an interesting little problem
by cimorene

This story is based on the film version of 'The Empty House' starring Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke. My recap/review of the episode, with screencaps, is located here. Complete text of the original story by A. Conan Doyle, with illustrations by Paget, is available here. for Dementor Delta, with great appreciation.

"Come what may, Colonel Moran will trouble us no more. The famous air-gun of Von Herder will embellish the Scotland Yard Museum, and once again Mr. Sherlock Holmes is free to devote his life to examining those interesting little problems which the complex life of London so plentifully presents." -The Empty House

The evening's excitement at last, I thought, was over. My friend Sherlock Holmes was again installed in Baker Street, quite delighted with his own success. Other than that extreme paleness of complexion which indicated to me that he had not been eating healthily, and had been using himself rather too hard, he seemed entirely well and in those excellent spirits which have always come upon him with the successful resolution of a case. There was perhaps a little change in his manner towards myself--a subtle, not overt, solicitousness--which I put down to the considerable guilt he had expressed in the afernoon for having never sent me word that still he lived, and for the extremely startling manner of his reappearance.

I myself, I will admit, had not yet entirely recovered from that shock by the evening. I could almost not believe my friend was really there, and I fear my eyes were continually fixed upon him with an expression of wonder, of hope, of shock and joy, even of reverie.

Nothing in my life had prepared me for the experience of seeing him stand in the place of the book seller across my desk from me--nothing could have prepared me for the startling and nearly painful sensation of joy blossoming so suddenly in my heart, which had been cold and for many months dead to hope. So precipitously did this long-unaccustomed emotion seize me in its grip that for long, interminable seconds and minutes I could not identify the feeling, and wondered why I felt so weak, why my head swam, my heart leapt into my chest, my throat closed and seemed to go cold and hot at once, my fingers tightened so hard upon the sleeve of my friend's coat.

For the length of the afternoon I had been at the mercy of these feelings, bewildered by them as I attempted to accustom myself to being in Holmes's presence once more. I had endured them all day while he stalked like a caged tiger round my office; while he slept away the early evening on the fold-out cot before my window and I watched his beautiful still face; while he consumed an astonishingly large quantity of his supper and I an astonishingly small quantity of mine, and he looked on me again and again with a curious inscrutable smile; while he crouched close to me in the corner of the empty house, his long hard thigh pressing down the length of mine, his fingers squeezing my hand in his excitement.

Now he puffed his pipe, smiling round the stem, while a cold draught snaked round the room from the window shattered by Colonol Moran's bullet. I had several times picked up the newspaper Mrs. Hudson had left, but on each occasion had found I could not focus on it. All my attention was still consumed by the human enigma studying me through lazily half-closed eyes as he reclined in his chair on the opposite side of the fireplace.

"Yes," he murmured after I know not how long. "Yes, Watson. It is really so."

"Pardon me, Holmes?" I inquired, for neither of us had spoken in at least minutes--it seemed more to me like hours.

He removed the pipe from his mouth and stood up, arching his back in a stretch. "It really is delightfully so," he said deliberately and placed his pipe upon the mantle. "That Mr. Sherlock Holmes--is free--to devote his life--to examing those--interesting little problems--which the complex life of London so plentifully presents."

Holmes spoke with a curious emphasis and advanced slowly on my chair as he spoke until he stood just above me, looming so close I was obliged to lean back and tilt my head to look up at his face. His eyes gleamed feverishly bright. He seemed somewhat excited, for what reason I could not fathom. My own excitement's cause was easy to place. It could be laid squarely at the door of our close physical proximity. I could, in fact, detect the faint long-familiar odor of my friend's body.

I did not speak, as I had no idea what he was getting at. Holmes seemed impatient with my lack of response and put out a hand peremptorily. "Come, Watson," he said chidingly.

"I--Holmes, what--" I stuttered.

"Come, Watson," he said, "Give me your hand. It really will not do, you know. It will not do at all."

I gave him my hand. "What will not do, Holmes?"

With a firm, steady tug, he brought me to my feet. Due to the position in which he was standing in relation to the chair, my nose was just at his chin and my feet planted on either side of one of his. I could feel his heat desperately all along my body. My head was beginning to swim. I reflected that I should not have taken Mrs. Hudson's offered glass of wine.

"Your making me wait, Watson," he explained, all traces of impatience again gone, "after you have made it so inescapably clear to me all day what your feelings were, how nearly they mirrored my own. If your highly emotional response to my appearance had not been clear enough--my dear Watson, you have incidentally the most amazingly expressive face--there was still your protective desire to stand close to me in the empty house, your intent study of me as you believed I slept."

Holmes's voice had deepened to a rough, murmuring whisper. I stood silent and awestruck, though I believe my head tilted automatically back, for I have the clearest recollection of staring at close range directly into his hooded, clear grey eyes.

He gave a little chuckle. "In light of these events I have been waiting all evening in some small hopes of your broaching the subject, but I believe that I may do so as well myself. Watson, you cannot tell me the conclusion I have come to is an erroneous one."

"I do not believe you have ever come to one which was," said I in a kind of trance. He had shifted his grip from my hand, and was now clasping my elbow and forearm.

Holmes smiled gently. "In which case I believe I have waited long enough," he murmured, lowering his head by increments nearer to mine. I could not breathe at the feel of his exhalations passing over my lips. "Watson. Would you be so good--would you be so kind--"

"Yes, Holmes?"

"As to kiss me?"

How could I fail to oblige?

The kiss which followed was a heaven like few which I have ever experienced. The hesitancy, the trepidation, which I had experienced, passed away at the sweet yielding and tenderness of his beloved mouth like clouds before sun. I lifted my chin, I fitted my mouth to his, I breathed deeply of the warm damp air misting on my lip; and Holmes held himself perfectly, exquisitely still, but his mouth opened slightly in his eagerness and I discovered as I sought to find the perfect angle that he anticipated me in every movement, his lips parting round my tongue before I could request entrance and admitting me at once to the sweet, slick heat of his mouth.

Something in his eager passivity woke a terrible passion in me, one whose existence I had suspected and sought to suppress. I wanted to own him, to dominate him, to crush him to me--to follow the strong arousal I could feel rushing through me to its forbidden, ultimate conclusion--to penetrate his body deeply with my own and quench in him the fires that burned within me. I wrapped my arms about his shoulders and pressed him to me even as I felt his arms go around my waist. He must have felt my arousal on his thigh; his burned like a hard brand on my stomach.

"Watson," he murmured helplessly, wonderingly.

I clasped the back of his neck firmly in one hand to hold his mouth still and open for plundering. He did not try to speak again as my tongue thrust deeply between his lips and teeth. My other hand, stroking down his slender back, buttocks, flanks, found him to be motionless but trembling in every limb with suppressed energy. I was flooded with tenderness and stroked him soothingly, across his square shoulders, down his torso, my thumb describing small circles at the nape of his neck. He calmed somewhat, but shivered and pressed, burrowed close against me.

I broke the kiss to gasp for air and saw that Holmes's eyes were tightly shut, the papery eyelids quivering, as he nuzzled blindly at my jaw. "Watson," he whispered brokenly. "Watson. Please." It was as though a great hot hand closed tightly behind my ribs, taking all my organs in its grasp, and the heat of it was liquefying them slowly as the pressure grew too great to bear--and all the melting pressure, all of it, was tenderness for this incredible, eager, brilliant, frightened creature in my arms.

"Holmes!" I said, burying my face in his hair, kissing the top of his head feverishly. "It's all right. Sh. Sh." It was anything but all right. I was shaking with the force of it myself. We clung together, swaying like trees buffeted by the gale.

"Watson," he gasped, pressing his forehead to my shoulder--hiding his face in my neck, "what is this? This feeling--it is unimaginable--I cannot get a grip on it." He laughed unevenly. "Rather, it has me in its grip and is squeezing the life from me."

"The body," I said, stroking the corner of his sensitive, sculpted mouth with my thumb, "has--great power over the male of the human species when aroused. When the desire is consummated it will pass."

"Consummated," Holmes shivered. He moved to press his lips on the side of my neck, and seemed to grow distracted. His mouth opened; hot, damp breath caressed the sensitive skin and I felt the wet tip of his tongue, the gentle scrape of his teeth. He moved to press his open mouth in the hollow of my throat, to close his teeth on the lobe of my ear.

A sharp stab of quivering pleasure, like pain, like a thorn, embedded itself deeply in me.

"How might this be achieved?" Whispered Holmes. He seemed to have better control of his voice.

I, on the other hand, had hardly any control at all. I had forgotton what we were speaking of and I said as much.

My friend gave a breathless, choked chuckle. His thin white hand passed over my chest, lingering slightly to bring my nipple to aching erection under the thin fabric of my shirt. He stroked down to the waistband of my trousers and his touch firmed. He moved his fingertips over my hip bone, and pressed with the palm of his hand over the straining flesh between my thighs.

White-hot sensation flew through me. All I could think was that I wanted more.

My not entirely inconsiderable sexual exploits had never prepared me for this intensity, this storm of emotion and sensation which mingled inextricably with Holmes at last in my gasp. Wonder, terror, joy, tenderness, anger, exultation, possessiveness--all these, finely interwoven, had bound me for years to Holmes; and all these flared up responsively at his command like dry kindling to the torch.

Holmes presented no objection. I drew him down with me onto the couch--or I should say, I deposited myself on the couch, and drew him onto me, for I pulled Holmes at once into my lap. His thin, muscular legs parted easily around my knees in a most interesting way. I felt my interest in a brief swell of increased arousal, pulsing between my thighs. My trousers fit uncomfortably tightly.

"I thought that would get a response out of you," said Holmes in some satisfaction, bending over me.

His tempting smile was beautiful, but I throbbed, I hurt, with urgency. I wanted him at my mercy. I wanted to see him submissive and eager, stripped of all control, all his pale skin bare to my hands and eyes, writhing against me and arching with all that sensitivity, crying out as I pinned him beneath me and penetrated him again and again. I wanted--

"You wish to assert your claim on me," Holmes breathed softly, reaching to cradle my face in his hands as I tightened my grip on his hips. "I assure you, my dear, I am entirely--open--" he moved his hips suggestively on me, "--to the possibility." And he laid himself down upon me, chest to chest, belly to belly, heavy and warm and pliant, and kissed me.

I wrapped my arms around him and held him close, content merely to sample the textures and flavors of his mouth for the moment, and collect all the wordless murmurs and sighs he made. "Inside and out?" I said, and captured his lips again.

"Inside and out," he said, savoring the words against my mouth. "Inside and out I am yours already, Watson--I assure you that for some time this has been the case. So while I am willing and even anticipate being laid claim to, I feel you should know that the procedure is in a sense unnecessary."

I closed my eyes momentarily and let myself relish the feeling of his light, athletic body stretched against me, shifting continually in a series of minute restless twitches. When I regained the ability to speak--though my eyes, I will admit, still stung, and I felt rather flushed still from the tide of urgency his words had produced--I said faintly, "Procedure, Holmes! You make it sound like a medical job."

"Mmm," he hummed happily against my cheek, and whispered in my ear, "And I hope you have all the necessary implements. I confess I am growing somewhat impatient to--feel all you have to offer me, my dear Watson. ...Watson!" With amusement, "Your face is quite red."

"Go into my room," I said, taking control of myself with some difficulty. "The bed. I will endeavor to find what is necessary." In the end I was forced to take a bottle of lamp oil. My medical bag of course contained several salves and liniments, but I considered that none of them had the proper consistency but would not produce any unfortunate side-effects, such as a tingling sensation or an off-putting odor.

On entering my room and seeing the state of it I had to smile. Holmes's dressing gown and all his clothes were scattered across the floor along with the coverlet from the bed. He had pulled back the blankets and sheets and reclined on one side like an odalisque carved of soap--one hand supporting his head, lips pursed apparently in thought. His body was long, thin and white; his stomach, rather than wholly flat, bore just the suggestion of softness; the bones of his hips protruded almost sharply enough to cast shadows on the translucent skin of his inner thighs, which lay apart.

His sex was of middling length, slender, flushed darkly in its bed of curls and rigidly aroused. His hand curled around its base and he stroked his flesh slowly, seeming lost in ecstasy, as he watched me through slitted eyes. His mouth was open, swollen and red from our kisses.

I could not undress fast enough. I am methodical by nature, but in less than a minute my clothes were strewn about as haphazardly as Holmes's and I knelt above him, holding him caged between my arms and legs. His hands rested on my knees, and Holmes smiled up at me, a slow, gentle, sultry smile calculated, I think, to rouse me. I made a wordless noise and fell upon him, kissing him deeply, desperately, with my mouth open, wet and disordered. His neck, his chin lifted, his mouth opening for me with no protest, and his long slender body arched up against mine, slow and undulating.

He did not speak until I drew back a little, contemplating the wild disarray of his hair, the fast rise and fall of his chest. "Watson," said my friend, "I perceive there on the bed a jar of lamp oil. I beg you to put it to use immediately without further--teasing. I do not like to beg but I fear this feeling will consume me, and I can no longer name it in any sense curiosity. I am deeply--deeply--hungry."

Someday, I thought, I should see Sherlock Holmes beg; but not that day. We had both waited long enough.

I knelt between his legs and opened the jar of oil; I smoothed hands down the tense, trembling muscles of his thighs until they relaxed and fell apart; I took up the oil on my fingers, and felt with them carefully for the dark puckered orifice, my eyes fixed all the while on his face, and his on mine.

The small muscle was soft, resilient to the touch. My friend was highly responsive, arching his back, and by the time I had taken my courage in both hands and broached the entrance with my fingers was writhing and gasping, more beautiful, more arousing than I had imagined. His feet were flat on the bed, his knees raised around me, and he spread them wider apart, thrusting down against my fingers now where at the first he had been still and concentrating.

I was searching for a particular portion of the anatomy, knowing that stimulation to the prostate was said to provide intense pleasure. I knew when I had found it, for Holmes's breath caught in his throat, and he moaned, and choked "Watson--!"

I could not hold back any longer. I withdrew my fingers and adjusted my stance, then lifted Holmes's hips onto my thighs, leaning back and positioning my erect member--hard, engorged with blood--at the small opening. I was forced to move very carefully at first, having no experience with the act; I knew, now, that the channel I prepared to enter was small and very narrow, though slicked carefully with oil, and that my friend had no experience of the sex acts in any form. I broached him carefully with only the tip, then the head, easing carefully into the tightness and warmth while Holmes's face went perfectly still, mouth open, head thrown back.

A spasm of pain passed across his face as I felt myself slide deeper with agonizing slowness, though the sensation was incredible and I longed to release all pretense of control and take him with animal abandon. I remember seeing the muscles of his stomach quiver, tense, and jump; and then he took a deep breath, and released it with a shudder I could feel to my bones. His limbs became like liquid, and the tight muscles sheathing me eased, became welcoming.

As Holmes first began to move his hips against me, I clenched my teeth and shoved deep into his body, until I had buried myself to the hilt. A shudder passed over him and his thighs closed automatically around my hips.

I stilled, struggling for control against the heady sensation, the incredible bliss of burning friction and tight heat, muscles clenching around my whole length in protest or hunger.

His grey eyes opened, brilliant, catching all the lamplight in the room and refracting it at me. His pupils were hugely dilated with arousal. "Watson," he sighed. "Do that again."

I flexed my hips a little, experimentally, and he gasped. Then I pulled carefully back, as far as I could stand it, before pressing into him once more.

It was exquisite; it was irresistable; it was addictive. My friend's body, laid out before me like a feast, glowed faintly, flushed and luminous under a faint sheen of sweat. I withdrew and thrust into him again. His fingers scrabbled at the bedclothes as I leaned back for leverage and gently rocked my hips, creating tiny waves as I moved deep inside him. He writhed, he moaned, he gasped my name, he moved desperately to push himself further upon me.

Finally taking pity on Holmes, I braced myself on the bed with one hand, wrapping the other firmly around his arousal, and gave myself over to filling him as deeply and forcefully as possible. All control, all that I thought of as my veneer of civilization, was gone; I was reduced to a rutting animal, grunting and panting, with no thought in my mind but the fulfillment of my base desires. Every movement deep within Holmes was torture. Nothing was enough. Never before had I felt such a fever of want.

While I was almost silent but the noises of exertion, Holmes cried out my name--first "my dear--my dear Watson," and then as I shifted my position and angle to come deeper within him "John! John!" in shuddering, breathless, sobbing gasps. His head tossed on the pillow, his hair plastered to his face with sweat, as I clasped him tightly in my fist. Finally his whole body became taut, and relaxed in a great sweet wave as he spilled his seed over both our bellies and his anus clenched around me.

The sensation was overwhelming. He lay limp and unresisting, his muscles soft and welcoming, clinging to my length as I thrust to completion in his spent body and finally spent myself as well within him.

For long moments I was motionless, kneeling above him, my whole body alive with aftershocks of sensation. My member had not yet begun to soften within him when Holmes breathed two deep sighs and awkwardly pushed himself to a sitting position in my lap. I saw him catch his breath as my hardness stirred him, but he relaxed again, stroking back my hair, along my jaw with both hands and murmuring sounds too soft for me to understand as words. My friend pulled me into his arms and I relaxed, slowly and gradually.

We lay back carefully in the ruin of the sheets, our bodies still joined, and clung to each other as before in the sitting room. This time we were waiting for the storm of emotion to pass. No words were spoken. Lassitude stole over me as tension, anger, fear and apprehension--even possessiveness--seemed to seep away, as water into dry ground.

Holmes was never still. His eyelashes fluttered on my cheek, his fingers carding through my hair, his thumbs tracing each vertabra in my spine in turn. But he did not move away, and he did not speak until we were on the verge of sleep.

"Well," he mused, "an interesting little problem solved."

"Indeed, Holmes?" I yawned. I was too tired to turn my head to see what his face might have conveyed.

"Mmm," was thankfully all he said, and I let my eyes close again and pressed my face into my pillow, which now smelled faintly of Holmes's hair.

Soon after this I was asleep, but I have some faint recollection of a last few words of Holmes's, before slumber entirely claimed me. "All the interesting little problems which life presents," I thought he said; "And Sherlock Holmes free to devote himself to their examination... at last."