The first time it happened was after a case.
Sherlock had gone almost a week without sleeping or eating, other than the toast John had managed to sneak to him when he'd made himself two pieces instead of one. Sherlock had automatically stolen off John's plate when he put it down within easy reach of his flatmate, to John's gratification.
The sleep was harder to enforce; Sherlock was so manic during his cases that John couldn't really trick him into resting.
For the past six days, John had gotten up in the morning after a fitful few hours to come downstairs and find Sherlock exactly where he'd left him when he'd gone to bed. Sometimes he would be playing his violin frantically, or pacing about the living room in circles, running his fingers through his hair until it looked like a rat's nest. Other times he would be curled up on the sofa, hugging his knees close to himself and rocking back and forth. Or in the kitchen peering into a microscope, or standing over a test tube with a lit flame and the safety goggles that made him look like some kind of mad scientist.
John knew better than to bring it up. Sherlock would always run himself ragged during an interesting case, and then collapse as soon as it was over. The last time John had mentioned to Sherlock that it really wasn't healthy to treat his body that way, they had gotten into a huge row and John had spent the night on Sarah's sofa.
That was ten months ago, and Sarah's sofa was no longer an option, nor anyone else's, for that matter. Although John was certainly charming enough to get women to go on first or second dates, or even in their flat "for a coffee," ultimately the strange relationship he had with Sherlock would put them off. No wonder everyone thought they were a couple. When Sherlock texted John with a new case, John would drop almost anything to come join him. He'd left a date in the middle of dinner before, when Sherlock had sent him a series of texts that had made John worry that he'd been kidnapped. Of course, it was never so dire as Sherlock made it sound. Sherlock was perfectly fine when John came back to Baker Street, although there was a large black mark on the kitchen table and quite a bit of broken glass.
So John had said nothing about Sherlock needing sleep until the seventh day, when Sherlock had leapt off the sofa and texted Lestrade, grinning triumphantly and muttering something about red paint and chickens, and John really couldn't be arsed to get Sherlock to explain it.
"Bed," John declared, pushing Sherlock towards his bedroom.
"I can't," Sherlock mumbled, craning his neck back towards John and digging his heels into the carpet.
John stopped pushing, but his hands stayed on Sherlock's shoulders. "What do you mean, can't?" he growled.
"Experiment on my bed. Need to move it first. And wash the sheets," Sherlock added, hands fluttering about.
Ugh. John wasn't terribly surprised. Sherlock slept on the sofa enough times, and he had no qualms about putting body parts in the fridge or leaving his books and case notes on every available surface. Sherlock was not a man who paid much attention to boundaries. So doing some sort of messy experiment in his bed probably had made perfect sense at the time. John certainly wouldn't have let Sherlock do it in the living room.
"Fine. Use my bed. I'll stay in the living room while you get some rest." John wasn't so exhausted that he couldn't wait until Sherlock was done napping.
Unfortunately, Sherlock looked entirely too delighted at John's suggestion, so John hastily added, "Sleeping only, Sherlock! No moving around the furniture, and no rummaging through my things, and especially no experiments. Okay?" He stepped back and crossed his arms over his chest, eyebrow raised and studying Sherlock sternly.
Sherlock's grin turned into a grimace, and he waved his hand at John dismissively. "Yes, yes, fine. I'll see you in a few hours." He retrieved his pyjamas and dressing gown from his bedroom and tromped sullenly upstairs, slamming John's bedroom door shut as he flounced inside.
John put the kettle on to boil and grabbed his laptop from the kitchen table where Sherlock had been using it. He saw a web page open to a forum post about do-it-yourself roof repair, and John just shook his head in puzzlement and brought his computer over to the living room. It would be a while before Sherlock came back down.
When John came to, the living room was dark, his half drunk cup of tea was stone cold, and his laptop had powered itself off. There was still no sign of Sherlock, and John had underestimated his own need for sleep. Time to kick Sherlock out of bed.
But after John had stumbled up the stairs and peeked into his bedroom, he didn't have the heart to carry out his plan as intended.
Sherlock was sprawled out on the bed, sheets kicked into a tangled mess around his legs, and clutching John's pillow tightly to his chest. Sherlock's trousers and shirt were carefully folded on the floor next to the bed, and John marvelled at how careless Sherlock was about most things when he was so particular about his appearance. So much of Sherlock's outward persona – his apparent grace, his facial expressions, his hair and clothing – was controlled. But there was nothing guarded about him now, as he slept.
John didn't get to see Sherlock like this often. He often waited until John was at work to take naps on the sofa, and John rarely attempted to venture into the man's bedroom. John smiled at the memory of Sherlock's catatonic state after Irene Adler had drugged him. He looked more peaceful now, and there was thankfully less drool.
So instead of shaking Sherlock awake and reclaiming his bed, John decided there was probably enough room for both of them, and slid carefully into the left side of the bed. He stole back a handful of covers, mindful not to tug hard enough to wake Sherlock, but the detective was dead to the world.
When John woke up, he was tangled in a mass of long, warm limbs and dark curls tickling at his nose. Apparently Sherlock had decided that a warm body was much better than the pillow he'd been clutching. John attempted to extricate himself without waking Sherlock – after all, he needed the sleep even more than John did – but the heavy press of Sherlock's body made it next to impossible. As soon as John started wriggling away in earnest, Sherlock sighed in his sleep and clutched John closer.
Well, breakfast could wait, John supposed. He didn't have work today. He didn't really have anywhere he needed to be. And more sleep might not be a bad idea. Besides, Sherlock was surprisingly comfortable. John had always expected him to be as sharp, bony, and frigid as his tongue, cheekbones, and piercing stare. But Sherlock was warm, and his skin was soft and smooth, and his tummy had just the hint of a cushion now that Sherlock was eating John's toast and Mrs. Hudson's mince pies on a regular basis.
As much as John shouldn't be enjoying this, shouldn't enjoy cuddling with his flatmate or sharing his bed, Sherlock was warm, and John was sleepy, and so he wrapped his arms around Sherlock and went back to sleep.
When he woke up again, he was alone in the bed. He half wondered if he'd dreamed the whole thing. When he padded downstairs, Sherlock was eating dry toast and typing away at John's laptop, and murmured a faint response to John's sleepy "Good morning."
"Sleep well?" Sherlock asked eventually, as John stood waiting for the kettle to boil.
"Mmm," John yawned.
And nothing more was said on the matter, and so John pushed it out of his mind.
The second time it happened was after Sherlock fell into the Thames.
John had gotten home from a late shift at the hospital and was watching Bond films on the telly when Sherlock burst in the door, sopping wet.
"What the bloody hell happened to you?"
"Apprehending a suspect. Fell into the river." Sherlock scowled. "I lost him." He stumbled over to the sofa and sat down with a squish.
He tugged his phone out of his pocket and growled as he threw it at John, who deftly caught it. "Completely ruined! I'll have to ask Mycroft for another one. Damn."
John blinked at him, holding Sherlock's waterlogged mobile phone, and wondering just when he'd lost his mind. The day he'd agreed to move in with a lunatic, John supposed.
"You're getting the sofa wet," John noted mildly.
Sherlock just stared at him.
"You might want to change. And take a shower."
"Because you're soaked?" John got up and knelt at Sherlock's feet.
Sherlock was starting to shiver, and his eyes looked slightly dilated. He was tensing up a bit, but not from any obvious injury. "Let me make sure you weren't injured." John reached over to grasp Sherlock's wrist to check his vitals, and wasn't terribly surprised to feel how cold Sherlock was. "Right, get up, we're going to get you out of these clothes."
"I thought you'd never ask, John," Sherlock joked. Or at least, John hoped he was joking.
John just rolled his eyes and steered Sherlock to his bedroom. He sat Sherlock down on the bed and started stripping off his wet clothing, Sherlock not saying much or offering up any form of protest.
Once Sherlock was down to his pants, John grabbed a towel from the bathroom and dried him off.
"You want to change those yourself?" John gestured.
Sherlock just pulled off his pants in front of John and tossed them on the floor.
"Okay. Not really what I meant, but that's fine." John studiously turned his gaze elsewhere and handed Sherlock the towel, but Sherlock just sat there holding it. "Oh, for fuck's sake!" John grabbed the towel and rubbed Sherlock dry. Did he have to do everything?
When he pulled back, he noticed that Sherlock was refusing to make eye contact. "If you didn't want me to touch you there, you should have dried it yourself!" John sighed with exasperation as Sherlock just sat there. Well, hypothermia did tend to cause confusion. "Time for bed."
This time, Sherlock did look at John, panic written over his features. "No whinging, now. Put these on–" he tossed Sherlock his pyjamas– "and I'll go see if we have any spare blankets."
John rolled his eyes as he collected the quilt from his bed upstairs. Honestly, for being so arrogant, Sherlock had chosen some strange things to be modest about. After all, John was a doctor. There wasn't much he hadn't seen before. In fact, he'd seen Sherlock naked a few times already. Sherlock had a tendency to pop out of the shower straight to the kitchen when he realized he'd forgotten to set a timer for one of his experiments. The first time, there was still soap in Sherlock's hair, and John had just stood in the kitchen staring stupidly, holding the tea kettle in his left hand.
When John got back to Sherlock's room with his small pile of blankets, Sherlock had managed to get his bottoms on but was still struggling with the shirt.
"Here, let me help you." John gently pulled the shirt over Sherlock's head, guiding his arms into their proper sleeves. He tucked Sherlock under the covers and piled the blankets on top. "Let me get your temperature right quick."
"John..." Sherlock croaked.
"What is it?"
"Will you–" he frowned, but he seemed to struggle with the words, gesticulating weakly with his hands.
"Let me get the thermometer first. Okay?" John grabbed the instrument from the bathroom medicine cabinet, quickly sterilized it, and ran back to Sherlock's room. He shoved it under Sherlock's tongue. "Don't move until it beeps."
Sherlock's shivering was worse now, John noted, even though he had changed into dry clothes.
The thermometer beeped. 33 degrees. John swore. Definitely in the danger range.
"All right, shove over." John shucked off his shoes and socks and pulled back the covers, crawling in next to Sherlock. "This will help you get warm. So no complaints."
He forced Sherlock onto his side, facing away from him, and snuggled up to flatten his chest against Sherlock's back. Even though he was only doing this to raise Sherlock's temperature, and Sherlock was shockingly cold, the physical contact was... nice. He'd missed this. Although he hadn't done it with a man before. Or someone taller than him, he noted grumpily. Sherlock didn't say anything, or try to move away, but John could feel the tension in his back and shoulders.
"Relax," John whispered.
Eventually, Sherlock stopped shivering and his breathing slowed. John let himself drift off as well.
When John awoke, Sherlock was still asleep. The hand at his wrist was warm now, and Sherlock's skin was a healthy colour, so John deemed it safe to extricate himself.
John made himself a cup of tea before retiring to his own bed, and when he woke up it was to the gentle strains of Sherlock's violin. Sherlock didn't mention the prior night's events (not so much as a "thank you" for not letting him freeze to death), and neither did John.
The third time John wasn't even sure it had happened.
Sherlock had been touching John more often. John had hardly noticed, at first. He'd dismissed it as just one more of Sherlock's little eccentricities, but then he'd also caught Sherlock staring a few times, a contemplative expression on his face. That probably would have gone unnoticed too, if it weren't for the milk.
John opened the fridge one day while making tea and grabbed the milk. It was halfway through his pour that he remembered they'd been out of milk yesterday, and John had complained about it to Sherlock – not that he thought that his flatmate was actually listening.
It was his usual brand of semi skimmed, but with an expiration date two weeks from today. He hadn't been to the store, so it must have been Sherlock.
Sherlock came up behind him and rested his fingers lightly on John's shoulder before saying, "I'll have the Oolong today, please."
The contact lasted only a few seconds, but John stood stock still for a moment before pulling out the canister of Oolong and measuring out a few spoonfuls into a strainer for Sherlock.
When he handed off Sherlock's cup of tea, their fingers brushed just a hair longer than seemed normal. And when John sat on the sofa and turned on the telly, Sherlock sat down in the opposite corner and stuck his toes under John's thigh. John realized belatedly that Sherlock had done this several times already this week, and John had simply adjusted his position on the sofa until he was no longer uncomfortable, instead of doing the sane, rational thing, and telling Sherlock to keep his toes the hell away from John.
As he was pursuing this rather unpleasant chain of thought, Sherlock's toes wriggled under John. The sensation was – not entirely unpleasant. Which was somehow worse than if it had been annoying.
"Oi! It's bad enough I let you touch me with those, you don't need to move them."
Sherlock pouted. "I was just stretching."
"Stretch when your feet aren't tucked under my leg, then."
A few minutes passed before John spoke up again with the question that had been nagging at him all evening.
"Sherlock, did you, um, buy milk?"
Sherlock just grinned in acknowledgement. "Wondered when you were going to say something."
"Oh. Well. Thank you."
Sherlock said nothing to this, and merely turned his attention back to the telly. "Wrong, wrong, wrong! He slept with the sister, not the mother! Just look at his eyebrows."
"Mm. Love to hear how you got that one."
Later that night, as John went to bed, he had a strange feeling that he was missing something important.
When he woke up the next morning, he had kicked the sheets off the bed, as if he had gotten too warm in the middle of the night, and was somehow on the left side instead of in the middle.
This happened three more times in the next two weeks, but Sherlock never said anything, and whenever John woke up, he was always alone. He tried to put it out of his mind, but he kept an extra eye on Sherlock from then on.
The fourth time was after John woke up from a nightmare.
The most recent case was probably what had triggered it; the victim was a young Middle Eastern woman who reminded John of the mother he'd failed to save after one of the men in his unit had panicked and shot her, thinking she was hiding a bomb, and not a baby.
The whole week had been stressful, with the threat of Moriarty looming, and the memories John would have preferred to have kept buried. Sherlock was being particularly obnoxious, having decided to go cold turkey on the cigarettes and nicotine patches, running about the flat in a manic frenzy with or without a case to occupy him.
When John shot bolt upright in a cold sweat, he realized with a start that Sherlock was in the room with him.
"You were shouting," he said simply.
"Was I? Sorry about that."
"I wasn't asleep."
Of course he wasn't.
"Perhaps it would help you to sleep if–" Sherlock hesitated. If John didn't know better, he might think that Sherlock was nervous. "I could– hold you. You seem to have reacted positively to it in the past."
What? When? The image of tangled sheets and an empty right side of the bed sprang to mind.
"Never mind. Forget I said anything." Sherlock turned to leave.
"Wait!" The word was out of his mouth before John could think twice.
Sherlock turned back to John, genuinely surprised.
"I wouldn't mind. If you think it'll help with the nightmares. I might punch you, though."
Sherlock smirked. "I can handle it."
"Just don't touch my scar or try to hold me down, and you should be fine."
Something in Sherlock's eyes flashed at the words "hold me down," but it was quickly extinguished.
"Understood." Sherlock quickly stripped down to his pants and slid gingerly into the right side of the bed, on his side, facing John. His gaze was unwavering and intense, and somehow made John's breath catch in his throat.
Sherlock kept absolutely still, and John realized he must be waiting for some sign. John closed his eyes and reached forward, and suddenly he was wrapped in warm arms.
His heart was beating faster than before, and with his eyes shut he was hyper aware of every other sensation – the heat radiating off of Sherlock's skin, the soft in and out of his breathing, the musky smell of tea and chemicals.
This didn't make sense. He'd been in bed with Sherlock before. What was different this time? Why was he reacting so strongly?
“Relax,” Sherlock murmured, amusement in his voice.
John opened his eyes in surprise. Sherlock was smiling at him, studying his face. His expression matched the face he often wore at crime scenes; utterly absorbed in his observations.
John flipped onto his other side, facing away from Sherlock. He couldn't handle the suffocating intensity of Sherlock's attention right now. Sherlock scooted closer and spooned John, just as John had done when Sherlock had hypothermia. It shouldn't feel this good. It felt... safe. John let his eyes fall closed and drifted back to sleep.
John had woken up with Sherlock's arms still around him. No nightmares had troubled him. But somehow this was worse. He slipped out of Sherlock's embrace and started to get dressed.
“Are you all right?” Sherlock asked from the bed. John froze.
“I didn't know you were awake.”
“You know I don't need as much sleep as you do.”
John turned to face the wall and struggled to keep calm. Deep breaths.
John whirled around in shock. Sherlock never apologized.
“I didn't know it would bother you so much. I'll let you get dressed.” He slipped out of bed, gathered up his clothing (still in a crumpled heap on the floor, John noted with some surprise), and headed past John to the door.
“It... It's fine, Sherlock. I'm fine.”
Sherlock snorted disdainfully, not looking at John. “You're a terrible liar, John.”
He closed the door silently behind him and John could hear the soft thumps as Sherlock ran down the stairs back to his own room.
The fifth time, John was still sleeping.
The next week, things had been tense between him and Sherlock. Sherlock had stopped touching John completely, and spoke to him rarely. He spent long hours locked in his room playing his violin.
It was driving John slowly mad. Well, madder, that is. He was already mad to be living with Sherlock in the first place. And he was mad to be thinking of him constantly. He was mad to think that being wrapped in Sherlock's arms was safe. It was anything but. It was utterly dangerous.
The few times Sherlock did come out of his room, John would make feeble attempts at conversation that would get shot down with a withering glare. So instead John took to staring. He'd already managed to anger Sherlock, so he figured it didn't really matter any more.
John studied Sherlock. He was tense, his eyebrows furrowed, his gaze fastidiously directed away from John. He was also attractive. John hadn't ever really thought about it before. He'd known objectively that his flatmate was, well, gorgeous, but it had never affected him personally. Sherlock was just... Sherlock.
John started noticing things. Sherlock's long neck. His messy hair. His pale skin. His pale eyes, almost grey, that could look right through you. Those damn cheekbones. The way he paced around the flat like a wild animal, a cat, with boneless grace. The gestures he made with his hands, and his long elegant fingers.
John had noticed all these things before, of course. But they hadn't really registered. They hadn't been important. John was straight. The things that made his flatmate striking shouldn't have mattered. Now, suddenly, they did.
He supposed it was inevitable, really, that he would start dreaming of Sherlock.
The first time started out innocently enough. Sherlock and John were on a case and the victim was a large fish creature with human legs and arms. Anderson, wearing a dress, had insulted Sherlock, and John had defended him, and next thing he knew they were kissing passionately, and John didn't mind at all.
He woke up in a cold sweat, though it could just have been from seeing Anderson in that dress.
The second time, Sherlock had stormed into the living room, demanding that John make him tea and toast. John had tried over and over, but nothing he made was good enough and Sherlock kept spitting them out. Finally, John just went over and kissed Sherlock, who said, "Finally, you got it right."
And there were lips and tongue and teeth and then John was sitting astride Sherlock on their sofa, and he was going up and down with Sherlock writhing beneath him, and when he woke up this time, he was covered in more than sweat.
So at three in the morning, John found himself stripping off his bed sheets to go in the wash, wishing desperately that he could just stop thinking about his flatmate.
When he went downstairs, sheets bundled in his arms, Sherlock was in the living room, pacing. He looked up at John, surprised, and then took in the scene – John, just having woken up, carrying sheets to go in the wash, and more telling, blushing and refusing to meet Sherlock's gaze.
"Sherlock," John replied testily.
John finally looked at Sherlock then, and somehow he knew. Sherlock looked just as guilty as he did. He'd been thinking about John the same way. And now, for the first time in over a week, Sherlock's gaze wasn't clouded with anger, but desire.
He stalked towards John purposefully, seizing him by the shoulders, his grip painful in its intensity. The sheets fell onto the stairs, forgotten, and John felt his knees start to buckle, but he held onto Sherlock like a lifeline. The extra step made their heights more even, and John took advantage, placing his hands on top of Sherlock's shoulders and pushing down.
And Sherlock must have gotten the hint, because he was on his knees now, kneeling in front of John, eyes wild, fumbling with John's pyjama bottoms. He stared for a brief second before swallowing John's length, and John cried out at the sensation. It was warm, and wet, and deep, and Sherlock, it was Sherlock, this mad genius, and John must have been blind not to see it before now, that he was utterly and madly in love with Sherlock.
And then he woke up.
John pinched himself this time before attempting to get out of bed. Ow. He was probably awake, then. No guarantees. He padded downstairs with his sheets, nervously glancing around for signs of Sherlock. Nothing.
It was half relief and half disappointment that flooded him as he made it to the kitchen without incident, but then as he opened the door, he saw Sherlock transferring his own bed sheets to the dryer. Sherlock belatedly heard the soft click of the door latch, and whirled around to face John.
Sherlock just swallowed.
"So. Have an interesting night, then?"
"I suppose you could say that."
John indicated his own sheets. "Bet you can't guess what I was dreaming about."
Sherlock glared at John's obvious challenge.
"Sally?" he asked sarcastically. John made a face. Sherlock laughed, but it sounded forced.
"Does that mean you were dreaming about Anderson?"
Sherlock looked queasy at that suggestion. "Ugh. Horrible."
"I had a dream about Anderson the other day – not like that, mind," he added when Sherlock stared at him in horror. "He was wearing a dress and heels. It was pretty terrifying."
At this Sherlock laughed, genuinely, and John reflected on how much he'd missed that sound.
"So, going to stay a while? Or are you still avoiding me?"
Sherlock frowned. "I haven't been avoiding you."
"Right. You've just been – what? Conducting experiments exclusively in your bedroom? Did you develop a sudden allergy to the sofa?"
Sherlock just started moodily at the dryer.
"I was under the impression that I was making you uncomfortable," he finally said.
"A bit, yeah. Didn't mean I wanted you to disappear."
Sherlock turned away, pressing his palms together in the familiar way he had.
"Was I making you uncomfortable?" John asked.
Sherlock blinked in surprise. "No. What makes you think that?"
"Oh, I don't know, Sherlock. Maybe the fact that you've been hiding for the past week clued me in."
"No need for sarcasm, John."
And then, for some strange reason, John started grinning, and found he couldn't stop.
"What? What is it?" Sherlock snapped, irritation creasing his forehead.
"You're an idiot. We're both idiots. Look at us. Both putting our sheets in the wash at two in the morning. Who were you dreaming about, Sherlock? You can probably deduce me just from looking, so it's only fair."
Sherlock glared at John, but John just laughed. "I've lived with you too long for that to work on me! Just say it."
"Who else, John?"
"The answer should be obvious, even to you."
"Have you been sleeping in my bed?" John blurted out suddenly.
"No." The answer came almost too quickly.
"You weren't sleeping, then?"
Sherlock turned to leave. "Good night, John. Fold up my sheets when the dryer is done, will you?"
"You never did guess what I was dreaming about."
Sherlock made a dismissive noise, but paused with his hand on the door handle. "I don't have to."
"If it's so obvious, then why don't you say it?"
Sherlock whirled around towards John, striding towards him and backing him slowly into the corner. He looked furious, but there was something else in his eyes – desperation, perhaps? Longing?
"Because it doesn't matter!"
John had instinctively drawn back when Sherlock had loomed over him, and now he found himself breathless. For a brief moment, Sherlock's eyes shone brilliantly, even in the dim light.
"It doesn't matter." Sherlock no longer looked angry; just tired.
"Why not? It matters to me."
"Because it's not me."
"What, you're the only one who matters, is that it?" John was the angry one now. "You think I don't count?"
"No, no, no, no, no! You've completely – that's not what I was saying at all! Why don't you just listen!"
"Well, I'm sorry, Sherlock, but I don't yet have the ability to read minds, and –"
"The dream! I was talking about the dream!"
"You – what?" John felt a little off-kilter.
"It doesn't matter because you weren't dreaming about me. Clear enough for you?"
"Why wouldn't you be in my dream?"
"Not... in that way." Sherlock was flushing pink as he turned away from John.
"And you're saying it would matter if you were? That is, if you were the one I was dreaming about?"
"I was right, then," John said softly. "You couldn't guess what I was dreaming about."
Sherlock glared at this, and blurted, "Sex, John, you were dreaming about sex. Do I have to spell it out for you? Probably..." He eyed John's pyjama bottoms. "Oral sex. You weren't entirely comfortable with it, since you came down to wash the sheets immediately upon waking, and most days you try to ignore the wet spot for as long as forty minutes. So it stands to reason that you were dreaming about someone you're not in a relationship with, possibly someone you deem inappropriate – which could be just about anyone right now, since you're not in any relationship, and you're so obsessed with 'doing the right thing' that you'd probably feel guilty dreaming about a porn star, which actually isn't as common as you might think, there have been studies–"
"–and on top of that, you changed into your spare pyjamas with the hole in the knee, presumably because you were embarrassed about running into me with an obvious wet spot, not that the sheets themselves aren't obvious enough, combined with the way you skulked in here–"
"–which just goes to show that you're embarrassed to be seen by me, and I've been making you uncomfortable, and I don't know how to fix it, John, I just want to go back to the way it was before–"
"Sherlock! Will you shut up for one bloody minute and let me speak!"
Sherlock stared at John in shock.
"I suppose I got a bit – carried away."
"Sherlock, I was dreaming about you."
Sherlock just stared at John, brow furrowed in confusion.
"Oh, fuck it," John said, and kissed him.
It was different than John had pictured in his head. There was a clash of teeth, and Sherlock didn't seem to know what to do with his hands. He spent a few minutes flailing, then balling his hands into fists, then reaching for John before giving up halfway and letting them fall to his sides. John licked at Sherlock's bottom lip, and he shuddered in response, but still didn't open his mouth to John or make any sign that he was enjoying it. Dammit. This was a mistake. Hopefully one they could pretend never happened.
John pulled back. "That didn't go so well. I'll just pick up my sheets in the morning, then?"
Sherlock suddenly surged forward, gripping John's shoulders forcefully and mashing his lips against John's. John didn't think he could say that it felt good – but it was certainly an improvement over Sherlock standing utterly still and unresponsive. John allowed himself to lean into the kiss, and then suddenly Sherlock was nibbling at his lower lip, and John gasped at the sensation.
Sherlock pulled back with a start. "Did I do that wrong?"
John was still a bit dazed. "No, you– do it again."
"If you insist." Sherlock was smirking now, his gaze focused, as he leaned towards John once more.
The washing machine went into the spin cycle, making them both jump.
"Perhaps we should retire?" Sherlock suggested.
"Both our sheets are in the wash. We can't sleep."
"Who said anything about sleeping?" Sherlock demanded. "The sofa does not require sheets.”
John, speechless, allowed himself to be tugged into the living room by his very enthusiastic flatmate.
Sherlock turned to look at John, but didn't release him.
"John," he responded pointedly, one eyebrow raised.
"Shouldn't we – talk about this or something?"
"I'd rather not." He slung John onto the sofa and sat astride him.
Oh. John struggled to regain coherent thought, but then Sherlock was kissing him fiercely, and what had he been thinking, again? Can't have been important.
John enthusiastically kissed back. It seemed that Sherlock was a quick learner; his initial attempts had been clumsy, at best, but this – this was light touches and nibbles that made John squirm and gasp and clutch at Sherlock's scalp.
"Yes, like that, like – mph," John mumbled frantically, and then Sherlock's tongue was invading his mouth, and God, it had been far too long since he had done this.
Suddenly Sherlock's mouth was removed, and John whimpered at the loss, until Sherlock leaned down and placed his mouth on the crook of John's neck, eliciting several loud moans. "What," John gasped out as Sherlock tongued a particularly sensitive spot, "are you a vampire, now?"
Sherlock simply smiled into John's neck and bit down, a little harder than seemed necessary.
"Love is pain," Sherlock responded, grinning.
"Just shut up and kiss me."
Sherlock was only too happy to comply. They spent a few blissful minutes snogging on the sofa before John decided he was ready to explore more... exciting options.
John snaked his hand into Sherlock's pyjama bottoms, and realised with shock that Sherlock wasn't wearing any pants. A shudder ran through him as he fisted Sherlock's firm length, and Sherlock gasped and bucked in John's grasp.
"John!" he cried out in a strangled whisper. "I've never – that feels –"
John's grip loosened. "You've never what?"
Sherlock glared daggers and his own hand closed over John's. "Did I say stop? I don't remember saying st– oh! Yes. That's – that's nice."
John giggled as Sherlock guided his hand up and down.
"Bit rude," Sherlock panted, "giggling," he gasped, "isn't it, John? Oh! John!"
John had succeeded in rolling Sherlock onto his back, stretched out on the sofa, as John wriggled on top. He lifted up Sherlock's pyjama top with his free hand and started kissing a line down Sherlock's chest, to his belly button, nuzzling at the patch of dark curly hair just below Sherlock's navel. Sherlock was thrusting his hips now, and John stilled his hand, ignoring the frantic scrabbling of Sherlock's fingers.
"Do you want me to... um, kiss you?"
Sherlock just stared.
"Um, you know."
"No, I really don't."
John sighed. "This really isn't making me feel sexy. Do. You. Want. A blow job."
"Why didn't you just say that in the first place?" He glared, then realized John was still waiting. "Yes! Of course I do! Get on with it!"
John scowled at his flatmate with irritation.
"Err, bit not good, was that... Please get on with it?" Sherlock delivered his sunniest smile, and John snorted.
"How can you be so utterly charmless, and yet somehow I still find it adorable? It's just not fair." John grinned and ducked his head as he pulled Sherlock's pyjamas off and down.
At the first touch of John's tongue to the warm flesh, Sherlock shuddered and swore incomprehensibly. John took this as a good sign and swallowed Sherlock whole.
The sounds Sherlock made – moaning, followed by whimpering, and the occasional reverent "John" – made John's knees wobble and his stomach feel like it had turned to molten gold. He focused on the smell, the taste, the feeling of slick skin sliding in and out. It didn't take long for Sherlock to come with a shout, wriggling under John.
The first thought John had was, I did this. I made the great Sherlock Holmes lose control.
The second thought was, God, this tastes terrible.
John spat. Onto Sherlock's stomach.
"Euggh! That's disgusting, John!"
"Yeah, that's why I spat it out," John returned, grinning madly. "Let me get a towel from the kitchen."
Unfortunately, when the dryer buzzed its end signal, Sherlock leapt to his feet and dashed to the kitchen.
John stood there for a few minutes, tea towel in hand, before he realized what had happened.
"Sherlock! Get your arse back here!"
"I need to verify the results!" came the muffled cry.
Sherlock came back with his bedsheets, grinning triumphantly. "I was right! The blood didn't come out in one wash!"
"Sherlock, what are you–" John started, then froze. Oh. Sherlock hadn't had a wet dream. He was doing an experiment. Of course. John flushed bright red. "I. Um. I should cycle the sheets." He flung the towel at Sherlock and scrambled for the kitchen, hoping Sherlock wouldn't follow.
John felt like an idiot. Why had he assumed that Sherlock had been dreaming about him, the way John had been dreaming of Sherlock? It hadn't helped that the detective had done nothing to deter his erroneous assumption. That wanker.
"John..." Sherlock called gently from the doorway. "Is something wrong?"
"No," John replied tersely, not turning around, as he transferred his sheets to the dryer.
"You just seem... agitated."
"What if I am?"
"I don't understand."
"You never do," John responded bitterly.
"Then help me to understand."
Sherlock's tone was almost pleading, and that was enough to make John finally turn around.
"It's just..." John sighed. "Why did you lie to me, Sherlock?"
"I didn't lie. Not recently. To what are you referring?" Sherlock's eyebrows were furrowed in confusion, and if John weren't so upset, he would have laughed.
"About dreaming. You weren't dreaming." John waved his hands over the dryer. "You were doing an experiment."
Sherlock was quiet for a moment. "I don't understand."
"Here I am, spilling my secrets to you about having a wet dream about you, and you made me think... You've probably never had that kind of dream in your life, much less about me–"
"Just because it didn't happen tonight, doesn't mean I haven't dreamt of you, John."
John just stared.
"Can we... can we go back to the sofa now?" Sherlock's eyes were the most desperate John had ever seen them.
John simply crossed the room and seized Sherlock's waist in one hand, the back of his head in the other, fingers laced through curly dark hair. He stood there for a moment, soaking it in: Sherlock's pale eyes, filled with wonder and fear; his soft lips, impossibly full; those sharp cheekbones, not quite as gaunt as when John had first met him; the messy mop of hair with just a hint of auburn; the bushy eyebrows, usually raised in disdain, now furrowed in concern.
John kissed Sherlock, and it felt like the detective was melting into the floor.
"Yeah. Yeah, let's go back," John finally said as he released him. Sherlock had a dazed look on his face, and John realised he was grinning like a loon, but somehow he didn't give a damn.
Sherlock smiled. "We should wash our sheets every evening."