I leaned back in the chair with a rather satisfied sigh of repletion. My appetite had returned with a vengeance since I buried my cocaine habit in the sand. Stretching my legs to the fire, I crossed my hands on my chest and prepared to ponder a problem. No, if I were honest with myself, I would have to call it 'The Problem'.
With no case with which to distract myself, I found my thoughts returning to the contemplation of what in the world I was going to do about my dear companion, Dr. Watson. Who even now was chortling under his breath at some story in yesterday's Times, quite unaware of my scrutiny.
When had his presence come to mean 'home' to me? When had his safety become paramount? Why did I feel this need to have him nearby under my eye every waking minute of the day? And where was this ... desire coming from?
For a man who prided himself on his intellectual prowess, I had fallen low indeed. Thoughts had become subordinate to feelings of all things. Well, tonight was a good time to try and come to grips with this formidable impasse. We went on day by day, ignoring the looks and telling pauses in our conversation but it was surely building to a climax.
I looked back at the fire in time to catch a glimpse of one of his looks out of the corner of my eye. Such a worried glance, while he tried to gage my mood from my posture. I knew he worried about my health incessantly. It was, of course, why we were here in Cornwall at the seaside. He feared a bronchial weakness fed by the sapping of my strength.
As yet, I have not told him of my disposal of the syringe and my supply of cocaine. A week or so of testing my resolve should do it. I must be sure that I was not tempted to return to the vile drug. Never would I wish to disappoint him and yet ... I did so time and time again. Why did he stay with me?
Did I dare hope that he feels for me what I have come to believe I feel for him? Who would have thought that a man of my age could fall so low? I was not dim of wit or so I'd always thought but it took me fifteen years to recognize the symptoms. I could see it in others but it had come as a complete surprise that I could feel it myself.
I smiled and shook my head. 'There is none so blind as he who will not see,' sprang to my mind as a rather apt quotation. The paper rustled and I felt his eyes on me.
"I say, Holmes, that's a very enigmatic smile. Are you feeling all right?" He tried for levity but that constant fear that I might not be well underlay his voice.
"Quite all right, old fellow. Just musing on how stupid I can be."
"Nonsense, old chap. You are quite the wisest man I have ever known." His smile was open and just a touch relieved.
"But then, you can hardly have known many wise men, Watson." My sardonic tone might have seemed biting to another but my friend simply laughed.
"Truthfully, Holmes, you have been pensive for almost three days now. Is there something with which I could help you?"
I turned my head to contemplate the sturdy figure in the nearby chair. The firelight turned his skin a rich rosy hue that spoke of good health and hearty appetite.
Brown hair, slightly mussed by his running his fingers through it in unconscious imitation of one of my gestures, gleamed almost golden in the flickering light. "Perhaps. I have yet to come to a complete definition of the problem."
"A case? Something came in the mail while I was in the village stocking up with supplies?" He asked almost hopefully and I could tell that he was worried now, that with nothing to occupy my mind, I might resort to the dreaded solution.
"Not a case. This problem is one which is coming to a head very shortly and ..." I hesitated and felt myself unsure for the first time in a very long time indeed, "I will need your help in the resolving but not just yet. I must have it straight in my own mind before I ask your aid."
He smiled and nodded. "You know you need only ask, Holmes. If it is in my power, I will help all I can."
"I know, my dear fellow. I would be quite lost without you, Watson." My sincerity disconcerted him and he blushed most endearingly before burying his face in the paper again. Leaving me to contemplate the hither-to unthinkable.
Was what I felt more than friendship, more than simple fellowship? Could I be in love for the first time in my life? And with such an unsuitable person? A man. A man who had already buried one wife and attracted women like honey. It was his innate sweetness, of course. The gentleness with which he treated even the lowest streetwalker whom he met.
His chivalrous nature and his ... quite touching belief in the goodness of mankind even after all the villains he'd met through our work, seemed to be an unshakable part of him. And I wouldn't change an iota of his nature; for fear that it might change his fervent belief in me. Undeserving as it was, I basked in the warmth of his regard.
Which brought me back to The Problem. Was it love, physical love, that was turning me from a thinker to an emotional fool? Or was I misinterpreting the whole situation? I had no experience with love. My parents were cold people who rarely showed any emotion at all. Mycroft was too much older than I to be more than someone I saw on school holidays. There were no other children to play with while I was growing up so I read and studied and went off to boarding school at the minimum age allowed.
Looking back over my years at school, I smiled at the too serious boy who feared the lighthearted gaiety of his peers. Understanding none of the jokes or the silly pranks, I really was a bit of a prig. So, once again, I buried myself in my studies and learned the book knowledge but none of the emotional or physical. Thank goodness for boxing! It was all that saved me from having no acquaintances at all.
London was the same except for the curious fact that there was safety in numbers. I could study and observe to my heart's content and no one found it at all strange. I found I could blend in anywhere if I simply observed and mimicked those around me. Oh, the things I learned of human nature. Emotions, most of the darker ones, were my meat and drink.
I decided the insipid feelings, of love and courtship, were mere trifles, not for me, the wiles of beauty and coquetry. And then there was Stamford introducing me to John Watson. A plain man, open-faced and without two thoughts to rub together, I decided. How very wrong I was. Smiling, I blessed that idiot Stamford for the thousandth time.
Looking over at my companion, I caught him rubbing his shoulder again. Ever since the disgraceful incident of the Devil's Root, where he'd had to drag us both to safety because of my overweening pride, I'd noticed his tendency to favor that shoulder. It was the old wound, of course, the one that had sent him home to England from the campaigns.
I shuddered to think what would have happened to me without his strong presence at my side all these years. The three years without him while I wandered the world had been quite bad enough. Now, I can see that I stayed away to dull the pain of watching his happy marriage. Mary Morstan was a good woman who adored him. They were such a perfect couple that it hurt to watch.
And so, I went into exile and realized that time and distance does not dull some pains. When Mycroft sent word of her death, I did grieve for her but more for Watson's loneliness. And of course, I came home immediately. The Adair case was entirely serendipitous. It was good to get that brute Moran, off the streets and behind bars where he belonged.
But it was the look on Watson's face when I finally revealed myself that made it all worthwhile. There were tears in his eyes when he came to from his faint. No recriminations, just joy at my presence, as if no time had passed at all. Three years have gone by since that reunion and only now was I acknowledging what I was really feeling.
Love ... a very frightening word and one fraught with uncertainty. What if he was appalled? Would I lose him as a friend if I ask him for physical intimacy? And just what kind of intimacy would two men practice? I'd done some reading on the subject but only bits and pieces. As a doctor, I expected Watson would be my instructor.
I shivered suddenly. I was a virgin of the body ... and the spirit. I would be safe with my friend. If he would take me in hand, I thought I would enjoy it. Just the idea of his hands touching me brought a certain flutter to my stomach. An interesting phenomenon but one that left me uncertain as to what it meant.
"Holmes, I think I will go up to bed now. This country air works better than any sleeping draught I could prepare." His eyes were indeed looking tired and he was still unconsciously rubbing his shoulder.
Taking a deep breath, I stepped forward instead of back. This might not be a problem to be solved but an opportunity to be explored. Sitting up in my chair, I smiled. "An excellent idea, my friend. Let me bank the fire and I shall join you. The way
you are holding your shoulder tells me that a little liniment would not come amiss tonight."
He chuckled and headed for the stairs. "Nothing gets by you. I did rather think a little massage might remove the ache. Is there anything in the kitchen I can get for you before you turn in?"
"If there is, I can get it myself, Watson. Upstairs with you, I'll be up in a moment to rub in some of your liniment. I know it's hard for you to reach the muscles in your upper back." I kept my eyes on the fire so I wouldn't see his start of surprise. I'd never offered such a service before. Would he turn it down?
The pause while I put the screen about the grate seemed hours long but was in actuality only a moment. "Thank you, Holmes. I appreciate your offer. It can be difficult to spread the lotion. I'll just go up and make sure the fire in the room is lit."
I made some murmur of agreement while inside I rejoiced. Yes, I was going to touch him tonight. Passing through to the small kitchen, I poured some of the hot water into the china bowl that sat near the wood stove. Heat would do more good at easing the sore muscles than even Watson's favorite remedy.
Taking a deep breath, I started upstairs to meet my fate. Berating myself for the melodramatic turn of thought, I fought to regain my composure so I could present a normal facade to my friend. But seeing him kneeling by the fire with his waistcoat off and his shirt undone came very close to destroying my equilibrium. The flames danced on the curls on his chest with little glints of gold.
I am lean and practically hairless and my sudden wish to touch those curls and feel them beneath my fingers took my breath away. He turned to me and stretched forth his hand to bring me into the room. My silence must have disconcerted him but he accepted it as he accepts all of my incomprehensible reactions to things. I closed the door firmly behind me and came forward to set the bowl on the hearth.
The bottle of liniment was already warming by the fire and I tried not to watch while Watson finished unfastening his shirt and gingerly shrugged the linen from his shoulders. The scar was still quite livid against the pale skin and it drew my fingers like a magnet. I'd only seen it once before and I wished suddenly that I'd been there to keep the bullet from him.
Wishful thinking on my part, since he'd coped quite well on his own. My fingers touched the scar gently and my touch froze him in place like a rabbit suddenly come face to face with a mastiff. My other hand took the cloth by the bowl and dipped it in the now not-so-boiling water. Bringing it to his shoulder, I pressed the warmth to the sore muscle beneath the scar.
He quivered at that sudden infusion of heat and his hands moved restlessly on his thighs. I felt the shift and play of flesh beneath my hands and had a sudden urge to trace the long muscles all up and down his body. Noting the awkwardness of his crouch, I wondered how to get him into a more comfortable position.
"Watson, would you mind sitting with your back to the fire?" I finally suggested. "It will provide more heat on your sore muscles and enable me to see more clearly while I rub in the liniment."
His blue eyes looked searchingly into mine before he nodded shyly and turned to sit in the position I'd suggested. I used the moment to drop the cloth into the basin and rose to my own feet to remove my jacket and waistcoat. The room was warm enough; I wouldn't need my dressing gown. So, I contented myself with rolling up my sleeves and undoing my collar.
"I wonder, Watson, what idiot invented the stiff collar? It is impractical in the extreme and a detriment to the circulation of men everywhere." I mused out loud while I moved back to his left side and settled myself in a modified lotus position.
He rewarded me with his hearty laugh and a flash of his straight white teeth. Through his chortles, he managed a brief comment. "Probably the same man who invented the woman's bustle. Impractical, indeed."
Uncapping the bottle of liquid, I started at the unfamiliar odor. This was not the scent I was used to smelling on my friend. Pouring a little into my hand, I rubbed it between my fingers. The viscosity was much thicker than the other was. And such an interesting scent ... lemon, and what was that hint of . . . rosemary?
"A colleague made up some of this for me. Guaranteed not to sting but still provide the comfort from soreness." Watson's blue eyes answered my unasked question.
"Ah. Much more pleasant than the liniment, which I always thought could have been used on our horses." My dry humor provoked another laugh. I rubbed my hands to spread the oily lotion between them before beginning his massage.
The first touch of his skin was an interesting moment. His skin was so smooth that the scar tissue seemed a very abrupt departure. It snaked across his shoulder and arm like a sinuous serpent of reddened and twisted flesh. My fingers gently smoothed over it; unsure of whether it might still pain him. Under my right hand, I could feel the muscles quiver as the lotion soaked in.
He sighed and trustingly leaned back into my touch. Once away from the scar, I was able to exert more strength into the kneading of his muscles. He moved his head back and forth as I released the tension from his stiffly held neck. I learned the art of massage in Tibet from a wise old man who'd given me shelter during a blizzard that snowed us in together.
"Good Heavens, Holmes." Watson's voice was husky with feeling as he hung his head forward to expose more of his neck to my hands. "Where ever did you learn such magic?"
I found myself telling him of the solitary tramp up a mountain through the howling winds and blinding snow. And of the hermit who took me in and nursed my trembling limbs back to health. He fed my body with soup and tea but more importantly, he healed my soul of the terrible wounds inflicted by my past. Well, most of them anyway, my hands faltered along with my voice when I thought of all that I wished to say.
When I came back to myself, Watson had turned to me and held my oily hands in his in a reassuring grip. "Holmes, thank you for sharing some of your past with me. I have tried to restrain my curiosity of our time ... apart. Thank you for the gift of your memories."
The pain in his voice, when he spoke of that time was still quite evident. Even after all these years. Perhaps it was time to heal that wound as well. Taking a deep breath, I focused on his hands so that I could not see those honest blue eyes judging me and finding me wanting.
"I am a coward, Watson." I stilled his instinctive protest with a squeeze of my hands. "At the Falls, I chose to disappear for many reasons, some of them good and some ... very self-serving. I ran away and left you to face my death because of my fear and disgust."
A whimper brought my eyes up to his and I gazed aghast at the look of self-hatred that crinkled his eyes and thinned his lips into a grimace. I have never believed in intuition or mind reading but at that moment, I knew ... knew the erroneous conclusion to which he'd jumped.
"Watson, no. Not disgust of you but of myself." I could tell he was lost in the past and not capable of hearing my confession. I was causing him pain without knowing how to stop it. I do not believe I have ever thought so quickly in my life before I leaned forward to distract him.
Oh, it was with the basest of motives that I kissed him. I admit it. I needed the contact as I needed the air we breathe. His lips were so soft beneath mine and I felt the moment when he realized what I had done. It was such a soft gasp, which opened his mouth and released a puff of spicy Watson-breath for my delectation.
"Holmes." His mouth twisted beneath mine, opening for a hot tongue that traced my thin lips with fervid passion. Then, he took complete charge of the kiss, as I had always known he would. He was, after all, the one of this team with the experience. He taught my lips to open to him, then proceeded to explore my mouth with his knowledgeable tongue until my breath ran short and I had to pull away to take a gasping gulp of air.
Such a change in the beloved features so close to mine. His eyes were dilated to an alarming extent with only a faint rim of blue remaining. His cheeks were flushed pink and an untidy lock of hair had fallen out of place. His lips were bright red and slightly swollen from our kiss.
"Watson, believe me, when I say that this is what I feared." I gestured with our still clasped hands. "And it was your disgust that I dreaded if ever you should discover that I had ..."
I trembled and took another deep breath for courage. "That I had fallen in love with you." Not giving him time to interrupt, I hurried on with my shameful confession. "I feared to stay and so I ran away. Leaving you to your happy marriage and your normal life. I'm so sorry that I abused your trust and friendship this way."
The silence was heavy with all the things left unsaid. I dared not look into those eyes that had always looked up to me with expectations of wisdom. Not after confessing such stupidity and venal corruption of his innocent emotions. As for the kiss . . . well, I had simply taken him by surprise and he'd reacted briefly to external stimuli.
"Holmes." His husky voice startled me out of my morbid musings. "Do you know that I have always been able to read your face and know what you are thinking? Very soon after our first year together, I realized that what you were thinking was displayed in your eyes. Especially when you were thinking about me. And as the years went by, you thought about me quite frequently."
His thumb was rubbing one of my fingers in short soothing strokes that sent little tingles up my hand and past my wrist. His hands were always so warm. It must be very useful for a doctor to possess such a ... healing touch.
"Sherlock." The sound of my first name, rarely used by any since Nanny Wallace was removed when I was six, because I no longer needed a nurse, shocked me into a brief glance up. But he captured my gaze with his hypnotic eyes, which with his gentle smile held me prisoner. "I do understand what you are saying to me. What you did not see because of your natural distress at the odd turn your feelings were taking, was that I felt the same way. I have loved you since almost the moment I met you."
He brought our clasped hands up to his cheek and feathered a kiss across my suddenly sensitive knuckles without his eyes ever leaving mine. "I had a brief affair with a fellow officer in Afghanistan before the battle that wounded me and killed him. When we met, I had come to terms with his loss and decided to put the love of men behind me. London society would never condone such a relationship and I've always enjoyed the ladies as well. And yet, one look at your beautiful face and graceful body and I fell head over heels in love. But I could tell that you felt no such attraction and so I kept quiet."
I could feel my mouth open and close in shock. I knew not what to say to his confession. Closing my eyes, I fought a sudden lightheaded urge to collapse on the hearth. He must have realized my dilemma for he disentangled our hands and I felt his arms go around me and pull me down onto the wool rug. He cradled my head onto his shoulder and I took a shaky breath of his intoxicating skin.
"I need to know if this love is truly returned, Sherlock. If you would like to ... consummate this feeling with more than just words." His voice pronounced each word so carefully as if contemplating and discarding a hundred for each one used. He was so brave in his love and I could not bear to offer him any less honesty.
Whispering through suddenly parched lips, I gathered all my courage to return his astonishing speech with my own halting words. "I do love you, John. But I have never experienced these ... feelings before. I was unsure for many years, what exactly was happening to me. I thought I understood friendship but I never knew love before so I had a very hard time fitting it into the equation of our relationship."
He chuckled at my rather plaintive tone and ran his tongue tenderly over my ear before nipping gently at the lobe. I started and felt the caress tingle through my whole body. Burying my head still further into the haven of his neck and shoulder, I continued.
"When I realized that I was going out of my way to touch you or to set up situations where you had to touch me, I knew that something was wrong."
"Never wrong, Holmes. Different, perhaps but it is never wrong for you to want to touch me or to wish for my caress." His tones were quite forceful and I pulled back a little to smile at him. "You are so beautiful, my shy love."
I felt the flush of red creep up my throat and flood my face with warmth. He gave a helpless sounding moan and suddenly, I found myself flat on the floor with one of his hands behind my head and his mouth once again stealing my breath. His other hand stroked up and down my shirt while I daringly returned the embrace with both my hands to his freshly oiled back.
It was a very long moment before he terminated the kiss, only to scatter little nips all over my face. In all my studies of the human body, I had never realized how many nerve endings above the waist could send direct messages to the groin. I was becoming extremely aroused and the answering hardness against my right hip led me to surmise that John was also enjoying our embrace.
"Holmes, my dear Holmes." He finished two soft caresses across my eyes and waited for me to lift suddenly heavy lids. "It appears that we both love each other and have for some time. At this moment, I want nothing more than to undress you and take you to bed. Where we will make loving ... passionate ... joyful ... love." Each word was punctuated with a button of my shirt undone and the brush of his fingers against my skin. "What do you want?"
My words and desires all tangled together like the reins of a runaway horse. Almost stammering, I gave him permission. "You. I want you. But I have never ..."
"Made love with a man before? I know. We shall take it very slowly and carefully so we both enjoy every moment. You must tell me if I am going too fast for you." He finished unbuttoning my shirt and for the first time, I felt his warm hand gliding softly over my chest.
But I had to make him understand my complete inexperience at this. "John, there is nothing you could do that I would not embrace whole heartedly. But it's not just men with whom I've never made love."
I felt him start and his hand stopped its interesting search. "No women, either? I wondered but could not tell for sure. You are so brave, Sherlock. Remember that I love you and all will be well."
Then he was kissing me again and all my higher reasoning went away. When next I was fully cognizant, we were both naked and under the warm blankets of our bed. The cool linen against my back was a great contrast to my heated skin. I was sweating like a fever victim while John mapped my skin with his hot tongue and warm hands. Kneeling between my legs, he charted every inch of skin on my chest while the wiry curls of hair on his legs teased my inner thighs into a state of quivering tension.
"Slowly, my love." He gentled my passion with his words. "You are so beautiful here. So hard and straight with such a rosy tint to quite the softest skin I've ever touched." He ran his fingers slowly up and down my shaft, the first person other than myself to touch it or even see it since childhood.
I'd begun to pant now. I could not take in enough air as his loving touches broke past all my barriers. But when I felt his mouth there, just at the crown, tonguing the weeping slit with his hot breath, I completely lost all control and shuddered into a never-ending climax that left me limp, boneless and almost comatose.
His sweet murmurs brought me back to him as they always had and always will. Opening my eyes to find his gaze on mine, his body touching me at every point, I could hardly find the words to thank him for his gift. But he knew ... somehow, he knew and kissed me so sweetly that I felt my body quiver anew with sensation.
A faintly bittersweet taste overrode his natural sweetness and I realized that I was tasting myself on his tongue. Blushing yet again, I held him close and managed a heartfelt whisper in the curve of his ear. "I love you. All my life seems to have been only a journey I had to endure to bring me to you. Thank you for loving me."
"It is never a hardship to love you, Sherlock. Over the last few years, I have come to the realization that I was brought to this earth for one reason and one reason only. And that was to love you and care for you with all my heart." He cradled me in his strong arms and pulled the covers up over our shoulders, enclosing us in a warm cocoon of linen and wool. Shifting our bodies into perfect alignment took long moments of careful caresses and soft movements.
The firelight flickered over John's tousled hair as it lay on the white linen pillowcase. My own head shared the pillow and our breath mingled in the cool night air. His eyes drooped with tiredness and I found my own lids heavy with the weight of what we'd shared. "Sleep now, John. Tomorrow, we shall begin our lives anew."
"And your problem, Sherlock?" His voice was a sleepy purr.
"Ah, yes, my problem. Solved by the teamwork that has always categorized our agency. However, I think we should perhaps keep this case from your adoring public." My dry humor has always delighted him and I was rewarded with a soft chuckle and another caress from his talented hands. I smiled to myself and held him close while I allowed myself to drift to sleep, lulled by the sound of his heartbeat.
The Morning After
I awoke instantly, as has been my custom for the greater part of my adult life. But this morning was like no morning of my experience. I was quite warm and the heavy weight in my arms and the tousled head on my shoulder were deliciously satisfying. John Watson, friend, confident and now lover. I shivered at the light that crept into the room through the white muslin curtains.
Declarations of love made in the healing darkness might yet be wished away in the revealing dawn. Would he regret accepting my halting confession or even reject his own protestations of affection? I found myself feathering fingertips across his satin skin, aching to know every inch of him as he had known me last night.
My eyes closed in sudden memory of the feel of raspy tongue and callused fingers that triggered my swift and aching arousal which he had engulfed in wet heat and tenderly sucked dry. The feel of silky hair beneath my cheek and the scent of his shampoo filled all my senses and I deliberately took a deep breath and held it. He always smelled so clean and fresh.
Part of his doctor's persona, no doubt. But just now, his scent is stronger, no longer overlaid with soap and water. Even his sweat smells sweet to me this morning. Or perhaps it is the combination of our scents that appeals to me? We took no time to clean ourselves after we ... made love.
What astonishing words to be able to say after all these years of celibacy ... made love, I, Sherlock Holmes, made love to John Watson. Or rather, he made love to me. His touch was so gentle and yet so knowing that I had poured out my seed into his care before I realized what was happening.
Did he also release when I did? I searched my memory for some hint that I had not left him unfulfilled in my innocence of what to do. Biting my lip, I thought back to the sounds and movements that might be a clue to his reactions but all I could hear was my own cry of delight.
How very selfish of me and how very kind of him to so ignore my ungentlemanly behavior. In my self-disgust, I hugged him to me too hard and heard him sigh against my shoulder. Freezing with dismay, I waited for his reaction to our changed state.
His head arose and he took part of his weight from me to lean up on one arm. Sleepy blue eyes glowed in the early morning light and his smile rivaled the sun. I swallowed nervously and awaited his verdict.
"Good morning, Holmes." His voice was still sleep roughened and it poured over my senses like honey. "I do hope you do not regret our love making last night because I have a very strong urge to do it again." And without another word he took my mouth in another of the voluptuous kisses in which he excels.
I gasped, I think. Whatever my reaction, it deterred him not at all as he pressed between my lips with the hot wet tongue that twined so easily with mine. Again, I lost my breath and what little remained of my earlier inhibitions. It seemed John does not regret our changing relationship in the slightest.
Two months have passed since John took me on as apprentice lover and I liked to think I have repaid his tutelage with increasing joy. I was afraid that happiness would interfere with my work but it seems that I still retained enough control to set aside my emotions and provide the mental workmanship to solve the little problems that come my way.
I informed Mycroft shortly after our return to London that I would, for the first time, be drawing on the funds left by our father at his death. He merely blinked once and agreed to deposit fifty pounds in the Baker Street account each month. I knew Watson worried that he did not provide his fair share of the operating expenses and since he was in charge of that household account that would help settle his mind.
I found I watched him even more closely than I had before, easing his worries and trying to address situations before they became problems for him. All those years he had watched over me, now it was my turn to return his care. I found myself looking for little ways to make him smile with all the joy of which he is capable.
Watching the worry line between his eyes disappear more than made up for the disavowal of my words at the reading of their will.
They wished nothing of me and I wish nothing of them. Harsh words but truly spoken and twenty years later my wounded pride seemed such a petty thing against his enjoyment of one of the little extras that the money provided.
It's been said that love makes fools of us all and the pundits may be right for I found myself thinking very foolish thoughts while I watched him lock the door to our rooms and lean against it with a very enigmatic look on his face.
"Holmes. Are we quite done with the alarms and excursions of the day? No more beautiful clients flinging themselves in your arms or kissing you on the cheek while I sit on the villain of the piece waiting for Lestrade to stop gaping and relieve me of duty?" He stalked me like the bulldog I've so often compared him to while I blushed and tried to think of something to say.
The sardonic note in his voice faded away and he trapped me in my chair with a hand on either arm, his beautiful face just inches away. "I can applaud her taste in throwing herself on you since I have the same desire daily but I could wish you had embraced her a little less enthusiastically."
I blushed even harder since it was his grappling with her homicidal brother, which had tensed my muscles into what seems to have appeared to be an affectionate embrace. "Watson, I was preparing to set her aside and help you but you needed no help at all. I hardly had the time to uncover his perfidy before you had disarmed him and had him well in hand. You were very quick."
His eyes crinkled and he dropped a gentle kiss on my parted lips before drawing back and offering me his hand. "I see. Perhaps you would favor me with another of your famous massages since I took the brunt of today's struggle?"
I let him pull me from my comfortable seat by the fire. "You are not hurt, really?" I was sure he was teasing me, something he did much more frequently now that we were lovers but I needed to be sure.
"Not hurt, my dear Sherlock but needy just the same." His eyes went sultry and I felt my pulse quicken with the knowledge that tonight he would make love to me again. We tried not to establish a pattern that might give us away to those around us and it had been two nights since we had last enjoyed each other's body.
"Perhaps an early night would be best. I wouldn't want your ... muscles to stiffen to uncomfortable levels." Venturing a kiss across the knuckles of the hand still in mine, I enjoyed the light in his eyes and the smile that told me my double entendre was appreciated with sly delight.
We separated to our separate bedrooms to prepare for each other and I undressed quickly after stoking up my fire. I had the bigger bed since I tend to be a restless sleeper and I've always enjoyed the freedom to move across the surface of the mattress during my nightmares. Of course, it had been months since my last bad dream, for I now had a bedmate who believed the closer he held me the better.
I left off my nightshirt since Watson had told me how arousing he finds it when he comes in and finds me wearing nothing but the sheet. Sliding between the Egyptian cotton sheets with their silky smooth texture, I shivered and wished I'd taken the time to warm them with the warming pan on the hearth. But the door opened and John came through, locking it behind him while the light in his eyes made me shiver for quite a different reason.
Suddenly the room was warmed by his smile and I briefly pondered the phenomena and wondered if it could be reproduced by scientific experiment. But the sight of him shrugging off his robe and unbuttoning his nightshirt detrained my thought and I lifted the edge of the sheet in silent invitation. He gathered me into his heated embrace. We rocked together silently while I buried my head in that hollow between his neck and shoulder.
"Oh, this is heaven, Sherlock. The last two days have been never-ending without the chance to hold you so." His hands left trails of fire down my back and then back up. He touches so matter of factly while I must think first and plan just how to touch after I am sure he truly desires it.
"That's right, love, touch me there and show me how much you have missed me." His words ended in a sigh when I moved to drink his words with my mouth. Our tongues dueled in lazy fashion, content for the moment to relearn tastes and shapes. I think perhaps I have become as addicted to him as I ever was to the cocaine habit.
One of his hands caressed my hip and slid between us to create a tunnel for our shafts to slide together in a damp embrace. Once I might have felt uncomfortable with such an intimate act, fearing that the leaking fluid would disgust him but he had shown me that such a natural occurrence brings him great delight. And I must admit that it also brought me a certain pride to feel the drops that leak from him in his excitement.
For I am the one who excites him, a fact that never failed to humble me. He breathed such life and joy into me that I had never known. He pulled me on top of him and we rocked together slowly drawing out the moment. His hands have settled on my lower back and he begun the new caress, the one that startled me a week ago. It seemed so very intimate, the slow slide down between my cheeks across that most private place.
But he had calmed my fears and told me in no uncertain terms that he found every inch of me desirable and he promised that he would not hurt me, which of course I knew. Only his leaving me would destroy me so I thought I feared nothing he did with my body. And it was pleasurable to feel him claim all of me although he told me there was more to come.
But this time, I wished to give him pleasure and erase the picture he had of me with my arms full of the fainting Miss MacLaren. So, I dared to move down his body with my hands and tongue as he had done with me, his encouraging groans my guide. His nipples were almost as sensitive as mine and I lavished them with wet kisses and a steady sucking that brought his hands to my head to hold me there.
His murmuring cries enflamed my desire to return the great care that he lavished on me and I moved still lower, pausing to tongue his navel. His hips came off the bed and I held them down while I contemplated my next caress. His manhood stood straight and tall, jutting up from the red-gold curls that covered his chest and groin. My fingers combed through the silky hairs while my eyes judged whether I would be able to take the next step.
"You don't have to, Holmes. It is an acquired taste." His voice was affectionate and his thumb rubbed my hand where it lay on his thigh.
"I know, John. But I think it is time I acquired it." I quirked an eyebrow at him and he laughed once before choking while I ran my tongue from the base of his sturdy cock up to the rosy head. Such soft skin and once I had pushed his foreskin gently down away from the now purpling head, I could truly appreciate the silky texture.
He was trying to stifle his moans but when my tongue laved his entire shaft all along the great vein that runs just under the head and back up again, his moans turned to pants and I had to exert greater pressure to keep his hips down on the bed. Being careful of my teeth, I engulfed the flaring head and tongued the beads of clear fluid that were escaping from the tiny slit.
He keened once and pulled my pillow over his face to muffle his cries. It was very hard to smile and suck his cock at the same time but I succeeded because I felt his organ pulse twice before it spurted into my mouth. It startled me for a moment and I tried to catalog the taste while holding down his hips and not letting his shaft gag me at the same time.
Bitter and salty, yet with an underlying sweetness that must be an essential part of his nature. I mused while lapping all the fluid that he pulsed out into my keeping. Was this what I tasted like, I wondered? His hand was back on my cheek and I looked up to see that lazy satiated look that I loved to see.
"For your first time, you were ... inspired." His husky voice made my own shaft quiver in unfulfilled need.
"I think I will need to practice frequently if I am to aspire to your heights." My dry humor delighted him and he pulled me up beside him to kiss me. Could he taste himself on my tongue? But my question faded in the shiver that comes from his warm hand caressing my heavy shaft.
"It is my constant practice that enables me to recognize perfection when I see it." He tongued my shaft in much the same fashion I had used moments before and I wriggled when he added a daring caress to my full sac. His touch was delicate and I felt my balls plump and firm in his grasp.
"And you, my dearest friend, are perfection." He breathed once on the sensitive head before taking me fully into his hot mouth. I tried not to thrust upward, I truly did try to keep control but with a flick of his tongue he destroyed all my restraint.
The warm, moist heat of his mouth and the firm touch of his fingers sent me into a haze of desire that quickly peaked in the ecstasy that I know only with him. He's the only one I can trust with my precious self-control, the only one who I can trust with my soul. For a moment, I think I blacked out for when I next fully knew my surroundings, he had cradled me in his strong arms and pulled the blankets over us in a cocoon of warmth that was most welcome.
He kissed me most gently and this time I realized that the different taste in his mouth was me, or rather the remains of my orgasm. I was not as sweet as he was and when I mentioned it to him he shook with silent laughter.
"Some think human semen can be affected by diet, Holmes. And I drink quite a bit more ale than you do. It may or may not have a sweetening affect." He chuckled and brushed a kiss across my eyes, which drooped with weariness.
"Perhaps another experiment is in order then? I will increase my beer intake and you can tell me if I sweeten." I smothered a yawn in his shoulder and smiled at his almost silent chortle.
"You taste as the nectar of the gods might have once tasted on the slopes of Mount Olympus. You need never change for me. I love you as you are, Sherlock." His blue eyes glowed in the firelight and I felt again how he wraps his love around me, protecting me from all imagined hurts.
"And I love you, John. Who would have thought I could love at all? Let alone someone as worthy as you." I stroked his hair back from his forehead and watched him shake his head in pretended anger.
"You are more than worthy of love, Sherlock. And if I must tell you every day for the rest of our lives until you believe me, I shall do so." He chided me gently.
I smiled and closed my eyes, allowing him to win this argument. His blindness to my many faults was an endearing part of him and I secretly relished his championship. Perhaps someday I could tell him what he truly meant to me. How his love had freed me from an iron cage of self-denial and self-hatred.
Lestrade was quite beside himself with good cheer. Scotland Yard would soon have the credit for catching the Butcher of Battersby while I had the satisfaction of the unraveling of his nefarious schemes. I watched him clap Watson on the arm and suggest we celebrate with a quick pint.
"Capitol idea, Lestrade." I spoke up, startling them both. "I am experimenting with different ales to determine their nutritive effects. Why don't we stop at the Battersby Armes?"
Watson choked and quickly caught up with me. "Wicked, Holmes." He chastised me under his breath before beckoning to Lestrade to hurry up.
Ah, he did remember my offer to increase my beer intake to see if it would sweeten the taste of my seed. I'd made him laugh and I felt unbearably smug about my attempt at humor. Now, if I could just contribute my share of the banter in the pub. Small talk was not my forte and this was the time that I usually spent going over the case. Tracing my logic and the steps I took to apprehend the culprit, going over the case to see if I could have done better.
But that was impossible in the crowded pub of jovial beer drinkers around us. The jostling and noise didn't seem to affect my companions and I felt a twinge of jealousy at their easy acceptance of the loud voiced bonhomie. I drank my pint with the feeling that it was indeed an experiment ... in bad taste. I really do prefer a fine French wine to our national beverage.
Lost in my thoughts, I hardly noticed that the other two had finished their drinks and Lestrade was thanking me once again. Watson elbowed me discretely and I heard enough to answer civilly.
"Nonsense, Lestrade, you did a fine job and the credit belongs to your team. I was glad to be of service but we really must get back to London. Pressing matters, don't you know?" I managed a smile over my sudden headache and we said our farewells outside the pub before separating. Lestrade went back to the police station to take charge of the prisoner and we headed for the train depot to catch the 3:15 to Paddington.
We had five minutes to spare and Watson spoke to the attendant before joining me in one of the first class compartments. My head was pounding in earnest now and I leaned back with a sigh of relief. The only sound I could hear was the mechanical noises of the train and they could be tuned out unlike the human voices from the pub that had assaulted my ears with their ceaseless chatter.
Watson took the seat across from me and spoke in his doctor tone, low and soothing to my ears. "The attendant will bring us tea when we're underway. Then we can pull down the shades and you can put your feet up and try to relax. Headache?"
I nodded and opened my eyes a slit. The light always seemed to bother me more when one of these sudden blinding headaches appeared out of nowhere. But he'd already drawn the outer shades and in the dimmer light of the compartment, I could see his worried expression. He often told me how helpless he feels to ease this pain of mine, save for a few herbal remedies which he viewed with skepticism but must acknowledge for their benefits.
"I will be fine, Watson." Even though we were alone in this place, I found it hard to use his first name. That was reserved for our intimate moments when we were just the two of us in the privacy of our home. "It comes swiftly and goes as quickly. I think it was the noise of the pub and the exceedingly bad beer. My stomach is still rebelling against the hops." I shrugged and felt the train lurch forward, pulling away from yet another case for my files.
"It was not the best of brews, I'll grant you that." Watson chuckled gently and got up to take the folding tray from the attendant. He also handed over our tickets to be punched and requested that we not be bothered again until London. The crinkle of a pound note changing hands brought a slight smile to my face as did the clicking of the lock on our compartment door.
"Now, that's better." Watson pulled the inner blinds to the train corridor also, the only light was the single gas fixture on the wall above his head. "A cup of tea will help settle your stomach and I happen to have some of those ginger snaps in my bag that you like."
Of course, he did, I thought fondly while I watched him fuss over the teapot. Always he looked after me, even to the least detail. Ginger snaps, indeed. What ever would I do without him? It occurred to me that I should say that more often, just as I should say 'I love you' when he doesn't expect it. It was so hard to let down all the barriers after years of building them up.
But Watson, of all the people in my life, would never hurt me or at least he'd never mean to hurt. "That would be most welcome, Watson. I would be quite lost without your care."
He beamed at me and twisted off the lid of the clear jar that hold the gingersnaps that Mrs. Hudson bakes so well. Their scent filled the stuffy air and my stomach roiled once before settling down. Hastily, I drank some of the strong tea before accepting one of the snaps. My sense of smell joins my sight in acute sensitivity whenever I have one of these attacks.
I managed to keep the small treat down with another cup of tea and the movement of the train acted as a lullaby to my hyperactive senses. Watson urged me down onto the long seat, using his own coat to pillow my aching head. Sitting by my hip, he massaged my temples with his gentle touch and I breathed deeply of the lovely Watson-scent, imprinting it into my brain and body with every breath.
"You have a healing touch, Watson." I murmured softly, knowing only he would hear me. He always heard me.
"I like touching you, Holmes. The skin of your temples is like satin beneath my fingers. Your hair is soft ... like the pinfeathers of a dove. And your eyebrows are silky smooth wings above your beautiful eyes. I can't decide whether to compare them to the gray sky just before dawn or to the storm tossed waves that curl into shore."
I opened my eyes to watch his face while he made love to me with his husky voice and lilting words. The pain in my head was melting away under the light of his smile and the tenderness of his touch. Perhaps it was mesmerism ... or simply his own brand of magic. I never believed in fairies or any of the childhood stories that Nanny told me. But it seemed that magic came in many guises and Watson's love was a miracle for which I thanked the Universe everyday.
"Watson. I do love you." There, I'd said it out loud in the light of day or rather the gloom of a railway carriage. I loved watching his eyes light up with pleasure and watched breathlessly when he bent to kiss me. His lips were so soft on mine while his mustache tickled me into smiling.
"How is your headache now, Holmes?" He murmured against my lips in between little nips of his strong white teeth and licks of his warm moist tongue.
"Better." I managed to say, holding back my moans with difficulty. He straightened with a very wicked gleam in his eye and brought his hands down my face and over my chest very slowly. His heat burned me through my linen shirt and I waited with baited breath to see what he'd do next.
His clever fingers pushed the wool of my waistcoat aside to stroke the linen into my skin. I arched helplessly up into those warm, sure hands that knew me so intimately but I was not prepared for the next caress.
"Why, Holmes, there appears to be some swelling here that feels quite bothersome. Would you like me to examine it and give you my expert opinion?" His left hand rested on the buttons of my trousers and I felt my shaft twitch and come to life while I gazed at him with unbelieving eyes.
Surely, he would not so tease me in a railway carriage? I tried to pull my scattered thoughts together and calculate how much time we had left before reaching London but his knowing fingers had unbuttoned me and were even now delving within to find the 'swelling'.
"It feels quite ... painfully swollen, my dear friend. Is there some discomfort?" He grinned at me teasingly and cupped my hardening shaft in a caressing fist. "Does it hurt when I press here?"
I barely bit back a moan while he rubbed his thumb over the small slit at the end of my shaft and my hips moved towards him while my eyes met his smoldering gaze. It appears that I had much to learn about the art of seduction in a railway compartment. Thankfully, Watson was a master.
"The pain is quite ... exquisite." I managed to stammer out and he nodded as if we were a normal doctor and patient in his office.
"A few tests and I'll be able to tell you exactly what is amiss. I am rarely wrong when it comes to diagnosing this ailment." Laying back the folds of cloth, he exposed my hardened shaft to the pale light of the gas lamp, his hand loosely clasping and stroking the shaft while his eyes contemplated the rosy head, which had begun to leak a single tear.
"Yes, I believe I have seen this before. Let me see what I can do about relieving the pressure. We wouldn't want you to explode, now would we?" He teased before bending to lick away the seeping fluid. "I believe you had four beers this week. I should check and see if your experiment has been successful."
And with that matter-of-fact statement, he swallowed my shaft down to the root. How I kept from crying out, I will never know. Squeezing my eyes shut, I watched stars shoot across my eyelids. The blood pounded in my ears until even the noise of the rails was silent. The feel of that moist cavern engulfing me flooded me with a passion that I had heretofore reserved for our bed.
Suddenly, I was reduced to a panting, quivering body capable of no coherent thought or rational reasoning. The blood pooled in my groin, far from my brain and I could no longer form words, only soft moans that went on and on and on. When he ran his tongue over the large vein that travels up the shaft to the head, I felt it like a tangy taste in the back of my throat.
All I managed was a strangled, "Watson!" He chuckled while I erupted and drank me down like the beer he'd teased me about earlier. I collapsed into a boneless heap on the plush seat of the carriage. The only thought I was capable of was the wish that I could have watched him finish me off. He always looked so delicious with his beautiful lips stretched around my weeping flesh.
But I was suddenly exhausted and could only feebly grip his wrist in expression of my thanks. He buttoned me up and kissed me gently, sharing my taste with a deep stroke of his tongue between my lips.
"Sweeter already, love. Sleep now for a while. I will wake you when we reach London."
"Love you." I murmured before falling into the first restful slumber since this case began. My last thought was how I looked forward to testing out our hypothesis in the privacy of our home. Sweeter, indeed.
End chapter one