Since our return, the storm which had initially provided a cover
for our evening's activities had all but passed. Rain still fell, but
only in the light drizzle that was so familiar to the residents of
our fair city that it could hardly be considered rain at all. For a
time, Holmes and I remained in comfortable silence by the window,
each watching the steady fall illuminated against the gas lamp across
the street, along with the slow return to activity below our vantage
Eventually the day and the evening's turn of events began to take
its toll upon me and I shifted my gaze from the window to the man
beside me. Holmes had always possessed a striking profile, tonight
however my friend's worn appearance showed him for the man he was -
not the heartless creation I had accused him of being, but a man just
like myself, made of flesh and bone, and as deserving of love as any
other I had ever met.
I drew a breath, sobered some by the true depths of my feelings
and what I knew I would offer the world's only consulting detective
if only he would accept it from me.
"Holmes?" I began.
Although he did not turn from the view I knew instinctively that
he had heard me and that I should continue.
"If you are agreeable, there is something about which I think we
"A new case, Watson?"
I shook my head no. "An old one," I returned. "One that should
have been given the attention it deserved long ago."
With his innate sense of curiosity piqued Sherlock Holmes turned
to face me.
"The details man," he demanded. "Riddles will not provide answers
-- only the facts."
He was right of course. Nothing could be gained by skirting a
subject once it had been raised.
Gathering my courage I opened my mouth to speak, intending as I
had all a long to tell him the truth. It was at that moment however,
as Holmes and I regarded one another, that I experienced a strange
feeling of daja vu. It was similar I realised in many ways to other
occasions during our association when I had planed to tell him
something, only to discover that he had already guessed my news. I
could not for the life of me imagine how he knew what I was about to
say, but something in his gaze told me it was true.
Unsure of what this new piece of information meant, or if in fact
my suspicions were showing on my face I stepped away, returning once
again to the fireplace to the study the flames steadily licking at
the grate. If I had been obvious in my attractions towards Holmes
then surely he would have made some remark, or alerted me to the
dangers of such behaviour in some other way?
I searched my memory but could think of no such time, except…
As if my world was turning on end, my mind suddenly recalled,
amongst other things, the disagreement we had earlier today. Holmes
had accused me of jealousy and I had denied his accusation fervently,
too fervently it seemed.
Folding my arms protectively across my chest I closed my eyes
momentarily and shook my head. I was a fool, a blind fool who after
years of cohabitation with Holmes should have known better than to
ever think that just because he paid little attention to the softer
emotions it did not mean he could not recognise them in others.
It should not surprise me that Holmes would know before me, it was
his business of course to know what others did not, and yet I felt a
wave irritation roll over me.
"How long have you known?" I inquired, at last unfolding my arms
and dropping them to my sides.
During my brief reverie Holmes had gravitated from the window to
stand along side me. His close proximity never as confounding as it
was at that moment.
"That your interest in my well-being exceeded the common place,"
he returned curiously. "Or that the interest in question had reached
a point of unnatural fixation?"
Contrary to what I already knew to be true I found his cold
deduction and the recounting of my predicament as if it were no more
than a trifle taken from the personal columns, more than I could
"My God man, you might have said something," I admonished, my
irritation quickly turning to anger though I had no real
understanding of why. Holmes might very well be the most infuriating
man I had ever met, but I had never known him to be intentionally
unkind to me, or to anyone else for that matter.
Thankfully he remained calm in the face of my small outburst. "I
had honestly hoped that no course of action would be necessary," he
remarked gently. "However, that seems to be a miscalculation on my
I thought once more of the unfortunate occurrence in my bedroom
when Holmes had walked in on me and felt my face heat uncomfortably
at the memory. While it was obvious that my discomfort had not
escaped my friend's keen observation he merely nodded on this
occasion, silently acknowledging the difficulty of the situation
before he then moved to collect our empty brandy glasses.
As soon as Holmes's back was turned to me I let out a breath and
reached out to steady myself against the mantel. Truly I did not know
what to make of it all. I had been resigned to tell him how I felt,
expecting, I am not entirely sure what to happen, and yet everything
about it now seemed ludicrous -- beyond impossible. I shot a glance
towards the sitting room door, wondering if perhaps I might make good
an escape, but found the option torn from my grasp as he turned to
face me once more.
"I think under the circumstances Watson, we might indulge beyond
our usual," he commented, holding aloft our refilled glasses, and
appearing, at least on the surface to be decidedly more at ease with
our current state of affairs than I.
Not knowing what else to do I took the proffered glass I sipped
hesitantly at its content. Unlike Holmes I was not convinced that
more brandy at this point was a good idea. In the matter of minutes I
had experienced a full range of conflicting emotions, fear and
outrage amongst them, and I had no desire to add alcoholic induced
confusion to the mix. It was only after I had lowered my glass to
once again meet his gaze did it occur to me that perhaps it was
Holmes who felt the need for a little extra courage. The thought
struck me as out of character, but like many things that had occurred
tonight I was given no time to ponder what if anything it meant.
"Now," he said, indicating toward my previously vacated chair.
"You promised me an explanation and I should very much like to hear
I glanced once more at the door, weighing the odds of Holmes
simply allowing me to change my mind without challenge to what has
already passed between us, but conceded that I would undoubtedly live
to regret the division such a decision would cost our friendship.
Waiting until I had reseated myself Holmes also sat. Turning
slightly to face me he gave me one of his rare smiles, assuring me
that no matter what I had to say he would listen.
The realisation filled me with hope and despite the false start we
had endured and my new found knowledge that Holmes already knew of my
secret, my words came surprisingly easy. I began by telling him of my
first impressions upon our introduction by young Stamford many years
ago, and how what had started out as an arrangement of convenience
for both us had evolved into so much more for me.
I also told him, that although I could not give an accurate
account of just when my feelings of brotherly affection had surpassed
acceptable bounds, I knew I would never impose myself upon him if he
opposed the idea of broadening our relationship to a more intimate
level. Indeed, if he found either my proposal or presence repugnant
to him then I would leave Baker Street this very night if he wished
There was more of course. Being a man of words there was much more
I wanted to say but Holmes waved all further attempts to explain
myself aside. It was not necessary he said. As was any suggestion
that I leave our home.
At length Holmes rose to collect his pipe from its resting place
above the heath. I watched and waited expectantly as he lit it and
proceeded to smoke for some time in silence, but he made no further
attempts to converse with me or to acquire any more details about
what I had said.
I felt decidedly relieved to have finally unburdened myself, but I
was also very unsure as to how I might go about my daily life with
Holmes knowing I was not the man he had trusted all the years we had
shared rooms. If he was not prepared to accept my offer of a more
involved relationship, then it was my wish to continue as we always
had, and yet, now I could not help but wonder if that was going to be
Having listened patiently to my disclosure Holmes had in fact
given me very little to gauge his actual reaction to it. Other than
knowing I was not at any immediate risk of being without lodgings, I
had discovered little else. Of course, the fact that I had given
Holmes a great deal to think about had not escaped my understanding
and while I craved an answer now, I knew it would be best if I
retired for the night and left him alone with his thoughts.
I yawned and the ageing construct of my chair signed in audible
relief as I stood slowly. I expected Holmes to turn; to address me,
but when he did not, I simply announced my intentions in the plainest
possible terms. Years of experienced had taught me that it would do
no good to press him when he was working on a case or some other
problem, and I prepared to take my leave of him as I had a thousand
I had not quite made it to the door however, before I found myself
"I know you are tired Watson, but if I could possibly persuade you
to stay a little longer, I would consider myself deeply in your
Holmes's voice was apologetic and his profile somber. It was a
rare combination, one that never failed to reawaken my empathetic
nature. Barely suppressing another yawn I stepped forward again.
"Of course, Holmes, what is it?"
"I have in mind an experiment of sorts," he explained, "but it
will require your assistance, my friend."
I nodded my agreement, not even bothering to inquire what exactly
I was agreeing to - such was, and always has been the level of trust
between us. It did occur to me though, that perhaps I had been rather
remiss in this when I noted my friend carefully locking the sitting
room door and adjusting the grate to the fire.
"It is quite all right Watson; I am simply ensuring that we are
Why he would think we would be interrupted when the hour was well
past midnight perplexed me greatly, but I found myself otherwise
distracted as he then took up a familiar position in front of the
heath. Extending one long arm across the mantel and regarding me in a
manner reminiscent of the self-assured Holmes I was used to.
It might sound like complete folly on my part, and was more
accurately the results of our most eventful day, but it appeared that
Holmes was in fact posing himself for me and for a moment I indulged
myself in thoughts of going to him where he stood and kissing him. Of
course I did nothing of the sort, and in the absence of an
alternative I simply listened as he proceeded to provide not so much
the particulars of his plan, but an explanation for it.
"As you are aware," he began slowly. "Prior to your arrival here I
have lived a solitary, yet satisfying existence. I have no family
other than my brother Mycroft, few acquaintances and no friends other
than your good self to speak of. For the most part I have been happy
with the choices I have made. I am not an emotional being as you know
and I desire little in the way of companionship."
This was all information that was well known to me and I nodded at
what I perceived to be the appropriate intervals, receiving by way of
acknowledgment a small, almost undetectable quirking of his lips
before he continued.
"You see my dear fellow while your presence in my life is useful
at times, it is not always conductive to the one I have chosen free
of emotional entanglement and responsibility. I must admit that when
we first agreed to share rooms I did not realise that I had also
agreed to your meddling in my personal habits."
I made an attempt to interject at this point, to defend my
concerns for his wellbeing as those of a medical professional, but
Homes would not have it and stopped me a with look that allowed for
no such interruption.
"Indeed," he went on. "If I had known I would have to suffer your
interference in exchange for a share in the rent I would have
declared our agreement null and void the day you moved in."
I had to smile. I was very accustomed to Holmes's lengthy
discourses into how, if he had his time over again, he would choose a
less crowded household, or at least a flat mate who was more involved
in his own pursuits and less concerned with the daily activities of
I crossed my arms. "And what made you change your mind?" I
In all honestly I expected another taunt from Holmes, but instead
of further accounts about our less than satisfactory living
arrangements, his face grew suddenly serious and his eyes darted away
briefly to study the rug at our feet before they were raised once
more to meet my own. "You did," he replied.
It is difficult to describe what happened next, what exactly
allowed me to move toward him and lay a tentative hand upon his
"It is true," he returned, releasing his hold on the mantel to
cover my hand, squeezing it gently. "I have never met anyone like you
and as much as I have tried to rid myself entirely of emotional
attachment, and live solely for my profession, I see now it has all
been for naught."
I shook my head. "I don't understand. It was never my intention to
interfere with you work, or to take you from it. I have only ever
wanted to be of service, Holmes…to love you."
As if the mere mention of the words had caused Holmes some
indescribable pain his hand closed like a vice around my own,
startling me with his strength and the look of defeat upon his face.
While our earlier conversation had allowed me to share a great deal
and there could be no doubt of my intentions towards him I had not
told Holmes that I love him in so many words. Hearing them now
though, and seeing the effect they had upon him, I understood why he
avoided them so.
"Is it so terrible?" I asked.
"It is not what I wanted."
Back to Sherlock Holmes Fiction page.
Website Design and Code Alia 2007.