I had been sharing rooms with Sherlock Holmes at
221b Baker Street for a little over a year, and this was the first time we would
be spending Christmas together. The previous season, Holmes had been engaged on
a case, leaving me to fend for myself for the holidays.
I have always
enjoyed Christmas. It was one of the few times in my childhood that my family
got along well with one another. Now that I was without any living family, I
very much looked forward to starting a new Christmas tradition with my closest
friend and roommate.
However I was well aware of the fact that I needed
to broach the subject gingerly. Holmes himself is not prone to sentimentalism
and often made disparaging remarks about the antiquated and illogical traditions
of the season. When I pressed him for details of his own childhood Christmases,
his face took on a blank expression that he reserved for when I asked him
inappropriate questions. He informed me, in clipped tones, that his parents had
not believed in celebrating Christmas, and so he and Mycroft had grown up in a
household bereft of yuletide cheer. At first I was incredulous, but upon further
reflection, I realized that his off-handed dismissal of such harmless traditions
as caroling and his complete lack of interest in the handful of Christmas cards
he received were not the products of a man who disliked the holiday, but one who
simply had no understanding of it. His strict instructions to Mrs. Hudson
against decorating our shared rooms disheartened me, but I made a vow this
Christmas to show Holmes what the season meant and to give him a first Christmas
he would enjoy.
Although I have written of Holmes as a cold, calculating
man, I must explain at this point that, despite the fact he had always presented
himself as such to me, I believed him to have a great heart, hidden by his great
mind. I had become engrossed in finding ways to draw out the emotions of my
friend, especially as they related to me. Part of this was done for the sheer
challenge in getting Holmes to inflect some feeling whatsoever. Another reason I
engaged in what many would deem an impossible task was because I myself had
become confused emotionally about the matter, and found myself seeking his
company far more than any decent Englishman should have desired.
fact, I had become quite obsessed with Holmes, both the man and the challenge of
the man. I hoped that if I were to evoke some emotional connection from him, the
challenge would wane and my own feelings towards him would settle down to
Thus I held great hope for our Christmas. I hummed and shopped
for presents and decorated my own small room with a festive wreath. I cheerfully
bid Mrs. Hudson a joyful holiday as she left to spend the week with her family,
and on Christmas Eve, as the streets emptied out and a soft fall of snow made
the evening almost perfect, I sat down with Holmes to enjoy a delicious pheasant
that Mrs. Hudson had left for us. I even started the holiday off proper by
opening a bottle of claret that I had purchased expressly for this
Holmes was in a good mood, but changed the subject any time I
brought up the holiday. If we were discussing his most recent case, or even my
own medical practice, he was content. But the second I steered the conversation
towards Christmas, he lost his patience. Indeed, when I started lighting candles
around the room to make it more like the room my family shared when I was
younger, Holmes immediately blew all of them out, complaining it was a hazard
with so many loose papers around, and the gas lamps would serve just as
“But Holmes,” I said, trying to keep the whine out of my voice.
Holmes flapped his hand dismissively towards me in
response, and curled into his favorite chair, lighting his pipe.
can the mere act of changing the form of illumination qualify as festive? It’s
redundant. We have gas for a reason, Watson.”
Thus chastised, I scraped
at the remnants of my cold holiday meal by myself in silence. But I wouldn’t
give up that easily. I realized I could bring a little cheer into the room
instantly by initiating the exchange of presents.
I tidied our plates,
and then dashed up to my room, returning with a small box wrapped in gold-leafed
“Merry Christmas, Holmes,” I said, grinning like a school-boy as
I handed him his present.
Holmes did not bother to uncurl himself from
his chair. One eyebrow lifted. He held out his long hands and took the box from
me with minimal enthusiasm. As he smoked, he studied the package in his
“You’re supposed to rip open the wrapping,” I told him. I made
myself comfortable across from him and lit my own pipe, waiting to see what sort
of response I would receive.
Holmes sighed. He put his pipe on the table
beside him and held the box with two hands, shaking it lightly. He sniffed the
paper, and then rattled it once more, his ear next to the box. I held back
“The excess size of the box makes it difficult to deduce its
contents with complete conviction,” Holmes said. “However I am able to determine
that it is a metal object, padded in old cotton cloth. Judging by the weight of
the object moving within, and the unusual balance of the weight as it moves
within the box, I wager it is the silver cane top that I admired two weeks ago
in the shop window of Brooks & Sons.”
All my enthusiasm was expelled
as if I had been punched. He was absolutely correct, and completely unsurprised.
Holmes gave me a quick smirk, and then ripped open the paper, reaching inside
the box to withdraw the handsome silver cane handle, etched with an intricate
decoration of ivy, in an elegant curved shape. It had cost me a month’s wages
and was far more extravagant than any of the tops adorning either of our canes.
And yet Holmes looked at it as if it were nothing more than evidence to some
crime, turning it briefly in his hands before roughly throwing it onto his desk.
Without any further ado, he crumpled the box and the wrapping paper and tossed
them into the fire.
“Thank you,” he said, smiling briefly at me, before
immediately curling back into his chair and relighting his pipe. He pulled out
his newspaper and began to read.
I sat there in stunned silence for
several minutes. I had never seen such a callous display in my life. It was
beyond even Holmes, who had shown glimpses of tenderness towards me in the past
year. I couldn’t believe that anyone – regardless of how cruel or cold their own
childhood had been – could so gravely misunderstand the proper social etiquette
And, with sudden horrid clarity, I realized that my
entire project was a failure. There would be no joyous Christmas with Holmes,
because Holmes found joy in only one thing: crime. Even his fleeting moments of
affection towards me had been during the heat of a case, when my assistance was
needed. Holmes was my friend when it served his greater goal, that of catching
criminals. But when the chase was over and we were back in our sitting room, the
paper was a far more interesting companion than me.
I continued to sit
there, staring at the fire, trying to swallow the sick sensation of heartbreak
down my throat. Holmes seemed to have finally realized I was upset, as he
snapped his paper down and stared at me with his piercing gray eyes.
do apologize, Watson. I am afraid I have no gift for you. You did not inform me
beforehand that you expected such.”
I nodded. “It’s alright. I wasn’t
expecting anything in return.” I stood, suddenly desiring a bath. When wallowing
in self-pity, I usually found it amenable to be wallowing in hot water as well.
“Happy Christmas,” I mumbled, making my way to the bathroom.
enjoyed a hot soak after a long day. But this time I wanted one not for the
aches in my body, but for the ache in my mind. I was a fool. I climbed into the
scalding hot water and leaned my head against the porcelain rim. I closed my
eyes, chastising myself for assuming to see something in Holmes that no one else
on earth had ever seen. Why did I think he would treat me differently than
anyone else? Even to Mycroft, his own brother, he was cold and aloof.
must confess I spent nearly an hour in the water, feeling sorry for myself. My
family was dead and I had very few friends. All my acquaintances were spending
the holidays with their loved ones, their own families. And I was spending
Christmas with a man who had no heart. I had to face facts. My feelings would
never be reciprocated with Holmes. I almost had to laugh at my self-aggrandizing
delusions. That I would be the one to see the true Holmes. That I would be the
one who would have the happy ending. But the sad truth was, it was Christmas Eve
and I was sitting in a tub of now decidedly-lukewarm water by myself. Those days
with my brother and parents around our delightful Christmas tree were gone. I
I opened my eyes and slid upwards, realizing
I was coming precariously close to falling asleep in the water. “What is it,
Holmes entered. I was not surprised. He often intruded upon my
baths, usually to expound a long-winded theory about some aspect of a clue. Once
he had held me prisoner in my bath for an hour while he described the research
he was undertaking for his monograph on tattoo inks. As usual, he took position
against the sink, leaning against the wall and crossing his arms over his chest,
staring down at me in the tub with a bit of a smirk on his face.
water must be freezing by now.”
“Yes, I was just at the point of getting
out,” I told him. There had been a time when I had been embarrassed by Holmes’
complete lack of regard for privacy. It took me several months of sharing
quarters with him to realize that Holmes held no sense of shame regarding
nudity, and because he never made a fuss of being seen in the bathroom without
his clothes, I too had lost any discomfort in the act.
“I was beginning
to wonder if you’d drowned,” he said, a shadow of a smile lifting the corners of
his mouth. He arched an eyebrow at me as he handed me a towel from the
“Thank you,” I said, avoiding eye contact. I was never any good at
hiding my emotions from him. I didn’t want him to know how disappointed I was
I quickly toweled off, keeping my gaze focused on the uneven
floorboard below the claw foot of the tub. I wrapped the towel around my waist
and reached for my dressing gown. And then I noticed that Holmes still stared at
me, his grey eyes taking in my body, his pupils slightly dilated. I had no idea
how to interpret this strange gaze, but I felt my face flush with embarrassment.
Holmes usually had enough decency to look away when I got out of the tub, but
his stare was almost predatory this evening.
“I dare say you must be
awfully disappointed in this evening’s turn of events,” he said, yawning. “But I
have told you before. I have never experienced Christmas before and do not plan
to start now. And I don’t understand how you can hold such affection for it. You
yourself are not a religious man.”
“It isn’t just about religion,” I
snapped. I pulled the dressing gown on, feeling suddenly very exposed and
vulnerable. “It has to do with tradition. For god’s sake, Holmes, it’s the one
time of year where people try to tell those they love that they value
I made to exit the bathroom, but Holmes suddenly shot his arm out
across the threshold, blocking my path. He didn’t look at me now. I could see
his jaw clenching, but he held his arm straight and firm across the
“Tell me, Doctor. Are you saying that I am one of those you
Thoroughly embarrassed now, I had no intention of answering him.
Instead, I pressed at his arm to make him move. He finally let me pass. I
stomped barefoot up the stairs to my bedroom. I didn’t turn around when I heard
him follow behind me.
I took a deep breath at the door, trying to calm
down my anger. “Holmes, leave me alone,” I said dejectedly, for I could hear him
breathing, two steps below me on the staircase. I pushed open the door, and
stepped into my room.
And felt the breath leave my lungs.
the dull, lonely darkness of my bachelor chamber had been transformed into a
sight of lightness and beauty. There must have been a hundred candles lit,
adorning every space available on the mantle, the desk, and my dresser. A small
tree had been erected in the corner of the room, and flashed in the candlelight
with tinsel. There was even a sad little string of popcorn wrapped around it,
and judging by the gaps and the way it drooped, this was obviously Holmes’ first
attempt at such homemade decoration. My bed was covered in presents. There must
have been twenty of them, small and large, all wrapped in green and red papers.
My fire was roaring, and smelled delightfully of juniper.
I stared, in
shock, in delight, amazed and touched and horrified at my earlier conclusion
that Holmes was a heartless man. I felt my mouth gape open, desperate to say
something, but I couldn’t form words to express my overwhelming joy.
consulted several magazine articles on decorating tips for the season,” Holmes
said casually, leaning against the doorframe with me. “My original plans had to
be altered, however, given the desired element of surprise.”
I still couldn’t speak. I felt tears form in the corner of my eyes.
believe mistletoe is a tradition as well,” Holmes said. I looked up and saw he
had tacked a small sprig of mistletoe above my doorway. I looked over at him,
and saw he bore an expression that seemed to be part joy, part terror. He
looked, for a moment, very innocent. “I was afraid if I put this up too early I
would be inadvertently forced to kiss Mrs. Hudson at some terrible
I laughed then, touched and relieved, and I couldn’t help
myself as I reached forward and pulled Holmes into a hug.
Holmes,” I said. My voice was cracked and heavy with emotion. “This is…this is
the most delightful surprise I have ever received.”
Holmes pulled away
from my embrace and looked at me. It was the same strange, calculating stare I
had seen him don during a complex case. He was weighing a decision, I realized.
I felt myself flush under the scrutiny.
“Holmes,” I started. My mouth
was suddenly dry. “What are you-“
“-Look where we find ourselves,” he
interrupted me, his eyes darting briefly upwards to the mistletoe.
flushed further. “Indeed.”
Holmes leaned towards me, his hands reaching
up to gently rest on my shoulders.
“What are you doing?” I whispered. My
heart began to race in panic.
Holmes leaned towards my face, and kissed
me, ever so softly, on the left cheek, and then my right cheek. I stood frozen,
terrified of moving.
Holmes leaned in and kissed me on the lips. My eyes
widened in surprise, as Holmes pushed his lips harder against mine, and then
slipped his tongue inside my mouth. The taste of Holmes’ mouth was unbearably
sweet, tasting of claret and his sugary tobacco. Ignoring the racing panic in my
mind, I instinctively wrapped my arms around Holmes, pulling him
This was not like kissing women. This was unlike any other kiss I
had ever experienced. It was as if I was melting. Holmes’ mouth was an aloe,
soothing the burns of my flesh and mind. I drank his lips and mouth in, forcing
my own tongue deep into Holmes’ soft mouth, feeling the hot explosion shake
Holmes pushed his body tight against mine, shoving me
against the doorframe. I momentarily registered alarm, worried of what Holmes
would think if he felt my erection against him. But I then noticed the bulge of
Holmes’ own hardness against my stomach. It was a wanting presence, demanding
What the hell were we doing?
“Don’t think,” Holmes
whispered, as if reading my mind. He grabbed me forcefully by the shoulders of
my dressing gown and pushed me back towards my bed. He stifled my protests with
his lips, his tongue pushing deep into my mouth so I could not speak, or think,
or do anything but kiss him back.
The backs of my knees hit the bed and
I tumbled backwards. Holmes fell on the bed with me. He carelessly thrust his
arm out and knocked the gifts out of the way, sending them crashing to the
“My presents…”I started.
“…They can wait,” he whispered.
His voice was thick with arousal, and his eyes seemed almost slanted like a
cat’s, pupils black and dilated. He brusquely ripped my dressing gown off of me.
I sat up on the edge of the bed and he knelt between my legs, planting kisses
along my bare chest, sliding down my torso, until his hands rested on the top of
my towel and his mouth hovered over the covered bulge of my arousal.
light of the candles reflected off his thick black hair, and the yellowed glow
made Holmes’ skin look as smooth as marble, pale and perfect. He looked like a
Greek statue, radiant and inhuman, with his gray eyes reflecting the fires
around us, his lips too red and swollen to belong to a man.
My whole body
began to tremble as Holmes pressed his hands on the outside of my towel, against
my erection. Once again I felt a momentary need to stop him. What were we doing?
This was madness. But before I could say anything, Holmes quickly unwrapped the
towel from around me.
I felt shock, and then embarrassment, and then all
emotions but pleasure disappeared. Holmes wrapped his red lips around me. He
teased the tip of my cock with his tongue, his hot fingers gently massaging the
base and my testicles, each touch sending a thousand spasms of pleasure through
my groin and spine. I moaned aloud, unable to help myself.
me with an inner knowledge, as if knowing what felt good where, what worked. He
opened his mouth impossibly wide and seemed to swallow me whole. I struggled to
stay sitting. I rested my hands on top of Holmes’ wild black
“Holmes...” I gasped, afraid I would stop breathing at any
This was the feeling I had been craving my entire life. Holmes
upon me, swallowing me whole. I moaned again, feeling shocks of pleasure shoot
through my body with each lick of his tongue.
I longed to see what
Holmes looked like under his clothing.
Before it all came to a quick end,
I gently eased myself out of Holmes’ mouth and reached for his arms, pulling him
to sit next to me on the bed. His eyes were unnaturally bright, reflecting the
fire glow in the darkness.
“Let me touch you,” I gasped, surprised at the
thickness of my voice. I had never been so aroused I couldn’t speak before.
Holmes smiled slowly, reaching up with his long fingers to slowly unknot
his cravat. He removed his collar and cuffs, his waist coat and his shirt
slowly, each movement graceful and natural, like this was the most banal moment
in his life, undressing for me in the flickering light of a hundred
When he had his trousers off as well, he lay splayed before me,
and I feasted on his beauty. I had seen him naked before but never like this,
close enough to smell the dark musk of him, seeing how his body shone in the
candlelight like alabaster. I touched the fine hairs on his chest, ran my lips
and fingers along his flesh, and then, nervously, touched the tip of Holmes’
Holmes shivered in pleasure.
“Watson,” he said my name like
a mantra. “Watson…" I didn’t know what I was doing, so I went by feel. I touched
Holmes as I touched myself, slowly stroking, and then bringing my cock to his so
they brushed together. The sensation sent shocks of electricity through my
spine. I thought I would pass out from the erotic sensation of it.
leaned down and put Holmes in my mouth, noting the soft warmth of his flesh, the
taste of him, a mix of salt and spice and musky skin, loving the feel of Holmes
growing impossibly large in my throat.
Holmes had been
uncharacteristically silent as we began this lovemaking – he said little, and
watched me intensely – but now he gripped the bed sheets and began to mumble. As
I worked my lips faster along his shaft, he begged and began to swear and then
started praying, cursing, crying out my name, and suddenly, with a great,
full-bodied cry, he came. I gulped down the fullness of it, the taste itself
strange and salty and foreign in my mouth.
Holmes lay as if dead for a
moment, and then suddenly sprang upwards and pushed me down hard against the
bed. Without a pause for breath, he leaned over me, his cheeks flushed a violent
red. He kissed me on the lips, deep and hard, and then brought his mouth to my
cock to return the favor. I looked up to see the dancing shadows of our bodies
against the wall, and the glitter of tinsel, and Holmes’ eyes, bright and wet
with emotion, and then felt my groin go limp with the feeling of it all. I
exploded in Holmes’ mouth, a moan escaping my lips, unable to hold it in any
My body shook in aftershocks of pleasure. Holmes crawled up to
lay beside me in the bed. He draped an arm over my bare chest.
spoke for several minutes as we clung to each other, catching our
Finally, Holmes broke the sated silence.
Christmas,” he mumbled hoarsely.
I laughed, and he did as well, and the
two of us finally moved our sticky jumble of limbs enough to cover ourselves
with the bedspread. Holmes stared at me, his expression one of simple
“Honestly, I wasn’t intending this,” Holmes said.
did you hang up the mistletoe?” I gently moved the last of my presents off the
bed and reclaimed one of my pillows, which had fallen to the floor. I was
delighted when Holmes curled his body around mine, holding me
“It was recommended in several papers for adding holiday cheer.
I thoroughly researched the subject, Watson. Mistletoe is imperative.”
see.” I burrowed my face against his shoulder, indulging in the smells of his
salty flesh, the fire, the scent of sex, and the smell of oranges, which I
assumed were wrapped in one of the presents now carelessly strewn across my
“I have been wondering for almost four months what would happen if
I kissed you,” Holmes said. He stretched and yawned, his legs casually entwining
with mine when he relaxed.
“I could have been appalled,” I remarked.
“It seemed unlikely,” Holmes replied. He smiled at me, draping his arm
over my chest to lazily rub a finger over my nipple.
Now I found myself
slightly offended. “What? Do I come across to you as some sort
“-Absolutely not!” Holmes said, laughing. “But I have made it my
life’s work to study people, Watson. And there are times when a person can just
tell that the man they are standing next to finds them …attractive.”
was embarrassed, and looked away. That my friend could understand the deeper
nature of my emotions towards him when I myself had been clueless of the extent
seemed absurd. On the other hand, that was the way with Holmes. He always had
answers that, while astonishing, where very simple when explained.
“And to think, I would have been satisfied an hour earlier with
you merely wishing me joyous returns for the holiday.” I kissed him briefly,
feeling the flattering flush of his skin that my lips created. “This has all
been too much.” I propped myself up on my elbow to stare down at him. “Although
I must say, you were awfully cruel earlier this evening.”
“I am sorry, Watson, but it was necessary to send you into a depression in order
to get you out of your room long enough to decorate.”
I frowned. “But how
did you know-“
“-You always mumble something dejectedly and then sit in
the bath tub for an hour whenever you are upset with me. I knew it would provide
the time needed to complete my surprise.”
“And your love of the dramatic
has nothing to do with it?” I asked, smirking.
His mouth quirked up into
a crooked grin. “Well, I needed to make sure there was an element of suspense.
After all, I am required to make up for some of the deficiencies in my
I looked over at the popcorn string and laughed.
“I find them charming.”
“You have not seen the wreath I attempted to
devise. Complete disaster.”
“Where is it?”
“I thought I smelled juniper.”
Holmes sighed. “I tried. It
was my first attempt, you realize.”
“You did marvelously.” I kissed him
slowly, taking my time to enjoy it, without the fury and heat of before. He
never closed his eyes as we kissed, studying my expression as if memorizing it.
“This has been more than I had ever hoped for in a Christmas.”
looked at me tenderly. He reached out and ran his hand through my hair,
massaging my scalp in slow, gentle movements. “Thank you for the cane handle. It
is far too expensive, and hardly needed, but I appreciate it dearly.”
praise sent a shiver of warm contentment through me. I sank down into the sheets
and pulled him close. He handed me gifts off the floor, one at a time, and we
talked and lay close together as I unwrapped them, each one more splendid than
the next. They ranged from sweet oranges to a new leather book for my writing,
an elegant pen, a scarf, and even a copy of Poe to replace my old book that he
had once thrown in the fire in a fit of rage.
The final gift was so large
he had no choice but to get out of bed, trouncing naked across my room to
retrieve it from where it had been thrown earlier. I sat up, admiring the flex
of his buttocks as he walked, loving the loose droop of his testicles, the taut
muscles of his stomach, the fine, thin elegance of his wrists. His hair was a
tousled mess of black, his lips luscious red, and I couldn’t believe my luck,
that this man, whom I had admired and worshipped and been frustrated with and
hated and loved for so long, would be here, climbing into my bed, grinning madly
as he handed me the last gift.
“Be careful with this one,” he urged me. I
no longer cared for any of the presents, I just wanted him, and I ran my fingers
through the fine hairs of his chest and kissed the hot warmth of his lips.
He began to reciprocate, but then stopped himself, thrusting the large
package at me impatiently. “Come along, Watson! I have never given presents to
anyone before, don’t keep me waiting.”
“Poor Holmes,” I mumbled. I shook
the box and tried to deduce what it was.
“It’s heavy,” I
“Yes.” Holmes’ eyes sparkled, and he sat up, as excited as a
I shook the box. It made a low thump against the edge. “An even
weight. Is it a book?”
“No, and don’t shake it so!” he said.
not take it hard that I could not deduce what it was. After all, I usually found
myself lacking in the powers of observation around Holmes, and so this was no
different. I immediately attacked the paper.
“No more deductions?” he
asked, clucking his tongue disapprovingly.
“It ruins the surprise,” I
told him. When I opened the box, I had to sift through a mountain of shredded
newspaper to find the object within. It was a framed photo of my own family,
gathered around the Christmas tree, when I was only eight. It had been the
happiest Christmas of my life up until that moment, and I was moved and shocked
by the personal nature of the gift.
I held the expensive gilded frame in
my hands, and smiled at the photograph.
“I notice you have gazed upon
that photograph several times in the last few months, so I perceived it had some
value to you,” Holmes said. He watched my expression anxiously.
one of the last times my family was together like this, and happy,” I said. I
gently rested the frame on my dressing table, and smiled at Holmes, feeling,
once again, overwhelmed by the beauty of this man. “Thank you very much. It
means a great deal to me.”
“It appears to have been a very special day,”
“This one has topped it.” I pulled the covers over us,
and dragged Holmes’ body on top of me, enjoying the weight of his long body
encasing mine, the soft warmth of his groin upon my own. “This has been a
perfect holiday, Holmes.”
“And as this is officially my first Christmas,
I shall of course expect nothing less in the years to come.” And with that, he
kissed me deeply, and I promised to make his statement true.