chocolamousse: (Sadyna)
[personal profile] chocolamousse
Title: The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of
Pairing: Sherlock/John
Category: Romance
Rating: PG-13
Beta: The very lovely [livejournal.com profile] verityburns
Word count: 1141
Translations into Chinese by Lowtension available here or here. Into Czech by miamam available here.
Summary: Before meeting Sherlock, John had nightmares. After meeting him, he still has. Different ones. Worse ones.



Every time it's the same. I hear his door open, then his step on the stairs. He comes into the living room and everything in him says "Nightmare", from the tension in his shoulders to his slightly lost look. Yet I asked him the question the first time because I wanted to be kind. (He had killed for me a few days before while he hardly knew me, I could make the effort to be kind.)

"Nightmare ?"

"Yes."

"Afghanistan ?"

A faint hesitation. "No."

"The cabbie ?"

A more marked hesitation. "Yes."

He doesn't lie to me. I see right through him and he knows it, he even wrote it in his blog. It's been some weeks now, and the nightmare has returned several times.

He gives me a reassuring smile and says something like, "It's all right. Carry on as if I wasn't here," and I go back to my book, or to my microscope, or to whatever I'm busy with in the middle of the night when I'm not sleeping. He goes to the kitchen and makes himself a cup of tea (he always offers me one), or simply takes a glass of water, then he comes back and sits down. He stays there for a moment. I listen to his breath calming down gradually. I feel a bit sorry for him; he killed this man because of me, even if obviously I would have coped perfectly well if he hadn't been there. He's a doctor and a good man, he shot somebody dead in cold blood and, even if this individual wasn't a very nice man and he was a bloody awful cabbie, it's not surprising that it should affect John more than he's willing to admit.

This time it's different. A moaning which ends in a cry wakes me up with a start and there's so much anguish in his voice that I've already jumped out of my bed and I'm halfway up the stairs in my pyjamas when I realise that John is probably quite fine, that it's this nightmare again. But I still hear his shout in my head and I open his door without hesitation.

He's sitting in the bed, panting, his hands clenched on the blanket. He turns his head towards me and he looks so distraught and vulnerable that I can't help moving forward and sitting down on his bed. He doesn't take his eyes off me. I vaguely feel the desire to touch him, to lay my hand on his shoulder at least, whereas generally I don't like to touch people. It's probably because I feel a little guilty. But I doubt that John would enjoy my touching him, he must be embarrassed enough as it is, and I abstain. I clear my throat to speak but he's quicker.

"Sherlock, I'm..."

I interrupt him. I know exactly what he's going to say.

"John. It's an entirely normal reaction. You killed a man and not being affected would be the abnormal thing. Don't be sorry. I understand."

He remains silent, his gaze still fastened on me. It must be difficult, for a soldier, to acknowledge what he regards as a weakness. Then he relaxes slightly and breathes in deeply.

"Yes. Yes, you're right. It's a normal reaction." He smiles at me kindly. "Thank you."

Good. I assume I can get back to bed now, but I feel oddly reluctant. This is ridiculous, John is all right now and he must want to go back to sleep. Therefore I stand up and give him an encouraging smile.

"Good night, then."

"Good night, Sherlock."

He smiles back. Yes. He's all right. I leave the room and return to my bed. Emotions are not really my area but I think that, this time, I said and did what was required. John will be fine. I know it. I read him so well.


~~~~~~~~~~


Every time it's the same. I wake up with a start, in a panic, my heart beating wildly, and sometimes, when the distress is too strong, I get out of bed, I open my door and, if I can see light from the living room, I go downstairs. I linger there for a moment, on the pretext of a cup of tea. His quiet presence appeases me.

This time it's different. I must have cried out in my sleep because I suddenly see his silhouette in the doorway but I'm not certain I'm awake. He comes near and sits down on the bed. I'd like to touch him, only to make sure he's really here and to dispel the last remnants of the nightmare, but Sherlock doesn't like to be touched and I don't want him to draw back, so I keep still. I look at him and he seems so close, and all at once, without having really decided it, I open my mouth to tell him my dream because I'm convinced that somehow or other he knows already, but he cuts me short.

"John. It's an entirely normal reaction. You killed a man and not being affected would be the abnormal thing. Don't be sorry. I understand."

I look him straight in the eye and I feel as if I woke up only now. I answer him, I smile, I assure him that everything is fine. He goes away. I follow him with my eyes until the door closes. I lie down, staring into the dark, and I see the images of the nightmare again.

It's always the same. I run along these endless badly-lit corridors and I open door after door, and it's never-ending, there are always other corridors and other doors, as far as I can see, and he's not here, he's never here, and I know that it's a race against the clock, that I must find him before something horrible happens, and there's this voice in my head yelling, "Find him ! Find him NOW !" and, "Where are you ? WHERE ARE YOU ?", but behind every door the room is empty and he's not here, he's never here, and then there is this last door and he's here and I cry his name and horror falls on me.

Sherlock thinks I have this nightmare because I killed the cabbie, he thinks that night after night I kill him again and again. He thinks a dead body haunts my sleep and he's right, but it's not the cabbie's body. I don't give a damn about the cabbie. I'd shoot him down again without hesitation and without remorse if I had to do it again. In my dream I don't kill him, I arrive too late, and the body lying at my feet is Sherlock's, and I can't bear it, I can't bear it.

I can't tell him. He wouldn't understand. I didn't understand at once myself. I can't tell him.

Not yet.




Author's note: This fic is for [livejournal.com profile] arianedevere. Nine months ago she wrote a story for my birthday then vociferously demanded kindly asked me to write something for her birthday in April. Being a very polite person, I complied. Then, with the assistance of her partner in crime adorable friend [livejournal.com profile] verityburns, she brandished a big cudgel and pestered me gently suggested that I should post it. Being a very obliging person, I comply. Blame them.

You can read it as a stand-alone or as Nightwatch's prequel.

There is a podfic now, by the wonderful [livejournal.com profile] verityburns.


(no subject)

Date: 5 November 2012 18:20 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] atlinmerrick.livejournal.com
"Blame them."

Verity? Ariane? Please keep your cudgels close to hand, and please continue to practice the brandishing I taught you, er, you already knew, and please do not cease in threatening *cough* encouraging Chocolamousse in her writing.

Because I would so very much like her to continue breaking my heart a little bit at a time. Oh, so very much.

(no subject)

Date: 5 November 2012 20:43 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chocolamousse.livejournal.com
Hello, first commentator! I didn't hope to have a reaction from you so soon, I thought you'd be knackered after your adventures in Seattle. I guess the end of this coffee embargo must help!

Oh, please, don't encourage Verity and Ariane, they are ruthless enough as they are! :D But I'm delighted to partly break the heart of someone who completely broke my heart with a certain story. Thank you!

(no subject)

Date: 5 November 2012 20:57 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rox712.livejournal.com
What are you doing?

Dear Miss Chocolamousse,

knowing you a little bit after all the wonderful comments I have read under lots and lots of fics (and yes I read them), I never thought that you would set out to break my heart. I expected Johnlock and maybe even some hot sweaty times, but not this sadness!
I still love this very much, but now I need to find some fluff to recover.

Sincerely me.

(no subject)

Date: 5 November 2012 21:34 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chocolamousse.livejournal.com
Dear Miss Rox,

I understand your distress but, as I told Atlin last week, it could be so worse: I could write hilarious fics and gloomy comments, you see. The awful truth is that I love to break people's hearts with my stories, but rest assured that, in my head-canon, there's always a happy ending, even if I don't write it. One day, very soon, Sherlock will understand what he feels, and there will be confessions and kisses and fluff and they will live happily ever after, the end. There. Fell better now?

I'm afraid I'm quite incapable of writing about sweaty times, but if you're kind enough to read the story I'll post next week I can promise you'll be sated with fluff and happy times, and your broken heart will be fixed. (Well, I hope so anyway!)

Yours sincerely.

(no subject)

Date: 5 November 2012 20:57 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] verityburns.livejournal.com
I know I'm spamming you with comments again, and I wasn't going to... but I was half-way through one on FF.net and I wanted to quote a line, but I don't like quoting on FF.net because people often look at the reviews before they read the story, so it feels 'spoilery'. 'So, don't tell me off', is where I was going with that!

Anyway, the line I wanted to quote, is the repeated phrase at the end of your antepenultimate paragraph:

'I can't bear it, I can't bear it.'

That just brings a lump to my throat every time. And my throat is not easily rendered lumpy.

Gorgeous work, my dear. My cudgel is proud - as am I :D

(no subject)

Date: 5 November 2012 22:02 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chocolamousse.livejournal.com
I'll NEVER complain about being spammed with the kind of comments you send me. Note to mention you manage to say different things every time, and always lovely things.

That just brings a lump to my throat every time. And my throat is not easily rendered lumpy.
I hope that doesn't make me a sadistic person, but I love the sound of it. I brought lumps to Verity's throat and it's a throat which is resistant to lumps. Yay for me!

Thank you very much for these veeeeery kind words. Also, if I find "My cudgel is proud" in a fic from you, be sure I'll make a very witty and supremely subtle comment. :D

(no subject)

Date: 5 November 2012 22:05 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chocolamousse.livejournal.com
Oh, I forgot, thank you for promoting Nightwatch! Stacey wrote a very nice review. :-)

(no subject)

Date: 5 November 2012 22:09 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] verityburns.livejournal.com
Stace is LOVELY. She's not on LJ, can't get her head around it at all, but she can cope with FF.net.

It was Stace who helped me with the podfic of 'Heart' - if you define 'helped' as 'it wouldn't have happened without her'. She's part of the group of us hitting the Sherlockpalooza thing the weekend after next... wish you could join us!

(no subject)

Date: 5 November 2012 22:40 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chocolamousse.livejournal.com
It seems you'll spend a fabulous weekend! I'll be with you in spirit. :-)

(no subject)

Date: 5 November 2012 23:38 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arianedevere.livejournal.com
D’aww. My birthday fic finally goes public. About flippin’ time too. While I have been proud and honoured to have had this written just for me, it’s been so frustrating that only a couple of other people have seen it up until now. I am chuffed to bits that at long last the rest of the world gets to see this beautiful piece of writing.

This is what I emailed at the time, and still holds true:

I have a new file on my computer. And it contains your two stories so that I can't lose them even if, for some reason, my email account should crash and get deleted. Cos I never want to lose them - they're far too precious to me. While I was copying across the one you did for Verity [Nightwatch], it made me cry all over again - that last line kills me every time. In a good way, I hasten to point out before you get all paranoid again.

And The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of (which I absolutely will not abbreviate to "Stuff") affects me similarly. I totally adore the way you tell the two stories and how they interweave and overlap. I especially love the way that both of the boys want to touch each other but daren't, and make the excuse to themselves that the other one wouldn't like it. I've said it before, but you have such a soft gentle voice in the way that you tell your stories; it's really soothing and somehow makes the emotion that much stronger. It's strange: when you wrote the story for Verity I said that you had put in a real DeVere twist when we realise that John doesn't know that Sherlock's there; in this one you've got a touch of Verity in the way that the boys can't and won't tell each other how they feel about each other.

I am in total awe of how clever your stories are and how well you've expressed them in a language which isn't your first. Hell, I would be impressed if a first-language writer had written them. This really was a fantastic birthday present, and I thank you so much for it. Please don't wait until next January until you write another!

Verity has a fandom friend who has a villa in Nice, I think, and who has been talking about some of us going over there for a holiday. If it ever happens, be advised: we will TRACK YOU DOWN while we're there and cuddle the stuffing out of you. Alternatively, get your arse over to England if you can, cos you will be more than welcome!

(no subject)

Date: 6 November 2012 01:05 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chocolamousse.livejournal.com
I was so happy when you told me you loved your gift in April, and re-reading your answer makes me very happy again. And I'm going to copy and paste a bit of the message I sent to Verity with the fic, because it reveals the part you both played in the writing process.

First, look what you've done to me, Captain Innuendo. I added "in my pyjamas" at the very last moment, because I suddenly imagined Callie's thoughts and yours : "But, is he naked ? IS HE NAKED ??? Well, he sleeps naked, it's canon now, and he jumped out of his bed and rushed to the stairs, so he must be naked. And John doesn't take his eyes off him. HE'S NAKED ! No, wait, John looks him straight in the eye. Not naked, then... Unless..." And so on. Which would have completely spoilt the mood. Also, I had written "even if obviously I would have got off perfectly well if he hadn't been there", before hearing you two sniggering : "Yes, but it's so much better when he's there" and using "would have coped" instead.

Yep, it's your fault if Sherlock wears pyjamas! :D

Thank you very, very much for this amazing comment. It's very bad for my innate humility *coughs* but very good for my ego. Especially the bit where you say I've got a touch of Verity. *struts shamelessly* I should be sorry I make you cry (again) but nope. I wanted to move the reader and you're moved. Yay for me!

It was a joy to write this story for you and it is a joy to read your reaction. Thank you for that and for your support. :-)

(no subject)

Date: 5 November 2012 23:54 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ascendant-angel.livejournal.com
I do not have words to do this justice, so I'm afraid I'll have to settle for amazing for now.

(no subject)

Date: 6 November 2012 00:20 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chocolamousse.livejournal.com
Amazing is more than enough! Thank you very much.

(no subject)

Date: 6 November 2012 02:34 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rakshanda.livejournal.com
Very well done, and the voices are perfect. Also, ow.

(no subject)

Date: 6 November 2012 02:54 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chocolamousse.livejournal.com
Thank you very much! Don't worry, this "ow" situation won't last very long. :-)

(no subject)

Date: 6 November 2012 02:58 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rakshanda.livejournal.com
A sequel? YAY!

I only see one other story on your LJ. Do you have any others?

(no subject)

Date: 6 November 2012 03:05 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chocolamousse.livejournal.com
Er, no, sorry, I don't think I'll write a sequel, but, as I told Rox712 above, the happy ending is understood. I want Sherlock and John happy!

I only wrote three stories. I'll post the last one next week. Thank you for your interest!

(no subject)

Date: 6 November 2012 03:20 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rakshanda.livejournal.com
That's fine, I can make up my own happy ending for now.

You're new at this? You're really good, I hope you continue.

(no subject)

Date: 6 November 2012 13:12 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kholly.livejournal.com
I shan't blame them, I shall thank them. This is fantastic and I would have been a shame to hide it away where no one else could read it.

(no subject)

Date: 6 November 2012 13:51 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chocolamousse.livejournal.com
Well, I thank them myself but I don't tell them too much because it would encourage them. :D Thank you very much!

(no subject)

Date: 8 November 2012 15:10 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lady-sallie.livejournal.com
Wow...just wow!

That was beautiful and heart wrenching and I understood all of it comepletely beacause, I suppose like every Mom, I've had that kind of dream.

Amazing, thank you for sharing it. =)

(no subject)

Date: 8 November 2012 15:39 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chocolamousse.livejournal.com
Thank YOU for this lovely comment! I guess that in my head-canon John loves Sherlock like a mother loves her child, with his whole being and for all time.

(no subject)

Date: 8 November 2012 22:53 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ariadnechan.livejournal.com
i really loved this!
very well done, because how John will have nightmares for killing a murderer? or about the war because of fear and the count bodies?

John fear what he could not do! Not saving Sherlock would be his death...
war and kill is not haunting him, war is what he do better!
But be incapable of do something or saving specially Sherlock is devastating.
Edited Date: 8 November 2012 22:54 (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 8 November 2012 23:35 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chocolamousse.livejournal.com
Not saving Sherlock would be his death...
My thought precisely! Thank you very much for commenting.

(no subject)

Date: 3 March 2013 01:54 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sorrel-forbes.livejournal.com
The dual point of view in this was a great choice; there is so much longing expressed in each of their desire to reach out to each other, and though Sherlock doesn't understand as much as he thinks he does, the partial symmetry makes everything more bearably hopeful. Very nice!

(no subject)

Date: 3 March 2013 17:11 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chocolamousse.livejournal.com
I'm afraid the dual point of view is a recurrent thing in my fics. :D I'm glad it works for you.

Longing, yes, that's what I wanted to express, I'm happy you felt it. And yes, there's hope, actually I see this fic as a prequel to Nightwath and Awakening, so the end will be happy. :-)