John dreams of Sherlock and he doesn’t tell anyone.
Oh, of course, Ella would love that information. And she should know it, sure. Deserves to know it. That’s why he’s paying her, isn’t it? To analyze every little bit of his life for him until it’s okay again. An external conscience. She’d probably get one big psychotherapeutic kick out of his dreams. But they’re too intimate, too revealing, this intersection between brain and heart, so he can’t talk about them. Anytime he opens his mouth to try, he changes the subject.
They aren’t crude or racy, the dreams. They aren’t anything at all, really. He wakes up to find Sherlock sitting in the chair in the corner of his new room. Just sitting. The first time, John had thrown a lamp at him. Sherlock caught it and replaced it neatly on the nightstand, while John dissolved quietly into tears. Sherlock stood there with his hands in the pockets of his stupid coat—and of course he would—before leaning down to kiss John on the cheek. Feather-light. Feels real. John’s so surprised that he stops crying, at which point Sherlock says, “You’re clearly dreaming. Go back to sleep.”
You would say that, wouldn’t you, John thinks, and then his head hits the pillow.
It happens again two weeks later, and then regularly after that. Mostly, they just talk. Sherlock refuses to answer the only question John wants him to—Why? John’s subconscious can’t even answer that one, he supposes. They talk about other things instead. Food. John’s new job. The weather. (Boring.) Sherlock drums his fingers against his knee, looking almost luminescent in the moonlight. Pale. Spending a lot of time indoors? John asks, and Sherlock smiles. Good, John, you’re getting better. Really excellent.
How it always goes. “Great to see you’re still alive, John, go back to sleep.”
Sherlock disappears for a three-month interval once, and John thinks he’s finally shaken off his friend’s restless spirit until Sherlock inexplicably reappears to climb into bed with him one night. John doesn’t question that. (All of that gay talk getting to your head at last, is it, Doctor Watson?) It’s nice to hold, and to be held. Sherlock is paler than ever and whippet-thin. Unfinished business, he explains, keeping him busy. John just nods and wraps his arms around Sherlock’s shoulders.
“You’ll loathe me,” Sherlock says, resting his head against John’s collarbone, tracing a vertical line down his shirt. “I’ve been selfish.”
“And what else is new?” John asks, pulling Sherlock closer. “Just another part of being human, being selfish.” Sherlock’s tracing loops on his torso now, distracted, a little anxious. John kisses the top of his head. “I’m being selfish right now.”
“Yes,” John replies. “I’m trying to find a way to keep you with me past the morning.”
Sherlock smiles. John can feel the smile spread throughout his body, down his spine. “If people knew how to harvest their dreams, John, we’d all be in very big trouble.” He nuzzles against John’s neck, getting himself comfortable. “I’ll stay as long as I can, but I have to leave before sunrise. It’s for your own good. Wouldn’t want anyone thinking you’re crazy for talking to an imaginary friend.”
“They already think that,” John replies. “So shut up.”
Sherlock sighs softly, his breath tickling John’s skin, and soon his breathing evens out into the steady pattern of sleep. When John actually wakes up, he realizes that the sensation is from the breeze wafting in through the open window.
He’d left his window closed the night before.