A Reward of Unwavering Faith

Holmes/Watson. NC-17. ~2300 words. Gunkink.
“Watson, I know you have a fondness for gambling, but there is a time and a place and this is neither.”

“I see absolutely no reason why I should,” Watson said, his morning paper moving not an inch but the slight shift in his breathing clearly stating that he no longer read a single word upon it. Props were Watson’s favoured tactic of avoidance: a paper held before his face, a teacup obscuring a smile upon his lips, the instruments of his trade to steady the tremors in his hands when he treated the worst of Holmes’s wounds. While he must know Holmes could read those movements as easily as the ones he attempted to hide, he stubbornly insisted in employing them.

There were times Holmes suspected him of persisting simply because he thought it provided a much-needed bit of extra mental stimulation. It honestly didn’t, and yet Homes enjoyed the game all the same.

“Because you have proven time and time again to be far more adept at handling it,” Holmes said.

Silence from Watson but a slight crinkle from the paper, a creak from his favourite sturdy leather chair as he resettled his seat. A small puff of air heralded the appearance of a tiny smirk Holmes couldn’t see but well knew was there.

“Think of the dire consequences should you not,” Holmes went on. “It may misfire. Fail me completely. Watson, such tragedy there could be.”

“The only tragedy here is your utter lack of Thespian skill,” Watson said, crisply folding his paper along the creases. “Fine, Holmes, give it here. Attending to it now can only save me from having to attend to you later.”

Holmes offered the pistol with a flourish, as pleased with the corners of Watson’s mouth hitching higher into a genuine smile as with his capitulation. The latter was generally a foregone conclusion regrettably not always accompanied by the former.

Setting the paper aside, Watson stood and removed his jacket, laying it neatly across the arm of Holmes’s customary chair by the window. Though they had breakfasted in the downstairs sitting room–also customary–and though Watson had no appointments, instead of remaining there to read his paper he had chosen this morning to accompany Holmes upstairs. From there he had gone about throwing open the two sets of doors adjoining their rooms to his practice without so much as an if you please.

Rather fortunately, Holmes did please, and quite frequently. One of 221B Baker Street’s best features was its ability to let Holmes roam freely about Watson’s life.

“Fetch my necessities, then,” Watson said, the muscles in his forearms flexing as he smartly rolled up his shirtsleeves. “It is the least you can do considering you have put me to work at half ten in the morning.”

“I believe the kit is on the floor by your chair,” Holmes said, tugging the curtains wider.

Watson lifted a brow and glanced down. “So it is.”

“Imagine that,” Holmes said, smiling out at the sun attempting to chisel its way through the clouds.

As Watson went about setting up, checking the condition of his tools before laying them out on an old scrap of one of Holmes’s shirts, Gladstone trundled by. He lifted his heavy brows to peer first at the sitting room, precarious at the best of times, then Watson’s domain, always militantly crisp. Heaving a sigh pinched from Mrs. Hudson’s truly impressive repertoire, he plodded determinedly onward to vanish into Watson’s study, more than likely with a mind to settle on the carpet laid in front of the fireplace.

“That is concerning,” Holmes murmured. “Watson, what do you suppose is the likelihood that Mrs. Hudson has used bacon and bones to sway Gladstone’s loyalties?”

“Quite high.” A metallic click caught Holmes’s attention. He turned back to find Watson deftly disassembling the pistol. “I do so frequently myself.”

“Cad.”

Metal thumped dully against cloth-covered wood as Watson set aside the trigger guard. “Indeed.”

Holmes moved further from the window, noting once again that while Watson was right-handed he primarily used his left for weapons maintenance and curiously enough, also for making tea. This inconsistency in habit seemed yet another souvenir from the war, rooted in mentality as much as physicality. Rather selfishly, Holmes delighted in collecting all these nuances of Watson’s much the same as a street beggar clutched at the coins of passers-by.

“Must you circle round me like a buzzard?” Watson asked, not pausing in his work.

Holmes moved his hand from the back of Watson’s chair. “Yes,” he said, “but if it is your preference I shall perch upon your shoulder to still the restlessness that arises from watching you so deftly handle my weapon,” and then did exactly that. Perhaps more of a drape than a perch if he were to be perfectly accurate, his hand tucked beneath his chin to keep it from digging too sharply into Watson’s shoulder. Their abrupt proximity caused Watson’s precise movements to stumble and with it came a warm curl of satisfaction. Provoking a response from Watson, sometimes any response at all–in his blackest hours even an unfavorable one would do–had somehow escaped the inevitability of becoming as boring as the rest of London.

A moment later, once Watson had rather obviously run through the day’s risk associated with open displays of affection—nil: Mrs. Hudson was out to the markets–which of course was done only after he had spent a minute or two enjoying the pleasant suddenness of said affection, he breathed out a wonderfully theatrical world-weary sigh. “Once again you prove without a doubt that you are a weight upon my shoulders, Holmes.”

Holmes smiled, his cheek pressed close enough to Watson’s to allow him to feel the movement, if he were paying attention. “And yet despite your many complaints you shoulder the weight with a good measure of accommodation.”

“I don’t complain,” Watson said mildly, setting aside the cylinder. He made a respectable attempt to continue on as if Holmes were not curled about his shoulders like a blanket, but when all was said and done, a man was only a man, even one as singular as Watson. He smiled as Holmes casually traced the line of his collar with a thumb, his pulse predictably speeding as it continued on past the knot of his tie to the first button of his waistcoat.

Lowering his chin slightly, Watson said, “I suspect it isn’t your revolver you wish me to handle.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Holmes said, his attention very firmly fixed on Watson’s hands as he slid the cylinder back into place. “It is most definitely my revolver I wish you to handle and none other.”

The trigger guard followed, then the hammer, both clicking into place and secured with a pin. Two screws fastened the grip, completing the reassembly, and in a shocking move Holmes hadn’t anticipated, Watson brought the gun up to his mouth, tapped the barrel against it in a show of consideration. The metal was so very stark against the pale pink of his lips. “Are you so very certain, Holmes?”

“Never more certain in all my years combined,” Holmes quickly said, his focus momentarily split between the heady chemical-like thrill that raced through his blood and the devilish smile that graced Watson’s mouth.

Watson moved to stand and Holmes reluctantly backed away, his gaze skipping from the strong line of Watson’s shoulders to the excellently tailored lines of waistcoat and trousers. The scrape of metal on metal finally brought it back to Watson’s hands, and he watched with all the appreciation a man could muster as Watson smoothly loaded the revolver, thumbed the cylinder closed and raised his arm to sight down the barrel.

“Very expediently done,” Holmes said, amazed once again at how such a simple movement, one he had seen Watson perform countless times before and in far more exhilarating circumstances, could heat his blood. “My trust in you is never unrewarded.”

Slowly lowering his arm, Watson regarded the pistol cradled in his palm. “So you have said many times before,” he said, the playfulness Holmes had been so enjoying vanishing from his voice the same as the pall of coal smoke hid the winter moon. He turned about, reclaiming the small distance that had been of necessity put between them. He pressed close, far closer than needed to catch Holmes’s wrist and push the revolver into his grip.

The weak spring sunlight still poured in through the windows, the clock on the mantle ticked on, but the calm of the morning was gone, replaced by a crackling intensity that usually only accompanied chasing a case out into the city at night, into its blackest alleyways and down to its dankest cellars. For the first time in months Watson had caught Holmes completely unawares.

“At times I wonder if you realise,” Watson said, wrapping Holmes’s fingers tightly about the grip, and whatever else he meant to say slipped free on a soundless breath as he leaned in, brought their mouths close.

Instead of granting the sweetness of a kiss, Watson smiled and moved Holmes’s finger to the trigger.

Holmes sucked in a breath, as dizzied as if Watson had pushed a full strength dose of laudanum into him. The few seconds it took for him to steady seemed an hour, and the few more it took to pick apart his reaction an hour more. He wet his lips, measured the thick thud of his heartbeat and said, once he’d managed to link logic to emotion, “Watson, I know you have a fondness for gambling, but there is a time and a place and this is neither.”

“There is not much gamble in putting myself in your hands,” Watson said, leaving his hand on Holmes’s to keep it firmly in place.

This isn’t you clung unspoken to Holmes’s tongue, frozen in absurdity. He knew Watson at times better than Watson even knew himself, and this deliberate recklessness, the hellfire smoulder in Watson’s eyes, was as impossible to anticipate as the sun falling from the sky.

Watson’s grip tightened, sending his pulse tripping over the ragged beat of his heart, and he watched unable to move a single muscle as Watson pointed the pistol’s muzzle directly at his own face.

“Have a care, Watson,” Holmes said, little more than a rasp. “The chances of a slip of the finger are low as they currently stand, but the percentage is rising quite dramatically.”

“And how dramatically does it rise?” Watson asked, and without a scrap of reason leaned in closer until the muzzle pressed against the slant of his cheekbone.

Holmes said, “Watson,” which was the absolute entirety of anything he could possibly say as Watson lewdly licked the very tip of the barrel. He said it again for good measure, his hand trembling beneath Watson’s grip, his insides twisting round a lust as sharp and cruel as the metal pressing into Watson’s flesh.

When Watson’s fingers left his he quickly brought his other hand up to steady his hold, practically clutching the pistol for dearest life. Watson’s devil-smile wavered not an inch as he whispered, “Steady, Holmes,” and Holmes nearly choked on nothing but air when he felt the tug of Watson’s hands at his belt.

Watson smeared a kiss along the revolver’s barrel, his mouth seeming so vulnerable next to its cold metal. His fingers found Holmes’s cock as he dipped his head, the pistol leaving a trail of saliva shining on his clean-shaven cheek. He kept his touch tortuously light and for once Holmes was thankful for it; the quiver in his stomach crept ever higher, spilled like a river overflowing its banks to his limbs.

A weak noise forced its way free of the tight clench of Holmes’s throat as Watson’s tongue grazed his finger on the trigger. Another swiftly followed, the cause this time Watson’s sure, strong fingers caressing his sac, dragging along his cock until they vanished entirely. Unable to tear his gaze from Watson’s face, Holmes strained to hear the rustle of cloth as Watson unbuttoned his trousers and saw the moment in his eyes when he pulled his cock free mere seconds before Watson took them both in hand, pressed flesh snugly to flesh.

Holmes swayed forward, his hand snapping to Watson’s shoulder for balance. The sharp hiss of Watson’s breath slunk beneath his skin, slithered prickling hot down his spine. Again Watson dipped his head, the pistol’s barrel slanted sideways across his open mouth, his tongue soft against it. His eyes flickered open, a brief flash of wickedness before he leaned in once more, the revolver nudged up between their mouths. Barely audible, he said, “Best not shoot now.”

Desperately seizing a fistful of the silky back of Watson’s waistcoat, Holmes fought to keep his hand steady while Watson completely undid him with a clever twist of the wrist and a kiss that tasted of gunmetal. His legs nearly failed him utterly, his word of warning little more than a scraping moan. The slick spill of his release dripped through Watson’s fingers as his pulse pounded his head. Long dizzying moments later he felt Watson’s body tense, a ragged groan swiftly following the fresh rush of warmth on his cock as Watson came.

“You see,” Watson said, remarkably soon considering Holmes still reeled, “neither does my trust in you go unrewarded,” and kissed the back of Holmes’s hand.

Holmes whipped the gun from its most precarious position against Watson’s cheek. Words flew through his head, far too many and far too fast to dream of catching let alone to wrestle into a proper sentence. Watson’s smile took on a decidedly mischievous cast.

“I think that perhaps,” Holmes said, carefully laying the pistol down onto the table but not releasing his hold of Watson’s waistcoat, “in the future of course starting this very instant, I shall endeavour to reward your unwavering faith far more frequently. Otherwise I fear you may rather thoroughly and quite effectively kill me.”

“Never my intention,” Watson said, and paused less than an inch shy of a kiss. “Well, not entirely.”

End

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