A Hot August Night

It was undoubtedly the hottest summer night on record. There wasn't a breath of a breeze to be had and the air itself felt unbearably thick and heavy. I paced my small bedroom, falling into an endless pattern of moving from bed to wardrobe, chair to window, until I thought I'd go mad if I had to repeat the journey even one more time.

I'd discarded my clothes as quickly as I could, hoping for, but not finding, relief from the heat, and since I couldn't bear the thought of replacing them with a nightshirt of even the flimsiest variety, I now stood by the open window with nothing between me and the sky above except the air I could barely breathe.

Certain that it had to be a bit cooler down in the sitting room, I caught up my lightest dressing gown, shrugged into it, opened my door and sped down the steps as fast as I could. Once there I went from window to window throwing them open as wide as possible. When that didn't result in the degree of coolness I desired, I entered Holmes's bedroom to open his window as well, hoping desperately for a cross breeze to cool the sweat that seemed to cover me like a second skin.

I never would have taken the liberty of entering Holmes's room under less desperate circumstances, but I knew him to be away for an indefinite period of time and assumed he would prefer my taking this step to perishing of heat exhaustion in our sitting room. Opening his window did seem to help, and I lingered beside it, savoring the slightest of breezes, for quite a few minutes before my growing unease at trespassing in his private quarters drove me back to the common ground of the sitting room.

It was now almost three o'clock in the morning, and I was finding myself quite exhausted as well as uncomfortable. The thought of retreating back upstairs was intolerable, so I stretched out on the sofa and closed my eyes, thinking to rest there awhile until the room cooled to a more comfortable temperature and I could bear to seek my bed.

I came to consciousness again quite suddenly, uncertain of what had awakened me, but some inner sense told me that I shouldn't move. That at all costs I needed to remain still and feign the sleep I no longer felt; that if I didn't, everything I knew would shatter into a million pieces and I'd never get them to fit together correctly again. So I lay as still as stone and opened my eyes but a fraction, peering out from beneath the lids to try to understand why my mind should take such a fancy. My heart almost stopped at the sight that awaited me.

Sherlock Holmes stood at the foot of the settee. The light from the window outlined his form in liquid silver and cast his features in stark relief. His long supple fingers clutched a glass filled with liquid, and he was gazing down at me as if he'd never seen me before. As he probably hadn't, at least, not in the manner in which I was now displayed; for I realized with a shock that while I was sleeping my dressing gown had fallen open, and I now lay on top of it as naked as a newborn babe. His expression, as he looked at me, was one I'd never seen on his face before except possibly when he was enthralled by his music. It was one of almost reverent admiration and the deepest longing, and I could hardly believe that such a look was directed at me.

It suddenly occurred to me as I lay there exposed to his gaze that I'd been the biggest fool in Christendom. Here I was madly in love with the best, most wonderful man in the world, and while I was nobly hiding that fact from him so as to protect us both from the embarrassment of his rejection, he was apparently doing much the same. Such an utterly rapt expression on his unguarded face could mean nothing else.

I knew if I did nothing, he would eventually cease looking at me and would down his drink, disappear into his bedroom, and never speak of finding me in such a fashion on the sofa in his sitting room. I also knew that if I allowed that to happen, then I deserved to remain a lonely fool. So I opened my eyes completely and shifted my leg the merest fraction, causing the last clinging fold of my dressing gown to slide from my knee to the floor.

Holmes's eyes sought mine in an instant and I forced a faint smile to my face, and kept my gaze riveted on his. My heart was now beating so loudly that I feared it would drown out my voice if I ventured to speak, but I resolved to try anyway because to remain silent was no longer an option. I had committed to my course and I would see it through, no matter the outcome. I pushed myself up onto my elbows and felt the sleeves of my dressing gown slide off my shoulders so that the only parts of my body now covered by cloth were my forearms as they rested on either side of me.

"Everything you see is yours if you want it, you know." I said softly and waited, my heart in my mouth, for his response.

Holmes stood still for a moment, then with one swift move, he drained his drink, set the glass aside and came to sit next to me on the settee, his thigh resting lightly against mine. He'd discarded his jacket and removed his collar and tie. The first few buttons of his shirt were undone and I could see the pulse beating swiftly in the exposed column of his throat. "My dear Watson," he murmured softly. "What an extraordinary offer."

I stared at him earnestly and made no move to cover myself. My face remained in shadow while his was fully lit by the moonlight streaming in through the window. This advantage was of little use, however, because, now that he was aware of my scrutiny, he once more guarded his expression.

More than at any other time during my association with Holmes, I desperately wanted to say and do exactly the right thing. I knew I could be making a huge mistake. After all, I had no real indication that he desired me except for that one astonishing expression I'd seen on his face, yet that gave me the courage to continue. In any event, I'd gone too far to turn back. Everything I'd known had indeed been shattered. It now remained to see if I could find a way to reassemble the pieces into a new and better whole. If not, then I would simply have to live forevermore in the wreckage of my own impulsiveness, there was no longer any other choice.

"Does it surprise you so much then?" I asked. "Anything I have is yours for the asking. It always has been."

He nodded thoughtfully and rested a hand lightly on my chest, sliding his fingers gently through the thatch of hair that covered my skin. I shivered at the tickling sensation of that light caress and my cock twitched against my thigh.

"I'll admit, it does surprise me," said Holmes quietly. "Though perhaps it shouldn't. It seems I was making assumptions before all the facts were in, and that is almost always a grave error. You should be careful what you gift to me, John Watson. For I am a very possessive man and once a thing belongs to me, I do not give it up easily."

I smiled. "I have always admired the care which you give to those possessions that matter to you."

"Have you?" His fingers slipped ever more slowly up the front of my chest.

"Yes. You'll no doubt laugh…" I could feel my cheeks flaming in a manner that owed nothing to the heat of the room.

"Never at you, dear fellow, I promise."

By now, Holmes's fingers were gently gliding across my collar bone and playing in the hollows at the base of my neck, and those light, exquisite strokes were making my voice tremble ever so slightly, while other parts of my anatomy yearned to share in the experience of his touch. "I've often wished as I watched you play that you would caress me as lovingly as you do your violin. That I could somehow inspire such emotion in you as I see on your face when you play."

"My power to reason accurately must be failing me," mused Holmes. "Though, where you are concerned, I have always found it extremely difficult to remain as dispassionate as I should in order to make truly accurate deductions. I have from time to time observed evidence of longing on your face as you've listened to me play, but I always assumed it was caused by your absorption in the music or perhaps that it reminded you pleasantly of a past association."

"And now that you know you were the cause?"

"I shan't waste time further bemoaning my blindness nor questioning my good fortune." With those words, he cradled my head in both hands and leaned down to kiss me as I'd never been kissed before. I reached out and pulled him to me, returning his kiss with all the long withheld passion I felt for him.

Once he allowed me a moment's breath again, I slid my arms from his shoulders and attempted to unfasten the remaining buttons of his shirt so I could caress his skin in turn, but he forestalled me with another heart stopping kiss, and pressed me down onto the settee, saying that he wished to explore his new gift without any distractions.

So I found myself taking a more passive role than I was used to in such matters, but I certainly had no complaints as Holmes was very thorough indeed in his explorations. He began at my neck and kissed and caressed his way down my body. Along the way, he paused at the horrific scar on my shoulder. That lumpy, and often painful, wound had never given me a moment's pleasure until it was touched by the lips and gentle fingers of Sherlock Holmes, and I hoped that was an indication that my world had changed for the better.

By the time he'd moved down the entire length of my torso to my groin and took me into his mouth, I had lost all capacity for coherent thought and was swept away in an upswell of desire such as I'd never known before with any partner, male or female. I climaxed so hard it made me dizzy, and some moments passed before I could think rationally again.

When I opened my eyes once more, he was looking down on me with the most contented expression I had yet to see him show, and I was suddenly seized by the desire to see how many other wondrous expressions I could put on his handsome face, for seeing him so transformed was a rare treat.

I reached up my hand and touched his face, caressing the sharp curve of his cheek and enjoying the light scratch of stubble beneath my fingertips as I stroked downward.

"And does your new gift meet with your approval?"

"I think it will take me many years of careful study to adequately appreciate all its marvels, but I cannot ever imagine it disappointing me in any way. It never has before."

I sat up and faced him. When I reached for the buttons of his shirt this time, he didn't stop me, and once I'd undone them all and pulled the shirt from the waistband of his trousers, I eased the light cloth off his body and let it drop heedlessly to the floor. Then I slipped my arms around him, savoring the smooth, warm feel of his skin beneath my hands. I pressed my lips to that lovely pulse in his throat and began to slowly work my way downward. "Now that you've completed your explorations for the moment, I trust you won't mind too much if I make some of my own," I murmured against his shoulder.

"Not at all, my dear Watson. However…" Slowly he drew back, rose to his feet, and pulled me up to stand beside him. "The night has finally cooled a bit, and I think we'd be much more comfortable if we continued our explorations in my bedroom."

I certainly didn't disagree and let him draw me to his bed in happy anticipation of what was to come. That a night that had started out so dismally should have ended in such exquisite delight is still a surprise to me all these many years later. I will say that was the very last time I ever bemoaned the discomforts of a hot August night, because without them I might never have known the joy I now possess.