[Being Various Expurgations From The Journal
of Doctor John Watson]
Prompt: The Case of the Frozen Corpse
In retrospect, it seems inevitable that the morning after our dinner at Simpson’s would go awry. Although since it could also have become an unmitigated disaster, leading no doubt to complete ruin for us both, I suppose simply ‘going awry’ might be considered a blessing.
We had awakened still entwined together on the divan, our limbs cramped and both of us a bit the worse for all the drink the previous night. Despite that, when I reluctantly opened my eyes it was to see Holmes watching me, an unexpected softness filling his gaze. Even given my aching joints, headache and cotton dry mouth, that obvious softness brought a smile to my lips.
One small portion of my mind, the logical part, insisted that the rational thing, [in light of recent events] was that we might be in need of a serious conversation. Since I am an eminently practical man, it seemed right that I be the one to open that conversation.
And I really would have done, had not Holmes suddenly pressed his lips to mine, sending all logic to a far distant corner of my mind. Not the rational corner, I fear.
I am sure that my breath was equally as stale and slightly sour as his, but that did not seem to matter to either of us nor dampen our enthusiasm even a whit.
Things grew heated rather quickly and there was no telling how it might have gone, although I had some random thoughts on the matter.
And that is when we heard the bell from the downstairs door.
Holmes pulled away from me immediately. “Lestrade,” he said tightly; how he always recognised the particular ring escaped me.
He rose, pulling me to my feet, then pushed me towards the stairs to my room. As we heard Mrs Hudson answer the bell, followed by the sound of two sets of footsteps coming towards our rooms, Holmes moved quickly to unlock the door. There being no time left to escape, he dropped into his usual chair. I glanced back at him, as with one hand, he attempted to smooth his unruly hair and with the other scooped up yesterday’s Times.
I could hear Lestrade apologising for the early morning visit and Mrs Hudson pointing out that Mr Holmes was always an early riser, if he even went to bed at all. Meanwhile, I was quickly dressing, so that at least one of us could present a respectable appearance.
I made a hasty toilette, but my thoughts were not on my choice of shirt or which waistcoat to don. Instead, all I could think of was the feel of Holmes’ lips on mine. The taste of him. The feel when I touched him. The feel of him touching me.
Of what might have happened, had we not been interrupted.
After another moment, during which I collected my thoughts and returned my body to a respectable condition, I went back downstairs and into the parlour. “Good morning, Holmes,” I said with remarkable aplomb. “And to you, Lestrade.”
Mrs Hudson arrived with tea and toast. As the three of us gathered around the table, Lestrade began a typically over-heated explanation of the problem that had brought him to our door at so early an hour.
As a result of his tale, our next two days were consumed by what I later entitled The Case of the Frozen Corpse, with no time for thoughts of anything else. Well, there I lie just a bit. There was time enough for fleeting and heated looks exchanged over the body of a hapless vicar.
There was promise in those looks and if Holmes were even more brusque than usual with the officers from Scotland Yard, I could only appreciate his efficiency. I did fear, that when the time came for us to be alone again, there would be no thought of that over-due and serious conversation. But as the hours passed, that seemed less and less important.
It was no doubt my own impatience that lead to the disastrous misstep which sent me into the Thames. And which then brought Holmes into the same frigid and malodorous water immediately to pull me out. We were both as cold as the corpse we had been investigating, but thankfully Lestrade immediately pushed us into a hansom for a speedy journey to Baker Street and warmth.
Alone in the cab, we looked at one another and then, sharing the absurdity of the frankly ridiculous adventure that was our life together, we burst into raucous and no doubt inappropriate laughter, which carried us all the way home.