John collapsed onto his back after the celebration of another case solved. As had become the norm in the past few weeks, within minutes, Sherlock attached himself so well against John's side – arm around him, one leg between John's and his head on John's chest – it was hard to believe they were still two people. John nuzzled his nose into Sherlock's soft curls, and couldn't help but chuckle slightly at the situation.
"What?" Sherlock asked after feeling John shake beneath him, tilting his head up to look at him.
"Nothing," John replied with a smile, "It's just that, it's almost like I'm dating two different Sherlock's. There's Daylock who's cold and aloof and stunningly clever with his genius deductions and sharp words, and then there's Nightlock who's all –"
Sherlock pulled away abruptly, cutting John off as he sat up, arms wrapping around himself defensively.
"Clingy and annoying, yes I know," Sherlock finished for him, more than aware of his own shortcomings. It had been good while it lasted, but he couldn't expect John to put up with him forever - Victor hadn't. "It's been made very clear to me in the past. It's fine, I knew you'd only put up with the irritating neediness for so long, don't worry about it, my fault, I'll just –"
Sherlock made to get up, but was halted when John sat up and grabbed his upper arm. He turned around, trying but not quite succeeding to school his face into something neutral, and was met with an expression of confusion and hurt.
"That wasn't what I was going to say," John said quietly, voice incredible sad. He tugged at Sherlock's arm and, bemused, Sherlock followed until they were both lying down, facing each other.
"I was going to say warm and affectionate and cuddly," John explained softly, hand coming up to cup Sherlock's cheek. "Who ever told you it was clingy and annoying? Victor?"
Sherlock looked down at the sheets, "You know there are occasions when I wish I hadn't managed to pass on any of my deduction skills."
John chuckled, but it was a hollow sound. "You've already told me you've only slept with one other person; I think I could have made that deduction even without you."
"Victor didn't really appreciate any sort of post-coital contact," Sherlock murmured, "Actually, he didn't really appreciate any contact that wasn't sexual. He said that it 'wasn't what fuck buddies did'. I don't even know why I wanted to be close to him in any other sort of way; I only stuck with him because he knew the best cocaine supplier. Maybe I just wanted to pretend that somebody actually wanted me for a little while. Guess there was a time when I was young and stupid."
John's eyes watered at the confession, and he couldn't help but pull Sherlock towards him, wrapping both arms around him and holding him tight to his chest as he buried his face in his curls.
"It's not stupid to want to be wanted," John replied gently, one hand coming up to stroke the hair at the base of Sherlock's skull tenderly, "And it's completely normal to want that kind of affectionate contact. We're much more than fuck buddies Sherlock, at least you mean so much more than that to me; it's alright to want cuddles. I like being able to hold you in bed, to feel like you're the one who needs me for once, and not the other way around."
"You're more than just a fuck buddy to me too," Sherlock mumbled, arms wrapping tightly around John as he nuzzled into his chest, utterly relieved.
John smiled, and kissed the top of Sherlock's head. "We're in a relationship now, you're allowed to ask for a cuddle any time, not just when we're going to bed or we've just had sex. On those days when it's black and bleak inside that brilliant head of yours, and I know it gets like that sometimes, it's okay to ask if we can cuddle on the sofa for a while. My affection is yours now; you're allowed to take it."
Sherlock simply nodded, not quite trusting his own voice yet, and clung on tighter. He'd never thought he'd need someone like John, but now that he had him it was becoming clear very rapidly that could no longer survive without him.
After a few moments John tugged them over, returning them to their original position.
"Go to sleep Sherlock," John whispered, pressing another kiss to his curls, "I've got you."
Sherlock's eyes slid shut, body succumbing to post-case exhaustion. But there was one thing he had to say first.
"You're wrong you know," he murmured, already half asleep, "S'not normally the other way 'round; I always need you."