First things first, because I know not everyone's into slash of the Johnlock variety or in general: this is an explicit-rated slash story involving John, Sherlock, and a leaked sex tape. This is all filtered through Anderson's eyes (more on that in a minute) which puts a rather non-sexual spin on this (it would not be my first suggestion for "BRB bunk" material), but there is a rather explicit description of a prolonged sex act. So if that's really something you prefer not to read, you may want to skip it. Equally, if you're looking for said "BRB bunk" material, this probably isn't what you're looking for. But if you want a fascinating, charming piece of characterization through sex (and other stuff besides), read on. Or, you know, just click the link above and get started.
The set-up for this story is rather interesting. Sherlock convinces John to tape the two of them having sex, not strictly speaking for their own future titillation but because Sherlock simply wants to get a better grasp on John's reactions (as a scientist) when he's not overwhelmed by being the person teasing them out of him. Of course, Sherlock being Sherlock, and given this is involving John, the line between "sex tape" and "scientific research" is blurry at best. Somehow the video is acquired by a blackmailer (Charlie Milverton, the Doyle analog of Magnussen, though the character here is more after Doyle's heart than Team Moffat's) and the video ended up leaked to the public after his death. The story's not entirely clear, or else I just missed it, on how Milverton got the video (my guilty little pleasure of a pet theory involves Moriarty breaking into 221B like he did that one time), or indeed how all the blackmail material Milverton had acquired were unleashed to the public. But that's not so important. The key point is that Sherlock and John made a sex tape (ish) for their personal use; that it was acquired by a blackmailer and posted to the public... and that Anderson decides to watch it.
The bulk of the story is a blow by blow (as it were) account of the sex tape, but seen through Anderson's eyes. At first Anderson wants to see Sherlock humiliated, wants to laugh at him and then have Sherlock show up at a crime scene and know that Anderson's been laughing at that very intimate moment. What happens is that Anderson, the man who fantasized about Sherlock pulling a James Bond-esque stunt to survive St. Bart's, complete with hero's kiss of his girl (there are shades of repressed, somewhat-misogynistic male geek culture in that scene, and they carry over here), finds himself rather turned on by it, and forced to sublimate his discomfort at that into varying levels of abstraction. Because he is heterosexual, in a bit of a dry spell himself, and this is Sherlock after all. It's a really brilliant picture of why repressed homosexuals can turn into the biggest homophobic individuals around. Not saying that Anderson is meant to be read as gay here, but that dynamic is definitely there.
That's a big reason why I don't think this story focuses as pure PWP with voyeuristic features, or is intended to. There are some incredibly erotic passages that seem to be well-done. I'm trying to keep this review PG, but let's just say that the video is described in specific terms, and Anderson is reacting to specific details which are arousing for a reason. But it's shot through with jealousy and self-loathing and even other-loathing (Anderson is not a fan of Sherlock's here, and is willing for John to be used this way because he's chosen to live so close to the Freak. I suppose it's possible for the reader to approach this as erotica, but my instinct is it would be hard to do this without missing out on a good part of what this story has to offer. Still, there are flashes in between that tension that I have to imagine would be as arousing to the reader as they were (as much as he tries to resist it) to Anderson.
Even setting aside the Anderson dimension, there's some really interesting characterization work being done with John and Sherlock. Again, I can't go into details and keep this review even marginally family-friendly, but the beauty is in the details. It's not so much that the sex act itself is beautiful and beautifully told (though it is); it's that the details around it – John's initial reluctance, and his reaction to the tape's being linked; what Anderson deduces about his crime-scene self from these more intimate moments – just makes sense. These aren't just two men going at it, but John and Sherlock specifically, in a way that's organic to the characters we see on the show and in fanfic about the two. Sherlock's reaction to the video's linking, too, was utterly, utterly Sherlock, more or less good and correct, I thought, but also it made sense how Anderson could have such conflicted responses to this version of Sherlock. You see why someone like Anderson would hate him in just this way.
All in all, I really enjoyed this story because it's beautifully written, morally complicated enough to make you sympathize with all the characters involved, and driven by some really interesting characterizations of the three main characters (Sherlock, John, and Anderson). Do check it out.
PS: Doctor's visit was predictably nonconclusive. She said it's not mere congestion, that there's something going on and gave me broad-spectrum antibiotics. If that doesn't work in a week we'll re-evaluate. I did find out I'd lost thirty-odd pounds without really trying (well, kinda-sorta: watching what I eat and trying to drop a bit but not on any kind of actual diet), but as I've spent a good portion of the last month unable to keep much of anything down, who knows what that actually means? I have been doing the salt-water gargle thing and picked up some Vicks which did wonders.