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Bad Dreams

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“I have bad dreams, sometimes,” John said after he’d moved his stuff in (not much, just a suitcase and his laptop, and a stack of books).

Sherlock, who had been watching the street below, turned to look at him. “Afghanistan?” he asked.

John sat down in one of the armchairs next to the mantelpiece. “Yeah. So, um, if you hear some noise, you can just ignore it.”

Sherlock narrowed his eyes and took a step towards him. “Noise?” he said. “Do you smash things up?”

“No, I um, it’s just that I—”

“You shout,” Sherlock guessed (no, deduced, probably). “You shout in your sleep.”

John wriggled uncomfortably in his chair. “I’ve been told, yes.”

“I see.” Sherlock crossed his arms and frowned. “So, you’re asking me to ignore you when you’re having a nightmare.”

“Yes,” John said. He sighed. “Look, with a bit of luck they will go away, alright? My therapist thinks—”

“No,” Sherlock interrupted.

John looked at him. “No?”

“No. I won’t do that.”

“Do what?”

“I won’t ignore you. You helped me, I’ll help you.”

It sounded non-negotiable, and John looked at him thoughtfully. “You’ll help me.”

Sherlock returned the stare. “You sound surprised.”

“I’m not, I’m just… wondering how you want to help.”

“I could wake you up,” Sherlock said, finally releasing John from the weight of his glare. “Play you the violin. It should calm you down.”

“Right.” John scraped his throat. “Right. That’s… sweet, Sherlock. Thanks.”

“Good. That’s settled then.” Sherlock briskly strode toward the kitchen. “Tea?”

“That’d be lovely,” John said. His smile was small and secret.