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Fic: Bending the Rules (ACD-verse)

Author: methylviolet10b
Rating: Hard R, verging towards NC-17
Character(s): Sherlock Holmes/John Watson, John Watson/Mary Morstan, mention of many canon characters
Summary: Holmes had a number of rules in his life. Then came John Watson.
Warnings: Spoilers for lots of canon detail, but understandable without knowing canon. In addition, absolutely no beta and written in under 24 hours. You have been warned.
Word Count: 2,160
Author's Notes: Written for the come_at_once challenge, in response to the following prompt: bending the rules.
Disclaimer: I don't own them.

Prior to the advent of the good doctor, I had a number of regular practices which I adhered to without fail. For example, I never ate when engaged in experimental work, the better to concentrate blood to my brain. This worked extremely well; my thoughts were keener, my senses sharper. Finding the method sound, I applied it when I began to take on cases. It was very successful, and I made it a rule never to eat while on a case.

I kept this rule faithfully until Watson began accompanying me on cases.

He argued strenuously against the practice. Several times he even went so far as to claim that lack of food had led to bodily weakness and shortness of temper on my part. These arguments had little merit, or even basis in fact. I am a brain, first and foremost, and despite a few momentary incidents, did not need to eat regularly, even when engaged on long, physically demanding cases. Yet Watson persisted in his efforts to get me to eat, and over time, I observed two things. One: if I did stop to partake of a light meal or a few mouthfuls of food, Watson also took the opportunity to refresh himself, and was much the better for it afterwards. Physically, he was still far too thin from his unfortunate experiences in Afghanistan, and mentally, his outlook always improved after a meal. This related to Two: if I allowed Watson to believe he was assisting me in a material way (i.e., by caring for me and ‘reminding’ me to eat), his outlook improved immeasurably. A more cheerful and energetic companion was preferable to a wan and morose one. Logically, therefore, I started bending my own rule about never eating while engaged upon cases. My consumption of a few biscuits, or a light breakfast, or something of that nature was a small price to pay for Watson’s improved health.

Another rule I formulated early in my career was never to wait upon another in the pursuit of the truth. Several times in the beginning of my work I waited upon policemen and Inspectors, only to wind up losing my quarry due to their mental dullness, physical ineptitude, or most often both. I learned to rely upon my own soundness of body and superior intellect, and not wait for another.

This rule, too, had to be bent when I invited Watson on what proved to be our first case together.

Watson’s health at the time was still alarmingly poor. He had improved from our original meeting, true. However, I had long since observed that he was a man of action and of reasonable intelligence, and that neither quality was suited to the life of a recovering invalid. The enforced inactivity of convalescence weighed heavily upon his spirits, which in turn slowed his ongoing recovery. Having no desire to find myself in need of finding yet another fellow-lodger – and knowing full well even then that I was unlikely find another man that suited my residential requirements as well as this one – I deliberately encouraged his involvement, despite knowing his presence would slow my progress.

I did not have to wait on Watson nearly as much as I had expected. Mentally and physically, he rose to the challenge of the case. I still had to bend my rule about waiting on others, then and in cases that followed, but his company proved worthy. Once his health improved, his natural athleticism meant I no longer had to worry about his keeping up with me on a foot-chase. His mind, however, was never able to keep pace with mine. Watson is more intelligent than he gives himself credit for, but he is not my intellectual equal. Few men are. However, he did his best to follow my reasoning, which is more than most have ever done. His assistance was often useful, and sometimes invaluable.

And then there was my most deeply-held, closely-guarded, never-violated rule.

I am just a man, whatever Watson may say, and no matter how mechanical my portrayal appears in his stories. I am no stranger to the pleasures of the flesh. As a boy I felt all the urges of hot youth, and I explored them as eagerly as any. I quickly learned – through observation and experimentation – my preferences in matters of sex. I realized at a young age that the shape of my desire did not conform to the standards of modern society, but instead was irrevocably classical in nature. In fact, some of my earliest lessons in deduction arose from the necessity of knowing whom it might be safe to approach, and whom I must avoid if I wished to keep my secret and my reputation. The safest path was of course to conceal all, and tend to my needs myself. But I am not naturally attracted to ‘safe’, any more than I am attracted to the gentler sex. Furthermore, I had some youthfully romantic notions, yearnings for attachment beyond simple gratification or hasty, half-anonymous encounters. I believed that I could find more, have more.

One painful, near-disastrous experiment in the combination of sex and sentiment swiftly destroyed any illusions I held in that regard. From that time onward, I vowed that I would never make the same mistake. I would not love. And as my interest in the criminal world intensified, I saw the wisdom – the necessity – of preventing any possible exposure, protecting myself against any future enemies. My rule expanded: I would not love, and I would not touch. No physical gratification, no emotional satisfaction, no man was worth the cost.

I was never tempted to violate this rule. Not until Watson.

I am the second-most observant man in England. As such, I had no trouble discerning the attraction Watson felt for my person from almost the earliest days of our acquaintance. It was faint at first, mostly drowned by his physical ills. As he recovered, the signs grew more frequent. His attempts to conceal his feelings were as endearing as they were useless, at least to my eye. Others remained astonishingly oblivious to the shy, lingering glances Watson sent my way, and the various excuses he found to touch me.

Touches, I admit, I found difficult to resist. It was pleasant to walk arm and arm with my friend through the park or along a lane. I enjoyed feeling the press of his hand on my shoulder as he leaned over my shoulder to examine something I showed him. I found cab-rides easier to tolerate when sitting side-by-side with him, feeling his thighs and knees jostling against my own. Even the simple sound of his breathing exerted a strange, positive effect over me.

It did not take a detective to reason out that my attraction to Watson was at least as strong as his for me. Nor was it difficult for me to determine that he would be receptive if I decided to approach him, despite the fact that unlike me, Watson had dreams of a wife and family, children of his own.

I did nothing. I neither discouraged Watson nor encouraged him. I thought that the attraction would pass in time without any effort required on either of our parts. If I stroked my prick in the bath (or in my bed, or dangerously, infrequently, while in his company in the cloaking mist of the steam-rooms) while imagining Watson’s hands upon it, speculating how his moustache might feel against my lips, my belly, my groin; came to climax with my lips firmly clamped together to avoid crying out his name, what of it? My lust harmed no one as long as I did not speak of it. I did not want to risk damaging the deepest, most satisfying friendship I had ever known.

I did not realize how much deeper my feelings went than simple attraction until the Baskerville case. My jealousy of Sir Henry – my inability to remain working in London when Watson was in danger – my tumultuous emotions when I realized Watson thought I did not trust him or value him – all were unmistakable clues. This was more than attraction. Mere friendship, however deep, could not evoke such upheaval in my usually well-ordered mind. That night in Baskerville Hall, alone in my chamber and with Sir Henry’s case well in hand, I forced myself to evaluate all the evidence of my actions, every aspect of my emotions. The conclusion was obvious, and inescapable: I was well on my way to being in love with the man.

I knew what I must do. I manipulated him into the arms of the first suitable client we came across. Miss Morstan was brave, intelligent, loyal, and loving; very like Watson himself. She would care for him as he deserved. Watson would have the family he had always wanted. And with Watson at a prudent remove, I would be safe from love, while still keeping his friendship.

Or so I theorized. It is always a fatal mistake to theorize without having all of the data. And it matters of love, of the heart, I did not have sufficient understanding to realize my mistake until it had already been made.

Distance and marriage did not stop my love for Watson, or curb my longings for his body and his affections. It merely increased my awareness of how dear he was to me, now that I no longer had his daily company. Thoughts of him filled my nights. I had not been previously prone to dreams, but now it seemed that I could scarcely close my eyes without seeing visions of Watson, gloriously nude (as I had often glimpsed him in the Turkish bath and shared hotel-rooms), grinning at me, lying beside me in my lonely bed, or kneeling before me with eyes dark with lust and soft with fondness as he took me into his mouth. Evidence of my nightly longing became distressingly common in the cool linen of my sheets.

I never spoke of this. I concealed this knowledge in the deepest recesses of my mind, and threw myself into my work. It did not curb my feelings, but sheer exhaustion kept at least some of the dreams at bay.

Then came the Moriarty case. All else faded before the urgent need to defeat him and his organization. To protect those few I valued – Mrs. Hudson, Lestrade, my brother, the Watsons – from those trying to destroy me before I could destroy them. To save London, and in a small but very real sense, England herself, from the corruption that threatened the very fabric of the justice that made them what they were.

For all his intelligence and knowledge, Moriarty never guessed what Watson truly meant to me. Even so, he knew enough to target him. It was for his sake as much as my own that I spirited him away with me to the Continent. It was his own insistence, however, that kept him by my side when Scotland Yard failed to apprehend the master criminal in the nets I had so carefully woven for them.

I should have understood something then about my friend. But I confess that I did not come to the correct conclusion until I heard the terrible heartbreak and anguish in his voice as he repeatedly screamed my name, staring down into what he thought was my watery grave.

I was not the only one who had loved despite the rules, or had hidden my love away from its object. I knew Watson cared for me, but I had not realized until then that he loved me as much as he did his Mary.

Would I have acted differently if I had known? It was one question among many that haunted me in the three years we were apart. However, by the time circumstances changed enough to allow my return, I had resolved one issue in my mind.

Some rules were meant to be bent. Others must stand – or be utterly broken.

I invited Watson out to dinner the evening after Moran’s capture. At my suggestion, I accompanied him back to his small house, ostensibly to share a post-prandial brandy.

I had other plans.

There, in the privacy of the sitting-room above his consulting practice, with his servants gone for the night, I went to my knees before him. In a few simple words I laid my heart bare. I found myself wanting to beg his forgiveness, too, for some reason, but forced myself to hold my tongue and wait, breathless, for Watson to respond.

He did not keep me waiting long. He sat there in frozen astonishment for a few moments, eyes wide with emotions I dared not name. Then he lunged out of his chair to crouch before me. His arms went around me in a fierce grip, and his lips came down on mine.

He felt and tasted far better than I had ever dreamed. The feel of his moustache against my skin instantly became one of my favorite sensations in the entire world. I had never been kissed by a man with facial hair before, much less by one with as much tenderness, longing, and love harboured in his soul for me.

I had wanted him for so long, I expected little more than a frantic fumbling of hands beneath clothing and those explosive, hasty kisses. But in this Watson proved far wiser than I. After just a few minutes, he pulled back, tugged me to my feet, and led me to his bedroom. There, he tenderly stripped us both bare, laid me down on his coverlet, and began exploring me, every inch of me, with his lips and fingers and tongue.

I could scarcely think for all the sensations coursing through me. The emotion in every caress, as much as the physical sensation, threatened to undo me entirely. My prick strained and jerked, wanting, needing – but I needed too. “Watson, I… I…” I gasped, struggling for words.

“Shh, Holmes,” he murmured, his lips vibrating against one nipple. “Let me do this, please. Let me know you, love.”

Love. I could do nothing but surrender. “Yes. Yes, anything. And me, too. Let me know you.”

My Watson looked up, love, lust, and a trace of humor twinkling in the depths of his eyes. “You always know everything.”

“Not this,” I panted.

Happiness, awe, and utter devotion chased across Watson’s expressive features. “Then you will, now and always.” He slid lower, and his mouth engulfed me.

I lasted a pitifully short time. I might have felt some embarrassment over that, but how could I, when the bliss was so intense, and when it freed me to devour Watson as he had me? His phallus was thick and hot on my tongue. He tasted like nothing I had words to describe, and the sounds he made were enough alone to send my groin stirring again.

And he lasted no longer than I did, that first time.

We have been together ever since, in every way. At first I tried to deny our mutual passion when on a case, but this merely made us both unhappy and irritable. I found myself bending even more rules for him, as he did for me. Once counting himself a truthful narrator, he writes many lies into those stories of his now, to better protect us both from the censure of the world, the injustice of the law, and the malice of our foes.

We are both servants of justice, who will nonetheless bend – or break – any rule for the sake of each other. That is the exception that proves the rest.


( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 8th, 2013 10:15 pm (UTC)
I like Holmes' reasoning for bending the rules and I especially like the way you've implied that Watson is happy with Mary (because I do like them as a couple) and that it is only after her death that the two bend the final rule.
Feb. 9th, 2013 01:34 am (UTC)
Thank you! I too believe that whatever else might have been true about Holmes and Watson, Watson and Mary were happy together.
Feb. 8th, 2013 11:56 pm (UTC)
Oh, very nice and touching. And worthy of a porn challenge, too. Yay for mustaches. ;)
Feb. 9th, 2013 01:34 am (UTC)
Hee hee! Thank you so much!
Feb. 9th, 2013 12:02 am (UTC)
Very very nice!
One teeny typo: "Happiness, awe, and butter devotion" probably not.
Anyway, I agree with the previous comment. I don't like it when fics belittle Mary's presence in Watson's life. I can never see him - or either of them - casually betraying her.
I love your description of Holmes's rules and how he came to forge them; and of course your description of how he came to bend them is superb as usual.
Feb. 9th, 2013 01:35 am (UTC)
Yikes - the dangers of posting in a hurry! I've fixed it now, thanks. :-) And no, I don't see casual betrayal of any sort as being true to canon as I understand it. :-)

Thank you!
Feb. 9th, 2013 02:35 am (UTC)
om nom nom, delicious progression.
Feb. 9th, 2013 04:16 am (UTC)
Thank you! It was a fun challenge, and a great prompt.
Feb. 9th, 2013 03:28 am (UTC)
<3 what a lovely early Valentine. Watson, the exception to all those rules. <3
Feb. 9th, 2013 04:16 am (UTC)
Watson is exceptional, absolutely. :-) I'm so glad you liked this. Thank you!
Feb. 9th, 2013 07:11 am (UTC)
::applauds:: Love, love it! Perfect Holmes voice, well-built story, and sweet-sexy smut. Yay!
Feb. 10th, 2013 09:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! As you know, smut isn't exactly my area. I really missed the guidance of a beta-reader on this, but given the timeframe, I think it didn't come out too badly. :-)
Feb. 9th, 2013 12:19 pm (UTC)
There is a beautiful, gentle logic to this which is a pleasure to follow as Holmes reaches the logical conclusion and embraces sentiment (as an exception to the rule, of course).
Feb. 10th, 2013 09:01 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you found this logical; I was really trying to incorporate that into the progression. Thank you!
Feb. 9th, 2013 06:24 pm (UTC)
But I am not naturally attracted to ‘safe’, any more than I am attracted to the gentler sex No, indeed. Great Holmes-voice, full of rationalisations and, eventually, truths.
Feb. 10th, 2013 09:02 pm (UTC)
...and you picked out one of the sentences that I struggled with, yet really loved in the final result. :-) A compliment from you on my Holmes-voice is a huge compliment indeed. Thank you!
Feb. 10th, 2013 09:25 pm (UTC)
As one who knows full well what a challenge Holmes-voice can be, I like to give credit where it's due :-)
Feb. 10th, 2013 04:32 am (UTC)
Oh, this melted my heart entirely.

Some rules were meant to be bent. Others must stand – or be utterly broken.

Yes, thank goodness, yes.
Feb. 10th, 2013 09:02 pm (UTC)
Wow, thank you so much! I'm so glad you liked this.
Feb. 10th, 2013 03:07 pm (UTC)
I love the way this is written, from the prose style to the structure, with the explanation of each rule. And that through breaking each one, he is really proving his devotion to and love of Watson more surely.
Feb. 10th, 2013 09:06 pm (UTC)
Exactly - each bending of a rule (and the eventual breakage of the most critical one) is inspired by his growing consideration (and feelings) for his Watson. Which devotion Watson returns, as he repeatedly proved in canon. ;-)

Thank you!
Feb. 11th, 2013 08:17 am (UTC)
How is it possible that you can not only churn out fic in a single day, much less have it be so thoroughly good??? The buildup here was wonderful - just the right amount of angst - but your Holmes voice. Incredible.

And my heart may have wibbled a bit when the boys finally got together. You are a first class smut writer, and if I could draw hearts all over this, I would. <3
Feb. 14th, 2013 03:22 am (UTC)
This challenge was definitely difficult, both for the time limit and the subject matter, and I'm afraid it shows in the text. But I bet you would do brilliantly at something like this. Real life permitting, you should sign up for the next round! :-D

...if I could draw hearts all over this, I would.

You just did with your comments, you utter darling. You're entirely too kind, and I thank you for it. :-D
Feb. 14th, 2013 08:10 am (UTC)
It shows nothing of the sort. This was brilliantly executed, and the fic was even better than the prompt. *nods*

And if I can beat my muse into submission, maybe I'll dip my toe into a fic challenge. I'd love to get more involved in fandom again... but for now am happy reading your efforts :D
Feb. 16th, 2013 02:44 am (UTC)
A more cheerful and energetic companion was preferable to a wan and morose one. Ha!

Having no desire to find myself in need of finding yet another fellow-lodger Ha again!

Holmes's sexual exploration (evolution?) is perfectly done and his view that no man is worth it - until Watson - is wonderful. The mention of physical touch and its ties to canon is lovely as well.

Ah, goodness, Holmes fantasizing is hot - amazingly so.

The idea of Holmes manipulating Watson into marriage is - well - revelatory to me. I really have to thank you for that, it's completely brilliant and I am warily circling it as head-canon which is preferable to Watson being a completely unreliable narrator as far as wives go. I really love the idea that the whole problem in continuity grew out of this marriage planned by Holmes which after Mary died became a narrative tool meant to keep suspicion at bay. The half-truth and half-fiction aspect appeals greatly.

A repentant Holmes on his knees is also quite moving.

Masterful use of the prompt!

Fabulous work all around. Thank you.

Edited at 2013-02-16 02:45 am (UTC)
Feb. 17th, 2013 07:11 pm (UTC)
Hee hee! Thank you so much; your thoughtful and enthusiastic comments made me smile from ear to ear. I'm glad you liked the references to them touching each other in canon. It's interesting how often touch is mentioned in the stories, even the short ones.

I am personally not a fan of Baring-Gould's theories on multiple wives for Watson (particularly not one *before* Mary), so I've often wondered about Watson's references to his wife and how they relate to the chronology. Personally, I lean towards the idea that generally speaking, his narration is less reliable the later the stories are, simply because Watson has more to conceal. Whether that's because he's more aware of potential criminal retaliation, the need to protect clients, or other reasons, is of course up to the reader to decide. ;-)

Again, thanks for the comments and the discussion!
Feb. 26th, 2013 11:14 am (UTC)
Oh wow, that was gorgeous!
Feb. 27th, 2013 03:20 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )