Sherlock and John had been busy with a case that had been revealed to be very interesting (from Sherlock’s point of view) but also very tiring (from John’s point of view), meaning both men had slept very little in the last four days. Finally that afternoon they were able to catch the criminal and Lestrade had arrested him.
Once they got back home, after the usual cup of tea John insisted on having, both men were utterly spent and decided to go to sleep.
Sherlock fell asleep the second he buried himself under two heavy comforters, his room being the colder in the flat in his opinion. He woke up from a nightmare a couple of hours later with a gasp, panting like he had just run a marathon; his subconscious played bad tricks on him sometimes, making him relive in his sleep his worst fears when he had no control over his emotions. It was 1.52 a.m..
He couldn’t remember what he was dreaming but he could still feel the panic and the sense of impotence that made his chest tight and constricted; it was a really bad sensation. He knew from experience that if he didn’t get up and move around a little, the nightmare would come back to haunt him as soon as he fell asleep again. And he was thirsty, maybe because of the two slices of pizza John and Lestrade had forced him to eat the previous afternoon, after they had arrested the criminal.
So he got up, not caring to put on his beloved dressing gown, and shuffled to the kitchen to pour himself a glass of water, which he drank greedily. He returned to his room feeling a little better and absolutely determined to sleep for the rest of the night.
He slept for a short while but soon he felt too hot and fought the blankets that were suffocating him, until he was laying in his pyjamas sprawled on top of the sheets with his arms bent above his head.
Some minutes later he heard John’s footsteps in the corridor; the doctor paused in front of the detective’s door, which Sherlock had left ajar, and smiled contentedly at the sight of his younger friend sleeping peacefully.
Sherlock heard John going to the bathroom and returning to his room. He must have fallen asleep again after that but woke up again a few hours later; he checked the hour on his alarm clock: 4.52 a.m..
The sense of panic hadn’t left him and he was developing a headache. How boring. He knew he should probably get up and ask John for something to ease the pain, but he was tired and probably if he was able to sleep some more hours the headache would go away spontaneously.
The flat was silent and Sherlock felt uncomfortable in the darkness; he wished it was already morning. He shifted onto his right side and closed his eyes again, willing sleep to claim him once again.
He awoke again a couple of times, feeling exhausted, and went back to sleep not feeling any relief from his headache or from nightmares.
Finally John got up at 8.05. Sherlock was finally able to relax; he listened to all the little sounds the doctor made (the shuffle of his bare feet on the wooden floor, the soft complaints he made about the mess he found in the kitchen, the sizzle of eggs in the frying pan, the sound of paper as he turn the pages of the newspaper) that worked like a lullaby as he was able to finally rest peacefully.
Around 10 o’clock Sherlock got up from his bed, an entangled mass of sheet and comforters, and joined the doctor in the living room.
“Hi, Sherlock,” the doctor greeted him.
The detective mumbled something in his general direction and sat on the sofa.
“Are you alright? You are a little pale. Did you sleep well?” the doctor asked casually.
“I have a headache. And I did sleep very little,” Sherlock replied.
John arched an eyebrow at him.
“Since when? The headache?” he asked.
“Since last night. I thought it would pass if I slept.”
“It would have been better if we slept together. I never get nightmares when we sleep together,” he admitted shyly.
John smiled softly at him and went to sit beside the taller man.
“I checked on you and you seemed fine to me”.
“I can’t remember any of it. I just had this big bad feeling every time I woke up. I hate it,” the detective admitted, making himself more comfortable on the sofa with his head in the doctor’s lap.
“Want me to give you a massage?” John asked.
Sherlock sighed out loud.
“That would be very much appreciated,” he murmured, snuggling closer to his doctor’s chest. “You smell nice, mmm, you’re warm.”
John eyed him suspiciously. Sherlock was behaving like a big cat, he was almost purring at him. The doctor felt himself blushing.
“You know Mycroft is probably watching us now?” the older man inquired.
“He is always watching. Besides, my headache is growing bigger. A massage would surely help me right now.”
John smiled fondly at the man in his lap. He felt incredibly lucky to be the one to share domesticity with the great genius and to be allowed to see him like this.
Sherlock Homes was generally considered to be a man who was all brain without a heart, but John knew how big Sherlock’s heart was.
“I’d be delighted to help you,” he stated quietly and gently began to massage the soft silk curls, almost losing himself in the sensation, until he realized the detective had fallen asleep.