Another prompt idea of Sherlock kink meme.
I've tried to get Sherlock more in character this time, hope it was more successful.
Can be seen as close friendship or light slash.
Disclaimer: Characters are not mine
Water ran off his skin as he reached out and turned off the shower. With a steadying breath, he pulled back the curtain and stepped out into the steamy room. Reaching out, he grasped a towel and set to drying himself off before dressing back into day clothes, unwilling to even contemplate the idea of putting on his pajamas.
Putting his pajamas on meant he was getting ready for bed; going to bed meant he was going to sleep; sleep was something he could not – would not – allow himself.
The very notion of going to sleep, of willingly allowing himself to become trapped in those dreams – Gods, how he wished they were nothing more than dreams. That it was just his sick subconscious that created the images of Hughes being ripped apart by shrapnel, that William lying, bleeding to death in his arms, was just a figment of imagined horror.
John shook his head, pushing the dreaded images as far from the front of his mind as he possibly could. He needed to keep his mind preoccupied, to stay awake until he was so tired he'd collapse into an empty blackness where his mind was so exhausted it couldn't even drag the barest hint of a memory before his minds eye.
Finishing dressing, he left the bathroom, deposited his dirty clothes in his room and then descended into the living room. Sherlock, as was his custom, was seated on his chair with the paper open before him. The other man didn't even spare him a glance as John entered the room, not even a twitch to announce he'd acknowledged he was no longer along.
This was perfectly fine by John, if Sherlock was preoccupied then it meant John could tire himself out in peace.
Moving into the kitchen, his hands automatically set about making two cups of tea. He cast about his mind for things he could do so he wouldn't fall asleep.
He picked up the two cups and went back to the living room, setting one down without thought on the small side table beside Sherlock's chair before he sat down in his own chair.
He was only sitting for thirty seconds before the urge to fidget hit him. But he couldn't do that, it would alert Sherlock to something being wrong and then the sociopath would work out what he was doing in two seconds flat and John would have to sit there listening to Sherlock explaining why what he was doing was a stupid idea.
Not that John wasn't already aware of how stupid it was, he was a doctor after all and he knew that exhaustion was not the way to stop nightmares. But, frankly, common sense could sod off along with the increasing need for sleep he was suffering from.
"You're still up."
John had to use all his military training to stop himself from jumping out of his skin at the sudden break in silence.
"What?" He asked dumbly, looking over to Sherlock whose face was blocked by the newspaper. If John wasn't positive Sherlock wasn't the sort of person to use the newspaper hiding technique he'd have thought the man was playing spy in some second rate spy comedy movie with the height in which he was holding the paper.
"We've just finished a case that took three days. Because of the little sleep we get during a case you will usually go straight to bed after a mere two day case. But it's been three days and you're sitting out here." Sherlock explained, finally lowering the paper slightly, just enough so that he could meet John's eyes over the top of it.
The unspoken 'why' was clear in the air and John took a sip of his tea to delay answering.
"I thought I'd do some writing in my blog while it's all still fresh in my mind." John said, eyes having landed on his laptop half hidden under a pile of books and a container of something that appeared to still be smoking for some reason…
Sherlock didn't do anything for a moment before the paper rustled quietly and John glanced up to see Sherlock hidden behind it once again.
Figuring it was something to do, John reached over and picked up his laptop, opening it and beginning a new blog on the case they'd just closed.
The time ticked by and John could feel sleep trying to claim him, getting stronger as each minute ticked by. Finally, when he could no longer clearly see the screen as his eyes had began to blur from staring at the text, he gave up on it. Closing it, he placed on the coffee table before looking around the room in agitation.
He needed to find something else to do, he couldn't do nothing, he had to stay awake. If he went to sleep now, he just knew he'd dream.
The harshness of the desert, the screams of death and pain, the warm, sticky feeling of blood growing cold on his arms…
Standing abruptly, John endeavored to ignore the grey-blue eyes he could feel boring into him as his eyes swept over the room before landing on the pile of books that had been progressively growing. He recalled a few cases back they had been hunting through books trying to figure out yet another book code.
Moving over, he began sorting through the books by author before carefully placing them back in the large bookcase beside the fireplace. However, the longer he stood there, the more he felt exhaustion hitting him. He had to continually blink to try and clear his vision and he found himself forgetting the very order of the alphabet. It got to the point where he was more leaning against the bookcase to keep himself upright, the books in his hands seeming like dead weights.
John jumped, completely startled by the sudden loud noise. Looking around in confusion, it took his sluggish mind a moment to realize the noise had been him dropping one of the heavy tombs to the wooden floor.
Bending down to pick it back up, he heard an irritated noise from a chair along with the rustling of the paper being folded.
"Really now, John. This is ridiculous." Sherlock's voice held the usual no nonsense tone to it.
Glancing up, John had the distinct feeling of a child who had been caught with his hand in the cookie jar by his disapproving older brother.
"You're clearly exhausted, why not just go to bed and allow us both to relax." Sherlock continued in his usual straightforward manner.
"I'm perfectly fine, Sherlock." John said defensively, knowing it was useless to try and fight this battle when only a few of his wits where about him and he was against a self-proclaimed genius.
"Please John, don't insult both of us with such a transparent lie. Whatever is wrong with your bed that you can't go sleep in it?" Sherlock looked at him like he was some kind of puzzle waiting to be solved.
"I just don't want to go to sleep yet, that's all." John sighed, it was taking everything he had not to allow the true extent of his exhaustion to seep into his voice.
"What? Why wouldn't you want to-" Sherlock suddenly went quiet, John could almost see his mind working quickly over the available evidence until it arrived at a plausible conclusion.
"Oh." Was all that came out his mouth after thirty seconds of tense silence.
John could feel the slightly hysterical panic bubbling up inside. Logically, he knew what he was doing was completely stupid and it wouldn't end well for him. He also logically knew that Sherlock wasn't the sort of person to poke unnecessary fun at people, he'd just say it was stupid and move on without another thought on the matter.
But in the exhausted state John was in, there was no room for logic.
All he knew for sure is that he didn't want Sherlock to know what he was doing, he was sure the other man would see him for what he really was if that happened. Sherlock would see the weakness as if it was painted in bright red paint across his forehead. John Watson was just so weak.
He'd go to sleep and all he'd be able to see is all the people who he'd failed. He hadn't been able to save Hughes or Williams, hell; he hadn't been able to save himself! What could Sherlock possibly see in him that made the intelligent man want to have anything to do with an ex-soldier?
John snapped out of his whirlwind thoughts only to find himself breathing heavily and his heart beating erratically. He was sitting on the couch and Sherlock was squatting down in front of him, warm hands resting on his shoulders.
"I'm fine." John gasped out, locking his fingers on his knees and closing his eyes to regulate his breathing.
"You're not fine!" Sherlock snapped, voice sounding oddly highly strung, something fairly uncommon for the sociopath.
"Fine people go to sleep when they're tired instead of trying to make themselves pass out from exhaustion. Fine people don't have mini panic attacks when confronted about the before mentioned stupidity." He made an irritated sound in the back of his throat.
"Honestly John, I'm a consulting detective. Whatever made you think you could do something so dumb without me noticing. Frankly I'm mildly offended." He huffed.
John snorted quietly in perverse amusement. Here he was, having just had a 'mini panic attack' and all Sherlock was focusing on was his own bruised ego.
"Now, I'm going to ask you one more time, are you ok?" Sherlock asked slowly, as if talking to a slow child.
"I am now." John answered after a moment, his breathing having slowed down to a normal speed and his heart having returned to its regular beat. Another wave of exhaustion hit him and he could feel himself tip slightly to the side, his body screaming for some sleep while his head continued to refuse.
"Right." Sherlock suddenly stood up and before John knew it, he was being poked and prodded so that he now lied on the couch. He made a sound of protest but Sherlock ignored him and grabbed one of the throw rugs from a table. Before John could push himself back up, he found Sherlock squeezing onto the couch next to him, their whole sides pressed snuggly together as the detective arranged the throw over them to keep them warm.
"Sherlock?" John asked, eyes wide as he stared at the other man fussing with the rug.
"Yes, John." He said, shifting back and looking over, no trace of embarrassment on his face.
"What, exactly, are you doing?"
"I read in a recently published journal that children who suffer from severe nightmares benefit from sleeping beside someone they trust. I realize it's not exactly the same thing, as I'm assuming your nightmares are more a result of residual PTSD, but I'm willing to experiment and see if it gleans the same results." He said it all so mater-of-fact that John couldn't help the small smile that touched the corner of his lips.
"You know this isn't what normal flat mates do, correct?" John checked one last time.
"I'm fully aware of that John. Sharing a sleeping space – or cuddling, as I believe some call it – is mostly an act couples partake in on a regular basis." Sherlock only sounded vaguely interested in it all as he shifted about before seeming to give up and lean even closer to John, resting his head on John's shoulder and draping an arm across his chest.
John had no idea what he should do, but he supposed that was nothing new either when it came so interacting with one Sherlock Holmes. With a deep sigh he forced himself to relax and allow his body to soak up the warmth that was next to him.
"Besides, this way, if you have a bad dream, you won't be alone when you wake up." Sherlock said softly, arm across his chest tightening its hold on him slightly.
A warm, sleepy feeling filled John's chest at the words, his head turning almost automatically and pressing a gentle kiss to the top of Sherlock's messy hair.
Somehow, the idea of Sherlock being there didn't make the bad dreams as scary. It was so lovely and warm here anyway. So warm, and so very safe. A small smile appeared unseen on John's face, unknowingly matching the one on Sherlock's.
Though, John thought, he might not tell Sherlock how effective his new method of keeping nightmares at bay was. Not if it meant he got to continue sleeping with the detective pressed against him like this.