Thanks, everyone! Here's chapter 5. A special mention to ZabellaCookie who left me such a great review/comment. :)
Holmes' eyes were closed but he knew Watson had entered his room. He had focussed all of his attention on appearing asleep, and had been lying there for precisely two hours and thirteen minutes. Perhaps this was a tad excessive, but in order for his experiment to work, it was needed. Watson had taken longer than the detective had expected to sneak into his room. This showed great insecurity on the doctor's part, Holmes thought, and was a thing that needed to be explored.
He felt a weight sink into the foot of the bed. Watson had sat down. Yes, one could call Holmes' plan an act of shameless manipulation, because...well, that's what it was. Watson wouldn't know that Holmes was fully conscious of his being in the room. He gave a loud snore to add authenticity, just in case.
Watson watched Holmes carefully and leaned forward, checking his pulse from the wrist. You can never be too careful, is what he told himself. Watson searched his brain for the reason why he was in Holmes' room again, when he had proven to be fine medically during the day. The doctor decided that such thoughts were pointless and he was a doctor so he was blatantly just checking for any prolonged effects... yes, that had to be it. What other reason could there be? The pulse was fine, and Holmes shifted slightly in his sleep at Watson's touch.
"I wouldn't advise a rendezvous with the carp people, Marcus." Holmes mumbled incoherently.
Watson stifled a laugh. He watched his friend's sleeping face curiously, waiting for anymore sleep-talking gems to blather from his mouth. Moments passed. Nothing. Watson frowned, and poked Holmes' side firmly, trying to jolt some speech from him.
"If you insist on stabbing me upon every instance I enter here, I will be taking my business elsewhere!" Holmes bleated, shifting uncomfortably on the bed.
Watson heaved silently with laughter, deciding that was the most he would get out of Holmes for the night. He stood carefully up so as not to wake him, easing his weight slowly from the mattress.
"Don't go." Holmes whimpered.
Watson turned to him, a strange pang in his stomach. He was still asleep, but he was clutching his covers anxiously to himself, his face screwed up in a childish but saddening pout.
"Don't go..." he murmured so low the doctor could hardly hear him, but he did, and he blinked, and he sat back down again, frowning with confusion and concern at Holmes.
"Watson needs to stay and defend me... Hurpadurdoo!"
Granted the second part of that outburst was somewhat less significant and more...peculiar than anything else, but Watson chose to ignore it. He shuffled further up the bed so he was right at Holmes' side. He felt his forehead. It was fine. Watson looked down at him, puzzled. Holmes' sleeping face was so distraught that Watson felt a strange flood of pity.
"I'm here," he said, "Don't worry."
Whatever nightmare Holmes seemed to be having, Watson could guess that it was a particularly bad one. He was restless, sniffling and fidgety. Watson took hold of his hand and held it steadily. Holmes seemed to settle slightly, gave a sigh and Watson's hand a slight squeeze. The doctor felt a smile tug at his lips as he felt Holmes' forehead again, letting his hand rest there.
Watson felt extremely touched that he should have entered Holmes' unconscious at all. He was flattered that he seemed to mean a lot to Holmes, at least in sleeping. As he sat there, clasping the detective's hand in his own and lightly stroking his forehead, in a purely medical manner of course, he tried to remember a time when he'd felt more content.
"Watson will protect me...," Holmes breathed, "He's my friend and he is brave and you are unkind."
Watson moved his hand from Holmes' forehead to his cheek and rubbed gently with his thumb. Holmes was far too endearing for his own good. Watson found himself smiling absent-mindedly at Holmes in a way that was most inappropriate. He unlinked his hand from Holmes' and removed the other from his face in one swift motion. This behaviour was vastly improper.
Holmes didn't appear to care. His eyes opened blearily and he took hold of Watson's wrist, carefully. Watson was startled at the gentleness of his touch.
"Are you awake?"
"How long have you been awake for?"
"Since I retired to bed."
Holmes was speaking in a hushed manner, and was maintaining intent eye contact with the doctor, something that was either intimidating or exciting to Watson – he didn't know which to choose.
"I'm afraid I've been pulling your leg, old boy." Holmes said, releasing the gentle grip on his wrist. "I simply wanted to witness what you get up to in here consciously for myself."
Watson didn't know how to feel. Well, he did. But it was a bizarre mixture. He felt cheated, angry, outraged...but for some reason, right at the back of his head, there was this unbelievable relief and excitement. He didn't quite know how to convey all this so he simply exhaled in disbelief tinged with embarrassment, looking at Holmes incredulously.
Holmes propped himself up onto his elbows, watching the doctor blanch uncomfortably, smiling with immense satisfaction.
"Watson," he said, "Do you do this every night?"
"I am your doctor, Holmes," Watson eventually managed to say. "It is my duty to check on you and maintain your health. Which is what I was doing."
"I see. Of course, you wouldn't happen to have an ulterior motive?"
Watson couldn't even fathom what Holmes could have meant.
"What-? What about you? What's your ulterior motive? Pretending to be asleep, having distressing dreams, for what? To wind me up, embarrass me? What are you playing at?" Watson spluttered.
Holmes simply shrugged. Watson fumed, practically throwing himself onto his feet.
"You have no regard for me or my profession!" he raged, pacing the room, his limp making it look like he was lolloping, "You play up symptoms and insecurity to gain attention from me, for what?"
Watson paused and glared at Holmes, who simply looked at Watson as if he were an idiot.
"Because its fun." Holmes stated.
Watson reached for the nearest object he could, which happened to be the leather-bound book he had got Holmes for his last birthday. He hurled it full pelt at the bed, Holmes had to quickly catch it before it hit his face.
"Really, Watson!" Holmes scolded.
"You're a manipulative bastard and I wish to converse with you no further." Watson spoke quietly and matter-of-factly, raising his eyebrows at Holmes, turning on his heel and slamming the door behind him.
"...Moody!" Holmes jeered feebly after him.
...I'm evil, aren't I? I promise there'll be proper slash in the next chapter. They've earned it. I just love to drag things out for as long as they will go. Keep reviewing and suggesting, please! Tell me if the lack of actual slash is frustrating in a bad way, I keep thinking I'm being so mean, haa.