brush his cheek only to gently glide down to his hip and John can't keep his eyes off of him.
How can any one single person be this sexy.
He is mesmerized, spellbound....smitten......
He is entirely too distracted and so he's a little bit too late in realizing that his staring might not be as covert as he hoped it would be.
Suddenly the swaying of hips in skintight dark jeans stops while the music still pounds on.
A pair of brilliant blue eyes are now fixed on him.
John feels his blood run cold.
The look on the stranger's face can only be described as hostile.
His eyes shooting fire as his lips form a tight line. His nostrils slightly flared....either from exertion or anger......as he is now making his way towards the barstool where John is currently seated.
Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit..... is all that goes through John's mind.
His worst nightmare seems to have come true as the stranger comes to a halt directly in front of him.
John desperately wants to take another sip of his beer.....just to give himself something to do....break the tension that hangs like lightning between them....but his hands are shaking so much he's afraid he'll just end up knocking his glass over.
“It's not a crime, you know!”, the stranger says. His voice a deep baritone just as seductive as his moves. The tone of his voice is harsh and biting though. He is angry. No doubt about that.
And John can't really say he blames him. He's very aware of how this all looks.
“I....”, he finds himself stammering, “sorry....what?”
The stranger sighs and rolls his eyes as he crosses his arms.
“Dancing”, he says, “dancing's not a crime last time I checked.”
“I.....know......?”, all John manages to say. He's confused beyond words now.
“Then stop looking at me like that.”
The stranger shifts his weight from one hip to the other and John's not sure if he's aware he's doing it but the action is, once again, perfectly timed to the beat of the music. The man was born to dance.
“I don't know”, the stranger says, tone of voice still laced with barely contained rage, “you've got a weird look on your face....I don't like it.”
“You don't like....my face?”
“No....I mean....yes....I mean”, once again the stranger lets out an exasperated sigh and after a short pause: “you're making me uncomfortable”, is what he finally settles on.
John just feels embarrassed now. This is exactly what he was hoping to avoid. He really likes seeing this guy completely at ease and in his element. Making him uncomfortable is the last thing he'd want to do.
“I'm sorry”, he says, “I really didn't mean to......”
He's not quite sure how to finish that sentence and so instead he does take another sip from his beer. His hand only trembles slightly.
“The beer here is awful”, the stranger says.
A small smile now briefly forms around the stranger's lips and....hot damn....if the sight of it doesn't do strange things to John's insides.
He quickly puts his glass back down again as he feels his cheeks heat up.
“Do you want to come and dance with me?”
John's not really sure if he's heard that correctly. He starts coughing as he almost chokes on his own spit.
“I'm sorry?” he manages to get out once he stops coughing violently.
“If you want to you can come and dance with me.....beats having to sit here and drink the beer.....” the stranger says.
John just panics.
He can't dance.
Once this sex-god of dancing sees his particular set of “skills” he will never ever want to even be near him again.
He shakes his head violently.
“Oh no...”, he says, “I couldn't.....I just.....no.....I mean.....no....”
Immediately the look on the stranger's face sours again.
“Just one 'no' would have sufficed”, he says and just like that he's gone. Back to the dance-floor. Only, further back this time, just far enough so John has lost his clear line of sight.
He silently curses his own stupidity as he drops his head on the surface of the bar. He feels his forehead stick to it slightly. He finds he doesn't care.
“Was that guy bothering you?”
Oh great.....Mike and Greg are back.
John just groans.
“Need us to go and talk to him for you? Tell him to stay away from you?”
John un-sticks his head as he jolts upright.
“No...no, no, no...he's fine...I'm fine.....it's just......”, his voice trails off. Greg and Mike share a look.
There is a moment of silence where none of them quite knows what to say. It is Greg who finally breaks it.
“John....”, he says.
John just sort of grunts in reply as he stares into his beer.....he's pretty sure there's a dead fly floating in it but in the dark atmosphere of the pub it could pretty much be anything really.
“John....”, Greg says again as he sits down beside him. John turns his head to look at him and the expression he finds on his friends face can only be described as one of sympathetic concern.
“That guy.....is he....maybe...the reason why you keep dragging us to this dive?”
John feels his cheeks heat up. He looks into his fly infested beer and first gives a sort of half-shrug and then a small nod.
Greg barks out a laugh.
“I knew it!” he says.
Mike is just still very confused. Greg always was the smart one.
“Knew what?” he asks.
John winces as Greg slaps him on the back....hard.
“John here”, Greg says, “has got a little crush.”
John wishes he could join the fly and drown himself in his beer.
“A crush? On who?” Mike still hasn't caught on.
“That guy who was over here just now......who.....I think....is here every Saturday night.”
John, once again, bangs his forehead against the bar. In the darkness he misjudges the distance and it hurts. He doesn't care. He feels like he probably deserves it.
“Oh?”, Mike says, still confused. And then: “Ooooooh!”
John bangs his head down again for good measure.
Greg just laughs.
“I didn't know you were gay......”, Mike says.
“Bisexual”, John groans from his current location on the surface of the bar.
“Ooooooooh”, Mike says again.
“When were you planning on telling us this?”, Greg asks.
“I don't know.....never?” John tries.
Greg laughs again and this time Mike joins in.
“You weren't afraid we were going to stop being friends with you.....were you?” Greg has stopped laughing and sounds surprisingly sincere....as far as John can hear him over the sound of the music.
He groans again.
“No.....I was afraid you were going to try and set me up....”
Greg and Mike both laugh again and before he realizes what's going on he's being hoisted from his barstool by two pairs of hands.
“Hey.....what...?” all he manages to get out as they start shoving him across the floor of the pub.....across the dance-floor.....in the direction of.....
Oh no.....oh God no......
He tries to dig his heels in. Stop them from pushing him any further towards “Tall Dark and Handsome” but there's two of them and he's the only one of them who has been drinking non-stop tonight so in the end he doesn't stand a chance.
And with a final shove from his two best friends he finds himself actually bumping into the back of the gorgeously elegant stranger as he manages to trip over his own feet.
The stranger turns around annoyed. Mouth halfway open. Ready to fling some well chosen curse words at whoever it is that has dared to throw him off his rhythm but as soon as he notices John standing there his mouth closes again.
There is a moment of very awkward silence between the two of them as neither of them moves or speaks.
John briefly contemplates just turning around and walking away but then the stranger finally does say something.
“Yeah....me.....” John decides to just muster up all his courage and continue talking. Might as well. This will probably be the last time he'll ever dare to be near this amazing guy ever again. “I just wanted to apologize.....” he says.
The stranger raises an eyebrow haughtily but doesn't speak. He just waits for John to continue....and so he does.
“I'm sorry I stared at you”, he says, “You probably think I'm some kind of creep....but...I'm really not.....I'm just.....you're just.....very good.....at this.....at dancing.”
He gestures around him helplessly. As if that explains anything. And when he finally dares to look back at the stranger he finds that, to his surprise, there is, once again, the hint of a smile on his face.
“Sherlock Holmes”, the stranger says.
“That's my name.....Sherlock Holmes.”
“Oh?.....Oh.....Oh! John.....Watson.....John Watson.”
The smile on the stranger's.....Sherlock's face widens.
“Would you like to dance with me?” Sherlock asks him for the second time that evening.
John chooses his words more carefully this time.
“I'm really not much of a dancer”, he says.
The smile on Sherlock's face turns downright mischievous and John feels his stomach flip upside down at the sight of it.
“I'll be the judge of that”, Sherlock says and before John realizes what's going on Sherlock starts swaying his hips to the beat of the song that is currently playing.
He's standing close.....very close.....and John can see where small drops of sweat have formed on his skin and where they have gathered at the bottom of his throat.
Up till now he hadn't thought it would be possible for someone to sweat sexily but Sherlock seems to have mastered it.
Everybody around them is dancing. Sherlock is dancing. Even closer to him still.
He thinks for a moment and then comes to the conclusion that he probably looks sillier being the only one not dancing than being seen dancing poorly.
And so he starts moving. Gives it his all but he still feels utterly ridiculous. He knows there's a beat and rhythm to this song but his clumsy limbs can't seem to find it.
Directly in front of him Sherlock's movements are nothing but grace, poise and sensuality and he starts to feel even more awkward and out of place still.
Any minute now Sherlock will start laughing at him....any minute now.....
But the look on Sherlock's face is not one of amusement....it's one of contemplation....as if he's thinking something over.....and then...suddenly....he's even closer than he was before and John loses both his breath and his balance and the only thing keeping him upright are Sherlock's hands on his hips.
“Here”, Sherlock says, baritone voice close to John's ear and he feels himself go both hot and cold at the same time, “I'll teach you.”
John moves where Sherlock guides him. His fingers a warm, reassuring pressure where they gently press into his hips.
There is a smile on Sherlock's face but it's not a mocking one. It's honest and light and John can't help but smile himself.
“See....it's not that difficult”, Sherlock says.
John can't help but giggle. Having Sherlock stand so close to him is downright intoxicating.
“I'll never be as good as you”, he says, “you're amazing!”
And he means it. He's not just talking about the dancing. It's more than that. There just is something about Sherlock that pulls him in. Makes him crave for more. Makes him want to be this close to him always.
He's not sure if Sherlock feels it too. The attraction between them. But he hopes he does.
Sherlock hooks his fingers in the belt-loops of John's jeans and pulls him closer still.
Maybe he does feel it too.....
John giggles again and Sherlock actually chuckles.
The sound is warm and deep and John finds he wants more of that too.
John is not quite sure what to do with his own hands but eventually he just shrugs and places them on Sherlock's hips.....hoping he's read the situation correctly and Sherlock doesn't mind.
Apparently Sherlock doesn't mind in the slightest. He just pulls John closer still. Their bodies pressed together and as Sherlock sways from side to side John now has absolutely no other choice but to move along.
Sherlock dips his head down in order to talk directly into John's ear so he won't have to raise his voice quite so much as the music grows louder still.
John both hears and feels his voice as his breath ghosts over the skin of his ear and neck.
It does things to him....very pleasant things.....he almost doesn't catch what Sherlock is actually saying.
“I think you need quite a bit more practice, John....you really are a dreadful dancer.”
Suddenly John is snapped out of the happy little bubble he had found himself in from the moment Sherlock had pulled him close. All of a sudden he feels embarrassed again. All too aware of the vast difference between the two of them.
His own movements grind to a halt. A difficult feat to accomplish as Sherlock keeps moving seductively, his hands still firmly on John's waist.
“I'm sorry....I know I'm not.....I.....” he stammers as he looks anywhere but at Sherlock and tries to move away.
But Sherlock is not letting him go. Instead he moves his hands from John's waist to his back. Effectively caging him in. His lips still tantalizingly close to John's ear as his next words come out in a seductive low purr.
“No need to apologize”, he says, “I'd be happy to teach you.”
John can't really believe what he's hearing and so he looks up wide-eyed and with a look of utter shock on his face.
“You?....teach me?” he says.
Sherlock just laughs, twirls him around and pulls him close again.
“Sure”, his words come out as another purr as his lips form a smile, “I love a challenge.”
John can't help but smile in return as his hands find Sherlock's waist again. A little bit more confident this time.
He glances back at the bar briefly but Mike and Greg seem to have left. He doesn't blame them. This pub is without a doubt the worst pub in London.
But he finds there's nowhere else in the world he would rather be right now.