I felt this little story grow in my mind while conversing (via comments) with Sherlock2040 about the Great Western line, so, yes, this one's to you, my friend. Cuddly bees and all. :o)

I realize that it has to be an alternate universe, but wth, to serve the purposes our guys will just have to endure being schlepped around. Moreover, this is a one shot thing again, so please be patient with me, should you detect any typos or graver mistakes (grammar sucks, sometimes). Constructive hints will be highly appreciated.

The usual warnings apply, i.e. this is H/W slash, PG rated, or rather NC-17, I can't make up my mind about that. If you don't like the thought of male/male eroticism, to say the least, or if you're too young for that kind of entertainment, don't read the story. Warnings: a tad of BDSM, and a lot of tension… ;o)

As always, thanks to lovely ElenaCalderas for the inspiration.

The Ocean Wide

"Watson, I am bored," said my friend and partner Sherlock Holmes, when we were both standing on the upper stern deck of the "Aurora", looking down into the dark washes that were trailing behind the ship and out into the night. Without looking at him, I chuckled softly, and certainly not without reason: he had been telling me so for the last couple of hours, on a quite regular base, and all I could do was walk the ship up and down by his side, trying to distract him, not unlike a little boy, by showing him some of the ship's mechanical wonders and talking about anything that would cross my mind. It was a most strenuous task to thus keep my good friend amused, and yet, I could not prevent him from getting even more bored by the hour.

Admittedly, I too was getting slightly tired of staring down into the night's sea, which had been entertaining first, but became less interesting by the hour. The more or less suppressed sighs that emerged from Holmes while we were both running out of topics did not contribute to my happiness. "What do you expect me to do?" I finally said, turning to look at him.

He had brought it upon himself, after all, as he well knew, of course. He had accepted the offer to solve a case abroad, for the first time in his life, but the facts that had been conveyed to us as well as the outstanding circumstances under which the murder had been committed were that outrageous that Holmes had cast aside any worries concerning the long trip overseas, and I had been more than tempted to accompany him on his journey to the New World. Rumour had it that the boat trips to America were quite safe at present, and the prospects with regards to the technical and social progress of that country sounded quite promising, too.

"You? To do?" Holmes echoed my words. "Why, nothing." He cast a quick glance at me, the corners of his mouth twitching, but that was all. Hence, we remained standing there for another ten minutes, with none of us uttering a word. When my good friend sighed once more, however, I felt compelled to offer my help.

"We could as well get inside," I ventured. "Maybe we can find some distraction there." I was thinking of the vast saloons in the ship's belly, the dance floor, and maybe one or two drinks at the well sorted bar. But of course, Holmes would not have such a thing as drinking with others, let alone to be sociable, and thus I almost expected a snort of disgust, to say the very least. All he did, however, was chuckle softly, just the way I had done a quarter of an hour before.

"You are laughing," I stated, feeling slightly annoyed and trying to recall where exactly I had missed the punch-line. But my thoughts seemed to be distracted by something else entirely: it was the fact that Holmes was standing very close to me, indeed, much closer than he had been standing only minutes ago. Even before my mind could wrap around the meaning of this unfamiliar behaviour, my lower regions reacted quite blatantly with an interested tension that made me blush and go pale and blush again in an embarrassing sequence.

When Holmes' hand closed over mine, I could but try and stand still, holding on to the rail as if my dear life was depending on it and I would have fallen into the depths of the ocean otherwise. All I could hear was the gurgling sound of the washes, the low stomping of the machines, and the wind rushing in my ears. It took some courage to look my friend in the eye now, nevertheless I managed to do so. "Holmes," I whispered, swaying between a frown and a smile. "What is this supposed to mean?"

"Do not turn around, my dear fellow," he merely answered, "Or we might have a bit of a problem, concerning your… momentary tendency." He chuckled again, but meanwhile kept looking out into the dark sea, as if his mind was distracted by some entirely different issue, all the while his elegant fingers remained intertwined with mine. At that moment, I was grateful for the lack of light at this part of the ship, as well as for the favourable position that made it impossible for anyone who might feel the inclination to watch us from either above or below. And Holmes was right: as long as I was standing like I did, no one would suspect anything out of the ordinary.

My knees started shaking, quite on their own, and the tension in my groin did not lessen, alas! it grew stronger when Holmes started to softly rub the skin between my fingers. "Holmes," I managed again, under my breath, but he merely went on with his administrations, completely ignoring me otherwise. My mind was racing. What was my friend up to? If truth be told, I already knew the answer to this question, but it was that enormous and outrageous, and at the same time delicious and tempting that I did not dare face it.

Finally, I said, "You cannot possibly expect me to…" Whereas I was cut short by him with a shush and a smile, and then he turned to look at me, a wicked light playing in his eyes.

"We have been travelling for almost one week now," Holmes said. "According to your precise, albeit lengthy record of the ship's capabilities, this means we will have to spend another ten days on this ship." His hand stopped playing with mine, for which I was immensely grateful, yet I knew my friend's follies well enough to not allow myself to relax, even when Holmes turned to lean against the railing, thus displaying a nonchalance and self-control I was not in the least able to match.

"This ship is stuffed with the most sincere and honest population," he then said, "as if they knew we were going to join them. In other words: wherever I turn, there is not even the hint of a crime. If this goes on, and I fear it will, I will be bored to death on the day of our arrival. You do not want me to meet such fatal a destiny, do you now, my dear Watson?"

Upon noticing (with no little relief) that my anatomy had once more found back to a decent state, I half turned towards him, my expression displaying the anticipation such a dramatic opening afforded. Holmes leaned back and stretched his slender body like a cat, exhibiting his most delicate throat to the general public, then he smiled at a single young lady strolling past us at that very moment, who smiled back, blushed and giggled.

The mere image of Holmes flirting with a girl made my mind swirl. While I was still searching for words to express my curiosity as well as my disapproval of the game he was obviously playing right now, I noticed that, instead of leering after the pretty young thing, he was watching me intently. I coughed softly to cover my bemusement, and shook my head. "What is this, Holmes?" I then inquired. "What is this game you are playing?"

"Huh," he answered. "A game indeed." If ever his smile could be called lewd, it was now, just for a moment, before his expression grew neutral once more. "I could not avoid noticing," he said in a matter-of-fact tone of voice, "that you have been watching me during my daily morning toilet ever since we came to share our cabin." The corners of his mouth twitched again, and before I could question him as to how on earth he had been able to find out about this, he continued. "Ah, my dear Watson, you underestimate the advantages of a simple shaving mirror." He scanned the area for a second before turning around and supporting himself on the railing again, his hand deliberately brushing my arm and renewing my tension immediately.

"I have come to the following conclusion," he said. "We will continue our little game, but from now on, we will do it on purpose." He granted me a fleeting glance that went right through me, hitting the central goal with ease. "And as I invented this game, I will also set the rules."

At this instant, the buzz in my ears was stronger than the roar of the waves, and even though I opened my mouth, I felt that I was quite unable to utter a word. Accordingly, I could only stare at my friend, who so openly showed me a dark side of him that I would never have thought him capable of, and who even dared talk to me about this in public. But of course, he had made sure that we were unobserved, and had it been this circumstance only, I would have relaxed. However, this I could not, due to the perpetual contact Holmes was keeping, by brushing my sleeve quite innocently while shifting his position, or even by breathing into my ear while he pretended to look over my shoulder.

The long and the short of it: he went on like that. His rules were simple: I was not allowed to react, other than what my strained body would do on its own accord, nor to end my misery by seeing to the relief my whole body was crying for. Holmes, in turn, used each and every situation to tease me, thus beating me with my own weapons, in a manner of speaking. It was a delightful and at the same time menacing sweet kind of torture. In the morning, he deliberately spent long minutes before the mirror, and his washing ceremony truly earned its name. During the day, he found incredible methods to bump into me by accident, or even to brush my private parts in an attempt to snatch a book from my lap, and several other wicked ways to touch me, some of which I would never have dreamt to be possible.

All I could do was follow his rules, watch him, feel him, enjoy what I was watching and feeling, and try to go through my own daily routines without passing out.

By the end of the week, and only a few days from our arrival, I was hardly able to get up from my bed, let alone to join the others for breakfast. And still, I did not want to give in and set to the simple deed that would have ridded me from my pain. I must admit that I found an unimaginable delight in behaving that way, and it is a tribute to Holmes that he found out about that dark side of myself.

It was a clear and peaceful night, with the full moon shining down on us, and a myriad of stars sparkling in the deep blue sky, the ship rushing along its trail through the waves, and the breeze cooling my flushed face. We were both sitting on deck chairs, and the woollen blankets kindly prevented any late strollers from detecting what I had to hide. At that time, I could hardly think at all, and all the thoughts I had left were focused on one single part of my body.

Holmes was sitting by my side, but he had somehow managed to slip one slender hand under my blanket, of course without anyone being able to spot it, and presently rubbed my thigh with his thumb. This touch alone, given the circumstances under which I had dragged myself through the past days and nights, was almost enough to send me over the edge. I suppressed a groan and heard him chuckle. "Shall we?" he then asked. My mind was that preoccupied that it took me a couple of seconds to grasp the meaning of his words. Then, however, I grunted in the affirmative; it was the only sound I was capable of.

While Holmes was taking the lead, I stumbled behind him, grateful for the late night's hour, and even if I had been able to think about it, I would merely have thought that any watcher might have regarded me drunk, which was perfect in comparison to the real reason for my staggering. We luckily got into our cabin, and I immediately dropped down on my cot. Holmes locked the door behind him, then turned to watch me, the same evil glint in his eye that he had exhibited in the beginning. "Undress," he ordered.

All I could do was obey. I took off my clothes, my hands trembling, and with a sigh sat down on my bed again.

"And now," he then said. "You may proceed." I was shocked at the blatancy with which he expected me to do so in front of him, but when I realized that there was no way out, I set to the task: first hesitantly, but after my hands first touched my aching flesh, I was soon carried away by sheer need and the experience of a lifetime. The moments after were but a blur to me, and I could neither recall how long it took or how often I reached the climax, nor could I assign the sounds I heard to either him or me. When I came to, though, Holmes was by my side, holding me close, and kissing my temple.

Even though this was what I had longed for all these days and nights, right now I was too exhausted to react accordingly. Hence, I merely burrowed close to him, enjoying his warmth, and gave another sigh, this time of utter relief. "You have done well," I heard Holmes say. "I will reward you to-morrow." I felt the powers of sleep drag me down, and the last thing I could hear was, "But then again, we will always have time for that on our journey home."