Author's Note: I realize that this one may be WAY far out of character for John. But in my defense, we've never seen John completely hammered. So, I'm using my artistic license on how he'd act. Works better. Also, I'm unsure of how I feel about this one as a whole. Some proper feedback would be divine.
Sherlock had forgotten to note that John wasn't standing.
That's where he'd gone wrong. He realized this as he had—for the second time—had to readjust John's weight against his side. Sherlock had, quickly, calculated the quickest and most effective possible route for getting John up the stairs and into his bedroom. From the slope of the stairs, to John's weight, to the gait of his walk, Sherlock had been sure his methods would be the best possible way.
Except he'd managed—somehow—to let it slip his mind that John wasn't standing on his own.
John was very, very, very, very drunk.
They'd been to a fancy dress party. Stamford had invited them along to one that he was throwing, and though Sherlock had completely refused, John had managed to convince him to tag along.
For the best, Sherlock supposed.
John had decided to participate in any and all drinking-related games that may have happened. Sherlock was well aware that John enjoyed a cool pint, but he'd never quite imagined John the army doctor as the type to slosh back shots of whiskey. But there he had been, and Sherlock had watched on with conflicting emotions (amusement, dread, wonder, etc.) as John slammed emptied glasses on tables and laughed on heartily.
Now Sherlock was attempting to get drunken John up into the flat. He had not remembered to factor in John's weight in its entirety, as John was being particularly unhelpful in the voyage up the stairs.
"Sheerrrr…" John mumbled, trailing off.
"Don't speak." Sherlock grumbled exasperatedly, "Walk."
John dragged his feet, attempting to place them firmly on each step. But his knees would give way, and his serious and semi-focused demeanor would crumble into a fit of giggles. By the time they'd reached the landing leading into their flat, Sherlock had given up attempting to get him the rest of the way. He brought John to the couch instead, where he forced him (a little more aggressively than intended) to sit.
"Sherlock… you look…" John slurred, his eyes squinted.
"Look what." Sherlock insisted.
John's face shifted from look to look, finally resting on slightly suspicious. "I dunno. Bit constipated." the words came out strung together. Sherlock's eyebrows furrowed, his face scrunching in disbelief. He shook his head, attempting to clear it. "Lie down John." he said, heading to the kitchen. "I'll make coffee."
"No!" John replied, standing all too quickly. Sherlock was already at the counter, teeth gritted as he measured out the appropriate amount of coffee to dump into the pot. He could hear John stumbling from the couch to the desk, from the desk to the chair. "Sherlock… I'm fine." he mumbled.
"John. Sit." he replied stiffly, his eyes never leaving the coffee pot.
"Sherlock. Oi, Sherlock." John was persistent. He had made it into the kitchen, where he was latching onto the back of a chair. Sherlock gritted his teeth harder, trying to focus on the task at hand. He needed to simplify it. It would calm him to do so.
John is drunk. His mind recanted quite calmly. John is very drunk. John would not typically be in such a state. John is not usually quite so irritating. He nodded to himself, allowing the logic to twist itself into a proper idea. John would do the same for you. John is your friend. He was jolted back to the moment at hand by the feel of John's hands. They had fumbled as John had done, grabbing hold of Sherlock's coat from the stomach and back.
Sherlock's body tensed. His hands had completely ceased as John slipped down to the tile. "Woops." he could hear John say from the floor, a giggle underneath the word. Sherlock shut his eyes, taking a slow, steadying breath before looking down to John. "You need sleep." he told the giggling man on the floor.
"I need… somethin'." John replied, rubbing his head. He leaned back against the cupboard, allowing his legs to flop straight. Sherlock resumed his coffee-making, body still stiff.
"Sherlock, you're bein' really quiet." John mumbled, wrapping an arm loosely around Sherlock's leg.
"I'm making coffee." Sherlock replied shortly.
"Say things." John mumbled, his arm falling to Sherlock's ankle.
"I have. I've said you need sleep. However, since you've taken it upon yourself to ignore my advice, I'm making you coffee instead." Sherlock said. He poured the steaming liquid into John's mug. "Perhaps you'll see reason more clearly upon sobering."
"I don't wanna go to bed." John said, shaking his head. He leaned it back against the cupboard and stared up at Sherlock. "S'too far."
"Then the couch will do."
"The couch hurts my back."
Sherlock rolled his eyes, bringing the mug down to John's level. "Here."
He set it beside him without taking a single sip and rolled himself forward, onto his hands and knees. "I think I need to sleep this off." he said. Sherlock exhaled exasperatedly, watching as John—quite slowly—lifted himself to a standing position. John took a deep breath, blinking and squinting, obviously attempting to right his vision. With breath held, he began walking forward. Sherlock watched as he turned out of the kitchen and down the narrow hallway. "John?" he called.
He could hear John grumbling to himself, then the weight of a full body flopping onto a bed. Sherlock's eyebrows furrowed. "John?" he asked once again. He rounded the corner himself, striding down the hall and into his room.
John's pants were on the floor, beside his coat, shirt, and shoes. When Sherlock looked to his bed, John was wiggling beneath the covers. His head was already buried into Sherlock's pillows. He was mumbling to himself, inaudibly. "John." Sherlock said.
"I never knew… how comfortable your bed was…" John muttered, pulling the comforter up over his shoulders and head.
Sherlock sighed, turning toward the door wordlessly and making to leave. He wasn't particularly thrilled that John had accosted his bed, but at least he was in bed, and therefore no longer a hazard to himself. He was making to shut the door behind him when he heard John call for him. "Sherlock come 'ere!"
"John, please sleep."
"I will, I will. But come 'ere."
Sherlock's jaw tensed as he entered the room once again. John hadn't moved much, but Sherlock could see him peering at him from beneath the comforter. He watched as John's hand fumbled from beneath the bedding and patted the empty space beside him. "Keep me company." John demanded.
"John…" Sherlock sighed.
"C'mon. Just for a bit." John pleaded. He pulled the covers from over his head and pulled himself upright.
Sherlock heaved another exasperated sigh as he slipped out of his coat, hanging it on the back of the door. He pulled off his scarf and laid it on the nightstand, then sat down upon the bed. He shrugged out of his blazer and folded it over his arm. Then he sat with his back against headboard. John pulled himself back, mimicking Sherlock's position, then smiled. "See? Not so bad."
"Mmm." Sherlock replied.
They sat in silence.
"Can I ask you somethin'?" John asked.
"You just have." Sherlock retorted evenly.
"No, I meant a proper question."
Sherlock took a deep breath and shut his eyes. John is drunk. His mind repeated. John is very drunk. He wouldn't be this irritating if he were sober. He would do this for you. John is your friend. He let the words repeat in his head, over and over and over, like a mantra. John was speaking, saying something about… what? He turned to look at John, who was staring into his lap. "…It's just somethin' I've been curious about. You don't have to answer or anything but you know… maybe I should know somethin' like that… Since we're friends and all." John had said.
"About what?" Sherlock asked.
"Well… I was wondering if you ever… get lonely, I guess." John was still staring into his lap. His eyes were focused on his fingers, which seemed to be twiddling around one another.
"I don't have time to be lonely." Sherlock replied curtly.
"Now that's just bollocks. Everyone has time to be lonely." John said with a scoff.
Sherlock shook his head, still staring at the wall. "The body is just transportation." Sherlock said, another mantra he seemed to have engraved into his head. "I live for my work. Thinking is the only thing I need. All of the other things—sentiment, caring, love—only hinders my larger goal."
"The end of each case."
John nodded. "But how do you solve these cases without caring? I mean, don't you have to… just a little bit… care about the end result? About the people at stake?"
"I see each case from the outside, from pure fact. I don't allow things like people's emotions to over-rule what the reality of the situation is. Cases are puzzles that are begging to be worked through."
"Is it hard?" John asked, finally looking to Sherlock. "Being indifferent all the time."
Sherlock didn't reply. He stared at the wall. He wasn't completely indifferent. Not that he willingly had emotions, but they were there. Deep down. Shoved under papers and boxes and things he hadn't shifted in a long, long while. He didn't feel for his clients. He didn't feel for those who had been the victim, not in the way John suggested. But he did feel. He felt for those closest, those who put up with him, those who stayed. He felt for Mrs. Hudson. For Lestrade. For John.
He looked at his slowly-sobering, still-quite-drunk friend. "I'm not always indifferent." he confessed.
"For clients, it's easy to disconnect myself. I have no desire to be around them for more than necessary, and in truth, they probably feel similar. I'll readily admit, however, that I'd be prepared to do… whatever it took… to keep those who stay with me safe." Sherlock's heart twisted. It wasn't natural for him to speak so freely. But, he had reasoned, John was inebriated. The chances of him remembering anything Sherlock had said were small.
"I stay with you." John said quietly.
"And I would never admit this to you sober, but I'd do anything you asked of me."
John's lips turned upward into a sloppy smile, and he scooted closer to Sherlock. "I would never say it out loud if I were sober, but I'd do anything for you too." he said, wrapping an arm around Sherlock's shoulders. Sherlock's body stiffened quite instinctively. He had to force himself to relax as John rested his head upon Sherlock's shoulder.
"Sherlock." John said after a long silence.
"Yes John." Sherlock answered.
"Can I do something?"
"I'm sure you have the ability to do anything you'd like."
Their eyes settled on one another's then. Sherlock was attempting, of course, to anticipate John's next move. Seven ideas went through his head, all of them stupendously ridiculous. He didn't anticipate, somehow, the forward leaning of John's head. He didn't quite entertain the possibility of John's lips pressing themselves to his. More than anything, more than never having believed John would kiss him, he hadn't foreseen kissing him back.
The body was just a form of transportation. Feelings, caring, intimacy, physicality, love—all of that was just white noise, hovering somewhere in the background, just far out enough in his mind to ignore. But upon being faced with it, blatantly, shoved into it, the white noise became an opera. A beautiful, tear-jerking, glass-shattering aria that rattled the very foundation of what Sherlock Holmes had made himself.
He hadn't meant to kiss back. He hadn't meant to wrap his long fingers around the back of John's neck, pulling him closer. He hadn't meant to shut his eyes and enjoy himself. He tried to calm his heart, thumping furiously against his rib cage, but it didn't seem to work. He was there, John's arms making their way around him, and he was stumbling so far from himself that it made him dizzy.
John pulled away then. He patted Sherlock's stomach and nodded, an obviously drunken smile on his lips. He didn't say anything else. He scooted himself back under the covers, lying down and burying his face into Sherlock's pillow once again.
Sherlock took a deep breath. He held it in his lungs, shutting his eyes, listening to the sound of his heart beat dropping. Then slowly, quietly, he let the breath slip through his lips. He listened in silence as John's breathing slowed and steadied.
Then he stood.
He made his way to the door, walking as lightly as possible. He wouldn't sleep that night, he had known that from the moment John had been too intoxicated to lift himself properly. He would, instead, perhaps, sit in front of the fire he'd build himself. Perhaps he'd play the violin as quietly as possible. Whichever endeavor he permitted himself, it would be thought-based. And he would fight off the aria in his head, dulling it once again until it was nothing but white noise.