Another 2 a.m., come and gone. Nothing to do, and not in the least bit sleepy. Sherlock tossed on the couch, pulling his dressing gown moodily around himself. He'd long since given up on the bad telly, finding it only worsened his mood.

Normally at this juncture, he'd be pacing the floor, shouting 'bored!' or quite possibly, shooting the wall.

The problem with that, at the moment, was that it was 2 a.m., John had just come back from what looked to have been a hellish day at the office and a not-so-pleasant drinking binge at the pub to try to wash away that day at the office. He was now upstairs, for all purposes, dead to the world, and even Sherlock felt a bit guilty about waking the poor sod up after a day like today, so he kept his woes tuned down and to himself.

He sighed, sat up and leaned his somewhat mussed up curls back against the back of the sofa, breathing out slowly and quietly. He'd dialed the Yard at midnight. Nothing. Gone over the papers for the last two weeks looking for any hint of unsolved mysteries he might latch onto. Clean. Nothing, anywhere: It was like the criminals of the city were conspiring to drive him mad! (They were succeeding.)

Even the eyeballs had lost their interest. He'd thrown them out in a fit of pique this morning. He suddenly hoped the trash haulers didn't take too much interest in their jobs, or he'd soon have the police swarming his flat. True, Lestrade and company knew of his experiments, but not all of NSY did. Well, he thought, somewhat buoyed by the idea, at least that would be interesting, for a while, anyway.

The sound of a loud, cut off snort came from upstairs. Sherlock rolled his eyes, John had likely just fallen into bed on his face and passed out. John could usually handle his drink, unless that is, he had intended to get completely blotto, like tonight.

Well, taking care of his flatmate would give him something to do, at least for a few minutes, which was better than nothing.

He rose gracefully from the sofa, his bare feet stepping first on, then over the coffee table, and headed upstairs to check on John.

His first inclination had been right: John was lying face down, completely clothed, crosswise on his bed, his legs dangling off the edge, just below the knee. That was going to hurt by morning. Coming further into the room, Sherlock nudged John further up on the bed, then, with a mild sleepy complaint from John, flipped the inebriated doctor over onto his back, and slowly worked off his shoes.

John mumbled something incoherent in his sleep and choked briefly on another snore. Sherlock shook his head and continued. Was this what he was like to handle when he'd done morphine, he briefly wondered. Socks and trousers came off next. Sherlock tossed the socks in the laundry then folded the trousers and placed them at the end of the bed.

He moved up onto the bed, sitting on his knees next to John, who'd, of all the days to wear a jumper, picked today. Well, Sherlock supposed, he was up for a challenge. Reaching a hand around to both sides, he slowly worked the jumper up to John's arms, lifted the back enough to get John's head through the hole, then swiftly pulled the rest off of his arms. Not too difficult. That left the button-down. Sherlock's fingers made quick work of the buttons and cuffs, then he'd have to roll him to each side. This was going to be trickier than the jumper, but John was really out of it.

Hmm. Maybe he'd have a chance to examine all John's war wounds while he was at it. He'd seen them in passing, the shoulder in particular, but John had sustained several others, not nearly so dangerous, during his time in the army; quite a few more during his time with Sherlock. More than a cursory examination might prove both distracting and illuminating. At least it would provide something for his mind to mull over for a while.

John was heavy both from being sturdily built and muscled, but also from his sheer limpness of limb. Sherlock struggled to roll him onto his side and pull off one side of the shirt. He found he had to scoot forward and wedge his folded knees up under John's back in order to keep him from rolling back down before he was finished. Manhandling an unconscious flatmate into bed was proving to be quite the workout.

Vanquishing the left side of the shirt, he moved to work on the right, slowly tipping John's side up onto his lap to finish the job. Tugging the last of the shirt off, he sighed satisfactorily and spent a few minutes regaining his energy, folding the shirt and tossing it on top of the trousers at the end of the bed. Removing his legs from beneath his soused friend, John sprawled across the bed on his back, arms above his head, looking every bit like a hapless starfish swept ashore.

Sherlock had to suppress a snicker. He flicked on John's dim light on the side table, barely enough to see by, and started examining the myriad of scars and scratches John had sustained during his time away, and let's face it, his time back. The shoulder wound, although John had let him study it before, was always a siren's call, so he started with that. He was fairly sure he could determine the make and model of the gun which had inflicted it, the distance from which it had been fired and the probable height of the wielder, given John's position kneeling on the ground, child's play really; but how about the rest of the injuries?

This was a challenge, and Sherlock warmed up to it right away. First, determine when it was sustained, before or after the others, if at all possible, then where? Here or Afghanistan? Determine the implement that had caused it, and if possible, who. Some would be easy, if he could remember the cases in which John had gotten injured, others not so much, and to place them on a time line was an extra test of his faculties. He grinned down at John, the doctor having no idea how much he was currently entertaining his friend. He supposed John might be a little indignant about it, but if, in the long run, it afforded him a good sleep and an absence of what he called Sherlock's 'whinging', he probably wouldn't mind so much.

He found moving from one side to the other to take up too much time, so he merely straddled John's waist before leaning down to examine him further.

John made a few more not-quite discontent noises at this but was passed out again within moments.

Sherlock trailed his slender fingers across one pale scar after another. Some he remembered quite vividly, when John had sustained them, and always who'd done it, and a scowl played across his features at each memory of his friend getting hurt, usually in the process of protecting Sherlock. Others were new to him, faint, older, childhood or war. He wished he'd had the foresight to bring up his magnifying glass as the lighting was terrible, but he'd have to work with what he had.

He ran his fingers lightly over each one on John's chest, biceps, forearms, stomach and sides. Apparently John was slightly ticklish there as a muffled giggle escaped his mouth and his hips bucked up slightly.

Sherlock stopped. He'd been caught unawares by John's sudden thrust, and if he was not entirely mistaken, the wood that the doctor was currently sporting, which had ground unerringly against Sherlock's privates. He sucked in a quick breath, willing himself not to respond.

Looking down at John's torso, he could see his light touches had had an incidental effect. The doctor had raised gooseflesh all across his chest and arms, his nipples had tightened and raised and there was a slight flush to his cheeks. John groaned in his sleep.

"Oh gods, not this again," thought Sherlock.

The last time he'd had a response like this to a sleeping John, had been over ten months ago, and he'd promised himself he'd behave. The incident had almost been forgotten, nearly deleted, except for the fact that he found deleting anything about John was well nigh impossible. Still, he'd stored it as far back in his mind as possible, buried in dusty box under everything else he knew about John in the far reaches of his mind. Not far enough apparently, as he was starting to react to him again.

He swiftly dismounted his friend, pulled the blankets out from underneath him and began to cover him up.

John, however, still asleep, seemed to have different plans as his head began rocking back and forth and a murmur of 'no no no no' chanted from his lips.

Sherlock froze. Another nightmare? Had he incited a flashback? What to do? His mind flailed wildly between waking John and not, maybe a steadying hand, whispered reassurances? Violin music?

"Stay." John's voice still soft and sleepy commanded.

Well, that solved that. Not a flashback at least, those usually involved running and swearing, neither of which had so far surfaced, and had never yet included a command to stay. Sherlock pulled the blankets up to John's chin, and lay down next to him, his arm laying lax over John's chest.

John rolled toward him in his sleep and let out a soft satisfied hum. "You love me," he mumbled.

Sherlock blinked, somewhat blindsided by the comment, and took a moment before responding quietly, "Yes, I do."

"'s'nice." Came the reply.

There was a long silence in which Sherlock assumed John had fallen back into a deeper slumber, when he was surprised by John murmuring, nearly inaudibly, almost as a sigh, "Touch me."

He waited a moment, unsure of his own ears, when John sighed and repeated the words, nuzzling closer to Sherlock.

Sherlock closed his eyes and reigned in his reactions. "John," he breathed, "who do you think I am?"

John's brow wrinkled as if he was pondering the question. "Not Paula."

"No," confirmed Sherlock, "not Paula."

"Not Jen or the caterpillar."

Sherlock's brow creased at this and an eyebrow arched but he parroted back, "No, not Jen or a ... caterpillar."

A few seconds ticked by before John's next remark, "Not Sally. Sally's mean."

"Yes, Sally is mean," assured Sherlock.

"You're Flumple," John breathed smiling, looking like, for all the world, he had solved the most intricate case ever, and apparently having forgotten what initiated the entire conversation to begin with.

"Flumple?" inquired Sherlock.

"Bear," came the explanation.

"Not a bear, John," said Sherlock patiently.

"S'okay, bears not thumbs...need thumbs," he breathed out sleepily.

"Why?"

"To get S'm'ex off," John's voice sounded both pleading and lost, but somehow lulled and unpanicked.

Oh, thought Sherlock. Damn. The pool. He shook his head a moment then replied, "It's a coat, John, just take off the coat."

John shook his head, "Can't."

Okay, nothing for it, it seemed. Sherlock placed his hands low on John's hips and began slowly running them up his sides, then his stomach. "Feel that? I'm getting it off. Got thumbs, John, it's coming off."

John's smile at that could only be described as beatific, and he sighed, relaxing, as Sherlock continued to run his hands over John's torso.

"Bears are good," he breathed, "not as good as thumbs, though."

"No, I suppose not," Sherlock smiled, again suppressing a grin.

"Off?" inquired John.

"Yeah, it's off, John. No more Semtex. All gone."

"Still feel it."

Sherlock ran his hands over John once more. "Feel? All gone." He couldn't ignore the fact that all this touching was doing something to him. His heart had started to beat faster, and try as he might, he was having trouble regulating his breathing. "I've got to go now John, you're safe." Sherlock moved to get out of bed and John whined.

"John," said Sherlock, exasperatedly, "you're drunk and mostly asleep, and being next to you is … doing things to me. God knows I wouldn't tell you this normally, but with the state you're in now, you won't remember in the morning. I need to go John, before I do something stupid."

John's arm reached out to latch onto Sherlock's wrist at that moment, and pulled the off-balance detective awkwardly backwards and partway across him.

"Do something stupid," he mumbled.

Sherlock rolled over to find himself on top of John, face to face. How much could one man take?

"John," he began again.

"Stupid." John's mumbled beligerence demanded.

His willpower crumbled. He raised himself up on his arms, considered John's peaceful look, then softly brought his lips down onto John's, half expecting it to wake up his sleeping partner, get himself socked in the jaw, and told to leave. However John just exhaled, smiled and hummed happily.

Sherlock ducked his head in disbelief. His cock was aching. He tentatively moved against John, still expecting the same result. Instead, John's hips came up to meet his. Suddenly, there were too may layers between them. Sherlock feverishly pulled the blankets down, shed his dressing gown and pajamas, and slowly pushed down John's boxers.

He lay down very slowly back on top of the doctor, savoring the feeling of flesh pressing on flesh. His heart hammering through his chest, he stilled himself. John grumbled and moved against him. Sherlock was certain he was going to have a heart attack and die right here, on top of John. What the hell would John make of that in the morning? Assuming he didn't wake up and kill Sherlock first.

Thoughts of 'this is bad, oh this is bad' flitted through Sherlock's head, but at the moment, he couldn't be bothered with them. Yes, John had been both blotto and probably sleep talking, but it was better than last time, as far as consent went. And he had tried, really tried, to be good – to go away.

He panted through his mouth to stifle the sounds he wanted to make, then as John ground against him again, gave up and dropped his head down to John's chest, kissing his way across it, over every slash and scar, stopping to suck gently on the tightened buds of John's nipples, moaning softly as he did. John's moan soon mingled with his own, and his hips ground upward again.

Sherlock stopped any pretense of holding back, and slid his cock past John's once more, adding a little more pressure as he did so, his cock was leaking precum, and the rubbing on John soon became slick. He groaned outwardly, voice shaking.

He continued to move as he turned back to John's torso, his hands and lips moving in concert, kissing, licking, worshiping the man beneath him. He worked his way back up to John's lips, kissing them gently as their bodies rocked together. He wanted so much to slip his tongue in, to tangle it with John's but it was too much of a risk. Hell, he was already amazed he hadn't woken John and been pummeled into next week.

Their hips pushed against each other as they rocked, Sherlock still gently kissing John, as John's body started to respond. His hips arched a little off the bed, his breathing became ragged, and soon Sherlock felt the evidence of John's release warm between them – that was all it took to tumble Sherlock over the edge as well.

It had been beautiful and John seemed to have fallen back into a deep slumber just moments afterward, but Sherlock couldn't afford to stay and be noticed.

He quickly re-dressed himself in pajamas and dressing gown, then surveyed the mess they'd made of the bed. He gathered John's clothes, now in a heap, having tumbled off the end of the bed, refolded them and placed them on the chair.

His mind moving quickly, he noted the mess on John's belly, and the sheets below. There was no way to tidy John up or clean the sheets without waking him. There was also no way to explain why you would remove your flatmate's pants while getting him into bed, regardless of how drunk he was. Sherlock shook his head, hoped John would be impressed with the volume of his 'night emissions' and surreptitiously slipped the pants back up his legs and over part of the mess they'd caused.

He pulled the covers back up to John's chin, flicked off the light and hurried back down the stairs, careful to avoid the squeaky ones.

A warm shower relaxed him a bit, the inhalations of steam bringing down his heart rate and rapid breathing, while he took turns mentally berating himself for his lack of self-control; congratulating himself on his attempts to be good, even if they had ultimately failed; the incredible fact that he hadn't woken John up; and visually reliving the entire scenario, which only served to get him hard again, which some more soap and a good lather took care of.

Overall, while he knew he didn't behave as well as he should have, he figured he had done pretty well, all things considered. Another vow to himself to 'Never do that again!' was made, and he determined to make it up to John over the next few days, regardless of whether the doctor knew why he was being so conscientious or not.

He climbed into his own bed, finally tired, and drifted off to strange dreams about mean bears named Sally who were surprisingly nice following a good shag by a caterpillar. That one, come morning, he had to erase.

Sherlock was surprised the next morning to have slept in until nearly noon. A rueful looking John stood next to his bed with a breakfast tray. "Morning, Sherlock. I debated waking you since this is the first time I've seen you sleep without utterly passing out after a case, but decided nutrition is important too." He set the tray on Sherlock's lap, then looked up again, "Did a case come in last night?"

Sherlock merely shook his head and dug into the meal in front of him rendering John temporarily speechless.

Still watching Sherlock in shock, John gathered his voice and said, "Thanks for getting me to bed last night. You did, didn't you? I don't remember climbing into bed."

Again, Sherlock nodded, still scarfing down his food.

"You sure there was no case last night?" inquired John, still confused.

"No case John, just hungry."

John smiled at this then began to apologise. "Sorry about that last night Sherlock, it was just a bad day and I don't usually..."

Sherlock cut him off, "Yes, I know, I could read your day all over you. Don't worry about it. It's fine. How are you feeling today, by the way?"

"Better than I ought to, for all the drinking I did. I'm counting myself lucky."

Sherlock merely nodded, but couldn't help a brief smile from flitting across his lips.


Notes:

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