by Pandapony

Many years ago, when I published the story “The Devil’s Foot,” I made mention of the dramatic introduction of Sherlock Holmes to Dr. Moore Agar, a story I intended to recount at a later time. Due to the sensitive nature of that introduction, I have chosen not to disclose the details of this unusual occurrence until now. As I lay here at the end of my life, I find myself needing to reveal the great personal repercussions of Holmes’ introduction to Dr. Agar, and how his visit to Baker Street changed the lives of both Sherlock Holmes and myself forever.

It was the year 1894, shortly after Holmes’ miraculous return to London following three long years of his absence. He prompted the selling of my medical practice and my reintroduction to the comforts of bachelor life at Baker Street. It was a period of great change for me personally, as I readjusted to living once more with my good friend.

However, I had gotten careless about my attendance at a certain gentleman’s club to which I was a member. After Sherlock Holmes rejoined my life, I should have returned to my former habits of carefully hiding my unnatural deviances. To his credit, he did not detect my secret straight away, despite the fact that he no doubt had the skills to do so. I assumed it was simply that Holmes could not think that I, of all people, would be engaged in something so unseemly.

But as improper as it was, I could not help myself. My great vice was my sexual nature. Despite an attempt at marriage and stern testaments to terminate such illicit couplings with strangers, I still found myself drawn, almost against my will, to the warmth and welcome atmosphere of the club. It was a place free of judgment, a place where men like myself could be treated with equanimity by others who knew full well my dark secret.

It was also a place to find companionship, especially among gentlemen who were above finding such stimulation on the streets or in the less seemly public houses that had an inverted reputation. When the strain was strongly upon me, I was welcomed with open arms into the bosom of the club, to chat amicably with gentlemen of all professions and backgrounds over fine drinks and excellent food. And, if all went well, I could also find a gentleman who shared my desires, and we would retire to one of the back rooms to engage in our activities.

Once I moved back to Baker Street with Holmes, after his miraculous reappearance from Reichenbach, I told myself my days at the club were at an end.

And for a while, his company alone was enough to suffuse my lonely being with contentment. I loved Holmes dearly, and his presence back in my life satisfied a deep longing that had filled me those three long years he had been absent.

But I have always been a creature of deep physical feeling, and while I had the emotional friendship I craved with Holmes, I still desperately desired the sensations of touch, of the smells and tastes of sex. The desire would build in me, day after day, until I finally could stand it no longer. Then, making a quick and logical excuse to Holmes about some appointment, I would slip out in the evening and indulge myself once more in the safety of the club. It was the only lie in my relationship with Holmes, but it hurt me to be dishonest.


It was a rainy Monday in autumn that Holmes left our apartments in great haste, stopping only to share a few sips of coffee with me before charging off to Paddington to catch a train north to Coventry. He informed me that he would be staying at an inn in Coventry for the duration of his investigation, and not to expect him for several days.

I always felt a momentary sense of abandonment when Holmes chose not to include me on a case, and no doubt I sat for some time over my cooling coffee, sulking and scanning the morning papers forlornly.

My mood did not improve as the dreary rain continued throughout the day, aggravating my wound and developing within me a restlessness that could not be sated with any sedentary activity. I began to feel sorry for myself, for the fact that I had sold my practice and changed my life to join Holmes, and he often chose to leave me behind like an inconvenient pet. The sense of loneliness grew as the daylight faded, until I found myself dressing in preparation to return to my club. There, I would find companionship of the most agreeable nature, and fill the void that Holmes always left behind when he departed.

The rain brought many men to the club that evening, and several fresh faces that I had not seen. A lively discussion dominated the smoking room, and I found myself drawn to the debate, which was medical in nature. I was particularly arrested by the fierce arguments of a young, dashing doctor by the name of Moore Agar. His name caught my fancy, and he himself was difficult to place genealogically. He had light brown skin and dark hair, yet dramatic blue eyes so pale they appeared almost clear.

The young doctor was passionately defending his unconventional approach to certain psychological diagnoses with an older doctor who had been a regular face at the club for years, Dr. Smyth. The two of them grew more defensive every moment, but I sat back with my brandy and watched the young fellow defend his theories with great fascination. Not only was it refreshing to have a new face, and another medical man in the establishment, but this doctor was clearly a specialist in working with patients of an overactive mind. The subject of Dr. Agar’s research fit the description of my friend Holmes so closely, I wanted to learn more – to discover if there were ways to treat Holmes’ anxieties and black moods that would deter him from his abhorrent addiction to cocaine.

Dr. Agar was quite flush with anger by the time Dr. Smyth made his excuses to depart. I took the opportunity to approach Dr. Agar, introducing myself as a medical man and someone with great personal interest in his field of study.

Dr. Agar glared at me quite coldly, his defences raised after the long debate. I offered him a brandy. He took it hesitantly. I then described Holmes’ conditions, anonymously referring to him as an “acquaintance” of mine.

Dr. Agar calmed greatly as we began to discuss his research. We withdrew from the smoking room and found ourselves seated in the main room of the club, drinking several brandies together as we conversed about his research and got to know each other. I was surprised to learn that Dr. Agar was not from London at all, but was from Liverpool, and only in town briefly to attend a series of lectures on the pathology of mental disorders. As he described the deplorable conditions of the hotel his secretary had secured him, I did not hesitate to offer him the humble but clean accommodations of Baker Street, as my roommate was away.

I did not honestly expect Dr. Agar to accept. I always held higher than me those I respected, and Dr. Agar seemed too great a man to want to spend any more of his precious time in London in my unimpressive company. In truth, he probably wanted nothing more than a few hours with some gentleman in the back of the club, and then a hasty return to his shabby quarters to sleep off the brandy.

But a glint lit Dr. Agar’s eyes, and he smiled slowly and warmly towards me. “Why, I would love to join you, Dr. Watson,” he told me, reaching forward to place his hand on my knee. I felt a warm drunkenness seep through my body at his touch, and at the promise of where that touch would lead. “I graciously accept your offer.”

I had never been so bold as to invite one of my club acquaintances home with me, but Holmes’ abandonment had left in me a streak of wilfulness and daring, and I suddenly imagined how sweet it would be, to embrace this handsome, intelligent man in the comforts of my own bedroom, to spend the night with someone as the rain sheeted the windows outdoors. With Holmes gone for several days, I could indulge fully in my sordid desires, with no fears of his suspicions or repercussions.

We quickly donned our top hats and coats, and dashed from the awning of the club into a cab. I grew nervous during the silent drive back to Baker Street, suddenly questioning the risk I was taking. I had to trust Dr. Agar completely to take him into such confidence. Usually, I never revealed much of my personal life to the men at the club, often only sharing my first name and scant details of my profession. But now, with this complete stranger, I was divulging not only my name and my past, but my very residence. If he had read any of my accounts in the Strand, he would know that 221B Baker Street was also the home of the famous Sherlock Holmes, and my identity would be fully disclosed to his care.

But the doctor seemed a trustworthy fellow. He had the most charming smile on his face as we made our way through the dreadful storm, and every once in a while he would give my shoulder a little squeeze, his eyes lighting with anticipation. He was clearly looking forward to our evening’s activities as much as I, and I used this evidence to set my guilty conscience at ease. Dr. Agar would no more expose me than he would himself.

Mrs. Hudson had long since retired for the night. We made our way stealthily up the stairs to the sitting room I shared with Holmes, and I offered Dr. Agar another drink and a cigar. We sat around the fire and regaled each other with our most amusing medical school stories. He was most fascinated with details of my military campaign, stating quite unabashedly that he had a “liking for army men.”

Indeed, as the evening progressed, his commentary grew more suggestive in nature, and I found myself blushing more than once at his open admiration of my person.

Dr. Agar asked about the illness which had ended my military career so abruptly. I was flattered by his attentions. I had lived with Holmes for several years, and he had never once inquired into my military exploits. I described the wasting fever I suffered from, and the scar on my shoulder which left me so disfigured.

“Do not use such a word,” Dr. Agar said smoothly, leaning forward to place his hand confidently on my thigh. “You are assuredly the most attractive man I have seen in a long time. Your battle scars no doubt only enhance your beauty.”

I was still nervous about the act of seducing another man on the settee where I had sat for years with Holmes. However, by my fifth brandy I was successfully inebriated enough to lean forward and kiss him.

The doctor responded immediately. We became locked together in an almost violent embrace, all words and thoughts extinguished by the power of that kiss. His mouth was supple, the heat melting my flesh into his, I could taste his tobacco and the alcohol on his breath, and as he pulled me closer to him, my entire body grew drugged and languid, a pleasant, sexually charged heat coursed through me that demanded more, more contact, more of his lips upon mine.

As soon as we broke for air, I stood and reached for his hand. My trousers bulged obscenely, but I was pleased and aroused to see his own reciprocal hardness. Wordlessly, I led him by the hand into my room. I moved to extinguish the gas lamp that was burning lowly, but Dr. Agar stopped me.

“No,” he whispered. His voice was hoarse, his eyes dilated with desire. “I want to see you. I want to watch you.”

I smiled, stepping away from the light and moving only to double-check that my curtains were properly closed. I intended to check the door lock but Dr. Agar threw himself upon me, pressing me against the bed in an aggressive, passionate embrace.

Within minutes, we were fumbling as we discarded clothes, throwing them haphazardly around the room in our desperate need to see each other’s nakedness. His body was perfect, thin and agile, with a small dusting of black hairs across his unmarred frame. His genitals were a lovely pink shade, and stood out fiercely towards me with obvious need.

I quickly slipped from the bed and knelt beside it, looking up at him in anticipation. This was one of my favourite poses, and I hoped the doctor would comply.

He did not hesitate. A slow, languid smile graced his features as he stood in front of me, hands gently resting in my hair, watching me avidly in anticipation. I pushed my face into his crotch, inhaling his masculine musk, rubbing my nose and chin along the heat of his flesh.

Dr. Agar leaned his head back, running his fingers through my hair, moaning my name.

I pulled his impressive hardness into my mouth. His taste was exquisite. It had been so long since I had done this, so long.

I worshipped Dr. Agar’s flesh with my mouth, my lips caressing his shaft in gentle but long movements, swallowing him deep into the base of my throat. I was so engaged in my pleasurable activities, I did not hear the door below open.

And so it was that I was on my knees, with Dr. Agar standing before me, his cock pressed deep into my throat.

When Holmes threw open my bedroom door and charged in.

“Watson, I need you to –“ Holmes choked, and stopped dead still, his hand frozen on the doorknob.

I pulled my mouth free of Dr. Agar’s member, sweating horror. Dr. Agar cried out and stepped away from me. He grappled at his feet to find his undergarments and trousers. I scrambled on the ground for my own discarded clothing, as I was stark naked before him.

Holmes did not leave. He stared, going completely pale.

“Holmes!” I cried, hoping he would at least have the decency to leave.

He finally coughed and said, “Excuse me.” He slammed the door behind us, and I heard his footfalls on the stairs.

Dr. Agar was trembling so severely that he could not button his shirt. I would have offered to help, but the terrified look in his eyes warned me of touching him. In fact, I myself was so shaken, I was unsure I could have been much assistance.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered to him, as we hurriedly dressed.

Dr. Agar said nothing in return. He was deathly pale. I felt absolutely awful. Not only had I wounded this kind man, but now Holmes knew my secret. The thought of him pacing downstairs, waiting to either turn me in to the police or kick me out made me want to vomit. I finished dressing and smoothed down my clothes as best I could. My hair was mussed by Dr. Agar’s fingers, but I looked as presentable as possible given the circumstances.

Dr. Agar waited at the door, his eyes shifting nervously. A sheen of sweat had broken out over his features.

I took a deep breath, and then steadied my nerves enough to squeeze his arm. “I will talk with him,” I said breathlessly. Only now did I realize I was so frightened, I could barely speak. “He will not say anything, I assure you.” I myself wasn’t so confident, but I needed to assuage Dr. Agar.

“He… he is your friend?” Dr. Agar asked.

I nodded. “My closest acquaintance. He keeps many secrets, Moore. I am sure he will keep this one as well.”

The words rang hollow in my own ears, but they seemed to have the desired effect on Dr. Agar. His shoulders released their tension, and he even tried to give me a smile. “I believe I should leave immediately,” he said.

I nodded, and opened the door hesitantly. Holmes was nowhere to be seen. I walked quietly with Dr. Agar down the stairs to our front door, and held it open for him. He turned to depart, but I reached for his arm once more, shaking his hand.

“I’m terribly sorry about all this,” I told him.

Dr. Agar just tipped his hat at me. The gesture had such concession and sadness in its cold formality, I felt heartbroken. He then fled with great haste.

I took a deep breath, and made my way upstairs.

Holmes was waiting for me in the sitting room. He had recently stoked the fire. It now blazed with bright fury, filling the room with dancing shadows.

Holmes sat curled in his chair, smoking his pipe and staring into the flames. He was still very pale. He did not look up at me as I entered, nor said anything when I sat on the settee across from him. My heart was hammering so rapidly in my chest I thought myself genuinely at risk of fainting.

He still said nothing. Finally, I broke the acidic silence between us. “Holmes, I am terribly sorry. You said you would be gone for—“

“—Be quiet!” Holmes shouted at me. He rarely raised his voice at me. I saw that Holmes was actually trembling in his rage. He looked at me with absolute malice. He threw his pipe across the room, smashing it against the wall.

I looked away instinctively. My heart was in my throat. My God. Our friendship was ruined, it was over.

“Whatever you wish, Holmes,” I mumbled. I couldn’t feel my lips, my whole body was numb.

Holmes made a fist, and appeared as though he would strike me. He grit his teeth and swivelled, biting back whatever he was going to say. But then he turned again, his expressive face contorted in rage. As fast as a cat pouncing, Holmes reached out and grabbed be by my waist coat and shook me.

could you, Watson? My God, how could you?”

He was so close, I could smell the light scent of his aftershave. I withered under his relentless glare. I had no idea what to say. “I’m sorry,” I finally whispered.

Holmes made a cry of disgust and pushed me from him. I stumbled backwards onto the settee. I sat there, staring at the floor, and began to shiver uncontrollably. So this is what it felt like to be found out.

“Of all the stupid decisions you have made, this outstrips them all!” he ranted, pacing in front of me. “Do you have
any idea what risk you have placed yourself in? Your entire life could be ruined, Watson!”

He approached abruptly and leaned over me, furious. I sank backwards into the cushions.

“And me! Have you given no consideration to what risks you have taken with MY reputation, MY liberties? If anyone discovered your sordid little secret, how would that reflect upon me? By God, we have been
living together for years!” He started pacing again, running his hand through his hair, a gesture I have seen him take up only in extreme distress.

His accusations left my mouth completely dry. I had considered the risks, of course. I knew if I was ever caught, that there was a danger of infecting Holmes’ reputation as well, despite his innocence. It had weighed heavily on my conscience, but I had taken every precaution to make sure I wasn’t discovered.

But now the reality of what I risked overwhelmed me. It had seemed like a good idea at the time, when my mind was hijacked by sexual desire, when I thought loneliness would crush my very soul.

But he was right. It was one thing to risk my own neck. But I had endangered his as well. As he ranted on about my stupidity and selfishness, my sickness overwhelmed me. What on earth did a man say to another in such a situation?

Holmes continued his verbal tirade, accusing me of dismantling the very framework of the detective agency he had worked so hard to build. As he spoke, he no longer looked at me. He paced the room and cursed.

I realized I had no recourse but to leave. The idea of abandoning the cosy warmth of Baker Street again after having just settled in brought tears to my eyes. But his fury was undeniable. I had never seen such anger towards me. Holmes tried to relight his pipe, but his hands were trembling with his rage and he threw it once more, barely missing my head. It was then that I knew I had to go.

“I’ll come for my things tomorrow,” I said quietly.

Holmes glared. “What did you say?”

“I should go.” I reached for my hat and coat. My umbrella was still sopping wet. I shook it on the floor.

“Going to Cleveland Street?” Holmes sneered. “Did I break in too abruptly? I’m sorry, Doctor, that my presence in my own home has been such an inconvenience to you.”

At any other time, I believe I would have been strong enough to fight back against Holmes’ taunting. But I was too humiliated that evening to do anything more than give him one last, painful glance, before heading down the stairs and plunging into the unforgiving rain alone.


I spent a miserable night in the closest hotel. I slept little. All night images of Holmes’ startled expression filled my thoughts. The sense of how I had betrayed him gnawed at my conscience.

I needed to return home, to arrange for moving out and to pack more than just the clothes I was wearing. In the early morning hours I walked up the steps of our apartments on the verge of being sick. Mrs. Hudson arrested me midway up the stairs to scold me for quarrelling with Holmes so loudly the night before. She then promised a hot breakfast in a few minutes.

Her kindness sent deeper the ache in my bones at the prospect of leaving. I opened the door to the sitting room hesitantly, praying that Holmes was asleep or out, as was his general pattern after a fitful night.

Inside, the sitting room looked as though it had been torn apart. Holmes still sat in the same clothes, almost the same position, as when I had left him the night before. The fire was reduced to ashes, but these he continued to stare into as if it were ablaze. The air in the room was fetid with cigarette smoke. He looked pale and exhausted.

I backed out, intending to make my way to my room and leave him alone, when his sharp gaze stopped me.

“Watson. Come in here.”

I entered the room slowly.

“Shut and lock the sitting room door. Now, sit down across from me. We must talk.”

I did as Holmes requested. I sat across from him, and stared into his exhausted face.

He had no anger left in him, and looked merely sad.

“Look at you,” he said softly. “You are shaking like a leaf.”

I watched my hands shake almost abstractly. My sense of regret was so overwhelming, I almost missed Holmes’ first words as he got up and sat beside me.

“I must apologize,” he said. “My insults last night were uncalled for.”

I looked up in surprise. He stared back at me, pale but sincere.

I tried to assuage him, tell him they were well-deserved. But I couldn’t speak, my throat was raw and dry.

Holmes stared at me in silence for another endless minute. And then he took a deep breath. “I have given the matter much consideration this night, and have come to some conclusions which I would like to discuss with you. But first, you must oblige me.”

I had no idea what he meant, and stared at him nervously.

“Tell me the truth,” he said at last.

I tried speaking again but found no moisture in my throat. In an instant Holmes was up. He returned with a glass of water, which I drank down in startling speed. My hands were still shaking.

“I’m sorry,” I said again.

“Tell me.”

“What do you wish to know?”

Holmes studied my expression. “Everything. Start with where you met this fellow.”

I steadied my nerves, and then I began. I told Holmes about the club. How I had gone there only a few times prior to Reichenbach, when I was very lonely. How I had married Mary Morstan as a way to try and change my nature, and how it had failed. How I frequented the club with more regularity after his death and hers. And how, after his return, I still found myself occasionally needing the comfort of company like myself.

“And this man?” Holmes pressed. His mouth was a thin line, frowning at me.

I closed my eyes, and secretly begged Dr. Agar to forgive me for betraying him this way. “His name is Dr. Moore Agar. He was at the club tonight, and from out of town. I offered him lodgings as his hotel is in a poor state. The two of us got along very well.” I blushed, and, to my shock, Holmes did as well.

“This is the first time I have been so careless as to bring someone home,” I told Holmes. “Prior to this night, I have taken every precaution never to reveal too much about myself to members of the club. And we never meet in day time, in public.”

Holmes extricated the water glass from my white-knuckled grip. He refilled my glass and gave it back to me.

“Thank you,” I whispered. I looked into the glass of water. “I never wanted you to know.”

“You should have told me,” Holmes said sternly.

“I did not want to lose your friendship.”

“You would not have. I could have helped you be more discreet.”

I looked up at him then, startled. Holmes smiled briefly at my expression.

“I am not so naïve as to pretend that such feelings between men do not exist, Watson,” he told me. He sighed. “And I have explained on more than one occasion how I feel about the recent laws which make such relations illegal. These laws serve no one but the blackmailers.”


“—I resent the fact that you have engaged in such a dangerous pastime without warning me of it. You are gambling with both of our livelihoods, our reputations. I have no intention of being sent to prison for a crime I have not committed.”

I shuddered. “I know. By God, Holmes, I’m sorry. I thought I had taken every precaution, however—“

Holmes held out his hand to silence me. “You are not a natural at deception, my dear Watson. You have done very well to keep this from me all these years, but if I am able to discover it, then so is Scotland Yard.”

“I will stop,” I said resolutely, looking him in the eye. “I will never go back to the club.”

Holmes’ eyebrow quirked up. “Really? From what I gather, such desires can be quite… forceful… on one’s nature.”

I blushed again. He was right, of course – it was easy for me now to say that I would never again engage in forbidden flesh. It would be another thing entirely on some lonely, rainy night, when all I had was a hunger that pulsed through my body, driving me mad with unspent desire.

“No,” Holmes said. “I’m not asking you to change who you are. For better or for worse, this is your nature.”

I closed my eyes. “I tried being married. I tried living like other men. But I cannot.”

“And I do not expect you to,” Holmes said. “But you will engage in your activities with more caution from this point out,” he told me. “I will not let you drag me down with you.”

“Of course.” I felt relief washing over me. “Thank you, Holmes.” I put my hand over his, and squeezed it. It was now dawning on me that Holmes knew of my nature, and yet had not suggested that I move out, or even relinquish it entirely. He was going to help me. I smiled then, suddenly overcome with relief. “Thank you,” I said again.

“You are my dearest friend,” he said quietly. “And I will not let you ruin yourself, or suffer needlessly.” He looked me in the eye. His stare was unwavering, piercing. “So we will come up with an alternative, safer plan for your activities.”

I frowned. “Holmes, what do you mean?”

“No more unseemly, secretive acts with strangers.” His lip curled as he said the words, obviously repulsed by my activities. I let go of his hand.

“Clubs are too dangerous,” he continued. “I have never been to one, and yet I know of the location and reputation of three within the west end of London alone.” Holmes narrowed his eyes at me. “If I know of them, then so do the police. It is only a matter of time before a raid will bring you down.”

“But where else could I—“ I couldn’t finish the sentence. I was going to say, where else could I find a lover? But it was too uncomfortable, talking about lovers with Holmes. This was a man who, for all I knew, was a virgin. He had no idea what sexual pleasures were like, and if he did, he was better at hiding his nature than I.

“I have an idea which may solve your problem, and keep both of us safe from the talons of blackmailers who would use your casual acquaintances to destroy us.”

I waited. He hesitated. He was staring at me with a very strange expression. He appeared strained, as if holding in some great pain. His eyes never wavered from mine.

“What is it?” I finally prompted.

Holmes ground his teeth for a second more. And then he put his hand on my knee. “I will take care of your needs.”

I stared at him, mouth agape. It took a second for the words to sink in. He couldn’t mean what I thought he meant. He couldn’t.

“I don’t… Holmes, what are you talking about?”

His cheeks were flushing. I could see his pulse beating in his thin, pale neck.

“I will fulfil your needs. This way, you will not have to leave Baker Street to address your desires. And since no one has suspected us of any disreputable relations over the years we have known each other, they shall not now, as long as we continue to conduct ourselves appropriately in front of others.”

I stared at him, incredulous. Finally, without any other emotion for recourse, I simply snorted in laughter. “Holmes, that is the most absurd idea I have ever heard.”

Holmes’ serious expression shattered. He looked hurt. “Why?”

I threw up my hands. “Holmes! This isn’t like ironing my shirts.”

“I realize that.”

“It is an act of love,” I said. “It has to be something both partners are engaged in. You… you have to want to do this.”

Holmes shrugged. “Perhaps I do. I am not sure. But I do know that if you must seek this – release – somewhere, I would rather it came from me than from someone else.”


Holmes looked uncomfortable. He shifted on the settee. “It is safer.”

I felt joy ignite my heart. Could it be that the cold, unfeeling, Sherlock Holmes was
jealous? “Is that the only reason?”

To my astonishment, Holmes blushed even further. His entire neck turned red. He looked nervously away from me. “I simply prefer it that way.”

I smiled to myself. It would be just like Holmes, to have harboured feelings of possessiveness towards me, and not say a word until I was caught with someone else.

But like a two year old who is selfish for a toy they have lost interest in, until someone else picks it up, I wasn’t sure if Holmes’ possessiveness meant he actually wanted to engage in sexual congress with me. As far as I knew, he would go through the motions just so no one else could have me, but hate it all the same.

“But you have no interest in this, personally,” I asked carefully.

Holmes turned back to face me. Some of his prior arrogance and annoyance had returned, and it made me feel better, to see him back to his typical state, rather than flushed and bothered.

“I am doing this as your friend,” Holmes said.

I considered his proposal seriously for all of two seconds. And then I shook my head. “No. I do not like this idea.”

Holmes stared at me. “Why not?” His eyes widened. “Ah, I see. You do not find me attractive.”

“What? No, that’s not it.” I touched his shoulder, briefly. “Of course I do, Holmes. I…” I almost said I loved him, but I realized the error in admitting so much so soon, and swallowed my words. “… I have very strong feelings for you. But you are not some rent boy off the street, for God’s sake! I can’t just use you. I’d want you to receive pleasure from our actions. For all I know, you find the entire concept repulsive.”

“I don’t find it repulsive, or I would not have suggested it.” He lit himself a cigarette.

I watched him in silence. He gave me darting looks, but mostly focused on the opposite wall.

I sighed. “Do you have any idea what we’re talking about?” I asked quietly.

Holmes scowled at me. “Yes.”

“Do you know what men at the club do together?” I insisted.

Holmes blushed fiercely once more. He tapped his cigarette against the ashtray nervously. “I believe I have just been witness to one of your deviant activities.”

I closed my eyes in my shame. To think that Holmes had caught me in such a humiliating pose filled me with grief. But I could not let him assume this was the extent of it.

“There’s more, Holmes. We were only getting started.”

“I am no fool, Watson,” Holmes snapped, his blush still not fading. “I have some ideas. I have read accounts of sexual deviancy.”

“Hm.” I couldn’t help but smile at him. He had read books. That’s all. There was something charming in his bluster, hiding his naivety.

“What…” Holmes looked at me nervously, exhaling smoke to the side of my face. “What did you do with your last partner? The one before Agar?”

My own discomfort at the conversation rose to new heights. “I cannot in good conscience tell you,” I said. “It was very… intimate.”

Holmes raised an eyebrow. “If you cannot discuss such things with me, Watson, then how on earth are we going to do such things?”

I shook my head. “This is utter madness.”

“Tell me,” he insisted.

I swallowed. “We kissed. We undressed. I… I put my face to his crotch and I pleasured him with my mouth.”

Holmes looked crazed as I spoke. He watched me with his grey eyes wide and startled. It looked like he was holding his breath. “Go on,” he whispered.

“He lubricated his fingers, and pushed them inside of me. I did the same to him. I sodomized him.” I forced myself to make eye contact. Holmes was bright red, but his eyes did not leave my face. “That’s what we are discussing here,” I told him. “Can you do that, Holmes? Does it not repulse you? You yourself called it my ‘sordid little secret.’ Sordid indeed. Nothing two proper gentlemen should be engaged in.”

“Yes, sordid indeed,” he repeated. His mouth was open slightly, and he appeared very flushed. His cigarette hung, forgotten, between his fingers. He stared at me with great intensity. “Filthy, even.” His voice had gone slightly husky.

“It is filthy,” I continued relentlessly, leaning closer to him. “There are body fluids. It is messy. It is smelly. It is everything you oppose, Holmes. As long as I’ve known you, you have abhorred being dirty for longer than a few minutes. You cannot bear being examined or touched intimately. You dislike emotional connections. You are not one to love or be loved.”

I sighed, and looked at his strange, half-mad expression, and saw how close we were sitting together on the sofa. I scooted back away from him for a moment, and then sighed. “I am honoured and flattered beyond belief that you would be willing to sink to my level in order to save me from disgrace. But it won’t do. You would grow to hate me for practicing such things upon you. And everything about your nature tells me you would gain no pleasure from such actions. It is only enjoyable for me when my partner receives equal gratification.”

Holmes listened to what I had to say, and nodded. As if suddenly remembering his cigarette, he scowled at it between his fingers, took one long drag, and then violently crushed it to death in the ashtray. He stretched his long arms along the top of the sofa and turned to me, his eyes half-closed, his expression veiled.

“I have always been open to experimentation,” he said. “Perhaps we should try it once, and see if it is agreeable to me? If so, then we can continue safely, in privacy. If not, we will devise some other method for you to seek your needs without risking both our reputations in such a haphazard fashion.”

I smiled then, and felt a little giddy. It was dawning on me that Holmes was offering an opportunity to be intimate with him. From his speech, I gathered that he was not experienced, at least not with men. There was a thrill there, the idea of deflowering Holmes, that sent a shiver of wicked delight through my body. I imagined what it would feel like, what it would look like, to bring him to completion. It could be very rewarding, to show him what intimacy could do. I have often wanted to slap the smirk off his face when he sneered at couples who did absurd, illogical things out of passion. I wanted now to show him what passion was, how it felt to be held by another and drawn to the very precipice of delight, and then plunged into ecstasy. The idea of being the first man to do so to Holmes was already making me stiff in expectation.

But we had had quite an exhausting night and morning already. My stomach was still churning with the nightmare of Holmes’ untimely interruption, with guilt for poor Agar, and I wasn’t sure either of us would be up to anything this day.

Mrs. Hudson resolved the issue for us by suddenly knocking at the sitting room door, announcing breakfast. Holmes mumbled something grumpily under his breath, and headed off to his bedroom to change. I opened the door for Mrs. Hudson. As she slowly took in the damage of the sitting room, I could see her face begin to scrunch in condemnation. I quickly ushered her out of the room with promises that I would see to the state of our quarters promptly.

Holmes joined me for breakfast a few minutes later, having briefly washed and changed into a fresh suit. We ate in tense silence. And then I recalled that this entire regrettable affair had begun with Holmes breaking into my room in haste.

“Holmes? What was it that you returned home early for? Is it regarding your investigation?”

Holmes scowled. “Pah! Investigation. The way it was described to me by letter, I assumed I would need three days to determine the patterns of this thief and properly conclude the case. As it happens, I was able to solve it within the first two hours of my dreary experience in Coventry. A complete waste of my time and skills.” He cut into his toast angrily. I smiled to myself, albeit for selfish reasons. I much preferred Holmes’ frustrations to be directed towards someone other than myself.

“So what did you need of me?” I asked, blushing slightly at the memory.

Holmes looked up, surprised, and then a ghost of a smile touched his face. “Ah. I needed you to join me for a very late supper, Watson. I was in a terrible mood, and required good company.”

I looked towards my plate of eggs and ate swiftly to hide my surprise. I was so used to Holmes barging into my life at all hours and in all states of weather to help him solve a crime, it seems I had completely forgotten that there were times when he simply needed company as well.

Mrs. Hudson cleared away our breakfasts and then both Holmes and I retired separately to our own rooms. I was exhausted and, following a bath, took a nap.

I awoke to the sound of Holmes playing violin downstairs. For a moment I fantasized that Holmes was serenading me, as I recognized the sweet melody he played as one of my favourites. I returned downstairs to find the living room had been tidied, and a meal awaited us on the table.

“Mrs. Hudson is out for the rest of the evening, and so we must fend for ourselves,” Holmes said, continuing to play his violin. His meal was barely picked at. I myself felt famished, and quickly devoured the delicious turkey our landlady had prepared.

After my meal, however, tension began to creep into the room. Holmes stopped playing and sat down on the settee. He frowned at his pipe, which had cracked during last night’s tirade. With a dramatic sigh, he put it aside and reached for his meerschaum. He sat smoking on the sofa, staring out the darkened windows of our rooms, looking deep in thought.

I poured us both some whiskey, and watered his down as I knew he liked it.
I returned to sit beside him on the sofa, and handed him his drink.

“Thank you,” he said, and he smiled shyly at me.

I wasn’t sure how matters stood between us, but since I was no longer in imminent danger of arrest or homelessness, I decided to gingerly broach a subject which had been eating at my conscience all day.

“Holmes,” I began tentatively. “Would you take offence if I were to… to contact Dr. Agar, if I can find him, and to notify him that you have no intention of turning us in?”

Holmes scowled at the name of the doctor, but his expression transformed to one of confusion. “Honestly, Watson, did you think I would turn you both over to the police?”

I shrugged. He snorted in laughter. “Once again, your perceptions have been entirely amiss. What possible clues have I presented in the many years of our friendship that would account for your belief that I hold law above our partnership? Watson, you truly vex me.”

His comments warmed my heart. “Then you would have no objection to me assuaging the doctor of his safety? He departed in a state of high distress.”

Holmes frowned again. He puffed at his pipe for several moments before waving it lethargically at me. “If you must. Although I beg you not to bring him here. The sight of him makes my skin crawl.”

I straightened. “Because he is a man, and we were intimate?” I asked.

“No, because he was touching you, and you are mine.” He didn’t look at me.

I couldn’t hide my surprise. I must have gasped at the suggestiveness of his comment.

Holmes glared at me. “You are MY friend. You are MY biographer. MY business partner. If you need to be pleasured, it is MY duty to see to it.” He scowled at the wall. “I don’t want some half-witted aristocrat from the bowels of England to be stealing your attention away from me.”

My heart almost burst with joy. So Holmes
was jealous. “I see,” I said. And then I laughed. I couldn’t help myself.

Holmes looked embarrassed. It was amusing how observant he could be about others, and yet how clueless he was of his own feelings.

“I didn’t know I belonged to you,” I said, lowering my voice and moving closer.

Holmes pulled the pipe from his mouth and scowled. “You are your own man, Watson, you belong to no one.” He frowned, and softened his tone. “But I have grown accustomed to your company, and am loathe to share it.”

I decided at that moment to be bold. I placed my hand upon his thigh. It felt strange, to touch him there, to feel the hardness of his leg, to have my hand in such proximity to his groin. He stiffened under my hand immediately. I was tempted to pull it away, but I needed to see if his intentions were truly what he claimed them to be.

Holmes continued to smoke his pipe, which I interpreted as a bad sign. I began to feel foolish, my hand pointlessly clamped onto his leg. But as we sat there in silence, I detected tremors in his leg, a shaking energy. Hesitantly, he reached down with his right hand and placed it over mine.

His face had flushed once more. He wouldn’t make eye contact with me, but the shaking within him increased. He was very moved, but whether it was fear or arousal I could not be certain.

I squeezed his leg softly, urging the muscles to release their tension. He rubbed my hand gently, saying nothing. The air was electric, I felt as if I could not breathe. I held my breath in our silence, rubbing his leg.

Holmes’ hand strayed from mine, slowly sliding up my arm, until it stopped on my shoulder. Holmes put down his pipe finally, and turned to look at me.

His eyes were wide and he looked vulnerable. Terrified. I slid my hand upwards, closer to his groin. He was visibly shaking now. But I couldn’t help but also notice that there was a slight bulge in his trousers. The sight pleased me immensely. It meant not only that he was all right with men being attracted to other men – but he himself found the idea arousing.

Holmes looked at me with wide eyes. ”All right, Watson,” he said with severity. “What happens next?”

I was not going to destroy this new fragile trust so swiftly. He might consider himself ready for such an experiment, but I doubted him. He was full of bravado at the moment. If we were going to do what he suggested, it would be best to approach the issue softly, slowly.

“Perhaps we should let the matter drop for tonight.” I squeezed his leg once more, and then withdrew my hand. To my delight, he immediately pressed his leg against mine, seeking further contact.

“I told you I would take care of your needs,” he said, coughing and trying to sound in control of himself.

“I am grateful for your consideration.” I smiled. “But I am also unsure about taking up your offer until I know you want to reciprocate. You have to want it, Holmes.”

“I want it.” He said it quickly, and blushed, suddenly looking away.

“You say that now. But only last night, you were yelling at me for being disgusting.” I swallowed, all my mirth gone, remembering his anger.

“I felt betrayed,” he said quietly.

My heart beat against my rib cage. I was a fool. Such a blind, ignorant fool.

I put my hand back on his shoulder then, and turned him to face me. I pulled him into an embrace. He stiffly hugged me back. I held him for a good minute, and then let him go. He watched me carefully.

I cupped the back of his neck in my hand. He immediately grabbed a hold of me. I kissed his neck softly, and he groaned.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered against his flesh. “I promise you I will not return to the club. I will seek no other company.” I pulled back to stare him in the eye. “But if we do this, you must be honest with me, Holmes, for the sake of our friendship. If I go too far, or make you uncomfortable, you must ask me to stop. We shall go about this slowly.”

Holmes closed his eyes and leaned in further towards my lips. I caressed his long neck with my mouth, enjoying the rich aroma of his scent, the silkiness of his flesh. I had admired his body from afar for so long. The heat of his body now shocked me. His flesh felt as though it were on fire.

His trembling increased, but his mouth emitted soft moans as I continued to kiss his neck. I loosened his tie and collar and slowly traced the space between his collar bones with my tongue, letting my moustache play against his skin.

Holmes’ arms gripped my shoulders with fierce strength. I ceased my attentions to his neck long enough to look up and see his expression. His head was tilted back, his eyes closed, his lips parted. He looked absolutely wanton and beautiful, with his cheeks stained a dangerous red.

Before we went any further, however, I was determined to continue behind a locked door. I untangled myself from his embrace and stood, reaching down for his hand. Holmes took it, standing awkwardly. His blush spread down his neck. And as he stood, I could see the reason for his embarrassment. His trousers now bulged obscenely. I smiled soothingly and led him my bedroom, making sure to lock the door before I proceeded.

I lowered the gas lamp and assured myself that the curtains were closed tightly. Holmes watched me move about the room with wide eyes. He looked frightened. I approached him slowly, and once again folded him into a simple embrace.

Holmes returned the hug with more affection this time, moving his hands along my back.

I leaned forward and kissed him. He froze, rigid, eyes clamped shut. There was no pliancy in his lips, no acceptance. I kissed him chastely.

After a minute, he began to press his lips back. I kissed at him once more, and slowly licked at his lips.

He moaned. As he opened his mouth I took advantage of this and slipped my tongue inside of him. His eyes shot open in shock, and I embraced him once more, slowly, gently kissing him, until I felt him involuntarily grind his hips towards me, cling to me tighter.

I broke the kiss then and pulled back.

His eyes shot open and he looked… hungry. With sudden confidence, he pulled me to him and pressed his lips to mine. His tongue surged into my mouth, an explosion of heat and softness, and I moaned. I slowly pulled him down with me onto my bed. I pressed him against the mattress and kissed him. His body was hard and hot beneath mine, writhing uncontrollably. His hips began to thrust upwards to gain more contact, to rub his sensitive groin against mine.

I finished the job I had started in the living room by removing his collar completely. I slowly undressed him. He watched me now, no longer shy, his grey eyes piercing, unwavering, staring at me as if each move I made was fascinating. A little smile curved the corners of his lips.

I smiled back, unbuttoning his shirt as quickly as I could without damaging the fabric. He sat up to help me remove the garment, and then laid back down.
I stared down at Holmes’ naked torso, and felt myself awash with desire. His body was so beautiful, so lean and muscular and pale. Only a small patch of brown hair and the bright pink tint of his nipples challenged the alabaster smoothness of his flesh. I could see his ribs, as thin as he was, and I slowly ran my hands along them, letting my fingers trail as they moved across his flesh, stopping at his nipples.

I bent over and kissed him again. As my tongue thrust into his mouth, I used my fingers to gently squeeze his nipples. Holmes arched upwards and moaned into my mouth, his eyes opening in shock. He broke our kiss with a gasp.

“Good Lord!” he whispered, clutching me tighter. I chuckled. I ran my lips over his nipples, licking each one in turn. I rubbed my moustache over their sensitive tips, and Holmes cried out again, his body going rigid beneath mine, pressing upwards as he lifted himself off the mattress towards me.

I continued to kiss his chest as I reached up and began to undo my own collar. I undressed quickly. Holmes’ hands roamed over my chest, his fingers flicking my own nipples, watching my face carefully for response.

It was very hard to concentrate on removing my shirt with shocks of delicious, hot pleasure coursing through my body. His fingers burned my flesh, sent searing desire through each touch, rational thought failing me as he intensified his attentions.

Holmes was a fast learner, and his lips and tongue moved expertly over my flesh. His kisses lingered on my wounded shoulder, paying special attention to the knot of scars.

My cock was painfully constricted in my trousers. I forced Holmes to cease his ministrations long enough for me to remove them. As I did so, Holmes quickly scrambled to remove his own. As he pulled his undergarments from his legs, his sheepishness returned, blushing once more as he revealed his genitals.

I covered his nakedness with my own, kissing him once more as I pushed my shaft against his. As I slowly shifted along his body, Holmes’ eyes rolled back in his head and he moaned, gripping me tighter and thrusting against me with unchecked abandon.

There was no question in my mind now that he was enjoying this. His body still trembled, but it was from intense arousal rather than fear. His kisses turned almost violent in their intensity, his hands roved everywhere, and I pressed him deeper into the bed and used my right hand to reach down and squeeze his shaft.

Holmes cried out. He had devolved into a creature of pure sexual desire. His body was flush and hot in my hands, his smell strong and musky, and I became lost in the sensations of him, the pure carnal nature of him, as he bucked and writhed beneath me, powerless to all but his pleasure in my hands.

“Do everything with me,” he whispered suddenly, his voice a ragged growl. “I want to try everything.”

“We have time,” I whispered back. I had no intentions of doing anything beyond using my mouth this evening, but Holmes squeezed my shoulder with almost painful intensity, and used his other hand to hold my chin, forcing me to look him in the eye.

“No. It is all or nothing with me, you know I do not do anything by halves.” His eyes were dilated with desire, his lips swollen and red from our kisses. “I must know if this is something I can enjoy.”

I smiled and kissed him again. I leaned down to spread his legs open. There was none of his former shyness now, only a desperate desire to oblige me. His body continued to shiver, but I could see the power of his arousal before me, his cock leaking fluid and pointing towards me with need.

I lowered my head and gently licked the base of his sac, sucking his testicles into my mouth. Holmes moaned insensibly, his hands pulling at my hair. I loved the feeling, his sac heavy and loose, pushed against my face, my lips. Holmes writhed above me in pleasure. And then I felt his hand reach down and grab a hold of mine. He placed my hand at his entrance.
“Put your finger there,” he whispered.

My entire body flushed at the very idea, but I was cautious. “Are you sure?” I whispered. “I don’t want to frighten you…”

“…Do it,” he whispered, writhing around me. “Show me what you have done with other men before me.”

I leaned over to reach the jar of lubricant I had hidden in my bedside table, and greased up my fingers. I returned to his member, sinking the width of his shaft in my throat as I slowly, carefully, circled his small entrance with my index finger.
I could feel his entire body shiver in response, but he made no move to pull away.

I slowly sank my finger inside of him, moving in circles to gently stretch the skin. I pulled my mouth from his organ for a brief moment.

“Are you still all right?”

Holmes grunted in frustration. “I will tell you if I need you to stop. Until then, keep doing it!”

With his permission, I sank my finger in deeper, until I was inside of him up to my knuckle. I began to move the finger in wider circles, and when I brushed against his prostrate, I felt his entire body spasm with pleasure.

“Oh God… Oh, Watson…” Holmes began to push towards my hand, writhing his opening over my finger. I took advantage of this new desire by pulling out and replacing two fingers inside of him instead of one. He moaned in ecstasy, and I stifled my own cries of desire by swallowing his shaft wholly, pulling him to the base of my throat. I enjoyed the idea of him penetrating me as I did the same to him. I pumped my fingers now, more rapidly, making sure to caress his prostrate at each stroke, and Holmes was slowly dissolving around me.

“Watson!” He spread his legs wider, holding them open for me with his hands behind his knees.

I was almost blind with desire now. I had to have him. He was holding himself open, inviting me inside. I coated my member thickly and then grabbed a pillow to place under Holmes’ lower back.

“Will this be all right?” I whispered. “I want to see you.”

Holmes looked crazed with passion; his face was flushed, his eyes glazed over, his thick red lips parted wantonly, breathing deeply and raggedly.

“Yes. Yes...”

I knelt between his legs. I pushed his knees back gently, and then slowly began to insert my shaft into him. I hesitated at the muscle, giving him a moment to feel used to my presence, before pressing further inside. As I did, Holmes groaned and reached up to run his hands along my chest.

“Do it,” he whispered urgently.

I obliged him, sinking my full length into him, but not moving afterwards. I held that position for close to a minute, driving both myself and him mad with desire, until I saw his face relax. Once he looked comfortable, I began to move, as slowly as my fevered desire would allow.

“All right?” I asked him, as I withdrew half way and re-entered his opening.

“Wonderful,” he said, and I couldn’t help but laugh. He looked up at me then, with eyes wide and joyous, and he laughed as well. “Faster.”

Once again, I obliged him, beginning to move in rapid thrusts, plunging as deep as I could and pulling almost all the way out of him before returning back. His insides were so warm, I felt like I was melting. His tight heat stroked my shaft with such intensity, I thought I would pass out from the sensation.

I began to work my cock around in a circle inside of him, hoping to rub against his prostate as much as possible. The effect rendered Holmes into jelly. He began to moan nonsensically, grasping for me fervently. I reached down with my free hand and began to stroke his own cock, pulsing with desire against my belly. I held his shaft to my skin and rubbed against it, and began to push into Holmes in earnest, quickly and with driving need.

I had no worries for his comfort any more. He was beyond consolation. He was groaning and writhing, impaled on my shaft. He bucked against me and drove me even deeper into him.

I lifted his hips higher and wider, and penetrated him so deeply I could no longer hold back the wave of my ecstasy. I came in a long shudder, going rigid inside of him, grasping his buttocks. I finished, panting, and looked down to see what his reaction would be.

His flushed face grinned up at me lasciviously. He looked proud of himself. I laughed and collapsed my weight upon him, leaving my member inside of his flesh. I loved the feeling of being inside Holmes, the connection between us.
But as I pressed against his body, I felt the demanding hardness of his own unsatisfied need against my belly. I did not know how much longer he could hold out, but he said he wanted to try everything, and I wanted him to feel what I had just felt, experience all the pleasures of making love to another man.

“Your turn,” I told him. I slowly withdrew my cock from inside of him, and then knelt beside him. “I want you to try it.”
Holmes’ throat shivered as he swallowed. He quickly sat up, looking at me expectantly.

I remembered my first time, and how nervous I had been. But Holmes suddenly gripped my hips from behind and hitched me up, positioning himself behind me. There was no hesitation.

Holmes spread my cheeks apart and then stopped for a moment, breathing heavily. “What… what should I do?” he asked me.

I quickly fumbled for the tin of lubricant. I handed it back at him. “Use plenty of this.”

“On me or in you?” he asked.

“Either. Both. It doesn’t matter.” I was breathless with expectation.

Holmes opened the tin. I did not feel anything behind me, so I knew he must have been applying it to himself. He reached out and grabbed me with slicked fingers, yanking me upright.

He spread me open again, and then pressed his cock to my entrance.

I moaned. It was too much, too large, and he pressed against my entrance forcefully. “Go slowly,” I cautioned him, suddenly nervous that he would hurt me.

“Open for me,” he whispered hotly. And as if my body was attuned to his commands and not mine, my muscle relaxed and let him inside.

Holmes emitted a delicious cry of delight as he sank his full thickness into me. He was too big for my tight hole, and he stretched me to the limits. I felt nothing but pressure, he was on top of me, inside of me, everywhere. His hands gripped me tightly to him, holding my flesh with such strength I knew there would be bruises in the morning.

It had been a long time since I had allowed a man to penetrate me, and Holmes’ desire was overpowering. He pounded into me with relentless force, his body shaking. Black stars appeared behind my closed eyes with each manic thrust. All I felt was pressure and his heat, engulfing me. This is what it must feel like to be swallowed, I thought, and at that moment, he twisted me against him and came with a shudder and a gasp, pulling me tighter, mindless of my limbs, my sore backside, reaching the very depth of me.

And then, with a great gasp, he withdrew his cock and collapsed beside me.

I turned over to lay beside him. I could feel that his forceful entry would leave me aching for days, but it was worth it just to see the sated expression on his face as he lay back in perfect contentment.

Holmes blinked at me, as if waking from a dream. And then he suddenly frowned.

“Watson? Watson! Are you all right? Was I too rough?” He grabbed my face between his hands, he kissed my forehead.

I smiled. “I’m fine. My God, Holmes…” I chuckled. “For a man who has never had sex with another man, that was quite a performance.”

Holmes laughed, cradling my head in his hand and pulling me closer. “I had no idea such feelings were in me.”

“That was very dramatic,” I said.

“My reactions always are, when it comes to you, my friend.” He stared at me with such intensity, I almost wanted to look away. But his flushed, satisfied expression, his languid grey eyes, they were too beautiful to turn from.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“You make me furious,” he said finally.

I swallowed. “I’m sorry I make you so cross.”

“Nonsense! It simply is that every emotion I have towards you is so damnably intense. I need you. I abhor needing you. You are such a distraction. And an absolute comfort. I think I would be both happier and thoroughly miserable if you were not in my life, Watson.”

“Do you want me to leave?” I said, hurt.

“God, no!” Holmes pulled me to him with fierceness. “I am terrified of you leaving. I’m terrified of you finding someone else, someone who will treat you the way you deserve.” He was quite for a moment, stroking my hair. “Someone like Agar.” He said it so quietly, I thought for a moment I had imagined it.

I rested my head on Holmes’ heaving chest, kissing his shoulder. “What you have given me is beyond everything any other man has shared with me. It is more than just sexual pleasure, Holmes. I love you.”

Holmes did not respond. But he kissed the top of my forehead, and pulled the bed sheets over us.

We both fell asleep promptly. I awoke at some point in the night to the sound of Holmes dressing in the darkness. I sat up groggily, worried he was regretting his decision, and that he was leaving for good.

But Holmes leaned over and kissed me on the lips, his tongue briefly darting into my mouth before departing.

“We mustn’t alert Mrs. Hudson of our new relations,” he whispered. “I shall return to my room. But I will be with you again tomorrow, or whenever you need me.”

I reached out for his hand and squeezed it. “You do not regret this?”

Holmes squeezed my hand back. “My dear Watson, I told you it was possible I would have a liking for such deviances.” He smiled devilishly at me. “I can honestly say I find these activities extremely enjoyable. I believe we have solved the problem of keeping you safe from indiscretion.”

I was glad the room was so dark, glad that Holmes could not see the giddy, childish grin upon my face. I let go of his hand. “Now I only fear Mrs. Hudson.”

Holmes laughed. “Then I best be off. I’ll see you in the morning, old fellow.” And with a kiss on the forehead, he was gone.


I spent the following afternoon making discreet inquiries about lecturers at the symposium on mental disorders, and found an address for Dr. Moore Agar. I was not able to speak with him directly, as he had already returned to Liverpool. However I still carried a heavy burden of how we had parted, and wanted to reassure him that all was well.

I finally decided to send him a telegram, saying only “all is well with my friend, out of danger,” and signing it with my full name. I received a response the following day, which merely expressed gratitude at the news and passed on his regards.

I thought little more of Dr. Agar after that, as I was utterly satisfied with the developments with my relations with Holmes. As a lover, he was exhausting, exciting, and reckless. And while there were long stretches of time, especially during cases, when Holmes would not make himself available to my advances, he amply made up for these periods upon the conclusion of an investigation, or a brightening of his moods.

Three years later, I received a card in the mail which informed me that Dr. Moore Agar had established a practice of his own on Harley Street here in London. I made note of it but did not pursue the doctor until March, when Holmes’ constitution became fragile in the face of constant hard work of a most exacting kind, aggravated, perhaps, by indiscretions of his own.

Holmes never took interest in the state of his health, and he especially disliked my doctoring him, pushing aside my concerns and ignoring all my pleas for him to seek medical attention.

It was then that I remembered Dr. Agar, and his specific focus on the disorders of an overactive mind. I worried briefly that my prior association with Dr. Agar would prevent Holmes’ acceptance of his care, but as Holmes grew sicker, I decided I had no other recourse than to call on Dr. Agar and invite him over for a consult.

Dr. Agar was pleased to see me again, after all these years. We met in his clinic, and discussed our business since the last time we had chatted. I took the opportunity to apologize profusely for the tragic circumstances of our last parting, but he showed no lingering malice towards me regarding the occasion. When I informed him that I was actually meeting with him to see if he would tend to the very man that had interrupted our courtship all those years ago, Dr. Agar laughed, and said he would be happy to, to return the favour of my friend’s discretion, and to show himself in better light than that by which Holmes had last seen him.

Holmes was in a foul mood that morning, and his mood did not improve when I entered the sitting room with Moore Agar by my side. Holmes glared at me, demanding to know what the meaning of this was. As I explained Agar’s special field of study, and why I had invited him, Holmes grew petulant and morose. Nevertheless, he begrudgingly allowed Agar to examine him.

Following his examination, Dr. Agar told Sherlock Holmes that he had no choice but to lay aside all his cases and surrender himself to complete rest if he wished to avert an absolute breakdown. When Holmes restated the same arguments he had given me, Dr. Agar snapped at him, saying that Holmes was at risk of being permanently disqualified from work unless he were to give himself a complete change of scene and air.

I attempted to pay Dr. Agar for his house call, but he refused, once again stating that he felt it was fair payment for Holmes’ discretion. We parted amiably. Holmes even mustered enough politeness to shake Agar’s hand on his way out.

Once Agar had left our suites, I sat beside Holmes on the settee, and wrapped his shoulders with a blanket. He scowled at my ministrations, but still snaked his long arm under the blanket in order to give my thigh a squeeze.

“That was appalling of you, Watson. You should be ashamed of yourself, trying my already ruined nerves by parading old lovers around me.”

I rolled my eyes. Holmes’ hand crept higher, giving a friendly squeeze at my crotch.

“He is a very good doctor,” I informed Holmes. “If you won’t listen to me, then listen to him. He is quite serious, you know. You must take a holiday, or you won’t be able to continue working.”

“I do not take holidays.”

“Well, there is always a first for everything.”

“If I am required to leave the fogs of London, then you must suffer as well. You are coming with me.”

“I never intended to leave you.” I looked back briefly to confirm that we were alone in the sitting room, and then chanced a quick kiss to Holmes’ lips. He still pouted, but I saw a glimmer of arousal in his eyes. He squeezed me once more.

“Fine then. I’ll listen to your infamous doctor’s advice. But only because I owe him.”

“Owe him? You?” I couldn’t hide my surprise.

Holmes gave me a lazy, sultry smile. “Why, of course, my dear. I fared far better from his introduction into our lives than he did. After all, I have you.”

I wrapped the blanket tighter around his shoulders, giving him a hug. “Yes, Holmes. You have me.”

I rose and began to make our plans for Cornwall.



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