Old Scars
a sequel to Old Wounds
by Pandapony

Sherlock Holmes and I saw very little of each other the month following the conclusion of the case of “The Crooked Man.” A wave of diphtheria inundated the hospital at which I worked, and Holmes was immediately engrossed in another case, the details of which I have never been able to disclose.

We saw each other only in the evenings, and I was usually so exhausted from my rounds, I headed straight to bed shortly after supper. However the moments we were together were lovely and excruciating. A giddy tension sparked between us, and it seemed so powerful I could not fathom how Mrs. Hudson and the Irregulars, who rushed in and out to do Holmes’ bidding, could not feel the charge between Holmes and myself.

One afternoon, I was able to escape my practice early, and found Holmes restlessly pacing the sitting room, smoking his pipe. When I entered, his eyes lit up and he rushed towards me.

“Watson! I’ve been waiting for you. I really
must discuss this case with someone to get my thoughts in order. Shall we go for a stroll, as we used to before this wretched sickness, and talk of the matter? I promise a hot meal at the end of our journey, at my client’s expense.”

“Absolutely,” I said, smiling. My leg had been acting up all week, but I was willing to endure the ache if it meant seeing Holmes unravel a mystery. When he needed to discuss a case like this, he became as hyperactive as a child, thrumming with energy, and it was a delight to be around him, to swallow in some of that thrill for life which he exuded during his more manic moments.

And ever since we had returned from Aldershot a month prior, the very sight of Holmes filled my chest with a tingling, nervous, excited sensation which I had only felt before as infatuation. I recognized this feeling, yet strove to ignore it. I knew myself well enough to see how easy it would be to fall in love with the man simply because he was the only one who knew about my past.

From the moment I had disclosed my terrible ordeal in Afghanistan to Holmes, a great weight had been lifted from my shoulders, and I truly did feel better. For several nights afterwards, I had suffered through nightmares, but when I awoke, I no longer had the lingering sense of self-loathing and horror that was associated with these memories. They were still painful to me, and I became frightened whenever I dwelled on them too long, but the memories no longer held a spell over me, and I owed that to Holmes.

Holmes pulled on his gloves and hat quickly, and I followed suit. We left our suites together for the first time in four weeks, and I held out my arm. Holmes hooked his arm in mine, and the two of us began our long round of ramblings through the congested heart of London.

We had favorite routes developed over years of such meanderings. One of us would take the lead and off we would go, keeping our pace brisk enough to stay warm, but slow enough to take in the windows of the passing shops, the people around us, the endless display of humanity, burgeoning around us in a loud, smelly, tempered mass. I loved London at these moments; even the fetid streets near the docks, where men pissed in doorways and feral cats rampaged. I loved the connection with the city these ramblings granted me. I bumped shoulders with merchants and mendicants, whores and nuns and thieves, and we all became one teeming throng of hopes and heartache.

Holmes related the details of his case. He could be a vivid storyteller when he chose to, and soon had me laughing along with him as he disclosed the seedier details of the mystery in which he had entangled himself. I listened, my heart light with joy, my body releasing all of the tension that had built up from days of deathly ill patients.

We turned onto Tottenham Court Road and I began my cross-questioning. I was no match for Holmes when it came to reasoning through clues, but I knew he had grown to depend upon my attempts. I asked questions, absurd ones, obvious ones, about every detail of the case, trying to develop a solution that would solve the crime that Holmes had not considered. In the process of explaining to me how wrong I was, Holmes often found the right answer. And so it was that day, as we made our way north towards the British Museum, that one of my innocent questions about a meaningless detail froze Holmes in his tracks, jerking me to a halt as well.

He looked stunned. A couple behind us had to move out of our way, giving us a nasty look as they passed.

“Holmes?” I asked.

He smacked the side of his hat with his cane. “Fool! I should have been able to solve this case from my armchair!” And with a great laugh, he threw his arm around my shoulder. “Watson, once again your idiotic line of questioning has led me to the answer I sought. What would I do without you?”

I mumbled under my breath, annoyed that questions I found probing were merely idiotic to him, but Holmes was too happy for me to be mad at him for long. He let go of my shoulder, but then reached down and grabbed my hand instead, squeezing it affectionately.

“I must repay you with food. Let’s eat at Marshall’s.”

My face must have shown my delight, for Holmes smiled and pulled my arm towards what was, without doubt, my favorite restaurant in Westminster.

We dined royally, Holmes sparing no expense, and I must confess I had more to drink than I normally imbibed in the afternoon. As we made our way back to Baker Street, my leg troubled me more, and so I leaned on Holmes. He offered to hail a hansom, but I declined, enjoying the feel of his body pressed against mine, taking too much joy in the simple partnership of the moment.

Holmes eyed me thoughtfully as he helped me home. We returned to Baker Street just in time to catch Mrs. Hudson rushing out to tend to a sick relative. Holmes encouraged her to spend the night with her cousin and, once Mrs. Hudson was on her way, he shut and locked the bottom door and turned to me with a strange glint in his eyes.

In our sitting room upstairs, Holmes watched me carefully with an unreadable expression. “Will our late lunch last you through the evening? Or shall I call round for Billy, and have him fetch us some supper?”

The thought of more food made me ill, so I simply groaned in response and flopped onto our settee. I covered my eyes with my arm and yawned.

“All I want is to rest my blasted leg and relax. Oh, and perhaps try that cognac you’re hiding from me under your chemistry table.”

I peeked from under my arm to see Holmes’ expression. He burst into one of his rare fits of laughter and shook his head.

“Watson! Sly and perceptive. I’m going to have to watch myself more carefully.”

“If you truly wanted to hide it, you should have placed it in your room,” I said.

“I wasn’t hiding it,” he said. “I put it there because I was going to perform an experiment with it.”

I sat up and scowled at him. “Now, Holmes, that’s positively criminal. That is a very fine bottle of cognac. If you’re going to waste liquor on science, you might as well have gone with less quality.”

Holmes fished around under his chemistry table, knocking over a few test tubes and swearing, until he at last stood with the bottle of Hennessy that I had accidentally discovered while hunting around for my slippers the night before. He held the cognac aloft triumphantly, and went to the side table to pour us both a glass.

“For the purposes of my trial, it needed to be this brand and no other.”

“I’m glad to see you don’t need the whole bottle.” I sat up slowly, wincing slightly as the movement jarred my leg.

Holmes sat beside me on the settee and handed me my glass. “I had intended to do so, but out of gratitude for your assistance this afternoon, I’ll simply purchase another one tomorrow.”

I clinked my glass against his. “Good fellow.” I threw back the glass and swallowed most of my drink, washing it over my teeth with my tongue to absorb the flavor. This was a
very expensive cognac, and I savored the smoky aftertaste with relish.

“That’s quite lovely,” I mused.

Holmes’ eyebrow quirked up. “You are slightly drunk, I fancy.”

I smirked. “And your point is?”

Holmes took my glass from me with a smile. “I’m going to wash up. Refrain from consuming the rest while I’m away, or I’ll play Dvorak all night.”

I groaned. Despite my efforts to convince Holmes of the fact that he could not play Dvorak, he would attempt the composer anyway. I was about to remind him once more, but he quickly stood up, resting his hand on my head. Then he did something quite unexpected. He tousled my hair.

“Holmes!” I scowled at him as he made his way into the bathroom. I tried combing my hair back into place with my fingers, but eventually decided to give the whole thing up and just have another drink.

I stoked the fire and started to read the day’s papers. The combination of the flames and the cognac made me warm, and so I went upstairs and changed into casual attire, relaxing as I reclaimed the settee in my dressing gown and shirtsleeves. My hair was a mess now, but Holmes was still in the bathroom, and I was too lazy to return upstairs to my bedroom to fix it. Instead, I savored the blossoming drunkenness coursing through my veins, the fact that I had no patients that evening, and indulged in the society column of the Standard.

I heard something shatter, and Holmes curse. I rushed to the bathroom door and knocked on it.

“Holmes? Are you alright?”


The door flew open and Holmes scowled at me. He clutched a towel around his waist. He had obviously just stepped from the tub. His body was wet and warm, and the cool air of the hallway brought steam off his shoulders and bare chest. His hair was a damp, tangled mess of black on his head. He let go of the door handle and stuck his index finger into his mouth.

“What did you break?” I stepped inside to survey the damage.

“Mrs. Hudson’s vase. I don’t know how many times I have told her not to clutter the counter with foliage!”

I ignored his subsequent cursing and saw he had indeed broken the vase. Glass shards littered the floorboards and the counter.

“Get out,” I told him, pushing him out the door. “There’s broken glass everywhere.” He scowled at me once more, but I pushed him harder into his bedroom and then went about cleaning up the mess.

When I went into his bedroom to see how he was faring, he was sitting on the edge of his bed, still wearing only his towel wrapped around his waist. He sucked on his index finger nervously.

“Let me see your finger.” I sat beside him on the bed, and reached for his right hand. I frowned at the bruises that marred the otherwise unblemished white skin of his inner arm. But I didn’t say anything. Instead I turned my attention to his index finger, which was sliced at the tip. The cut was already clotting.

“I don’t know if you will survive,” I told him, trying not to smirk.

“My fingers are singularly sensitive,” he said, looking anxiously at his hand.

“Well, at least I’m spared your violin for one evening.”

“I thought you liked it when I played,” he said.

I smiled. “I do. When you concentrate, and refrain from Czech composers.”

Holmes chuckled at that. I got up with a grimace, and fetched my medical case. I returned and quickly swabbed the cut, eliciting a hiss of pain and more mumbled curses from him.

I finished cleaning the cut, but I still held his hand in mine. It was warm and now dry, and his skin smelled freshly of soap. His hair was drying on his head, but he hadn’t combed it either, so both of us looked tousled, like we had just stepped from a storm.

Once again, the air between us charged, and our eyes locked in silence. I could feel his excitement as if it arced from his skin into my own.

“Do you want a bandage?” I asked, somewhat breathlessly.

“You could kiss it better.” He watched me carefully.

My stomach flipped in suspense. I leaned down and quickly kissed his cut, and then set about wrapping an entire roll of gauze around the top of it. He tried to pull his hand away but I held him tightly. He started laughing, as did I, and soon I had a good four-inch thick wrapping encasing his entire finger.

“There you go.” I patted the outside of his new cocoon.

He quirked an eyebrow at his padded finger. “Did you finish that entire bottle of cognac whilst I was in the tub?”

“No. I saved you a dram.” Neither of us moved. We sat there, hand in hand. The joviality of the moment passed, and tension returned. I wasn’t sure how much longer I could stand this.

The tension, the alcohol, the closeness, it led me to do something I wouldn’t have had the courage to do in any other circumstance. I lifted his hand to my mouth and kissed it.

Holmes said nothing. He watched me kiss his hand with an unreadable expression. I lowered his hand and let go, feeling my face flush scarlet. If I had miscalculated his intentions, it could have been all over for us, for our friendship, for everything that I valued. I waited, holding my breath, for some reaction.

Holmes let his breath out in one long exhale. And then he stared at me, straight through me, and I withered under his powerful gaze.

Holmes put his hand, gently, on my shoulder. “May I see your wound?”

My heart seemed to jerk to a halt. Why was it that, every time we approached this moment, Holmes would drag me from the promise of heaven and send me plunging down into my own hell?

“Which one?” I tried to laugh it off, but the joke soured in my mouth.

Holmes flinched as if I had hit him. “Never mind.” He turned from me and unwrapped the bandage around his finger.

I grabbed him by the shoulders, desperate not to let him go. I was terrified of showing him what I looked like under my clothing, but at the same time, I couldn’t bear the idea of letting this moment between us end. We both knew something was about to happen, any instant, that would change us forever.

I was willing to show him my ugliness, if it would draw out the moment.

I shrugged my arms out of my dressing gown and steeled my nerves against his reaction. I knew I was attractive at first glance – many people had told me so, and women especially found my hair and eyes enticing – but my body under my clothes was another matter entirely. Would Holmes look at me with the same pity and horror that I had looked upon the broken body of Corporal Henry Wood? I wasn’t sure I could bear it. If he flinched, or turned away, I would shoot myself. That was all I could think of, as I slowly unbuttoned my shirt, leaning forward to keep it from opening prematurely.

Holmes watched, frozen, moving nothing but his eyes, following my fingers down my shirt, until I undid the last button.

I took a deep breath. And pulled my shirt off as quickly as I could manage with my injury.

Holmes said nothing. He just stared with eyes unnaturally wide. I watched his glance travel from the twisted white scar tissue of my shoulder, down to my chest, where my skin was marred with countless burns and slashes. He still said nothing. He moved slightly, to look at my back, and I closed my eyes and clenched my jaw, enduring the scrutiny. I had been flogged, god knows how many times. I had no idea what my back looked like, but by feel, it was a massive network of raised scar tissue, striping me from neck to hip.

Holmes still said nothing. I could hear him breathing now, quick and loud, and I remembered the night he had come to me a month ago, how his breathing changed when he was disturbed. He narrowed his eyes at one gash of puckered flesh under my arm, on my ribs, and he hesitantly reached out. He rested his warm fingertips against the scar.

“What caused this?” he asked. His voice broke as he spoke.

“A hook,” I said, trying to calm the panic inside of me.

“May I see your leg?” Holmes asked. His face was still blank of emotion, but his lips had gone white.

I nodded silently, and undressed further. I was too nervous to think about the intimacy of the moment. I inelegantly removed my trousers and my socks. I sat down on the bed, feeling very exposed, while Holmes took in the additional marks along my legs.

“Your feet appear undamaged,” he said, coughing to clear his throat. I knew he was trying to sound casual, but I could hear the emotion in his voice. “Why do you limp?”

I reached to my inner thigh. “A beating severely injured my gracilis muscle, and then I was caged in a contorted position. The damage never truly healed.” I shook my head. “It’s a miracle I can walk.”

Holmes reached over and rested his long white hand on the top of my thigh. I felt like I had been shocked. Panic was rising inside of me, tempered only by my desperate desire to endure this moment, to be closer to Holmes.

I knew Holmes’ imagination was powerful. Now I watched his expression, saw the color drain from his face, and I realized he was visualizing my torments as clearly as if he had been there. “That sounds…unbearable.”

“It was excruciating.” I realized I was shaking, both from the memory and from the feeling of his hand on my leg.

His hand slowly slid around the top of my leg, gently resting on my inner thigh, on my underwear.

“Here?” he asked, his voice cracking.

I had no idea what to expect from him now. Sympathy? Passion? His eyes looked crazed. I nodded, and he swallowed in response, his Adam’s apple bobbing in his long, perfect throat as he did so. I looked at his body, so pristine and pure. Barely a hair marked the smooth expanse of his pale chest, and only the bruises along his inner arms flawed his statuesque beauty. In comparison, I looked weathered, mottled. My chest was covered in light brown hairs, my skin scarred and angry.

“Let me see,” Holmes said. He squeezed my thigh. I breathed deeply and nervously worked the flies of my undergarments. He helped me push them off, and so I lay naked before him. I was terrified. I was electrified. It was the most petrifying and erotic moment of my life, and both of us watched my erection grow before us, unabashedly displaying my innermost thoughts. My heart beat in such a panic I could barely breathe.

Holmes stared at my member, but he didn’t say a word. He stretched alongside me, and slowly used both of his warm palms to spread my legs. He looked at the small dimple of flesh on my left thigh, which marked my injury. It was ironic, really, that my most severe wound would look so innocuous. He leaned down and kissed my inner thigh, letting his breath linger on my flesh, and I leaned back to stare up at the ceiling and luxuriate in the feel of his hot, healing hands, massaging the sites of my battles.

Uninvited, other images began to come into my head. Darker images, of other men, at another time. I clenched my eyes shut and focused on the feeling of Holmes’ hands, the smell of him, to remember who it was that was touching me now.

“You are beautiful,” he whispered.

“I look like a monster.” My voice was shaky.

“No.” Holmes crawled up until he was leaning over me, his face an inch from mine. His stare was intense, mesmerizing. Color was returning to his face now, a charming pink across the bridge of his nose and his cheeks. “Every mark on your body is a sign of your character. I love your imperfections.” And with that, he kissed me deeply.

I was too far gone with terror and excitement to pay much attention to the grace of our kissing. He was inexpert, but he was passionate, and he bumbled his mouth along mine in a desperate, hot embrace.

I broke from his kisses for a moment to take in the sight of his nearly naked body atop of me. I wondered what on earth had happened to lead me here, breaking the law and performing sexual congress with a man. I asked myself if I could do this. I had been with women of my own will, in pleasure. I had been forced to do this with men, in terror. Could I cross the boundary, indulge in this man before me, and enjoy it? Take what he was offering and have violence no longer be a part of this kind of coupling? It was not an idle decision.

And then I realized that, no matter what had happened in my past, who had touched me in violence, this here, this was Sherlock Holmes. This was my dearest friend, a man I loved, and, more so, this was him offering himself to me, in the most intimate way a man can offer himself. I thrust aside my fears of being considered ungodly by society, or having been ruined in Afghanistan, or what others would think and believe, and instead, focused on this moment, here, with him, and how much I wanted this.

I returned my mouth to his and tilted my head, holding the back of his neck to slow him. I gently worked his mouth open with my tongue, thrusting deep inside him, wanting to fill him with my love.

Holmes groaned and pulled his body completely on top of mine. He pressed his groin against mine and I gasped.

He immediately pulled from our kiss and looked at me in fear. “Did I hurt you? By God, I’m sorry…”

“I’m fine,” I said, smiling to reassure him. I forced his head back to me for more kisses. I writhed beneath him, and although the sensation did twinge my damaged leg and cause some pain, the pleasure was far greater. I fumbled at his waist to remove his towel, and when he was naked, he pressed his massive erection against mine, and my eyes rolled back into my head with the sensation.

It had been a long time for me without a lover. Now my fear, my excitement, and my passion wove into one swallowing, convulsive emotion, and every pore of my skin tingled, every muscle charged with adrenalin. I was hyper-aware of each sensation, and felt as though the smallest movement would send me jumping out of my skin.

Our kisses slowed to a deep, constant thrusting, but I could feel his member push against mine in urgency. Even though he closed his eyes as we kissed, I kept mine open. Every touch of his brought a spasm of delight, but also a small tingle of fear, and I hoped by keeping his face in focus, I could banish the evil memories and remember that the man who I was embracing was here at my invitation, at my own desire.

However, as he pressed me down deeper into the mattress, my fear began to overwhelm my sense of pleasure. Although my mind was set upon this course of action, my body had memories of its own. I could feel my throat constricting in panic as his weight pinned me down. The constant rubbing of his organ against my inner thigh hurt my injury more, and caused a terrible flashback of another man, at another time, doing a similar thing to me. I clenched my eyes shut, hoping to drive the memory aside, but it was becoming all I could think of, drowning out the sweet intimacy of this moment, pervading all that was good with a dread feeling of evil.

Holmes continued to kiss me, endlessly, obliviously, his whole body flush with desire. I didn’t want to disappoint him, but I was finding it hard to breathe. The hair on my arms stood on end, and a slick loathing crept into my senses, the hideousness of unwanted touch, and suddenly I thought I was going to be sick.

I broke from his lips and tried to gently push Holmes off me, but he took my move as an amorous one, and leaned down to gently suck upon one of my nipples.

Holmes’ hands ran along the sides of my body. When they reached my hips they slid to my behind and squeezed. I immediately bolted upright, pushing him away from me with sudden, violent force.

I emitted a strangled cry of horror, and curled instinctively into a ball.

Holmes stared at me from where I had pushed him, eyes wide and startled.

I immediately felt guilty. “I’m sorry, Holmes.”

Holmes was shaking. “No, no, it is I who should apologize. It was me.” He shook his head as if to clear it.

“Holmes…” I felt suddenly miserable. The cursed memories of my past were ruining my life once again. I covered my face with my hands, too ashamed to look at him.

I heard Holmes’ heavy breathing. I peeked through my fingers to see him sit on the edge of the bed, in a state of heightened sexual desire, running his hand over his face.

“I don’t know what to say…” I sounded defeated to my own ears. I looked at Holmes’ body, all planes of muscle, and I realized how much I wanted him, wanted to touch him. And yet now even this seemed out of reach to me.

I moved to sit next to him on the edge of the bed. We sat close together, not touching, our legs dangling together. I looked at Holmes anxiously.

I was worried he would be angry. Instead, he looked at me with a sheepish expression. “I’m afraid I got slightly carried away with the moment. I promise you, it won’t happen again.”

I said nothing. I hung my head, and looked at a long, thin scar just above my right knee. I shivered at the memory of it.

“You look terrified,” he whispered.

“I am.” We stared at each other a moment, and Holmes’ cheeks blushed charmingly once more.

“But I am excited as well,” I told him. I reached over for his hand, and he grabbed it tightly. “I’m sorry, Holmes. I just don’t… I’m not sure how to proceed.”

“I need to be more perceptive,” he said under his breath, as if to himself, and then he chuckled at his own private joke. He turned to me. “I have a proposal to make.”


“We are going to go very slowly…” he touched the side of my face, and I smiled at him. He smiled back. “And you will tell me when you start to feel uncomfortable.”

He leaned over and kissed my forehead.

My heart rate had almost returned to normal. I looked at him sitting there, naked, beautiful in the dim gas light, his pale body as close to perfection as I could imagine, and I reached out to feel his own face, his sharp cheeks, aquiline nose. I ran my fingers along the contours of his rich, red lips, and he shivered, closing his eyes, parting his lips wantonly. My heart began to beat faster once more, but out of desire, not fear.

“Watson.” Holmes opened his eyes and touched my shoulder hesitantly. “Do you trust me?”

“Of course,” I said. I was frustrated that he could not understand that my reaction had little to do with my trust in him. It was not his touch I flinched from, but some older, darker memory that my body was unprepared to forget.

Holmes’ eyes had taken on a keen intensity, and he looked very focused, as if solving a great mystery. He leaned forward and gently kissed my lips. He put very little pressure upon my body, resting only his hand on my knee to steady himself as he leaned in closer.

Indeed, I found it easier to forget the past and focus on the delightful play of his tongue along mine when he was not pressed on top of me. He sighed under his breath and grew more languid, leaning in further to deepen our kiss, which stretched into minutes and grew more heated.

Still, we did not embrace. We sat side by side on the bed, naked but not really touching. Only our lips and his hand on my knee made contact. I bent my head further to drink deeper from his lips. His hand slowly moved from my knee along the top of my leg, and dipped down at my inner thigh.

“All right?” he whispered against my mouth. I nodded, and he continued his manual explorations, letting his hand sink slightly lower to pass through my pubic hair and softly, hesitantly, cup my sac.

I sucked my breath in at the contact, and he immediately removed his hand. “No good?” he whispered.

“No… its fine..” I reached down and put his hand back upon my testicles, and Holmes chuckled under his breath. My own breathing was becoming irregular. My nervousness was fading, replaced by a very solid, throbbing desire radiating from my groin through my entire body.

Holmes slowly slid to the ground and sat himself between my legs. I watched him warily as he pushed my legs slightly apart. I was very exposed from this angle, and my panic began to rise again.

“Don’t… I don’t want...” My voice was high-pitched, panicked.

“Shh. I know.”

Holmes didn’t even venture a hand behind me. He rested his head on my thigh, and then looked up at me. “Is this all right?” He began to massage my sac with his hands, and I inadvertently groaned in response. He smiled and continued his slow, warm ministrations.

Holmes’ long fingers were magical, each separately stroking a part of my testicles, the base of my shaft, and then running upwards, his thumb slowly, rhythmically rubbing my tip, until a drop of fluid was encouraged outwards. His eyes seemed to glaze over at the sight.

“You are beautiful,” he whispered again, his voice husky with desire. He made no further move to engage me, just using his hands to please me. I relaxed backwards, and allowed myself to simply enjoy the sensation.

“John…” Holmes’ voice was barely above a whisper now. “Would it be alright if I were to…” He leaned his face closer to me, and rubbed my cock against the outside of his lips.

“Yes…” I couldn’t believe he was willing to do this, but I was far too gone with desire to disagree.

Holmes rubbed his face against my shaft, taking deep breaths as if the smell itself were what he craved. And then he parted his lips and ran his tongue along the pink tip of my cock, and licked up the fluids that were leaking down its side. I pushed the tip past his lips, into the heat of his mouth. Holmes slowly sank the width and depth of my shaft into him, down his throat, until I could feel his chin against my testicles.

All dark memories vanished. Nothing I had ever experienced could compare to this feeling, and I mumbled oaths and prayed to God as I slowly pushed my fullness into Holmes’ mouth. He braced himself with his hands gently splayed upon my inner thighs, and began to move his head backwards and forwards, plunging himself up and down along my swollen shaft.

My vision went white with desire. I thought I was going to die from the joy of it all. As he pressed his face further down to bring my sac once again against his chin, I exploded, all control vanished, and with a strangled cry shot down his throat all that I had been holding back from him.

Holmes slowly withdrew his lips from around me, and gently licked my sensitive tip to clean it. He smiled up at me with a dreamy expression.

“All right?”

I laughed and reached under his arms to pull him upwards, towards me. I could see the bob of his erection as he sat back on the bed. His own member was very large, and filled with his need.

The idea of touching him both excited and terrified me. I wanted to – I wanted to feel that soft skin against my lips, to take in his smell – but as I reached for him, dark recesses of my brain poured cold fear through me, and I began to sweat at the idea of putting another man’s organ in my mouth.

Holmes seemed to instinctively know my hesitation, for he quickly grabbed my wrists and held my hands between us, away from his sex.

“It’s fine,” he said softly.

“It’s unfair,” I told him, remembering the exquisiteness of the feeling of his lips a moment before.

Holmes laughed at that and leaned in for another kiss. “Well then, if you would be so good as to lay there and kiss me as you were doing a few minutes ago…”

I laid back on the bed and kissed him, harder, trying to push my passion, my love down his throat with my tongue. He responded with immediate intensity. We kissed with a new fierceness. I held his head to mine with my hands, and he used his own hands to pleasure himself.

It did not take long for Holmes to find his own completion. As he did, he broke from me and let out a thin, sibilant note, rolling towards me as he splashed his hand and my chest with his essence. He breathed heavily for a moment, and then his eyes fixed intently upon mine.

“Are you all right?” he whispered.

I couldn’t stop smiling. I had been so terrified, moments before, and now, in the aftermath of our cautious lovemaking, I realized I had succeeded in defeating my demons for the time being. I smiled foolishly, unable to help myself, and Holmes stretched and smiled in return. He casually drew me closer to him, and I folded myself into his embrace, resting my head upon his narrow chest.

“Thank you,” I said. I was embarrassed, but I felt the need to speak, to explain. “I am sorry I could not…return the favor.”

Holmes chuckled, his body vibrating with his mirth, and pulled me tighter. “It was quite lovely all the same. Just give it time, my friend. We’ll take our time.”

We both watched his fingers stroke my arm. The sight was incongruous – his pale, finely-muscled arm, next to mine, riddled with scars, burned in several places. The sight sobered me a moment, and I sighed.

Holmes looked into my eyes, and it was as if he could read my thoughts, for his mouth quirked up into a grin. “I cannot express the depth of my attraction to you. Scars and all.”

As I drifted into sleep, I could feel Holmes running his fingers along my back, and I watched his face, eyes closed, deep in concentration. His lips moved for a moment, and I realized, with sickening understanding, that he was counting my lashes. Horror and fear welled in me immediately, but then he tightened his embrace of me once more and kissed my forehead.

It would take me a while to be completely comfortable with my shame around him. But that evening was a good enough start. I had taken a great step away from Afghanistan and had moved towards a brighter future.



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