"You haven't eaten in two days," John says, holding out the sandwich he plans to force down Sherlock's throat, if that's what it takes.
From his prone position on the couch, Sherlock doesn't even spare John a glance. He's in full 'thinking mode,' with his fingers pressed to his lips and one sleeve rolled up to reveal three nicotine patches. They've got a case, although Sherlock has done nothing but call it boring since they heard from Lestrade. If he did find it boring, John never would have guessed from the amount of thought he's giving it.
"Eating isn't important," Sherlock finally says.
"It is if you fall down dead in the middle of explaining who the murderer is," John counters, glaring. It shouldn't be this hard to get a full grown person to eat a damned sandwich. It's not even as if John is asking Sherlock to stop thinking and make it himself. And Sherlock's still too thin from his year away. John hates that thought so much that his jaw clenches and his free hand squeezes into a fist. All that time away, the least Sherlock could have done was take better care of himself. John ignores the tightening of his throat and silences the voice that whispers that maybe Sherlock hadn't planned on coming back, hadn't planned on surviving his... adventure at all.
"Don't be stupid, John. It really doesn't suit you."
"Right." The word is a bark in the quiet of the flat. John has to hold himself still just to be certain he won't actually shove the sandwich down Sherlock's throat. He can feel the tight line of his lips. "Because it's so very smart to starve yourself to death."
Sherlock sighs as if it's a monumental effort, lowering his hands and turning his head to narrow his eyes at John. "Do you really think that's how I'll die?"
John's spine stiffens at the words, at being asked to consider such a thing. Especially given all that time thinking it had already happened. Sherlock swings his legs over the side of the sofa, his whole body following them so that he's suddenly sitting up, then standing, shaking his head as he paces. "No. In my line of work it's never going to be starvation, John. It will probably be a suspect who finally manages that, although hopefully not someone like this man, a boring little murderer with a persecution complex."
John swallows hard, his face tight with the struggle to keep his expression even remotely calm. "Excuse me?" He says it because it's really all he can get past the lump in his throat. After an entire year believing that Sherlock was dead, that John had lost him… Hearing those words is like being punched in the gut. He hates the matter-of-fact tone, the calm, reasonable way Sherlock speaks, as if he's explaining some simple deduction. As if his death is nothing of importance. As if John hasn't spent the last year grieving for him while he was alive and….
Sherlock whirls on him, rolling his eyes. "Not eating for a few days is not my biggest worry. It's simply too mundane a method of death. Far more likely that it’ll be a man, or woman, with a gun or a knife that does me in."
And John snaps. "Not if I can help it!" He hadn't meant to shout so loudly. He hadn't meant to take that step closer to Sherlock, to put their faces just inches away from one another. He's not even sure why he's glaring up at Sherlock with his mouth pressed tight, his chest heaving, and his whole body trembling with suppressed energy.
John stares hard at Sherlock, watching as the man tilts his head, his eyes wide, his face blank in the way only Sherlock's can be. Apparently taken aback by John's outburst, he opens his mouth, but closes it before any words actually escape.
Realizing that he's pumped full of adrenaline and not even sure why, John takes a breath, his eyes skittering away from Sherlock's. His outburst—a bit over the top, even he has to admit—weighs in the air between them and John feels suddenly like an idiot. And he's still holding the damn sandwich.
Without glancing at Sherlock's face, John sets the plate down on the coffee table and retreats to his chair, using the newspaper as a barrier so that he won't have to see whatever disdainful expression Sherlock is wearing. That doesn't mean he isn't paying his flatmate any attention, however.
He's aware of Sherlock standing there for a long moment, can practically feel the man's gaze boring into the side of his head. Neither of them says anything, though, and the sound of his newspaper as he flicks through the pages is the loudest thing in the room.
Then Sherlock turns back toward the sofa, slumping down onto it. John hears the sandwich plate bump against the coffee table and twitches his newspaper just enough to see Sherlock eating as he stares out the window, apparently deep in thought again. He flicks his eyes toward John, wearing a considering expression, and John quickly looks away. He's still pretty sure Sherlock caught him staring.
Thankful for the newspaper to cover the smile he feels spreading over his face, John tells himself not to think too much about his little tantrum. Sherlock has enough of them. He's probably entitled to a few as well.