Okay, so, I present the story I (maybe) lost my job over, because instead of writing code I wrote this and then, surprisingly, my bosses weren't so happy with my work anymore. But heck, it was a shit company anyways. That also explains the formatting: I couldn't for the love of me find out how intellij let's me put stuff in italics or bold ;)
This was written over the course of two months on different occasions and different devices and I tried my best to make it sound as if it was written in one go when I edited it, but where I failed, keep that in mind.
This story has effectively finished writing, yet I won't post everything now because I'm still editing. I'm not perfectly happy with it yet and it needs some work done.
Also, keep in mind that it *will* become explicit by chapter 3. Until then, enjoy some minor fiuff.
The nightmares were back. Damn the woman, Sherlock had worked so hard to free John of them. He's left him in her care for one year and it had all become undone, they were back to full force. To think that he had actually been relieved when he'd found out about her, that he had believed her to be *capable* of caring for John. Never had his trust been so misplaced as in that woman.
It was agonizing. He could *hear* him thrashing about upstairs. Fourth time in seven days. It sounded worse than last time. *How* was he supposed to sleep with that looming over him?
A moment later saw Sherlock through the door of the upstairs bedroom. John had rid himself of the covers. His t-shirt had ridden up partly, leaving most of his back exposed. The track suit bottoms he wore in place of real pyjamas as well, leaving his calves bare. The heating wasn't on as it was the middle of night, in November, leaving the room chilly. John was going to freeze. That added to his already weakened immune system because of his lack of sufficient restful sleep he would come down with a cold within days and gone would be the calm of Baker Street. Sherlock couldn't care for a sick John. It would be so distracting. He'd demand attention and Sherlock would feel pressed to provide it.
He sighed in exasperation. The things you do for your flatmate. Silently he padded over to John's side and put the duvet back over his body, making sure it covered him neck to toe. Now if he would just stop moving and making those pained sounds and go back to sleep, all could be well. As it seemed, John wasn't inclined to do so.
"John," Sherlock said very softly as to not disturb the peace of night around them. Strange how the darkness always brought out the need to whisper. The sound of his name stirred something in John, but it wasn't enough to bring him back from wherever he was. Sherlock tried again.
"John, come on," he whispered and saw his face go from disturbed to less disturbed. His body stilled for a while.
"John, it's me." He sounded soft to his own ears. Ridiculous, it wasn't as if he was trying to not wake him. At last, it was enough. John had calmed down sufficiently. Sherlock stood by his side for a while longer and watched the other man fall into peaceful sleep. He left the room when John started snuggling his pillow to his chest.
Like a new mother rousing to the slightest sounds of her baby, Sherlock was again awoken two nights later by mitigated sounds coming from the room above his. He gave John two minutes to calm down by himself, really, a grown man like that, a soldier, he should get a grip on himself and stop this ridiculousness. Nightmares were for children. John was safe in Baker Street, Sherlock had taken care of that. He even let Mycroft set up his ludicrous surveillance system once when they were away, just to make sure that John was safe inside at every point of time. Granted, John didn't know about the cameras, but he should know better than be afraid in their home. Sherlock rose to his feet when it became obvious John couldn't handle this particular dream on his own.
Once more Sherlock found himself by John's bedside. He spoke to him at once, the results last time being promising for this to be the right approach.
"John, it's me," he said in the soft voice that had worked just two nights ago. However, it didn't seem to do the trick this time. If anything, it seemed to worsen the sleeping man's distress.
"Let me through," John groaned, pushing at invisible people, fighting against the air around him. Sherlock reached out for his right wrist before he could hurt himself accidentally. That only seemed to aggregate John. Blindly he snapped for Sherlock's hand restraining his and painfully twisted it away from it. His freed hand then knocked him in the arm, hard. That would surely leave a mark there.
"Ow," Sherlock said despite himself. He wondered at John and forcefully pulled his own hand free and absent-mindedly rubbed at the spot John had hit. The man was still working himself into more of a state. Prepared this time, Sherlock grabbed hold of both of John's arms and pinned them to the bed on either side of him. That move turned out to be a mistake. John was livid. Suddenly there was all the strength he normally hid behind a warm smile, innocent blue eyes and hideous jumpers. It was only the grave disadvantage of being asleep that kept him from headbutting Sherlock when he abruptly sat up in his bed. It also woke him up.
"Sherlock?" he asked, sounding seriously disoriented. He looked down at the hands clutching at his arms and tried to put the grip, Sherlock's presence in his room, his room in itself, the adrenaline the dream had left pounding through him and the emotions it had evoked together like pieces of a puzzle. At last it all slid together.
"Sorry," he said sheepishly. Sherlock looked at him flabbergasted. The air in the room had changed so fast, from restless to violent, that it had left him speechless for a moment. He even forgot to let go of John's arms. He came around eventually, much slower than he was comfortable to admit. Hesitantly he let go of John.
"It's alright." And then, almost as an afterthought, he added, "You had a nightmare." John flashed a bashful smile at him. It really spoke volumes that he had deduced the situation faster than Sherlock.
The nights were quiet for four days after that. Sherlock could not find rest regardless. He was a bad sleeper at the best of times, but at least his present state allowed him to keep an ear open, so to say, for when John would need him again. Of course, he thought when he heard the unmistakable sounds again coming from upstairs, he had to choose the night Sherlock actually did plan on sleeping for his nightmares to return. Grudgingly he went to look after John.
This time he kept his distance. Tentatively and very quietly he called out John's name, but he knew better now than to touch him. Thankfully, it worked. After three reassuringly muttered "John"s the troubled man stopped moving around and calmed noticeably down. Sherlock sighed relieved. No need to get close. That was good. He spent some more minutes in the room, watching John sleep and ultimately snuggling his pillow to his chest again, just making sure the dreams wouldn't return, before he left for his own room.
It became routine. Sherlock refused going to his room if he would just have to get up again anyway. John's nightmares usually started within three hours of him retiring to bed. Sherlock kept himself busy, that was no hardship for him, until the three hours had quietly passed. Only then would he turn in.
Of course there were the occasional exceptions to the rule when he would be woken by John's cries at dawn. It was almost automatic now: Hear the sounds, get up and talk to the man until he would sink back into more innocuous dreams. Most nights talking was enough. Other times, Sherlock had to employ touching. Once he tried holding John down by his shoulders but it ended the same way it had the night he had grabbed hold of his arms. Restraining John always made it worse. He would end up awake, confused and ashamed, always apologising. Sherlock merely shrugged it away.
"What are you doing?" John asked warily. It had been a very long week and he was tired, yet sleep did elude him. He had been tossing about in his bed for more than an hour when the door to his room, only ajar to begin with, opened to let in Sherlock. John propped himself on his elbows and looked at his flatmate questioningly.
"Making sure you're alright." If Sherlock was embarrassed by getting caught where he had no reason to be, he didn't show it.
"Erm, thanks? I'm good," John said nonplussed.
"Good." Sherlock made no move to leave, standing just inside the door and looking unwaveringly at John. Suddenly John remembered all the times within the last several weeks that he had woken up to Sherlock in his room and it dawned on him. How hadn't he seen this earlier?
"Sherlock, are you doing this *every* night?" Quick analysis of his tone of voice showed no anger at what most people would certainly consider an intrusion of privacy. At most he sounded concerned.
"Not *every* night," he averted.
"How often then?"
"Five or six times a week." John pinched the bridge of his nose. He seemed tired to Sherlock.
"So, last week when we stayed up all night that one night..."
"Obviously I didn't check up on you then."
"Right. And the other week, when I napped on the sofa while you looked through all those files ...?"
"No need, either."
"Okay. So. When you say five or six times a week, what you're really saying is, you do this every time I actually sleep in my bed."
"Or in any other bed. Really, the bed in question is no variable in the equation." The way Sherlock answered every question told John he was wary, waiting for John to get angry at him, shout maybe. John rubbed his hand over his eyes. He had to be careful how to phrase his next words. He didn't mean to spook Sherlock.
"Good. But why? Sherlock?" He wasn't very good at phrasing things. His tone made up for that. It made Sherlock look down at his hands, appearing so much younger than this years. He looked soft in what little light shone up from downstairs, under the door to John's room. Uncertain. Every time he looked like that it broke John's heart a little. He was used to cocky Sherlock, uncertain Sherlock made John nervous.
"You make such noises," Sherlock said to his hands, his voice so soft. John just looked at him, waiting for more. "Like you suffer. Like you hurt. Sometimes you cry. I -" He shook his head, at a loss for words. But John understood him, maybe understood him better than he understood himself. He reached out his hand to Sherlock.
"Come here," He said and Sherlock did. When he came into reach he took John's outstretched hand and John moved to the side in his bed. With his free hand he lifted his duvet, motioning for Sherlock to get under it. After Sherlock sat down with his back against the wall John put the blanket over his legs and shifted lower until he lay down flat on his side with his face turned to Sherlock.
"You can stay here," John whispered. Sherlock nodded, looking at the door, his body stiff. John sighed and felt like maybe now, he could fall asleep.
Five or six times a week, John shared his bed with Sherlock from then on. John usually went to bed first. For the first week or so when John was still awake when Sherlock joined him, the detective would sit in the bed, watching over him, even though he was always lying down in the mornings, the rare times John woke up before him. They were very rare indeed. It was ten days after the first night that Sherlock came to bed and lay down directly next to John, as if he had finally mustered enough courage to do so.
It was four weeks until Sherlock went to bed first and he was fast asleep by the time John followed. They had their respective sides on the bed and stuck to them, even on those nights when John knew Sherlock wouldn't be sleeping at all.
One night a second bedside table had appeared in John's room, already laden with papers, books and magazines. He didn't mention it.
His nightmares became less frequent, as far as John could tell. Sometimes he still woke up and Sherlock was always awake next to him, wide-eyed and paler than usual. But they became increasingly rare. John felt he slept better and he was sure it was because of something Sherlock did. He never asked, though, afraid of what it was yet. Sleeping together was surprisingly nice, had become normal in no time flat. But John wasn't yet ready to discuss anything more.
They were finding their routine. One night, neither could sleep. Sherlock was nervous next to John, John could tell, even though he was relatively still. His nervousness was spreading to John and John was just about to ask what was going on, when Sherlock, with a loud sigh, threw himself to his side facing his back and inched closer, laid a hand on his hip. John's breath caught in his throat. He could feel Sherlock's heat against his back, even though the man was touching him nowhere except on his hip, yet he was close enough for his presence to be felt. John let him. He could tell Sherlock was stiff with expected rejection, yet he relaxed a little with every passing minute when none came. John fell asleep before Sherlock became perfectly pliant.
This became part of the routine. Over time Sherlock inched closer until they slept flush against each other, with Sherlock's hand on John's hip or waist or the odd night, on his chest over his heart. They never talked about it. The same way they never talked about the time when John opened his wardrobe and found that most of the space was now taken up by Sherlock's clothes. Instead he just reorganized his things a little. Or how they didn't talk about the fact that the kitchen was now mostly experiment-free. One day, acting upon a suspicion, John walked into Sherlock's room to find most of his science equipment stashed there on a big table John had never seen before. So, new then. He didn't know how to feel about it, because John felt nothing except some sense of pride at having deduced the right site.
So. They were living together now. Really living together.
"Huh," John thought. "I guess I owe some people some money."
They never talked about it because there was nothing to talk about.