Sherlock crept into the silent flat hours after the sun had set. From his weeks of invisible observation he knew that John would have fallen into his troubled, restless sleep by now.

He also knew that he should be gone, settling into an anonymous new life in Peru or New Zealand, not hanging around Baker Street keeping tabs on his former flatmate. But in all his meticulous planning and vigilant attention to detail, Sherlock had not accounted for John's reaction to his faked death. Or rather, he had not accounted for his own feelings about the effect to be had on John.

It was not enough to say he felt remorse. It felt as if he had killed a very vital part of John, who was in turn (it became increasingly apparent) a vital part of himself. And it pained him beyond reason to watch John go from day to day with such a lost look in his eyes, such a palpable emptiness about him, but the wounds would cut even deeper if he were to look away.

The nights were the worst. Sometimes John's body was thrown about the bed by nightmares that made him choke out Sherlock's name in desperate terror. Other times the name came out in a shuddering moan, accompanied by a convulsion and always followed by a loudly echoing sadness and evident self-hatred in the morning.

A few concepts had been dawning upon Sherlock for the first time as he watched over his friend. The first was that John was not well (this being the mother of all understatements) without him, the second being that John felt a certain way about him, and the final being that the second concept had awakened something unfamiliar in the pit of Sherlock's stomach. He felt it, in fact, in almost every recess of his body, in areas that he had never paid attention to before. It was an entirely new feeling, something raw and a little sickening but that he knew was inexplicably linked to the idea that John was a necessary and irreplaceable part of him.

So tonight Sherlock would do something potentially foolish but absolutely necessary, something that, while fleeting, would assuredly address concepts one, two, and three.

After all, it was not uncommon for a ghost to visit one in a dream.

John opened his eyes at the sound of his name said in the deep, smooth voice that plagued his dreams every night. Tonight there were no nightmares, no slow-motion replays of the scenes that made him scream out into the silence. This kind of night was much, much worse. Because when John opened his eyes and saw Sherlock Holmes in his bedroom, there was a hot, twisting feeling somewhere in his body.

"John," he said again, and this time John sat up. "What would you like me to do?"

These dreams made John feel worse than anything – soiled and wrong and unfulfilled, unresolved – but what could he do? It was his subconscious, it was deep in his mind, and shouldn't he gather whatever semblance of pleasure he could scrape up? So, for the course of the night, he let his reservations go.

He gestured for Sherlock to come closer and he did, standing by the side of John's bed. John sat up and began to unbutton Sherlock's sinfully taut silk shirt, his fingers brushing against the gorgeous, perfect skin underneath. The shirt fell away and he let his hands roam up Sherlock's bare chest, greedily running his fingers over ever surface, every crevasse, as Sherlock leaned down to kiss him. He slipped his hands around the back of Sherlock's neck and pulled their faces close, kissing him furiously and pulling Sherlock onto the bed with him.

John's own t-shirt was off within seconds. Sherlock's hands explored his back while John rubbed his thumbs over perfect pink nipples, eliciting a moan that ran from Sherlock's mouth to his, and then straight to his dick.

He broke away from the kiss to make his way down to the insanity that was Sherlock's neck, bare and open as Sherlock thrust his head back. John nipped and licked down the column of his throat while elegant hands ran feverishly back and forth over his shoulders.

John pushed Sherlock back against the pillows and raised his head, nuzzling against the soft black locks curled over Sherlock's ear for a moment before licking around the shell of his ear and taking the lobe into his mouth. Sherlock moaned loudly, wantonly, as John pinched a nipple deftly with his left hand, still swirling his tongue lovingly around Sherlock's earlobe. Sherlock managed to gather the focus to grab at John's pajama pants, pushing them down over his hips, along with his boxers, until John was positioned over him, crouched straddling his body, one hand on his chest, the other skimming his side, naked.

John pulled away from Sherlock, rearing up to look at him lying there, flushed with pleasure, desperate with desire, and looking completely wrecked in the most beautiful way. Sherlock looked up at him, mouth parted, in awe, and let his gaze fall to where John's cock arched up with need, glistening at the tip. He had never in his life seen anything more splendid. He touched it reverently with the tips of his fingers, stroking just barely down its length, but John stopped him.

"I want to – I need to see you," he whispered hoarsely, his voice husky with longing.

Sherlock nodded. "Anything you want. I'm yours."

John's tongue ran over his bottom lip as he began to fumble with Sherlock's belt buckle. Sherlock laid back and watched John lustily as he undid the button, then the zipper, and slowly stripped Sherlock down. He tossed the pants over the side of the bed, never taking his eyes from Sherlock's dick, which was, like every other part of Sherlock, elegant, fascinating, and gorgeous.

John leaned across Sherlock's body to kiss him, and they took shuddering breaths as their cocks slid against each other. John stopped in place for a moment, overwhelmed by the sensations racing through both his body and his mind.

"Concentrate, John," Sherlock breathed against his lips. "Do what you'd like with me. Don't think."

John straightened up with half a nod and regarded Sherlock's stunning body laid out before him. He reached for a tube that he didn't remember putting on his bedside table and spread its contents over the fingers of one hand and then onto his dick. Spreading Sherlock's legs with the other, he slowly pressed a lube-coated finger to Sherlock's hole, his heart beating wildly in his chest like a caged animal about to be set free. He wrapped the free hand around Sherlock's cock as his finger slipped deeper into him, and began to pump slowly, carefully up and down as he brought another finger to join the first.

As he stretched his fingers wider, and pressed them deeper, he watched Sherlock, whose lips were pushed open by quick, desperate draws of breath, whose eyes watched John's face, then his hand, then his face again.

Once he was ready, John moved his hand from Sherlock's dick to slide it under him, lifting his body up and positioning himself. He watched Sherlock bite the perfect curve of his bottom lip as the moist tip of John's dick touched him.

John watched Sherlock's face unblinkingly as he pushed into him. His hands slid over Sherlock's hips and his fingers splayed under to hold him in place, feeling the lean muscles of his ass, which was better than John had ever imagined it would be.

His eyes finally left Sherlock as they rolled back when he pushed almost all the way into him, and their respective groans of pleasure mingled in the little space between them.

This complete connection of their bodies flipped a switch in John's head, and he began to push needily into Sherlock, rocking in and out so emotively that Sherlock almost didn't dare cry out. But he did, and John groaned again at the gorgeous, keening noise that he was sure no one else had ever heard.

John was getting close as he thrust with a faster rhythm into Sherlock, who gripped the sides of the bed to hold himself in place and made the most sinful mewing noises with each successively powerful thrust. John's knees bounced slightly on the bed as he came, gasping for breath as his hands gripped Sherlock so tightly that he would have worried about bruises.

John stayed inside him for a moment, panting, unwilling to pull himself away from Sherlock before he absolutely had to. He wanted to stay like this forever – connected, together, in a way that no one could ever take away from him.

After a few minutes, Sherlock curled his body up, keeping his lower half in place, and reached out a hand to stroke the tears off of John's cheek. John bowed his head, ashamed, and finally slid out of Sherlock. He didn't look up at him until he felt hands pulling him up for a kiss. He complied, meeting Sherlock's lips in a salty but comforting embrace, his eyes remaining closed. With a sudden realization, John groped blindly down Sherlock's body.

"That won't be necessary, John," Sherlock murmured tenderly, sounding almost amused. John realized slowly that his stomach was sticky with cum, which accounted for the graceful arch of the back, closing of eyelids, and the gorgeous, wrecked look he had seen when he came. Sherlock had come too, without a single finger on him.

John rolled onto his back next to Sherlock, who turned over to kiss him again. Looking up at his face now, John realized that Sherlock had shed a single inexplicable tear which was now making its way slowly down his cheek. John licked it away with a quick dart of his tongue, and they both giggled. Sherlock lied back next to him and they were both silent with exhaustion. Their hands found one another and grasped together as they drifted off to sleep.

Despite having had an eventful dream that he couldn't quite remember yet, John found that he was remarkably, impossibly well-rested the next morning. He rolled out of bed, wishing that whatever the rare, happy dream had been was real. He groped his side-table for his cell phone to check the time and found his hand landing on a small, foreign object instead.

He brought it close to examine it.

Eros Bodyglide Lubricant.

He blinked. A wave of – pleasure? – no, realization crashed over him and he plopped back down onto his bed.

"Oh my god."