Fandom: SH (BBC)
Slash Pairing: Sherlock/John
Web Address: http://kiltar.livejournal.com/335180.htm
Overview: The events which occur after "The Great Game"
Rating: NC-17 (eventually)
Genre: Romance, Hurt/Comfort
Chapter 1 (word count 1,723)
Chapter 2 (word count 2,531)
Chapter 3 (word count 1,928)
John is startled awake several hours later by an unexpected and sudden weight landing on his chest. With his heart pounding from the shock of being dragged from the depths of sleep so quickly he peers blearily around the familiar room, picking out faint outlines of furniture in the dim light that is seeping around the edges of the thermal-backed curtains covering the window. He rolls his head cautiously to the side and is only somewhat relieved to see that the weight still residing on his chest is merely his flatmate’s arm which he has flung out in his sleep. Sherlock is lying on his back in the middle of the double bed, his body pressed up close to John with his arms and legs spread wide. His left foot is poking out of the covers and dangling over the edge of the mattress, his right calf almost entwined with John’s own leg. Somehow he has managed to spread out in his sleep leaving John lying on a scant foot and a half of mattress right on the edge of the bed. John gingerly reaches up and gently lifts Sherlock’s arm from his chest before carefully repositioning it on the bed between them. He then disentangles his leg and tries, without success, to shift his body slightly further away from Sherlock’s. There really isn’t anywhere for him to shift to though and he is already dangerously close to falling off the edge of the bed. He sighs and looks over to his frustrating bedfellow accepting the close proximity for now - he can see that Sherlock is still sleeping heavily, his mouth open slightly, breath coming slowly and evenly, eyes flickering from side to side under pale eyelids as he dreams whatever it is that high functioning sociopaths dream about.
John feels surprisingly comfortable considering his scant sleeping space and the fact that he is sharing his bed with another human for the first time in many years. Of course he has been with women since joining the Army, usually a string of moderately successful dates culminating in several enjoyable hours spent in bed together before he is suddenly gripped by claustrophobia and has to leave. He tries to explain that he doesn’t feel comfortable inflicting his snoring on anyone but the excuses ring hollow even to his ears and the lady inevitably feels justifiably ill-treated and John doesn’t see them again. He has come to accept his solitary nights, to not share his private space with anyone else and not have to worry that his reoccurring nightmares will wake his bedfellow brings with it a sort of freedom. This solitary life can be lonely sometimes though, there are some nights when the dreams are too real and the memories won’t let him rest. Long hours in the pre-dawn darkness when all he desperately craves is human comfort, a reassuring touch or conversation to take his mind off the horrors he keeps locked away in the back of his head during the day. He used to pace frantically back and forth in the small half-way house bedsit, trying desperately to avoid going over the edge and descending into full blown insanity as memories and fears played on repeat in his head. He took to reciting passages from half-remembered medical textbooks over and over again just to keep himself together until the sun rose and he could try to face another day. Once he moved into 221B Baker Street he found that the nightmares were less, usually because he was running around after his eccentric flatmate and subsequently when he did get a chance to sleep his body was so exhausted that he didn’t dream. On the occasions where his mental torments kept him from sleep he would wander downstairs and inevitably Sherlock would be awake, crouched on the couch pensively plucking the strings of his violin or conducting another madcap experiment in the kitchen. Sherlock was not interested in conversation during these times but for John just settling himself onto the lounge chair he had claimed as his own and observing his friend as he was absorbed in his tasks was enough to keep the nightmare thoughts at bay until the sun rose and another day began. He doesn’t know if Sherlock is aware of just how much those early morning hours spent in his mostly silent company means to him but suspects that his flatmate has little interest in the reasons John is awake at such an unsocial hour and providing he doesn’t distract him with chatter he doesn’t take further note of his presence.
At the moment though John is comfortably drowsy and his memories of the war are blissfully silent. He begins to relax back into sleep, feeling the warmth of the duvet, the softness of the mattress and hearing the faint sounds of London traffic underneath the quiet breathing of his companion. *THUD* John jumps as his body is once again rudely shocked back into full wakefulness by the sudden weight of Sherlock’s arm landing on his chest. John heaves a sigh and moves the offending limb off his body again, this time less gently, before rolling carefully onto his right side, his back towards his sleeping friend, shutting his eyes and trying to relax again. He can hear Sherlock shifting behind him, moving around irritably, can imagine too the slight frown on his face as he sleepily tries to spread out and his long limbs encounter John’s back.
“John...” Sherlock whimpers pathetically as he continues to shift around restlessly on the bed, “John... can’t find...where?...” his voice is soft and the words slur together, sounding childish and somehow vulnerable.
“Shhh Sherlock – I’m just here. Just go back to sleep, everything’s fine” John sooths as he rolls his tired body over towards his distressed friend, hauls himself up to lean against the bed head and then puts his palm against Sherlock’s frowning forehead. His temperature is normal so it isn’t a fever which is bothering him John thinks as he absently strokes the tangled curls under his fingers trying to kick-start his tired brain into diagnosing the reason for his friend’s restlessness. He is dragged from his thoughts by a contented murmur and a strange sucking noise. He glances down and sees Sherlock gazing up at him from under his thick black eyelashes, pupils blown wide and no hint of the usual awareness behind them, his thumb firmly stuck in his mouth. John can’t keep the surprise off his face as he takes in this image of Sherlock; a man renowned for his cutting wit and for having a caustic barb for every occasion, sucking his thumb - complete with forefinger hooked over his nose - looking for all the world like a small, lost child in need of comfort. Something in John’s chest aches a little at the sight before him and before he can analyse his actions he shifts his body down the bed slightly and stretches his arm out towards the man lying beside him. Sherlock quickly snuggles close, curling his tall frame so that his head rests on John’s upper chest, his thumb remaining firmly ensconced in his mouth, making small noises of comfort as he wriggles a little and then settles, his eyelids slowly fluttering closed.
John lets his eyes rest on this strange, limpet-like version of his friend noticing how much younger he looks when he is asleep. His moist, pink lips are wrapped gently around the slender white digit in his mouth still sucking occasionally, his cheeks slightly flushed with warmth and his dark hair tangled in a wild mess, falling carelessly across his forehead and across John’s neck. The doctor wonders whether he is witnessing some type of mild regression, possibly brought on by the traumatic events of the past 24 hours or whether Sherlock is always this adorable on the rare occasions that he does actually sleep. Oh! Did I really just think Sherlock was adorable? John wonders, startled by his own thoughts. Too tired to start psychoanalysing himself right now he pushes these potentially complicating ideas into a dark corner of his mind – that corner is getting pretty full & some of those memories have teeth! - and tries relax back into sleep, oddly comforted by the heavy warmth that is pressed along his side and snuffling into his neck.