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A More Precious Gift

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We had shared rooms at 221B Baker Street for seven months when winter set in and Christmas rapidly approached. Holmes seemed to have little terms of family obligations and I had none, so I determined that we should celebrate the holiday in some small way with each other.

What we were, however, was difficult to categorize. Colleagues, at least. Friends, I suppose, though that word hardly seemed sufficient. Anything more… well, I could be imagining things.

Holmes and I worked well together, that was obvious. He gave my life colour that I had never expected. We’d shared glances after a chase or at the conclusion of a case, but each of us had gone to our separate rooms at the end of the day.

I was fairly certain he’d spied on me once or twice while I was having a bath. And I could have written reams about his hands and the way it felt to watch him stand in silhouette.

But neither of us, it seemed, could make a move. After all, to be wrong would be disastrous, at the least.

**

Today was Christmas Eve. I didn’t always wait until the last possible moment to acquire gifts, but given the observational skills of my flatmate, it felt like the most prudent course of action. I went to my club in the early afternoon, expecting to meet an old acquaintance of mine.

It had taken some time to decide on what gift would even be appropriate, given our uncertain relationship. In the end I had decided to obtain a rare tobacco. It would both be something he could enjoy, and a new type of ash he could investigate. This acquaintance had several businesses in the East and I was reasonably certain that this was something with which Holmes was unfamiliar.

He arrived at the club sometime after I, and came straight to me. “Ah, Watson, it is good to see you,” he grinned at me.

“You as well, Harris. How is business?” We got drinks and retired to a more private chamber to converse.

After the pleasantries were concluded he took out a pouch and placed it on the table between us. “This was what you were asking after, wasn’t it? Bit much for a flatmate, isn’t it?”

“Well, he is a most difficult man to choose a gift for,” I said, “and it may be useful in his work.”

Harris made a noise as if not quite believing me. “Tell me, Watson, do you still have that silver watch?”

I smiled because I knew that he had been coveting the watch for some time. It had been a gift from a professor when I had joined the Army, and while it did have some sentimental value, it was a fair trade for the tobacco.

I took it out of my pocket and set it on the table. He reached out and took it, turning it over in his hands. “Are you certain?” he asked.

“I am,” I said, pocketing the tobacco. “I know you’ll take care of it.”

“I will,” said Harris. He drained his glass. “Now, if you’ll forgive me, I do need to get home to my wife and my son.”

“Of course,” I said. “Happy Christmas.”

“Happy Christmas.”

**

I lingered in the club for a bit longer, not wanting to raise suspicion by returning too early, but at last I set off for home. It was snowing lightly, flakes dancing in the gaslight. I was surprised to find Holmes had gone out, but at least that gave me time to quickly wrap his gift.

By the time Holmes came in I was seated by the fire, book in my hands. I watched him remove his hat and scarf, shaking off the cold as he called a greeting to me. I could not deny the warmth in my belly at his voice. He walked over to examine an experiment of some sort and I couldn’t help the sense of longing I felt as he stood just across the room. Perhaps tonight things might change.

My thoughts were interrupted when Mrs. Hudson followed him with supper, wishing us seasons greetings and reminding us she would be gone upon the morrow. I promised that we would survive the day and that she should enjoy the time with her family.

We ate heartily and at last found ourselves alone in the house, quiet save the fire before us and the distant sounds of London outside our window.

“It is a pleasant evening,” I said.

“I suppose so,” said he, curled up in his chair, though he had not yet picked up a pipe. “Even the more criminal element prefers hearth and home on this day.”

Home. I had been so long afflicted by wanderlust but now, now I wanted nothing more than to put my feet up and enjoy the company of the man by my side. And perhaps in more ways than one.

I cleared my throat and got up to fetch us each a drink, feeling him watching me move about the place.

“I have rather enjoyed your company,” I said carefully.

“Now Watson,” said Holmes. “There is no need to be coy. Speak plainly.”

I shrugged and set down the glasses. “I did get you a gift.”

Holmes sat up. “Did you? I confess I got you something as well.”

“Shall we exchange now, then?” I asked.

“If you like.”

I nodded and went to my room to fetch the little bundle.

When I returned he’d placed a small box by the side of my chair. I set down my own gift before him and took my seat. We exchanged glances and began to open our gifts in unison. I laughed as I saw the silver watch chain, one that would have perfectly matched the piece I’d given up that very afternoon.

He blinked at me and looked down at the tobacco in his own lap, breaking into a smile. “I do believe we have outdone ourselves.”

“You no longer have the pipe,” I said.

“And you no longer have the watch.”

Our eyes met and the air sucked out of the room. His eyes twinkled with mirth, but there was something in the way he held himself.

Holmes must have seen it in my gaze too because his smile slipped and his tongue darted out to wet his lips.

I mirrored his action. He got up and closed the gap, sitting on the arm of my chair. I looked up at him and my hand landed on his knee. “Holmes?” I asked.

He studied my face for a moment longer and, apparently satisfied by whatever he saw there, leaned down to press a kiss to my lips.

I accepted the kiss and tugged him into my lap, kissing him back, holding him gently. It felt right. It felt like home. He sighed softly and relaxed in my embrace evidently feeling the same way.

At long last we broke apart. “I have been wanting to do that,” I admitted.

“I know,” said he, smiling. “But you were afraid of overstepping. A reasonable caution.”

“I was.” I leaned in and kissed him again. “We could make up for lost time.”

He gave me a heated, mischievous smile and slid out of my lap, taking my hand and leading me back towards his room. I crowded him against the bedroom door, kissing him again and slotting a thigh between his legs. He groaned and rolled his hips and I must admit to thrilling in the knowledge that I excited him so.

I loosened his collar, kissing the soft skin of his throat, my sure fingers slipping buttons through fabric. He groaned softly, hands in my hair, letting me do what I would. And there was so much I wanted to do. My own cock throbbed in my trousers, but I was more than willing to ignore it for the sake of getting him nude and into bed.

I finally set him back on the floor and he pulled me in for his own hungry kiss. “My dear Watson,” he murmured, letting me go so that he could finish stripping away the last bits of fabric.

I hurried through my own undressing, looking at him, seeing the strength in his body, noticing a few small scars. I bore a much worse one from the Jezail bullet, but he’d see that soon enough.

Holmes reclined on the bed, letting me see all of him. I finished undressing and climbed in after. With hunger, I moved over him, kissing him, feeling his hands trace along my body. I needed him. I needed this man as I had never needed another.

I wrapped a hand around both our heavy cocks, making us groan at the contact. His hand slipped around the back of my neck and drew me into another hungry kiss.

He rutted against me and I must confess that the feeling of my detective, so often firmly in control, losing himself in pleasure at my hand… well rarely have I felt such a delicious thrill.

“I have you,” I murmured, moving my hand to stroke only him, more than willing to forgo my own pleasure to watch his expressive face.

Holmes moaned, eyes closed and he gave himself over, lips parted, hips rocking with the motion of my hand. I could see the tension in him as he neared his climax and smoothed my free hand through his hair.

His hands twisted in the sheets as I brought him over, moaning. I watched his pleasure move through him and took myself in hand.

Opening his eyes, he smiled softly at me, as if not quite believing what he beheld. I kissed him gently and then I was undone, bracing myself on the headboard as I added my own release to the mess on his stomach.

He pulled me into another kiss, slipping his tongue into my mouth before releasing me. I slipped out of bed to find something to wipe up with, then curled up next to him fingering his hair as the bells tolled midnight. “Christmas,” I muttered.

“Indeed,” said he, “and soon enough a New Year. A good time for a new chapter, don’t you think?”

“I can think of nothing better,” I said, kissing his cheek.

Holmes drifted off to sleep but I lay awake for some time, listening to his breath and silently giving thanks for all the things that had brought me here.