Sherlock BBC Prompting Meme

"we get all sorts around here."

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Overflow Post II
Giggles at the Palace
This post is for responding to prompts from prompt posts that are full, or continuing WIPs that were started on prompt posts that have since filled up or are close to full.

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“Sherlock? Are you… all right?” John’s voice broke through the crescendo of notes filling the room as Sherlock’s bow whirled across the strings, doing little to calm the frenzy of his mind. He allowed John’s words to be swallowed by the sound, driving up the tempo instead of responding. John was hesitating; Sherlock could feel him wavering on the spot, deciding whether to press the issue or just to let Sherlock’s mood run its course. Evidently he thought it would be best not to interfere, as he zipped up his coat and paused only to say, “right, well, I’m going to meet Mike for a pint. Try not to blow anything up, yeah?” He waited briefly, but Sherlock made no indication that he had heard and a moment later the door clicked shut, leaving Sherlock alone with his thoughts.
The final notes of the piece shuddered into silence, and Sherlock let the bow fall onto an armchair as the city’s constant stream of data took over from the crashing notes. Normally it was this unrelenting storm of noise and light and facts that Sherlock needed to shut out for a while, or at least distract himself from every now and then. But this time it was something different, something new and disconcerting that had his mind running in frantic circles.
Sherlock let out a breath of air and closed his eyes. John. John’s hands, impossibly gentle for a man who could morph into a cold killer at a moment’s notice, delicately cleaning the deep scrape on Sherlock’s arm that morning. John’s rippling muscles, visible for a moment as he reached for the gauze but normally covered by a nondescript jumper; a harmless façade hiding a ruthless strength. John’s face, fascinatingly expressive and always open around Sherlock, sporting a look of genuine concern when Sherlock had strolled into the kitchen with his arm covered in blood—an expression which had quickly become one of exasperation when it became apparent that Sherlock had yet again injured himself by neglecting his own safety. John’s eyes, hazel and ever-changing, always glowing with an inexplicable fondness when Sherlock caught their warm gaze…
Sherlock growled under his breath, trying to quell the heated something that was trying to spread through his chest. It was too big, too much for his mind to handle; it was as though it was straining against a dam, threatening to drown him in an ocean of—of whatever it was. He squeezed his eyes shut and let out a shuddering sigh. No, he knew what it was, what it had to be. Sentiment.
He’d been aware of the vague threat before now, as John had steadily inserted himself into Sherlock’s life, throwing Sherlock off balance every time the doctor stepped closer instead of recoiling. He’d been able to ignore it, most of the time, push it back behind the wall of more pressing matters, and had steadfastly refused to acknowledge it growing more powerful until—well, until he’d found himself utterly transfixed by every facet of John’s being that morning, his eyes drawn inappropriately to the swath of skin visible above his flatmate’s waistband as he stretched, desire sparking unexpectedly at the sight. But it wasn’t just lust; lust was something Sherlock could recognize and dismiss, sating it if necessary on his own. This was accompanied by something else, something unfamiliar and dangerous that had filled his entire being and made him yearn for John, John and nothing else.
Sherlock snapped the violin case shut, frustrated at the way his fickle mind kept dragging up images of John that he had unconsciously filed away, his attention to detail clearly no less reliable when it was directed towards his flatmate. He strode over to the couch, intending to make use of his last four nicotine patches to untangle this thing and defeat it, drive it out of his system, but found himself hesitating as another option crossed his mind.

On the kitchen counter stood a bottle of whiskey, courtesy of Mycroft after a particularly valuable item was returned to the government once Sherlock had found the thief. Sherlock was not a drinker, having skipped that stage in preference of more illegal substances, but he had gotten himself very drunk on one occasion as an experiment and the experience had been—well, not pleasant, but possibly exactly what he needed to beat down whatever it was that had taken hold of him. As he did not have access to cocaine at the moment, it was the best he would be able to do.
An image of John’s face after a visit with Harry flitted across his mind, lips mashed into a tight line and eyebrows pulled together in a distracted frown, traces of guilt hovering in the lines around his eyes, but he pushed it away. This was John’s fault, after all, John’s fault for being so bloody fascinating, for somehow tolerating Sherlock for longer than anyone else had ever managed, for following him so loyally and never ceasing to catch him by surprise. John was captivating, alluring, and—though Sherlock hated to admit it—utterly necessary. The idea of going back to a life before John had become unthinkable. Sherlock ran his fingers through his hair, feeling the dam in his chest starting to creak under the strain, and quickly snagged the bottle and the nearest cup he could find—a teacup. Alcohol would soften the edge, would beat back the encroaching tide of the thing he had fallen prey to, and he had no qualms about drinking himself into oblivion if necessary. Sherlock collapsed onto the sofa, opened the bottle (good quality; Mycroft would hate to see it being put away with so little respect), and poured himself a generous portion.

John opened the door quietly, so as not to wake Mrs. Hudson. Neither he nor Mike had been in the mood to stay at the pub for quite as long as usual, Mike because of a cousin he had to meet off the train the next morning and John because of Sherlock, as usual. Mike had huffed out a laugh when John mentioned his flatmate, smirking at John over the top of his beer. At John’s questioning look, he’d shaken his head with a smile.
“You two have taken to each other well, that’s all.” But the gleam in his eyes had indicated something more behind his words, and John was fairly certain he knew what it was. His protests died in his mouth these days; everyone they met assumed he and Sherlock were shagging regardless of what John said, and John couldn’t honestly say he hadn’t thought about it in the early days, late at night when a pillow clenched in his teeth muffled whatever sounds he couldn’t hold back. Since then, he’d become better at nipping such thoughts in the bud; the attraction had confused him in any case (he really wasn’t gay), and it was now no more than a dull ache that could be easily ignored most of the time. Sherlock had made it plain on that first case that it was one-sided. Their friendship, however, was something John was free to treasure.
He stepped inside and started up the stairs, listening for any telltale sounds of pacing or violin that would give him some clue as to what state of mind Sherlock would be in when he opened the door. The flat was quiet. John hoped that Sherlock had succumbed to his body’s demands and fallen asleep for once; the man pushed himself too far sometimes, though he would never admit it. John occasionally found him hunched over a microscope or a textbook, having finally collapsed after days of running on nothing but adrenaline and nicotine. Seeing Sherlock’s face wiped of the cool veneer he sported in his waking moments never failed to make John smile to himself. He was not nearly as infallible as he liked to pretend.

John eased the door open, stepping warily into the flat. It was dark, and he let out a breath of relief. Sherlock must have gone to bed, then. He shrugged off his jacket and started toward the kitchen to get a cup of tea, but something that sounded almost like a rough sob stopped him in his tracks. He switched on the nearest lamp, throwing the shadows of the living room into sharp relief and illuminating the man sitting hunched on the sofa, clutching a whiskey bottle as though it were the only thing tethering him to reality. John took in the shattered teacup on the floor and a sharp wave of concern swept through him, settling somewhere under his ribs. Sherlock was trembling, the bottle shaking in his hand, and John noted that there was not much left in it.
“Sherlock.” John crossed over to his flatmate, taking care to avoid the shards of glass, and gently tugged the bottle out of his hand. Sherlock did not reply, but tilted his head up slightly, and John noticed with increasing alarm that the man’s face was glistening with tears. He was staring at nothing, his eyes unfocused as the tears trickled down and over his cheekbones, dripping on his navy dressing gown. As John watched, he drew in a shuddering breath and squeezed his eyes shut, pressing trembling fingers to his temples as if trying to exercise physical control over whatever turmoil was occurring within. The image stirred something in John’s memory, of another time when the detective had lost some of his control, having been caught unaware by his own emotional responses. John sighed quietly and sat down beside his flatmate, placing a hand gingerly on his back and beginning to rub in what he hoped were soothing circles. “Okay, Sherlock, you’ve had quite enough for one night. Want to tell me what brought this on?”
Sherlock stiffened for a moment beneath John’s touch, but seemed to lack the strength to resist and slumped back down, apparently resigning himself to John’s comfort. His eyes were still shut tight, and John could feel the tremor running through his body. The sight made his heart clench painfully, and not for the first time he felt an irrational rumble of anger towards whatever it was in Sherlock’s past that had rendered him so fearful of his own emotions. Sherlock shifted on the sofa, drawing in another ragged breath that hitched on a sob. John hesitated, and then tugged on the other man’s shoulders in a wordless invitation. Sherlock yielded easily to his touch and sank against John, shuddering against his shoulder. When he finally spoke, the baritone was broken-sounding and slurred, a far cry from the confidence with which he usually vocalized his thoughts.

“Can’t make it go, John. S’you… S’all you, and I can’t… It’s not enough,” he croaked, waving a hand to indicate the whiskey bottle. “Not enough to get it… get it out. Can’t keep fighting it, John, and then—” He cut himself off with another great shuddering breath, and spoke the last words in a voice barely above a whisper. “Then you’ll leave and everything, everything will…” He trailed off, burying his face in John’s jumper as though he thought he would sink into it if he clung close enough.
John stroked his hand gently over the trembling bundle in his arms, frowning down at the cloud of dark curls tickling his neck. “I’m not going anywhere, Sherlock. You of all people should have noticed by now that I—that this isn’t something I would give up willingly, toes in the freezer and all. God help me.” He lifted a hand up over the collar of the dressing gown, absentmindedly running his fingers through the endless inky curls. “And whatever it is that you’re trying to purge yourself of,” he added, “drowning yourself in whiskey is not the solution. You have to admit you’re human sometimes, Sherlock. If this is what it looks like, you thinking you can dismiss any emotion with the aid of drugs and careful repression, you’ve got to stop it. All right? Just stop, for once. The world won’t end, I promise.”
Sherlock’s fingers tightened where they were gripping on to John’s jumper, as though fearful he would just stand up and walk away. He lifted his head, eyebrows furrowed as though the simple motion took a monumental effort; unsurprising, given his current state of inebriation. John’s hand dropped down to his shoulder as the grey eyes studied him, rather less focused than usual. From what Lestrade had told him, John had gathered that Sherlock was very good at acting as though nothing were amiss when he was high, but apparently he had less control over himself under the influence of alcohol. John was no stranger to the various ways in which alcohol affected people, but it was still unsettling to see Sherlock like this, utterly stripped of the cool, confident demeanor he normally possessed. Sherlock himself would undoubtedly be disgusted if he remembered anything the next morning. John felt his stomach twinge as he wondered what could possibly have driven the man to let himself go like this.

Sherlock shook his head slightly, his frown deepening, and his eyelids fluttered closed for a moment. “Everyone leaves, John. It’s all… transit…transitory. Caring is not an advantage.” He shook his head, as though trying to jostle the slurred syllables into place. John could feel his own frown deepening as waves of sadness and affection and a hint of exasperation rolled through him. All he wanted to do was envelop his wreck of a flatmate in his arms again and hold him until he stopped trembling, until whatever was eating him on the inside and making him look so lost was banished. He settled for taking Sherlock’s pale hand and stroking a soft pattern on the back with his thumb. Sherlock’s eyes opened a fraction, flicking down to his hand before refocusing on John’s face. “You,” Sherlock whispered, the fear in his pale eyes heartbreakingly obvious. “You’re in my head, your hands, your eyes, your bloody jumpers are in my head, and—” His deep voice broke, catching on a sob. “And here,” he continued after a moment, gesturing weakly at his chest. “Like it’s going to overflow. Dam breaking, I can’t hold it. Dangerous.” He frowned at John, tears once again trickling over his lashes. “I can’t.”
John had had enough of this. Shaking his head, he reached out and pulled Sherlock back into his arms, toppling against the arm of the sofa as the man’s unresisting weight gave in to him. “Sherlock,” he said firmly, brushing the wild curls out of his friend’s face, “I am not going to leave you, not unless you kick me out. And caring is actually okay. I would know, I care quite a lot about you, you know. I promise that the benefits far outweigh any disadvantages. And,” he hesitated, wondering whether this next step would be too far, but he wanted to be sure Sherlock knew what his options were. “And whatever you want, Sherlock, I want it too.” He brushed away a tear that was quivering on Sherlock’s cheek. Sherlock sighed into the touch, reaching up to snag John’s fingers.
“I want you,” he said quietly. He brought John’s hand to his lips, the confession hovering in the air as Sherlock pressed a trembling kiss to the tips of his fingers. He let out a long breath, and a moment later John realized he had fallen asleep, his head nestled against John’s chest and his fingers still entwined with John’s. John let out a sigh of his own, trying not to think about what the consequences of this night would be and desperately trying not to let the flicker of hope that had stirred at Sherlock’s words grow into a flame. Drunken confessions were nothing to base any hopes on, he told himself firmly. Who knew what had been going through the man’s mind? No, John would have to just make it clear that he had no intention of leaving Sherlock and try to appease whatever was tormenting his flatmate. Now, the detective’s face was finally peaceful, the fear and confusion wiped away in drunken slumber. John felt his own eyes getting heavy, and he let them drift closed, surrendering to the darkness with his arm still wrapped around Sherlock’s shoulders.

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