Trelawney-Hope wasn’t the only one with whom Holmes held congress, as I soon came to find out. He had scads of lovers, all of whom occupied
I tried to avoid being home during these interludes, though part of me remained morbidly fascinated by the parade of dignitaries who reserved such affections for the world’s only unofficial consulting detective. That these important, educated and well-mannered gentlemen became absolute tigers in the bedroom would have delighted me to know had I not been so slighted by the fact that Holmes clearly did not share my attitude towards our own relations.
They obviously trusted Holmes implicitly, for they carried out their affairs with no concerns whatsoever over my presence. Certainly these men could count on him for absolute discretion, and—I realized with another merciless stab to my chest—for what were likely the best sexual experiences of their lives.
I privately decided to put an end to our physical relationship until the damnable creature seduced me one night after the conclusion of a case, and I knew I was no match for his wiles.
He curled up next to me on the settee shortly after I settled down to read the evening newspaper. The print began to blur when his tongue tickled my earlobe. Long fingers reached across my chest and plucked at my shirt buttons. Wet lips opened and closed around my neck and, once my shirt was open, a groping hand dropped into my lap.
I lowered the newspaper. “What are you doing?”
I felt him smile against the side of my head. “My dear fellow,” he said with mock scorn, “I had hoped that my tutorials on the art of deduction had carried some resonance.”
“I don’t think this is such a good idea,” I started to say, but immediately faltered when his index finger began tracing the outline of my arousal.
“Is that so?” he whispered. “I happen to think this is a very good idea, and so, apparently, does this.” Together we watched him slide his hand up the inside of my thigh and push his palm into my genitals.
It was useless. I let him turn my head so he could clamp his mouth over mine and continue to undress me. I let him lead me into the bedroom and shut the door behind us. I let him lay me down on the bed and kneel over me as he peeled off his own clothing. And I let him lower himself upon me and begin to love me. It was as it had been.
But everything had changed. I could not shut out the vision of the other men who had lain here, nor the athletic activities that surely accounted for the bruises dotting Holmes’s hips and shoulders. I rested my hand on his head and let him take me into his mouth, knowing that I was too weak to deny him and too cowardly to tell him how much I cared.
I let him roll me to my stomach and prepare me without murmuring words of encouragement. And when he entered me I uttered not a single sound until the friction underneath me burst into flames. Only then did I indulge in a stifled moan, but his name died in my throat before I finished. My body climaxed, but my mind remained stagnant, for my orgasm was no longer accompanied by a rush of loving gratitude. When he increased the speed of his hips I made no efforts to deepen the contact but remained still until he reached his completion with a soft cry.
When he withdrew and slid to my side, I did not turn over to revel in his sated expression, but kept my face buried in my arms so he would not see the tears that dotted the pillow beneath me. I let him rest one hand on my back until he fell asleep. And then I pulled myself up, gathered my clothes and quietly exited the room.
* * *
I began to spend more time away from
But on the afternoon I sat down to recount the tale of the Greek Interpreter, I found that separating fact from fiction was becoming increasingly difficult.
“During my long and intimate acquaintance with Sherlock Holmes…” How long had it been? The first months had flown by, but these days it felt like an eternity.
“…I never heard him refer to his own relations, nor to his early life.” I briefly remembered the story of his first foray into sexual gratification, so I crossed out nor and replaced it with and hardly ever.
“This reticence upon his part had…” What had it done? Made me love him more? Of course it did. Somehow, the longer I lived with Holmes the more enigmatic he became.
“… increased the extraordinary effects which he produced upon me…” I came to another halt. I could write a treatise on the effects he produced upon me, both physical and emotional. I pressed my palm into my forehead and tried to block out the growing resentment I felt over the fact that his roster of lovers was growing in direct proportion to his mounting fame.
I dragged a line through extraordinary and wrote somewhat inhuman.
“…until sometimes I found myself regarding him as an isolated phenomenon…” This was only half-true. There was no one like him in the world, I was certain, not even the person whom he insisted was more brilliant than himself. I laid down my pen and closed my eyes.
Solving a case with Mycroft had made me feel close again to Holmes. Seeing him with his brother was like gaining a rare glimpse inside the den of an elusive pack of animals. And the way he rushed in to save Mr. Melas from suffocating had been one of his most gallant and heroic moments yet. My heart pounded at the memory. My prick stirred with yearning.
Perhaps I could find some way to withstand being one of many partners. Maybe I could learn to dismiss softer emotions as easily as he did.
Suddenly, the door to the sitting room burst open and Holmes appeared, followed by a tall, pinch-faced man carrying his nose in the air.
“Watson, this is Jean-Luc LeBec, the French Ambassador to
I stood from my chair and nodded coldly at him. I had no doubts as to the nature of his visit.
“Ah, Dr. Watson,” he said haughtily. “I have read your accounts of Monsieur Holmes in the
“How nice,” I said with no sincerity.
“Shall we?” said LeBec, turning back to Holmes. “Unless your friend would like to join us?”
“Dr. Watson is recovering from injuries sustained during the war,” Holmes said dismissively, “and is in no condition for such a thing.”
LeBec shrugged. “C’est dommage. He would make a lovely ménage a trois. Have you told him of the time we deflowered the Prince of—”
“All right, LeBec,” Holmes quickly cut him off, smiled at me and led him into his bedroom.
Just before Holmes closed the door behind them, I watched the other man place an affectionate hand upon Holmes’s chest.
I felt as though a cruel pair of hands had twisted what remained of my already broken heart into a tiny, aching lump that would only ever putter limply along until I died.
“…a brain without a heart, as deficient in human sympathy as he was pre-eminent in intelligence…” I wrote bitterly until the noises from the next room chased me to the street.
* * *
I went to my club that night, shot billiards and chatted with my comrades. But my voice sounded hollow to my ears, my hands shook and it soon became impossible to focus on conversation.
I was not simply reeling from the vivid tableau of yet another man loving Holmes, but the offhand way in which I had been dismissed. Of course, I’d no interest in joining them in the bedroom, and would certainly have declined the offer myself. But I resented being treated like a weak child whose injury or delicate sensibilities might trigger some kind of nervous collapse.
I had seen the evidence of Holmes’s other lovers all over his body. I knew full well that he was not only capable of athletic intercourse, but likely favored it. That he refused to engage such rugged strengths with me only heightened my irritation. And the longer I considered it, the more that irritation developed into rage.
I left the club that night positively fuming over the injustices suffered to my character. I walked home while I considered how best to assert myself.
Holmes was alone when I arrived home, though he was not in bed. There was evidence of recent activity at his chemistry set, suggesting he had been seized by a fit of work that took him past his usual bedtime. When he appeared in the sitting room, he was wearing a bathrobe, his face newly shaven and his coal-black hair wet and slicked back from his forehead.
He looked breathtaking, which only further incensed me.
“Hullo, Watson,” he said charmingly, “Please let me apologize for M. LeBec’s lack of discretion earlier. He spoke out of turn and I hope this did not terribly offend you.”
“How would you know what offends me?”
“I’m sure I don’t know,” he said, registering surprise at my uncharacteristic reply. “But I promise you that prince was no virgin.”
I waited until he turned his back before I lunged at him. I tore off his robe and shoved him roughly to his desk. He must have immediately known what I was about, for he propped himself on his forearms and lowered his eyes seductively at me. But there was a glimmer of apprehension behind them, too.
I pushed him down and positioned myself between his legs. I took hold of his wrists and locked his arms above his head, holding him with a single iron grip while I unfastened my trousers. I spat crudely into my free hand, spread the moisture over my cock and then penetrated him with one forceful thrust. He cried out, which only emboldened me to take him harder.
With no lubricant or sheath, our skin chafed and it was difficult to move around inside him. I thrashed with all my strength as I bore down upon him, locking him still so he could not touch me or himself. I leant down and stared into his face. He wrapped a calf around my waist and opened his unseeing eyes once or twice only to close them again when he observed how my own gaze burned into his.
My climax washed over me with a dull, dry heat. I stood on locked knees and spent inside him, though the act gave me little joy and a modicum of satisfaction.
Only after I finished did I realize he had climaxed, too, and without any contact. I didn’t care. I pulled out as abruptly as I entered him, and drew up my trousers. He remained sprawled on the desk for a moment, then began to chuckle. My face burned as he launched into great peals of laughter.
“Oh, Watson,” he gasped, rolling on the desk clutching his stomach. “I never get your limits.”
I hadn’t a thing to say in reply. I picked up his robe, tossed it carelessly over him and left the sitting room.
I could still hear him laughing when I reached my bedroom.
* * *
“I’ve had a letter,” Holmes announced at breakfast two days later. “A case that may interest you.”
“I’m rather short on detail at the moment, but the Netherland-Sumatra company has sought my assistance in the most singular problem. We would travel to
“If I can be of help,” I said dully.
“That’s very kind of you. I say, I’ve been so busy entertaining company this past week that I’ve almost forgotten more pressing matters,” he said with a grin. “The spectrum of men’s sexual appetites never ceases to amaze.”
“Aren’t I enough?”
It slipped out in a barely audible whisper. I stole a glance at him to see whether he heard me. What I saw was so profound, yet so fleeting, that I haven’t entirely convinced myself it happened. His brows knitted together and his hawk-like eyes grew wide and soft. For one extraordinary moment all of his features melted into an expression of sadness and regret.
And then it was gone. A slight tic of his head, a sharp intake of breath and he had recovered his usual aloof countenance. It was like watching a door open and close.
“Never mind,” I mumbled and hastily left the table.
“Watson,” he said, coming after me.
“Watson,” he said again, and grabbed my elbow. I jerked my arm away but turned to face him.
“I care for you a great deal,” he said, fixing me with a sympathetic smile. “But I do not form such attachments. I'm sorry if I misled you, my dear fellow. Your friendship is something I have come to value very much. It would bring me no small measure of sorrow were I to lose it.”
The disappointment that already weighed so heavily upon my heart found permanence there, but I held my head high and told him that our friendship meant a lot to me as well. He said he was pleased to hear it.
“Well, I’ve some patients to tend,” I said in attempt to make a smooth exit. “You’ll let me know about the case in
“Certainly I will.”
I avoided his gaze as I gathered my things.
I spent the day at St. Bart’s, and took my dinner at a local tavern. I sat by the window and observed the stream of passing pedestrians. They all looked so happy. I was certain that unlike mine their lives were ordered and simple and unencumbered by constant heartbreak.
A nagging dread implanted itself in the back of my mind just then. I could not articulate it any more than I could face it, but I think somewhere I knew that I would have to leave