Sherlock always hated having his hair ruffled or having someone play with his curls, having someone run his fingers through the soft strands he’s spent hours taming in front of the mirror.
Even when he was a still child, he always dreaded people’s hands on his head because they never knew how sensitive he was, how badly it hurt when their fingertips grazed over his scalp too firmly, when the pressure was too much to bear with the engine of a brain inside his skull that simply never shut off, rattling and steaming, roaring and raging.
Before he and John are truly a thing, and yet having moved past the stage of ‘we’re just best friends’, his touches are frequent; on his shoulder when Sherlock’s head is buried in the newspaper during breakfast and John walks around the table to get a refill of his coffee, on his wrist during a cab ride in which none of them says anything and they only exchange silent but all-knowing glances as their lips curl upwards, on his ankle when Sherlock’s feet rest in John’s lap when they watch the evening news or a film that Sherlock half-watches, half-predicts. Sherlock is content with how things are progressing, evolving between them, slowly but steadily.
One night, he’s on the verge of falling asleep on the sofa, but still awake enough to feel a blanket being laid over him, wrapped around him, so he doesn’t get cold. A pair of warm lips brushes over his forehead before he hears the receding sound of two feet clad in woollen socks.
It’s a few nights later that Sherlock dares to rest his head instead of his feet in John’s lap. John looks surprised at first, but then he smiles as one of his hands finds its place on Sherlock’s shoulder. They’re watching the latest bond movie that John has on DVD, and Sherlock is unexpectedly quiet. John’s body is warm, and his fingers draw soothing circles on Sherlock’s shoulder blade. As the movie continues, John’s fingers begin their journey. They swirl around a few curls on the back of Sherlock’s neck, and although Sherlock freezes a little and goes rigid involuntarily, in fear it might be too much, but he starts to enjoy it after a while. John notices, of course he does, and quietly asks, “this all right?” He’s the first to ever ask him this question before touching him.
Sherlock wants to nod, but his head feels heavy and comfortable, so he hums “mhm,” instead. It’s only his nape he focuses on, but it’s enough for now. It’s just right.
And so John keeps going, and he grows to love it. He enjoys it so much it becomes a regular occurrence. At least when they’re in private; when nobody sees. During movie nights, or crap-telly nights or quiet nights in front of the fire. He progresses slowly, always starting in the back of his neck, sometimes that’s all he touches, but as time passes, he ventures further, running his hand through the curly, messy mop on Sherlock’s head. And God, the first time he does it, Sherlock’s entire body is covered in goosebumps. He shivers and can’t help but let out a muffled gasp. John’s hand retreats then, pulling back enough as to not overwhelm him, but never completely, never all at once.
One night, they come back home from an exhausting case that has lasted for over a week. And this time, it’s not adrenaline they feel from having solved it, no, there’s none of that, as rare as it may be, but this time, they’re both drained, fatigued, and knackered. Sherlock hasn’t slept in days, and when he did, his brain wouldn’t shut off properly; John’s only taken power-naps, which have lost its power-giving function on day three. Sherlock is so worked up, adrenaline and weariness fighting for the upper hand inside him, he lets his coat and jacket fall over the backrest of his armchair and sits down, groaning in frustration. His fingers dig hard into his curls, pulling, pressing against his scalp, almost tearing, to make it stop, to just make it quiet. But it won’t, the engine simply rattles on, puffing and blowing and–
releasing steam when …
two hands reach for his own, unclench his fists and remove his hands from the raging machine inside him. “Come on,” John whispers almost inaudibly, pulling him to his feet. “Into bed with you.”
“I know,” is all John says as he guides him down the corridor, into Sherlock’s bedroom. The room is dark except for the light shining through the window from the street lamps.
Sherlock stands there, frozen on the spot. He can hear John exhale quietly and see the tired smile on his lips, and then there are fingers on the buttons of his shirt, pushing each one through its hole. John makes quick work of it; there is nothing suggestive about it as it should be, considering he is undressing him for the first time since … well, this started. But they’re both too tired to think too hard about it or to care, and then Sherlock’s shirt is gone, and he steps out of his trousers and leaves his socks on the floor, and is led to his bed. He doesn’t know how he managed to tell John “Stay,” but somehow he does, and John’s smile widens despite the weight that pulls his lids down and makes his eyes seem so small.
“I’ll be right there,” he tells Sherlock whose fingers cling to the sleeve of John’s jumper that now slips through them like sand. Then he disappears in the dark hall. Sherlock hears the door of their cupboard closing and the tap running, then there are steps growing louder, and then John is back, handing him a glass of water. “Drink,” he says quietly, and Sherlock does without hesitation. Before he finishes, John has already stripped down to his vest and pants and is now sliding into bed behind him. It feels exciting and new, making his chest tingle and his heart beat faster. John takes the glass from him once he emptied it and sets it down on the bedside table. Sherlock turns towards him, resting his head on John’s shoulder, feeling how an arm winds around him protectively and pulls him closer. One hand lies on his waist, but the other disappears in his hair and stays there, motionless at first, and when John feels it’s all right to move, he does so slowly and gently and tenderly.
Sherlock already expects the worst, waiting for the explosion to set off, but nothing of the sort happens. Instead, the buzzing quietens down, the rattling slowly comes to a halt. He dares to take a deep breath. The machine stays silent and still. John has found the off-switch.
“‘nk you,” he mumbles wearily against John’s chest.
“No need,” John whispers, and then, “Sleep well, love.”
If Sherlock weren’t so tired, he’d properly process what John has just said, but instead, he succumbs and is dragged into the peaceful darkness his body has been craving for days, ineffably grateful that the touch of the person who matters the most doesn’t feel excruciating and agonising but soothing, comforting and breathtakingly pleasant.
also can we talk about how much i love rose’s introduction scene
1) cries over EXTREMELY RECENT and devastating death of sister 2) messily freaks out over hunk resistance idol 3) shock and disappointment over hunk resistance hero’s image crumbling before her 4) with absolutely no hesitation tasers him into oblivion