INTERLUDES FOR THE SOLO VIOLIN II
next morning, I awoke calm and altogether refreshed. There
of my own helpless longing still upon my person, but the fever had
quite broken and my upper torso was more free of ache than it had been
since the war. Carefully, I rose and further tested the
shifting positions. I was not healed--I would never be well
healed, I supposed--but I was much improved.
This new and
altogether different aspect of my friend's many witch-like talents gave
me pause, and a rush of nerves suffused my belly at the mere thought of
laying eyes upon Holmes once more. Surely he had noticed
amiss with me apart from my physical distress. I washed very
carefully, and dressed with still more attention to detail.
noticed everything, after all, and never failed to comment on the
things he noticed. Drawing a breath for courage, I descended
staircase, knowing that pondering what he was thinking was likely far
worse than actually discovering it.
To my surprise--for he had
not woken me, and in our severe financial distress he had developed a
habit of rousing me when clients arrived to seek his services--Sherlock
Holmes was not alone. I found my friend deep in conversation
very stout, florid-faced elderly gentleman with fiery red
hair. He had
noticed something amiss, then. Not only had he noticed, but
longer desired my assistance. Shamefaced, with an apology for
intrusion, I was about to withdraw when Holmes leaped from his chair,
pulled me abruptly into the room,and closed the door behind me.
dear chap, you look splendid," he exclaimed, one of his blinding smiles
breaking across his features. "Are you at all certain you
ought to be
out of bed?"
"I feel quite well enough," I shrugged, smiling bashfully in return.
by your looks alone, I should deem you correct if I were not aware of
your occasionally alarming penchant for unfounded optimism," he
returned sternly. "I find it difficult to credit you could
recovered so quickly."
"Relapses go as swiftly as they come, in
my experience of injury-induced fevers. And you have more to
it than anyone, dear fellow."
The stout gentleman behind us half
rose from his chair and gave a bob of greeting, with a quick little
questioning glance from his small fat-encircled eyes.
Holmes waved his fingers dismissively in the direction of his client,
who seemed to have noticed that the independent investigator had
forgotten him. "Mr. Jabez Wilson, this is my friend Dr. John
whose health has been a little trying of late."
"And who heartily apologizes for disturbing you," I added in haste.
no," my friend disagreed, "you could not possibly have come down at a
better time, Watson. Provided you supply me with your solemn
feel as hale as you appear."
"I do indeed," I assented, glowing
at the compliment as my eyes flicked to the increasingly put out Mr.
Jabez Wilson, "but I was afraid you were engaged."
"So I am.
Very much so. This gentleman, Mr. Wilson, has been my partner
helper in many of my most successful cases, and I have no doubt but
that he will be of the utmost use to me in yours also." My
failed to so much as even glance at his client during this highly
flattering assessment of my qualities. "Try the settee,
put your feet up. No, I insist. After all, I know
that you share my
love of all that is bizarre and outside the conventions and humdrum
routine of everyday life," he added, winking at me.
apart from our fiscal worries, I am sadly incapable of saying no to my
flat mate. Obediently, I stretched out upon the settee with
up, slightly dizzy but supremely comfortable, and listened to their
talk. The discussion was illuminating in more ways than
one. I came
to a better understanding, while Jabez Wilson expounded upon
encyclopedias and absurdly untaxing berths for men who belonged to the
ranks of the Red-Headed League, one of the reasons why my friend's
assertion that I shared his professional love was so very
true. I was,
admittedly, adrift in London and friendless but for Holmes.
the most hardened stranger could not have watched his grey eyes
sparkling like lightning-illumined clouds, his fingertips resting
together as if reminding their weightless selves to remained steady and
at attention, wriggling in his chair like a fourth former at a rugby
match, and not have been moved to suppose the deductive arts the
highest achievement ever attained by mankind. By the time we
Wilson's terse missive, "THE RED-HEADED LEAGUE IS DISSOLVED," and burst
into simultaneous laughter, I had once again entirely forgotten the
ruins of my own career had ever existed in the first place.
strange pang of apprehension struck me.
Mr. Wilson was listing, "very quick in his ways, no hair on his face,
though he's not short of thirty. Has a white splash of acid
I knew a man with a splash of acid upon his forehead,
who was very quick and lovely in all his ways. I knew such a
too well, but it could not possibly be the same individual.
sat up in his chair in considerable excitement. "I thought as
said he. "Have you ever observed that his ears are pierced
"Yes, sir. He told me that a gypsy had done it for him when
he was a lad."
was not possible even still, I insisted to myself, fighting the second
wave of queasiness which flooded me, that he could be speaking of the
same man. This man's name was Vincent Spaulding, after
Spaulding was unknown to me. I had never heard of a Vincent
in my life. Surely more than one man who has met with an
caused by acid in his days might have also had his ears pierced for
If I was wrong, and it was the same man, what on earth
would happen when I came face to face with him? Would there
recriminations, even blows, and in front of Sherlock Holmes, no
And if such terribly consequential things did take place, how far would
my life spiral out of control when I was forced to explain to my friend
that I was an avowed--though non-practicing--sodomite? Even
knew him well enough not to fear he would hate me for it. I
one of his older Irregulars had been rescued from a disgusting
situation, for example, but could not fail to notice in the telling of
that story that Holmes never vilified queers. He hated
predators as I
did, but he had never spoken against a queer. In my large
of ignorance, it was highly promising that he failed to equate the one
with the other. But once he realized that I myself was an
would he draw inevitable and correct conclusions as to the object of
all my fantasies?
I came back to myself when Sherlock Holmes
cordially escorted Jabez Wilson out the door with promises to render
his opinion in the course of a day or two. After Mr. Wilson
Holmes carried a cup of tea and a small plate of cooled toast and fruit
to me from the breakfast table where they lay, passing both to me
silently. My friend then found his black clay pipe and
stuffed it with
shag, holding it between his lips and throwing two or three pillows
from his armchair on the rug beneath the settee where I
settled down on the cushions below me and turned his eyes up in my
"Well, Watson, what do you make of it all?"
is difficult even for a man who finds writing comes naturally to him to
explain just how sensual he looked sprawled on the carpet below the
sofa, his elbow resting next to my knee as he looked at me
expectantly. I, of course, did not know what to make of any
"We must be prompt over this matter," he mused.
"What are we going to do, then?"
"To smoke," Holmes answered. "It is quite a three pipe
problem, and I beg that you won't speak to me for fifty minutes."
was an easy request, for my mind was clouded with
anxiety in combination with just having recovered from a virulent if
swift fever severely dampened my appetite, but I ate the entirety of
the small portion because Sherlock Holmes, after all, had handed it to
me. Then I set the plate on the floor and closed my lids,
vivifying effects of the food and drink suffuse me.
I opened my
eyes half an hour later because Holmes had perched next to me, his face
alight with determination. "What do you think,
Watson? Are you
through with being a patient for a few hours?"
"The practice is never very absorbing," I answered dryly.
fellow," he rejoiced. "You make a very poor invalid, my dear
if you'll forgive me--the pursuit does not come naturally to
up, and come with me."
Any thought of pleading sickness and
remaining behind out of the fear Vincent Spaulding might not be Vincent
Spaulding was banished from my mind. It was merely my nerves
tricks on me, and that was that. My hat was in my hand a
and I was about the business of following at the heels of Sherlock
Holmes once more.
We traveled by the Underground as
far as Aldersgate and walked the remaining distance to Saxe-Coburg
Square, a place my feet approached ever more reluctantly.
balls and a brown board with "JABEZ WILSON" in white letters, upon a
corner house, announced the place where our red-headed client carried
on his business. Sherlock Holmes stopped in front of it with
on one side and looked it all over, with his eyes shining brightly
between puckered lids. Then he walked slowly up the street,
down again to the corner, still looking keenly at the shabby-genteel
All the while he was dragging his cane absently
from time to time upon the ground. The majority of his
very precise, but when he was thinking, he rarely drew short lines in
the pavement with the end of his stick. It was not a stick
however, nor could the sound of any dragging stick ever be again--it
was a hacksaw, and I was gripping it while four other men held a foot
soldier down who screamed at me for a murderer and pissed himself for
the pain of it. That particular soldier had been right in the
he had died the following day. Cutting off a gangrenous limb
well and good, but when there is a severe antiseptic shortage, the
charges of murder against my person grew more accurate. The
the night previous and the thought of seeing a
man-who-was-perhaps-not-Vincent-Spaulding again in front of
friend were excruciating, but for the moment all that was lost in the
agony of that slight, hideous sound.
"Stop doing--I can't," I
gasped, my own stick clattering to the ground. Then I hid my
detesting myself for the unmanly shame of it.
There were strong
hands gripping my arms in seconds, and one of them moved up to light
gently on my neck. "I'm sorry," he said. His thumb
was resting upon
the skin above my collar, the other hand holding me steady as a
boulder. "You're here safe in London, and I shan't do it
when you're able, tell me what I am not to do."
I dropped my hand from my face to look at him, sick to death of my
womanish, quivering weaknesses.
was not angry at me, staggeringly--he was nothing but calm and
insistent. Granted, he looked alarmed, but he had quickly
expression. "What is it we're avoiding, Doctor?"
"Stop it," he growled. Then he winced at
himself. "I beg your pardon. I can be a bit of a
brute at times."
"No, you cannot," I protested, "and I'm sorry I--"
"Yes, in fact I can, Doctor, and if you continue
apologizing to me, I shall question
your sanity, for your actions have not merited the gesture in the
slightest degree. Now, please, for my sake, tell me what is
pulled a deep, steadying breath into my lungs and then blew it out
again. If I could not prove myself a man in front of him, I
least demonstrate to him I could recover quickly. "When you
stick on the kerb, it sounds like my surgical saw used to--and I was
never using it for a pleasant reason. The majority of them
took a moment to absorb the implications of this statement, and then
his face tightened in such a reserved, respectful display of sympathy
as I had never seen. Sadly, he let go of me.
"It shan't happen again."
"I would appreciate it," I granted, "as long as this sad deficiency of
"For God's sake, Doctor, be a little easier on yourself."
"Easy?" I snapped. "You think if I was easy on myself this
would happen less frequently? You think
keeping this sort of disgusting cowardice in check requires less
He was gripping my arms again, but now the hands were made of steel,
for I had somehow infuriated him.
realize you may not wish to hear this from me," he snarled, "but if you
utter one more disrespectful remark about a war veteran I know to be of
the finest quality, you will deeply offend me."
Just as quickly,
he let me go for the second time. He had never once raised
to me so violently previously, but in the lives of flat mates there is
a first time for everything. And the content of his argument
speechless. Slightly dazed, I reached down for my stick and
upright again. Holmes was being careful not to glare at me,
but he was
still fuming, and stalked away to stand before the pawnbroker's
After examining its relation to the adjacent structures and staring at
the ground for a moment, he turned back to me, dispassionate and
courteous as ever.
"Come here a moment."
I joined him.
have no desire to trigger horrors for you again, but I need to know
what this pavement sounds like. We are not scraping--we are
and perhaps you will feel still more comfortable if you do it
yourself. Just tap very hard on the ground in this spot with
stick, Doctor, and I shall have my answer."
It may be difficult
to believe, but already this was not the strangest request ever put to
me from Sherlock Holmes, and all of the previous ones had led to
stunning results. Obligingly, I thumped against the spot he
three times. The cane produced an oddly cavernous sound.
you," he said. When Holmes' eyes met mine again, they were
with silvery fire. I had never seen him look so delighted at
in our acquaintance. "My dear fellow lodger, do you know what
that was?" he asked mischievously.
"It sounded...almost hollow, Holmes."
"That, friend Watson, was the sound of fifty pounds."
He laughed at my incredulous countenance, and then wrung me by the
"Holmes," I exclaimed, "are you certain that's the sound of fifty
am entirely certain. It is a hobby of mine to have an exact
of London, you see. All will be clear to you in time."
Wheeling theatrically, he went to the door and knocked.
man who opened it was not named Vincent Spaulding. His name,
matter of fact, was John Clay. His features were bright with
intellect, uplifted with self-regard, and coldly cunning.
There was a
striking splash of acid across his high brow, interrupting the line of
his sandy brown hair. He was clean-shaven like Holmes and
charming of feature but far smaller, projecting regality in his
mannerisms rather than with his very being like my friend. It
quite ill to see him again.
Holmes, meanwhile, appeared to be
asking directions. John Clay delivered them readily, and then
glanced away to see who stood behind his questioner. His
eyes raked over me twice, and then with a nod to my friend, he shut the
door. I stared after him in disbelief.
The detective walked
back to me, still smiling a little. "Smart fellow,
that. He is, in my
judgment, the fourth smartest man in Lon--" Holmes drew back
undisguised surprise when he laid eyes on my expression.
I shook my head, leaning on the stick, searching for another
explanation than the obvious.
"Doctor, are you all right?" Holmes demanded. Then his gaze
narrowed. "Watson, are you--do you know
"Apparently not," I gasped, laughing unsteadily.
was the one cruel outcome I could never have expected. That
have attacked one another was squarely within the realm of possibility,
and that a flash of recognition would pass between us before we both
ignored one another had been my second guess. The idea that I
destroyed to the point that John Clay would not recognize me at all was
too much. I knew I was far too thin and much too brown, and
coat no longer fit well, and that my muscle mass had receded into a
wiry frame and a splintered shoulder. But was not at least my
same? No, I realized--it was not. It was haunted,
saddened by bloodshed, and forever after unrecognizable. I
simply have to bear the fact. Thank God my friend at least
to look at me without flinching.
"Do you wish to--"
"No," I countered. "I have no need to speak with
him. I must have made some mistake."
friend stared at me as if he could read my thoughts printed upon my
brain. His grey eyes searched every part of my face for an
questing tirelessly, until just looking steadily back at him myself
began to exhaust me. Finally, he smiled. I could
not understand the
transformation at all--it was a wonderful smile, open and heartfelt,
the sort of smile I laboured for days at a time to produce in him, the
smile that sent my unruly heart somewhere up in the vicinity of the
nearest clock tower. All trace of the sad and erudite
without the means to pay his rent, who thought the countryside evil and
whose skin was thick with syringe scars, had vanished. He
utterly peaceful and yet bursting with energy, and he offered me his
"We have done our work, Doctor," he said, eyes still sparkling
wildly. "Don't you think it's time we had some play?"
The breathy tone was unmistakable, and trapped my tongue to the roof of
my mouth. "I--what sort of play do you intend?"
sandwich, for I cannot afford to buy you oysters at the moment," he
said easily, "although I will buy you oysters when this affair is
concluded, I vow. And afterwards a cup of coffee, and then
violin-land, where all is sweetness and delicacy and harmony, and there
are no red-headed clients to vex us with their conundrums."
played at the St. James Hall that afternoon and, confident of his
mysterious fifty pounds and inexplicably joyful, my friend treated us
both to a ticket after previously treating us to a simple
the afternoon he sat in the stalls wrapped in the most unaccountably
perfect happiness, gently waving his long, thin fingers in time to the
music, while his smiling face and his languid, dreamy eyes cast
surreptitious glances at me. It was one of the strangest
the most sensuous, that I have ever laid eyes on. I knew
Holmes to possess a dual nature, and an unfairly vast degree of inner
complexity, but I could not believe that mere music could produce such
an effect in him, although to be sure it was sublimely rendered
Though it was nearly impossible for me to forget the fact that I was
now so ravaged that even John Clay could not identify me, I found
myself being swept along with Holmes, as the Spaniard played his violin
as though his heart were twined into its strings.
When we emerged, it was already evening, and the October clouds were
menacing. I felt Holmes' hand on my back.
"You want to go home, no doubt, Doctor?"
It was the same tone--inviting, no doubt, but also dangerously
hypnotic. I nodded, and my friend strode off in search of a
back at our digs in Baker Street at last, I collapsed into my
armchair. Its mere familiarity, following the many events of
afternoon, was a comfort. Holmes poured us a pair of
out the soda, and shot me a look. "This business at Coburg
serious," he announced.
"Why serious?" I asked, swallowing.
"A considerable crime is in contemplation, but you and I are going to
stop it. I shall want your help tomorrow night."
"My help is always yours for the asking," I replied, forcing my voice
to sound jovial and not strained.
He smiled, and then the smile disappeared. "Did you care for
"The concert? I loved the concert. In particular
that piece based on--"
"The Carmen Fantasy," he commented. "L'oiseau
que tu croyais surprendre battit de l'aile et s'envola...l'amour est
loin, tu peux l'attendre; tu ne l'attends plus, il est
knew he spoke French, for he often muttered in the language when vexed
or tired, but as I never responded to him when he did so, he must have
deduced I had never learned the beautiful tongue. Flicking
and finishing his drink, my friend picked up his own violin and
"I confess myself very fond of Sarasate's variations," he said.
"I am as well. I've always liked Carmen
itself, in fact, though I don't know why."
"Car c'est la fête du courage. C'est
la fête des gens de coeur."
"Holmes, if you desire a conversation with me, it's going to have to be
in English," I laughed.
wasn't conversing--I was quoting Bizet. 'Because it is the
of courage; it's the celebration for the men of heart.'" He
the strings of his Stradivarius tentatively with his
"Although too much heart can grow to be a bad business--I do draw the
line at stabbing former lovers when they grow to scorn you. I
you're sick of the violin?"
"I am never weary of the violin, particularly your violin, and I never
shall be," I corrected him.
he lifted his bow and he played. There is a saying that
difficult task appear effortless is the sign of the true master, and
Sherlock Holmes proves the maxim correct in more sense than
the violin is concerned, however, the man has been gifted with magic
from the gods. That evening, as the winds picked up and the
darkened, he played the Carmen Fantasy in his own
way--ethereally, urgently, twisting familiar phrases into new
conceptions of what is sublime and what is ugly. He could do
things because he knew far too much about the sublime and the ugly, I
thought, and the rest of the sweet burden fell to his divine pair of
the bowing ceased on an impossibly long, quavering note, the perfectly
poised spine relaxed, and the hand holding the bow fell gracefully to
his side, I realized that I had not taken a breath in approximately
twenty seconds. I drew one, making every effort to appear
perfectly at ease.
But I was neither one of those things, for
Sherlock Holmes was staring at me again. His eyes were aglow
molten lead, and the faintest flush accented his striking
I was an insect being held under a magnifying glass, and I suddenly
felt as if he were ministering to me in the darkness again, as if I was
not wearing any clothing.
"Did I pass muster?" he asked casually.
swallowed. "You are quite too unfairly talented.
Having your own
unique profession ought to be enough for you without also being a
concert-worthy violinist. My dear fellow, that was
apart from this Red-Headed League business, I am no longer in any way
anxious about where we are going to come by the rent next month."
smiled, but only very slightly. Tapping his bow against his
he remarked in the tones of a courtier's cat, "You did appear rather
profoundly affected by my performance."
"You remind me of the
Pied Piper of Hamlin," I laughed. "I think all of London
you into the Channel if you played for them liked that.
"But you see," he murmured, his lips lingering over the words, "I don't
play for anyone like that."
when I thought I had recalled how to breathe, the knowledge was
stricken from me again. Holmes, meanwhile, took two small
me. There was something in his eyes which I had seen there
truly strange mix of introspection and scrutiny, but this time it was
unguarded and as irresistible as the undertow of a tidal wave.
"Would you follow me into the Channel?" he inquired
It was the end of me, or else the beginning. But there was
only one possible response to the question.
"Yes," I breathed.
have no notion of what I expected to follow, but it most certainly was
not what he did. An expression flashed across his face too
identify, as he turned aside and gently set his beloved instrument on
the floor beside the hearth. Then he pulled a cigarette from
and lit it carefully, walking the short distance to the
settee. He sat
down, his long arms spanning the back of the furniture as he raised his
eyes to mine once more.
"I don't suppose you would object," he purred, "to my testing that
would have laughed had he not looked so burningly intent on the
question. I did manage to smile before replying, "My dear
no real wish to swim the Channel, surely you realize that. It
quite detrimental to my health."
The smile which flicked across
his sculpted lips might have lingered upon the features of a Sphinx in
ancient Egypt. "That was not quite the experiment I had in
mind. I do
wonder, however, whether you would comply with my request to remove
your clothing." He paused, the cigarette half an inch from
"All of it."
My heart stopped, I think, and then soared in its
turn. Even had a fog of lust not just then descended to
my judgment, my mind would yet have been subject to those eyes,
those beautiful, wicked eyes, which now studied me with an appearance
of perfect calm. How like Sherlock Holmes to take what--I was
beginning to comprehend--could have been a conventional declaration and
twist it into a test of dominance. And yet somehow I could
hold it against him. Regarding my apparent loss of free will,
coercion to order a man to take the step he has been pining for already?
stood up and went to the curtains, shutting them carefully before I
locked the door. I wondered from beyond myself in some remote
Neverland whether I was afraid, but could not answer the
Going back to my armchair, I kicked off my house slippers and reached
up for my cravat. The same distant part of me said that my
to have been trembling, but when I glimpsed them as they folded my
waistcoat, I saw that miraculously they were not. They
over buttons of their own accord, as if they'd already touched Sherlock
Holmes and had performed the exercise for him a thousand
imagination, however, still retained some cause for fear when I
recalled the unbearable events of that afternoon. Surely I
altogether ugly, was I not? When I had been thought
men like John Clay had sought after me, I had weighed at least a stone
more and had been unscarred at the very least. When I at last
from my underthings and set them atop my trousers, my profound arousal
was dampened by apprehension.
When I turned back to look at my
friend, he was still smoking quietly, but with his left hand.
drawn his sublime member from his trousers and was idly running his
delicate fingers over it. Smiling at me in open, undisguised
admiration, he flicked the cigarette away into the fireplace.
think I reached him in three strides, and had straddled his thighs in
seconds. As first kisses go, it was everything a first kiss
to be--insistent, knowing, powerful, needful, entirely lacking the
typical chaste restraint of the activity. There was nothing
tentative in that utter submersion, as I had countless times imagined
there would be. I can only suppose we had both been
practicing it in
our dreams for so long that we were already adepts. I was
hair with both hands before I knew my hands had moved, and the
sensation of his deft tongue in my mouth only maddened me further when
his musician's fingers traced their nails down my exposed
back. I slid
forward until I could just feel the warmth of his cock nestled against
mine, and the lips which burned beneath my own smiled again.
pass the first test." Pulling the base of my spine into him
hands, his black head lowered as he bent to run his lips, very gently,
over the mass of scar tissue on my shoulder. No one had ever
before, and it was not in the least painful and shockingly erotic,
perhaps as much from the sight of him doing such a thing as the vague
"Has anyone ever passed these tests in their entirety?" I murmured.
"I don't administer these tests to anyone."
might have been merely an interlude, if the most powerfully sexual
interlude of my life to date, had he not been so insistent upon my
singularity. And I admitted in that moment, if only to
myself, that I
did love him. I was a lying, prevaricating fool who had loved
months. And I would one day have to endure the harrowing rite
telling him so.
He brushed his thumbs over my pectorals and
shivering, I kissed him again. That he was experienced was
doubt, but it was also possible to deduce he retained the soul of a
violinist in matters of the flesh, for against my every instinct to
hurry, wanting all of him at once, he was taking his time.
deep in my pelvis hummed with pleasure when he suddenly fastened his
lips to my collarbone and sucked the blood to the surface. My
abstinence likely made me more eager than I would have been otherwise,
but I can only attribute his own languid restraint to
was no part of me save the most insistent one that his sensitive
fingers did not explore, as he ran his lips and tongue over my chest.
the second test?" I asked, my cheeks flushed and my neglected member
throbbing persistently. I had thought to demand he remove at
some of his own clothes out of fair play, but he did not seem in the
mood to meet demands.
"Simplicity itself," he said lowly. "I wonder if you might
fetch the Vaseline residing in the top drawer of my nightstand?"
could not possibly have asked me anything I would more willingly have
done. I was up in an instant and striding towards his bedroom.
I arrived there, however, his mirror gave me slight pause. I
myself over candidly for a moment. Sadly thinned, and the
about my shoulder the better. It was a repulsive thing, the
something between a crater and a splintering network of
yet he'd seen it all, and baldly desired it.
I was simply lucky, that was all. And the wise man takes
advantage of undeserved luck for as long as is possible.
found the object in question between an old revolver and a fuel
cartridge for his chemical burner. As I arrived back in the
room, I tossed it to him and he caught it easily, setting it two feet
away further along the sofa. Still seated, he had removed his
collar, cuffs, and waistcoat, though he was nearly fully clothed by
comparison to me. The glimpse of white flesh above his
beyond my capacity to resist, and I resumed my previous position, this
time nipping at the pale skin near his shoulders.
"Your tests are not very difficult," I observed wantonly.
are tailored to suit the applicant, I grant," he laughed, inhaling
sharply when I had pulled apart his finely laundered shirt enough for
my tongue to graze his nipple. "Ready for the next item on
"I fear I have been ready for quite some time," I replied, lust making
the words all the harsher.
Lifting my face away from his breast with the palm of his hand, he slid
down against the cushions by perhaps a foot. Then he ran his
down to my hips suggestively. "I am about to do something I
longing to do for months now. I don't doubt that you'll like
activity, but I suggest that you simultaneously enjoy yourself with a
similar exercise, and one I know you have been
contemplating at length. Now, up."
pulled me to my knees until my palm was leaning against the back of the
settee and my cock was at his lips, his left hand cradling it gently
while his right traveled up my torso to my mouth.
"I think you
know what I mean," he murmured. I am positively certain he
it so as it run his lips over my already aching member.
know what he meant, and I almost climaxed then and there as he
swallowed me at the exact moment I drew two slender, perfect fingers
into my mouth. I believe to this day that if there is
anything in the
world better than worshiping other, more central portions of my
friend's anatomy, it is savouring the hands which can literally guide
me like a marionette tethered heart-and-body to their individual
strings. I kissed everything from his forearm to his wrist to
and back again, then devoted myself to each separate perfect finger
singly while his damnably clever tongue did the same to my cock.
was not a pastime destined to last forever--indeed, I began to fear it
could last no more than about five minutes, and I pulled his hand from
my mouth whilst gripping his hair and gasping out his name.
twined in my fingers were thick and black as the coal-dusk that fell
every night over London.
"Hmm?" He looked up innocently. "Oh, yes.
Admirable work, my dear fellow, thank you."
the scoundrel merely tasted my length once more as his moistened
fingers reached deftly behind me. I let out a moan of desire,
forward and clutching the back of the sofa with both hands.
is not what I meant," I panted. He was cradling my shaft with
and his left hand while the other gently drove into me, just as slow as
ever he pleased, then deeper and harder, teasing and circling and
sending white flashes before my eyes as I struggled desperately not to
finish. My brain, I knew, could control my body, but not when
lighting bolts of pleasure were running up and down my spine.
"No?" he inquired, taking the briefest of respites. "What did
"I meant I'm close to--God," I gasped. "I
had to warn--not yet, wait--"
apologize," he said. All his fingers left me, but only for a
moment--and because my eyes were closed, trying frantically to bring
myself back from the edge, I failed to notice that he only took such an
action so as to coat them with the substance I'd procured from his room.
are limits to every man's stamina, and being surprised once again in
that same manner while he redoubled his efforts to swallow me whole
happens to have been mine. I made every effort not to cry out
climaxed, shaking and sweating and shattering to pieces as I gripped
the furniture so hard I might have broken it. I was only
hands hadn't been anywhere near my companion, lest I had snapped him in
half. When the aftershocks were beginning to subside but I
dizzy and blinded, I crawled in closer to him as he sat up straighter.
I whispered. Kissing him, I tasted the headiest mixture of
ever produced. I ran my tongue over his, wanting only to
of him and live within his ribcage. "Now."
"Not now," Holmes replied, but I was gratified to hear that at least
his breathing had grown ragged.
now! Why not now?" I demanded without any regard for
down, I saw his own need was surely painful by that time.
"I am waiting until you are ready."
"For God's sake, I have been ready since--"
"No," he said forcefully, his arms encircling my
I doubted myself quite sickeningly all over again. "But don't
were once a complete enigma to me, John Watson, and in almost every
sense save for this, you remain one. But now that I have you,
to retain possession of you. There are rules about these
things, and I
am the one who makes them." His tone was desperate with
also hard as iron. "One of the rules states that--because I
well keeping you now I have found you--for the following week, every
little death I allow myself shall be accompanied by two of
isn't negotiable, I'm afraid, although I do find your eagerness to
proceed very flattering in a personal sense. You'll be ready
My lips were already parted, but that statement
made me weak in the knees. His eyes were shining at me, full
knavish mischief and yet perfectly serious. I could not have
him if I tried, save on one count.
"That was--there is no anatomical way I will be ready again in ten--"
"Trust me. You are a doctor, I know, but trust me.
Now I need to speak with you. There are a few things we must
settle anything you like," I hastened to say. I had never in
adult life wanted anything more feverishly than for my friend to take
me right then and there, but if there was an agenda to be undertaken
first, I wanted it over.
"You've had relations with John Clay, yes?"
"I--yes. Is that a problem?"
"He did not treat you well, did he?"
he treated me vilely, but we were young. We're both of us
still, for all the trouble we have seen," I added to Holmes.
I had no
notion what he was driving at, but it was shattering my
"Dearest fellow, it was a very long time ago. Tell me
it at issue?"
"No," he replied calmly, "but if he touches you
again, he won't live out the night. I'll see to that
much. The same
is true for any other man in the Empire. You have experienced
fourth smartest man in London, in addition to doubtless several others
lower on the scale, and just now you sampled the second smartest man in
London. Your collection is over. You are
categorically forbidden to
explore any other fellows on the continuum, and what I am doing now is
proving that it is in your own best interests to obey that
would never present you with an illogical ultimatum, and thus frame it
as a question of value for your time. I intend to treat you
indeed. As for the others, if they presume to make advances
on what is
mine, they will reap unfortunate consequences."
It did not seem
scientifically feasible, but I felt my cock stir at this devastatingly
arousing sentiment. Smiling as widely as I ever had, I think,
his warm lips again.
"I shall never have the first smartest man in London?"
no," he said with a mock shudder. "In any event, if you find
physically attractive in any way, he would not be to your liking, as he
is a very, very large man."
"You are the most attractive man I have ever known."
eyes widened in surprise, for the remark was so candid as to sound
almost callow. "That is not the same thing as fidelity," he
"Sherlock Holmes," I said softly, "I don't desire any
other man in London."
"Don't you?" he inquired, his voice suddenly very gentle.
"Not a one."
"You're quite sure?"
"Yes, I assure you. I certainly have no intention of begging
anyone else to get on with it and take me, for the
love of Heaven."
"Not up to your standards of dignity?" he teased me, his eyes glowing
at me tenderly.
"It should be clear by now that where you are concerned, I have no
standards of dignity whatever."
caught one of my nipples between his middle and index
really cannot tell you how charming it is. I hadn't expected
confess. I'd liken it to--"
"For pity's sake, what do I have to do for you to
sod me?" I demanded hoarsely. "Must I--"
up for a moment," he requested. I did, staring at him
finished opening his fine shirt with agonizing slowness and then
shrugged it off his shoulders gracefully, throwing it to the
The planes of his slim back were unbelievably taut with
stepped from his own slippers and then removed his remaining garments,
standing svelte and bare before me, carved out of priceless ivory, his
member glistening and swollen and his lips flushed with sex.
down again, legs slightly apart, looking with amusement at my fresh
"You see?" he questioned. "Chalk it up to experience, but I
have rather a sixth sense about these--"
cut himself off when I unceremoniously impaled myself on him, moaning
as my lips fell to his brow and I ground smoothly, achingly, gradually
into the solid thighs I had been longing after for far too
choked back my own cry with an effort. I wanted to move
slowly. Or at
least, I thought I did. But instead I found myself rising and
and rocking ardently while he, to my severe delight, seemed to lose a
good many of his powers of restraint as his fingers clutched at my
When I knew for a fact neither of us could take much
more I stopped, dragging the sweat from his pale brow with the back of
my hand. I had never seen so much colour in his aristocratic
never seen his fingers wander over anything without a specific object
in mind, never seen anything as open and human as that wide-eyed look
of passion. He gripped the back of my neck with both his
breathing heavily and shivering.
"Do you always make the rules?" I whispered.
he gasped. Then he tugged at my cock and I lost myself for
time, dimly aware I had wrenched a cry from him as he shook underneath
me, spiraling together into a state as close to madness as it was to
bliss, and as close to oblivion as it was to either one.
not believe a single one of my muscles was free from tremors.
utterly unraveled. Next thing I knew, I was lying on my side
sofa, covered with a light blanket. Panicked that I could no
feel him, my eyes flew open, but he was before me--sitting on the
floor, his face only inches from my own, his fingers twined into my
"I thought it would trouble you," I whispered. I
do not know why I felt like confession, apart from the fact that his
aesthetic features hovered so sympathetically near to mine.
"What would?" he asked, frowning.
"You are so fastidious, and I used to be more...desirable."
remark drew only a dry laugh and the brush of his other hand over my
face. "I cannot fathom how that would have been possible, my
boy. And I have a very vivid imagination."
"I can promise you--"
he said quietly, "whatever you were before, I doubt your current state
of mind enables you to see what you are today. I might have
interest in a stunningly beautiful young medico with his arms swinging
carelessly at his sides, a lovely boy shining with untested
self-confidence. Might. I doubt it. The
man upon whom I desire to
lavish my time--I only hope you will allow me-- is one who cares about
suffering because he suffers, cares about hardship because he has
experienced it, detests injustice because he has seen injustice done,
listens to the complaints of his peers because he knows how difficult
it can be to keep his own complaints as silent as he does every
And even apart from your soul, dear fellow, your body is a
speaks your history, and eloquently, though I am sorry you are ever
pained by it. I do not enjoy reading blank books any more
than I enjoy
sleeping with virgins. Not all men are of my taste in these
but there you are."
His exquisite words were not even the main
blessing as a wave of contentment washed over me--I had never been so
grateful for simply being stared at before. I needed to thank
could think of nothing valuable enough to give him in return for my
self-regard. I would ask him later, perhaps, what he wanted.
should remind you that my nerves are not yet fully recovered.
think I can survive another week of this treatment," I murmured,
smiling as I opened my eyes.
"Of course you will," he returned softly. Leaning down, his
lips touched mine. And then he said, "I will take care of
did not mean he would take care of me, for I was a grown man.
that he loved me. And so I said, "I love you too," before his
drifted entirely away from my consciousness.