Title: In The Dark of The Night
Author's Name: Laura Sichrovsky
Word Count: 4989
Warnings: Sherlock/John Kissage and some angry words.
Spoilers: None really.
Summary: Sherlock has a very vivid nightmare that completely unnerves him. How will he handle it? And what happens when John gets involved?
Disclaimer: This is where I put the statement saying that I do not own John or Sherlock, (Heh! I wish!), or anything relating to the show or books. No one is paying me to do this and if you feel the sudden urge to send me gifts, you might want to talk to someone about that. Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat own all things Sherlock and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle owns Holmes and Watson. None of them have given me permission to use these characters as I have so if you have problems with the story, please send the pretzel bombs to me, not them.
Author's Notes: I made the mistake of reading one of the Make Me a Monday prompt posts and this idea caught my attention. The prompt is: Prompt from blue_eyed_1987 on The Game is On's Make Me a Monday #60: "What do the Sherlock characters have nightmares about? And if maybe there could be some scenes where someone comforts the person who has had the nightmares I'd be very happy :)"
Thanks need to be given, and here is where they go. Thanks to Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat for giving me a Sherlock I can get behind. Thanks to Benedict Cumberbatch for making this Sherlock so amazing. I tried to fight it, but he was just too remarkable not to fall for. Big thank yous to Emma de los Nardos and Gemma for the super-fast beta jobs and the hand holding. Your input was invaluable and I owe you both so much! (And Emma, I big owe you for the 20% stoppage. You're the best.) And my biggest thank yous to my guiding influence and my best friend, Ann. She's the best beta ever and the Sherlock to my John. Without her, I am nothing. (Couldn't do it without you, love. Wouldn't want to try.)
In The Dark of The Night
Sherlock shivered, cold and wet as he stomped into the flat. It had been way too long a night with no payoff and he was completely knackered. The gang of thieves he'd been tracking had turned out to be nothing but teenagers pulling pranks and after a three hour stakeout in the pouring rain, Sherlock wasn't finding anything funny about it.
He tossed his wet coat over one of the chairs and went into the kitchen. He hadn't eaten anything in three days and he was chilled to the bone. Some tea and maybe a muffin definitely seemed in order. He stopped next to the table and looked around. Something was…off. He couldn't quite put his finger on what, but something was different. Sherlock yawned, fighting the beginnings of a headache. Maybe the kitchen mystery could wait until he'd gotten some sleep.
He looked for the kettle, frowning when it wasn't in its place. When he couldn't find any muffins either, he started to get testy. Maybe John knew where everything was. Maybe he'd rearranged the kitchen while Sherlock was out. Come to think of it, where was John? He usually met Sherlock at the door with warm tea and food and listened while Sherlock filled him in. It was only 8:00; could he have gone to bed so early?
Sherlock frowned, fighting the stirrings of unease. He took the stairs to John's room two at a time, pausing outside the closed door. Knowing it was rude, but suddenly not caring, Sherlock opened the door and walked in. John was standing next to his bed, surrounded by boxes. There were two open suitcases on his bed and he was putting folded shirts into one of them.
"John?" Sherlock asked, his voice loud in the quiet of the room.
"Sherlock." John stopped folding and looked down at the floor.
"Are you going somewhere?" Sherlock asked, nodding at the suitcases. "Did something happen? Is Harry all right?"
"Harry's fine," John replied, still not looking up.
"Then why are you packing?"
"Sherlock…" John paused, shaking his head. "God, I wanted to be done and out before you got back."
"I'm sorry, out?" Sherlock asked, suddenly feeling cold.
"Out," John sighed, nodding.
John turned his back to Sherlock, shaking his head again. When he turned back around, his eyes were dark and angry.
"Out of here. Out of Baker Street."
"You're…leaving?" The last word caught in Sherlock's throat and his voice cracked. "But…I don't…"
"I can't stay here anymore," John said, looking away again.
"Why not? Is it the cost? I'll pay your share. It's not a problem." Sherlock cringed at how pathetic his voice sounded, but that was eclipsed by the rolling nausea he was feeling. "It's not like you don't help with the cases."
"It's not the money, Sherlock."
"Then what is it?"
"It's you." John's voice was harsh.
Sherlock blinked, the nausea getting worse. There was a slight buzzing in his ears and he wondered if this is what a heart attack felt like. His mind side-slipped for a second, reminding him that he had no heart, and he had to choke down dark laughter. He shook his head, refocusing on John.
"I…don't understand," Sherlock said.
"And that's part of the problem," John sighed, going back to his packing. "Do you have any idea what it's like living with you? The place is always a mess, you never help out, you break things, ruin things, and set things on fire. You treat me like property, ordering me around and you look at me like I'm less than you are. I'm tired of it."
"I can…" Sherlock's voice cracked again and he fought to control his panic. "I can change. I'll take my turn at cooking and dishes. I'll…I'll replace what I break. And of course I don't think you're less than me. I know I don't tell you, but you are my best friend. John, we can work this out."
"Really?" John asks, frowning at him. "What would make me think you want to?"
"I just told you…"
"And that's supposed to convince me?" John looked at him, anger flashing in his eyes. "You say I'm your friend and that I help you on cases, but when do you ever let me?"
"Of course I let you. Look at all the cases we've solved together. They're all on your blog."
"No, Sherlock, those are your cases. And you make that perfectly clear. You drag me along so that I can marvel at your skills and then you cut me out. But, of course you make sure I'm visible enough for people to kidnap me or try to blow me up."
Sherlock felt a shock go through him and thought for a moment that John had actually stuck him. Then he realized John was across the room from him. The nausea had settled into a dull ache and Sherlock found it hard to swallow.
"No, John…that…those…" Sherlock took a deep breath. "You were never supposed to get hurt."
"No? What about Sarah? Was she supposed to get hurt? Because I'm pretty sure that a steal-tipped arrow through the brain would have hurt just a bit."
"How was I supposed to know they'd think you were me?" Sherlock shot back, a sudden surge of anger flaring up. He was pretty sure he'd already apologized for this. "I didn't think…"
"You never think!" John turned on him, his eyes flashing. "You never think about other people or how we might get hurt when you make a mistake. Sherlock, I was in the army. I handled weapons and I was shot at. I spent three days trapped in a building, watching all the men around me dying as I tried to piece them back together, while trying not to faint from blood loss because I had a bullet in my shoulder. But it took my moving in with you to actually think I was going to die for something stupid. I had explosives strapped to my body. And you don't care. I was nothing but a piece in your little game. You've already told me that the people Moriarty used meant nothing to you."
"That was different. I had to not care to help them. But John…you're different. I need you. I value your help on cases."
"As what? The guy who fetches your phone for you? Or the only one stupid enough to make a guess at something so you can correct me in front of everyone in that condescending voice? Or maybe you just need me standing in the background applauding."
"Oh, John, no," Sherlock stepped towards John, wincing when John moved back.
"I've had enough, Sherlock. You're going to have to be a solo act, not that you'll mind, and you'll have to find another fan club. You should ask Molly. You haven't ripped out her heart lately."
"No…this isn't right," Sherlock's heart was beating too fast and his head was throbbing. He looked at John, swallowing hard. "I…please, John, give me a chance to…we can fix this."
"I don't want to fix it," John said, turning to face him. "You…you aren't my friend. You aren't anything to me."
Sherlock gasped. Suddenly his chest felt tight and he couldn't breathe. His vision started to blur and he was shocked when he blinked away tears.
"John, please, you know that's not true." Sherlock felt his breath catch and struggled to keep from actually crying. He hadn't cried in over ten years and he certainly wasn't going to start again over this.
John closed his suitcases and picked them up from the bed.
"I'll come back for the boxes later," he said, sighing again.
"John, no." Sherlock reached out, putting his hand on John's shoulder. "John, I need you. Please."
"But I don't need you," John replied. "And frankly, I don't want the headache anymore. You just aren't worth the trouble."
He jerked his shoulder from under Sherlock's hand and walked out the door. Sherlock swallowed, took a deep breath, and went after him.
"Please, John," He said, following him down the stairs. "This…I…you can't leave."
John stopped, turning to face him.
"I can and I am."
"But John…" Sherlock closed his eyes, praying he was doing the right thing. "I know you think I don't care, but you mean more to me than you could possibly know. You are my best friend, you're my partner, and…and I think I might be falling in love with you."
He opened his eyes to see John frowning at him.
"I was afraid to tell you," Sherlock went on. "I didn't want to ruin our friendship. But if you think I don't care, you are very wrong. Give me the chance to prove it to you?"
John shook his head.
"I so didn't want to know that," John said. "Listen to me. I mean this. I don't love you. I don't even like you. You bother me, you scare me, and there is nothing about you worth loving. Do you understand?"
Sherlock couldn't respond, he couldn't even breathe. He just stood, staring at John, who shook his head again.
"Don't call me, don't text me, don't contact me at all. I'll stop in for the rest of my stuff next week.
John turned and walked away. The sound of the front door closing echoed like a gunshot in the distance.
Sherlock sits up, gasping, his whole body trembling. He blinks, looking around his dark room, realizing that he is in his bed. His mind informs him that what just happened was a dream. Oddly, it doesn't make him feel any better. He sits up, rubbing his fingers along his forehead, accepting that he has a headache, but not really caring.
He looks around and it feels like the darkness is closing in on him. He gets out of bed, foregoing the robe, and goes looking for a drink of water. When he gets to the kitchen, Sherlock looks around, trying to take comfort from the fact that John's things are just where they should be. And yet…
Sherlock stands in the kitchen, hugging himself, trying to shake this deep, horrible empty feeling. He's not sure how long he stands there, just staring and chewing his lower lip, trying to banish John's words from his head. "There's nothing about you worth loving." Sherlock shivers.
"Sherlock?" Sherlock jumps at the soft sound of John's voice and he closes his eyes. "Sherlock, are you okay?"
"Hmm?" Sherlock keeps his eyes tightly shut, not sure he can face John. "Oh, yes, fine."
He hears the quiver in his voice and winces. He's so caught up in his own thoughts that he doesn't hear John come closer. He about has a stroke when John touches his arm, jumping back, eyes flying open. John frowns at him.
"Sherlock, what's wrong?"
"Nothing." When John's frown deepens, Sherlock sighs. "I just…I just had a nightmare."
John relaxes, nodding and moving to put the kettle on.
"Was it that one where you turn into Mycroft?" John asks, gathering the makings for tea.
"No," Sherlock answers quietly, watching John, trying to calm his beating heart and racing mind.
"The one where you dissect yourself?"
Sherlock shakes his head, not sure he's ready to talk about this yet. He takes comfort from watching John make them tea, tries to use it to reassure himself that John really isn't leaving.
"It wasn't the one where you fall down a hole and suddenly you're wearing a dress and have blond hair and Lestrade is the White Rabbit, was it? Because that one was just weird."
Sherlock shakes his head again and John frowns at him.
"Sherlock?" he asks, concern in his voice.
"I'm…it was just…" Sherlock stops, pressing his lips together as the words from his dream come rushing back. He looks away from John.
And suddenly, John is there, tea making abandoned. He puts a hand on Sherlock's shoulder and Sherlock shudders, remembering that he did this to John in the dream. And John still left. Sherlock shakes his head, pulling back from John's touch, panic huge and suffocating, swallowing him.
"I…I can't…" Sherlock hears his voice catch and he turns away.
"God, Sherlock, what did you dream?" John asks quietly, not moving, just watching Sherlock.
"I…" the words catch in his throat and he looks at John, needing reassurance, yet dreading that he won't get it. "I…you…"
"Me?" John asks, arching an eyebrow. "I was in your dream?"
Sherlock nods, looking at the floor.
"Was I the one who upset you so much?"
Sherlock can only nod again.
"What did I do? Did I ruin one of your experiments?"
"No," Sherlock whispers, feeling better that he can get words out now.
"What did I do then?" John asks, tipping his head.
Sherlock looks at the floor again, feeling foolish.
"I left what?" John asks, perplexed.
"Here. You left Baker Street. You moved out." Sherlock's voice is stronger, but he notices that his hands are shaking.
"Why would I do that?" John looks honestly confused and Sherlock feels just a bit of relief.
Sherlock is almost afraid to answer John for fear of giving him ideas. He looks over at his friend, anguish running through him at the idea of losing John and he's shaking his head again. John moves closer, standing next to Sherlock.
"Sherlock? Why did I move out?"
"Does it matter?" Sherlock asks.
"Apparently is does to you," John says gently. "I've never seen you so upset. Why don't you tell me about it?"
"I…I can't," Sherlock says feeling the panic welling up again.
"Yes, you can," John says and he reaches out, taking Sherlock's hand.
Sherlock stares at their joined hands, his mind trying to accept the reality of the touch. John's hand tightens and he frowns at Sherlock.
"You're shaking." John sounds confused. He looks at Sherlock with wide eyes. "You haven't shaken since the pool. What the hell did you dream?"
"I dreamed that you left because of me." Sherlock says it fast, like ripping a bandage off, but it still hurts and he winces, his hand squeezing John's.
"What do you mean, because of you?" John frowns. "Why don't you start at the beginning?"
And Sherlock does, because it's easier to natter on about wet coats and muffins and headaches than to jump right into what John said. Next to him, John runs his thumb along the back of Sherlock's hand and Sherlock is grateful for that. He gets to the part about finding John in his room and his voice goes soft. Sherlock swallows, needing to go on, to purge this from his hard drive, but not being able to force the words out.
"So, it wasn't the money," John says gently, trying to help Sherlock along. "I said it was you?"
Sherlock nods. He takes a deep breath.
"You said you couldn't stand living with me anymore. That I ruined things and burned things and I treated you terribly."
"Well, you do burn things and you have ruined things and sometimes I think you would rather not have me around," John replies. When Sherlock's hand convulses on his and Sherlock starts shaking again, John smiles at him. "But that's part of life with you Sherlock and I'm not going anywhere. I want to be here with you."
"I don't just need you to get my phone or tell me I'm amazing."
"That's…that's good to know," John says, frowning at him. "Weird, but good to know."
"No…I…Sherlock pauses, gathering his thoughts. "You told me that I cut you out of cases, that I only needed you there to make myself feel better."
"You have done that," John says, nodding. "But you're getting better about it, I think. And I know it's just because you get caught up in the case. I will admit though, I like it better when we work together and you get your own phone."
"I want your help on these cases, John. I value you and your input. You are my partner."
"I know," John says soothingly.
"You also said…you said I put your life in danger, that I've gotten you kidnapped and almost blown up and that I don't care if you die. John, I do care. I…you don't know how awful I feel that I've put you in danger."
"Yes, Sherlock, I do," John says gently. "Bad enough that you just got your arse kicked by a nightmare about it. It's not like I don't know this life is dangerous. I know you would never purposely put me in danger. Hell, you gave up the missile plans to save my life. And Sherlock, don't forget, you gave me my life back. I know what we do is dangerous and I'm here because I like it. And I like you."
"John, if anything ever happened to you because of me…if you died…"
"I won't." John must realize how ridiculous that sounds because he smiles. "Well, at least I'll try not to."
"But if you did," Sherlock persists. "And if it was my fault…John, if I lost you…"
"You won't," John replies.
Sherlock looks at John and simply nods.
"Sherlock, why do I get the idea that wasn't even close to the worst of it?" When Sherlock doesn't answer, John sighs. "Just tell me what I said. I think it will make you feel better."
Sherlock closes his eyes, not sure he agrees, but not willing to argue with John.
"You aren't my friend. You aren't anything to me. You never think. You never think about other people or how we might get hurt when you make a mistake. You just aren't worth the trouble. Listen to me. I mean this. I don't love you. I don't even like you. You bother me, you scare me, and there is nothing about you worth loving." Funny how Sherlock can remember every word, every inflection so well. His voice catches on the last sentence.
"Oh, God, Sherlock." John lets go of his hand, putting his arms around Sherlock and pulling him close. "No. Just no. I could never say those things to you. You are my friend, you're my best friend. And the only time you scare me is when you lock me out. I can think of so many reasons to love you, Sherlock."
At John's use of the word, "love", Sherlock winces again. He knows John is trying to help, that he's just responding to Sherlock's words. He also knows that John has no idea what they're really talking about. The hopelessness of this moment makes his stomach hurt. John is so close, soothing Sherlock, trying to take away the sting of the nightmare and for one wild moment, Sherlock considers telling him everything. But then his defenses kick in and he's wondering how he ever let it get this far.
His whole life has been about keeping people out; out of his head, out of his life, out of his way, and out of his heart. How had John gotten so close? Sherlock can still feel the raw panic from the dream, the actual physical pain at the mere idea of losing John and he's stunned at how vulnerable he's become. This cannot continue.
"Stop that," John says, pulling back to look at him. Sherlock arches an eyebrow at him. "Stop shutting me out."
How does John do that? How does he know what Sherlock is thinking just from the set of his shoulders or the way he breathes? God, when had their relationship become this intimate? That word sends fresh panic through Sherlock and he shivers, fighting the urge to pull away.
"Talk to me," John says, his voice gentle. "I can't help you if you don't talk to me. I promise I'm not going anywhere."
"You don't understand," Sherlock says, groping for words.
"Then make me understand."
"Absolutely not," Sherlock exclaims, closing his eyes against the vivid images his mind comes up with for ways he can make John understand. He sighs, opening his eyes.
John is looking at him, frowning.
"It can't be that bad," he says, pulling Sherlock closer.
"You have no idea," Sherlock whispers.
"Then tell me."
When Sherlock shakes his head, John clenches his jaw, taking his arms from around Sherlock.
"John?" Sherlock asks, tipping his head to look at him. John shakes his head, refusing to look at Sherlock. Suddenly the dream is so vivid and everything comes rushing back and Sherlock struggles to reign in his racing heart. "John, what's wrong?"
"Does it matter?" John snaps.
"Of course it matters," Sherlock says, frowning at John.
"Really? Because I'm not really feeling like I matter a whole lot right now."
Sherlock stares at him, the utter absurdity of that statement making him laugh. When John glares, he sighs.
"You have no idea how much you matter." Sherlock looks at the floor. "And that's the problem.
John just looks at him, his expression neutral. After a minute, his shoulders slump and he sighs.
"Would it do me any good to ask what that means?" John's voice sounds resigned and Sherlock actually feels guilty.
"John…" But Sherlock has no idea what to say.
"Didn't think so," John replies, looking away. "You know, you make it pretty damn hard to get close to you."
"I can't help it," Sherlock says, shaking his head.
"I know you can't," John says, looking back at Sherlock. "And I get it, with the way most people treat you. But I'm not them. If I was, I wouldn't be sitting in our kitchen at three in the morning with my arms around you trying to make you see that I won't do what the me in your dream did."
"I know," Sherlock whispers, looking at the floor again.
But he knows that what John is talking about and what Sherlock really means are two different things and he knows that wanting John that way is only going to lead to more nights like this, more hurt feelings and fights, and he suddenly wants to run away, to get as far from John and these feelings as he can. He looks up at John, desperately needing this to be over. If John is going to leave, then he should just go. And it might go faster if Sherlock helps him along. Before he can think his way through it, can talk himself out of it, Sherlock leans over and kisses John.
He feels John go stiff against him and swears he can taste the shock on John's lips. Sherlock pulls back and closes his eyes, waiting for the reaction he knows is coming. He listens, straining to hear John leave, to hear the door slam, maybe even to feel John hit him. What he doesn't expect is to feel John's lips on his again. Sherlock pulls back so violently that he almost falls over. He stands, staring at John with huge eyes.
"What did you do?" It's a stupid question, but it's the best he can do right now.
John quirks an eyebrow at him, a slight smile playing at the corners of his mouth.
"I thought that was rather obvious." When Sherlock just stands there, looking slightly distressed, John's brow furrows and his voice softens. "I kissed you."
"Why?" Oh, yes, that was an even better question. Sherlock is starting to think his mental hard drive has gone into overload.
John tips his head, studying Sherlock's face.
"You kissed me," he says simply.
"Do you do everything I do?" Now the adrenaline has kicked in and Sherlock starts to pace the kitchen. "Last week I set the couch on fire. Are you going to set the couch on fire now?"
"Sherlock…" John is frowning at him.
Sherlock looks at him, needing to talk, but not finding any words. His amazing intellect has failed him and he's left to pace, spouting nonsense. But he can't stop. He has to keep John from speaking so that he can't tell Sherlock that it was a mistake or a joke or that he's leaving.
"I…you…it's not….you can't…this isn't."
Damn. So this is what happens when the hard drive crashes. He has to get away from this, away from John, away from the situation, the tension. He shakes his head and turns, rushing from the kitchen. He closes the door to his room behind him, his breath coming in gasps, catching in his throat. Well, if John hadn't planned on leaving before, he certainly would now. Sherlock ignores the soft knock on his door, shaking his head miserably. He really can't deal with this.
The door opens and John pokes his head in.
"Hey, what happened back there?" John asks, letting himself in. "I thought we'd finally gotten somewhere and then you had this meltdown."
"Gotten somewhere?" Sherlock asks, his voice tense. He feels like he should yell at John, tell him to get out, but he can't bring himself to do it.
"Well, yeah." John moves to sit down on Sherlock's bed. "You said the dream me told you that he couldn't love you and I assumed that you meant as a friend. But then you kissed me and all that drama, all the stuff you didn't want me to know suddenly made sense."
"It did?" Sherlock looks at John, his heart speeding up a bit.
"You told me that you loved me, didn't you?" John asks. "In the dream. You told me that you were in love with me. And I told you that I didn't love you."
Sherlock can only nod, his brain screaming at him that this was going to end in disaster. John stands up and moves next to Sherlock.
"I already gave you my answer," John says quietly, reaching out to take Sherlock's hand. "Dream me was an idiot. I'd like to think the real me isn't that stupid."
"What are you saying?" Sherlock's verbal centers seem to have rebooted, but his ability to understand what John is saying is still offline. Or maybe he just can't bring himself to hope too much. The racing of his heart sounds loud in his ears and he doesn't look at his reasons too closely.
"I'm saying that I feel the same way about you," John says gently, squeezing Sherlock's hand. "Have for a while. But you're married to your work, and I didn't want to mess up the friendship. But if you want to give this a go, I'm completely in. And for the record, I think I might already be in love with you too."
Sherlock looks at John, his eyes wide with wonder. He takes a step closer and John smiles, his free hand coming up to touch Sherlock's face. Sherlock leans into the touch, trying to silence the voices in his head. Suddenly he frowns, needing to know, but not really wanting to ask.
"What?" John whispers and Sherlock is once again struck at John's ability to just know.
"Hm?" John asks, tipping his head. "Why what?"
"Why me?" It's all he can get out and he waits, looking into John's eyes.
John smiles, pulling Sherlock closer.
"Because you're you. Everyday I wonder why someone so amazing keeps me around. I'll never be as clever as you or as beautiful as you or as interesting as you. But my heart is completely yours and I never want to be where you aren't."
"I don't deserve you," Sherlock whispers, shutting out the voices in his head. He looks at John, his expression going serious. "And stop putting yourself down like that. You are amazing all on your own and this is the man I love that you're talking about."
"I'll try to remember that." John says with a smile. "So, are we good? Nightmare forgotten?"
"It will be," Sherlock replies, pushing the image of John leaving out of his head.
"Would it help if you had someone to snuggle with?" John asks.
"Is that an offer?" Sherlock can't help his cocky grin. "Because if it is, we might not get much more sleep tonight."
"Then it definitely is," John says, pulling Sherlock towards the bed.
Sherlock goes willingly, settling under the covers and pulling John to him. John wraps himself around Sherlock, kissing him with an intensity that Sherlock didn't realize he possessed. Who knew that quiet calm John was all fire and passion inside? Mixing that with Sherlock's unstable icy nature was going to lead to some interesting explosions indeed. When John's tongue strokes his and John's hands start to roam Sherlock's body, Sherlock shuts down his logic centers for the night. He abandons himself to the sensations that John lights in his body nipping John's lips while moaning his name.
Later, when he's holding John's sweaty, naked body against his, when his brain checks back in, just to make sure he's still there, he takes a moment to reflect. He smiles as he remembers how John set the tone, warm and enthusiastic, stroking him, kissing him, arching against him. Sherlock tried to hold onto his reserve, but when John touched him, everything went out of focus and he was gasping loudly, writhing on the bed all thoughts of decorum gone. Sherlock wanted only John, needed only John, and at that moment, he was open to begging.
Sherlock pulls John closer and he's just drifting to sleep to the sound of John's heartbeat when he realizes that the nightmare has been purged from his hard drive along with all the upset it caused. All it took was John. Who knew that their fire and ice could make such incredible steam? And how could Sherlock have known that a deleted nightmare could give him such clarity and someone as wonderful as John? He yawns and kisses the top of John's head as he drifts off into a restful sleep.