Title: Faith Makes One Fine Pillow
Author: Erin Giles
Disclaimer: Sherlock Holmes is the intellectual property of both Arthur Conan Doyle and the BBC.
Characters/Pairings: John Watson, Sherlock Holmes (John/Sherlock if you squint)
Spoilers: The Blind Banker
Summary: But John never doubted the fact that Sherlock would show up when he was most needed, because there was one man that John, as an army man with little to no faith believed in, and that was Sherlock Holmes.
A/N: What's this? Erin Giles has a new fandom? Well, no, that's a lie. Erin Giles has always loved the Holmes fandom, but after Steven Moffat & Mark Gatiss got their hands on it so did she. (Why am I talking about myself in the 3rd person?)
Sherlock, as per usual, was talking at a hundred miles an hour, not really caring if John was listening or not. For once, however, he wasn't. Sherlock's ego didn't need anymore of a boost with a case already solved. He was saying something about a hairpin and nine million something or other, but John was thinking about Sarah and how disastrously his first date had gone with her. It was the first and last time he would be taking dating advice from Sherlock that was for sure.
His aching head was also taking up a large portion of his concentration, as well as his shoulder. He was equal parts annoyed and grateful towards Sherlock as well. Annoyed because he had ineloquently intruded on his date with Sarah, but grateful that he had come to his and Sarah's rescue, however late he had been. But John never doubted the fact that Sherlock would show up when he was most needed, because there was one man that John, as an army man with little to no faith, believed in and that was Sherlock Holmes.
At the moment the sand was running free of it's prison and John was trying desperately to think of an escape plan, or to prove a way he wasn't Sherlock, he would have said that it was the end. He would have said that there was no conceivable way that Sherlock knew where they were. It was like looking down the barrel of a gun – and hadn't he done that far more often than he wished.
No, at that moment, John had no faith in Sherlock Holmes, or even in humanity. But then Sherlock bent the laws of humanity on a regular basis. And there Sherlock had been, telling General Shan to believe in John Watson, and John had never been so relieved to see his barmy flatmate in his life. So relieved in fact that he felt the danger had passed enough to make jokes. But then John had ending up saving Sarah himself, and Sherlock in the process even if he did put it down to blind luck on his part.
Now, in the aftermath of everything, he felt that he was entitled to a little shuteye, and certainly not at a desk. The problem was Sherlock's dulcet tones were lulling him into a false sense of security and his own bed seemed impossibly far away. While the sofa did not seem the comfiest of final resting places John found himself unable to move, his own heavy limbs betraying him as he felt his eyes drifting shut.
'John, are you even listen-' Sherlock broke off as he turned towards his companion, only to find John Watson slouched inelegantly across the couch. Sherlock gave an indignant sigh.
'Well it's nice to know I can still hold my audience captive,' Sherlock said, moving towards John to wake him up. The way John held himself though even in sleep suggested at an amount of discomfort and pain that Sherlock, with his ever-present skills of deduction, was able to pinpoint, making him stop in his tracks. His shoulder, old war wound flaring up at the abuse from their masked friend at the Chinese Circus as well as being bound to a chair, and his head, although that would have been obvious to the most unobservant of people. The butterfly stitches and purple bruising would have alerted anyone to the fact that John Watson was mildly concussed. The pinched lines around his eyes and dark circles suggested at a lack of sleep that even Sherlock himself was starting to feel now the adrenaline of a case solved was wearing thin. It appeared that playing the part of Sherlock for the evening had certainly taken its toll on John. Sherlock rubbed at his neck, bruised itself from being strangled for the second time in as many days, although thanks to John – again – he was still breathing.
With John's head at the angle it currently rested on the back of the sofa, Sherlock was also able to conceive that the pain would not lessen any during the night if he allowed John to sleep where he lay. But there was something – certainly not an emotion of any kind – that told Sherlock to leave John be.
He turned towards John's chair, plucking the large Union Jack cushion from it. Sherlock, never one to touch, or go out of his way to make others more comfortable felt obliged now, if only to cut down on the amount of tired grumping John would inflict upon him the following day. He settled the cushion at one end of the sofa before stepping back to think through his next move, his hands steeped in front of his face, finger on lips in a familiar pose of quiet contemplation.
If he were to wake John it was likely that John would just take himself up to his own bed, a feat Sherlock wasn't sure he could undertake himself, but likewise would be unwilling to allow Sherlock to help him, pride being one of John Watson's many flaws. If he were to leave John where he was he'd already calculated that John would awaken in more pain than he previously had been. Yet, if he were to move John and he to awake during the process there would be that uncomfortable moment that neither man wished to experience, or talk about. From the way John's mouth was open now, snoring slightly, Sherlock decided that it was safe enough to attempt to make John more comfortable without waking him.
He carefully grasped John's shoulders between his hands and manoeuvred him into a horizontal position on the settee. His head lolled heavily on his neck, rolling slightly before one of Sherlock's hands caught it, settling it carefully upon the cushion. John's breathing pattern did not alter from its regular state and Sherlock continued in making the good doctor comfortable by lifting his feet up onto the settee too. His shoes were still on, but Sherlock didn't particularly care about the furniture and if Mrs. Hudson were to stumble upon John before he awoke she would doubtlessly take one look at him and dismiss the fact he had shoes on the furniture and make him a pot of tea instead.
A shudder ran down John's spine as Sherlock gazed around in search of some form of covering. His eyes rested on his own coat abandoned on the back of John's chair which he retrieved deftly as John uttered anguish in the negative that would have pulled on Sherlock's heart, had he possessed one beyond the beating organ inside his chest. There was a minute shake of the head, a crease of the brow and the trickle of sweat forming on John's palms. A nightmare, but not one of the evening's events. No, John Watson held much darker secrets than Chinese smugglers and darkened tunnels in the heart of London's underbelly. The smell of gunpowder and the desiccate landscape of a war torn country that he was sent to protect plagued his dreams. A scream for mothers and gushing cries an endless litany from parched lips haunted him.
'It's alright, John,' Sherlock said, because he had been quiet too long, and even although it was a false reassurance it was one Sherlock felt resigned to give, because they were alive. John was alive. The case was solved. Even if General Shan had escaped.
Sherlock gave a squeeze of John's shoulder as if the reassurance of another presence would calm the ebb and flow of terrors that seemed so very real in John's imagination. To Sherlock's interest and surprise it had a very immediate effect, lines of fear fading to the lines that a dull throb of pain left upon John's brow. The injured shoulder that he had been holding stiffly for most of the evening seemed to loosen slightly as John settled back into the settee, finally allowing Sherlock to place his still warm coat over John's reclined form.
His task complete Sherlock retired to John's own chair across the room, turning it slightly so he could see the sofa where John slept as well as the entrance to the living room and the twitching curtains across the street. It was not the most practical of solutions to John's obvious exhaustion and discomfort, but it was the most logical at that moment in time. And if John Watson awoke in the morning to find his belief that Sherlock was a human being beneath all the intellectual pomp had new found lumpy evidence then neither of them commented on it as Sherlock went to make a pot of tea while John stretched lethargically.