A/N: So I realized I hadn't done, like, any chapters directly involving cases. And then I looked at the chapter list twenty seconds ago and realized that while it wasn't as bad as I thought, I still am writing a disproportionately small number of chapters with a case actually in them, not just mentioned.

Therefore, this.

Also, this is sort of a prequel chapter to the next one, so be prepared for more bookverse! Bgranger1990, you know what I mean. ;)

Disclaimer: I really want to say I own SH, but that would be a lie.

Rating: T for brief sex and nakedness

Summary: Watson observes Holmes on a case. Bookverse.

At the start of their relationship, Holmes informed Watson that all intimate activity is off-limits during cases. Honestly, Watson thought it would be more of a hardship than it actually is.

During the periods between cases—usually brief, which Watson soundly prefers, because it takes all of his charm and most of his energy to keep Holmes busy and away from the seven percent solution for more than a week—the ban is lifted, of course. Both of them thoroughly enjoy the first few days, in all ways possible, but when a case eventually comes, Holmes returns to his profession with carefully concealed, almost undetectable delight.

Watson is surprised to find that he often follows just as happily.

His lover is glorious in the middle of a case, wholly dedicated to the work that, to him, is as necessary as breathing and more necessary than trivialities such as food and sleep. As an observer, Watson finds it fascinating to watch the detective examine a problem from all angles in the comfort of his chair, unconsciously feeding his pipe as he blinds himself to the physical world and loses himself in thought. He knows that Holmes finds it liberating to be able to exercise his entire intellect, instead of simply using the measly portion of his brain required to navigate through everyday existence. The pipe helps speed his thinking along, perhaps, but all the ability is housed within Holmes' mind.

That isn't to say that it's easy to let Holmes leave, on the inevitable occasion when he has to investigate a facet of his client's life or pursue a suspect through the city's underbelly. On those occasions, Watson unsuccessfully attempts to stop his worrying while remaining at home or, sometimes, when the circumstances of the case permit…

"Care to accompany me, Watson?"

Watson folds down the top of his newspaper on the third day of the case and offers a good-natured smile. "I thought you'd never ask. No disguises this time, I hope."

Elegantly, Holmes unfolds himself from his chair and sets the pipe aside. His face reveals nothing as he offhandedly comments, "Oh, no. However, I would advise you to bring your pistol along. Our suspect possesses a particular brand of…unpredictability."

The cab ride is spent in silence, with Watson fingering the pistol in his jacket pocket and sneaking glances at Holmes, who is absorbed in his own musings. Finally, once Holmes sighs and visibly discards his line of thinking, Watson speaks up. "Are we pursuing the Nesbitt boy's murderer?"

"Yes. Her name is Martha Drugard. Before you ask, her identity was made known to me through her status as the only female member of the Tyson gang. Nesbitt was executed in their particular style, but only a woman could have fit through the window to get into his room."

Watson frowns slightly. "What about a small, male member of the Tyson gang?"

The corner of Holmes' mouth tips faintly upward. "The smallest Tyson is my height—apart from Martha, of course."

Intrigued, Watson files away that tidbit for later, when he will write up a brief outline of the case. Depending on how the pursuit goes, he thinks he might choose this one to expand into a story for publication.

Martha Drugard is every bit as dangerous as Holmes hinted, and she demonstrates that same unpredictability as she evades their capture throughout countless side streets and alleys, taking them through areas thick with criminals who would like to see harm done to Holmes. Watson wields both his pistol and his cane in an attempt to dissuade them from their wishes, allowing Holmes to continue to run ahead in pursuit of the elusive Ms. Drugard. By the time he catches up to Holmes for a third time, Watson's shoulder is aching from landing blows with his cane, and he feels an immense rush of gratitude that the chase is finished when Holmes looks up at him from his position on top of Martha's struggling form. "Fetch a constable, will you? I haven't brought any restraints with me."

"Of course you haven't," Watson mumbles, not really bothered. Of course, with the bias that allows him to fondly soak in the sight of a flushed and panting Holmes crouched over his quarry, eyes alight with the thrill of a satisfying capture, Watson doesn't suppose it was ever possible for him to be aggravated in the first place.

He isn't worried in the slightest about leaving Holmes alone to literally sit on his target, considering all the times he's seen him hold down opponents twice his girth in the boxing ring. In any case, it takes no time at all for him to bring official assistance to cart away Martha Drugard, and even less for them to return home.

They make love twice that night, driven by Holmes' enthusiasm over another successful case and Watson's swelling pride at his lover's extraordinary intellectual abilities, mingled with the expected eagerness arising from days without adequate expression of their relationship. As Watson lies upon the bed, thoroughly fatigued and attempting to catch his breath, Holmes gently tugs on his hip until his back is comfortably settled against Holmes' front.

Holmes presses a kiss to Watson's shoulder, over the mild ache that he has said nothing about, and Watson melts just a little further against the body behind him. The distance imposed during cases is difficult, despite the genuine happiness he derives from knowing that Holmes is truly living, but he can manage it. He is managing it, and he'll continue to do so while the moments in between cases are still his to occupy.

With Holmes curled around him, breathing steadily against the back of his neck, Watson falls asleep.