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Bedtime

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The case feels like it ends with a whimper. They catch the murderer, but for once Lestrade forces them into staying to give statements. They spend two hours at Scotland Yard while Sherlock scribbles out his statement illegibly and mutters under his breath. John writes his statement in silence, broken every so often when he pauses to check some fact with Sherlock.

By the time they get home they are exhausted, not so much from coming off the adrenaline but from the slow metamorphosis of adrenaline into frustration and boredom. John is glad to be home, though. He sinks down into his chair and rubs at his eyes. "All right?" he asks. Sherlock opens his laptop on the table and checks up on things, going through the routine of email, website, various news websites.

"What?" he asks finally. He sounds tired, as though he is just letting himself relax and isn't quite thinking as quickly as normal.

"Huh? Oh, I asked if you were all right."

"I'm fine, John. Tea?"

"Yeah," John says automatically. "No, wait, I'm too tired. Shall we just go to bed?"

"You go ahead. I'm going to sit up for a while. Housekeeping."

"House--oh, brain housekeeping. Right. Got my hopes up there for a minute." John smiles. Sherlock always has to clean up after a case, delete the redundant, organize the useful information. Like defragmenting a computer. "Do your housekeeping in bed."

Sherlock considers this. "I suppose that would be an acceptable compromise."

John tilts his chin up and Sherlock comes to take his hand and haul him out of his chair. He wobbles a bit once vertical, and Sherlock lets go of his hand and takes hold of his shoulder. "Lucky thing Lestrade let us go when he did," he says ruefully.

"That wasn't luck, John," Sherlock says, digging his thumbnail into John's shoulder.

"You--?"

"Made him leave the rest until morning, yes. You wouldn't have been much use if we'd been there any longer."

"I wasn't the only one about to keel over," John mutters. He tilts forward and rests his head in the dip between Sherlock's shoulder and his chest. "Why'm I still awake?"

"I assume that's a rhetorical question," Sherlock says, wrapping his hand around John's hip.

John huffs a laugh, warm breath dampening Sherlock's shirt. "Yeah. Okay." He lets go of Sherlock and leans back. "Bed?"

Sherlock's mouth tilts, and he turns and leads the way towards the stairs. They gravitate to John's room, which as the less likely of the two to be toxic has become their room. John, too sleepy and limp to make much effort, simply strips down to his pants and socks and crawls into bed. Sherlock roots around on the floor for his pyjamas (though still clean, the room has become much less tidy since Sherlock began inhabiting it). He leans against the foot of the bed and unbuttons his shirt, tossing it back at the heap of clothes. John lies on his back and watches him, eyes feeling fuzzy. He watches lazily as Sherlock sits to untie his shoes and remove his socks, watches as Sherlock slides out of his trousers and into his pyjama bottoms and soft grey t-shirt.

Sherlock moves up to the head of the bed, sitting and removing his watch, depositing it on the bedside table. He shoves his legs under the covers and leans back against the headboard. “Glad it’s over?” John asks, resting his head on Sherlock’s hip.

“The case? Yes, I suppose so.” Sherlock steeples his fingers against his lips, and glances down at John. “Go to sleep.”

John sticks his face in between the waistband of Sherlock’s trousers and his shirt, nosing against his stomach. “You need to do laundry,” John mumbles. “Smells a bit funny.”

Sherlock sniffs. “The laundry does need doing, yes.”

John grins and sticks his tongue out, wet against Sherlock’s skin. “I’ll throw your pyjamas in with my laundry, but I’m not doing the rest of it.”

“Fine. Go to sleep.”

John closes his eyes and leaves Sherlock to his mental housekeeping. Tired as he is, it’s a while before he falls asleep, lulled by the sound of Sherlock’s slow breath, the warmth of his skin, the soft smell of already worn clothes. Eventually Sherlock’s hands drift downwards, one resting against the scar on John’s shoulder. Sherlock falls asleep sitting up, head tilted back against the wall.

Some time later John wakes and tugs Sherlock downwards--half to prevent Sherlock’s discomfort and half to prevent the bother of dealing with Sherlock’s complaints in the morning. He falls asleep again with his nose against Sherlock’s cheek.