by elfin

I held my beloved Sherlock Holmes in my arms, still feeling as if a miracle had occurred here tonight.

He was sleeping, exhausted, for I'd fairly wrung him out upon his dramatic return.

He'd surprised me, yes.  Appeared at my surgery in the guise of an old man.  When I saw him, saw who it was reaching toward me, I'd fainted.

Even as I woke his dear face was a blur to me yet his voice, that oh so familiar voice, was apologising with genuine feeling.

I reached up, gripped his arms and squeezed.  I needed to be sure that I hadn't lost my mind as well as my reason.  But once I was sure, my head and heart began to swim with so many emotions that I became lost in the tide.

It was Holmes himself who decided which emotion won out.  Innocently, I'm sure, he raised one trembling hand and stroked my cheek.

I slapped that hand away so hard, and yet his expression - though stung - was not one of surprise.

"I deserve that from you and more," he told me quietly, so sadly that had I not been completely overwhelmed by his appearance I might have let all my anger dissipate in favour of simply holding him close.

"Never a truer word!" I shouted at him.  He sat back on his heels where he'd crouched before my chair.  "I thought you were dead!  Three years!  You've let me believe... for three years!"

"My dear Watson, if you'll give me but a few minutes...."

Pushing myself to my feet, stepping over him, I shook my head.  "How can you explain?  How can anything you say change...."  I trailed off, for I'd turned my back to him and now that I could no longer see him, I was sure I was talking to a delusion, to a dream.

Sighing to myself, blinking the tears from my eyes - although they were only to be replaced by more - I stared out of the window, quite beside myself.

"Watson?"  The question was so softly put that I had to turn, to look, to assure myself that it was Holmes who had spoken and not the illusion I'd imagined I was talking to.  "Oh, my dearest friend...."  There was a terrible guilt in his eyes, in his drawn expression.  "What have I done?"

Words failed me then.  What could I say?  I wanted to scream, again and again into his face that he was dead.  I'd grieved for him, mourned his passing, and yet still I felt the pain and loss as keenly as I had sitting beside the great torrents of the Reichenbach Falls.

"...How?" was all I could ask.

He rose slowly, knowing better than to approach me, and sat himself in the chair I'd vacated.  He told me how he'd escaped Moriarty's deadly grip and watched as his foe had fallen the long drop into the racing water.  Holmes had climbed the almost sheer face of the ravine and finally collapsed upon a ledge about half way up.

"I saw you," he told me, rare tears in his eyes.  "I watched you call out to me and I so wanted to shout down to you.  I'll never forget the torture of seeing you read my note and weep for me upon that rock.  How I wanted to comfort you, to be with you, to come home with you.  But I couldn't.  I would have been endangering your life all the more and I refused myself the luxury of your company when it could only have brought you into danger."

I found my voice then.  "Refused yourself my company?  And what of my choice?  You denied me the luxury of your company!  You denied me knowing you were alive!  Do you think I'd have cared about the danger?  Do you think I wanted to live alone?  The thought of you lying at the base of the falls, with only Moriarty for company, for the rest of eternity, was unbearable.  How many times I considered following you."

Holmes' face contorted in pain.  He sat forward, elbows on his knees, hands stretched forth as if to implore me to have some little mercy.  But I could not.  Three years is such a long time.  All that he was I'd committed to memory.  All that he meant to me was locked away deep in my heart.  I had determined not to explore those feelings attached to him and in so doing had not been living but merely existing, devoting all my time and energy to others so that I had none spare for myself.  I hadn't sought to heal my own wounds, for they were far too deep.

"Watson...."  His voice was barely a whisper.  "Christ, John....  Could you ever find it within your heart to forgive me?"

"I don't know, Holmes."  But the words weren't considered.  I felt that one touch would shatter me for the armoury I had constructed, around those places that gaped deep and black without him, had been destroyed with his reappearance, and I was left defenceless.

He looked away and started to rise, but his knees would not support him and he dropped back into the chair.

"Is this situation irreconcilable then?"  His tone was a broken one, his grey eyes pleading with me.

I gazed at him, upon the only sight I'd wished to see for three long years.  I remembered telling a close friend of mine, 'I wish he would walk through the door.  No questions, no answers.  If only he was here.'  And here he was, pale and weary, tired of running.  I couldn't pretend I wasn't deeply hurt by his actions, but neither could I pretend that he wasn't my fondest desire.

"No, of course it isn't."  Moving from the window, I crouched before him as he had before me.  "That you're alive and that you're here is the most wonderful thing."

"I have caused you unbelievable suffering.  I've been a coward, not coming to you, not informing you sooner."  He hesitated, reaching to hold my hand in his own.  And I knew that whatever was to come would be more painful still.  "Mycroft - my brother - has known all along for I desperately needed money."  He rushed the final words, observing, no doubt, the fresh tears in my eyes and the crumpling of my face.  "I am so sorry....  I fretted so for your safety, and for my own.  I so fervently hoped to return to you some day, when the coast was clear."

"But it isn't, is it?"  Somehow talking about the immediate present was easier than speaking of the past or thinking to the future.

"No, not entirely.  But there have been developments, and before this night is out, my beloved Watson, I hope to be free of Moriarty's terrible legacy."

I nodded slowly.  "You need my help."

"No.  I would dearly like your help.  But more than anything I need your forgiveness.  I need time and your consent to make up for the awful agony I've caused you.  I have so missed your companionship, your friendship....  Your love."

Despite the magnitude of what had already occurred here, hearing him say that which had remained unspoken between us was almost a greater shock.  "My... love?"

"You did love me, didn't you?  Back then?"


"I loved you too."  Any words that might have found their way from my throat were caught.  "I still do, so very much.  I understand that you've thought me dead and have moved on, made me a memory so that you may live the rest of you life without my ghost always haunting you."  I wanted to deny that my feelings had ever changed, but I found myself unable to speak.  "I was afraid.  Not of you but of what we might be, of the power you had over me and so of the power of that which would be between us.  You must understand that no one has ever affected me as you did.  I made myself believe that there wasn't room for such flights of fancy in my life, in my career.  I fooled myself that the risk to us both was too great."

I opened my mouth to force the words from my throat, but he raised his hand and pressed rough fingertips to my lips.  I swallowed hard as my confused mind was overpowered by the automatic response of my body.

"I lied to myself for so long that I came to believe it absolutely."  He shook his head.  "The truth was that you deserved so much better than the inconsistent, cold-hearted man that I saw myself to be.  I have not come back to force myself into your affections once again.  I seriously doubt that after the pain and grief I've caused you, you would even want to be simply my friend.  But eventually I will seek your forgiveness.  And I will never, ever stop loving you as I have always done."

His words undid me.  I leaned forward, dropped my face into my palms and wept bitter tears for all we had lost.

Not lost, a small voice inside my head whispered to me.  Simply put aside.

I felt his hand on my head, his fingers comb softly, comfortingly through my hair.  And then I felt him drop from the chair, push it to one side and kneel before me.  Wiry yet strong arms wrapped around me and I was enveloped in him.  The side of his lean face came to rest against my temple.  He was murmuring, but I couldn't make out the words.

For a long time I cried, my tears falling for myself, for the three years I'd believed him gone from me forever.

When finally my broken sobs eased and I could draw breath, a white handkerchief was pressed into my hand.  I again felt a hand on my hair and, I could have sworn, a kiss to my temple.  But a moment later I wasn't sure.

Finally I found the strength to lift my head.  And I saw the tears in his eyes, running silently over his cheeks.  Leaning forward, making my movements deliberate and slow, I touched my lips to his face, once under his left eye and once under his right.  His long eyelashes fluttered closed, tickling my nose.

Sitting back, I watched him regard me with the greatest of affection.

"Do you think we can pull ourselves together long enough to make it back to Baker Street?" he asked me quietly, a little self-effacing humour in his tone.

I frowned.  "I'm not sure our rooms are still...."

"I had Mycroft take care of the costs.  They should be as I left them."  He gazed at me hopefully.  "Maybe one day you'll feel yourself comfortable enough to move back in with me."

Despite the barely suppressed anger I still felt crowding in upon me, he was offering me everything I wanted back - the past, the way we had been before Mary, before Moriarty.

"It will take time for me to forget, even to forgive," I told him honestly, "but I would gladly share rooms with you like in the old days."  His smile, though plainly relieved, still bore the sadness I had inflicted with my blame.  I was surprised to find that it upset me to see him so low on such an occasion, and in an attempt to lighten the mood I grasped his shoulders and squeezed them.  "Don't think I'm letting you out of my sight for a long time to come, my dear fellow."  This smile then did reach his eyes and he nodded, clearly happy that it was the case.  "Come, I should be there with my medical kit when you surprise Mrs Hudson.  If I, a stout man, fainted at your appearance, I can only guess as to her reaction."


It turned out that my professional skills were not needed.  Mrs Hudson stared at my friend for at least thirty seconds before bursting into tears much as I had done.  He stepped up to her, wrapped his long arms around her shoulders and held her as she cried.

She was faster to recover than I, who still found tears blossoming in his eyes every few minutes.  She hastened us upstairs with the promise of tea and scones and, for a few minutes, we were alone in our old suite.

Mycroft had indeed ensured that Holmes' things had been kept exactly as they were.  How odd it must have been for Mrs Hudson to weekly dust rooms she'd believed would never again be lived in. 

Only once had I been back.  I'd taken his violin and his old ratty blanket, left and never returned.

Until that moment when I stood just inside the lounge and watched him walk around the once familiar room.

His eyes drifted over the furniture and clutter, so long missed yet even now feeling like home again.  "Where's my violin?" he asked softly.

"I took it," I admitted.


"No!"  Horrified, I shook my head.  "How could I have parted with it?"

He turned.  "I'm sorry, Watson.  You don't play and I...."

"It was yours, Holmes," I tried to explain gently.  "To look upon it reminded me of you.  No other hand has touched it since your passing...."  I trailed off for a moment, and he nodded his understanding.  "I have your blanket too, the one your mother gave you."

Coming back to me, he stopped just in front of me and his fingers touched the back of my hand where it hung at my side.

His voice was naught but a whisper when he said, "You've been living with my ghost these past years."

I met his grey eyes, clouded with tears as mine were.  "It's all I had left of you."

"My dear...."  He leaned close, his lips hovering just above mine.  His fingers curled around my hand.  "I've returned now, Watson.  I won't leave you again."

My heart was pounding.  I could almost taste him.  Suddenly nervous, I flicked the tip of my tongue over my bottom lip.  Holmes' eyes followed it, his expression so incredibly carnal that my body reacted in kind.


Mrs Hudson's footsteps on the stairs shocked us both.  We broke apart guiltily, him moving to stand by the window while I stepped behind one of the high-backed chairs near the empty grate.

As the door opened, I glanced across at him and caught his smile.  It was full of so many promises that my anger seemed to fade to nothing, leaving me, for that moment at least, the happiest man alive.


At Holmes' urging, and very reluctantly, I left Baker Street before him.  I made my way on foot to Regent Street before hailing a hansom and giving my destination as the Diogenes Club.  There, I waited in the foyer for thirty minutes.  They were among the longest of my life.  I was frightened, I'll willingly admit, of again losing the most precious man who had stepped shockingly back into my life.

So many thoughts went through my busy mind.  Had he appeared only to vanish again, leaving me with my grief sharpened enough for me to fall upon it?  Was my brain so affected by my grief that it had conjured up his form to afford me some comfort?  When I'd known him to be dead, I hadn't allowed myself to contemplate him other than in recalled memories.  But now... his nearness, merely the smell of him, had engendered ideas within me that previously had been too painful to think of.

I longed for him.  Having been without him for so long, I wanted everything I'd ever longed for from him.

If only he'd show up....

I was weak with anxiety when he finally appeared, four minutes later than he'd arranged.  He had a reassuring smile for me, and a brief, discreet touch to my gloved hand.

"I will, one day, win back your trust," he murmured to me, just as he stepped forward and hailed a hansom.  To my surprise, we alighted on Cavendish Square and Holmes led me a merry trail until we reached the back passage of a three-storey house that seemed to me very familiar.

The place had been deserted for some considerable time.  The stairs creaked under our feet as we climbed to the first floor.  The layout of the landing was like our own rooms and Holmes pushed open the equivalent of the living room door.  Crossing the dull floorboards to the window, he wiped away some of the grime and looked outside.  He seemed to be seeking someone who might be watching us.

"Watson," he beckoned me to the window and pointed at the space he'd made with his fist in the dirt.  "Look.  And see if I can't still pleasantly surprise you."

I looked out and indeed found myself staring at the brightly-lit windows of 221b Baker Street.  In one of the windows, silhouetted by the light in the room, sat Sherlock Holmes - or so I would have sworn for the likeness was astounding.

I found myself reaching out for him to reassure myself that he was still at my side.  In answer, he slipped one arm around my shoulders.

"It's incredible, Holmes!" I exclaimed despite myself.  I was used to his disguises, but to have him in two places at once was truly remarkable.

"It's a wax bust," he told me quietly.  "Made by one Monsieur Oscar Meunier in Grenoble."  I glanced at him, and saw the apology quickly form in his eyes.

But the old excitement had set in, and I could not restrain my enthusiasm for the chase.  "You're using it as bait!"

He smiled at me almost proudly, shifting his body a little closer to mine, his hand sliding from my shoulder down my back.  "The final member of Moriarty's gang is still at large.  But he has recently made a mistake and revealed himself to me.  He saw us go into Baker Street this afternoon, I made sure that although he saw you leave he believes me to still be there."

I frowned.  "But won't he become suspicious when you seem to remain perfectly still?"

"Ah, Watson, do you not think I've had time enough to think this through?"  There was a sad glint in his eyes and I knew suddenly that his travels had not been easy on him.  "I have induced Mrs Hudson to half-hourly move the bust.  She crawls along the carpet so as not to be seen."

"Crawls?  Holmes, really."

He smiled a shy little smile and inclined his head.  "It seems that there are one or two people willing to do much to secure my safety."

Of course we would.  He only had to ask.  I nodded.

We waited in silence, standing close together by the window.  Two men were loitering near a shop two doors down from 221b but they seemed to be oblivious to our vigil and, after a time, I forgot about them.

"It was not a holiday, Watson," Holmes spoke into the silence, surprising me a little.

"I know."  I understood that now.

"When faced with no other choice, and in such loneliness, I was, now and again, driven to seek the company of other such as myself."

I knew well enough what he was trying to tell me.  Not that he had given himself to a whore, not the interpretation I would have made upon others speaking those words.  But that small intimacies, that had once been my dominion, had been allowed.  Company he had said and, in his own inimitable fashion, company he meant.  Not bedfellows, but companions with whom to share conversation, maybe some long miles as he moved from country to country.  Perhaps even to share rooms with in some city strange to him.

As much as it hurt to think about it, I was just as determined that no other would have a chance to take my place by his side, even for the short times he was alluding to.  I had always been protective and fiercely territorial when it came to Sherlock Holmes, and now I was doubly so.

"Do not think I love you any less," I told him simply and I was rewarded with a bright smile.

My gaze lingered upon his curved lips and, as if he could read my sudden distraction, his hand flattened on the small of my back, fingers spreading.

"This is neither the right place," he murmured as he directed me closer to him, "nor the right time."

My shoulder pressed into his chest, my head tipped back a little to look at his face and I shuddered slightly as his mouth covered mine.  The tip of his tongue flicked out to touch my lips, to trace their outline.

Lingering for only a few moments, he stepped back just half a stride.  "I promise, Watson, you shall not sleep alone tonight."

I couldn't speak.  All the blood seemed to have left my head and descended south, making thought almost impossible.  It was lucky then that Holmes had the foresight to take me with him when, upon hearing heavy footsteps on the stairs, he rushed to hide in the room off from the one we were in.

By some miracle the door wasn't rusted and we were able to observe our unwelcome visitor unseen and unheard.  He was a stoutly man, but he moved fast on his feet for one of his build and age, for he was some fifty years old.  He had gone to the window and was taking something from a long case that he carried.

Holmes seemed to know exactly who he was and what he was doing, for that gleam had come into his eyes and he tensed, awaiting the right moment at which to strike.

In this, at least, he had not changed.

It was a rifle that the man was building!  It took no more than a couple of minutes for the long weapon to come together from pieces taken from the case and from his walking stick of all things! 

Once complete, he took aim at the likeness of Holmes sitting in the opposite window, and fired.

When I heard the shot a terrible chill came over me.  I imagined, for an instant, that it was actually my beloved friend sitting in that chair in our living room.  My mind, from recollections of previous patients both dead and alive, produced a clear picture of what that bullet would do to his dear face, to his unique brain.

I shook myself, and watched as my Sherlock Holmes came alive in every sense of the word.  He took the room in two strides and threw himself at his would-be assassin. 

They fought until I could get a clear aim.  He had Holmes on the floor, hand locked around that fragile throat, when I hit him across the back of the head with the butt of my revolver.

The stranger collapsed over Holmes, and immediately I kicked the inert form away.  Holmes raised his hand to his throat, massaging it gently, pulling in deep gasps of air.

"Much... obliged, Watson," he managed.  I helped him to his feet.  "If you'd be so kind as to open the window and shout to the two cagey-looking gentlemen outside?"

Confused, I did as he asked, and a minute or two later Lestrade had joined us.


We returned late that night to our own rooms in Baker Street.  The fires had been lit in the three rooms that we inhabited and Mrs Hudson had retired to bed.

Depositing our hats and coats, stepping into the candlelit living room, I spotted the champagne and glasses on a tray on the small dining table in the corner.

Smiling to myself, I crossed to the table and picked up the bottle, turning to show Holmes. 

I started to find him standing only inches behind me.  Before I could speak he pressed his lips against mine, holding the almost chaste kiss for a few moments.  When he stepped back he brushed his fingers over my fingers where they held the bottle tightly.

"An excellent year, Watson.  Shall we?"

I smiled widely and popped the cork quietly, pouring the bubbly liquid into the crystal flutes awaiting us. 

The evening's adventure had wiped away the last few years, at least for the time.  All I wanted tonight was in that room.

Handing a glass to Holmes I gently chinked the rim of my own against it.  "To your celebrated return."

He glanced down before bringing his sparkling grey eyes up to meet my own.  "I only wish I could go back, Watson, and save you from the suffering I've inflicted upon you.  But I can't."  He smiled.  "Not even the great Sherlock Holmes can do such a thing."  Again his expression become serious.  "I can only pledge myself to your side and try to replace the awful memories of the last three years with good ones of years to come."

His words were more than I'd imagined to ever hear from him and as I sipped my champagne I watched him.  His lips seemed to caress the glass and his eyes appeared to be undressing me even as I stood there.

"I do believe you're seducing me," I whispered, unable to find my voice.

"Are they unwelcome advances, John?"

"You know they're not."

Slowly, as if by silent consent, we lowered our glasses and closed the gap between us.

Only our mouths met then, open and hungry.  Our tongues duelled exquisitely, dancing, tasting, stroking.

For an age we stood, locked together by the kiss alone.  Outside, London might have fallen and we wouldn't have noticed.  Society had deemed this illegal; this single, beautiful contact between us.  But even the threat of ruin and the risk of gaol wouldn't make me give this up.

"Do you think," he asked me, lips still close to mine, "we might permit ourselves the extravagance of taking the champagne with us to bed?"

"I doubt Mrs Hudson would deny us that."

He raised his eyebrows but said nothing. 

Reaching across, he wrapped fingers around the neck of the bottle and led the way to his room.

Once inside, he closed and locked the door and I found myself suddenly nervous.  I was no virgin in these matters but neither had I ever made love to a man I cared so very much about before.

Placing champagne and glasses safely on the dresser, Holmes faced me and took my hands in his.  "I have never been a willing participant in such intimacies," he told me with brutal honesty.  "This is something I want very much, yet I find myself ill-prepared for the actual physicality of...."

Not until later would the full impact of his admission take root in my brain.  I had to silence him so I kissed him, still standing there with our hands held like a bride with her new groom.

"Do whatever comes naturally," I told him in hushed tones.  "Do what feels good and you won't go far wrong."

He nodded once and released my hands.  For a moment he stood regarding me with the same single-minded attention he gave to his clues.  And then his fingers rose to my tie and unfastened the knot with something akin to reverence.

I did likewise, removing his collar and unbuttoning the top of his shirt, hesitating when the tips of my fingers brushed the pale skin beneath the cotton.  He'd gained a slight tan to his face and hands from his travels but the rest of him was still almost white.

Pushing the third button through its hole, I bent and touched my lips to his fine skin.  I felt him gasp and then moan softly.  I smiled and continued to open his shirt, following my progress with my lips until I reached his left nipple. 

All thought of undressing me left him and his hands came to rest anxiously upon my head as I suckled gently on that pink bud.  I heard him mutter a soft blasphemy and glanced up to see his eyes close and his lips part.

I encircled him, my arms under his shirt, my hands pressing one above the other over the curve of his spine.

"John...."  He was pleading with me and I lifted my head to see a terrible need in his eyes, one so long buried that neither of us had known it was there.  I could feel his hardness against my hip and thought not to tease him too much tonight.

Pushing the shirt from his shoulders, I moved closer to him and felt the wet heat of his lips descend upon my throat. 

It was my turn to swoon as he nipped a blazing trail from my jaw to my collarbone, lavishing kisses upon my skin as it was revealed to him by way of his unfastening my own shirt.

His thumbs brushed over my dark nipples and I had cause to wonder if he was indeed the virgin he claimed to be.  Still, I had not the presence of mind at that moment to analyse his earlier statement because his teeth were grazing my collarbone and his fingers were brushing down my sides.  His touch struck a fine balance between tickling and arousing, such that my capacity for thought was reduced to nothing and all I could do was endure every torturous sensation.

I pressed against him, his skin to my skin.  My hands stroked every inch of his back and I turned my head to return the wonderful kisses he'd made to my throat.

But if I had intended to take control of situation, I was much mistaken.  For even as my shirt pooled on the rug under our feet, his hands were making light work of my trousers.

I was as aroused as he and the first touch of his hand upon my cock brought such flaring pleasure that I thought I might find my orgasm there and then.  But making a soothing sound in his throat, he applied a little pressure at the base of my erection and the immediate urge left me.

Wisely, I did not ask him where he'd learnt such a trick.  I sought the fastenings to his trousers and soon enough was able to weigh his heavy testicles in the palm of my hand.

"Let us move to the bed," he murmured into my ear, his words and breath raising every tiny hair on my skin.

In complete agreement, I kicked off my shoes and removed my socks.  I looked across to see him doing the same and for the first time saw him completely nude. 

Of course I'd seen him before at the Turkish baths.  But seeing another male, naked body in passing and having one standing flushed and aroused, awaiting your pleasure, are two completely different sights.

He was beautiful standing before me, nervous and anxious with his cock rigid and proud.  I straightened and reached for him, stroking my hand slowly along his thick length.

I felt a subtle trembling of his body and sought to reassure him by embracing all of him, wrapping my arms around him and kissing him.  He crushed me to him, hands stroking every part of me they could reach.  When they hesitated just above the swell of my buttocks, I murmured the word 'bed' to him, and he nodded emphatically.

Lying down next to him, facing him on the narrow mattress, seemed very strange.  A little awkwardly we kissed again, shifting on the bed until our erections bounced against one another and we both moaned with the pleasure of it.

The tension between us melted at that moment and we found that our bodies fitted together perfectly.  He rolled onto his back and pulled me over him, not breaking the lock of our mouths and tongues.

I stretched out along his slim frame, touching his toes with mine.  My fingers started an exploration of his body, beginning at his throat and seeking out every mark that made him individual.

Soon enough, I followed their path with my lips, wanting to taste him while fulfilling the innate desire to drive him mad with pleasure.

I took my time at the base of his throat, lathering the hollow there with the tip of my tongue.  Moving on, I nibbled at his collarbone before descending to his chest.  My lips and teeth on his nipples tore such sounds from him that I had to glance up more than once to reassure myself that he was all right.  I resolved to later investigate his reaction to my gentle bites, but for now I continued down his body until I settled between his slim, strong thighs.

I believe I licked my lips when he lifted his head to frown at me.  And at the very moment he realised what I was about to do, I lowered my mouth down over his cock and sucked him to the back of my throat.

He apparently thrust a fist into his mouth to stop his ecstatic howl.  I heard nothing but a high-pitched squeak.  But as I swallowed around him, used my tongue to wet every inch of him, paying special attention to the sensitive tip usually covered by the skin I gently pushed back, he murmured my name, John, over and over.

His hands played on my head, fingers endlessly curling and uncurling in my hair.  Then, without warning, he tensed and climaxed.  I swallowed all he had to give, continuing to suck on him until the shudders eased and he collapsed, totally spent.

With a terribly self-indulgent smile, I slid up his body and planted a upon his lips a kiss that he quickly deepened in order to taste himself in my mouth.

"My John...."

And you, I thought, are mine.  But I kept it to myself.  My own cock ached almost painfully and I hoped I had not worn him out entirely.

"Make love to me," he murmured, surprising me even as we lay together like that.

"Holmes, that is...."  But his expression cut me off mid-sentence and I understood what he'd meant.  "Are you sure?"

"I want to be a part of you, want you to be a part of me.  I want to be closer to you than I will to any other.  Please."

I wasn't about to make him beg.  Casting my eyes around the room, I realised we weren't prepared for what he was asking.  But I remembered the candles burning in the living room.

"Wait for me just a moment."

In my full naked glory, I clambered off the bed and crossed the small room to the door that led into the lounge.  Glancing back, I saw him staring at me in horrified amusement.  Turning the key in the lock, I opened the door a fraction and seeing the room was empty, I dashed in, grabbed the first lit tallow candle and locked the door again behind me.

I could see by his expression that he clearly imagined I'd lost my mind.  But I blew out the flame and knelt on the bed next to him.

"Turn over, on to your side," I instructed him, and uneasily he did as I asked.  I licked my forefinger and thumb and pinched the wick between them before testing the still-soft wax for its temperature. 

He had turned to face the wall, and I hoped that he was still all right.  I hoped he wasn't offering himself to me as some sort of penance.  Lying beside him I stroked my hand over his thigh to his knee and pushed it up.  I could see his spent testicles hanging tantalisingly between his legs.  In the dim light of the gas lamp, I could see the dark puckered ring that would give me access to his body.

"Tell me if I hurt you."

"John," his voice was unsteady, "is this...."

But I'd already positioned the candle and pushed it up inside him just an inch, just to open him and lubricate that tight muscle.  His fist bunched in the sheets, his whole body tensing up again despite his recent orgasm.  He wasn't comfortable I knew and I withdrew the candle.

A quiet whimper came from him and I hushed him.  For a moment I considered rejecting his request, then an idea came to mind.  Running my index finger up the candle's length, I collected some of the soft tallow wax and rubbed it around to coat that digit.  Dumping the candle itself on the floor, I pressed my finger gently inside him.

"This is me," I murmured, lowering myself so that I could kiss his neck and shoulders.  "My finger inside you."

He twisted to look down and back, and this time his response was a better one.  A long moan escaped him and he relaxed utterly, pushing back so that he took more of me into him than I'd planned.  With a slight adjustment I stroked over the tiny gland that lay behind his testicles and he had to turn his face into the pillow to muffle his cry.

I wanted to keep this up, to make him hard again and grant him a second orgasm.  But my body was screaming for its own release.

It took a little effort to position myself and put the head of my cock against his tight ring.  Reaching over him I found his hand and pressed my fingers between his.  He held on and I pushed into him as slowly as I could manage.

He was so tight and so hot.  My dearest Sherlock Holmes was the most incredible thing my aching cock had ever known and I slid deep inside him.

"God, John...."  The words were spoken low and rough as he responded to me and began to arch back against me.  I wrapped myself around him, kissing his sweat-drenched skin, running fingers through his damp hair.

I moved inside him as slowly and carefully as my crazed mind would allow but I didn't last long in that tight heat.  My orgasm seemed to come in waves, crashing over me again and again as I spilt myself into his welcoming body.

I collapsed over him, searching out his eyes, making sure he was all right.  His expression was one of absolute peace.  He turned his head to kiss me, open-mouthed, sliding his tongue against mine.  With that simple action he regained some control.  He'd had to submit to me as he'd never submitted to anyone in his life and I understood that it must have sat uneasily with him.  As soon as we were able, I would have him return the favour.  As much as I wanted to equalise our new relationship, I just wanted to feel him as deep inside me as I'd been in him.

Cautiously, he turned over and I collected him to me.

"Welcome back, Holmes," I murmured into his hair.

To my surprise he laughed, quietly but joyously, a sound I rarely heard from him and one I decided I loved dearly.  "I believe, under the circumstances, that you could and probably should call me Sherlock."

"Then, welcome home, Sherlock."

When he didn't respond I lifted my head and saw his eyes were closed.  I could feel his even breaths on my chest and knew he was falling asleep.

With the last of my energy I kicked a blanket up from the bottom of the bed and shook it out over us.  Then I settled down to sleep with a miracle in my arms.


I woke with the same feeling of dread and loneliness that had marked the start of every morning for the last three years.  Another day to face, hour after pointless hour giving every last scrap of myself to my patients until I was too tired to do anything but return home and fall into bed.

But this morning something was different.  There was a heavy warmth draped over me, a swelling feeling of joy stealing into the pit of my stomach and a stink of sex around me such as I hadn't known in a very long time.

Upon opening my eyes I looked down at the blond head still cushioned on my shoulder, the long limbs thrown over me, sticking out from under the blanket.  And the veil of sadness and despair, that had covered my every waking moment since the tragic day in Switzerland, finally lifted.

Lifting my head I pressed a kiss to Holmes' mussed hair, freezing in place when I heard movement in the living room.  The clatter of a china cup in its saucer identified Mrs Hudson, no doubt laying out the breakfast table.  For a moment, I felt ridiculously like a schoolboy caught with a cigarette. 

But I remembered that the door was locked and as far as she was concerned I was upstairs in my own bed and Holmes was alone in his.  As long as I remained quiet, she would be none the wiser.

"John."  His voice drew my attention and I held my finger to my lips, pointing to the adjoining door. 

"Mrs Hudson," I mouthed, and he nodded.  Then he shifted up and kissed me, capturing my finger in his mouth as he did so.  His tongue licked up the length of the digit before curling around to draw it further between his lips.

My cock, already half-hard due to my waking with his body pressed against mine, stood to full attention.

"You're going to be bad for my concentration," he whispered over the sounds of Mrs Hudson leaving our rooms. 

His hand strayed to my stomach, fingers extending into the wiry hair at my crotch.  For a virgin in these matters, he was certainly a fast study.

"Then you wish this to continue?" I queried as steadily as I could.  Having him alive and back with me was more than I'd ever dared dream of, but this... this was as close to paradise as I could ever be.  It seemed almost too much to ask for.

"I would wish this to continue until death truly parts us."  While I took in this monumental statement, his fingers had moved lower to stroke my engorged shaft.  "You are the first man whose penis I've touched, with the obvious exception of my own."  There was fascination in his tone, as if he were examining a most important piece of evidence.  The comparison made me smile.

Then I remembered something from the previous night.

"Holmes, you said that you hadn't willingly had such intimacies before...."  He glanced up, and I could see the memory of something terrible in those beautiful grey eyes.

"Let us not speak of that now," he murmured, "I will tell you of such things, but later, when I am ready to speak and more importantly you are ready to hear."

I knew, of course, the kind of situation he was referring to.  And I was in no rush to hear of his ordeals, probably as a child or a schoolboy.  But sooner or later I would have the truth out of him just so that he did not have to bear the pain of it alone.

I nodded and urged him further up so that I could ravish his mouth with my tongue.  He was a good foot taller than I, so shifting him brought a second advantage.  Reaching down carefully, I took his hand in mine and showed him how to hold our cocks next to one another and pump them slowly, moving his curled fingers up and down in a tight grip.

He was indeed a fast learner and picked up the method in no time.  For my part, I reached lower and cupped his testicles along with my own, rolling them gently in my palm.  He groaned into my mouth and increased the speed of his hand's movements.

"Slowly," I eased him, "it takes a great deal of patience but the result is worth the discipline."

"There is so much I have to learn, John.  What we did last night...."

"I'm sorry if I hurt you.  I would like you to... return the favour."

"You didn't hurt me and I would very much like to accept your offer."  He smiled against my lips.  "I imagine that there are several... positions in which both those acts you showed me are possible."

His hand on me, now slow and tight, was maddening.  "There are a great many positions we may try," I informed him, keeping my voice low.  "Being at your back last night kept me close to you.  But perhaps for you I will lie on my back, my ankles upon your shoulders, my rear raised for your entry."  He moaned softly, trembling a little, and I knew my words were exciting him.  "Next time I take you, I would have you on all fours, your legs parted, displaying yourself for my delectation."  The speed of his hand on our straining cocks increased just a little.  "Perhaps you might think of having me straddle you, take you within me as I lower myself onto you.  Or I should lie on my front with you prone on my back, your cock buried to the hilt inside me."

He came hard, dropping his face into the hollow between my neck and shoulder to bury his cries.  A moment later, he sank his teeth into me not hard but so that the action startled me to my own orgasm.

We lay together, wrapped up in each other, for a long time.  Neither of us spoke but words were not needed. 

He loved me as I loved him.  For that, and for the pleasure we were just beginning to find in each other's bodies, I would risk everything.

Finally, with a deep sigh of regret, he moved out of my arms a little, lying on his side next to me instead of mostly over me.

"We should rise.  Mrs Hudson does so hate it when we let her breakfast go cold."  He spoke as if it hadn't been three years since either one of us had taken a meal in these rooms.  "And then, perhaps, we could fetch your things from Queen Anne Street and move you back in."

"I believe that's an excellent plan.  I should also consider telling your adoring public of your return from the dead and of last night's adventures."

He smiled at me.  "Not all of them, my dear Watson.  And there will be many details in future cases, I think, that we should definitely keep to ourselves."

"It would be my pleasure to construct such covering falsehoods that no one will ever suspect just how adored you are by me."

"Nor how very dear you are to me."  He kissed me, and I swore to myself that one day I would ask what events occurred on his travels to bring about such a change of heart.


We had barely arrived back at Baker Street with my things when Lestrade turned up.  He was accompanied by a large man in his fifties, with bushy eyebrows and a portly figure that, more than his clothing, distinguished him as a member of the upper classes.

Despite the inspector's grudging respect for Holmes' methods, it was unlike him to recommend the services of a detective to anyone.  Therefore my unpacking was put aside in favour of hearing the man's case.

And so it was that within twenty-four hours of his rising from a watery grave Sherlock Holmes was on the trail of a vicious and cunning criminal, with his devoted Watson by his side.

It was a time before we had a chance to talk of the change in our relationship, not that we needed to speak of it when it was ever-present in our words and actions to one another.  There were still many aspects of his past, of his travels while we'd been apart and of earlier events before I'd even known him, that remained secret for many years.

But when I lay awake at night in the dark of his room, holding him or being held by him in the afterglow of our love-making, I was always contented, always happy, and none of this cruel world's miseries could ever touch that.