Being accustomed to Holmes waking him at odd hours Watson barely raised an eyebrow as the door to his room eased opened and the familiar figure of his friend appeared at the threshold.
It was almost as if Holmes was expected, and indeed he was – most eagerly in fact.
It had been forty long days and lonely nights since the great detective had declared he would remain celibate during Lent. The declaration had originally taken Watson by surprise. Holmes was not a religious man after all, and if he was going to abstain from anything there were several other habits that would be decidedly more advantage to his health than the omitting of connubialis gratificatio for no good reason.
Watson had insisted that Holmes explain what he hoped to achieve by refusing himself, and of course Watson, any physical intimacy for such an extended period of time.
Initially evasive Holmes would say very little on the subject to begin with and simply maintained that he was conducting an experiment of sorts when pressed.
Incensed that a relationship, which on one level in particular was still very much in its infancy, be subject to such treatment Watson had argued that using a religious season of reflection and repentance as an excuse for an experiment was going too far, even for Holmes.
With perhaps more at stake than ever before Holmes had finally relented and admitted that since the forgoing of his seven percent solution of cocaine and the onset of their intimate relationship he had begun to fear a new dependence – one that he believed only Watson could understand.
Still reeling from the suddenness of Holmes’s announcement and the various implications of such a declaration it had taken Watson several minutes to realise what exactly Holmes was telling him.
Prior to embarking on of their greatest adventure together the world’s only consulting detective had literally spent a life time believing that love was unnecessary, not worthy of his time or intellect. To discover that this was not the case and that love, specifically the physical manifestation of it was addictive as the most potent of drugs was clearly not something Holmes had been prepared for, or equipped to deal with day after day, it seemed.
This still did not explain why Holmes had insisted on the observation of Lent however.
“You are proposing a test,” Watson remarked. “One of faith I assume, given the time frame you have suggested.”
Holmes nodded, his eyes portraying a depth of feeling that Watson rarely witnessed.
“But to what end, Holmes? In all the years I have known you; you have scarcely stepped inside a church more than once or twice, let alone observed any of the holy days or celebrations without protest.”
There had been a short pause in the conversation as Holmes had taken a moment to light a cigarette and then risen from his chair to take up his place by the sitting room window. Staring down at the street below, he proceeded to remind Watson of the gift he had received some months prior. The memory of their first intimate encounter and Holmes’s detailed account of it had brought a flush of recognition and pride to Watson’s already high colour, but it was what Holmes had shared next with him that had sealed both their fates.
“As you know John, I have never known love before. I know nothing of the long term effects of an arrangement such as ours, if without this new element our feelings for one another will pale against the bleakness of our future together, or if it will endure through the years as our friendship has?”
Holmes had not needed to add more, for it was with his last statement he had convinced Watson of his true feelings, and his wish for their relationship to continue and grow. It was more than Watson had ever allowed himself to hope for.
The doctor had always been well aware of the challenges he faced when it came to dealing with Holmes. If his friend required a test of dedication and commitment then Watson was ready and willing to satisfy that need in him also.
The agreement had been settled with a last kiss, one that both knew would need to sustain them for the days and nights ahead.
Now, with the days of sacrifice passed Watson turned back one corner of his covers and invited Holmes in.
It was only some time later, well after nightshirts had been removed and long dormant bodies had been roused to completion with the practiced use of mouth and hands, that the subject of faith was raised again.
“Do you consider your experiment a success, Holmes? Has the knowledge of love sustained you throughout our period of self-denial or is it physical evidence you require as proof of its actual existence?”
Firmly ensconced in Watson’s ample embrace Holmes was still somewhat breathless when he answered. “It has,” he replied, reaching once again for his companions nether regions. “As for my experiment I believe further earthly investigation maybe necessary before I am completely satisfied.”
Despite the seriousness of Holmes’s words there was a notable air of playfulness to his tone. One that Watson soon discovered equated to and manifested itself as a most vigorous round of the before mentioned earthly pursuits.
The sun had risen and church bells could be heard far off in the distance calling the faithful to worship before either man finally rose from Watson’s narrow bed. Both sated, both assured of their places in the others life.
In spite of the hardship he had endured it had been an interesting few weeks Watson pondered as he watched Holmes dress. To the majority faith required little or no proof, but it was clear that to men like Sherlock Holmes hard evidence would always be necessary when it came to solving life’s many mysteries. If this was going to be the case, then he would just have to get use to it Watson decided.
connubialis gratification = sexual gratification
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