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Title: A Journey to the Core (Part 5 of ?)
Author: [info]nunewesen
Fandom: Sherlock Holmes (ACD)
Genre: pre-slash, slash, romance
Rating: R to be on the safe side
Pairing(s): Holmes/Watson (eventually)

Dr. Watson is finding himself unusually uncomfortable in his friendship with Sherlock Holmes. He decides to take a break and visit an old friend and client to clear his mind. But things do not work out exactly as anticipated, and so this particular journey takes him much further than simply into the country of Devonshire...

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4


New Territory

To a stranger it might have occurred as an odd thing to do after such a memorable talk - but a few moments later we found ourselves examining the various billiard items. We did not have to discuss the reasons, but instinctively we felt the need for a little intermission at this point, a chance to catch our breaths and to marvel at the step we had just taken.

I suddenly remembered the conversation with our host on the evening of my arrival. "You know, my dear chap, Sir Henry had already been speculating about you and me finding the spare time between cases to practise this game together."

Holmes raised a single eyebrow in a way only he is capable of. "And with that, of course, you are referring to billiards, right?" His mouth twitched in amusement.

I coughed slightly, but I made no effort to suppress my grin. "Indeed."

"Well," he said, weighing one of the cues in his hand. "Actually I think it might be a good idea to try my hand at it. After all, this is about hand-eye-coordination, angles, physics, strategy... and... not to mention I'd enjoy sharing a pastime with you..."

I confess this suggestion, especially when expressed with such a disarming smile, warmed my heart quite ridiculously, and I was only too eager to comply with this idea. So I began to acquaint my friend with the basic rules, showed him how to deliver a shot and so on.

In between Barrymore appeared, but only in order to ask if we required anything. I could hardly tell the butler that right now I truly had everything I wanted, so I asked him for some tea. And so the rest of morning passed with Holmes and my sipping tea, playing billiards and getting comfortable with the prospect of the enhancement of our relationship, while Sir Henry seemed too busy (or too tactful?) to interrupt us.

Holmes actually turned out to be a natural at the game, and I had hardly a doubt that within short he might develop into a worthy opponent... or rather partner, I rephrased my thoughts, and the very word sent a distinctive tingle down my spine.

We had taken off our jackets, playing in vest and sleeves now, and I revelled in the sight of my friend's elegant movements, growing more and more secure with time. At one point, though, I felt compelled to perfom a minor correction. "You might want to try it like this..." I said and stepped behind him, my arms reaching around him to adjust his grip on the billiard cue.

I was suddenly standing much too close behind him, almost like spooning him in this unusual posture, our upper bodies slightly bent over the table. We froze in midst of the movement, both standing perfectly still... I believe I could even feel the warmth radiating from his body, and there was also a certain scent, warm and clean and intoxicating.

"John...," he breathed, his voice barely above a whisper. Then he moved slightly, leaning into my embrace, for all of a sudden this had nothing to do with a game anymore, and it was like he was melting into me, while he allowed his head to rest against my shoulder.

At that moment I wanted him so badly I could hardly breathe, and yet I could not even know how far he was intending to go with his "explorations".

Once more, though, he proved how short of reading my mind he was indeed, as he took my hand, lifted it to his face and placed a lingering kiss into the centre of my palm.

I could not prevent the low moan that escaped my mouth, and I instinctively took half a step backwards to bring a minimum of space between our lower torsos. I am a man, after all, and there is a limit of self-control, and somehow I had to resist the overwhelming urge of pressing myself against him and taking advantage of the horizontal surface of the billiard table.

He turned around to face me again, his gaze burning into mine, and that moment he allowed me to read everything about his intentions I needed to know.

"I very much regret," he said with a voice that was soft, but fuelled with something else, "...to interrupt this. But I fear it will only be a question of little time before we will be summoned to table."

We reluctantly released each other, and Holmes handed me my jacket. It is possible that we fussed about one another a bit longer than neccessary, making sure that our ties, collars and cuffs were straightened, buttons closed and so on, but it rendered the time to regain our composure as well. I felt his hand at the small of my back when he finally followed me into the hall.

Chapter 6