I recall that it was a fine, bright morning. Chiefly, I believe, because of the effect the change wrought on Watson. Before breakfast was fairly over he had cast the window open and turned to me with a livelier eye than I had seen for some time.
‘That infernal fog has finally lifted Holmes. A fine, fresh breeze to go with the sunshine.’
‘A little less convenient for footpads and cutthroats I suppose.’ I said indifferently.
Watson, contrary creature, refused to be discouraged. ‘It would be an excellent day for a turn in the park. Will you join me?’
‘I think not. I have some singularly interesting articles on the concentration of vegetable alkaloids in goat’s milk.’
‘Those articles will still be here when you get back, you know.’
I am not ashamed to say that I wavered at this point (indeed I believe I had been childish enough to hope my friend would take it into his head to persuade me). Nevertheless I declined. To listen to Watson’s stilted mutterings about spring and pretty girls held little charm for me, and the beauties of nature are wasted upon my jaded eye.
It may come as a surprise to those who read his chronicles that while Watson may a romantic and on occasion positively lyrical writer – indeed I have had to pull him up on it – this ability does not extend to the spoken word. I understand his proposal to his late wife was made almost inadvertently, in his inarticulate relief at her not being, as we had at the time believed, of great wealth. (I did not obtain this information from Watson himself you understand, but the admirable lady in whose home Miss Morstan was employed).
I am not myself subject to such slips. They would be fatal both in a professional and a private sense. Any advances I make upon another are therefore entirely based upon the likelihood of success.
In Watson’s case I had attempted to dismiss all such thoughts from my mind. I knew, none better, that Watson was stout of heart, and loyal, but also that he was stolidly conventional, capable of warm attachment to what newspapers are pleased to call the fair sex, and furthermore believed me to be somehow free of all such human appetites.
His response to disillusionment would be, at best, polite assurance that he would not involve the authorities, and the immediate removal of himself and his chattels to some less troubling spot.
Had I the balanced and mechanical brain that my good friend believes me to have that would of course have been the end of the matter. Since I am the usual human animal composed of base urges and distracting fantasies however, I first took care that Watson had truly left the house and was walking, briskly, in the direction of Oxford Street, and after changing my attire and advising Mrs Hudson that we should both be home for lunch, set out myself for the vicinity of Lambeth.
It is perhaps best to draw a veil over the rest of that morning. I returned sated in body at least, and a small glass of brandy took the taste from my mouth. It was no matter that Watson should meet me on our doorstep and be somewhat taken aback by my appearance.
‘Goodness Holmes, I should never have known you for a respectable man in that get up. You look positively..’
Whatever he had been about to say he thought better of, clearly, and continued in a different vein once we were at the table, my jacket and his greatcoat on their hooks beside the door.
‘But what mystery is this?’ he asked. ‘You didn’t tell me you had a case.’
‘The merest peccadillo, and already dealt with.’
‘Well I see it’s given you a good appetite at least.’
I hesitated, my fork poised to spear another potato. Something in my friend’s voice sounded almost too hearty. I flatter myself that I am a reader of men in general, and Watson, who I have known in more intimate accommodations than most, is my particular subject.
‘You are offended that I didn’t ask for your assistance? My dear Watson, there was no danger.’
‘From a fair haired young milksop like that? I should think not.’
‘Ah.’ I set down my fork, noting, in a detached way, that my pulse had elevated the moment I understood Watson had seen me.
I endeavoured to appear calm. ‘I see prevarication is useless. May I ask how..’
‘I followed you.’
‘And you are offended?’
‘I am disappointed. No wait.’ He held up a hand. ‘Don’t misunderstand me. It is the type of young man, nothing else.’
‘It is true.’ I admitted, somewhat grudgingly. ‘That we found very little to talk about.’ I glanced in Watson’s direction as I spoke, met a distinctly speculative look, and found I could hold his gaze more steadily, could speak more freely, now I was certain he was more curious than shocked.
Neither of us ate, or spoke, for some seconds. ‘I wanted someone who didn’t remind me of you.’ I said at last. ‘That I wouldn’t be tempted to pretend was you.’ Neither one of us seemed able to look away. The words seemed inevitable. ‘And now you know everything. Are you very angry with me?’
‘My old friend.’ Watson said gently, reaching for my hand. ‘What a pair of idiots we’ve been. ’
There weren’t, in fact, many more words after those. Simpler, and sweeter, to let actions speak for themselves.
Besides, my mouth was full, and Watson becomes profoundly inarticulate when one presses one’s tongue to his glans and lets it slip around the ridge beneath, drawing him slowly deeper through the purse of one’s lips and then sliding backwards, trailing sensation.
I almost – but not quite – withdrew completely before I bent forward again, taking him more deeply this time.
He was pleasingly substantial, his thighs solid under my spread palms, his trousers a puddle on my bedroom floor, his shirt loosened and crumpling beneath him. He swore, softly and vehemently, and his hands fisted in the sheets.
I bobbed my head more quickly, licking and sucking and slavering up the length of him until I had what I wanted, the taste on the back of my tongue, his body shuddering beneath me and going still.
‘Holmes.’ He said weakly. ‘Let me touch you.’
He pulled me close, his lips against my cheek as he loosened the belt of my trousers and reached inside.
I could feel my heart pounding within me, the quickness of my breath, the heat of his body and mine, embracing and yet angled apart where his hand was working busily. I clutched at the fabric that still draped his shoulders, stifled my moans against him as the pleasure mounted.
And ejaculated with his name on my lips.
A pleasant, if somewhat sticky, lassitude followed our exertions. The slight breeze from the window was agreeably cooling, and the day still seemed set fair.