“John, are you crying?”

John Watson could not be reached for comment because John Watson might possibly be crying.

Head bowed, shoulders shaking, silent but for the gentlest sobbing, he made every effort to respond, but due to the profoundly unfamiliar thing happening between his legs, he was simply incapable.

“Does it hurt? Where does it hurt? It’s not supposed to hurt. When I booked this spa day I absolutely asked them if it would—”

John drew a deep, gasping breath, lifted his head, and on a hysterical keening exhale said, “Oh god I must really love you to have said yes to this.”

John Watson’s girlfriend sat up so quickly her logo-emblasoned turban listed left. The long-fingered man meticulously depilating John’s privates went still. And John Watson quickly realised he had said way the fuck too much.

To completely compound his error, the good doctor made an earnest face at his girlfriend. She made some sort of face back but he couldn’t tell what it was through her mud mask. Not content with making a bad thing worse, John opened his mouth to make a worse thing awful when the dark-haired depilatory technician murmured, “I believe it’s time for madam’s massage.”

Madam did not move for many moments. Madam was busy pawing through her mental Rolodex, wondering which friend could be bribed to call her with a sudden surgical ‘emergency.’

Madam was saved from relationship fraud by the insistent purr of the deep-voiced technician. “The curtains at your left will take you to…”

Dr. Clare Sussex straightened her tipping turban. She stood up. She gazed down at her beau of eleven weeks. Semi-reclined in a chair that looked half torture device, half sex-aid, her boyfriend was manicured, pedicured, coiffed, polished, and scrubbed. He was in the final phase of having his most personal of personal places artistically barbered. And how she had missed his leap from their agreed-upon casual dating to anything to which the word love could be applied she did not know.

A massage therapist touched her elbow. Dr. Clare Sussex startled. Then, smiling ruefully, she decamped with speed.

Half naked, bare legs spread in front of a man he did not know, John watched her go, cleared his throat, and said, “Well that went well.”

A long moment of silence followed.

Then, bowing once more over his careful work, Sherlock Holmes said, “I’m sure you know she was also seeing another doctor in the practice, that they just got back from a holiday to New Zealand and are contemplating being exclusive, and that she was less than keen on your taste in clothes, cologne, and hair style. This was likely the first in a progressive series of personal…upgrades.”

John looked down. The curly-headed bringer of bad news looked up. John didn’t even bother asking how or what or why. What John did do was feel suddenly very naked. He tried closing his legs. Being as they were held fast in stirrups, all the good doctor managed to do was clench fetchingly. He said, “Yeah, I know.”

Sherlock paused in the delicate handling of his client’s privates. He allowed his brows to raise.

“I’m not an idiot. No, actually I am. Love. Love. Who the hell says love after less than a dozen dates? I don’t even think I meant it and…”

John faded off, frowned, looked right into the pale eyes of the man looking at him. And then he said something brilliant, so brilliant as a matter of fact that Sherlock’s brows lofted as high as they could go.

“You don’t actually do this for a living, do you?”

A whisper of scarlet flushed Sherlock’s cheeks, and he murmured, “Why do you say that?”

John looked down at the man’s motionless hands. Littered with small scars, not nearly as soft as they should be, they rested warmly and very closely either side of John’s cock. “Uh, you don’t seem very…professional.”

Sherlock could have hastily removed his hands from their non-professional pausing place. He could’ve castigated himself for his poor portrayal of a spa employee. Instead Sherlock did something else. When John Watson—who indeed isn’t an idiot—said…

“If you’re, uh, finished there, we could get a pint. Grouse about women. Or the rain. Or who did those stitches at the back of your wrist because that’s just criminal.”

…well Sherlock? He said yes.

It rained the whole way to the pub.

The beer was good.

The chips were better.

In the end they did not much talk about women.

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Dragonsally wanted John and Sherlock to have their privates “vajazzled.” I told her I’d rather burn in the special hell than write that. Then I realised something sort of like it could be a nice way for the boys to meet. Hell is not half so warm as I expected.