With This Pen ~ A Full Partner
Jem's Bird

I have recorded elsewhere the dramatic conclusion of the Milverton case; after a while, the quarrel it sparked faded from my memory. At my insistence, Holmes used his influence to assure that the girl Agatha would not become a suspect in her employer’s murder due to the unusual circumstances of her disappearing fiancé, and there the matter rested, or so I thought.


One evening a few weeks later, I came home from my surgery to find Holmes busy with Peterson, the commissionaire from the hotel down the street, measuring the man from head to toe with a tape measure.


“So have we started a tailor shop to supplement the detective business?” I asked cheerfully.


“Hullo, Doctor Watson,” said Peterson, turning slightly to face me while Holmes bustled around him. “I’m helping Mr. Holmes with a theory on body top graphing.”


“Body topography, Peterson. And please keep still,” Holmes muttered, measuring from the back of the man’s knee to the bottom of his neck. He scribbled a note on his shirt-cuff and then turned to me. “I could use another set of measurements to test my theory further,” he told me. “Do you mind, Doctor?”


“I’m always willing to be of assistance to a scientific inquiry,” I replied, sitting down at my writing-desk. “What are we measuring?”


“We are measuring,” Holmes said, rolling up the tape measure, “the correlation between length and girth of various parts of the body. Thank you, Peterson, that will be all.”


Peterson turned at the door. “I’d be interested to know how it all measures up, if you’ll forgive the pun, sir.”


“I’ll be sure to let you know. Thank you, my good man.”


As soon as Peterson was safely away, I rose from my chair and greeted my lover with a kiss. “It was an absolute wrench of a day at the surgery.”


“Mmm – I can tell,” said he, kissing me again. “You made do with a cold duck sandwich in your consulting-room again, accompanied by a cup of that beastly poison your nurse brews.”


“It’s called Earl Grey Blend, Holmes. And I quite like it.”


“His Lordship should be insulted,” Holmes murmured softly, fingering the lapel of my coat. “So how is Mrs. Harris’ oldest boy?”


“Recovering nicely,” I answered. “He should be up and about with nary a limp in another week. You noticed where his cast left a mark on my sleeve, of course.”


“Of course,” Holmes echoed, leading me by the hand to the hearthrug. “And, of course, I can detect the good lady’s – how shall we say – distinct perfume on your person. Mrs. Harris is certainly affectionate, isn’t she?”


“I did give her some very good news, Holmes.”


“I’m sure you did, my boy,” he said, with a dismissive wave of his hand. “Take off your coat,” he added, picking up his tape measure from the mantel.


“Are you trying to seduce me?” I smiled, stripping down to my shirtsleeves.


“Apparently not. After all, I didn’t call you John. Here,” he said, pressing the tape measure into my hand. “Now just hold it like that – thank you. And there – hold again – and there.” He gave me a perfunctory peck on the cheek before taking the tape back. “Hold out your right hand,” he commanded, and quickly began measuring the circumference and length of each finger, noting each measurement carefully. “An acquaintance of mine at the British Museum came to me with an interesting theory. Left hand, please. This man has the quaint notion that there is a correlation between the girth of one’s limbs and digits and the length of the corresponding parts. Now, as you know from your anatomical studies, the idea is –”


“Completely preposterous, yes,” I said with no little impatience. “So why are you wasting your time taking what you know are useless measurements? Unless you are trying to seduce me,” I continued in a lower voice, as Holmes stepped closer to measure the length of my right arm. “So tell me, does this theory cover all portions of the anatomy? And do you wish me to remove my trousers to better facilitate measurement?”


“Please do not distract me, Doctor. You see, his theory is not that there is only one correlation, but that each man has his own ratio of correspondence. The relation between the length of, say, your right index finger and its girth is markedly different from my own, but the ratios of your right index finger and your left thumb should –” he scribbled aimlessly at a few figures. “No, the theory falls apart, I’m afraid.” He threw his hands up in an exaggerated gesture of defeat, and flopped down onto the settee, casting me an appraising look. “You didn’t accept payment from Mrs. Harris, did you?”


I drew myself up somewhat indignantly. “Holmes, ever since she lost her husband last winter, she and her eldest son are the only means of support for their family. I couldn’t in good conscience –”


“John,” he said placatingly, “I was not reproaching you. I admire your compassion and the ease with which you give of yourself to those who place themselves in your care. But I do feel uneasy when, instead of rewarding yourself with your favourite little luxuries, you are forced to settle for poor substitutes.”


“Substitutes?” I muttered, feigning ignorance, although I knew all too well which pleasures I had recently forgone due to my depleted resources; I had been hoping he hadn’t noticed.


Holmes smiled gently at me. “Earlier this morning, I saw the ash you left on the side of your breakfast plate; you have been smoking Bradley’s cheaper blend rather than the hand-rolled specials that you enjoy when you can afford them. Also, I see that on your way home from the surgery, you stopped by Chatham’s sweet-shop as usual, but instead of purchasing your preferred – and much more expensive – marzipan, you settled for a quarter-pound of humbugs.”


“Which I finished on the way home,” I replied, sitting down next to him. “I can see the mud on my trouser-cuff from the gutter by Chatham’s, but how did you deduce that I’d gotten humbugs?”


Smiling angelically, he drew my mouth to his. “The taste is distinctive, even through that foul tea,” he murmured, kissing me lightly. “But that is not the point, old friend. You see, I have come to the conclusion that your current need for parsimony is my fault.”




“Watson, a while ago, you reminded me just how much of your time you give to this Agency when you could be pursuing your own career.”


“My dear fellow, that was said in anger –”


“Even so, the point was a valid one. You have habitually aided me in my career while neglecting your own. Instead of solidifying your client base, you have accompanied me on my cases, taking my notes, acting as my agent, handling our travel arrangements, procuring my supplies, and performing a thousand other tasks that make my job easier. I would be literally lost without you, and yet you do all these things not only without complaint, but without pay. Yes, I do pay your expenses,” he said, silencing my protest, “but not your salary. And I believe that is what should change. I propose to make you a full partner in this Agency, so that you will not have to suffer the consequences of your generosity.”


“Holmes, you don’t have to –”


He interrupted me with a kiss. “No more arguing,” he whispered. “I’ll talk to my solicitor and have him draw up a contract that we can both live with.” He fingered my shirt-cuff thoughtfully. “See, look how the ink has spattered from your pen,” said he. “Did you honestly think you were saving money by buying that horrible self-filler?”


“Actually, I spent quite a lot of money on the pen that did this. It’s supposed to be splatter-proof,” I laughed. “But they haven’t gotten the mechanism right. A friend of mine in Philadelphia says he’s found one that works, but I have yet to see the fountain pen that doesn’t splatter.”


“Was he talking about the Conklin crescent-filler, or the Waterman twist-filler?” Holmes asked.


I shot him a weary look. “The Waterman. Why am I not surprised that you know the latest in American writing technology?”


“You know my methods, Watson. Any piece of information which may lead to the solution of a problem –”


“Isn’t the attic of your brain overfilled yet?” I teased.


Holmes chuckled, shaking his head. “I think we’ve both grown quite a bit since the Jefferson Hope case[1].” He leaned forward and drew me into a tender kiss, his lips caressing mine with growing ardour. I leaned back into the settee and pulled him atop me, nuzzling his forehead as he gently bit my neck, kissing his way slowly to my earlobe, where he delivered several delightful nibbles before pressing his lips to my cheek.


“I do love you,” he whispered, his voice shaking slightly at the admission.


I hugged him tightly. “And I love you.”


“I don’t say it enough, do I?”


“Not in your words. But your actions make it quite plain,” I told him, brushing a stray lock of hair from his brow. “It’s rather pleasant to be chastised for not indulging oneself.”


“I have seen too much evil in this sad world of ours,” he answered solemnly. “I spend almost all of my time amongst the dregs of society, and so you are often my only example of decency and civility in a life weary with corruption and greed.”


“Surely you exaggerate, Holmes.”


“Perhaps,” he conceded absently. “Perhaps not. I know that I am growing tired; my cases of late have had too much brutality and not enough of those features of special interest to stimulate my imagination.” He grasped my chin lightly in a cupped hand, brushing his thumb over my lips. “Now, your features, on the other hand …”


 We lazily exchanged a few more kisses, each one growing more passionate as our hands and mouths began to stray beyond the bounds of propriety.


“I think we should continue this discussion in our bedroom,” I said, nibbling upon his collarbone.


Holmes sat up and looked at me with a curious gleam in his eye. “John,” said he quietly, “if you could, would you marry me?”


My jaw hung open as I gaped at my companion in sheer disbelief. Holmes chuckled kindly, touching my cheek with an affectionate titter. “You needn’t worry, Watson. My current romantic mood is no doubt a temporary aberration brought on my sheer admiration for your latest act of generosity; I’m sure that by tomorrow morning, I’ll be the same cold, heartless blackguard you’ve come to love. My advice to you is to enjoy this anomaly while it lasts.”


I pressed my lips to his, delighting in the feel of his mouth upon mine. “Yes,” I laughed. “Yes, I would definitely marry you.”


Sherlock Holmes stood up, pulling me into his arms alongside him as our kiss deepened and our tongues wrestled deliciously. His long arms snaked around my waist, his hands gripping my buttocks roughly as I ground my hips into his.


“Then it is entirely too bad,” he replied between fervent kisses, “that we cannot marry.” He nibbled at my neck, continuing down to the sensitive area below my chin. “I should love to indulge in the pleasures of a wedding night with you,” he continued, biting gently at my collarbone.


“I think,” I answered fervently, “that we could replicate a satisfactory approximation with no great inconvenience.” Together we moved to the sitting-room door, falling upon it and rushing up the stairs to the bedroom, all the while stealing caresses and kisses at each step. We tumbled breathlessly into our room, locking this door behind us.


“One of these days,” I muttered against his cheek, “one of the maids will see us.”


“Don’t be ridiculous,” he chuckled, frantically scrabbling at my shirt-buttons. “Mrs. Hudson never lets any of them up here after supper. In any case,” he continued, as I tore at his waistcoat, “I’m sure that if any of that bevy of giggling females currently in our landlady’s training did catch us in a compromising situation, we could no doubt bribe the girl with financial security to still her tongue. We could even marry her off to you – didn’t you say you needed to invent a second wife soon?”


I stopped in my assault on his clothing and claimed his mouth in a violent kiss. “I thought you wanted to marry me,” I growled playfully, pinching his bottom before turning my attention to his trouser-flies, kneeling down before him as he sat upon our bed.


“What I want and what is possible by law are two differ – ngh,” he groaned, his speech degrading into inarticulate moans as I fished his rapidly stiffening member out of his trousers and sucked it greedily into my mouth. He lay back on the bed, one hand caressing my head, the other arm thrown across his eyes as he writhed helplessly under my ministrations.


All too soon, he pulled me away from his groin. “I need to taste you,” he panted, dragging me atop him and stripping off the remainder of my clothes as I divested him of the last of his. Soon we were naked and rubbing furiously against each other, eventually settling ourselves with me straddling his face and my head buried between his thighs as we pleasured each other, sucking and licking hungrily at each others’ straining cocks. I bit at the insides of his thighs, knowing exactly where to place my mouth to make him groan in pleasure as I rolled his testes in my palm, caressing his sac with my fingertips. I felt his hot breath upon my own scrotum as he took my entire length into his mouth, and I shivered with delight as I felt a single finger teasing upon my small entrance; in the past week, Holmes had become more bold in this area, even venturing to insinuate the tip of a single digit inside me. Such touches only drove me wild for more, but I was determined not to force this intimacy beyond my lover’s comfort; I remembered all too well the turbulent first months of our relationship when Holmes had been a virgin, and the constant battle between the nervousness of his inexperience and the arrogance of his genius nearly destroyed our friendship.


Now, after five years’ experience with each other’s bodies, we easily communicated our needs and wishes to each other, a simple sigh or moan expressing volumes, a single touch of a hand or brush of a mouth giving all us the information needed to pleasure each other to the fullest. His finger at my nether opening was a pleasant enough surprise, but when the caress deepened, I moaned into his loins, communicating my ecstasy by redoubling my own efforts upon his cock, sucking furiously on him as he pushed the finger deeper inside me. When he ventured even further inside, brushing against my prostate, a white-hot flash of rapturous bliss washed over me and I could stand it no longer; I spilled my seed into his mouth, my rod pulsing and jumping as Holmes sucked my issue from me.


We lay there for a long time, my lips trembling upon his still-urgent flesh, his finger still deep inside me. I sighed as I felt him gently withdraw, delivering a lingering kiss to my spent member. I nuzzled his length gratefully, running my tongue slowly from base to tip before taking him into my mouth once more. I cradled his balls in one hand, caressing and squeezing them gently while I tickled his inner thighs with my other hand.


I jumped slightly as I felt his fingertip at my hole once more. “Please,” he whispered.


My heart leapt as I realized what he meant. I freed my mouth and craned my neck over my shoulder. “Are you sure?” I asked, barely able to breathe.


For answer, Holmes pushed his finger inside me again, caressing my prostate. “Please,” he repeated.


I did not immediately comply, but rather sucked his member back into my mouth, only gradually moving my hand toward its goal. Ever so gently, I lifted his scrotum and slipped my hand underneath, and timidly brushed my fingertip along the rim of his hole. He shivered and gripped my thighs with trembling hands, and I withdrew my finger slightly.


To my amazement, he moved his hips forward, deliberately brushing against my hand. “Again,” he said in a small voice.


I tentatively stroked the entry again, and was rewarded with a kiss to my thigh and another caress at my prostate. I took this as all the permission I needed and began sucking on his now-throbbing cock, slowly circling his hole with my fingertip, luxuriating in the feel of his muscle as it twitched in response to my strokes.


Holmes moaned and began pumping his finger in and out, frigging me gently as I massaged his hole. I could feel my rod stiffening once more as he bravely added another finger.


“Go inside,” he hissed, delivering a teasing lick to my ballsac.


I hesitated only a moment, then slowly introduced the tip of my finger into his hole, only to have the sphincter squeeze shut against it, pushing me out.


“Shh, love, relax,” I whispered, licking the tip of his cock. He whimpered and wriggled under my touch as I teased his hole with my fingertip, but he still remained tight shut. I returned my attention to his prick, tonguing it furiously, using some excess saliva to slick my finger for another attempt. This time I took it slower, gently circling around the hole for some time, but still he would not open.


“I can’t,” he moaned.


I stroked his ballsac tenderly. “It’s all right, my love. You don’t have to. Let me drink you,” I finished, and sucked his length down to the base, bringing him swiftly to his release.


“I’m sorry,” he whispered, as we snuggled down together under our blankets. “I didn’t wish to disappoint you, but I just … couldn’t …”


I kissed his forehead. “The fact that you offered is enough, old friend. And you did go further than you have ever before. You’ve been reading some anatomical texts, haven’t you?”


He blushed furiously. “I read about … that gland … some time ago, shortly after we became lovers. I didn’t think I’d have the nerve to try it, but …” he smiled shyly. “You do bring out the wanton in me, John.” His look grew serious. “What does it feel like?”


“Like heaven,” I said without hesitation, then caught myself. “Holmes,” I continued slowly, “you have brought me all the pleasure in the world, and not just tonight, not just in this bed. Even the pleasure of your company over dinner at Simpson’s or a concert at Covent Garden is enough to make me consider myself the luckiest man in England. Sex is a secondary pleasure.”


“Even so,” he countered, “it pains me to think that there is a whole sphere of sexual experience that I am withholding from you. I should dearly love to … indulge in those pleasures, if they really are as wonderful as you say. But I’m afraid …” he sighed. Even alone with me, Holmes does not enjoy admitting any weakness. “I am afraid of losing control, as you well know,” he continued mournfully. “And to submit to such an act …”


“It puts one in a terrifyingly vulnerable position,” I finished for him. “It is not something to be undertaken lightly, or even at all, if both partners are not equally willing. You do not need to go beyond your boundaries of comfort any further than you already have.” I sat up on an elbow and looked down at him. “Holmes, we’ve been intimate for a long time, and you have never expressed any interest in any kind of anal intercourse before; quite the opposite. You’re even blushing now.”


“You’re being painfully clinical, Doctor,” he grumbled, avoiding my gaze. “Do you have a point?”


I sighed and touched his knee gently. “My point, dear friend, is that I’d like to know to what I owe the sudden change of heart. Are you truly willing, or are you forcing yourself for my sake?”


“I’m not sure,” he admitted in a low voice. “Do you realize that we will have been lovers for exactly five years next Monday?”


“The fourth?”


“The third,” he answered, a little reproachfully.


“The third, then,” I replied, smiling slightly. “So, what of it? It shows that we’ve stood the test of time.”


Holmes raised an eyebrow. “If you will remember correctly, not a month ago you yourself expressed the fear that I might grow tired of you. Have you never considered that I might harbour the same insecurities?”


“And you’ve decided to give in to my perverse desires in order to keep me?” I answered with a gentle laugh, cupping his chin in my hands. “How many times do I have to tell you? You’re stuck with me, Sherlock.”


Holmes rolled his eyes. “Must you call me that? I’ll take it from Mycroft, but honestly, Watson! How would you like it if I told someone what your real middle name was?”


“If only it were Hamish,” I muttered, pulling his lips to mine. I teased him a while with my tongue, delighting in the taste of his mouth before leaning back up on my elbow. “I have trusted you and no one else with the burden of my execrable middle name. That alone should tell you something about the sincerity of my intentions.”


Holmes’ eyes twinkled. “I love you, John Ormond[2] Watson.”


“Sod off, William Sherlock Holmes[3].” I ruffled his hair, relishing in the yelp of disapproval this gesture earned me from my companion. I laughed as I ducked the playfully thrown pillow, idly wondering what the world would think if they could see the man before me now, this glorious specimen of manhood, his naked body glowing in the dim lamplight of our bedroom, his coal-black hair awry, his grey eyes shining with mischief as he leapt upon me, growling like a tiger and biting at my neck.


I believe that was the last coherent thought I had that night, as Holmes’ lips moved from my neck and began their inexorable path downwards.



[1] In “A Study in Scarlet,” Holmes compares the human mind to a “little empty attic,” implying there was only a finite space for relevant information to be stored there.

[2] Ormond Sacker was ACD’s original name for John H. Watson. Although ACD never stipulated what the middle initial stood for, many Sherlockians believe it to be Hamish, which is Scottish for James.

[3] According to Baring-Gould, Holmes’ full name is William (or Thomas) Sherlock Scott Holmes.

Third of April, 1894



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