Title: Forgetting Reason
Fandom: SH (BBC)
Slash Pairing: Sherlock/John
Overview: The events which occur after "The Great Game"
Rating: NC-17 (eventually)
Genre: Romance, Hurt/Comfort
“Right, you need to get into some dry clothes Sherlock – going to sleep in wet clothes isn’t going to help your recovery” John says as he helps his friend through the front door and up the stairs to their flat. “Can you sit on the couch for just 5 minutes while I get some clothes for you? Actually, where are your clothes? Y’know I’ve never been inside your bedroom before but shall I assume they will be obvious?”
“Ah, John...it may be better if you don’t go in there until I can disable the booby-trap...err I mean experiment I’ve got set up in there.” Sherlock says faintly as he is gently helped onto the leather couch in the living room. “I think I’ve got some clean clothes around here somewhere...” he continues vaguely. John starts poking at the piles of random books, dirty crockery and boxes of goodness-only-knows-what and finally comes across what looks like some clothes. He gingerly picks up one corner of the cloth which *crunches* alarmingly as it moves and is stuck quite firmly to a copy of last month’s British Medical Journal magazine.
“Hmm...Sherlock do I want to know what you’ve done to this to turn this shirt bright green and stick like glue to my magazine? Actually, on second thoughts I really don’t want to know! Just stay there and I’ll go and find something for you to change into ok?” John mutters to himself as he goes upstairs to his own room and quickly strips off and changes into a pair of dry jeans and a grey woollen jumper. Feeling the warmth of his dry clothes sink into his skin he rifles through his chest of drawers for something that will at least approximately fit his tall, slim flatmate, eventually coming up with a pair of very faded blue denim jeans, a little tight in the waist for him now, and a faded black t-shirt which has always been far too large for him. Snagging a dry towel off the rail in the bathroom on his way past John goes back downstairs and finds Sherlock hunched up on the couch, shivering a little, with the ratty blanket still wrapped around his shoulders.
“Come on mate, I’ve got some dry stuff for you to change into.” John says cheerfully, quietly a little concerned at his patient’s glazed eyes, slightly flushed cheeks and sluggish reactions. “Can you get yourself undressed Sherlock?” John asks, standing in front of him and watching his reactions closely.
“John?” Sherlock murmurs without raising his eyes to the man in front of him, “John? I’m not feeling right. I think something’s wrong...” his voice fades off as his shivers ratchet up a notch and his eyes start to droop.
“Ok, I’ll help then” John says as he deposits the dry clothes on the arm of the couch and swiftly kneels down in front of Sherlock. He gently untangles his friend’s clenched fingers from the edge of the blanket and eases it off his shoulders before starting to undo the buttons on his shirt. John is trying to maintain clinical detachment while he continues to undress his friend but as each inch of Sherlock’s chest is revealed he becomes more and more concerned. He has rarely seen his eccentric flatmate eat but had assumed that he was simply not the type to eat in front of other people, however judging by the rib bones visible on his now bare chest it would seem that he simply didn’t eat at all, or not very much at any rate. “Definitely something that we are going to change mate.” John mutters under his breath glancing up at Sherlock’s face to see his glazed eyes watching him as he slides the damp shirt sleeves down the long pale arms in front of him. Picking up the towel John briskly rubs it over the fragile torso and arms, pulling Sherlock into his chest so that he leans forward and John can dry his back where every vertebra is visible beneath the almost transparent white skin. Sherlock slumps against him and tucks his head the doctor’s neck tiredly, his nose icy cold against his warm throat. John resists the urge to wrap his arms around his suddenly fragile seeming friend and gently sets him upright again, stretches the neck of the old t-shirt over his head and then helps him thread his arms through. Gently lying him down on the couch he lifts each of Sherlock’s feet to remove his black leather shoes and sopping wet black socks revealing surprisingly delicate, pale feet and slender toes. Moving up to unbuckle his belt and then undoing his trousers John is careful to keep his touch cool and professional, though with Sherlock’s eyes as glazed as they are it is unlikely that he is aware of his current surroundings anyway. He struggles to slide the waistband of the damp trousers and the briefs beneath them over Sherlock’s bony hips and down his pale legs, carefully keeping his gaze fixed on his hands and not the flesh he has uncovered. Finally pulling them off his feet and rubbing the towel over his patient’s legs and then very briefly around his waist he feeds the long legs one at a time into the soft, faded denim of the jeans he brought down from his room. As he reaches Sherlock’s waist he realizes that he doesn’t have any dry underclothes for him, he pauses briefly considering, then is simply thankful that these particular jeans have a button fly – he doesn’t want to consider the added complication of avoiding a messy collision of sensitive skin and metal zippers – before doing up each button and turning his attention to warming his friend up.
Sherlock’s brain is not supplying him with any pertinent facts at the moment and if he were not so bone-weary that would bother him a lot more than it currently does. He can feel someone, John he assumes, moving his body around gently and the slow seeping warmth of dry clothing replacing clammy dampness. His head feels fuzzy and he can’t seem to stop the tremors wracking his body or his thoughts from flying around his head, darting from one topic to another. His mind keeps coming back to the man who is currently murmuring softly to him, words that don’t makes sense to his fever-wracked brain but comfort him nonetheless. He can feel John’s cool hand rest on his hot forehead and cheek briefly before he hears John move away from the couch. Sherlock can hear a pitiful whimper and wonders for a moment where it is coming from before it strikes him that it is actually himself making the noise.
“It’s ok Sherlock – I’m just in the kitchen getting you something to drink and some paracetamol & ibruprofen to help your fever. I’ll be back in just a minute” John calls out across the flat as he hears Sherlock’s sounds of distress and can see him shifting around weakly on the couch as though trying to find him. His voice seems to calm the sick man slightly so John keeps up a running commentary as he fills a glass with water from the tap and walks carefully back to the couch. “Ok, I’m going to help you sit up and you need to take these tablets – they’ll help you feel better ok Sherlock?” John says gently as he slides one arm underneath Sherlock’s shoulders and levers him up before he slides his own body partially behind him to help support his weight. He helps Sherlock to put the tablets, one at a time, into his mouth and holds the glass up to his mouth, quietly murmuring encouragements as he tips the glass up and Sherlock swallows the pills. Carefully placing the glass on the lamp table beside the couch he rests his palm on Sherlock’s forehead again, almost unconsciously stroking the still damp sable curls as he waits for the medication to start taking effect.
“What am I going to do with you hmmm?” John says quietly to his companion, “I can’t let you sleep out here, this couch simply isn’t long enough for you or very comfy...I suppose you’ll have to sleep in my bed until you are lucid enough to tell me how to un-trap your bedroom.” John sighs deeply as he resigns himself to an uncomfortable night on the couch, or more likely the chair in his bedroom so he can keep an eye on his patient. “Well, I suppose there’s no time like the present eh Sherlock?”
Sherlock can feel the gentle fingers running through his hair, wondering vaguely if John is even aware that he is doing it, or that he is essentially talking to himself. When he feels John shift out from behind him he makes an effort to crack open his impossibly heavy eyelids to find out where his friend is going. He had been listening to his carer’s monologue but hadn’t been able to discern the individual words or any meanings in his deep, rumbling murmurs. John is talking more loudly now, trying to get his attention, holding him upright on the couch even as Sherlock is trying to lie back down. He can feel sleep clawing at him, trying to drag him under as John keeps talking to him and is now trying to drag Sherlock to his feet. Slowly, clumsily he somehow manages to stand, leaning heavily on his much shorter friend as he struggles for balance.
“Come on Sherlock, work with me here. I’m taking you to bed, just a couple more minutes and then you can sleep for as long as you like ok?” John coaxes the mostly asleep man as he half carries him through the living room and slowly up the stairs into his spartan bedroom. He manoeuvres Sherlock onto the double bed and arranges his long limbs under the chocolate brown sheets and matching duvet. He sits on the edge of the bed, running his rough, calloused hand over Sherlock’s forehead, cheek and neck to assure himself that the fever was abating somewhat. There are still two bright spots of colour high on Sherlock’s cheeks but his fever is less than it was and John considered that it is now at an acceptable level to allow his patient to sleep for a few hours.
He adjusts Sherlock’s hands on top of the bed covers and checks his pulse once more, just to reassure himself that he is still alive, that John hasn’t lost the man who has so quickly become such an important part of his life, his friend and his companion. As he begins to let go of Sherlock’s wrist he feels his hand being grabbed in a surprisingly strong grip.
“Don’t...” Sherlock slurs sleepily
“Don’t what Sherlock?” John asks quietly, drooping with exhaustion and the after effects of adrenaline himself.
“Don’t leave.” Sherlock says softly, “Please stay...tonight...” His voice trails off even as his grip remains strong on John’s hand.
“Ok mate, I’ll stay here. The bed’s plenty big enough for two.” John disentangles his fingers from Sherlock’s grip before quickly taking off his jumper and sliding between the sheets, keeping a careful distance between them, too shattered from the night’s events to feel more than the slightest twinge of discomfit at the current sleeping arrangements. He lies on his back and feels himself sliding quickly into the welcome embrace of oblivion. His last conscious thought is how warm Sherlock’s fingers are as they once again entwine with his own.