I returned from my surgery to find Holmes in high spirits indeed; within a half hour, it became apparent that he was more than usually excited.
I lit my pipe and leaned back in the armchair as he situated himself by the fireplace, his elbow upon the mantel. With the merest flicker of glances, he directed my attention to a small copper pot hanging upon one andiron.
“No doubt some clue in a devilish murder plot,” I chuckled.
“In fact, no,” Holmes answered coyly. “Rather, its contents – now warming in the heat of our fire – are pertinent to a small experiment I wish to perform this evening.”
“You know I’m always willing to help you in your research, dear fellow. What is the nature of this experiment?”
“It is a psychological study upon the affects of physical distraction.”
My eyes flickered to the copper pot, its surface alight with the merry twinkle of the flames below it. “Physical distraction?” I asked, licking my lips.
“In short, I wish to ascertain how well a person may be able to converse intelligently upon a given subject, while being distracted by certain physical stimuli.”
I crossed my legs. “Very well. How shall we proceed?”
“Firstly, we must assure a completely insulated environment,” said he, rubbing his hands together, “as the slightest interruption would ruin the experiment. Would you be so good as to lock the doors while I make the rest of the preparations? It would be wise to close the windows and the curtains, as well.”
When I had closed the last curtain, I turned to see that Holmes had pulled back the armchairs and pulled aside the hearthrug. In its place, I was surprised to see the original hearth-rug, the old Turkish carpet that had been replaced by the bearskin we bought together in Nimes.
“Yes, I thought you’d be surprised to see our old friend,” Holmes said merrily, “and there’s the bullet-hole that ended its tenure.”
“And the place you spilled acid,” I laughed, helping him unfold it further. “I thought Mrs. Hudson had thrown it away,” I said. “Is it a part of the experiment?”
“Merely the staging ground, old fellow. I didn’t think we should be comfortable upon the bare floor, and this experiment is likely to get rather untidy.”
“Should I remove my clothes?” I asked, beaming broadly.
“Not at this juncture,” Holmes said, a trifle reproachfully. “But we should definitely strip to our shirtsleeves. And I am sure,” he murmured, stepping in closer, “that you would not wish to ruin your new cravat.” He pulled it from my neck in a sweeping motion, and I slipped my arm around his waist.
He melted into my kiss only briefly before pushing me away gently. “John,” he rebuked softly, “the experiment.”
I shook my head in amusement. “Very well, get on with it.”
He frowned petulantly. “The experiment is in distraction. You can’t be that easily distracted.”
“It seems that I am the one distracting you.”
“Indeed, you are. Will you please desist now, or do you wish to abandon the experiment?”
I sighed. “All right,” I conceded. “So what do you wish me to do?”
“I shall need you to lie down comfortably, upon your back, here on the hearth-rug. I shall than engage you in a conversation upon a particular topic. You must endeavour to focus your attention upon the topic well enough to keep up an intelligent discussion; all the while, I shall be endeavouring to distract you.”
I lay down obediently, slipping off my jacket and waistcoat. “So what is the topic under intelligent discussion?”
“Chocolate,” Holmes said, taking the pot off of the andiron. “Interestingly enough, that is also the answer to your next question, namely the method of distraction.”
“Ah, but now I need not ask it.” I shuffled over slightly to allow Holmes room as he knelt beside me, stirring the contents of the pot with a small spoon. “Not that I would wish to hinder this experiment, but certainly you already know how well-distracted I am by this particular stimulus. Last week with the marmalade –”
“Oh, indeed,” Holmes purred, shrugging out of his jacket. “That was the incident which inspired me to investigate the phenomenon further.”
I lifted myself up on one elbow. “You wished to find out at which point my reserve breaks down.”
I settled back down into the carpet. “Well, then, by all means, let us proceed. Chocolate is the topic under discussion, then?”
“Do you know much about it?”
“A little,” I replied. “The name means ‘food of the gods,’ if I’m not mistaken.”
“You are. The Latin name, theobroma, means food of the gods. The compound itself is an alkaloid, a member of the methylxanthine family.” With a slight smile playing upon his features, he dipped the spoon into the pot and retrieved a small amount of chocolate, and then looked at me, inviting comment.
“It’s the same chemical family as caffeine, I believe,” I said evenly.
“Excellent, Watson!” Holmes murmured, and, holding the spoon of chocolate with one hand, slowly unfastened my collar and my top two shirt-buttons.
“The compound itself contains no bromine, despite its name,” he continued, drizzling a small amount of chocolate onto my lips.
“I see you chose the unsweetened variety for your experiment,” I said.
“I hope you don’t mind, Watson. But knowing your sweet tooth, I did not wish to add gastronomic delight into the equation. Too many variables would muddy the result.”
“I completely understand, my dear fellow. Pray continue.”
Holmes leaned forward and kissed me softly, his tongue lightly tickling over my mouth, removing the last traces of the bitter velvet melting upon my lips. “The name ‘chocolate’ comes to us from the Nahuatl language of the Aztecs of Mexico,” he whispered, “and, roughly translated, means ‘bitter water.’” He took another measure of the chocolate upon the spoon and delicately applied it to the very centre of my throat, just at the base of my neck.
I swallowed hard, and the sensation of my adam’s apple rubbing against the warm chocolate-covered spoon made it hard for me to concentrate. And yet, an old memory did surface, from a long-ago class in ancient cultures of the New World. “They used to drink it as a liquid, didn’t they?” I asked.
Holmes leaned over me and pressed his mouth to my skin, slowly and agonizingly laving my neck. “It was traditionally consumed in a drink called xocoatl, which would be seasoned with vanilla, chile pepper, and annatto.”
I took a deep breath. “Wasn’t it part of their fertility rites?” My voice rose slightly on the last word, as Holmes nipped at my neck suddenly.
“The Aztecs did associate chocolate with Xochiquetzal, their goddess of fertility, yes,” Holmes said, unbuttoning my shirt further before ripping it away with an impatient flurry of his wrists. He paused to collect himself, then took a generous helping of chocolate upon the spoon and drizzled a stream of the warm, viscous fluid across my chest, describing a lazy pattern of loops and whorls which criss-crossed my torso, only coincidentally touching upon one or the other of my nipples no less than seven times. I watched his eyes as he did so, thinking to myself how beautiful he looked in this light.
“Did you hear me, Watson?”
“Oh, yes,” I said hastily. “You were telling me how the early Mayans most likely originated the use of the cacao plant.”
Holmes nodded. “Xocoatl was believed to fight fatigue,” he said, bending to lick a small portion of the chocolate away, his tongue moving slowly. He paused and looked up at me, smiling beatifically.
“No doubt attributable to the theobromine content,” I breathed.
He leaned forward once more and began punctuating his words with slow licks at the trail of chocolate he had drawn upon me. “So prized … was the cocoa bean … among the Aztec people –” here he paused and bit my nipple, “—it was often used as currency.”
I took a deep breath. “You know, Holmes, I visited a cocoa plantation once. It was when my family was moving back to Scotland from Ballarat.”
Holmes’ eyes twinkled mischievously. “Oh, do tell me all about it, Watson.”
“I was rather young,” I began uncertainly, as his mouth hovered invitingly over my left nipple.
“As I recall you telling me, you were thirteen when your family returned to Edinborough,” he countered, “just the age when a young chap would be fascinated with how the world works. I’d be willing to lay a sovereign you were asking a million questions.”
“In fact, I was,” I chuckled, remembering. “It was fascinating, Holmes. The pods are grotesque in appearance, about the size of a man’s hand, with a bizarrely rippled outer layer of yellowish-green. My father picked one and cut it open for me. The inside had this fibrous white pulp …”
I had paused because Holmes had begun his oral ministrations. He paused at my reaction, smiling slightly.
“Something wrong, old fellow?”
“Certainly not. Where was I?”
“The West coast of Africa, on your way home from Ballarat. You’re quite lucky; I’ve never been able to taste the pulp. I hear it is … delicious,” he purred, sucking my left nipple into his mouth with considerable force.
“It’s … a … subtle flavour,” I gasped, “with only a hint of that dark, bittersweet taste we Europeans recognize as chocolate.”
“You mean this taste,” he said, covering my mouth with his and briefly thrusting his tongue over my lips before returning his attention to my chest.
“Yes, that taste,” I said. Holmes laid aside the spoon and slowly began unbuttoning my trousers. “The beans themselves are these dark purple seeds embedded in the pulp,” I continued, my voice quavering only slightly as Holmes lifted my hips to better remove my lower garments. “Do you wish me to assist you?” I asked.
Holmes flashed me a wicked smile. “Certainly not,” he answered. “I shouldn’t like to distract you. So did you see how the beans were processed?” he continued, rapidly removing my remaining garments.
“The beans are removed from the pod and left with their pulp to ferment, in great piles, for about a week …” I bit the inside of my mouth to prevent the gasp as he took my length into his mouth without warning.
“Do you have an objection, Watson?” Holmes asked mildly.
“Not at all,” I said quickly. “I am, however, slightly confused.”
“Confused?” he asked, delivering a teasing lick to the tip of my now-throbbing cock. Damn him.
“I thought you were using chocolate as your distracting stimulus,” I managed to protest in a weak voice.
“You are right, doctor. I have introduced the distraction of surprise. My apologies. Should we abandon the experiment?”
“No! I mean …” I quickly stilled myself. “I do not think we have tainted the results to warrant a complete abandonment of the procedure.” My voice only wavered slightly as Holmes held the pot and spoon teasingly over my prick.
“Are you absolutely sure, Doctor?” he murmured. “You seem … distracted.”
“Certainly not,” I said quickly. “I was telling you about the fermentation process,” I continued, absolutely not distracted by the gentle touch of a spoon upon my rod, spreading a thick layer of bittersweet chocolate at its touch.
“The beans are … left in piles with their pulp –”
“For about a week, I think you said.”
“Yes,” I said fervently, as Holmes’ head bowed over my groin. “Once fermented, the beans … the beans are spread out in the sun … to dry. The beans are then … taken … to the roasting house,” I panted.
“No hands, Watson,” Holmes murmured, gently removing my hands from his head, where my fingers had become inexplicably entwined in his hair.
“No matter. I should be obliged if you spread your legs slightly; thank you. Pray continue,” he said, drizzling a copious amount of chocolate upon my testes.
“The roasted beans are – ah! – then ground. They remove … the cocoa butter by pressing … sweet Lord, Holmes!”
“I think we have successfully marked your level of distraction,” he said triumphantly, sitting up.
“Holmes, that was not fair!”
“If you are complaining about the insertion of my finger where I had not yet applied any chocolate, I must answer that since I had already introduced the distraction of surprise to the experiment, albeit unwittingly –”
“Sod the bloody distraction of surprise, Sherlock,” I snarled, pulling him down atop me, the pot of chocolate flying from his hands. “I meant it was unfair of you to stop.”
“But we have successfully ascertained your level of distraction,” he began, then gave a slight yelp. “Do you mind, Watson? Those trousers are expensive –”
I stopped his words with my mouth. “Off with them, then,” I growled against his lips. While he stripped quickly, I cast about for the pot of chocolate; luckily it had fallen top-up, and little, if any, of the mixture had spilled. It had cooled, however, and I easily scooped a dab of it onto my finger, reclining once more upon my back, the copper pot resting on my chest. “Come straddle me,” I commanded softly.
He bowed his head a little, and knelt with his knees to either side of my hips, his hardness bouncing tantalizingly before me. He smiled down at me, touching my cheek.
“Are you thinking of proposing a repeat of our experiment with a reversal of roles?” he asked.
“I suppose you will claim to be less susceptible to such distraction,” I said, spreading a long line of chocolate from the tip to the base of his penis.
“There is hardly a basis for an accurate comparison at this point,” Holmes said. “As you can see, I have been physically affected by the nature of our research.”
“So you are admitting that your bodily desires are interfering with your experimental detachment,” I teased, gripping his buttocks firmly and moving him up my chest until the tip of his prick rested just at my lip.
“Steady on, Watson,” Holmes hissed, closing his eyes. I took the opportunity to take his full length into my mouth as swiftly as I was able, sucking hard as I slowly released him. He trembled briefly, and I thought he would almost spend himself, but he managed to draw back, opening his eyes once more, beaming down upon me with such an open expression of affection, I had not the heart to chide him for it. Then the moment was gone, and the sardonic flavour had returned to his voice as he wriggled his hips over me.
“What is more, Watson, your description of the production process of chocolate was interrupted, was it not? You failed to mention conching and tempering, both essential steps in the process of finishing chocolate.”
“Actually, Holmes, the plantation I visited only went as far as roasting the beans. My knowledge of the finishing process came second-hand from the plantation’s foreman. Why don’t you remind me of the finer points?” I said, spreading another generous dollop of chocolate to Holmes’ length.
“The mass of refined, blended chocolate is kept liquid in a conche, which is a container filled with … metal beads, smoothing the cocoa and … the sugar particles … to a fine consistency, the discrete crystals … undetectable to … the tongue …”
I paused, smiling innocently up at Holmes. He had closed his eyes once more, biting his lip, looking absolutely delectable.
“And then tempering?” I reminded him gently.
“Tempering. Of course. Although the particles of sugar and cocoa may be broken up by conching, the crystallization of – Watson, that’s not fair – the crystallization of the cocoa butter must be tempered, otherwise the surface of the chocolate will appear … mottled, and the … the chocolate will easily crumble apart – sweet Lord, Watson, what are you – aaaagh,” he degraded into a pained gasp as I pulled my mouth away from him just before he reached his peak.
“John, for the love of God,” he whispered, “you can’t leave me like this.”
“Then sit back, my love,” I answered. “That’s right, just where I’m steering you.”
I squeezed his ballsac companionably before curling my fingers around his twitching shaft. “You didn’t know what I was doing with my other hand, did you? I shouldn’t like to have any of this chocolate to eat, but it does make a successful lubricant, wouldn’t you say?”
“John,” he panted, riding me frantically, with a look of pure ecstasy upon his face. “I am – I can’t – John …”
I was not far behind my love, thrusting up as deep inside him as I could go just as his inner muscles constricted in spasms of pleasure, massaging my own rod to completion. I milked his cock empty as I emptied my own seed deep into him, and we collapsed together, his head upon my heaving chest.
Holmes kissed my forehead. “A shame, that,” he said, once he had regained his composure.”
“What?” I asked, smoothing a lock of hair out of his eye.
“The adulteration of our experimental results, my boy.”
“You mean the added variable of surprise as a distraction?” I yawned, wrapping my love in my arms. “I shouldn’t worry about it, Holmes.”
“Quite right, Watson! You are as steadfast as Gibraltar. In any case,” he added, sighing softly as he cuddled into my shoulder, “we can always repeat the experiment for verification.”
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