Pale blue eyes watched as John plodded up the stairs to get ready before bed before turning back to the experiment in front of him.
Sherlock listens vaguely to the sounds of John getting dressed for bed. Footsteps, drawers sliding, and finally bed springs creaking slightly.
An hour later and he can leave the maggots to do their work in peace, and he gets ready to go to bed.
Instead of getting into bed however, the detective left his own room and carefully ascended the steps up to Johns, making sure to avoid the creaky third and seventh steps.
Quietly, he opens the door to John's room and steps inside.
John already appears to be having a nightmare, his face creasing slightly in fear and panic, his fingers twitching.
Gently he lifted the covers on the bed beside John and climbed in behind him. Without making a sound he shuffled across the mattress until he was spooning the smaller man and wrapped his arms around him, taking care not to wake him.
John almost immediately settles, his face turning smooth and peaceful.
"I love you John." He murmurs into the doctor's hair.
Sherlock had first done this after the great game. John had only recently come home from the hospital and had been having a nightmare. Sherlock had tried to wake him, but John himself had said that he could probably sleep through World War Three, particularly when in the throes of a nightmare.
At the time it had seemed to make perfect sense, that when he had tried everything else he could think of, he should get into the bed and hold the man. Physical proximity was meant to calm and reassure people after all.
After that, whenever the nightmares had been worse he would go to John's bed. After that it had been whenever a nightmare was starting, soon after it had been most nights.
Now, months later, it was almost every night. The only time when he didn't was when he was on a case and neither of them ended up making it to bed. Even when he was annoyed with the man he still went upstairs.
John hadn't noticed him in all that time, but Sherlock wasn't too surprised. He always made sure never to leave any evidence and to leave well before John ever woke.
He couldn't deny that John's rest was not the only reason that he did it.
The night with the cabbie he had known that John interested him. It was the night that they had become friends; but he had never anticipated quite how his feelings for the man would grow as they got to know one another.
He hadn't realised what his feelings were, at first. He had been solicitous over John, spoiling his dates and such, but he had thought that that was just because the woman was annoying, and obviously not good enough for John.
After Sarah he had purposely foiled all of John's plans to copulate with women. Occasionally men too would give John an appreciative glance and Sherlock would subtly touch his shoulder or the small of his back, giving off a clear signal to anybody watching. John was his. John still never noticed anything.
After that, he had begun to realise that perhaps his actions were sightly more than those of a concerned flatmate or friend.
Lestrade, Donovan and the other Yarders always looked at them as though they too were bewildered by their relationship. As though they thought that they were something more. Sherlock noticed that their gazes lingered unconsciously whenever they made physical contact.
In university, when he had been friends with Victor Trevor, he had never had such strong feelings for him, and though he had never done so, intellectually he imagined that sleeping in the same bed would not bring him the same pleasure as the same action did with John.
That warm feeling in his chest that he couldn't account for.
The moment he had realised what his feelings meant, he had been understandably worried. What would John do? He was straight, and Sherlock knew that he considered their relationship a strictly friendly one.
Sherlock had known that if he said anything to John about it, then it could change their relationship forever. He was not very good at predicting people's emotions, so there was always the chance that he had it wrong and that his feelings would be reciprocated, but chances were John would be extremely uncomfortable.
John probably wouldn't leave. He was too good for that, and he had said before that it was: 'All fine.' However he wasn't sure if that statement extended to his flatmate probably being in love with him.
Still, things could be changed forever. Damaged irreparably, and Sherlock didn't want that. He ached for something more, but what he had now was better than nothing.
John assumed that he was asexual, and it was true that he didn't feel sexual desire very often, and when he did it usually wasn't anything that he couldn't take care of himself, but sometimes when he got up in the morning to leave John's bed he couldn't deny the feeling in his groin, and would have to go to his own room or take a shower to deal with it.
Despite the hardness in the mornings, John had never woken and everything had been going well, until that night.
He lay behind John, pressed up against his back, his nose in the doctor's hair. It was easy in these moments to imagine that he was allowed to be here. Meant to be here. That they were together...
He should have been paying more attention to John's breathing.
John was suddenly rigid in his arms.
Sherlock didn't freeze. He made sure to keep his limbs loose. If he tensed up, it would only exacerbate the situation, making it clear that he knew that he shouldn't be doing what he was. He waited for John to say something.
"Yes John?" He tried to keep his voice as calm and nonchalant as possible.
"What are you doing?"
"Trying to sleep." From John's body language he could tell that making jokes and dancing around the issue was maybe not what John wanted right now.
"Sherlock I'm used to you doing some strange things but this is... seriously what is this? Is this an experiment or something?"
Lying probably wasn't the best policy, and besides John would probably be able to tell, or find out later which would make him even angrier.
"So... what are you doing?"
"You sleep better when I'm here."
"I- what? Sherlock how often do you do this?"
"...Most nights." He could feel his heart in his chest, terrified of what John would do next. He hoped that John couldn't feel it too.
"… For how long?"
"Since the pool."
"Right... Right OK."
There was silence for the better part of a minute before Sherlock prompted: "John?"
"I- sorry Sherlock why are you here?"
"Because you sleep better-"
"No Sherlock, WHY are YOU here?" He still hadn't turned around to look at him, or even made an attempt to remove Sherlock's arms from his waist.
"Because-" What could he tell him? He wasn't ever supposed to find out. Sherlock had never even dared to consider what he would have to say to placate John if he did. "Because I want to be."
"Because... I care."
John carefully pulls Sherlock's arm off of him and climbs off the bed, grabbing his work clothes and heading downstairs to the bathroom.
After about a minute of breathing deep breaths and cursing his luck Sherlock went downstairs and sat down on the sofa, listening carefully to the measured sounds of John moving around in the bathroom.
John takes his time, and when he comes back out, he is dressed and leaves straight away for work without breakfast, and pointedly without looking at Sherlock.
"Fuck." Sherlock usually isn't one to use expletives, but if there ever was a time then this was it, and he couldn't quite think of anything more eloquent.
John has not taken this well. He might leave, even never talk to Sherlock again, and it would all be his fault. Because he got carried away. Because he got greedy. If he had of kept it to the bad nights, and f he had been more careful, this never needed to have happened.
He ignores any messages from Lestrade all day, as well as a few calls from his brother. He feels like screaming into the cushion.
He ends up moving to John's bed and staying there for most of the day, until he can't bear it anymore. Honestly it's hopelessly endearing that John never suspected a thing. Sherlock can even smell his shampoo on the other man's pillow.
When John finally comes home that night, much later than usual, his jaw is set resolutely. It seems that he has decided to let the incident go and never mention it again.
Sherlock is desperately relieved to have been given another chance but at the same time he can feel a sinking feeling in his gut. 'But I'll never get to do it again.'
John makes enough beans on toast and tea for both of them and places a cup of tea in front of the detective, then turns on the TV. Apparently he is still not ready to talk to him then.
Sherlock takes care to remain looking calm, but on the inside he is on fire. His heart is going a mile a minute and he doesn't hear a single word coming from the television.
It seems like no time has passed before it has grown dark and John stands up to get ready for bed again.
Sherlock watches from the corner of his eye as John turns slowly at the bottom of the stairs. He looks nervous, licking his lips, swallowing rapidly and bouncing slightly from foot to foot.
"You can- Oh God, what am I saying," He mutters to himself. "I must be mad."
"What is it John?" He thinks that he manages to keep the hope out of his voice. Mostly.
"You can come up... in a bit... if you want..." He doesn't stop to wait for an answer and just marches up the stairs at speed.
Sherlock simply sits there in shock for about thirty seconds, hardly believing what he just heard before a grin slowly started to spread across his face.
He waits until he knows that John is asleep before going up the stairs and clambering into the bed. Nervously, and without his usual elan, but still careful not to wake the sleeping man.
When the sun starts to come up, he knows that it is time to leave, and that John will be waking up soon, so he begins to disentangle himself but a hand grabs his arm and he stays still. Paralysed.
"Do you want me to stay-"
"Not ready to talk about it yet, Sherlock." John says firmly, leaving no room for retort, but Sherlock takes the man's lingering hand as an okay, and feels that same smile spreading across his face again and moves back in behind the doctor. This time being slightly braver and putting his chin on John's shoulder.
John doesn't object at all.