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Thursday, July 1st, 2010 12:31 am
Title: Decorum
Author: [livejournal.com profile] loveslashangst
Fandoms: Sherlock Holmes
Pairings: Holmes/Watson
Kinks: Written for the kink_bingo prompt “orgasm denial/control”. Rated NC17 overall for mature content, language, sexually-suggestive behaviour, masturbation, sex, slash, and Victorian euphemisms.

Summary: A gentleman knows how to behave in public. The only thing “stiff” should be his upper lip. Fortunately, Holmes is only a gentleman when it suits him.

LSA sez: "Thank god this fucking monstrosity is over. ;) But seriously: I haven't worked this hard since I read Acts V of all 37 of Shakespeare's plays. This was insane, but well worth it. I had to write as far outside my usual style as it's possible to get. And even then, O was correcting me literally SENTENCE BY SENTENCE. If I fail at the appropriate tone or style, it's her fault I apologize and plead that it was not through lack of effort. [O sez: No, that really would be my fault. :D] We will return you to my more usual fare of porn presently. Collared 3 is written, and I have at least two foursomes on the back burner. Thank you for your kind words and for your indulgence. I have been very pleased to have such support as I stretch my authorial wings a bit.

"And O had BETTER write some of the really hot fics she's proposing, because the images she has in mind are keeping me up nights.

"I will be somewhat incommunicado this weekend owing to my being at Convergence. I'll look forward to catching up Monday.

"And as a final note, I chose this story very specifically, because of the vulnerability Holmes demonstrates. I was intrigued to see our usually-bulletproof logician and detective so close to despair. And thought I might offer a less conventional explanation for it. ;)"

O sez: "Oh my god, I think I've given birth. And I've never had to depend so hard on my English Lit degree. Have I mentioned that I hate Victorian novelists, aside from Doyle and possibly Thackeray, with an ardent and fiery LIKE BURNING? That said, it's been a long slog (that y'all haven't seen) and a HUGE amount of fun to stretch like this. The chance to mimic one of my earliest masters has been exhilarating, and stressful, and LSA's seriously not kidding about the sentence-by-sentence editing. Only videos of JB speaking in scots brogue got us through at the punchy last.

"Also, we've decided that our canon pairing is Jude Law!Watson, and Basil Rathbone!Holmes. Because, think of the pretty. Or, you know, War of the Profiles."

For those of you who would like to follow along from Watson's official perspective, herewith The Adventure of the Norwood Builder.

On with the show...

You kiss me so fiercely that it has the edge of la petite mort. But there is no more release in your kiss than in your touch. Too soon, you tear your mouth from mine.

“Goodnight, Holmes,” you say.

So sudden is your departure that you are halfway across the room before I can make my reply. “Is that all?”

Your blue-eyed glance is tinged with sharp-edged amusement. “What more do you need?”

Furious, exposed, unfinished and truly offended, I storm over to you and pin you to the wall. “You know bloody well what I need.”

But even in the face of my snarling rage, you are not cowed. As you did this morning, and too many mornings previous, you take on the look of slightly vacuous geniality. "Why, Holmes, old cock," you say. "Haven't the faintest idea what you mean."

I stifle a groan of anguish as I realize I will have no satisfaction by your hand tonight.

You pat me consolingly on the cheek. “Do not let Lestrade's overconfidence drive you to despair, Holmes. I'm certain you will solve it, as you always do."

I block your exit with one hand. “And if I do?”

Your eyes go cold. “It’s not about the case, Holmes. It’s never been about the case.”

I am near to screaming with frustration. “Then, Watson, kindly inform me what it IS about.”

"If I were to explain, it would defeat the purpose," you say with damnable sangfroid. "But I believe you are starting to comprehend."

“Comprehend WHAT, damn you?” I mean to snarl, but end up sobbing.

You take my hand, slide it down my hip, and curl my fingers gently around what little erection I have left.

“Attend to this,” you say in a rare moment of kindness. “Clear your head. If I know you as I feel I do, you’ll have an answer by morning.”

And you leave me there, cock in hand, and shut the door to your room behind you. You even throw the bolt, perhaps fearing (and rightly so) that in my current mental state, I might be capable of anything.

The wilted appendage in my hand is as fitting a metaphor for my misery as any I might devise. I right my clothing enough to allow me to retreat to my room, then shut and lock my own door against you. Would that I could so easily block thoughts of you from my own unruly brain. I bleakly strip for sleep. And though I make a half-hearted attempt at following your advice, I can find neither pleasure nor release in the stroking of my hand. I have lost my taste for anything because you have lost your taste for me.

I have returned to this lodging to discover that even here, I have no home.

This room is a prison, stale and lonely; I cannot remain here and retain my sanity. I dress in a flurry of motion, withdraw the bolt, and flee the house. My feet know my mission, even as my brain swims in an ocean of confusion and regret.

Within moments, I find myself on a suitably wretched street. I fall easily into the shambling gait of a working man, returning home after a late shift. There is no liquor on my breath, but my comportment should convince any viewer until I have brushed up against enough of the gin-soaked to pick up their scents of stale sweat, cheap gin, and cheaper tobacco.

The ranks of the poor close in. There is no rest in London for such as these, but tonight I am more at ease amongst the lowest of the low. They know me and often are my aides, either serving as my eyes or turning a blind eye to whatever mischief best suits my purpose.

I follow my instincts to an alley that is well-known to offer succour to those who require sexual release. Hands reach out from the darkened shadows. Women’s hands, roughened with a lifetime of ill-use and hardship. Boys' fingers, toughened before their time with rude knowledge of which polite society pretends to be ignorant. Whores’ fingers slide along my shoulders, brush down my arm. Some of the denizens of the darkness grab at me, others just tease. I am propositioned again and again.

A blonde pins me to a wall, her roughness so reminiscent of my own treatment of you. She kisses me, tasting of gin and tobacco and want and sex. And though it goes against all my inclinations, I cannot help but respond. Desperation, not observation, has brought me here, and if I cannot be loved, I ache to be released from torment. Laughing lowly, she grinds against me, just as you yourself did not half an hour before.

“Why not you?” I demand of her, as the thought occurs to me for the thousandth time that were my inclinations other than they are, I might have known the kindness of a woman’s touch. “Why not one such as you?”

Her kiss has a bit of bite to it, as yours does, dear Watson, when you are well into the throes of passion. “Maybe ‘tis me,” she says, even as she skilfully invades my trousers. “Maybe she’s right ‘ere, waitin’ for you to see ‘er.”

And as her hand closes around my poor neglected cock, I see at last what it is I have missed.

What a fool I’ve been! The detail was right there, waiting for me to uncover in Blackheath, just as I had suspected! Confirmed! The bliss of a good stroking cannot match my joy at being so close to cracking a case I’d begun to believe to be impossible.

The unwitting relief this skilled creature has offered to my mind far outweighs the still-unfinished release of the physical. I offer my regrets to the woman, extricate myself deftly from her grasp, press a few coins into her palm, and make a quick retreat.

I consider my picked pocket to be appropriate compensation for services rendered.

I have scarce parted company from the unfortunate judy, when one of the local constabulary invades the alley. I secret myself into a shadow and watch bleakly as the pompous sergeant begins to round up the whores, including the blonde who was so helpful to me. Drearily, I conclude I must be the ruination of everyone I meet.

My initial enthusiasm, now blunted, drains away utterly during the weary journey back to our lodging. My theory is sound, from beginning to end, and each piece of evidence links in a logical chain, but I still lack the final details to provide unassailable proof that mine is the right proposal.

And, of course, Lestrade is at the house by proxy in the form of a telegram, whose words burn like mocking brands, “Important fresh evidence to hand. McFarlane’s guilt definitely established. Advise you to abandon case. LESTRADE”

I sit at the table, indulging in cigarette after cigarette as I sift through the early editions of the morning papers for any further illumination. My brain churns and sorts and indentifies, sifting again and again through all the information I’ve catalogued for any elusive detail. And I will confess that I note your faint snores with some envy of the sound sleeper within. Your ability to sleep undisturbed during an investigation has always induced both amusement and fond irritation in my breast.

When at last you arise from your room, the sun up some two hours since, the concern on your handsome face is real. It is perhaps one of the few genuine exchanges that have recently passed between us.

You enquire with a look as to the source of my insomnia.

I show you the telegram. Your face sobers and darkens as you read.

Without a word more, you dress and the two of us make post-haste for Norwood. The atmosphere of the hansom is decidedly bleak, belying the unusually sunny morning. We shall have to endure the Inspector’s smugness at the apparent perfection of his solution to this case. I can only hope that the final detail will present itself at last, as surely the universe cannot be so callous as to force me to stomach the hanging of an innocent man.

And when you reach for me in the cab, it is as a physician concerned for his patient. I have no wish for such clinical attentions when what I need most is friend, partner, and lover, so I rebuff you.

“Are you quite sure you’re all right?” you say.

“I shall not be all right,” I say, “until this case is closed for good. A man’s life hangs in the balance, and I cannot fail here.”

You say nothing, though I wonder if perhaps I might have unwittingly hit upon the correct answer to this strange ordeal to which you are subjecting me.

Lestrade meets us at the gates of Deep Dene House, and leads straight through the gawking crowds, crowing all the while about his new evidence of McFarlane’s guilt and -- as predicted -- taunting me about my ridiculous and absent tramp. I think myself lost until I see the bloody thumb-print on the wall. The perfection of its placement, the slovenly detail of its execution, and my utter certainty of its absence one night previous all give me the sense of a key sliding smoothly into a lock. Inspiration strikes me and I know at last what I must do to finally prove this case.

Much cheered by the minute detail which is to save us all, I respond to your very genuine confusion at the significance of so small a mark with a bit of my own brand of subterfuge. “What does it mean?” I say. “Only this -- that I KNOW that mark was not there when I examined the hall yesterday. And now, Watson, let us have a little stroll round in the sunshine.”

If it is a builder I seek, then it is a builder I must think. I measure dimensions. I scrutinize every joint in the house. I smile at what I find, for now I can guess not only the cause of the housekeeper’s reticence, but also the real purpose of her undying loyalty. The last few measurements contain all my redemption. As the last evidence slots itself into place in my mind, I pull you into my embrace and kiss you soundly in victory.

You resist a little at first, but I fancy you are swayed by the sincerity of my kiss, the delighted urgency of my touch. Perhaps you are not so unmoved as you have pretended.

“For me as well, it was never about those,” I murmur at last.

You look at me as if I’ve lost my mind. No doubt you think that this ejaculation, when paired with the glee I exhibited downstairs, is a certain sign that my capacities have finally been strained past bearing. “What on earth are you talking about, old man?"

“The cases,” I say. “It was never just about the cases. Indeed, you have been an invaluable friend and companion in the solving of so many, my dear, Watson, but that was always the least of it.”

I have confused you still further; I can see it in your eyes. “The least of what?”

I indicate the hallway vaguely, though I know you don’t yet understand. "This. All this. The thrill of pursuit, of matching wits with one's enemy, and running him to ground. Watson, I believe you to be as much an addict to these things as I, but even without them..."

“Why did you leave me?” you demand.

It seems an absurd question. “I was dead,” I say.

“To the rest of the world, perhaps,” you retort. “But why did you never send word to ME?”

Your voice is agonized. Any joke I might have made at my own expense fades. I answer you with complete sincerity. “"Impossible, Watson. The Professor's spies had seen my climb out of the abyss, and it was imperative that I survive to pursue the case to its conclusion. Your life was already at risk, and thus it was absolutely essential that you remain not only ignorant of my continued existence, but of even the least indication of my current whereabouts.”

“Why?” you press.

“Because…” I fumble for words, then decide that the truth will serve me best here. “If they thought you knew of my whereabouts, death would have been a mercy compared to the torments they would have put you to, John. You were the obvious link, my Achilles heel, and the first thing my enemies must NEVER learn, is how very much closer to me you are than any other living being. For your own safety, I could not let you, nor Mrs. Hudson, nor Lestrade, nor indeed any one of our acquaintance into my confidence. All of you would have been at risk, and your continued protection hinged upon the absolute perfection of my performance of the task given to me, to root out all of Moriarty’s vile network of spies, thieves, murderers, and assassins.

“I lied to you to save your life,” I say with genuine feeling, “I now tell you the truth to save mine.”

You stare at me intently for what seems a century.

The emotion that surges from my viscerals quite overwhelms my pride. “Please, Watson!” I cry, “I can no longer bear either your contempt or your indifference! Please have mercy upon me and say you will consider my apology for whatever offence I’ve committed against you!”

You exhale softly, cup my cheeks in your hands, and kiss me gently. “I am not to be taken for granted.”

“Impossible,” I sigh, glad to at last come to the crux of the issue, “You are absolutely indispensable, with every possible nuance and connotation which that word might indicate.”

Your smile is brighter than the sun shining through the windows. And suddenly your mouth is against mine, hot, passionate, and as hungry as I have been these last weeks. “Finish the case,” you say. “I’ve a keen desire to return to our accommodations.”

Your kiss leaves me nearly bucking against your hip, even as the smooth wool muffles the sensation, but I am determined to be requited completely, so I settle for one more fierce kiss. The fires which have motivated me from the very first -- the thrill of the chase and the certainty of exactitude and -- with it -- success --ignite once more in my breast.

I have my solution.

“There are really some very unique features about this case, Watson,” I say as we turn back toward the house. “I think it is time now that we took our friend Lestrade into our confidence. He has had his little smile at our expense, and perhaps we may do as much by him, if my reading of this problem proves to be correct. Yes, yes; I think I see how we should approach it.”

And so you assist me in the setting of the trap: an “abandoned” hallway, a mound of straw, an open window, and the brief striking of a match. Lestrade and his men assist in three shouts of, “Fire”. And, just as I predicted, the “deceased” Oldacre is not only very much alive, but panic compels him to reveal himself when he thinks his house is in immediate danger of immolation. We douse his fears even as you douse the flames of the impromptu fire, the case is solved, and our hapless client is saved from the gallows.

I savour the praise Lestrade gives me in private, though I do my best to receive it in good grace. As a gesture of magnanimity, I insist that he once more take the credit for the case’s solution. We part, if not as friends, then at least as amicable rivals.

When you press me for the means by which I’d deduced Oldacre’s scheme, I can at last reveal that it was the failed romance which was the key. My poor blonde judy (upon whose behalf I will shortly and discreetly intervene) unwittingly provided the required motive: the mother's refusal of Oldacre’s advances, so many years ago. For all his riches, the old spider could never posses the love of the woman he desired. The incarceration, conviction, and execution of her son would have enacted his revenge so completely as to strip poor Mrs. McFarlane of everything she loved in the world.

“It was truly a diabolical scheme,” I conclude. “For it is often only after the loss of the things we love the most that we truly know their worth.”

With a beatific smile, you summon our hansom driver. And in that cab, we are as scandalous as may be. I know again the bliss that is your hand discreetly massaging me to full arousal.

“Forgive me,” I murmur. “If I ever caused you pain.”

You press your palm a little harder against my cock, eliciting a shudder. “I forgive you.”

I have never so enjoyed being tortured as on that trip home. You bring me to the brink a dozen times, pulling back only when you know me to be right at the edge of bliss. And as you continue this very welcome assault, I realize the true cause of your anger.

This is what I have done to you. I have used you blithely when it suits me, and ignored you utterly when I had no need for you. You have waited, unrequited, night after night as I indulged in my own thoughts, plans, and experiments. You have hoped patiently for my touch or at least my attention, and your patience has been too often unrewarded. In short, you have given me a dose of the very medicine which I have fed you for years.

As soon as we are within the safety of 221B, I kiss you as I’ve longed to for what feels like a lifetime. Your mouth is hard and soft in turns against mine. Your moustache brushes my lip. You respond as I so need you to respond: with love and joy and the reckless enthusiasm that may be the ruination of us both. But I will gladly be ruined so, if it means that in the interim I may know happiness in your arms.

You pin me to the door even as your hand vies with mine to free my cock from my clothing. Your caress is greedy. Passionate. Sensuous. I feel as if I am baring my very soul to you with every movement of my mouth on yours. Where you were tortuous in the hansom, now you are leisurely, every movement promising more.

I happily submit. “Watson,” I breathe.

“Holmes.” You’re smiling as you shed your jacket.

“I am sorry,” I say as I loosen your cravat, and mean it with every ounce of my being.

“Forgiven.” You kiss me again. Your hand speeds gradually.

I pull the cravat from your throat. Unbutton your shirt, hungry for whatever skin I may touch. You hum encouragement into my mouth. I bend to kiss your throat. I feel as though I have never tasted you. Never touched you. Never fully appreciated the smoothness of your skin beneath my lips.

My Watson is composed of a thousand tiny details. Pearl buttons on your shirt. The plain onyx cufflinks I gave you for a birthday gift years ago. The shush of linen, slipping down your arms. The strength of your biceps. The length of your forearm. The change in texture from shoulders to neck. The brush of rough stubble as my fingers run against the grain of your throat. I kiss you, again and again. I am utterly yours, and will do whatever you bid me. All my attention is yours to command.

“You’re here.” You sound surprised, as though this is some revelation. “With me, right now. You are completely present.”

Puzzled, my brows furrow at your enigmatical declaration. “What do you mean?”

“Whenever we are together, even when you’re enjoying as much as I, you are always somewhere else… in your mind I mean.” You fumble for words. “It is as though…”

“You must share me always.” The last pieces slot into place. I understand at last: used when it suited me, put aside when I had no need of you, and neglected even in the throes of passion. You have been my constant companion, yet even in this I have been poor company. I look into your eyes, truly seeing them in the most minute detail, and pray you might read some of my conviction. “I cannot help what I am, Watson, but I can promise to try.”

You smile, and I breathe a sigh of relief that this was the right answer. Then your hand speeds on my cock, derailing any further thought, and I am utterly yours. The world falls away. In this moment, there is only my Watson.

You bring me to the edge of ecstatic despair and for a moment I fear you will leave me there, unfinished again. But your mouth claims mine even as your fingers tease me over the edge. The orgasm begins low in my belly. Coils upward with such inescapable power that I marvel at its thrall. Your mouth is hard on mine. You claim me, even as you finally bring me to star-spangled bliss. I come so violently that I nearly crack my head against the door. You swallow my cries even as I jet again and again between us. When the last of the aftershocks has subsided, you release me slowly from the breathless kiss.

I am quite undone, and completely incapable of speech. You must hold me up, or I should slide, insensible, to the floor.

Your handsome face swims back into focus. I know every line. Every crease. Every plane. And in that moment I lose my lifelong battle against emotion, for I nearly throw myself at your feet. Were I capable of speech, I would tell you such things as I have never breathed to another human being…

You must see it in my eyes, for your smile turns knowing. “My dear Holmes.”

I kiss you, more sloppily than fiercely, I fear, for I have not yet recovered my coordination.

“And this is just the start of it,” you assure me. “I have such plans for you. After all--“ you grin with the best kind of fiendish glee, “--I am your assistant.”

I am dizzy and lightheaded and dry-mouthed and happier than I’ve been in ages. “Not at all,” I manage at last. “You are my partner.”

The word seems to freeze you in place, as you slowly take in all of my meaning. Then the joy that blooms in your eyes is beyond anything I shall hope to see again before Heaven. You draw me into your room, strip me slowly even as I divest you of the rest of your clothing, and the pleasure that follows has the tinge of far deeper emotions.

I have returned to you, and now you have returned to me. What better solution can a man hope for?