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Watson was stroking his hair lightly, Holmes realized after several minutes of silence.

“How could you do that to me, Holmes?” Watson asked, voice choked. “How could you lie…?”

“It could not be known that I was alive, not even by you,” Holmes whispered. “It was immensely important for the purpose of my work. I fully expect that you shall hate me for it, perhaps even abandon me.”

“I don’t know how I feel,” Watson said. “I may need to be alone at some point.” He paused. “Not now. I need you with me now.”

He was stepping forward, moving Holmes back until Holmes was pressed to the wall. Watson put his palms against the wall on either side of Holmes’s neck and stepped back to have a look at him.

“You do not look well,” Watson informed him.

“Obviously not, I came to see a doctor,” Holmes said with a weak smirk.

Watson slapped him.

“You broke my heart. Twice,” he added in a voice that was almost a snarl.

Holmes looked down, eyes closed. “You should strike me again,” he mumbled.

Watson kissed him. Holmes made a small sound along the lines of a gasp and shut his eyes tightly, although he did kiss back. Watson pressed his tongue into Holmes’s mouth, possessively, and Holmes trembled. Tears slipped from the corners of his eyes and he wrapped his arms around Watson’s waist and pulled him closer, only a little bit of force, as though he had no strength left. Watson reached down and gripped Holmes’s wrists loosely, pulling them away and pressing them back against the wall. He did not allow himself to be embraced; he did not want Holmes to have that privilege. Holmes tried to pull his wrists away from Watson, who tightened his grip. Holmes fought for a few moments longer and then went still.

Watson drew back a little and bit Holmes’s upper lip hard enough to leave tooth-marks above it, almost a second cupid’s bow. Holmes stifled a small cry of pain, and Watson released him at once.

Holmes looked at him. “I said you should hurt me. Damage me,” he insisted.

“I am not here as a vehicle for your self-harm, Holmes,” Watson growled at him. He stroked a finger down Holmes’s wrist. “I am not here to leave marks. You have left enough of those.”

“My drug use is none of your concern,” Holmes said weakly. “It is not what we are discussing here.”

Watson shoved Holmes back against the wall with the force of his body. “Every time that you treat yourself poorly, it is my concern. It is as much my concern as it is when you treat me poorly.”

“I try to treat you well,” Holmes murmured. He was crying again. “I make the greatest of efforts. I am simply not good at it.” He was trying to grip Watson with his fingertips.

“You have made no effort,” Watson said. “You have no talent in that direction. Your insistence that you care for me is of no use when it is clearly untrue.”

Holmes sagged against him. “It is untrue.”

“You are the most heartless man I have ever met,” Watson snapped. He bit Holmes’s neck and sucked on him. It was vicious and too hard, and Holmes yelped. Watson released him when he fell into pained shudders and kissed the indents gently, running his tongue along the purpling area of skin. Holmes closed his eyes with a very quiet moan. Watson stepped back and pushed Holmes harder into the wall. The back of his head made an unpleasant sound against the wood, and Watson felt a pang of sympathy, but Holmes did not display any indications of discomfort—his eyes were half open and his face an expression of neutrality. His cheeks were still damp below his eyes.

“I suppose that you only came here in the hope that I would provide you with sexual satisfaction,” Watson accused.

Holmes shook his head weakly.

“There is a definite rigidity in the vicinity of your hips,” Watson said, pressing his forehead to Holmes’s to force him to meet Watson’s eyes. “I am not going to assist you.” He stepped back and pushed down on Holmes’s shoulders. Holmes fell to his knees and landed hard enough to bruise—his breath caught with the pain. Watson crouched in front of him, gripping Holmes’s throat. “You ought to be murdered,” he said quietly.

Holmes only nodded.

Watson produced a key from his pocket and reached up and to one side, locking the door.

Holmes reached up hesitantly, skimming along Watson’s jaw with a fingertip. Watson grabbed his hand and clenched his grip on it. Holmes could have tensed his hand and resisted the potential for injury, but he allowed his fingers to be crumpled together—Watson loosened his grip.

“I never said you could touch me.”

He pulled off Holmes’s tie and bound Holmes’s wrists together behind his back. Securely tied, but not tight, unlikely to constrict circulation to a worrying degree.

“I am sorry,” Holmes said. “It was presumptuous. I have missed you.”

“You never missed me. You only wanted someone to fuck, and to verbally abuse. I shall be neither,” he added. He gripped Holmes’s chin and stood, maintaining eye contact.

“Please permit me to touch you. I will do anything.”

“You would not even stay when I asked you to. Why should I believe that you would do me any favours at this time.”

Holmes shook his head a little. “You shouldn’t. You have seen how I lie to you on so many occasions.”

“I should destroy you.”

Holmes closed his eyes.

“Why do you want to touch me so badly?”

“Because I am in love with you.”

“You would not let me touch you at all.”

Holmes nodded.

“You left when I did, and never came back.”

Holmes nodded again.

“Why should I let you touch me?”

“I… it… I can think of no reason except that it would make me happy.”

“And do you deserve to be happy?”

Holmes hung his head.

“You want me to fuck you, don’t you.”

“I had assumed it was obvious.”

Watson gripped his shoulder painfully tightly. Holmes shuddered and tried to pull away. Watson crouched in front of him as he relaxed his grip. “Considering all the harm you have done to me, I suppose that I should extract at least some benefit from you.”

Holmes did not look up, although he breathed perhaps a little easier.

“Your mouth must have some use aside from talking. Open it.”

Holmes did. Watson unfastened his trousers, standing as he pushed them off. He kicked them aside. He stepped back a little and pulled Holmes forward, so that his neck arched forward and his still open mouth was slightly lower than Watson’s cock.

“If at any point I hurt you unpleasantly, pull away and I will release you at once,” Watson said very quietly, as though he did not want it to be known that he cared. Holmes nodded in acknowledgement and took a deep breath. Watson held his cock steady briefly as he entered Holmes’s mouth. He shifted his hips, moving only an inch or two, hands pressed to the sides of Holmes’s head gently to keep him in place. Holmes closed his eyes. Watson continued like this, gradually allowing himself to press further into Holmes’s mouth.

He stilled his movements and held Holmes a little tighter, then moved his hips forward slowly. Holmes gagged when the tip of Watson’s cock touched the back of his throat, and Watson withdrew. Holmes struggled with himself for a few moments, and Watson ran two fingertips down his cheek just once, a tiny, reluctant reassurance that Holmes leaned into almost bodily.

“I’m fine,” Holmes said a bit raggedly, looking up at Watson to make it more obvious that he meant it. Watson pushed into him roughly and completely. Holmes muffled a sound around his cock. Watson began thrusting firmly, one hand on the back of Holmes’s head. Holmes closed his eyes, expression blank. He gagged only a few more times, although he made wet choking noises rather often.

Watson’s fingers tightened a little. He stilled his hips while he was deep in Holmes’s throat and shut his eyes tightly, jaw clenched. He managed to remain quiet as he came, although his breath shuddered rather badly and then held itself altogether for several seconds. His legs trembled. He let go of Holmes and drew away, moving to sit down heavily on the nearest available flat raised surface. Holmes remained still a few moments, unbalanced, then lay down on his side on the floor.

Watson panted heavily a few minutes.

“Get up,” he said.

Holmes did so with a slight effort.

“Unbind yourself.”

“I cannot manage to do so with this knot and my hands in this position,” Holmes said.

Watson sighed. “Then come here,” he said.

Holmes walked over to him and turned to face away from Watson, who untied his hands.

“Leave those at your sides. If you raise your arms even slightly in my direction, I will strike you.”

Holmes nodded mutely.

“Will you come home with me?” Watson asked.

“Yes, if you will permit it.”

Watson stood and fetched his trousers. He put them back on as Holmes watched silently.

He stepped nearer to Holmes and rearranged the collar of his coat, flipping it up and drawing it close around his neck to mostly cover the bite mark Watson had left there. He smoothed Holmes’s hair into something a bit less disreputable.

“Follow me. I’ll get us a cab.”

 

They sat rather far away from each other in the cab. Farther, in fact, than they had ever sat when alone in such a vehicle. Holmes’s head was tilted down, his eyes closed and his hands folded in his lap. Watson watched him, although he did not turn his head towards him.

Neither of them spoke.

When they arrived at their destination, Watson gripped Holmes’s coat-sleeve and led him inside. Holmes’s hand was limp at the wrist, and he allowed himself to be guided inside. His eyes were almost shut—he was indicating that he was willing to depend on Watson for guidance.

Watson took Holmes to Watson’s bedroom and had him sit on the bed.

“Shouldn’t I be on the sofa? Or the floor?” Holmes asked.

Watson did not respond to that. He took off Holmes’s coat and jacket, then undid his tie and unbuttoned his waistcoat, collar, and shirt. Holmes remained completely silent as Watson eventually removed all of his clothing.

“I have hurt you,” Watson said quietly. He ran a hand over Holmes’s upper arm in a vaguely comforting gesture from which Holmes half shied away.

“I’m glad,” Holmes said tersely.

Watson stepped back to look Holmes over. The marks along his upper lip were invisible save for a slight reddening, but the bite on his neck had bruised purple, tooth-marks surrounding the discolouration that the sucking had produced. Fingertip-shaped bruises were visible on the shoulder Watson had angrily gripped, and Holmes’s knees were purpling. All damages were fairly superficial, although Watson did not much care for their presence. He took off his jacket, tie, collar, cuffs, and waistcoat, then sat next to Holmes and put an arm around him.

Holmes slumped partially forward and partially in the direction farthest from Watson. Watson made a soft sound and removed the arm. He kissed each of the marks on Holmes’s shoulder. Holmes closed his eyes.

Watson gently pulled Holmes’s legs up onto the bed and leaned over them. He touched the bruises on his knees, and Holmes hissed. Watson made a vague apologetic noise and kissed them as well. Holmes made little, broken sounds.

Watson pulled back the covers and coaxed Holmes into lying down. He took off his shoes and socks and lay down with Holmes, curling himself around Holmes’s body. He wrapped his arms around the mostly unresponsive detective.

“I am sorry,” Holmes said quietly. Watson kissed his forehead, and Holmes whimpered. “I am sorry…!”

“I know you are, Holmes,” Watson said softly. “You are forgiven…”

“How can you be so kind to me when I have hurt you so badly?!” Holmes cried, hiding his face in his hands. “When I have, over all, been a completely terrible person?!”

“You were willing to die to kill Moriarty, Holmes. You almost did. And then you spent years away from someone you loved desperately, just so that other people would be safe.”

“I hurt you…!”

“Yes, you did, I will not deny it. But you also tried to make me feel better. For a while, you did. At least I knew you loved me…”

“And then I abandoned you,” Holmes gasped. He was sobbing.

“You left again, I was alone. It was almost worse, because I knew you were alive.”

Holmes sobbed harder. “I’m sorry,” he said desperately.

“What do you want?” Watson asked quietly.

“I want to be forgiven,” he said, stammering between sobbing breaths. “It is all I want, but I don’t deserve it, don’t forgive me—!”

Watson took one of Holmes’s arms and draped it around his waist, trying to encourage Holmes to hold him. “Holmes, I love you. It hurt so much, but I forgive you—I swear I forgive you.”

“You love me after what I’ve done?!” Holmes whimpered, and his sobs became more desperate. “I—I—“

“Please put your arms around me,” Watson said quietly.

Holmes clung to Watson tightly.

“There…” Watson rubbed Holmes’s back. “It is not so bad now, is it?”

Holmes shook his head. “I love you,” he said shakily. Watson stroked the back of his neck gently. Holmes relaxed a little, seeming quite soothed.

“You are a wonderful person, Holmes.”

Holmes wept.

“I won’t give you up for anything in the world.”

“Please don’t let me leave you,” Holmes said quietly. “And please don’t go.”

Watson kissed his forehead. He ran his fingers through Holmes’s hair. He touched the back of Holmes’s head, and Holmes winced. Watson’s brows contracted. “Holmes…”

“It’s nothing,” Holmes said softly.

Watson felt around the edges of the contusion, and Holmes made a pained sound. “Holmes,” Watson said quietly. “This is where you impacted the wall, is it not?”

“I have received worse.”

“How do you feel?”

“Dizzy and a little sick,” Holmes said reluctantly. “My head hurts.”

“Holmes, I am so, so sorry,” he said, kissing his face and forehead repeatedly. “If you’ll stay put here a minute, I’ll get you some ice for it. That will help.”

Holmes shook his head a little. “I’m not hurt badly,” he said. “You don’t have to go to effort over me… Not when you’re already doing so much…”

“I caused your injury, so I should treat it,” Watson said. He drew away a little, then got out from under the covers and stood. He pulled the blankets back up over Holmes and tucked him in. “Do you want anything to eat or drink?”

“I… I could manage something, but I don’t need anything…”

“I’ll heat you up some soup,” Watson said. He rubbed Holmes’s upper arm some and left the room. It took him longer than he’d expected, but he came back up with a bowl of soup, a cup of tea, and some ice for Holmes’s head, all on a tray. He set it down on his nightstand and nudged Holmes into a sitting position. He settled into the bed behind Holmes with a leg on either side of him, his chest against Holmes’s back, and put the tray on Holmes’s lap. He took the ice and held it against Holmes’s contusion carefully, and Holmes made a tiny sound.

“Eat for me?” Watson asked, stroking the back of Holmes’s hand with a thumb. Holmes nodded and did so. Watson put an arm around his stomach reassuringly and kept the ice in place. Holmes eventually finished the soup and his tea, and Watson set the tray on the nightstand. The ice was mostly melted, so he placed it aside as well.

“Do you feel any better?”

Holmes nodded again. “Thank you,” he said.

“Would you like to lie down?”

“Yes. Please,” Holmes added. Watson shifted away so Holmes could lie down.

“Would you rather face me, or have your back to me?”

Holmes thought.

“I want to have my back to you,” he said. “If you’ll let me hold your hand.”

“Of course. Whatever you like.”

Holmes snuffled a little and lay down. Watson lay down behind Holmes and fit himself to his body. Holmes shifted as near as possible. Watson wrapped an arm around Holmes’s waist, and Holmes threaded his fingers through Watson’s hand, holding it close.

Watson kissed the back of Holmes’s neck gently.

“May I call you John again? Just this once?”

“You may call me John more than that,” Watson answered.

“I love you, John,” Holmes said softly. He closed his eyes. Watson snuggled closer.

“I’ll kiss you in the morning if you’re good for me and eat again at dinner tonight,” Watson promised.

“May I sleep for now?” Holmes asked him meekly.

Watson kissed the nearest portion of him. “Yes. Until you feel painless and well-rested, you should sleep as much as you can manage. Shall I wake you for dinner?”

“I would prefer it if you wake me, so that I can eat like you said,” Holmes answered. Watson nodded.

Holmes slept for a few hours. Watson eventually woke him, mostly by kissing the back of his neck and gently squeezing his hand. Holmes shifted and made a little noise, then rolled over and buried his face in Watson’s collarbone. Watson nuzzled his hair a little. Holmes sighed and hugged him.

“Is soup all right for dinner or should I make something else?” Watson asked.

“Soup is fine, if you’ve nothing on hand.”

“Be dressed and downstairs in about twenty minutes?” Watson asked. Holmes nodded. Watson put his waistcoat back on, kissed Holmes’s forehead, took up the tray from earlier, and went downstairs.

They ate dinner in a fairly comfortable silence, ankles pressed slightly together under the table. After, they sat together on the sofa for a while, Watson holding ice against Holmes’s contusion once more.

Eventually the two headed upstairs. Watson changed into a nightshirt and gave Holmes another. It was too broad in the shoulders for him, which made him look both vulnerable and adorable. Watson smiled and hugged him, and Holmes leaned into it with a breath that sounded remarkably like a purr.

They got into bed together. This time, they lay facing each other and holding hands. Their legs were tangled together, although their torsos were not quite touching. They watched each other in silence for a while, then fell asleep.

Watson awoke to find Holmes hugging him, still half-asleep. He touched Holmes’s chin. “Look at me, love?”

Holmes looked up, and Watson kissed him gently. Holmes made a little ‘oh’ sound and parted his lips, then kissed back. Watson took his hand and kept kissing him. Holmes leaned against him and hesitantly brought his tongue to meet Watson’s. Watson moaned softly into his mouth.

Eventually they parted.

“How is your head this morning?” Watson asked.

“Better,” Holmes said.

Watson reached below the blankets and stroked a hand down Holmes’s hip. “I left you unsatisfied yesterday,” Watson said quietly. “Would you permit me to remedy that?”

“If—if you’re talking about your mouth, I would rather, I, if...” Holmes swallowed a little. “Fuck me?” Holmes asked quietly.

“I suppose that no one has before?” Watson asked him.

“Once,” Holmes said. “I have had a few encounters in my life, and on one of them I convinced a man to take me in that manner.” He closed his eyes. “It was years ago, when I was just starting to fall in love, and I was mostly doing it to try and forget about you. It didn’t work,” he added with a little smile at Watson. Watson kissed him quickly.

“I’ll look around a bit and see if I can find anything suitable as a lubricant,” he said. Holmes nodded. Watson got up and put on a dressing gown. He searched around in various locations, eventually turning up with a salve that was likely to function sufficiently. Holmes held out his arms. Watson set the tin on the desk and took off his dressing gown, then sat beside Holmes, pleased to be in his arms. He pulled Holmes into his lap, then slowly repositioned them so that Holmes was lying on the bed with Watson between his legs. He kissed Holmes carefully, opening his mouth and bringing his tongue to almost explore Holmes’s. Holmes placed his hands on the back of Watson’s head. Watson sighed. After a little while he shifted away, kissing Holmes’s jaw, and then his neck. He sucked gently near the base of it, in the hollow of his throat. Holmes clutched at his hair, going a little bit breathless. Watson moved up and started gently kissing the bruises his teeth had left. Holmes gasped.

“John,” Holmes said quietly. He closed his eyes, going limp.

“You are beautiful,” Watson said quietly against his neck. “I know it doesn’t matter to you, but you are.”

“I think it matters when you say it,” Holmes said. “Not as much as other things would,” he added.

“You like it when I compliment your intelligence.”

“Yes. Quite a bit.”

Watson smiled and kissed him again. Holmes wrapped his arms around Watson’s neck.

They separated eventually, and Watson removed his nightshirt. Holmes stroked a hand down his chest.

“You are much more attractive in the daylight,” Holmes said. Watson smiled. He pulled Holmes’s nightshirt up his chest and leaned down, fastening his mouth next to his sternum and sucking. Holmes made a sound and shifted his hips. Watson sucked reddish marks into his chest. He covered a nipple with his mouth, biting it gently, then sucking at it. Holmes shivered. Watson changed to simply licking at it. Holmes arched up towards him. He groaned as his half-hard cock rubbed against Watson’s hips.

“Stop that,” Watson said. “Keep your hips still if you can. I’ll come to them in due time.”

Holmes nodded. Watson kissed him again, and Holmes moved his hips up thoughtlessly before remembering he wasn’t supposed to and making himself hold still. Watson kissed him a little deeper, and Holmes shut his eyes with a little sound. Watson eventually drew away and took the tin of salve from the desk. He knelt beside Holmes and applied a good amount of it to the fingers of his right hand.

“Legs apart, Holmes,” he said. Holmes spread them at once, looking up at Watson with partly-closed eyes and very large pupils. Watson leaned down and kissed him again. Holmes made a small sound as Watson withdrew. He circled Holmes’s entrance with his slick fingers. “Stroke me,” he said. Holmes gripped Watson’s cock and stroked him with what was initially a steady pace. Watson pushed a finger into him and he gasped, legs tensing. His hand faltered as Watson began to thrust his finger shallowly. Watson smirked and continued. By the time he added a second, Holmes was breathless.

“Is that good?” He asked. Holmes nodded weakly. “I assure you that my cock will feel better,” he promised quietly. Holmes moaned.

Watson continued, eventually fitting three fingers inside Holmes, who was very vocal about his approval. Eventually he withdrew entirely, then applied more of the substance to his own cock. Holmes looked up at him, eyes practically begging.

“Don’t worry,” Watson said, stroking his stomach. He sat back comfortably. “Sit in my lap, facing me,” he said.

Holmes blinked at him. “I assumed that you would take me as I am currently…” There was a questioning tone.

“I want you in my arms,” Watson said. “I want to feel you tremble when I come inside you.”

Holmes flushed dark red and immediately repositioned himself to Watson’s specifications.

Watson held Holmes’s hips and lifted him upwards, then guided him down so that the tip of Watson’s cock was pressed to his entrance. He shifted his hips up slowly, pressing the head of his cock into Holmes, then pulled Holmes down to bury himself inside. Holmes gasped hoarsely, and Watson gave a soft cry. Holmes shuddered and tensed around him for several moments, almost uncomfortably tight. He leaned against Watson and whimpered softly. “I had forgotten how this felt,” he said quietly. “And it is much, much better when it’s you, and not some stranger I hoped would be a distraction… Oh god.” He twitched his hips a little. “Fuck me, please,” he added in the same tone, wrapping his arms around Watson’s waist.

Watson grinned and nipped at his ear. He moved one arm back to brace himself on the bed and started pressing up into Holmes rhythmically. Holmes shuddered and began lifting himself up to match Watson’s withdrawals, moaning frequently. Watson reached an arm around him to his arse and used that hand to change the angle of Holmes’s hips so that his cock rubbed against Watson’s stomach and was usually pressed between them. Holmes made a sort of whining sound and dropped his head to rest on Watson’s shoulder, giving up on his vertical motions and just grinding his hips down onto Watson.

“Does it feel very good, having me inside you?” Watson asked him, trying to keep his voice steady despite the urge to moan a great deal.

“It—it—I didn’t do it justice mentally,” Holmes gasped. “Oh, fuck, there’s no way I’m going to be able to make this last.”

Watson kissed down his neck and sucked on his shoulder. “Don’t get so excited, we’ve barely started,” he said, reprimanding him in a gentle tone as he cupped and squeezed his arse. Holmes moaned loudly and unsteadily.

Watson gripped Holmes’s arse with both hands, using them to rock Holmes’s hips, moving him up Watson’s cock and back down it, always making sure to keep Holmes’s cock caught between their stomachs. “Oh god,” Holmes murmured, sucking weakly on Watson’s neck for a few seconds before giving up. “Oh god oh god oh god—Johhhnnn,” he finished in what was more of a shudder than a word, clinging to Watson’s shoulders. Watson ground Holmes’s hips harder against himself. Holmes went rigid, quaking, making a strangled noise. Watson gripped him tightly for a few moments. Holmes went limp against him, making tiny whimpering noises.

“Shh,” Watson murmured, stroking his hip with a thumb. Holmes made a small gasping sound. “Wasn’t it nice?” Watson asked quietly, kissing Holmes’s neck.

“I, I didn’t mean to—so soon,” he said shakily.

“I am quite aware,” Watson said. He sucked, and Holmes made a small breathless sound. “Get off of me now,” he said.

“But you were going to come inside me,” Holmes complained.

“I will,” Watson assured him. “Not yet.”

Holmes pouted.

“None of that,” Watson said sharply. Holmes got off of him and flopped back against the bed, still panting unsteadily.

Watson glanced at the come now decorating both of their stomachs.

“I expect you to follow suit,” he said, crouching over Holmes and sucking away the smeared fluid, eyes closed contentedly.

Holmes blinked and flushed. “That’s,” he said, leaving it at that. Watson finished and sat back up again. Holmes half crawled over to him, then started carefully licking away his come. Watson cupped the side of his head gently, not wanting to touch the contusion on the back. Holmes sighed as he finished. “Your cock, too?” He asked hesitantly.

Watson shook his head. “No,” he said. “I was in you just a minute ago.”

“I still would, if you asked.”

“I’m not,” Watson said. “Lie back again. I’d like to look at you.”

Holmes did. Watson sat between Holmes’s legs and looked him over.

“You appear very debauched at the moment. I must admit it is very arousing.”

Holmes blushed a bit. He traced a foot along Watson’s thigh absently.

Watson looked at it. “That’s a good idea,” he said. Holmes looked at him questioningly. “I had intended that one of us would stroke me, or something of the sort, until I felt close enough to the edge that I could bring myself to orgasm within you fairly quickly, but it might be interesting if—take me between your feet,” he finished more conclusively. Holmes shifted back on the bed a bit and gave him a bit of an odd look. Then he put a foot on either side of Watson’s cock and stroked it between them carefully. Watson shuddered a little. “Oh, that’s quite nice,” he said, putting a hand on Holmes’s ankle fondly. Holmes watched his face with an intense focus as he began to massage Watson firmly, trying to work out what the man most preferred when no hands were involved. Watson kept his hand on Holmes’s ankle, stroking it encouragingly. He grew more and more breathless, and eventually tugged Holmes’s feet away. “Back in my lap, please,” he requested. Holmes immediately relocated, working Watson back into himself. Watson shuddered and began to thrust up against him. Holmes wrapped both arms around his shoulders, and Watson responded by wrapping his arms around Holmes—one at his ribs, and one just below his waist. He made a soft, needy sound as he spent himself, and Holmes moaned quietly, shivering a little. They held still there for some time, and then Watson shifted so they were lying down, pulled out carefully, and stretched himself next to Holmes.

Holmes spoke first.

“You were… harsh with me, yesterday. Thank you. And thank you, also, for being gentle soon after.”

Watson looked at him.

“I was craving them both.”

“I did not expect to hear you admit that,” Watson said.

Holmes shrugged a little. “We are in a romantic relationship. I should tell you these things.”

Watson nodded.

“There will be many other times that I may want you to behave in those ways,” Holmes said.

“I will do my best to observe them when they occur.”

“I will do my best to tell you.” Holmes paused again. “There might be times when I want you to—to—to try and do things that I will resist…”

“I don’t want to push you too far…”

“And I do not wish to be pushed too far. Although I doubt you would—you have already been so very good at helping me,” he said quietly, resting his head on Watson’s chest.

Watson stroked his hair. “There should be something you can say to make it clear you genuinely wish to stop,” Watson suggested.

“That would be best,” Holmes answered. “I will consider it.”

“How is your head feeling now…?”

“I got a little bit dizzy once or twice, but my head is feeling better than it did when I woke up now.” He paused. “I’m thirsty… And I suppose we should eat.”

Watson took his hand.

“Also, I am going to need your assistance today in a rather important matter. Have I yet informed you about Colonel Sebastian Moran?”