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Ariane DeVere
Sherlock fic: Dreamer's Awakening 
6th-Aug-2012 07:22 pm
Bernard Black shower
Title: Dreamer’s Awakening
Author: Ariane DeVere
Word count: 5,548
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: Because I’ll only get shouted at by certain people (directs a long hard stare at chocolamousse) if I don’t apply the rule: My fandom warns for het.
Beta: verityburns, she of the “That bit you were most worried about is the best bit of the whole damned story” message, followed by massive re-arranging of most of the rest of the fic. I promise, Verity, that one day I will learn to put my stories in the right order!
Disclaimer: Sherlock belongs to way more powerful and wealthy people than me.

Birthday girl: anarion! Admittedly I didn’t write this for her; and I wish I could have got inspired to write you something else, sweetie, but I dedicate this to you anyway. Happy birthday for Tuesday, honey. x


Summary: Someone in 221B Baker Street may be having inappropriate dreams about his flatmate. Are they a reflection of his real desires or just his mind letting off steam, and is a romantic relationship truly unlikely between the two of them?

This is a direct sequel to Dreamer and will make no sense if you haven’t read that story first. I don’t write sequels. But so many people who commented on Dreamer asked for a sequel that just this once, I decided to write one. This’ll teach ’em …





Dreamer’s Awakening

You’ve been concentrating so much on your work that you’re startled when he walks into the living room and goes to the mirror at the fireplace to check his reflection. You hadn’t realised that it was already time for him to go out, and now your eyes skim down his body and note how well his uniform fits and how good it looks on him. A jolt of regret runs through you that you can’t go with him tonight, and you find yourself swallowing hard before you can trust yourself to speak.

“You’re off to that regimental dinner, then?”

“Yes.” He adjusts his collar.

You clear your throat. “The uniform suits you.”

He looks round as if he suspects that you’re being sarcastic, but then smiles briefly before facing the mirror and checking his reflection once more. You fight the irritating lump in your throat and force yourself to look away and concentrate on the work.

“Don’t get into trouble,” you tell him.

He chuckles. “I’ll do my best,” he says as he turns towards you. He seems to be waiting for you to say something more but you keep your head down and after a moment he turns and leaves. As he heads down the stairs, you force yourself not to go to the window to watch him. The door of the car which is collecting him slams shut and you lower your head and breathe out loudly. This is turning into a bloody nightmare.


~~~~~~~~~~~~

It had been a fairly straightforward decision in the end: their friendship was far too important and, regardless of what Sherlock might occasionally dream about, John wasn’t willing to risk everything on the faint hope of a more personal relationship. After standing at Sherlock’s bedroom door for a minute while his desires wrestled with his fears, he had carefully released the door handle and quietly gone back to bed.

He hadn’t slept well for several days, his subconscious keeping him awake as he pretended he wasn’t listening for any sound coming from Sherlock’s bedroom. Sherlock, however, rarely slept for the next week and even when he did, had reverted to dozing on the sofa rather than retiring to his bedroom. Finally John realised that he was being ridiculous and should stop hoping that there would be any repetition of that night. Sherlock may have had one instance of dreaming about him, and maybe had even dreamed about him sexually, but he couldn’t be held responsible for his mind losing control for one night. John was only fooling himself if he continued to hope that Sherlock might feel the same way when he was awake.

There was no point in wanting someone who was so completely unattainable. It was time to move on.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

It’s almost one o’clock in the morning when he returns home. As the front door closes you find yourself hoping that he won’t go straight to bed; you’d like to see him again while he’s looking so desirable in that uniform. When he doesn’t appear in the living room after a couple of minutes, you open the door and go out onto the landing to investigate but then your feet falter and you stop, rigid with shock. He has stopped on the half-landing a few steps below you ... and he’s not alone. You can’t see her face because her back is pressed up against the right-hand wall and his head is half-obscuring hers as he sucks ferociously on her neck. Her fingers are buried in his hair as she pants heavily and writhes under the ministrations of his hand which has disappeared up under her black skirt.

You stare at them, appalled both at the sight and at the jealous pain stabbing through you. Nobody, you think, should be subjected to a nightmare like this, and you pray that you can wake up soon.

‘Turn away,’ you instruct yourself inside your head. ‘Leave them to it; go to your room and let them get on with it. It’s none of your business and you were stupid to ever hope that he might want you.’

But before you can bully your feet into movement he raises his head, releasing the skin of her neck and murmuring, “Evening,” over his shoulder towards you.

The woman gasps and her fingers tighten in his hair as she realises that they’re no longer alone. You try to keep your voice steady as you tell him, “Don’t mind me. Glad you got home safely. I’m off to bed. Good night.”

“Good night,” he replies, and the woman politely mumbles something. You’ve done nothing more than shift your weight to one foot when he says your name. You stop again and make a non-committal sound to indicate that you’re listening.

“You may want to wear your noise-cancelling headphones tonight,” he remarks. Then he turns his head and directs his next sentence towards his partner, his voice low and resonant with desire. “I intend to make this woman scream.”

She whines softly as he resumes his assault on her neck. You swallow and manage to say, “Too much information, really, but thanks for the warning,” before making your escape and going to your bedroom. Closing the door and flinging yourself onto your bed, you curl around the intense pain you’re feeling. As a high-pitched giggle filters through the walls, you pick up the headphones – the headphones he bought you for Christmas to help block the sound of his late night violin playing – and put them on before rolling onto your side and fiercely resisting the urge to weep.


~~~~~~~~~~~~

John woke several hours later. Faint light was filtering through the curtains, so dawn couldn’t be far off. His headphones had come off during the night and were lying on the pillow beside him. He lay quietly for a while, staring across the room and wondering whether he had any place in this flat any more or whether it would be better for his heart if he just moved out. Seeing Sherlock on the stairs like that had been such a shock – he had always assumed that even though he couldn’t have him, at least he would be spared the ordeal of him ever being with anyone else, but the sight of him and that woman had been horrifying and had hurt far more than he would have expected.

Sighing, he rolled over onto his other side, then let out a startled yelp as he realised that Sherlock was sitting on the floor a few feet from his bed. Barefoot and cross-legged, he was still wearing his uniform although the jacket was undone, the tie was now loose around his neck and the top three buttons of his shirt were unfastened. His fingers were steepled in front of his mouth and he was gazing absently at the side of the bed. He barely reacted to John’s cry, his eyes flickering into focus but otherwise not moving. John slowly swung his legs over the side of the bed and sat up, looking down at his flatmate in puzzlement.

“You okay?” he asked carefully.

Sherlock gave a tiny nod but still didn’t look up.

“Where’s your friend?” John asked, trying to keep his voice level.

Sherlock moved his fingers a little way away from his mouth. “Gone,” he said.

“Right,” John said. He waited, but wasn’t entirely surprised when Sherlock offered no further information. “So ...” he tried after several seconds of silence. “D’you want to talk about it?” He grimaced at his choice of words and hurried to clarify that he was referring to the case itself. “I mean, are you allowed to tell me where you were last night before ... um .... before you came back here? Why were you wearing that uniform in the first place?”

He paused, then couldn’t help adding, “You look good in it, by the way.”

Sherlock looked a little surprised but still didn’t meet his eyes. “I didn’t think you’d really noticed,” he murmured. “You went straight back to working on your blog after you said it suited me.”

John cleared his throat uncomfortably. “Yeah, well, I was writing up the Wharton case and I was on a roll when you came in. I didn’t want to lose my train of thought.” He omitted to mention that it had been too painful for him to watch Sherlock any longer while he was looking that gorgeous. He changed the subject quickly. “So, this case: you didn’t tell me much about it; just said it was Mycroft’s fault and that it was all highly confidential, but can you tell me anything more?”

Sherlock sighed and lowered his hands to rest them on his knees. “Mycroft owes me enough favours to last me the next three years,” he said morosely.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

It had been a catastrophe from start to finish. Mycroft had insisted to Sherlock that he must take the case, stressing the vital need to discover which of several high-ranking officers in the British Army was leaking confidential information. The regimental dinner had seemed an appropriate place to observe the officers: whilst it was unlikely that the culprit would get so drunk that he would overtly give himself away, Sherlock’s observational skills may be able to detect his guilt. However, although Mycroft had arranged the seating so that all the suspects were sitting together, even he couldn’t get Sherlock into the venue on an official invitation and he had found it highly amusing to compel his brother to masquerade as one of the waiters so that he could get near enough to the men to listen in on their conversations.

But the plans had gone wrong because none of the catering staff had sufficient security clearance to be allowed in on the scheme. The head waiter had reorganised the rota at the last moment and one of the waitresses had been allocated to Sherlock’s targets. There was no way he could try to switch with her without arousing suspicion but as he had ‘chatted’ with her in the kitchens it had become clear that it wouldn’t be too difficult to pry information from her in the right circumstances – although he had soon realised that it would take more than a casual conversation to get her to reveal what her group of diners had been discussing.

The waitress had made it very obvious that she was attracted to Sherlock, and because he genuinely did understand the need to block the information leak quickly, he had decided to flirt with her and offer to take her home after the dinner, then he might be able to get her talking, extract the information he needed and then make his excuses and leave. But she had told him she lived with her parents and couldn’t bring a man back with her, so had suggested that they go to Sherlock’s home instead. With no other option available to him, he had reluctantly agreed.

She had been all over him in the taxi and Sherlock had had no choice but to play along. Reluctant as he was to take her to his own home, if they had gone to a hotel she would have expected nothing more than sex and would have been suspicious if he wanted to talk first. He therefore intended to distract her in the kitchen, insisting on making them a drink – they could talk, he could get what he needed and then find an excuse to make her leave. But once they reached the kitchen she had asked where his room was and when he idly gestured towards it, she wouldn’t let him stop, kept trying to drag him towards the bedroom and Sherlock had begun to realise that the only time he would be able to get her to talk would be ... afterwards.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sherlock shuddered. “I couldn’t do it,” he said, then grimaced and wrapped his arms around his knees. “If I could have devised any other way to make her talk I would have done it. But I couldn’t think. She was pulling me towards the bedroom and she was so insistent, and I couldn’t get her off me.”

He looked frighteningly young and bewildered as he curled around himself and began to rock back and forth, and John wanted to sink to the floor and pull him into his arms. Forcing himself to stay where he was, he asked gently, “What happened?”

Sherlock rolled his shoulders uncomfortably. “In the end I simply told her to leave. She seemed to think I was teasing her at first and I had to insist several times before she realised I meant it.” He directed a bitter smirk towards John. “She said quite a lot of uncomplimentary things about me before she left. Once she’d gone I texted Mycroft and informed him he would have to find some other way of learning who the leak is coming from. He also said some uncomplimentary things.”

“Remind me to punch him next time I see him,” John said levelly. “Surely he didn’t expect that you of all people would be prepared to take one for the team?”

Sherlock – who still hadn’t looked John in the face – tilted his head slightly and John realised he didn’t understand the phrase. He tried to explain it better.

“Mycroft wouldn’t really have expected you to sleep with ... whatever her name is ... just to get her talking. I don’t care how important this information is – you’re not bloody Mata Hari.”

Sherlock’s rocking had begun to slow and now he let out a brief amused snort, although he still looked distressed. “Sex has never interested me, but I always assumed it would be fairly straightforward to engage in if necessary,” he explained. “It’s just a physical process – people do it every day and it’s no more complicated than tying shoelaces – just messier. While we were still at the dinner I really believed that I could engage in foreplay and seduce her into telling me what I needed to know.”

He drew in a shaky breath, and even with his gaze still averted John could see the panic beginning to rise in his expression.

“She kept grabbing at me, clawing at me. It should have been easier – it was all physical, there was no emotion behind it. She just wanted sex, and it should have been easy. I thought I could ... I wanted to find out ... I wanted to know ... I needed ... If you ... It wasn’t ...”

John watched anxiously as Sherlock appeared to be rapidly heading for a crisis, his rocking increasing again as his head jerked repeatedly from side to side in denial. Alarmed at his friend’s distress, he started to reach out but Sherlock flinched back and gasped out a panicky “No!” Instantly John withdrew his hand. Sherlock shook his head and mumbled an apology as he leaned forward again and drew in a long breath through his nose.

“She unsettled me,” he explained more quietly. “All that physical contact. I thought I could handle it ... I thought I could pretend to respond to her, but it felt so wrong. She wasn’t ... she wasn’t ...”

“It’s all right,” John said soothingly before Sherlock got more distressed again. “I do understand. I know you don’t want anyone.”

“I want you!” Sherlock burst out.

John stared at him.

“I don’t know what you’ve done to me,” Sherlock said in an anguished voice. “I’ve never been attracted to anyone before but you’ve got inside my head somehow and I can’t get you out. I was trying to respond to her and all I could think was that it should be you. She felt so wrong and I couldn’t stop myself thinking that it would be different if I was with you, and I tried imagining that she was you but that felt even more wrong. I just wanted her to disappear and for you to be there instead.”

Raising shaking hands, he ran them into his hair and shook his head frantically.

“I have dreamed of you,” he admitted, his voice unsteady. “I have dreamed of us ...” He swallowed hard, unaware of John digging his fingers savagely into his legs; unaware that John was remembering the night that Sherlock’s dreaming had woken him and thinking of all the pain he had gone through since then.

Sherlock pulled his hands out of his hair, looked at his trembling fingers and flexed them a couple of times, but he didn’t seem to be able to control the shaking. He lowered his head.

“I can’t help it,” he said in a low voice. “I want you, John.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~

The dreams had started a few months ago and had been shocking in their intensity, leaving Sherlock feeling utterly bewildered. Before now he had rarely remembered his dreams after he awoke; wouldn’t even be sure that he dreamed at all except for research which indicated that even a brain as busy and brilliant as his own produced fantasies on a nightly basis – the mind’s way of unwinding from the stresses of the day and, for a few hours, allowing the subconscious free reign ...

John cradles your face in his hands, the contact making you shudder with pleasure. He gently tugs you closer and closer until your lips touch for the first time and oh, you could never have imagined that physical contact with another person could feel this right but it’s as if you’ve been waiting for this all your life, his lips stroking tenderly against your own, the soft touch making you shiver as the sensations travel way beyond your mouth and bring your body alive in a way you wouldn’t have believed possible.

The first touch of his tongue against your top lip makes you shudder and gasp and as his tongue immediately withdraws again you instinctively lean forward to encourage him to give you more, more but he draws back and gazes into your eyes with wonder, stroking his thumb across your cheekbone, then he gives you a smile, the most beautiful smile you’ve ever seen directed towards you and he slowly leans forward again and your eyes close in anticipation even before his lips meet yours and you open your mouth and give yourself to him and he moans softly as he tilts his head and seals his lips around yours and he’s kissing you, he’s really kissing you and it is sensational ...


When the dreams became more frequent and Sherlock began to realise that in his waking hours he was looking at John with puzzlement, wondering why he was having these fantasies, he had been shocked to realise that although he had never wanted an emotional relationship with anyone before, now he wasn’t so sure.

He knew just about everything there was to know about sex and love. Of course he did – it was essential to his work because so many murders, attempted killings, violent attacks and abductions were as a result of affairs, or unrequited love, or being betrayed by the one you loved ... But despite making it a point to keep up to date with information about the sexual proclivities of humanity, none of his research elicited the slightest tweak of interest from his own libido. This was no surprise to him – he had never had much interest even when he was younger. He’d had a few half-hearted and short-lived relationships at university, none of which had got as far as going to bed with his partner, apart from that one night with Victor, but otherwise he had never found anyone – man or woman – physically or intellectually attractive enough for him to want any kind of relationship. Until John ...

‘John,’ you breathe as he slowly slides his mouth downwards towards your neck, repeatedly kissing and licking your skin as he goes, and it’s as if your entire body has been electrified and every time his lips or his tongue touch you a tiny spark shoots across your skin and it’s almost painful but you never ever want him to stop; and his lips reach the side of your neck and he opens his mouth and gently, oh so gently, begins to suck and oh dear god surely it isn’t possible to feel this good when he has barely touched you but already you’re writhing against him and wanting more contact and if his hands should begin to move down your heart may fail from sheer overload of sensation but nevertheless you want it, you want more, and as if he hears your thoughts his hands begin to slide from your shoulders and down your arms and you’re already whimpering in anticipation ...

John, with whom he had felt totally comfortable almost as soon as they had met and who he trusted with his life; John, with whom he could lock eyes for long seconds and almost – almost – have an entire silent conversation without any awkwardness between them ... until just recently when these ridiculous dreams had arrived out of nowhere; John, who he now looked at in a different light as he began to realise that it wasn’t only during his dreams that he felt more than simple friendship towards him ...

‘You are so beautiful,’ John whispers as he slowly unbuttons your shirt and strokes his fingertips down your chest, and you shudder as he bends his head and gently runs his tongue across your nipple and then fastens his lips over it, sucking softly at first and you gasp and grab at the back of his head and pull his mouth tighter onto you and his hands stroke down your sides as he sucks more intensely before pulling back a little, and you whine in protest but he’s already kissing his way across your chest and oh god he’s moving towards the other nipple, yes, yes, please, oh please, and you don't even know if you're begging aloud or if it’s all in your head but he understands and he gives you more, and more, until it's almost too much – except that it can never be too much, not ever, and you need to touch him, need to feel him, need to know that he wants you as urgently, as desperately, as you want him, and as he teaches your body how to crave, you reach out ...

Sherlock had begun to research the problem. Of course he had, he was a practical man and after so many years of having no interest in relationships or sex, he needed to understand why he was suddenly having dreams which he remembered, why they were only and always about someone he had simply considered to be a friend until now, and why every dream was so erotic. He read articles on dreaming – many of which contradicted each other and were no help at all; and had gone on to look for documentation, treatises and websites which discussed sexual fantasy and emotion. Avoiding the plethora of pornography had been a major problem but Sherlock was determined to find what he needed to know, and after some weeks his brain was positively rattling with information and he was struggling to compartmentalise everything.

Big mistake. With more knowledge of fantasies, of sex and of love-making, the dreams became even more detailed and explicit and Sherlock would find himself remembering the dreams long after he awoke and finding the memories distracting as he tried to work ...

... and he is hard and weeping under your hand and he has three fingers buried deep in you and you gasp, ‘Now, please, now,’ and his pupils widen even more as he gazes down at you and murmurs, ‘Oh, the things I am going to do to you, Sherlock,’ and you whimper with anticipation and need and his eyes lock onto yours as he slowly and carefully pushes inside you and oh it’s so good, so good, how can anything feel so good, and as he begins to move it’s almost too much to bear and you writhe under him and he leans forward, kissing you and groaning into your mouth, ‘Oh Christ, Sherlock, yes’ ...

No matter how he tried to push them away, the dreams would creep into his mind as he attempted to concentrate and there were times when he would look up and realise that he had been sitting there lost in the memories and had no idea of how much time had passed – and he would find himself watching John, staring at his mouth, looking at those hands, and wondering ...

... ’Stay with me, love,’ he whispers as you begin to lose control and sob at the intensity and he drives into you again as you struggle to focus because you want to remember every moment and every sensation and you tighten your legs around him and pull him deeper, deeper and he gasps and then groans your name as he starts to come and you cry out as your own orgasm begins and it is perfect and overwhelming and beautiful and he is beautiful and you never want this to end and you realise that if he should ever leave you, the grief may kill you.

When the waitress – whose name he had already deleted – climbed into his lap in the back of the cab and began to kiss him he had used his recent dream experiences to respond to her, thinking that maybe his libido had simply kicked in later than in most people and that he could use this as a learning experience to discover whether sex wasn’t so bad after all. Very quickly he had realised his mistake. Kissing this woman felt wrong. It was nothing like it had felt in his dreams – there was no thrill, no anticipation, no pleasure, no desire. Her tongue in his mouth felt like an invasion instead of something to be welcomed; her breathy moans sounded crude and smutty; her hands stroking across his body felt like an attack. Only his mind’s stubborn insistence on successfully completing The Work had prevented him from throwing her off his lap and leaping out of the cab, and he had forced himself to persevere while all the time his newly-awoken emotions were screaming at him to get away from her.

When they had reached the flat he had frantically hoped that John had either gone to bed or – even better – had gone out, but when he heard him coming out of the living room he felt a wave of shame that he should see him with this dreadful woman and believe that he was finding the experience pleasurable. But still he had continued with the pretence, an image in his head of Mycroft’s look of disapproval if he failed in his task simply because of his inability to role-play something as straightforward and meaningless as sex.

When he had finally got rid of her – and had suffered the hail of abuse and insults both from her and from his brother – he went to his bedroom, took off his shoes and socks and then lay on top of the bed, trying to force away the after-images of her aroused face and her moans of pleasure. The memory made him feel nauseous and he struggled to delete the experience, but his brain didn’t seem to be obeying him and he had lain on the bed for over an hour, thrashing from side to side, cringing at the repeated mental replays of the evening and starting to wonder if he would ever feel completely clean again.

Eventually he got off the bed with the intention of taking a long shower, but almost without thinking he walked upstairs and stood outside John’s room for a while before tentatively knocking on the door. It took him several seconds – a sure sign that his brain wasn’t functioning correctly – to remember he had suggested that John wear his headphones, so even if he was still awake he probably wouldn’t have heard the knock. Feeling surprisingly nervous, Sherlock opened the door and looked in. John was curled up on his side with his back to the door and the headphones were lying on the pillow beside his head but when Sherlock quietly said his name he didn’t respond. Sherlock half-turned, intending to leave, but found himself walking across the room, leaning carefully over John to ensure that he was asleep, and then sitting down on the floor near the bed. He didn’t understand why he was doing this but it felt right, and just at this moment it seemed to be the only place where he felt safe.

He sat there for over three hours, watching John as he slept. At last the distressing images in his mind were gone and he felt more capable of considering the evening’s events calmly. It was now clear that believing he would ever be capable of engaging in a sexual or emotional relationship had been a mistake. It was obvious that his lack of interest in sex hadn’t changed, and the thought of repeating the attempt, even with someone less demanding and revolting than the waitress, made him feel ill.

And yet ... here he was, sitting on the floor of his best friend’s bedroom and watching him sleep.

Tentatively he allowed himself to remember his repeated dreams about John. He was afraid that the memories of the waitress would sully them, that his experience with her would make the dreams feel distasteful and uncomfortable. But as he began to relive the mental images of John holding him, kissing him, touching him, stroking him, filling him, they were actually wiping out the memories of the wrongness of his real experience. His dreams still felt right. And more than anything, the overriding feeling was one of trust. He trusted John, knew that John would always be his friend, would treat him with kindness and would never hurt him. John was the one true fixed point in his life, and he didn’t want to lose him.

At last it was becoming clear to him. He didn’t want to have a relationship. He wanted to have a relationship with John. After all these years of being content with the knowledge that he was neither capable of nor wanted to have normal human emotions, he wanted John, cared about him, needed him, did not want to live without him. And that new knowledge was utterly terrifying.

Because he was completely obsessed with a man who couldn’t possibly feel the same way about him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

As Sherlock buried his head in his hands, John finally released the breath which he’d known damned well he was holding – the pain in his lungs had been the first clue. Despite the fact that he knew for certain he was awake, he still savagely pinched his arm and exulted in the pain. This ridiculous, insane, beautiful man wanted him … and it wasn’t a dream.

He stood up, took a couple of steps forward and slowly folded onto his knees. Reaching out, he took hold of Sherlock’s hands and gently pulled them away from his face. “Look at me,” he told him softly.

Sherlock shook his head, stubbornly keeping his eyes screwed closed. “I can’t,” he said in a low voice.

Look at me,” John insisted, but still Sherlock shook his head.

John glanced down and registered that his hands were steady, which was more than could be said for his heart which was racing out of control as he raised his head again and looked at the man who was about to make all his dreams come true.

“Come here, you daft twit,” he told him, and pulled him closer.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

The sensations are so real and all you can concentrate on is the feeling of those warm hands sliding gently up your sides; and that mouth ... oh, that mouth ... the mouth you can never take your eyes off, that beautiful mouth which you have fantasised about for so long ... that mouth is so close to your own that you can feel his warm breath on your cheek and his lips are almost brushing against your skin, and then his voice, his voice, that voice is murmuring softly that he wants you, that he wants you, and as his breath moves closer to your own mouth you strain up towards him and finally, finally his lips touch yours and you have waited so long for this that you cannot help but groan ...

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sherlock pulled back, breathing heavily. He shivered, afraid to open his eyes. After all the dreams, all the wanting, had John really just kissed him, really told him that he desired him, or was it just wishful thinking? Was he simply fantasising all over again?

A soft breath huffed on his cheek and he jolted, then forced his eyes open.

“Hullo,” John said, smiling at him fondly as he knelt in front of him and lifted a hand, gently running his fingers through his hair.

Sherlock blinked. “Not a dream?” he asked, his voice full of uncertainty.

John stroked his hand down the side of Sherlock’s face. “Oh, definitely not a dream,” he said, and kissed him again.


**********************
**********************

Author’s Note: Sunday was a nice day. Not only did MX Publishing finally announce that I had definitely won the poll to choose the favourite story in Sherlock’s Home – The Empty House (more details here) but I was already close to finishing up this story which has been struggling to get itself written for over a week. After a pause for some dancing around the room and crying, I settled down and finished it and then tentatively sent it to my beta, half-convinced that she was going to come back and say, “Uh, Ari, you know I love you but really, you should stop trying to write porn, honey,” but she seemed to like it (she’s easily pleased, bless her, but then she doesn’t get out much …) (and other people may disagree with her …). However, I had unwittingly and unintentionally made a total mess of the ordering of the story (which is the second time I’ve done that recently!) and it took us over 24 hours to thrash it into sense between us. Lord knows what you would have made of it had it gone out in its original form. God bless Verity. And I’m not bitter that she wrote the hottest sentence in the whole damned fic. No, not bitter at all. * grumbles *

But all things considered, it would have been a rather lovely time if it wasn’t for the Midnight Scrabbler. There’s a … thing outside my living room window which – since Friday night – has started scratching at the window from around midnight until the early hours. It sounds like something with claws which is trying to carve its way through the concrete at the side of the window, but surely no mouse, rat or squirrel would continue scrabbling while I’m throwing things at the window or noisily banging on the window frame. Not to mention that I live two storeys above ground and, while I know that squirrels can climb vertical walls (indeed, I had one living in the attic for a while a few years ago), they’re not usually awake at bloody midnight. The window is too small and high up for me to be able to look out of it at the window ledge, and I certainly have no intention of getting the stepladder out just to stand on it, shine a flashlight out the window and come face to face with … whatever it is.

So, if I suddenly mysteriously disappear, you’ll know that the Scrabbler got me.

Have a nice day!

Oh, and just before I get eaten by the evil beastie, happy birthday (on Tuesday) anarion! See the message at the top of the page if you missed it.

******************************

Translated into Russian on ficbook.net or AO3 by dzenka.

Comments 
6th-Aug-2012 06:55 pm (UTC)
Yay, you posted it!

I'm so proud of you for this - the story itself, of course, which is lovely (once I forgive the 'steam out of my ears' part!), but also the way you said 'No,' when I tried to push you in a direction you weren't happy to go. You were 100% right to stick to your guns and the result is awesome.

Bravo, darling - and welcome to the NC-17 club... we have chocolate :D
6th-Aug-2012 08:04 pm (UTC)
But you know darned well that I couldn't have done it without you. If I'd put it up in the form I originally wrote it, it would have been awful; and regardless of my "No" to your original suggestion, it was the collaboration and endless emails which followed that licked it into shape.

And yes, I don't think I've ever been so afraid for a fictional character. That poor waitress: she was only human for fancying Sherlock but I'm fairly sure that if you could have tracked her down, Sherlock himself would have been investigating which evil person stuck an axe in her head and left the note saying, "He belongs to John, do you hear me? He belongs to John!"
6th-Aug-2012 08:56 pm (UTC)
That note would have been written in her blood, do you hear me? Blood!

I still find myself emitting an almost subsonic growl when reading that section - it's disturbing the dog!
25th-Feb-2013 08:18 pm (UTC)
Or we could always do a Murder on The Orient Express and all stab her :)

Found you through Verity, is it OK if I add you as a friend to keep up to date with anything you may do in the future?
26th-Feb-2013 09:00 am (UTC)
Course you can - not that I'm writing much these days, but you're welcome anyway!
6th-Aug-2012 07:19 pm (UTC)
This was BRILLIANT!
I'm so happy you did the sequel! I love it, loved it <3
Thanks for sharing!
6th-Aug-2012 08:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm so glad you loved it!
6th-Aug-2012 07:37 pm (UTC)
Lovely and touching. ^^
6th-Aug-2012 08:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
6th-Aug-2012 09:16 pm (UTC)
This was so beautiful! Thank you for continuing this story, and for a lovely ending.
6th-Aug-2012 09:50 pm (UTC)
While I might enjoy tormenting people along the way, I do like me a happy ending!
6th-Aug-2012 09:32 pm (UTC)
John teaching Sherlock's body "how to crave"?

Holy hell.

Give me a big, whopping slice of that.

I started reading this and was totally led down the primrose path in terms of who was looking so spiffy in the uniform. And I was going to say something all coherent about that, because you're the Christopher Nolan of fanfic, you really are, but then: PORN. Sorry, I know you said you'd never write full-on porn, but here it is, beautiful porn, all three fingers of it. And it's magnificent.
6th-Aug-2012 09:48 pm (UTC)
Aaaaaand there it is. *looks mournfully at Verity* The hottest sentence in the whole damned fic, and it wasn't written by me. Damn the woman - every time I come across it read it, it makes me come wibble.

But still, I'm so glad you enjoyed the rest of it too!
6th-Aug-2012 10:06 pm (UTC)
OK, then let me quote something else I loved.

“It’s all right,” John said soothingly before Sherlock got more distressed again. “I do understand. I know you don’t want anyone.”

“I want you!” Sherlock burst out.

See that? That's hot. Sherlock's whole soliloquy about just how damned bad he wants John (I don't care that bad's not an adverb, it's clear that's how he feels), and no one else, is hot as blazing hell. I just didn't want to quote all that, because it took up more space than "how to crave." But sweet mother of red velvet cupcakes, it's hot.
(Deleted comment)
7th-Aug-2012 06:07 pm (UTC)
Hee - and that was the line I was most worried about! There's been a long-running opinion in fandom about the oft-used line in fics saying, "He released the breath he hadn't even known he was holding" and how naff it is, so I couldn't resist having a sly dig, but I was concerned that it might look too facetious after all the angst. But when I sent her the first draft, Verity instantly said, "Best line of the whole fic!"
(Deleted comment)
7th-Aug-2012 01:38 am (UTC)
"Glad you got home safely" should have tipped me off. As it was, it just made me frown slightly. It took the mention of the "headset" to make me face-palm! Got me a second time in a row!!! I'll never "trust" you again! Devious you! Wow. I just lowered the IQ of the entire city! Shame on me, but good for you! Brilliant work!... And kudos to verityburs for straightening you out! :-)
7th-Aug-2012 06:09 pm (UTC)
Ooh, I hadn't even realised that that was a clue! *slaps self*

And yes, you should never trust me, for I am evil and nasty and will always crowbar in a twisty twist if I possibly can. *sniggers* One of these days I'll write a straightforward story and everybody will be saying, "Hang on, I don't get it. Where's the twist?"!
7th-Aug-2012 01:54 am (UTC)
*reads the warnings*
*remains quiet because deeply felt pangs are silent*
*can't remain quiet very long*
Do you remember what I said in my comment to Dreamer? "I just hope you won't use your new skills to write het porn." I was joking then. I didn't seriously thought you...
*sobs*
*reads the summary*
A sequel to Dreamer? Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!
*remembers the awful truth*
Wait. You wrote a sequel to Dreamer and it's het???
*dissolves into tears*

This is turning into a bloody nightmare.
You see? Even Sherlock agrees.

After standing at Sherlock’s bedroom door for a minute while his desires wrestled with his fears, he had carefully released the door handle and quietly gone back to bed.
What? This is how Dreamer really ends?
*bitterly regrets ever asking for a sequel because ignorance is bliss*

you find yourself hoping that he won’t go straight to bed
Ha ha ha. Straight. Ha ha ha. (This is a bitter laugh.)

Nobody, you think, should be subjected to a nightmare like this, and you pray that you can wake up soon.
Yes John, my thoughts precisely.

the headphones he bought you for Christmas to help block the sound of his late night violin playing
Wait. What? But... The uniform and... ARIANE WHAT ARE YOU DOING???

Sherlock shuddered. “I couldn’t do it,” he said
Squeeeeeeeeeeeee! Best sentence ever!

“I want you!” Sherlock burst out.
No, wait, this is the best sentence ever!

He didn’t understand why he was doing this but it felt right, and just at this moment it seemed to be the only place where he felt safe.
In a word: awwwwwwwwwwww. I love the image of Sherlock watching John who sleeps and feeling that it's the right place to be.

John finally released the breath which he’d known damned well he was holding
*giggles*
The whole scene is adorable.

So you fooled me, for the umpteenth time, and from the first scene: the uniform, the regimental dinner, the "concentrate on the work" thing, then the alternating POVs... It was obvious who was who. As if I didn't know we can't trust the obvious with you.

You make us feel the UST so well, and the porn is... *coughs* Well, you're, er, not bad at porn, you know. (Yes, it's an euphemism.) It's bloody hot. And it's not het after all. I may love you. :D
7th-Aug-2012 06:17 pm (UTC)
Dear sweet Chocolamousse, if you don’t know me and my methods by now, you should be ashamed. Did you really think I wouldn’t rise to a challenge like, “Don’t you dare write het porn?”! So it’s All Your Fault if anyone’s heart (including John’s) got broken while reading this, even if I did mend them all by the end.

As always, your comments are a joy to read, and made me cackle with laughter inappropriately while at work. But thank you – as always – for so much detailed commentary, and I love how you pick up all the subtle bits that I was hoping people would notice. The “concentrate on the work” bit was something I was evilly proud of when I thought of it, so I was chuffed to bits to see you comment on that. Thank you, sweetheart … and I’m glad you still love me despite my evilness.
7th-Aug-2012 10:48 pm (UTC)
Did you really think I wouldn’t rise to a challenge like, “Don’t you dare write het porn?”!
Oh, this is how it works then? Right.
*thinks hard (no, it's not an innuendo)*
I solemnly challenge you, Ariane: don't you dare write only gay porn from now on, with fluff and happy feelings and amazing sex at the end.
*feels so clever and subtle*
7th-Aug-2012 05:42 am (UTC)
And then this. First of all, thanks for winning the best story of The Empty House! It was beautiful!

This was utterly gorgeous and hot and cute... And I first thought of their roles reversed, that it was John in the uniform etc. What a clever plot!

Thank you so much, and thanks to Verity too!
7th-Aug-2012 06:20 pm (UTC)
Tthanks for the congratulations about The Empty House entry - I was chuffed to bits to win the poll, and am eagerly awaiting further news of when the recording will be done.

I'm glad my evil scheme worked that and people really did think it was John. It would have been a bit embarrassing if I hadn't fooled anyone!
7th-Aug-2012 09:16 am (UTC)
Sometimes imget lost about the dreamer but that was actually awesome, because in general is John who speak about Sherlock mouth and voice and hands so it was an awesome surprise
And john about the uniform and the girl was also was an awesome
Surprise

I really love the dream chained with reality, their fears and when finally one of them get the courage of speak and get the happy ending ;)

And even if there are people who don't believe why John wouldn't sherlocksexual and sherlock johnsexual???
You can fall for a person regardless of their gender because he/she is that awesome person

Also your sexy dreams were really hot!
7th-Aug-2012 06:28 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed trying to confuse the reader into initially believing that the dreams were in John's head in the first part, and in Sherlock's head in the second.

Glad you found the dreams to be hot!
7th-Aug-2012 06:09 pm (UTC)
Oh ... my, goodness. This is hot and sweet. Love it.
7th-Aug-2012 06:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much!
7th-Aug-2012 07:55 pm (UTC)
Yes I know, I should know you by now. I should expect never to believe a thing I'm reading while reading one of your stories, but this was just... the way you switched between them and make me believe it was the other one, the way you mixed up dreams and reality till I, as Sherlock, didn't know which was which... I don't even know if I make sense anymore, but this was bloody brilliant and I love it!

(Oh, and I would gladly join Verity in murdering that bitch!)
8th-Aug-2012 06:24 pm (UTC)
Hee - glad I successfully confused the heck out of you, and I'm so glad you loved it.

Oh, that poor waitress. Never has an OFC garnered so much hatred for simply being human and finding Sherlock attractive!
8th-Aug-2012 12:13 am (UTC)
O M G ... this was brilliant!
You misled me completely who was in the suit and what was a dream, a disguise and real.
This is definitely one of my favourite stories now. And if I did not have to go to bed now, I would tell you more about it and shower you with more praise.
As it is, I hope for nice dreams ;)

By the way, I'm sure the Scrabbler will spare you - it visits me occasionally, too, and so far I'm still around.
8th-Aug-2012 06:25 pm (UTC)
Oh, the Scrabbler is yours, is he? Well, do feel free to come and collect him at any time. In fact, I insist!!

I hope the dreams were good and sexy!
10th-Aug-2012 12:07 am (UTC)
Oh, and here's the sequel. It's even hotter and more beautiful than the first part! Dear God, woman, you are amazing. I won't quote the entire thing, but the last lines are brilliant! Had to mop myself from the floor...


11th-Aug-2012 07:55 am (UTC)
Aww, thank you so much! I'm so glad you enjoyed it.
10th-Aug-2012 07:29 am (UTC)
Anonymous
Well, well, well- the only thing I can say is I want more! You were right, good job I didn't try to read it at work. Respect.
10th-Aug-2012 05:40 pm (UTC)
Yeah; reading filth in the office is probably not smiled on by our leaders! (Either that, or they're jealous ...)
10th-Aug-2012 11:20 pm (UTC)
I think you did a lovely job! Well done you.
12th-Aug-2012 01:25 pm (UTC)
Great!
18th-Aug-2012 01:10 am (UTC)
Oh, well played :) Hot and sweet :)
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