Ball and Chain

Holmes/Watson. R. ~1400 words.
Watson’s only regret of the moment was that he couldn’t risk the kiss he so wretchedly wanted.

Through the three layers made up of coat, shirt and underclothes, the bricks of the prison yard were frightfully chill against Watson’s back. Despite the carnage he and Holmes had wrought, much of it with no defense to offer towards merit, the police had retained some measure of courtesy. Certainly some knew of the illegal blade concealed within yet he had been permitted to retain his walking stick, and he leaned heavily on it now as he reflected upon the last few years of his life.

“You told her exactly what to say, didn’t you, Holmes,” he said.

Holmes’s attention flickered briefly from the single bench in the middle of the yard. There seemed to be some sort of protocol involved in who could sit at any given time and who could not, but Watson was far too exhausted to puzzle it out. “Of whom are we speaking?”

“You know very well,” Watson said, shifting to momentarily ease the strain on his good leg. “That gypsy woman.”

“Ah, Flora.” Holmes’s eyes suddenly narrowed, and his lips moved ever so slightly as he murmured some calculation to himself. “Most certainly I did. Were she not a woman, the Inspector might have found himself with a rival equally unworthy of his job.”

Watson fought the upward twitch of his mouth. “But china figurines, Holmes. Lace doilies.”

“They are dreadful things, like the webs of monstrously sized arachnids.” He peered intently into the shadows at the far end of the yard, then back to the bench. “Lace serves absolutely no purpose but to addle the mind, both in its making and in looking upon it.”

As the night was steadily approaching, Watson spared a moment for a prayer that the watchman on duty would remember to light the lamps this time. They would do little to dissipate the chill but they would certainly be better than unrelenting blackness. A shiver overcame him and he leaned a smidge closer to Holmes’s warmth.

Some minutes later, he cleared his throat. “I believe you were mistaken in what you told her.”

“Women adore doilies and other frilly nonsense. You shall be mired in a sea of them.”

“I will not. Holmes, please.”

Finally, Holmes’s restless gaze settled. He turned to Watson, an attentive look upon his face. “Perhaps you had best simply say what you mean, my good man, instead of all this dancing about.”

“Well, now I don’t need to say it, do I?” Watson snapped, wishing heartily for his hat. It was amazing how much deeper the night air cut without his head protected. “Once again you have demonstrated how very apt you are at knowing my thoughts before I myself do.”

Holmes’s brow furrowed. “You are remarkably irritable today, Watson. You must be chilled.”

“Of course I’m chilled! It’s the middle of bloody November and I am here, with you, instead of seated by a smartly roaring fire with a good bottle of brandy at my elbow.” And Mary, he did not say.

“If you were there instead of here, then so would I still be by your side,” Holmes said, stepping round to Watson’s other side as the very last of the day’s light faded. He set his hand against the wall, the flare of his coat partly shielding Watson from view. “Whatever your beliefs on the matter, I did not lightly instruct Flora to say those things. Perhaps there was a measure of exaggeration in some regards but it would be impossible to overstate my regard for you.”

Watson drew in a breath to speak and promptly lost it as Holmes’s hand settled familiarly on his hip. “But since you mean to say that I was mistaken in telling her we are brothers in bond, you are in a manner quite right.”

The first of Watson’s trouser buttons gave way to Holmes’s clever fingers. It took the release of two more before a trill of panic shot up his spine and he caught Holmes’s wrist. “Caution, Holmes. Consider where we are.”

“Keep quiet and the shadows shall do the rest,” Holmes murmured, his eyes downcast as his hand stole inside Watson’s clothing to press against his belly. “Such activity will warm you quite satisfactorily.”

Watson sucked in another sharp breath. There were so very many reasons why he shouldn’t let this happen. “Your fingers are icicles.”

Undaunted, Holmes replied, “Then allow me to warm them on you.”

“A decent man would have warmed them on his own person.”

“A decent man would not do the very indecent thing I am about to do to you. See here,” Holmes said, the smile in his voice as impossible to resist as the turning of the tides, “you’ve begun to flush already. How fetching.”

“We’ll be buggered for certain if you keep this up,” Watson insisted, but the chill had begun to fade from Holmes’s hand, and with its passing Holmes pushed further southward, the tips of his fingers grazing Watson’s cock before wrapping snugly about it. As skilfully as Holmes stroked bow over strings so too did he stroke hardening flesh, and like his violin Watson had no choice but to be so sweetly played.

“You know I am not so skilled in silence at such times,” Watson pressed, truly worried now. He grasped Holmes’s wrist, his will too weak to make it more than a desperate clutch. “Holmes, I will betray us both.”

“Have faith in yourself, Watson, as I do,” Holmes said, his fluid movements hampered somewhat by their tight confines. Watson was certain the steady rustling of fabric as much as his own foreshortened breaths would give them away. “It will be far more suspicious should I have to clap a hand over your mouth.”

A blaze of heat spiked in Watson’s gut and spread like flashfire out along his limbs. He held onto Holmes’s arm as if both of their lives depended on it, and perhaps indeed they did; they were dangling recklessly on the edge of discovery and Watson was not so very shocked at the illicit thrill racing through him. He’d grown addicted to the metallic tang of danger in his mouth the same as he’d grown addicted to the flavour of Holmes’s skin. His only regret of the moment was that he couldn’t risk the kiss he so wretchedly wanted.

“Later,” Holmes promised, abandoning his attempts at long languorous strokes to focus tightly on the head of Watson’s cock, driving sudden sharp-edged pleasure though him, pinning him to the wall with it as surely as if it were a blade. “Take me into your bed and I will take you into me, all of you, your flesh and your sin, for your depravity knows the very same boundaries as mine.”

The harsh whisper of Holmes’s voice pushed Watson far too quickly over an edge he hadn’t realised he’d been standing on. He clung to Holmes and to the wall as he fell into blinding pleasure. The prison yard, the case, Mary, all faded away until there was only Holmes, and oh how he hated the sheer perfection in that moment.

“This is precisely why you should not marry her, John,” Holmes said, his given name upon Holmes’s lips at that moment cutting as deeply as his pleasure. “In this pointless pursuit of respectability you mean to pledge yourself to her when you have already given all you are to me. And while I am not the betting man you are, I would wager your hope is that she will never know the exact manner in which she is condemned to share you.” Wiping Watson’s release from his hand onto the brick as if it were of absolutely no consequence, Holmes glanced once more at the yard and stepped away. “Tidy your clothing. They will light the lamps in three minutes.”

Watson hurriedly did so, his dread that Holmes was right no match for the familiar stirrings of curiosity–off damnable appreciation–as he watched his companion stroll purposefully through the darkness to converse with the denizens lurking on the bench. A moment later, two spaces were cleared, and tucking the tails of his coat beneath him, Holmes sat. Though it was impossible to see his expression clearly, Watson felt the weight of it, the inherent command to come, sit, stay.

Sighing, Watson went to him.


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