I lay awake in my bed, my eyes fixed onto the dark ceiling above me. I couldn't sleep. Again. And I hated it.
This trend had been going on for about three weeks now. I would go to bed early at quarter to ten, after Sherlock and I had our usual debate about why dinner – why food – was so damn important. Then I'd stay awake for the next eight hours, having horrid flashbacks about my time as a soldier.
All the blood, all the pain, all the gunshots and noise. It was terrible and the memories wouldn't leave me alone.
Tonight I had originally taken to my bed at eight o'clock, trying to see if an earlier night would help. It didn't. I ended up going back down the stairs at nine o'clock to find Sherlock yelling at and criticising what was on the TV. I didn't bother to look at what he was watching and instead flopped down into my chair.
I stayed there long after my flatmate decided to head upstairs and to bed, and soon was staring mindlessly at the space he once occupied. I longed for his company again. I longed to feel his arms around me.
I looked my phone screen. Nearly three thirty. I groaned.
I looked back up at the ceiling, my thoughts taking me over. I found it strange that while Sherlock and I were clearly more than flatmates, clearly more than friends, we had never stopped referring to each other as such. I didn't ever think that Sherlock Holmes was capable of taking a lover. I felt immensely happy that that lover was me.
That was what led me on to the ever surprising thought that I could go and wake Sherlock up and sleep with him for the night. I could actually sleep knowing that he was there, that he wasn't going anywhere anytime soon.
I knew he wouldn't, of course, but on nights like this, I really needed the physical proof.
So with an unnervingly steady speed (was something wrong with me?), I sat up on the edge of my bed.
I stood up and walked round the bed to grab my phone. I closed my bedroom window and drew the curtains before walking out of the room.
Sherlock's door was slightly ajar. I pushed it fully open to find him fast asleep. His left arm was tucked under his pillow and right hand by his hair. His mouth was slightly open and as the moonlight flew in through his window, a reflection shone down onto him, making him look so glowingly innocent.
It was then that I started to feel bad about my decision to wake him. He looked so peaceful, and this was one of the rare times he actually slept. I hated to disturb him.
But then I realised that I needed to. I was so close to getting the sack at the clinic due to my lateness and inability to focus. I needed to get some sleep and to do that, I had to drive away the memories.
The only person who could do that was Sherlock.
'Sherlock?' I asked softly.
I walked up to his bed and stood beside it, a goofy smile glued to my face. He looked simply adorable. 'Hey, Sherlock?'
He stirred, muttering something incoherent. He didn't wake.
So I gently shook him by the shoulder. 'Sherlock?'
His eyes slowly opened and I stood back to give him some space while he caught himself up.
'John?' he asked, his voice heavily laced with sleep. 'Is everything alright?' He lifted his head up.
I smiled sheepishly. 'I can't sleep. Again. Can I sleep in here with you?'
His face moulded into a frown. 'What do you mean again?'
'I… I haven't been able to sleep for the last three-ish weeks. I'm nearly about to get fired at the clinic because of it.' I shook my head, running my hand over my face.
'Oh.' He stopped and then moved up to the far side of his bed. 'I… I'm sorry, I- I didn't know.'
I smiled slightly as I sat on the bed. 'I wasn't sure I wanted you to know.'
'Well, I do know. Come on.' He held the duvet up for me and I flushed. Even after nearly six months, seeing him completely unclothed always evoked this reaction in me.
I lay my head down on the other pillow and felt Sherlock's arms encircle me.
'Comfortable?' he asked, his hand reaching to entwine with mine.
'Yeah,' I replied, giving his hand a gentle squeeze.
'Comfortable?' I asked John. My fingers threaded through his and I felt him squeeze gently.
'Yeah,' he sighed.
I rested my head on his shoulder.
'Do you know why you can't sleep?' I asked gently. For all I knew, it could be a sore subject for him.
He exhaled slowly. 'Flashbacks. Memories. You know.'
'Oh.' I ran my thumb across his knuckles. 'Would you like to talk about it?'
'I don't know.'
'Well. I'm here if you decide you need to, alright?'
'I know,' he replied, smiling into the darkness.
I really didn't know how to help him with this one. I knew he needed comfort but I didn't know how to give it to him. I wasn't good with this sort of thing.
'John… I… I've never done this before, so if something I say upsets you, then I apologise in advance. I'm not good at this sort of thing.
John laughed. 'You're doing pretty well if you ask me.'
He shrugged my head back onto my pillow and turned to face me. 'Don't worry,' he said gently. He looked away for a second.
'Is everything alright?' I asked hastily.
'Yeah. I just… Oh god, I messed up so bad,' he mused, shaking his head.
'In Afghanistan,' he sighed. 'With Owen. I just can't believe what I said.'
I pressed my lips to his cheek. 'I'm here if you need to talk.'
'Yeah. I said I'd be there for him but… I wasn't at his deathbed. I was too busy with friends to be there. Oh god, Owen, I'm so sorry.'
John's voice shook. He started squeezing my hand so much it hurt. 'He died without me, Sherlock. He died knowing I'd broken my promise. I just… why was I so stupid?'
'You're not stupid,' I stated firmly.
'But I told him I would never let him down.' His eyes closed and seconds later they spilled over with tears.
I reached out and wiped his eyes. 'Listen, John. Owen knows you love him. He is watching you now from up in Heaven. He knows you didn't mean to.'
'I know so. And Owen will be counting on me to look after you.'
John cracked a tiny smile. 'Then Owen would be pleased with you.' He reached out and closed the distance between our lips.
'If Owen were here now,' I told him. 'He would be so proud of you.'
John smiled, properly this time. 'I love you, Sherlock.'
'I know. And I love you.'
I held him tight as I closed my eyes. 'Just try and get some rest. I won't leave until you wake up in the morning, alright?'
With that and a final squeeze of my hand, John slowly fell into a peaceful slumber. I was proud of myself for being able to help him. And even more proud of him for being able to face his demons.
Hi guys! Did everyone watch The Abominable Bride? I did and I bloody loved it. It was awesome and if you haven't had the chance to watch it yet, then I'd say you've got a very pleasant surprise ahead of you. :D