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Corduroy Cuddles

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Still getting his breath back, Sherlock stood for a few minutes just looking down at the man who had fully intended on killing him in a rather messy fashion. Bradley Marsham, serial killer, forum troll, and stock-boy at Tesco’s, had got tricky when he realised he was cornered. Not only had he surprised Sherlock by stunning him with a glancing blow from the metal access door to the roof, but he had been a few moments from pitching the not-quite-yet-coordinated detective over the edge of the roof when John had arrived.

Kneeling next to the now quite still Bradley Marsham, fingers at the young man’s neck, John looked up at Sherlock and nodded. Yes, dead. The frigid wind blowing across the rooftop ruffled John’s hair, flapped his shirt collar against his jaw, and made him shiver. “I phoned Lestrade just after you texted me, but he’ll be headed for Tesco.”

Sherlock was already pulling out his mobile, nodding, and a moment later tapping the keys rapidly as he spoke for the first time since John had saved him from an untimely death on the pavement eight stories down. “Excellent shot, John.”

“Wouldn’t have had to be if you’d waited a minute or two,” John said crossly as he rose, having got his breath back. Wrapping his arms about himself, he waited until the ‘send’ button had been pressed to reach up and turn Sherlock’s face into the light, revealing the beginnings of some vivid bruising upon the other man’s right cheekbone and brow . Despite the displeasure in his tone, John’s hands were gentle. “That’s going to colour up a treat, we’ll get some ice on it as soon as we’re home. How’s your head?”

“It hurts, of course, but it’s not that bad.” Frowning, Sherlock tucked away his mobile. “If I’d waited he would have got away.”

“He could fly, could he?” John turned his back to the wind, tucking his hands under his arms. His jacket was back at the Tesco loading dock, where he’d used it to wrap around the knife Marsham had drawn and yank it out of the somewhat inept criminal’s grasp.

Sherlock glared at John, saying nothing.

“Because, once he was cornered on the roof, here, you could have waited on the stairwell and we could have come out together.” John fought his shivers, the wind cutting right through his button down and undershirt. “He might be alive—if a bit roughed-up—and Lestrade wouldn’t be about to lecture us.”

“Me,” Sherlock corrected with another glance at the body. “He’ll lecture me.”

“Oh, of course, he’ll direct it at you, but he always means it for the both of us and you know it.” He clenched his teeth to keep them from chattering. “Bloody spring in London,” he muttered, flipping up his collar and tightening his arms about himself. “Might as well be in the sodding Arctic Circle.”

“John, come here,” said Sherlock tersely, beckoning to John with one gloved hand while unbuttoning his overcoat with the other. John stepped around the body and went toward Sherlock, brows raised in question. Last button freed, Sherlock simply reached out and slid one hand around John, pulling him forward until he was up against Sherlock’s chest. “Lestrade will be another ten or fifteen minutes, at the very least.”

“What…” John’s question faded off as Sherlock wrapped his coat, first one side then the other, around John and flipped up the lapels, nearly hiding the shorter man entirely, save for most of the top of his head.

“You’re still not acclimatised,” he told John as if the doctor would not have long since ascertained that fact for himself. He reached up and cupped the back of John’s head, urging him to press his face against the place where Sherlock’s cashmere scarf met the lapels of his suit jacket. “Here, keep your face out of the wind, too. Breathing the cold air is lowering your core temperature.”

“Really? I would never have known that,” John quipped with an incipient laugh quavering in his words. He willingly turned his face inward, temple against soft, fuzzy cashmere, his cheek against the velvety, fine corduroy of Sherlock’s expensive bespoke suit.

“John, do shut up,” Sherlock said, his voice quieter, lower half of his face almost hidden in John’s hair, but his tone quite the opposite of stroppy or biting.

Smiling in the already warming shadows of Sherlock’s overcoat, John rubbed his cheek against the plush fabric over Sherlock’s chest, inhaling deeply and locking his hands at the small of the taller man’s back.

Gloved hands holding his coat snugly around John, and pressing John snugly against himself, Sherlock shifted his feet to a stable stance and let his cheek rest against the top of John’s head.

The sounds of the city at night wafted up on the cold wind, and John closed his eyes, surrounded by Sherlock’s scent, his warmth, and listening to the steady sound of his heartbeat. He felt the shift of sensations that told him Sherlock had just pressed his lips to John’s head for a moment before once again resting his uninjured cheek there. Taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly, John said softly, “Apology accepted.”

Smiling slightly against John’s hair, Sherlock rumbled, “Hush.”