Title: A Relaxing Pastime (1/1)
Fandom: Sherlock (BBC)
Pairing(s)/Character(s): John/Sherlock (pre-slash)
Warning(s): None (fluff)
Summary: Sherlock rather likes getting petted.
Word Count: 1127
Disclaimer: these characters are not mine, nor do I claim them as such.
Author's Notes: Fluff, fluff, fluff, fluff, fluff. Wrote this a little bit to get the hang of writing John and Sherlock, but mostly just because I wanted to write something cute. Edited by me and not Brit-picked.
EDIT: Sorry about the formatting error! It's all fixed now!
It wasn't that Sherlock was particularly affectionate or cuddly. Usually he was quite the opposite. It was more likely that he just forgot John was a person instead a piece of furniture. Not that he considered John a piece of furniture, it was just all too easy to forget about complicated social rules when he had more important things to think about.
Laying out on the sofa was one of Sherlock's favored thinking spots, so favored that he would flop down on it heedless of whether John had already sat down or not. If he did happen to flop down onto John he took it in stride, after all, he had better things to think about. He'd put put his feet or head in John's lap and go on with his thinking. John would usually put up a perfunctory struggle ("Ouch! That hurt, you bean-pole.") and then settle back into whatever he had been doing, only with the added presence of Sherlock.
Most times, he didn't mind. Sherlock was generally very still and quiet when he focused on thinking, and aside from the stray mumbled sentences or odd questions, it was easy to ignore the warm weight in his lap. Or perhaps ignore wasn't the correct word, because he never forgot about Sherlock when he was there, he just never felt uncomfortable about his presence.
So it was a natural movement, borne from being rather fond of tactile affection himself, and also borne from being too comfortable, too at ease, that led John's hand to drop into Sherlock's hair.
It took him embarrassingly long to notice what he had done, not until he briefly raised his hand to his book to flip the page only to drop his hand back down. He almost jumped, almost started at the realization of what he'd done, mortification staining his cheeks pink, but he managed to keep still. Of course, it was well past the point where Sherlock had noticed and he'd made no reaction or caught John's attention to show his disapproval, so John wasn't sure if he should stop. In fact, Sherlock looked content, his eyes closed and his posture relaxed, his hands crossed loosely over his stomach, and as John looked down at him he made a small gesture with his head, nudging against John's hand. Prompting him to start moving his hand again.
John complied, because Sherlock wanted him to, though he had barely realized he was stroking Sherlock's head in the first place. It was a bit confusing, but certainly not the strangest thing Sherlock had asked him to do, and not exactly unpleasant so John stroked his fingers over Sherlock's hair.
He went back to his book and focused less on the petting (really, what else could it be called?), deciding to take it in stride because that was what he did with Sherlock.
Without thinking (and that was setting a precedent for the night) he ran his fingers through Sherlock's hair, straightening out a stubborn curl, and lightly scraped his nails over Sherlock's scalp. The reaction was immediate and shocking in the quiet lull that had come over them. Sherlock went boneless, his head tipping back into John's hand and he let out a blissful sigh. John blinked down at him, surprised, and tried the motion again, pushing his fingers through Sherlock's thick hair and letting the tips of his fingers drag against his scalp. This time Sherlock made a little contented humming noise, which John took as permission to keep doing what he was doing, so he complied.
It was a bit strange, but still not unpleasant, and John went back to reading and dragging his fingers over Sherlock's scalp.
Time passed, and John focused on reading, and after he-wasn't-sure-how-long, John abruptly realized that the breathing he'd been half-listening to had gone deep, even and quiet. He stilled his hand and looked down in surprise, finding Sherlock in much the position he had been when he flopped down, but now his face was relaxed, and John noticed with a slight flush of embarrassment that his hair was a mess.
Sherlock was asleep.
John knew that it happened, had seen it now and again, peeking into Sherlock's room to make sure he was still alive or coming home from work to find Sherlock curled up on the sofa, crashing after too many hours without sleep. John knew that Sherlock had to sleep, but he had never seen it from so close, and it was mesmerizing.
He realized, belatedly, that he had been the cause. He knew Sherlock wasn't particularly overdue for sleep, couldn't have been all that tired, but John had stroked his fingers through his hair and now he was asleep. He couldn't help but feel a little flush of pride at that. He reasoned that he knew Sherlock pretty well, probably better than anyone, and he had never known Sherlock to slow down or rest when it wasn't either strictly necessary for survival or his own doing.
As he watched, Sherlock made a low noise and a line appeared between his eyebrows and he nudged his head up again. It was a sleepy movement, and John had stopped running his fingers through Sherlock's hair. John resumed the movement and Sherlock relaxed again, and however endearing he was, however relaxed and content he looked, John knew that Sherlock wouldn't appreciate falling asleep when he hadn't meant to.
He stroked his fingers over Sherlock's scalp one last time and then moved his grip to his shoulder.
"Sherlock," he said, nudging his shoulder, "Sherlock, wake up." That was all it took and Sherlock woke with a gasp and blinked rapidly. John watched the confusion appear on his face and Sherlock sat up abruptly, running his hands over his face before turning to John. He frowned a little.
"Was I asleep?" he asked, and John nodded. Sherlock's eyes narrowed as he considered this, no doubt realizing all of the things that John had; he had slept in the last twenty-four hours, he was not working on a particularly taxing case and he had not decided to nap. John steeled himself for whatever awkwardness was sure to follow, a repeat of that conversation at Angelo's the day they met, or perhaps Sherlock getting angry because he hadn't wanted to sleep.
But none of it came. Sherlock just looked at him for a moment longer, eyes carefully shuttered and showing nothing, and then got up and left the room. John stared after him, unsure what to think and whether or not to be embarrassed. In the end the decision was made for him when Sherlock called down the hall from the bathroom.
"John! What on Earth did you do to my hair!" Sherlock called, scandalized, and John laughed.