It started with a conversation with Irene Adler. I’d stated (again) that I’m not gay and not in love with Sherlock. She said that she was gay and that she still managed to be “in love” with Sherlock.
That’s a simplification of what was said. “Love” and whether or not either of us was in it wasn’t specifically stated. Just implied.
Days later – weeks almost – I realised that maybe in a way it was love. Not the romantic, sexual sort, but certainly there was an attachment that went beyond the normal limits of friendship. I was, after all, prepared to kill for him. I was also at times prepared to kill him. Mrs. Hudson and I both dealt with his habits and experiments with exasperation and (grudging) acceptance, although her affection was obviously more maternal, while mine was occasionally more … violent. (Opportunities to punch him in the face were disturbingly welcome.)
I’m getting a little far afield here, but my point is that I came to realize that somewhere in there was love and that I was fine with that.
Sherlock, oblivious to personal space, didn’t seem to notice when I stopped pushing him away when he leaned in too close. He didn’t react to the fact that I was less hesitant about getting into his personal space. Leaning over him to retrieve something from his pocket (that he could have easily gotten himself) became less of an irritant for me.
We shared a bathroom. Literally shared it most of the time. On more than one occasion we shared a shower. It was never sexual. Just easy. Comfortable.
The “sleeping together” started the night Mycroft told me about Ms. Adler’s fate. I really doubt Sherlock believed me when I gave him the “gone to the States” version, although he didn’t call me on it. Maybe for once in his life he chose to believe the lie because it was better than the truth.
The thought of that beautiful, intelligent woman being so brutally killed turned into nightmares for me and – as often happened when the nightmares came – Sherlock woke me.
“You were shouting.”
“Nightmares. I know.” He scolded. Frowned. “Stop it.” And then his expression softened just the tiniest bit – just the most microscopic slip of his mask for one brief second. “Can I just…?”
Without finishing his thought or waiting for an answer, he stretched out on my bed with his back to me. His dressing gown was pulled tight around him and I could see the lines of his t-shirt and the curve of his shoulder blades through the material.
“Um, Sherlock?” I started, unsure of what was going on.
“I’m very tired, John. Do shut up.”
The voice was Sherlock’s. The words were pure Sherlock. But there was something in the tone that wasn’t familiar. Weariness, yes. And something like sadness. I turned my back to his and closed my eyes. “Goodnight, Sherlock.”
“Goodnight, John. Have another nightmare and I’m kicking you out.”
“Kicking me out? Of my own room?”
He huffed. “Fine. Next time we’re using my room so I can kick you out.”
“Next time? Sherlock, why would there be a next time? Seriously, why is there even a first time?”
He was asleep. I think he was faking.
It was rather comforting though, so I didn’t move to sleep on the sofa. There were no more nightmares that night and he was gone in the morning – showered, dressed, and bent over some experiment that covered the whole table. I ate my breakfast standing over the sink.
I initiated the next one. It’d been a hard day at work, complicated by yet another girlfriend breaking it off, and yet another argument with Harry about when I was going to visit. Long lines at the shops, my takeaway order being incorrect, and taxis that refused to stop just piled more and more shit onto my already bad day. I was done in and irritated with everything.
Sherlock looked across the table as we were eating and frowned. “You’re a mess, John. Go to bed.”
I hesitated, pushing food around with my fork and considering my words carefully. I met his eyes and forced out the words “come with me?”
He stared blankly for a second and then arched one eyebrow. “Give me a minute to change, then.”
I gave him more than a minute while I cleaned up the supper dishes. When I went to my room to get ready for bed I noticed my pillows were missing.
I found Sherlock propped up in his bed, reading. My pillows were on the empty side. “I trust the light won’t bother you?” He said without looking up from his book.
“Nope.” I slid in, turned my back to him, and was asleep before I knew it.
When I woke up Sherlock was still awake. Still reading. There were sticky notes all over the headboard. And on my arm.
And that’s how it would work. Over time it got more frequent, but always platonic.
All that’s over now.