Sherlock dreams. (Of course he does.) He’s in a field, surrounded by green grass and the scent of honeysuckle. The sun is warm upon his back, and Redbeard is beside him, tongue lolling out in satisfaction. Sherlock runs a hand down Redbeard’s flank, then back up to the dog’s head. Redbeard presses into Sherlock’s touch, until Sherlock yields and scratches behind his ears; the whine of happiness Redbeard gives in return burrows into Sherlock’s heart until he buries his head in Redbeard’s neck with a smile.
“Good boy,” he murmurs. “Good boy.” He runs his fingers through Redbeard’s fur, loses track of time in a haze of contentment.
He isn’t aware the dream is over until his eyes are open and he’s staring across the bed at John, whose face is lax with sleep. Disappointment and nostalgia pinch at Sherlock’s gut. The image of Redbeard is still layering itself across his vision, reality and dream twining themselves together; Sherlock blinks until it fades with reluctance, then watches John’s eyelids flutter. (In a REM cycle, then, Sherlock notes.)
Sherlock moves until he is pressed up against John, head tucked under John’s chin, nose pressed against John’s neck. His eyes close; a deep breath makes the sweetness of honeysuckle fade, but replaces it with John, who smells of soap and the laundry powder that washes their sheets and the slightest hint of sweat. John’s pulse fills his ears.
Sherlock drifts back to sleep.