Sherlock regained consciousness in a hospital bed (heavy stiff sheets, metal rails, obvious) with a bandaged hand and head. There had been an… explosion? Yes, and he and John had been flung against a wall. Where was John? He heard a faint groan. It sounded a bit... off, in some way, and he rolled his head to the side to see if he could see if John was in the same room. No, he was the only occupant.
“Ow, fuck”, John said, very clearly. The room remained empty.
Sherlock’s left arm stretched out, and he was quite sure he wasn't moving it.
“John?” he said.
There was a very long pause. Then his left hand came in front of his eyes and turned slowly. A further pause. Then John said “Fuck, I’m in your head” and Sherlock abruptly realised what had been odd about John’s voice all along – he hadn’t been hearing it through his ears.
“That’s not possible,” John said blankly.
“No,” Sherlock agreed. “Absolutely fascinating, though.”
“I’m hallucinating. I’m hallucinating that I’m inside your brain. Shit, what does that say about my psyche?”
“That you have impeccable taste and judgement, obviously. Anyway, I’m experiencing this too. Oh, do you think that you’re hallucinating that I’m experiencing this too?”
“Am I a butterfly dreaming I’m a man, or a man dreaming I’m a butterfly?”
“Pop-culture Chinese philosophy, John? Look, if I’m just a construct of your mind, I would only be able to tell you things you already know. But did you know that, say Tchaikovsky was born in Votkinsk? Or the main active component of bee venom is melittin? Or Mycroft’s middle name is Florizel?”
John gave a crack of laughter. “You made that last one up.”
”Yes, alright, but the others are true.”
At that moment, a nurse came into the room and said “Ah, back with us, Mr Holmes. I’ll just call the doctor.”
Sherlock called him back. “Wait. John, John Watson, where is he?”
The nurse flipped through some notes, then said “Ah yes, Dr Watson. I can assure you he is getting the best possible care.”
“What does that mean? Care for what? Where is he?”
“Mr Holmes, please try to remain calm. Dr Watson is presently, ah, in a coma,” he held up a hand at Sherlock’s exclamation, “but we are hopeful he will make a full recovery.”
Then Sherlock’s mouth asked “GCS score?” with no input from his brain, and he realised John was using his vocal cords to request information about the depth of his own coma, which was so pleasingly paradoxical he almost missed the nurse replying “I believe his score is 10, but I will get the doctor to come and discuss things with you. Excuse me.”
Sherlock stared after his retreating form. John’s voice said quietly, “Moderate coma. Bloody hell.”
Over the next few hours they carried out a series of experiments to determine the parameters of their new situation. First they established that they could only hear the other’s thoughts if they were actually directed to each other. John could receive input from all Sherlock’s senses, not just sight and sound; he could also feel touches to Sherlock’s skin, and taste the overly milky hospital tea he was given to drink. John could control Sherlock’s movements, if Sherlock could ease away from his hold over his body. They both reported an odd sort of doubled sensation, aware of their own touch and movement, and a shadowy secondary set of sensations from the other man. Sherlock was actually surprised by how not odd the whole thing was. It felt almost like normal, having John right there to talk to and bounce thoughts off.
Finally, they established that John couldn’t get back into his own body. “I know it’s sort of… over there…” John said plaintively. “I can get back to myself but not wake up in myself.”
They were quiet for a time.
“This is impossible, you know,” John said eventually. “There’s no actual single part of the brain that’s where consciousness is.”
“Ah, you’re a rationalist.”
“Of course I’m a bloody rationalist, I’m a doctor. I’ve had people die under my hands, Sherlock, and not one of them had an obvious broken… bit… that I could have mended and saved them.” His voice in Sherlock’s head went jagged for a moment. Then he went on, “I just mean… for example, the image of this hospital room is going into your optic nerves and being registered by your visual cortex and being stored in your neural networks, right, so will I remember it when I wake up? It’s ridiculous.”
“Maybe you’re transmitting the images to your visual cortex through whatever this link is that we seem to have ended up with?”
“Yeah, maybe,” John responded, but he didn’t sound convinced.
“The thing is, John, that your presence is affecting what I’m registering in my visual cortex. I’m seeing things with a faint overlay of details that I would normally disregard, that I imagine are things that you are picking up on.”
“There are things that you disregard? I thought it was all data?”
“Well, I certainly wouldn’t normally have bothered noticing that that nurse had a nice arse,” Sherlock said tartly.
“Can’t blame a man for looking.” John sounded entirely unrepentant.
As soon as Sherlock was allowed to leave his room, which was earlier than the doctors had wanted, he went straight to John’s bedside. It was uncomfortable seeing him lying there. The voice in his head was good, but not the same. Sherlock took John’s hand, feeling the weight and strength of tendon and muscle and bone, and the unnerving lack of responsiveness. Finally John protested that it was too creepy to stand over his own comatose body, and even went to the length of nudging Sherlock’s feet away from the bed. It was an extremely odd sensation, his body not under his own control, and he took over and walked them away.
Sherlock had been discharged and they’d been back at 221B for a week when Lestrade texted.
Sry, know not good time for u, but cld use ur help on this 1. Any news on J? GL
“What do you think, John? Prepared to take on a case?”
“Hell yes, be good to see somewhere other than here or the hospital.” They had taken to spending afternoons sat at John’s bedside, trying out different ways of getting John back into his body. The nurses regarded Sherlock with a sympathetic eye and brought him cups of tea, some of which John made him drink. Purely psychosomatic of course, since it wasn't his body the tea was going into, but it made him feel better.
Sherlock responded to Greg’s text and once Greg had sent the details of where to meet him, they headed out of the flat. The crime scene was too nearby for even Sherlock to hail a cab, so they set off walking. It was the first time they’d walked any distance or at any speed, and John found the motion disorienting at first. Sherlock's body language seemed to be centred more from his hips where John naturally moved more from his shoulders. And he still wasn't used to the extra height.
The weather had turned quite warm, with a spring breeze just sifting through the tops of the trees in the park. “Oh, that’s odd,” John said, “I can feel your hair moving. Mine’s never been long enough to get that.”
Sherlock touched fingers to curls, as though he’d suddenly become aware of the sensation himself.
“It’s nice actually,” John assured him. “Like getting a very gentle scalp massage.”
Further on, the daffodils were all fully in bloom, a blaze of yellow across one corner of the park.
“Hang on. Are you using my brain to look at flowers?”
“Yeah, sorry. I just… I like spring.” It had been one of the things he’d missed in Afghanistan, the soft green dampness of an English April, the sense of sap rising.
“Oh to be in England…” Sherlock quoted, which was so apt that John wondered if he’d thought the last bit too loudly.
A bit further on from the next corner they spotted Greg at the mouth of an alleyway. He raised an arm to hail Sherlock. When Sherlock stopped next to him, Greg squeezed his arm. “Y’alright? How’s John?”
Sherlock nodded. “Just a waiting game at the moment.” He turned to begin examining the crime scene. John was fascinated by the things Sherlock was noticing, scraps of paper that had seemed to just be rubbish, lipstick on a cigarette butt that looked no different from any other cigarette butt, a particular piece of gravel caught in the tread of the dead man’s shoe.
John was taking in medical details, and something was niggling at him. “Sherlock, see this stab wound here? Don’t like the look of it, it’s really new – made some time after death, possibly in the last ten minutes or so. Killer could still be here…”
There was an eruption of cardboard boxes from one of the skips behind Greg and a man leapt over the edge, landed clumsily, two feet and a hand to the ground then was up and moving. He barged past Greg and took off sprinting for the entrance to the alley. Several police officers broke away to follow and Sherlock was just starting in pursuit when John yelped, “Greg’s down!” and twisted them back the other way. Greg was sprawled awkwardly, one hand pressed to his side, blood seeping between his fingers. “Bastard had a knife,” he said roughly.
Sherlock dropped to his knees at Greg’s side. John said in Sherlock’s head, “Will you let me…” and Sherlock said, “Yes, of course,” and eased back in his head and let John take control. John was almost as competent using Sherlock’s long fingers as he would have been with his own. He quickly palpated Greg’s abdomen, wincing apologetically as Greg hissed with pain.
“Jesus, you’re a lucky bastard. Think it missed everything vital.”
Sherlock took over his own right arm again and dragged a handkerchief out of his coat pocket. John took it with Sherlock’s left hand and clamped it down hard over the wound. Greg’s eyes had closed and John said sharply “Okay there, Greg?”
Greg’s eyes snapped open again. “Did you just call me Greg? Oh shit, are you lying to me? Am I dying?”
“Not if I’ve got anything to do with it.” John grinned down at him and he blinked in confusion; John realised it was probably not a reassuring expression on Sherlock’s face.
“Blimey Sherlock, never knew you cared,” Greg said wryly.
“Of course he does, you berk,” and thank god that was the ambulance because Greg was looking really bewildered now, and Sherlock was muttering something about sentiment.
Sherlock turned towards the paramedics as they jogged up with a stretcher but let John continue talking. “High abdominal stab wound, upper right quadrant, glanced off a rib, but it’s basically shallow.” The paramedics nodded and following some further back and forth of information, transferred Greg to the stretcher and then into the ambulance.
Donovan strode over looking suspicious. “Where did all that come from, freak?”
“Spend a lot of time around John, picked up some stuff. Are you going to the hospital? Can we… uh, I get a lift?” Donovan stared at him for another beat, then her face softened slightly. She waved him over to a squad car. “Yeah, alright, get in.”
“That was suspiciously easy,” John said, puzzled at her acquiescence. He could feel the faint curl of Sherlock’s lip as he replied, “She thinks I slipped up and said we because I’m missing you.”
“Oh. Of course.”
There was a pause, then Sherlock said, sounding thoughtful, “I am missing you, actually. It’s like only being able to talk to you on the phone.”
“Yeah. It’s better than nothing, but it’s not the same, is it.”
They finally got back to the flat in the quiet early hours of the morning. Greg had been stitched up and assured that any odd things he might have thought Sherlock had said were caused by confusion due to blood loss. He'd been admitted for a few days for observation.
Sherlock made his way to his bedroom with something less that his usual grace, stripping off blood stained clothes as he went. Naked, he crossed to his bed to fish his pyjamas out from under his pillow, and turned back to head to the bathroom. As he glanced across the room, they both caught sight of his reflection in the full length mirror on the wardrobe door. His cock throbbed, hardening as he watched. Blushing, he started to say, “Uh, I’m really not a narcissist…” at the same moment as John stammered, “God, sorry, really not appropriate, sorry…”
They both stopped at the same time. Then Sherlock said carefully, “Are you making it do that… because of me?” and John said, “Um, yeah… sorry. You are… you know… completely gorgeous and everything. Look somewhere else, I’ll think about Margaret Thatcher naked, it’ll go away in a minute…” and to make him stop talking, Sherlock gently curled his right hand around his cock and John did stop talking, abruptly.
Sherlock said, “So, seems like you have some control of my autonomic nervous system.”
John laughed. “Parasympathetic nerves, at least… ohhhh…” The thoughts he was sending to Sherlock stuttered as Sherlock made an experimental stroke, his cock hardening further under his touch. “Oh, that’s… I can feel that like I’m touching you and like you’re touching me at the same time. Oh god. Um, can I…” and he gently moved Sherlock’s left hand. Sherlock immediately dropped control of it and let John take over.
“Your skin is amazing,” John murmured as he sent Sherlock’s hand gliding across his belly. He scratched the tips of his fingers down into Sherlock’s pubic hair and Sherlock gasped, and said ”Oh, that’s nice. Do you… Is that what you do? You know, to yourself?”
“One of the things, yeah. What about you? Show me what you like, show me how you touch yourself.”
Sherlock’s eyes were huge and dark in the mirror as he watched his hands on his own body. “I don’t know. I just… get on with it, so I can stop thinking about it.”
“That’s a tragedy. God, this body… Brain the size of a planet and a body like this as well…” As he spoke, John kept sliding Sherlock’s left hand up and down his torso, skimming over his nipples, curving over the crest of his hipbone, dipping down to slip flat between his inner thighs, then lifting slightly to push his thumb up against his perineum. “It’s been driving me crazy. Only thing better than doing this would be if I could get my own hands on you.”
Sherlock groaned helplessly, his right hand still stroking himself slowly as he focused on what John was doing to him with his left hand. “Oh, I’d like that. I wish I could touch you too.”
“Mmm, that’d be so nice,” John said as he trailed fingertips along Sherlock’s collarbones, “Your hands are gorgeous.”
“God, John, don’t worship me. I’m not…”
“It’s not a bad thing to be physically lovely, you know. It doesn’t make your brain any less astonishing.”
Sherlock sucked in a desperate breath and said, “When you wake up I’m going to spread you out across my sheets and repay every second of this. I’m going to lick you and suck you and fuck you until you can’t see straight.”
“Jesus, Sherlock, for someone who barely wanks you’re a natural at dirty talk,” John gasped. He stroked Sherlock’s lips and Sherlock licked at his own fingers and they both groaned. “Do you know how often you put your fingers against your mouth? That’s been driving me mad too.”
“Hah, what about you, licking your lips all the time, only doing it with my mouth,” and Sherlock sucked the tips of his fingers into his mouth and caught them very gently between his teeth.
John made an inarticulate sound, pushed the fingers in deeper, letting Sherlock get them properly wet, then reached down and replaced Sherlock’s right hand on his cock with his left. He began stroking with a proper rhythm and Sherlock arched into his hand, right hand stroking restlessly around his hips and stomach.
They could both feel the coiling tendrils of orgasm beginning to build, the doubled sensations layering deep, the pleasure for each of them ratcheting the other higher. Sherlock finally came so hard his knees buckled, his body flooding his bloodstream with a twofold allowance of endorphins and oxytocin. Kneeling on the floor he looked up at his reflection, eyes heavy lidded.
“Jesus,” John slurred. “Best orgasm of my life and it wasn't even mine.”
Sherlock chuckled sleepily. “It was spectacular.” He heaved himself up and staggered to the bathroom for a quick clean up. Once he was done he crawled into bed and curled under the covers. John stroked his left hand over and over his mouth and murmured drowsily, “When I get my body back, I’m going to kiss you and kiss you and kiss you.”
They didn’t wake until nearly lunchtime. They were silent for some time, sprawled across Sherlock’s bed, then John said, “Well, the walk of shame would be impossible even if I wanted to do it.”
Sherlock laughed. “No, no walk of shame. You and me, we… we fit. Even this… You’re in my head which should make us both crazy, but it’s ok.”
John hummed in assent. “I sometimes feel we’re in each other’s heads anyway.”
“I know. We just know each other so well.” Sherlock paused for a moment, then said, almost shy, ” I do miss you. Talking is good, but I like your eyes. And your smile. And I really would like to… to touch you. Your skin against my skin.”
“Oh god yes,” John replied. “We really need to work out how to get me to wake up.”
When they arrived at the hospital that afternoon, Lestrade was sitting by John’s bed, telling his unconscious form about the rugby match at the weekend.
“…to be fair Parisse was magnificent, put us under a huge amount of pressure. Scored off a poor box kick from Care which actually went backwards, shocking; they’ll have to be much better to beat Wales… oh, hi Sherlock.”
“Just thought I’d pop in to say hi to John. I’ve been discharged early. I’ll leave you to it.” He turned towards the bed and patted John’s arm briefly. “Alright Sleeping Beauty, wake up soon, yeah?” and he wandered out.
I’m going to kiss you and kiss you and kiss you.
Sherlock bent and gently pressed his lips to John’s. John’s voice in his head said, “Oh…” sounding slightly strangled, and then the awareness of his presence faded but before he had time to miss it, the lips beneath his moved and John was kissing him back and it was glorious.
When he drew back, John blinked up at him, looking dazed. “Hello.”
“I have no idea why that worked.”
“Makes as much sense as any of it,” John said, grinning, and Sherlock had missed that smile, that cheeky take-on-the-world smile that only he put there. He smiled back. “I like kissing you,” he announced.
“Ohhh, yeah,” John breathed, reaching up and wrapping a hand around the back of his neck, drawing him back down.
When they came up for air again, John started giggling.
Sherlock looked at him quizzically.
“So, I guess this makes you Prince Charming…”