If John was being honest, he thought that he was different. Special. An exception.
But that was before The Woman.
He doesn't like to talk about it, and tries not to, because Sherlock always sees more than John wants to give away and he does not want him to know how much that this bothers him. If Sherlock knew that it would bother him, it would bring up the uncomfortable question of why, as in, why does someone who is only ever meant to be a flat mate and a freelance crime scene consultant care if Sherlock sometimes gets texts from a woman who had showed up naked for their first meeting and drugged him and somehow got back into the flat to return the coat.
(It was just the fact that there were texts. And that ring tone. And Sherlock always looking but not responding, never responding, and also never telling John what it says, like its some sort of game to him, like he finds it funny, to watch John dance around the subject, always following the rules that Sherlock lays down for him and never once straying from the path. And also the question that maybe he is just not responding because John is in the room and in fact does talk to her quite a lot, where maybe there are late night phone calls and dinners and promises and other things that John did not want to think about, never thought he would have to think about, because Sherlock just does not feel that way about people.)
"You're a very popular man." They are at a crime scene. It is not the time, not the place, and not very respectful to the body laying out in front of them, this man that had died before his life could really get started. Somewhere down the road, John could hear his widow wailing. He thinks (not for the first time) that he had had enough of death.
"What?" Sherlock is distracted. Lestrade isn't. Donovan just looks amused.
"That phone of yours." John crouches down beside the body and takes the temperature of it, just for something to do. "Always ringing."
"Moaning, I'd call it," Lestrade adds, and then wilts at the glare that both of them send his way. "Just saying."
"Yes, well." Sherlock doesn't look uncomfortable at the topic, just unbothered, like this is another one of those things that is just pinging off the surface of his skull, entering and being absorbed and then deleted, the same way he does with facts about the solar system or Lestrade's name. John would like to believe that it does not matter, but he had also been there when The Woman had tumbled out the window and said that the code was in her measurements and that Sherlock knew where to look, after all, so surely he was at least interested. And as far as John could tell, when The Woman called, people answered. "Lots of texts."
"What do you talk about?"
"We don't talk."
"Fine." John balls his hands into fists and then relaxes them, reminds himself that this is not worth being upset over. "What do you text about, then?"
"We don't text about anything." Sherlock squints down at something that John either can't see or does not understand. "She texts. I read them."
"Do you respond?"
"Do you care?"
John thinks about what would happen if he said yes. If he asked him not to text her anymore. If he said that he had been bothered about it since the day that they met her, when she looked at them both and knew that John loved him and wanted to take Sherlock as her own anyways. That she would win, if she tried, because who would look at John when he was standing next to a woman like that?
Before he can really decide, Sherlock has walked away, his coat whirling and twirling behind him, and John wonders if it is his imagination that her perfume is still clinging to it.
"Bad luck, mate." Lestrade claps him on the back. "What's the big deal, anyways?"
"I just didn't know he thought that way about people." John tilts his head, watching Sherlock bounce from one evidence flag to the other. "And if I had, I always thought it would be a guy."
Maybe, that little voice inside him whispers, the one that has been keeping count of the texts and demanding to know what they say, maybe he just doesn't think that way about you.
From the look on Lestrade's face, he is thinking the same thing.