Queries of the Sleep-Deprived
A/N: I started watching Sherlock recently and ohhh my, am I enamored. This is my first fic for the show, so I'm working on characterization, but one day I'll be able to Johnlock with the best of them. *shakes fist*
This is extremely plotless and discursive, but I really wanted to churn out something Sherlock-related to try and quell my impatience. (I can't watch The Reichenbach Fall until Monday.)
Edit: "Glasz" isn't a typo, it's a type of eye color. 'w'
Early morning hours made John Watson much too contemplative for a certain consulting detective's tastes, as was discovered by said detective on a particularly dreary day, when the rain was unforgiving and taking on a case was (unfortunately) out of the question.
Sherlock had let John ramble for a while—it was mostly about his job and Harry, anyway—but there came a point where the downward spiral of the doctor's mood was blatant, so his flatmate tried his best to surreptitiously change the subject. The attempt failed, and soon John had become the disconsolate little man that Sherlock was supposed to be, spread out on their sofa, staring absently at the ceiling.
"It's so odd to think of what my life would be like, right now, if I hadn't been wounded."
"Most likely the same," Sherlock commented blandly, glasz eyes scanning through a newspaper article he'd already read.
John furrowed his eyebrows. After a long pause, he asked, "What?"
Sherlock looked up from the article briefly to look at the other man, then returned to reading. "You heard me."
"Well, yes. But I don't understand what you mean."
"Of course you don't."
"If I hadn't been wounded, I would still be in Afghanistan."
"Wrong. If you hadn't been wounded that day, you would have surely been at a later time."
At that, the doctor sat upright, giving Sherlock a dark glare that was pointedly ignored. "Are you saying I was destined to get injured? Perhaps you're insinuating that I'm weak?"
"Not at all."
"Oh, yes, of course! Br…ave…?"
The detective sighed and set the newspaper on his lap for a moment. "Yes, brave! Your lack of sleep hasn't rendered you deaf, has it? With a personality as mind-bogglingly benevolent as yours, it isn't a hard conclusion to reach. You would inevitably put yourself in harm's way to save another troop, regardless of whether you knew them well or not. It's the soldier's heart in you." This was averred with haste and a slight air of irritation, and yet the biting quip that Sherlock expected to hear—usually heard—in return didn't come.
Instead, the next thing John said was, "I suppose you're right."
Sherlock set his lips, raised his newspaper once more, and this time only pretended to read. It took much more effort than it should have to mutter back a placid, "I know I am."
There was a dismal silence that permeated the room for well over twenty minutes, which the younger man picked up on, but couldn't find a logical reason for. John couldn't be brooding over being a brave soldier. He didn't regret the choice he made, or, at least, he didn't anymore. Sherlock was sure of that because John himself had told him so.
What was upsetting him, then? The longer the sad aura persisted, the more curious the detective became. He told himself he wasn't worried—there was no reason to be, because John was the level-headed one, the stabilizer that kept 221B from burning to the ground. (Aside from Mrs. Hudson, of course.)
Then, in a flash, another thought came to him: Maybe John wasn't as stable as Sherlock liked to pretend he was. It was just that, without John, Sherlock felt that 221B would burn—no, he would burn. John wasn't only a colleague, but a friend, and if he wasn't happy…then how could Sherlock be?
He couldn't let that get to him, he simply couldn't. Coaxing the hearth of John's troubled thought out of him was the only solution, so it seemed.
"Mm?" Tired, sepia-tinted eyes flickered over to the detective, widening a bit in expectance.
"What's bothering you?" Sherlock couldn't keep eye contact; he directed his attention to the window, pretending to be immersed in the sight of the nonexistent traffic outside.
"Nothing is bothering me…" He sounded confused. Maybe Sherlock was wrong, and he considered this. But he was never wrong. In fact, he was sure he had sensed the air correctly: Cold, uncomfortable, and static. It was nearly strong enough to raise goosebumps on his arms.
"Not really." The blond shuffled his socked feet for a moment before decidedly lying back down. "Just feeling more inquisitive than usual."
"And? There is no and."
"They say you don't truly know a person until you've spoken to them in the first hours of the morning." Sherlock hummed to punctuate his message, and John's returning hum somehow drew the younger man's eyes from the street to the couch once more. "Do you believe that?"
"I'm not sure if I do, honestly. I do see where the idea comes from, though."
"Of course you do—it's obvious, isn't it?"
"Everything is obvious to you."
Oh, how Sherlock wished that were true; John's emotions were an enigmatic tempest at worst, and the consulting detective's patience for figuring them out was strained at best. Yet he wished to know everything about his flatmate, and that was a very rare thought for the infamous Holmes to have, but he chose not to acknowledge the jests from Lestrade about why that curiosity—that desire—was present.
What was obvious about this situation, however, is that John was bothered by something and Sherlock, for once in his life, wished to help.
Finally, the dark-haired male spoke again, voice low and calculating. "People tend to lose inhibitions early in the morning due to a lack of sleep."
"Well that really was obvious. What is your point, exactly?"
"Let me finish." John only clicked his tongue in response, so Sherlock continued. "There are some exceptions—many, actually—and you don't seem to be reveling in anything unusual for a man of your age, so—"
"So my conclusion is that you're hiding something from me."
At that, John's eyebrows shot up. "Hiding something from you? Do you honestly believe that you are entitled to know my every thought? And, for your information, it doesn't concern you." He crossed his arms and scoffed, but Sherlock's retort was quick and unperturbed.
"Yes, it does."
This prompted such a lengthy pause on John's end that Sherlock was forced to awkwardly avert his gaze from the other yet again. "Don't tell me it doesn't. I can explain to you how I know, if you'd like. You see, you—"
"Stop it, stop it! It's too early for your deductive reasoning." The doctor covered his eyes with one hand and simply let it lie there, lazily draped across his face. It took five long minutes before he moved that hand from his eyes to wipe at his chin, as if he were stroking an imaginary beard, and that was when he chose to mumble, "As usual, you're right."
Sherlock didn't say anything, instead directing his attention to the clock on the far wall that lazily proclaimed the time to be three-thirty a.m. According to his observation of John's usual routine, that "too-tired-to-sleep" feeling would seize the man's bones any moment now, and the detective would be ready with his questions.
He'd always been a bit too curious for his own good when it came to his blogger, so, naturally, he was enthralled when John had announced his intent to stay up with him instead of retreating to bed at the usual ten o'clock hour. Perhaps the blond would share the thought that had been plaguing him. (Perhaps it would be the same thing that you have been bothered with for so long, a small voice in the back of Sherlock's mind said. It sounded peculiarly like Lestrade, and this, frankly, irritated him.)
"What about me, exactly, has been bothering you?"
John furrowed his eyebrows and turned his head to regard the other. "Excuse me?"
Sherlock fought the incredibly strong urge to roll his eyes. "We've discussed the fact that you're upset over something, and that that something has to do with me."
"We've discussed nothing of the sort. You opened your big mouth and alerted the entire flat to your self-absorbed, I-know-everything attitude whilst I lay here and brooded over my seemingly endless bad circumstances that all stem from your very existence."
Though harshly worded, Sherlock couldn't exactly disagree with such a statement; he simply nodded once, prompting John to groan in what could only be frustration, and, in this case, defeated.
"You're not going to leave me alone until I tell you."
"That was the initial plan. But, of course, I would leave you be if you asked. You are, after all, my friend." As it turned out, that was all it took. The strained way the last two words were spoken made John flinch, and Sherlock realized everything all at once.
"Ah, do forgive me, but if I may—" the latter began.
"Listen, does this really matter?"
"To me, yes."
"Nothing matters to you."
Brown eyes widened almost indiscernibly, but Sherlock was watching—he'd seen it, and he'd just barely caught the small sound of the blond's breath hitching in his throat. "Pardon?"
"I didn't think it had to be said, John. You're wonderful, really." Sherlock cleared his throat, reaching for his phone as an excuse to busy his hands.
"Well…ah… Thank you. You…you too." John began tugging at his pajama's sleeves, which Sherlock ascribed to nervousness, but that wasn't such a difficult deduction to make, seeing as he, himself, had only proclaimed what could've been taken as a friendly comment and yet still felt as though his heart were cracking his ribcage.
Sherlock Holmes was not supposed to feel these things. He was meant to be a machine; that's how everyone had always treated him, and that's how it was supposed to be. The smallest semblance of normalcy was lost now, swallowed by the tension in the room that conveyed knowledge not one of them had spoken.
It took John a brief moment to realize that it didn't have to be so tense, and a slightly longer one to realize that the fact they'd just happened upon had been blatant for much longer than either of them seemed to realize.
The latter smiled fondly. "We always do that."
"Do what? Oh, you mean the thing with the names. Yes." Sherlock was biting at his nails now, which the doctor chose to point out.
"And you hardly ever do that."
This got the other's full attention; the nail-biting ceased, and it appeared that he'd finally gotten the hint. "We know each other a little too well, don't we?"
"We do." John chuckled, and Sherlock joined in a moment later. It wasn't long before the men were lost in a fit of childish giggles, seemingly unwarranted and yet not at all unwelcome.
The younger of the two was the first to recover, and he spent a few seconds pulling at his robe in what John could've sworn was anxiousness before those hands suddenly stilled. "Is that all?"
"'Is that all?' he says!" John laughed once. "I… Normally, no, but here, for us, it seems fitting. Because it is, uhm,"— a pause to clear his throat—"implicit."
Again, the doctor had to laugh, shaking his head this time. "Of course you would say that."
"It was, for Anderson to have realized it."
"Oh, God. Anderson knew about this?"
"Everyone knew about it."
"Well, all right…"
They caught each other's gazes, glasz eyes looking particularly green and alarmingly inviting to the pair of very merry, albeit very tired ones across the room.
"Perhaps we should say it, anyway?" John suggested without hesitation, smile threatening to curl into a smirk when his flatmate nodded almost immediately and responded with a confident, "Yes, yes, good idea."
The room fell prey to the silence once more, lasting only a fleeting minute before the blogger spoke. "I love you, you twat."
Sherlock's pause was significantly longer, for he was trying to ignore the fact that this really was rather silly to think about—here they were, two grown men sitting in the living room at four in the morning in their pajamas, trading confessions as if they were victims of a grade-school sleepover. Despite this, the usual clangor in his brain seemed to stop, and he was surprised to find that he felt undeniably, remarkably, wonderfully good again.
The words simply followed the feeling. "I love you, John." Then, with a mischievous tilt of the lips and the tell-tale dip of his chin, he added what the other man had expected to hear from the moment Sherlock had opened his mouth in the first place: "Obviously."