There is that blissful moment that occurs between sleep and consciousness, just as you wake but before you open your eyes where you can't quite recall arbitrary facts such as the date, the season, or even the city in which you fell asleep. Generally that moment is just that, a moment, a few brief seconds before reality seeps in and you remember everything... however that moment lasts a mini eternity if, the evening before, you consumed enough alcohol to kill a small horse. John allowed himself the luxury of keeping his eyes closed as he woke, the sensation slowly returning to his aching limbs, the pounding in his head reaching tumultuous volume, and the less than comfortable feeling of sheets itching against his apparently bare flesh.
Nights out with Mike Stamford were certainly... interesting, John would give him that. Ignoring the disturbing rumble of his stomach ('a fry up' John thought absently, that would be a good idea) he slowly gave in to consciousness, dared himself to stretch slightly, testing the damage done to his dehydrated muscles. His arm came into contact with something warm, something most definitely human, and his eyes snapped open so suddenly that the room swam. Not his room. He sat up, rather too quickly, his dizziness impairing the motion as several thoughts occurred to him at once.
Thought number one was that no, this definitely was not his bedroom, thought number two was that this most certainly was not his bed, and thought number three was the painful realization that he was not, in fact alone. Turning his head in almost slow motion, his fears were confirmed, laid beside him, very much awake and alert was his best friend, his flatmate, Sherlock Holmes.
"Holy bloody fuck." John muttered his voice hoarse, Sherlock did not blink, he did not flinch. He was laid flat on his back, staring up at the ceiling with half glazed eyes and an unreadable expression on his face.
"You're awake then..." Sherlock mused.
"What... what happened?" John dared to ask, sliding one hand inconspicuously down his side to confirm that his initial theory had been right – no pants. The covers were arranged artfully across Sherlock, exposing his completely bare chest and tapering off at a level that could not have been accidental, showing only a brief glimpse of hip bone but concealing his modesty.
"You know my methods – deduce." Sherlock's voice was... odd to say the least, or perhaps it was residual beer-ear on John's part.
"Fucking hell." John mumbled, his hand raising to run through his hair. "Seriously – fuck!" He seemed incapable of proper sentences, at least ones that didn't include profanity. The obvious then. He'd slept with Sherlock. How the hell had that happened? He tried to piece the puzzle together, but his mind stonewalled against anything after Sherlock showing up and insulting everyone at the Last Bow pub where he'd been sat with Mike.
John took a few moments to compose himself, his hangover was truly a bitch and it would have been difficult enough to deal with this sober. He stole the occasional glance at Sherlock, who refused to meet his gaze, eyes focused determinedly on the ceiling above the bed they had evidently shared.
"Fuck." John said again, in a quieter, more resigned, slightly defeated manner.
"I tried to stop you..." Sherlock whispered, and John's blood ran cold, that did not sound good. He was suddenly very awake, very sober.
"Oh god." He panicked. "Oh god, I didn't? Tell me I didn't!?" His heart was hammering a violent tattoo against his chest, Sherlock's face remained blank, cold, distant, disassociated. "Sherlock..." John said, swallowing a lump in his throat. "I didn't... Did I force you?" He breathed through a growing sense of unease. There was no way Sherlock would have agreed to any of this, he was pretty much asexual, married to his work, and John was apparently a monster when he was drunk. It took Sherlock an age to reply, an age in which John was convinced he ought to consider handing himself straight in to the police on a charge of rape.
"No." Sherlock responded eventually. "No, I consented." He barely rose his voice above a whisper, but John heard it loud and clear
"Oh. thank god." John groaned, his breathing slowing to a human rate while he tried to process that thought.
There was a painful silence, safe in the knowledge that at the very least he hadn't raped his friend, John's hangover returned full force. He moaned and clutched at his sore head.
"Tea?" Sherlock offered into the stillness of the moment.
"Er... yeah." Sherlock nodded his head slightly, still avoiding John's eyes, he stood up gingerly and John somehow forgot not to look, Sherlock was as naked as expected but John's eyes were drawn to the small bruises low on his hips, marks made from greedy fingers digging at his flesh. As Sherlock crossed the room, John noted with a pang of guilt the slight limp in his gait. They'd gone all the way then. Sherlock reached the door, slipped on his red dressing gown, hesitated only a moment, his fingers brushing through the fabric of his blue one, before taking it in hand and throwing it blindly towards John on the bed.
"Come through when you're ready." Sherlock said, vanishing into the flat.
John stared helplessly around the room, it was as messy as it had ever seemed on the few occasions John had dared to venture into No-Man's land, however this morning it was littered with articles of both of their clothing, apparently shed in a hurry the night before. John searched half heartedly for his pants, but after stumbling over his shirt which appeared splashed with whiskey, and stepping on a shirt button that had obviously popped off of one of Sherlock's best shirts he gave up, and pulled Sherlock's dressing gown on. It smelled of Sherlock and that thought was oddly comforting, it did however drown him, and he had to roll the sleeves up to fumble for the doorhandle, convinced that it moved twice in his attempts to turn it. He staggered through into the living room just as Sherlock placed a mug of tea and a couple of aspirin at one end of the table, then curled himself up in the chair opposite.
Awkward was not the word, feeling oddly exposed in only Sherlock's dressing gown, John lowered himself tentatively into the armchair across from the detective. He gratefully accepted the tablets and sipped at his tea.
"How's your memory?" Sherlock asked cautiously.
"Non-existant." John muttered, trying to remember the last time he'd drunk himself into amnesia, certainly not for a good ten years. He was much too old for this.
"Do you want to know?" Sherlock broached tentatively.
"Yes. No. I don't know. Do I?" John sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose, trying to make sense of the whole situation in his head. Obviously there were feelings for Sherlock, strong ones actually, ones that tended to plague him even when he did his best to avoid them, creeping up on him in the dead of night, but goddamnit he was not the idiot people believed him to be, he'd never have acted on them of his own volition and certainly not in that manner! He must have been absolutely sozzled and thrown his common sense (and decency) out the window. Sherlock went quiet again, he kept shifting uncomfortably in his seat which steadily worsened John's shame.
"I'm sorry." Were the words that roused John from his thoughts.
"What?" John replied, utterly confused. "YOU'RE sorry?" he asked incredulously. "By all accounts it looks like it was me who made a drunken fool of himself and..." He trailed off, not really wanting to finish that sentence.
"You were in no fit state... I should have stopped you." Sherlock's voice was no longer cold, it didn't contain that distance, it was raw, uneven, his usually unshakable baritone faltering in hesitation. John just looked politely confused.
"Yeah I was wondering about that... why didn't you?" John wondered aloud. "I mean, it was obviously my stupid idea, you weren't drunk... you could have said no... hell you could have just punched me? So how come..."
"Because you said you loved me." Sherlock had never sounded so small, and John closed his eyes trying to picture telling Sherlock he loved him for the first time under the haze of innebriation. Sherlock bit his lip, uncertain as to whether he should continue, he only spoke again when John had opened his eyes.
"Initially I said no." Sherlock explained. "You'd made your intentions perfectly clear..." John didn't even want to imagine how he'd done that, plagued by unwarranted images of him lunging at Sherlock in a clumsy drunken attempt at a kiss. "I told you that you were drunk, that you needed to sleep it off and you'd feel differently in the morning..."
"And I didn't take no for an answer?" John asked with a hefty sigh. Sherlock smiled weakly.
"You were... rather insistent." He admitted. John cringed slightly. "I got you to go to your room, sort of pushed you onto the bed... you seemed to go to sleep so I left you there and I sat in my room, thinking." John frowned, why the hell hadn't he just stayed in his own bed? Sherlock rearranged himself in his seat once more, a slight wince that he couldn't quite hide quickly enough for John not to notice did nothing to ease his ever growing guilt.
"You crashed around for a bit upstairs before coming down again, you fell down the bottom three steps." Sherlock added, because of course he knew that without having to ask, he had heard it, worked it out. "You came into my room... do you want me to stop?" Sherlock asked, suddenly realising that perhaps John did not want to hear this after all.
"No." John sighed, "You might as well continue... I came into your room..."
"You started apologizing." Sherlock went on. "Kept telling me you were an idiot, that you were drunk... started talking to yourself mostly. 'You weren't meant to find out like this, wasn't meant to happen this way'... you weren't making much sense." He explained. "Just loitering in the doorway, babbling on." Sherlock began absently picking at a loose thread on his own night gown, the one not currently adorning John's figure.
"You came over... sat on the edge of my bed and said you were sorry. I told you it was fine, suggested you go back to bed. You seemed a little... distressed." Recalled Sherlock. "Then you said you loved me. Told me you always had. You rambled on a bit... you seemed genuinely upset that you'd made a pass at me earlier, kept saying it 'wasn't like that, you have to believe me'..." Sherlock hesitated, evidently not sure he wanted to divulge this next snippet of information. "It wasn't you."
"It wasn't you... who started it." Sherlock murmured embarrassedly, eyes flicking around the room before settling on the fireplace. "You were distraught and I didn't know what to do, I..." This was so unlike the Sherlock that John knew, Sherlock Holmes never struggled with words, he never forced his way through a conversation. John's guilt increased tenfold. "I wrapped my arm around you." He breathed softly. "I suppose it was an attempt to comfort you..." Sherlock mused.
"And then... only for a moment you seemed... sober. I knew you couldn't be but you were suddenly incredibly serious told me that you loved me and that you'd wanted to do this for the longest time and then you sat up straight and kissed me..." Sherlock's eyes fluttered closed for a moment as he recalled the sensation of John's lips against his own. "It all escalated rather quickly after that." Sherlock put forth, running his left hand through his curls.
"How quickly?" John asked, immediately mentally kicking himself for asking such a tactless question, Sherlock didn't seem to mind, he let out a low, dark chuckle.
"The alcohol didn't impair your performance, if that's what you mean?" John felt a blush rise on his cheeks, slightly glad for the fact he'd not given Sherlock the impression he was completely shit in bed... not that that was the point of course.
"I uh... there were er... bruises on your hip..." John's voice waivered slightly, because he was not entirely sure how to broach that particular aspect. How did you innocently ask if you were too rough in bed? Sherlock's magnificent eyes, usually so well in tune with the little details flickered downwards to survey the damage, only to realise he was now swathed in his dressing gown. If he had bruises, he hadn't been aware of them - what that said about the state of affairs John was not quite sure.
"I think that's predominantly the after effect of you attempting to steady yourself..." Sherlock mumbled sounding a little embarrassed as he spoke up next. "For the most part you were surprisingly gentle, I have no basis for comparison, however it was all quite... impressive."
"Uh... thanks, I guess? Wait... when you say 'no basis for comparison'..." A dim lightbulb went off in the fog of John's head. Oh god... he wasn't? John had thought on it briefly before, the possibility that Sherlock was a virgin had seemed high - but John had never really worked up the courage to ask. It was none of John's business, or most certainly hadn't been until yesterday.
"Sherlock... was last night... was it your first time?" He asked awkwardly. Sherlock nodded and John outwardly groaned. "PLEASE tell me you mean your first time with a man, and not your first time overall?" He sounded a little helpless.
"Overall." Sherlock concluded in a no-nonsense tone and John placed his palm to his aching forehead.
"Oh god. I took your virginity." He moaned softly, mortified at the fact. Sherlock however, scoffed.
"You didn't take anything, John. I relinquished it willingly." He said firmly.
There was a long pause before Sherlock spoke again.
"I am genuinely sorry." He said softly, because Sherlock Holmes did not DO apologies - under any circumstances. "You were in no fit state and I took advantage of that fact." John frowned, slightly mollified that Sherlock was so willing to take the blame on something that was clearly not his fault. "I knew you were drunk... I knew you were rambling... and I knew you didn't mean it." John's heart literally ached. He could not let Sherlock believe that last night was just an alcohol-induced moment of madness, which was evidently what the detective thought. It pained John to think that nobody had ever told Sherlock they loved him - no wonder he'd been overwhelmed. Nobody had ever touched him like that - he was only human. Of course he gave in. John should have been someone Sherlock trusted implicitly, and John had gone and fucked it all up. He had to set it right, even if it meant embarrassing himself.
"You're slipping, Sherlock." He said with another half-hearted sigh. He'd already said it once, so he could not justify keeping quiet any more. "Two out of three." Sherlock quirked an eyebrow, curiosity peaked.
"Yes, I was drunk. Yes, I was rambling... but I did mean it." He took a deep breath before continuing.
"Last night should never have happened." He thought he saw Sherlock wince slightly at those words, and wondered briefly why. "Not like that, I shouldn't have... I wasn't going to tell you." He said firmly. "But what I said last night... it's all true. I do... y'know..." He lowered his voice a little bit before whispering. "I do love you." And there it was. Out in the open. All said and done. John wondered (weakly) how they were supposed to move past something like this. Sherlock said he could delete things from his memory... would he do that with this whole incident? John didn't want Sherlock to continue beating himself up over it, but the thought of neither of them remembering was slightly torturous. John didn't need to remember it to know, it would continue to haunt him.
"Oh." Came Sherlock's reponse.
For a long time there was a drawn out, awkward silence.
"So... yeah. I'm sorry." John finished, lamely. Sherlock shook his head, curls untamed from sex and sleep, bouncing about on his head.
"Don't be." His voice was still soft and low but there was a less rugged, broken quality to it. "How long does a hangover usually last?" John blinked. That was it? Changing the subject? They were just going to ignore it all.
"Uh... about 4 or 5 hours?" He ventured, a bit clueless as to how he was supposed to respond to the sudden dismissal. Sherlock nodded thoughtfully and glanced at the clock over the mantle. John followed his line of sight - did Sherlock have somewhere to be? A case? It'd be a distraction certainly... "I didn't get much sleep last night." Sherlock said, rising from his chair. A lesser man than John Watson would have cringed at the implication, but no, John focused on the slight pang of pain that shot across Sherlock's face from the effort of standing.
"I need to lie down..." John nodded, the man needed space. Understandable really. "However, when you are suitably recovered, you may join me in the bedroom for a repeat performance." John blinked repeatedly.
"I'm sorry, what?" He asked incredulously, certain he had misheard, the look of shock on his face near priceless. Sherlock crossed the room so he was standing in front of John, he looked calm. Peaceful even.
"I will attribute your temporary mental incapacity to the after-effects of alcohol and humour you this once. I would never have allowed the events of last night to transpire had I not felt the same affection for you as you do for me." There was a small blush on Sherlock's cheeks as he spoke, barely distinguishable in the early morning sunlight. John's mouth fell slightly open in shock. He'd considered every variable possible when he'd thought of telling Sherlock how he felt (he had repeatedly dismissed the notion) and had not expected it to turn out this way in a million years. "Oh don't sit there gawping like a fish, it's incredibly unattractive." Sherlock said, rolling his eyes characteristically.
"You..." John started but was unable to finish as Sherlock swept dramatically downwards, his face hovering millimetres in front of John's own - stunning him into silence.
"In case your hangover has rendered you too sluggish to see where this is going, I intend to kiss you now." Sherlock informed him before closing the distance and bringing his lips to John's.
For a second or two longer than he should have been, John was too shocked to respond - he'd later blame the hangover, but the moment Sherlock's mouth began moving against his John's muscle memory from the night before kicked in. He didn't remember kissing Sherlock but he remembered how to kiss Sherlock, his free hand rising to cup Sherlock's cheek and pull him impossibly closer. Sherlock's tongue glided along John's bottom lip and he parted them instinctively to let him in. Sherlock was being deceptively gentle, most definitely leading the kiss but not in a way that made John feel controlled or dominated, he stroked his thumb over Sherlock's cheekbone as they parted slightly. John took a moment to recover his breath before leaning back up for another, Sherlock however withdrew, returning to a standing position. Sherlock had a slightly distateful look on his face, nose scrunched endearingly.
"And before you come to bed, do make sure to brush your teeth. Stale whiskey is not a particularly pleasant taste." He instructed. "You can join me when you feel a bit better." He said, before sweeping off into his room.
John sat there for a minute, willing his brain to function beyond the thought of 'oh my god'. The last twelve hours had made absolutely no sense and it was more than his alcohol-addled mind could process. Then again, Sherlock Holmes was in the bedroom - waiting for him. That was something John could definitely get his head around.
"Sod the hangover." He grunted, ignoring his aching head and sore muscles, dragging himself out of his armchair and following Sherlock into the bedroom.
A/n: I am seriously considering making this into a short series of stand-alones with the same BASIC plot (obviously not the same exact plot, it would become tedious!) A sort of 'Five times John woke up in Sherlock's bed after sex and one time he didn't.' sort of thing? Would you guys be interested in more, or are you sick of my ramblings? Answers on a post card please!