John hadn't really thought about the consequences of hanging by his arms off a fire escape while trying to kick in a window. Or of smashing his fist upwards into a thug's face. Or of hanging from a flag pole (although he'd thought about the consequences of that one a little more, since one of the consequences was 'splat.') He was thinking about them now, though: The consequences of all of those unconsidered moves were a) the crooks were cooling their heels in the nick, b) one crime solved had turned into seventeen crimes solved, with kudos all around, and c) John's damaged shoulder was giving him screaming pain, plus he had a headache on top of it.
He followed Sherlock into the flat and managed to get his jacket off without toooo much grunting. His jumper was going to be another matter though, it was his favorite oatmeal pullover. Wordlessly went to get a couple of beers. He took out a packet of frozen peas, wrapped them in a towel and slung them over his shoulder, then popped a couple of the heavy-duty painkillers. He sat down on the couch and took a long pull of his beer, then flipped on the telly. He rubbed his sore shoulder, then noticed Sherlock looking at him strangely. Sherlock said nothing but disappeared into his bedroom and returned with... something. John couldn't quite see what. He said nothing as Sherlock stepped over the coffee table, stepped onto the couch and perched on the back of it. Then skootched over, threw a leg over John's head, and settled his knees on either side of John's shoulders. Alright, he had a brief "oh-kayyyyy" moment, but really, he'd gotten used to Sherlock by now and his flatmate had done stranger things.
Such as cutting off John's jumper. John blinked when he heard the scissors snip. He tried to look around, indignant, but the pain in his shoulder prevented him from turning very far. Out of the corner of his eye, he managed to see that Sherlock was pulling the stitching yarn out of the seam, carefully detaching the sleeve from the body of the jumper and peeling it down off of John's arm. He treated the side seam the same way, then peeled the jumper off, lifting the collar over John's head. He laid the jumper pieces down carefully, looping their respective stitching threads through them so they wouldn't get lost.
John sipped his beer again, slightly mollified. He was still nettled but supposed he'd be able to reconstruct his jumper alright. It wasn't like Sherlock had cut it apart entirely. Like he was doing with John's shirt. "Sherlock, what the hell?"
"How else am I supposed to get it off?" Sherlock replied, intent on his task, "It's not one of your favorites. It can be replaced."
"That's not the point," John mumbled, taking another sip of his beer. Pretty soon he was naked to the waist in the cool air of the flat. His cheeks were unaccountably warm, then another surge of pain took his mind off that.
It sounded like Sherlock was rubbing something between his hands but he was directly behind John so John was unable to turn enough to look. The bag of peas was pushed aside and John gasped at the sudden shock of sensation as Sherlock's warm hands met his cold shoulder.
Many hands had touched John's flesh. Many hands had stitched his wounds, many hands had soothed his hurts. Lovers on three continents had caressed his skin. He had never known hands as gentle and considerate as those of Sherlock Holmes. He sighed, relaxing as much as he could as Sherlock lightly kneaded the strained flesh in soft circles, working it gently. He was watching John's reactions carefully, deducing just how hard to press, how far to dig, exactly when to step it up or back it off. When John tipped his head to the opposite side, exposing more of his neck, Sherlock took that cue to begin probing the pressure points, gently at first then with increasing firmness. John felt something give way and groaned with relief, sighing as he felt Sherlock's palm cover the hurt, smoothing on more of the cream or oil or whatever it was he was using. After a few minutes, John was able to turn his head again, enough to look up at his friend with a grateful smile.
Sherlock smiled back and set about gently massaging the base of John's neck near his spine. John swallowed another pain reliever and leaned forward a little to give Sherlock more room. He sighed as he felt Sherlock's hands stroke up his spine into his hair. Then Sherlock fitted his thumb into the hollow at the base of John's skull and rubbed firmly, and John's eyes went wide at first, then drifted shut on a sensation of slow bliss. "Alright," he mumbled, "What's that? And don't tell me it's the foramen magnum, I know that, I'm a doctor, I want to know what it is you're doing with it."
Sherlock smirked a little, "Just rubbing it, not too hard, I hope?"
"Hnnh," John said, "S'fine... How'd you learn about it?"
"It's something Mummy used to do for me. It worked a treat."
John slitted an eye but couldn't see his friend from this angle. He was about to ask whether anyone had done it for him since, but decided he probably knew the answer to that already, so settled on saying "Hnnh" again instead. Then he felt Sherlock's long fingers sneak up into his hair, massaging and pressing his scalp with utmost care. He let his head fall back slowly as his friend progressed, until his head was tipped back to look up at the other man. He opened his eyes and smiled, receiving another of Sherlock's soft smiles in return. He stayed there for almost half a minute before realizing that his head was pillowed right on Sherlock's crotch. Ah...
He lifted his head again and Sherlock slid down onto the couch cushions as though nothing was awkward at all - which, to Sherlock, it probably wasn't. After a moment, John patted the spot in front of him with an inviting smile. Sherlock shot John's shoulder a look of concerned inquiry then shrugged and slid off the couch to sit on the floor in front of John. He pulled off his shirt and handed John the cake of medicated cocoa butter he'd been using to oil his hands. John wasn't able to put his usual strength into Sherlock's muscles but he was able to give a nice enough light back rub.
He ran his hand up to the base of Sherlock's neck and paused. "Can I try it?"
Sherlock hesitated. His scalp was extremely sensitive, so much so that trips to the barber were a form of slow torture, and he was very wary about whom he let touch him. But he knew John's touch from the many times he'd submitted to the doctor's care, knew that John's hands were extremely gentle, strong, and controlled. Finally he nodded, "Alright."
"Let me know if it's too much," John said, "Or too little." Then he ran his thumb up Sherlock's spine, found the dimple, and pressed at the axis protecting the brain stem.
Sherlock's head tipped back, his eyes slid closed and his lips parted slightly and John watched as the tension just flowed out of his face and body like water draining out of a sink. For a moment he was afraid the other man would melt away entirely, like chocolate left in the sun. Nailed it, he thought, feeling proud of himself. After a few minutes, he let his fingers slip higher into Sherlock's hair, stroking the curls and lightly rubbing his scalp. There was a brief flash of tension then he relaxed again and the most lovely smile graced his lips. John felt something bubble up and fill his heart, at the thought that he had caused that smile to be.
He rubbed and stroked for several minutes, watching that smile. On impulse, he leaned forward, sliding his arms around Sherlock and drawing him back into a hug, leaning his head over his flatmate's shoulder. After a moment he felt Sherlock reach up to twine his fingers into John's hair, and press his chiselled cheek against John's.
Time held suspended in the perfect moment. John floated in a mist of happiness, all senses aware of the man in his arms - the twine of his fingers, the press of his cheek, the tickle of his hair, his scent, the pattern of his breathing, his pragmatic kindnesses... He shared his life with this man and wondered why he hadn't thought of it that way before. Had he ever felt so happy? Had he ever been so happy in his life, before he met Sherlock Holmes? He opened his eyes and looked at his friend, and knew, just knew, that Sherlock was asking himself the same questions regarding Doctor John Watson. He gazed into Sherlock's eyes and felt gravity and the ice blue depths drawing him down...
"That sounded like..."
"Someone falling from a height onto Mrs. Hudson's bins?"
They got up to look.
"Well I had nothing to do with this one."
"He doesn't even look American."
Then they turned to stare up at the sky.
"But where did he come from?"
"I don't know but he's got lousy timing."
"Accountants don't just fall out of the sky, John."
"Fine, you go have a look and I'll phone it in."
John watched as his friend took the stairs two at a time to get to the roof. He smiled and shook his head fondly, then the call connected.