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Castrato

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Many of the people who read my stories assumed that after my initial bout of listing my flatmates peculiar characteristics that I stopped the practice. That somehow once we moved from the realm of co borders to friends that my Holmes became comprehensible to me in some way. In truth the more I learn about Holmes the more he becomes a mystery to me.

It took no less than two years of being his intimate companion to not only be introduced to his brother but to become privy to the knowledge that he did not simply appear fully formed on the earth without family, let alone that he had any past to speak of.

Long nights I have spent waiting for Holmes to return when he has decided it was in both our interests for me to stay behind, contemplating the man.

What sort of family could have produced two men such as these? Both astoundingly brilliant in matters of logic but so lacking in the social sphere that I count myself as one of Holmes only friends?

I do know that Holmes, my Holmes that is, attended university. Surely there must have been some time during these years that others approached him in friendship who, if not comparably intelligent to himself, were at least as serviceable as myself.

The most irregular point on my friend however is his utter dismissal of the fairer sex. Never have I met any man less interested in women than he. I am not so naïve as to believe that there are not men who enjoy the company of other men, I am myself an army man and a doctor and know well the deeds that go on in the black of the night. However I cannot find even the slightest indication that he enjoys such activities with anyone or that he even possesses the desire to do so.

Furthermore, Holmes dismissal of women is not only in the realm of desire and love but in all aspects of life with the one or two notable acceptations to disprove the rule, such as our own dear land lady with whom he has grown fond of over continuous forced interaction. It seems at times that he has a deeply ingrained bias in him bred so deeply and influentially in his past that the idea of women as equal is completely incomprehensible to his massive intellect.

All of my reflection and years of apparently inept observation have brought me no closer to unraveling even the smallest mystery of my dearest friend. However, as his biographer and I am proud to say, the one whose company he seeks when more often than not he hides society, I have very recently strayed across new ground, peculiarities I would never have discovered if not for happenstance.

It happened no more than a week ago and I firmly believe that if I was not present at its occurrence that Holmes would have managed to hide his injury without me ever being the wiser.

The case itself was of little consequence and indeed will never find its way into the Strand. But it was not without its dangers, it was in fact nearly the end of Holmes. At times it seems as if Holmes can call upon the very future and know the path of every stray bullet. I myself sometimes have fallen into the habit of believing that no ill can befall him. But luck, no matter how hard we may fight it, is a significant part of the game we play.

This night we were lucky. It was only a graze of a bullet on his thigh, enough to bleed, enough to require medical attention if only my own. An inch higher and it would have been his femoral artery; it would have been his death.

For years Holmes has come to me for every injury and malady, a personal distaste for what he says is the inherent snobbery of those of my profession has made him my most frequent patient. I for my part enjoy taking care of my friend as I know he will never have that same consideration for his own body.

Knowing how very close I had come to losing my dearest friend was very keen to treat the wound he did incur to reassure myself as to his safety. Immediately upon entering our rooms I sought my medical bag and instructed him to disrobe from the waist down.

I realize my request may have sounded uncouth but by this point the blood had saturated the inner length of his pants and my tact seems to be dissipating with the fading color left in his face.

He insisted that he was in fact, fine! That it did not require my assistance in the least! But even as he spoke I could see the pain clouding his normally piercing eyes.

For minutes we fought, raged even, as we tend to do in matters of his ill health.

It never occurred to me that it could be the fear of fully disrobing in front of me that stopped him from getting the attention he so desperately needed. In his anger he escaped to his room, me picturing all the while what would have happened if the bullet had been just a breath higher, a killing inch deeper.

I was ready to force the door open when it opened so slowly it was as if my intense glare had melted the metal lock and the door was opening of its own accord. He emerged in a bloody nightshirt with a dour expression on his pallid face and the length of his clothing bunched in a clenched fist. He insisted as I helped him to the settee that my treatment of him was not required but he would acquiesce if only for the good of my nerves.

I knew the moment I laid eyes on his pale and bloodied thigh that he was lying to me.

The wound was deeper than I imagined, not life threatening, but in need of stitches, in danger of becoming more than a mere nuisance.

He knew he needed help. He had orchestrated our entire fight, manufactured a reason to escape to his room and change into more concealing night clothes before coming out as a favor to me.

As I cleaned the area I watched his hand clench so tightly over the bundle of cloth covering his groin that the knuckles were absent of blood, white against the ruddy stains of his spilled blood.

The morphine bottle and his wretched morocco case were only an arm’s length away from where he sat. He never reached for them, never glanced as he so frequently does in their direction.

It was not pain that afflicted him so deeply but suddenly it was pain that affronted me, threatened to swallow me in its black abyss in a away I have not known for years.

For whatever was causing Holmes such anguish, he felt as if he had to hide it from me.

Holmes often finds my conclusions erroneous but in this matter I do not have the luxury of asking his opinion. I thought for a moment of letting the matter drop but it haunts me.

I feel as if I am getting closer to one of the secrets of his past, as if I am edging nearer to an essential part of him. That I might discover just one of his secrets when he knows all of mine.

And all the while I feel as if I am betraying him.

He does not want me to know what torments him, that much is obvious, and yet I cannot keep my mind from it, from him.

I have tried to rationalize his decision not tell me to ease the pain of his mistrust. But he is incomprehensible to me. Is it that he believes it will change my opinion of him for the worse? Or is it that I am not worthy of his trust?

These are the things I tell myself when in my heart I know I am going against his wishes, that I am in a way, betraying him. In these things I know he is wrong. I am certain that no knowledge could ever have the power to make me feel differently about him. I know that whatever secrets I come across in his past I will never betray them to another living soul, that I would die protecting them as I would him.

The facts and theories mount and his past looms darker with every clue.

Looking back there has never been a single time where even on the purest of accidents could I have seen him fully unclothed. Not in the Turkish baths or the locker room of a boxing ring or even in our own rooms has he gone a single moment without some adornment when I myself had quite given up modesty with the men around me.

I watch each day the way he flinches away from the touch of others. What I once wrote off as an idiosyncrasy now cries out as an obvious clue. An amiable clap on the shoulder from an acquaintance unsettles him for minutes at a time, if only to my familiar eye. And on the odd occasion that one of our clients have felt compelled to hug Holmes his face becomes one of barely concealed panic, a look a loaded gun fails to produce.

My final clue is the strangest and possibly most telling of them all. The more I find myself observing his actions I find myself falling dreadfully off topic and admiring his beauty. Long have I described Holmes regal features, his aquiline nose, his long elegant fingers dancing across his violin with unparalleled proficiency, but he is in fact an ethereal beauty. Never have I described the luminescent glow of his smooth white cheeks, the elegance and simple beauty of his long sinewy limbs lacking the bulk of other men, the way his voice can jump from the most dulcet of tones to the highest pitch of exclamation.

I am sure that Holmes could deduce a dozen theories from this information and know exactly how to go about finding the correct one but I must blunder on alone. I have only one theory and the idea that he hides it from me is enough to keep me awake at night.

If someone has hurt him, if someone, as I believe, sodomized and raped my unwilling friend I will do my best to aid in his recovery. I will uncover the truth.