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party hats and noisemakers

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When John woke, it was with a pounding headache and disgusting photosensitivity that made him tightly shut his eyes to the light knifing through his pupils. Groaning, he rubbed a hand over his face; slowly opened heavy lids again and licked dry lips. His vision blurred, sharpened and cleared, and he focused on a small, silver hat emblazoned with HAPPY NEW YEAR in garish red and gold block letters. Blinking, he turned his head, found himself looking at a chair leg, and frowned. Shifting, he tried to sit up and realized there was a warm, heavy weight across his back. Looking over his shoulder, John came face to face with a sleeping Sherlock, sprawled sloppily over John’s legs, his head pillowed on his arms, folded on John’s lower back. The detective appeared deeply asleep, face slack and mouth open as he breathed in a slow, even rhythm.

Turning forward again, John stared at the party hat, narrowing his eyes as he tried to remember the previous night. Pain lanced through his head and he groaned, resting his cheek against the cold floor.

He recognized the hat—could faintly recall Mrs. Hudson coming up to the flat with party hats and noisemakers, wishing them a Happy New Year. He dimly remembered feeling flustered and embarrassed, and very, very drunk.

John shifted, body stiff from laying on the hard floor, and Sherlock made a protesting noise in his sleep. His arm moved, hand gripping John’s hip loosely as he sighed and relaxed again. At the feeling of Sherlock’s fingers curling over his side, John was flooded with several drunken memories:

Standing in the kitchen, Sherlock leaning against the table. Long arms around his shoulders, and a rumbling voice in his ear. Snippets of a song—"there’d be no distance that could hold us back”—and warmth in his chest.

Of Sherlock’s hot breath on his cheek; Sherlock’s soft lips moving beneath his.

John’s face flushed and he covered his eyes with a groan.

Fuck.

Had he messed it all up? Yes, he had imagined kissing Sherlock many times in the past months, ever since one touch had painted fire over his skin. Of course, now that he remembered, his heart thudded with excited energy—and apprehension. Would everything change now… for the worse?

Dimly, he remembered that Sherlock had made the first move, tilting his head to kiss John, and he sucked in a breath. Even through his hangover fog, the realization set his heart racing again. Breathing heavier than necessary given his current position, he desperately tried to remember how they had ended up in their current situation. He faintly recalled sitting on the floor with Sherlock, shoulders leaning together, laughing as Mrs. Hudson all but forced the detective into a sparkly party hat. Past that, he was fairly sure he had likely passed out. Given their positions, he assumed Sherlock had done the same.

Sighing, he lifted himself onto his arms, trying to alleviate a cramp in his side. There was a great noise of annoyance behind him, followed by a long, suffering groan. Looking over his shoulder, John found Sherlock looking back at him, normally sharp eyes half-open and blurry.

“John,” the detective croaked, voice rough and cracking. “My head feels like a nuclear detonation testing ground.” Sprawled over John’s back, he looked pitiful and beautifully disheveled, skin pale and lips parted. Sitting up, he ran a hand through his mussed hair. John sat up as well, rolling stiffness from his aching shoulders.

“I think we had just a bit too much to drink.” John replied, breath catching in his throat. He found himself staring at Sherlock’s mouth and quickly cleared his throat, looking away. Long-fingered hands gripped his chin, turning his face back as the detective leaned closer.

“I may be hungover, John.” A pause. “Okay—very hungover, but I have not forgotten last night.”

John sucked in a breath and blinked. “You mean—”

“Oh yes.”

“Shit."

Sherlock’s brows dropped into a frown at John’s swearing. “What do you mean by that?” A look of uncertainty crossed his features, and he dropped his hand. “Do you regret it?”

“What?” John’s eyes widened and he moved quickly to grab Sherlock’s hand before he could pull it away. He spoke louder than he meant to, and they both winced. “No—no, of course not.” He continued, dropping his voice to a more bearable volume. Sherlock’s eyes searched his face and John sighed. Running his free hand through his hair, he shifted uncomfortably. “I just—I don’t want to screw things up, you know?”

Sherlock’s fingers curled through his, squeezing gently. “And how do you imagine you’ve done that?” He asked, soft voice a stark comparison with his sharp eyes.

John’s own eyes shifted away, and he sawed at his bottom lip with his teeth. “Because I don’t want to lose my friend.”

Silence stretched out for a long moment, and John looked back to the man before him. Sherlock’s face was lightly flushed, and he was leaning forward.

“I don’t want to be your friend, John.” He murmured. John noted, with interest, that the detective was staring at his lips, and wasn’t that a first. “I want to kiss your neck.” His eyes moved to John’s and a small, if uncertain smile touched upon his face. “And your mouth. That too.” His eyes glinted and John laughed, a bark of pleased surprise.

“Well, who am I to say no to that?” John replied, blinking in a moment he had not expected to ever encounter. He vaguely realized this seemed completely ridiculous, this entire conversation, and wondered if he might be dreaming. But then Sherlock’s lips were on his neck, and his fingers were in John’s hair, and the other man’s mouth was moving to his, and John decided he didn’t care.

With eager mouth and warm lips, he kissed Sherlock like a man coming up for air from beneath lung-crushing waters. Dream or not, he’d take it. He’d take Sherlock in any form, and this was absolutely no exception.