The wind howled incessantly outside our cozy rooms. I burrowed deeper into my
chair, feeling the warmth from the fire heat my chilled bones. The gaslights
were burning brightly, attempting to add cheer against the dark, cold
I looked up from my sea novel in a fit of discontent. The wound in
my shoulder ached and my leg was stiff, obviously victims of the bitter weather.
I contemplated heading to bed although I feared a rather sleepless
My gaze fell upon my companion in the room. Sherlock Holmes had
fallen fast asleep while lying upon the settee.
I smiled slightly to
myself as I watched him rest. His usually expressive face was peaceful and not
tinged with his customary lines of worry or concentration. I found myself,
again, amazed by the man with whom I had shared rooms these past eight months. I
never ceased to be astonished by his brilliant deductive mind, or his quick
changing moods, or his passion for his work.
As I watched Holmes sleep,
I noticed that his face began to take on a pained expression. He also started to
twitch slightly and his breathing became irregular. With a start, I realized he
was having a nightmare.
I do not know what prompted me
to react as I did, for if I had thought about it I would never have done so. I
was out of my chair in an instant, gently shaking Holmes and softly calling his
He awoke with a gasp and clutched my arm in his strong grip. I
remembered just how much my companion loathed sentiment and interference, and I
instantly regretted my non-thinking actions.
Holmes, however, did not
seem annoyed. “Watson,” he breathed, almost with relief. He loosened his grip on
my arm but did not release me.
“You were having a nightmare,” I said
“Yes,” he agreed. He sighed deeply and let go of me. He sat
I walked to the sideboard and poured us each a brandy. He
drank his down rather quickly.
He smiled at me but it did not reach his
remarkable grey eyes. “I suppose I’ll head to bed now, Watson,” he said in a
hushed tone. He stood.
“Holmes,” I blurted out, “I… understand night
terrors. I have had my own, from time to time.” I was certain he knew that since
I had woken up screaming more than once since moving into to Baker Street. While
the nightmares were less frequent, the horrors of Afghanistan had still not yet
He looked at me quizzically.
“So if you feel,” I
continued, “that you need some companionship, or someone to share a brandy,
please, I pray you dear fellow, do not hesitate to find me.”
his head slightly. “I would not wake you, Watson.”
I smiled at him and
spoke as encouragingly as I could. “I would not mind, Holmes. In fact, I would
prefer to spend a sleepless night with you under such circumstances than to
learn that I slept blissfully while you suffered.”
He quirked his lips in
his distinctive half smile. “Will you make me the same promise, then? That you
will seek me out when you find yourself disturbed in the middle of the
I suddenly understood his reluctance, for asking for help in such
an instance seemed to be an admittance of weakness. Yet I also sensed that I
could trust Holmes more than anyone else I had ever met, although I could not
explain my feelings. I swallowed hard and nodded. “Yes,” I said quietly. “I will
seek you out.”
This time his smile reached his eyes. He looked at me with
more warmth than I had ever seen him direct at anyone. I felt my breath catch
and I wondered slightly at my reaction, but mostly I smiled back at
“That is excellent news,” he exclaimed.
“Do you make the same
promise?” I demanded.
He spent a few moments as if in deep thought and
then his gaze met mine. “Yes,” he whispered. He turned and walked toward his
room. I watched him the whole while.
When he reached the threshold of
his door he looked back at me. “Thank you, my dear Watson.” He nodded once and
then went into his bedroom. “Pleasant dreams” he called and then closed the door
I sat in silence for a while and contemplated the mysteries
surrounding my friend.
I lay in the bed and gently
held the living, breathing body of Sherlock Holmes to me. He slept deeply and it
was all I could do to resist kissing his brow. I was, however, unwilling to wake
him after the excitement of the day. I could tell that he had been using himself
quite severely over the past three years I had assumed him dead and that he
desperately needed some rest, not to mention nourishment. I vowed to ensure that
he would receive plenty of both.
Sleep eluded me that night but I found
that I did not care. I could scarce believe my change in fortune. Holmes was
alive and sleeping in my arms.
I shifted slightly so I could better see
his face. I was still astonished by the day’s events. Holmes’ miraculous
appearance in my consulting room, his fantastical tale, the adventure in Camden
house, the capture of Moran—all of these incidents almost paled in comparison
with what occurred here in his room this very night.
The floodgates of
our passion, always strong between us but never admitted or spoken of, finally
broke. Without a conscious thought we were in each other’s arms—kissing, loving,
breathless with desire.
I was now a criminal in the eyes of the law, a
sinner before God. I did not care in the slightest—Holmes was alive and home and
in my arms. There was nothing more important in my life than lying here now and
watching him sleep.
I could no longer resist; I kissed his brow gently
and held him close, content for the first time in
Holmes lay draped across me, sound asleep. His
enthusiasm tonight had been contagious and our lovemaking vigorous. I felt a
deep, pleasant ache from where he had taken me; my body still tingled from the
I stroked his hair and pushed back a sweaty strand from his
temple. He sighed and nestled closer to me.
Holmes had been in top form
these past few days as he brilliantly solved the mysteries surrounding the six
smashed Napoleon busts. Today had been his piece de resistance as he
dramatically revealed the famous black pearl of the Borgias from the final bust,
much to Lestrade’s and my astonishment.
I could tell that Lestrade’s
heartfelt praise had touched Holmes deeply and that, as much as he immediately
hid behind his cold and practical exterior, he was quite pleased and moved. This
surge in emotion had led to our rather exciting coupling, made all the more
thrilling since we had not lain together for almost a week.
to stroke his hair as I regarded my friend, my lover. I still considered him to
be the best and most amazing man I had ever known. Familiarity had in no way
bred contempt; instead it led to an even greater sense of wonder about the man I
was so fortunate with which to spend my life.
I realized with a great
start that I was deeply in love with Sherlock Holmes. I almost laughed at the
absurdity, for I do not know how I could have possibly missed the strength of my
feelings beforehand. I almost woke him to tell him, but I was certain that he
had deduced my regard long ago.
I gazed at his face once more and pulled
him close. Then I slowly drifted off to sleep with my love beside
We dropped Von Bork off at Scotland Yard, where
it was obvious that they were expecting to receive the German spy. Then, after
Holmes had cashed the check that Von Bork had given him, which I found to be an
amusing touch, I drove Holmes to his hotel. We shared a brandy in one of the
fine restaurants there and sat quietly for several moments.
that war with Germany is inevitable?” I finally ventured to ask.
remarkable grey eyes met mine, and he looked at me with such profound sadness.
“Yes,” said he. “I fear so.”
We sat in silence for a few more moments and
finished our drinks.
“Well,” he said with exaggerated indifference,
“Thank you for your assistance, Watson. I won’t keep you any longer. I am
certain that you must get home to your wife.” He would not meet my
I swallowed hard. “I told her that I did not expect to be home
Holmes flicked his gaze toward me and then quickly scanned the
room. No one was near us. “This is most unwise,” he said very quietly.
He looked at me directly. “I will not be responsible
for you breaking your marriage vows, Watson.”
I tried to smile but I fear
it was pained. “I made vows to you long before I made them to her.”
you broke those as well.”
I looked away, for this time I could no longer
meet his intense gaze. “I did what I needed to in order to protect you, us,” I
He grabbed my hand. I looked up, startled.
“Surely there was another way,” said he.
“I could not see one. We
were under too much suspicion, Holmes. Our relationship, our every movement, was
highly scrutinized. You know that.”
He let go of my hand. “I do know
that you only did what you thought was best. That, however, does not make it any
I nodded but he was not looking at me. I felt
He stood and then looked at me with an imperial tilt to his
head that I had missed so dearly. My heart leapt at the sight. He held his hand
toward me; I took it in my own and stood. He nodded and released my hand. Then
he turned and slowly began to walk away.
By unspoken agreement I followed
him to his room. The door closed behind us with a heavy click.
lovemaking was sweet and poignant, gentle and desperate, and filled with lost
years of passion. I pushed him against the wall and kissed him thoroughly,
determined to explore him one more time. When we finally made it to the bed, we
undressed rapidly so that we could touch and feel and hold each other close,
skin on skin, our desire evident. I took him with slow, steady strokes, and he
clawed my back and urged me deeper.
He is sleeping now, his head on my
chest, my arms around him. I will not, however, waste our remaining time
together in slumber. Instead I study him carefully, surprised by the slight
signs of age—the graying at his temples, the fine lines around his eyes. I smile
at his ridiculous goatee and am amazed once more at his penchant for disguises.
I hold him closely throughout the night and watch him sleep, dreading
the coming dawn when we would be forced to part ways once
Holmes lay on the bed, his breath shallow. I
sat nearby, hovering and occasionally checking his pulse. I had never felt so
helpless in my life.
His eyes fluttered open and he looked at me, a
slight smile forming on his lips. “Well, Watson,” he rasped, “I guess this is
one dilemma I cannot solve.”
I could not speak around the lump in my
“Don’t mourn, my dear friend,” he said, taking my hand in his and
clasping me with his now weak fingers. “I look forward to a new
A sob escaped me. I held his hand in both of mine, careful
not to exert too much pressure and unwittingly cause him pain. “I just wish
there was something I could do,” I admitted. “Finally we’re in my area of
expertise and I’m as hopeless as ever.”
“Don’t, John. Don’t blame
yourself for this. My body is a shell of its former self. There is nothing that
you, or anyone, could do.”
I closed my eyes against the hot tears that
threatened to overwhelm me.
He squeezed my hand gently. I opened my eyes
and met his gaze. He was smiling.
“I know I never told you,” he said, his
voice barely above a whisper, “and that I took you for granted more often than
not, but I love you, John Watson. I have for years. Most of my life, in fact.”
I kissed his hand and held it to my face. “Sherlock. I
“Hush,” he said quietly. “There’s no need for you to say it. Your
every action through the years has made it perfectly clear.”
you,” I whispered, defying him at last.
He quirked his distinctive half
smile and the light of it reached his eyes. “Also know, my dear," he said, "that
the past five years here in Sussex Downs, spent with you, have been the happiest
in my life. I’m only sorry we did not have longer.”
“As am I. It’s not
long enough, Holmes. It will never be long enough.”
He squeezed my hand
slightly. He had no strength left.
“Wait for me,” I begged. “Please, wait
“I cannot stay any longer, Watson. But know that I will be on
the other side, awaiting your arrival. Don’t hurry on my account, though. I will
wait for you until the end of time.”
“Sherlock,” I cried, kissing his
hand once more. “Please.”
He smiled at me one more time, and then his
hand went slack as his final breath left his body.
I sat there numb for a
few moments, then I placed his hand on the bed beside him. I kissed his brow and
gently closed his remarkable grey eyes for the last time. Then I let my tears