A High-Functioning, Devastatingly Ticklish Sociopath

(Yeah, I know. Not exactly a very original title. Oh well, I’ve finally written another tickle fic, and that is all that matters. This is my first attempt at Sherlock, so I hope I did alright!

Oh, and special thanks to the lovely elf!anon for giving me the burst of inspiration I needed to write this!)

The first time, when John discovered this particular weakness, it had been an honest to goodness accident. He hadn’t been trying to see if Sherlock was ticklish, and he wasn’t even sure what exactly had happened until later on down the line.

They had been on a case, and just a few hours into it Sherlock had managed to identify and track down the killer. Much to John’s irritation, Sherlock had decided it would be faster to confront the culprit alone, and this had ultimately led to a scuffle that ended with the criminal subdued and the detective victorious, though not entirely unharmed.

When John finally arrived on the scene minutes before the police, he found his partner sitting against the wall, one arm wrapped around his torso.

“Six minutes to figure out the location. You’re getting better, John,” Sherlock smirked.

Annoyed but more so concerned, the doctor immediately went to work assessing the damage, running his hands along Sherlock’s ribs and sides, checking for bruises or breaks. Other than a few small groans of discomfort every few moments, the detective was silent.

That was when John heard it. It was quiet, but it was there. A giggle. 

Confused, he looked up from Sherlock’s chest to his face, only to be met with a blank look of indifference.

“Did…did you just giggle?” John asked, perplexed.

Sherlock lifted an eyebrow in response. “What on earth are you talking about?”

“I…I guess I just imagined it,” John conceded, deciding there was a better time to discuss this than when his friend was most likely injured.

However, that did not mean he was done pursuing the issue. John was not stupid enough to believe that he had imagined the sound, however small, and he was not blind enough to miss the flash of something that had appeared in Sherlock’s eyes for just a second after he’d asked.

No, John Watson was far from done.


The second time it happened, John had been watching for it.

It was just a few days after the first time, and Sherlock’s injuries had been coming along rather nicely. Nonetheless, the doctor insisted on checking at least once a day, just to be on the safe side. 

By then, most of the bruises from before had faded, leaving the detective’s skin smooth and for the most part unblemished. Though John had resisted the urge before, he now saw a perfect opportunity to find an answer to the question that had been plaguing him since their case: Is Sherlock Holmes ticklish? If the answer happened to be yes, and John really hoped it was, how ticklish? He had to find out.

So, as John moved his hands over Sherlock’s torso, he very lightly scratched the detective’s side, waiting to see if it would elicit a response.

He was not disappointed.

“Ngh!” Sherlock made a small choked noise, flinching at the unexpected sensation.

Playing dumb, John met the detective’s startled eyes with a look of innocent confusion.

“What’s wrong, Sherlock? Did I hurt you?”

“No, no,” Sherlock quickly denied. “Just a small bruise, probably. Nothing to worry about.”

“Well, if you say so.”

With that, the doctor appeared to move on, much to Sherlock’s relief.

Inwardly, John grinned, his suspicions confirmed.

He was going to have fun with this.


The next few times, John had been messing around with Sherlock.

With the knowledge that the normally unshakeable detective was susceptible to something as simple as tickling, how could he possibly resist?

He never went all out, not wanting to make it totally obvious what he was up to just yet. Regardless, he was fairly sure that Sherlock was aware, but chose not to say anything as it would require acknowledging that he was in fact ticklish.

John had no problem with this whatsoever, opting to take advantage of his friend’s stubborn pride. He kept his actions subtle, a poke in the side here when they were waiting by Lestrade’s office and a brush of the neck there while Sherlock was bent over his microscope.

Sherlock reacted as expected, twitching or flinching each time. Much to John’s amusement, one particularly well placed jab in the belly even earned a squeal, muffled but still there.

Neither flatmate outwardly addressed the situation, but if one were to pay close enough attention, they would be able to notice the way Sherlock tensed up for just a split-second every time John neared him.


Then another time, Mycroft helped.

Not physically, of course. As both Holmes brothers were grown men, such a course of action would have been far too undignified…not to mention that Sherlock would probably have killed Mycroft for even attempting such a thing.

However, the elder Holmes did do the next best thing.

Mycroft had visited to 221B with a new case for Sherlock. Coming from him, the younger Holmes had predictably refused, stubbornly drowning out Mycroft’s words with his violin.

With a tired sigh at his brother’s childish antics, Mycroft turned to leave. However, just as he was about to exit the flat, he turned back around to face John.

“Before I go,” he paused to smirk when Sherlock straightened up on the couch, as if sensing what he was about to say. “I feel that it is my duty as an older brother to inform you that Sherlock has always been tremendously sensitive under his arms. Never could handle being tickled there when we were children. I expect that hasn’t changed, even with age.”

Satisfied with the devious smile that had appeared on John’s face and the horrified glare on Sherlock’s, Mycroft smugly strode out the door.

In the moment that followed, neither flatmate moved nor even breathed. Then they made eye contact, and John pounced.

Sherlock tried to run, obviously, leaping up from his seat and turning to make a break for his bedroom. Unfortunately, his attempt at escape proved futile, as John was not about to let his target get away.

With military efficiency and speed, John barreled into the detective from behind, knocking him to the floor before flipping him over to sit on his waist.

“John, let’s be reasonable about this,” Sherlock tried to protest, though his words fell on deaf ears as John firmly pinned his arms over his head with one hand.

Seeing that same flash in Sherlock’s eyes from the first time, John grinned upon identifying it as fear. “Well now, let’s see if you’re really as bad as Mycroft said you were.”

And then, with his free hand, John dug into the detective’s left underarm.

“J-J-JOOOOHN!” Sherlock managed to yell before bursting into hysterical laughter, tugging on his restrained arms to no avail.

“Wow,” John remarked appreciatively, “Mycroft wasn’t joking. I knew you were ticklish, but this is ridiculous!”

Sherlock tried to glare, but the need to laugh proved too strong, and he was unable to respond as his tormenter took to squeezing the muscle around the vulnerable area before scratching the center of the hollow with just two nimble fingers. The tingling sensation drove the detective absolutely mad!

After a solid two minutes or so of alternating between armpits, John slowed his fingers to a light spidering, and Sherlock calmed enough to lower his volume from near-shrieking to bubbly giggling. To hear such a childish noise coming from the usually composed man’s lips was just too much, and John could not help but tease.

“Aww…you sound so cute right now! I bet Lestrade would pay a fortune for a recording of this! Think I should send him one?” He noted with satisfaction that Sherlock’s cheeks flushed just a bit more at his words.

“Sh-shut uhuhup! Dohon’t y-you dahahahare!”

And he didn’t, though the looming threat did come in handy on days when Sherlock was being particularly annoying.

(Love it? Hate it? Have a request for more? Whatever you think, remember that I’m always interested in getting some feedback!)

I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.
—  Augustus Waters (The Fault In Our Stars- John Green)