(Sherlock is not mine! Some extreme cuddly fluff for everyone! Happy Easter!)
There was a loud crash from down in the sitting room that John tried very hard not to think about. It was close to 11 pm and he was reading a very good detective novel about a chap who did not keep human heads in the freezer, have a brother who was the British Government, or went through severe 'case withdrawal' within hours of solving something, and actually accepted pay for his work without a best friend/caretaker hovering in the background.
"John!" It was less a shout up the stairs and more an actual bellow, and John Watson groaned. He wasn't about to have a shouting match with Sherlock up and down the stairs to his room, Mrs. Hudson deserved better than that; but he also didn't want to drag himself out of bed to see what his mad friend wanted. Thankfully, Sherlock obligingly came pounding up the stairs a few seconds later, bursting into his room without bothering to knock. The World's Only Consulting Detective was in a down swing, no murders for a week, and only "The Case of the Missing and Rather Irritating West Highland White Terrier" in the meantime to tide him over. John knew the Terrier was irritating, because he had held the damn thing for four hours under a fire escape in the rain while he waited for Sherlock to chase down the suspect. It had been a long night and was rapidly turning into a long week.
John sighed and put his book down. His flat mate's forehead was creased, and his eyes were a greyish blue and tumultuous. His wild curls were squashed flat to his head from too much lying on the couch and not enough showering. While Sherlock was wearing pajama pants and his maroon dressing gown, he seemed to have forgotten to put on a shirt. He paced back and forth at the foot of John's bed for a few moments, his dressing gown dragging over the furniture and making him look absurdly like a mad king, which wasn't much of a stretch, really.
"John, have you seen my skull? I need it but it's not on the mantelpiece."
"I thought I was filling in for your skull." John gave a wry grin. "Mrs. Hudson probably has it. You know she hates it staring at her when she dusts the flat for us."
Sherlock scowled. "You fill in for my skull in a limited capacity, John. I need my skull."
"Well, Mrs. Hudson is asleep and I refuse to break into her flat in the middle of the night with you to steal your skull back. What on earth do you need it for besides talking out loud to as you solve cases? You don't even have a case!"
Impatience flashed in Sherlock's eyes. "I know I don't have a case John, I've been awake for three days and I'm trying to sleep. I NEED MY SKULL."
For a few moments Sherlock nervously pulled on the silk tie of his dressing gown. John squinted at the dressing gown tie in the light of his bedside lamp, there was a rather worn streak running down the center of the dressing gown tie. In fact, John realized, hit with sudden deductive inspiration (hard to escape having the odd one occasionally being the flatmate of Sherlock Holmes), there were worn streaks on ALL of Sherlock's silk clothes, usually around the cuffs of the shirts; John had noticed when he did the laundry. And really, when John had inspected the skull more closely after Sherlock had returned it from its first abduction by Mrs. Hudson (the skull wasn't the sort of thing one let go unexamined) he had noticed a rather unusually worn, smooth streak on the back of its head. This, coupled with the fact that the few times the detective did sleep in his room John had noticed the skull on the bedside table as if Sherlock had fallen asleep talking to it, led the ex-army doctor to a particularly amusing conclusion.
He glanced up at Sherlock, and noticed the detective developing a rather deep blush as he recognized his much slower friend was beginning to make an embarrassingly accurate inference. "Shut up John."
"Sherlock, is the skull your… binky?"
The look of rage, and embarrassed horror on the detective's face only confirmed John's statement. "Don't be PEDESTRIAN John. There's just a spot on it that's interesting to rub that takes my mind away from other things and helps me sleep. It's a form of meditation, not a…" his face creased in disgust. "BINKY."
John felt that he probably deserved a medal for the copious amount of not-laughing he was doing right now. He could probably push the matter towards the mortification of his friend as he pointed out that the skull must have some special significance as rubbing silk also seemed to sooth him but not help him sleep. However, considering how much sleeping Sherlock generally did not do, he figured that putting the man off sleep even more by teasing him was probably the worst possible strategy in promoting his good health, he kept his mouth shut on that front.
"So, uh, my skull" (he tapped his forehead) "doesn't work in the same capacity as your skull in that area?"
John winced. It had been meant as a joke, but it came out as more of a flirt. Recently as he became closer to Sherlock, he noticed that his "Not Gay" statement was becoming more ironic and less a desperate assertion, and that the eye contact they occasionally used to communicate with each other was becoming more intense and invasive. A couple weeks ago, standing over a crime scene, he had found himself goggling up at the other man with star struck awe, focusing on the interesting shapes Sherlock's mouth made as he talked. Licking his lips, John had blurted out "Fantastic!" before Sherlock stopped insulting Scotland Yard and the police force and started his deduction. Donovan and Anderson had looked mildly insulted, and Lestrade had broken down into sobs of laughter at the look of shock on Sherlock's face.
"John." Sherlock had murmured. "You DO realize you said that out loud, don't you?"
At that, John's admiration had dissolved into a fit of awkward coughing.
His mouth twisting in embarrassment at the memory, John looked back up at his flat mate, then jumped in shock as he realized that he had walked along the side of his bed and was now studying his cranium with interest.
John almost jumped away until he noticed the dark circles under Sherlock's manically tired eyes. The detective gently ran his hands through his friend's hair, then unceremoniously shoved John over and climbed into bed. "Might work fairly well," he muttered.
"Hang on… Sherlock! That wasn't an invitation!"
But the detective was already curled up in the fetal position and was running his thumb up and down the back of John's head, from the nape of his neck to the middle of his skull. John gave in, and sighed. The detective's fingers were strong and the regular strokes made his limbs relax. He even pushed his head into what was starting to feel like a massage. "Sherlock, that was a joke, it's the wrong texture even, isn't it?"
An arm curled around John's waist, and pulled him close. "Better." Sherlock muttered, his usually harsh voice softening and stumbling as it neared the edge of sleep. "Warmer."
As was usually the case, John didn't have the heart to object.