It's midnight when Holmes stumbles through Watson's door, bleeding from his shoulder and falling over a table. Teacups smash and spill onto the rug, and Watson rushes from his newspaper.
"My God, Holmes, what did you do?"
Holmes looks up at him, a half-awake smile shaking on his face. "New case, of course. I had to see how pain affects rational thinking. It's one of the few things I hadn't learned, you know, the effects of knife fighting. I've done it, but never like this."
"You did this to yourself?" Holmes hums and Watson sighs, examining the wound, pulling off Holmes' shirtsleeves and drawing a candle closer to augment the lamplight. There's a hole, an ugly gash running from Holmes' collarbone to the outside of his right shoulder, but it's shallow and Watson is reassured enough to help Holmes to his bedroom, to make him lie flat and to tell him to apply pressure where he can.
Watson leaves the room to get his bag of supplies and Holmes sits up a bit. Watson returns and stiffens in the doorway when he sees. "Keep still. Don't agitate yourself." He walks in quick, hurried steps towards the bed.
Holmes smiles, and gestures to the door. "There's some morphine in my pocket," he says, almost cheerful. "I suspect I'll have developed a resistance to your medical stuff."
Watson sniffs and glares a bit, but he leaves and returns with the morphine. Holmes doesn't remember much past that, except that there was something that stung, and then there were bandages, and then a tremendous warmth against his left side.
Holmes wakes up in Watson's bed, and there's a tray on the bedside table with tea and toast. He scoops sugar into his tea and spreads jam on to his toast, with his left hand because Watson has left a note on the tray that says he shouldn't use his right, to avoid stressing the injury. He hasn't finished his tea when he hears footsteps and then Watson is at the door to the bedroom, looking concerned but not moving forward.
"How have you been?" Watson is clutching the doorframe as though expecting an earthquake.
Holmes waves the bit of toast towards Watson and says, airily, "Oh, you know. I went out for dinner and then I met the queen. She's awfully nice, you know. Invited me to tea, all that." Watson shifts a little, and Holmes smiles a bit. "I'm good as new, or will be. I don't know what I would have done without you."
"I do," says Watson, and suddenly he's there, hands fluttering over the bandages and brushing over skin and Holmes is suddenly reminded that he isn't wearing a shirt. Watson carefully lifts a layer to reveal a faintly bloodied lower bandage, and underneath that is the gash, but none of it hurts because it's Watson. Holmes grips the bedsheets with his left hand and tries to remember old Russian poetry, and after a moment or two, after all the bandages have been checked and Watson's still touching him, he realizes that Watson's muttering a list of obscure medicinal plants but the touches don't stop.
Holmes lies perfectly still, and Watson wonders what's being observed for future analysis, if Holmes has already predicted it when he brings his hands up to Holmes' chin and brushes his jaw line, when he runs his thumbs over Holmes' lips. It's all Holmes can do to keep his breathing still, but then, it's all he can do to breathe, so he decides on the most sensible course of action and lifts his left hand to Watson's head and lets his fingers curl through Watson's hair, rests his palm against Watson's neck.
For a moment, there's no sound but shallow breathing, and then Watson runs his left index finger over the curve of Holmes' right ear and they're pressed together, Watson careful not to rest weight on Holmes' wound but not staying away, and his elbows are resting on either side of Holmes' head and Watson's kissing him and Watson's shirt feels peculiar pressed up against his chest and it's Watson's lips on his and Watson's tongue touching his tongue and there's nothing but lips and tongues and teeth until Watson pulls away for a moment and looks at him.
Holmes stares up. Strange, really, how Watson should surprise him by this when he knew it should have happened a long time ago. Perhaps this was all it took, Watson getting a chance to help Holmes instead of Holmes leading him around through every new case and every strange meeting, Holmes finally the weaker, for this point to be reached, but there is a certain perfection about this final acknowledgment of attractions and events, a certain order in the way Watson unbuttons his own shirt to press his skin against Holmes.
They stay in that position for a moment, chest to chest, hips to hips, and then Watson brushes his lips against Holmes' neck, biting until Holmes sighs and licking until Holmes shivers.
Holmes takes an uncertain breath and then, "I saw Lestrade yesterday, searching for some lost diamond. He wanted me to find it." Watson pauses and looks up. "He told me as much as he knew- which wasn't much, and I'm not surprised- but when I passed a bakery I noticed that I was being followed." Watson hums and runs his fingers down Holmes' chest, smiling as Holmes' fingers twitch.
Holmes tightens his hand in Watson's hair and continues, "Perhaps it wasn't my best idea to lead him to the docks, but I managed to incapacitate him and find out where he had come from."
Watson presses his hips down and Holmes lets out a small, abrupt breath and says, "Lestrade had undoubtedly been given misinformation that would bring him to request my assistance in deciphering it, I suspect by an unsatisfied agent in his last case."
Watson considers this for a moment and asks, "What would any agent want with you?" but Holmes knows the question was composed with great difficulty because Watson is a delicious heat centering in his hips and if Holmes can feel it in all of his logic, he can't believe that Watson wouldn't. Holmes raises his hips and Watson adds, "Aside from the obvious, of course."
Holmes quirks an eyebrow, twists his hips experimentally, and says, "Presumably, my opponent believed me to be of great help to Lestrade and had thought to remove my detective skills from the Yard." Watson has closed his eyes and is breathing heavily. Good.
Holmes lets go of Watson's hair and runs his left hand over Watson's chest, lifting his right hand and carefully placing it above the waist of Watson's trousers. His hands move when Watson does, and he presses his fingers with such force that Watson is sure to have marks.
Then they're both moving, Watson with an expression of utter surprise and delight and Holmes with a certain desperation, wanting to record individual facts so he can perfectly recall the moment when Watson presses his forehead to Holmes' neck and shudders, beautiful in his release, and then Holmes shudders, too, and pulls Watson closer.
Holmes' hand follows the pattern of Watson's breaths and they stay in that position, Watson's knee between Holmes' legs, until Watson looks around and sees the tea on the tray. He lifts himself carefully off Holmes and sits beside him and observes Holmes in disarray, ruffled but composed despite his injury. He pulls the tray off the table and passes it to Holmes.
"Here," says Watson, and Holmes' eyes open, lips quirking as Watson hands him a teacup. "You haven't finished your tea."