That moment by the pool is the first time John sees Sherlock care about anyone beyond the game. It almost makes the whole terrifying situation worth it to see the blatant concern in Sherlock’s eyes as he rips the bomb off him, asking again and again “Are you all right?”.
They barely make it out alive, and after the chaos of the explosion and the shrapnel and the near-miss gunshots; after the bright sirens and obnoxious flashing lights of the police and the ambulance and the fire brigade; after they’ve both been checked for damage at the hospital and given their statements to the police and suffered Mycroft’s thinly-veiled concern; after that gruelling, insane night, John barely registers Sherlock’s short, crushing embrace once they’re safely back in Baker Street.
It’s a swelteringly hot night in mid-August. The heat is an unpleasant reminder of Afghanistan, and John wakes up from a particularly vivid nightmare, tangled in his blanket and soaked in sweat.
He waits for his heartbeat to slow and tries to fall asleep again, but it’s too warm, and the adrenaline still pulses through is still in his veins. As if that weren't enough, Sherlock’s abusing his violin again. With a groan, John gives up and swings his legs off the bed. He almost goes downstairs barefoot before he remembers the chemicals Sherlock spilled in the kitchen yesterday and thinks better of it.
Sherlock shows no sign of having noticed him, but John knows there’s no way he could ever sneak past Sherlock Holmes. He ignores Sherlock, busying himself with unearthing the tea bags from behind Sherlock’s centrifuge and finding a clean mug among the pile of dirty dishes.He almost drops the kettle when Sherlock says, “Don’t drink tea if you still want to sleep.”
Sometimes John hates it how Sherlock is always right. With a sigh he puts the kettle down and pours himself a glass of water instead.
It finally calms him down, at least, though he doubts he’ll be able to fall sleep with Sherlock’s tortured violin screaming in his ears. Nonetheless he goes back to bed and tries to find a comfortable position.
He can hardly believe his ears when Sherlock’s unmelodious scratching turns into a soft, flowing tune. If Sherlock can play that well, then why doesn’t he do so more often?
The distant melody lulls him into sleep. Only when he is just slipping into unconsciousness does he wonder, Is he playing for me?
John is about to leave for work when his phone beeps. He glances at the message and frowns. “I won’t be back till seven!” he calls to Sherlock, who’s examining something under the microscope.
“Why not?” comes the petulant reply.
“Sarah’s sick. I have to take over her shift,” he explains. A heavy sigh is his only answer.
By the time John gets back home he is shattered and starving. He dreads the prospect of finding something edible in their kitchen, but the idea of having to go out again to get take-away is equally unappealing.
Gingerly he opens the fridge, fully expecting to see the gruesome remains of Sherlock’s latest experiment. He still flinches when he comes face-to-face with the dismembered head of what must once have been a fairly pretty woman, but who is now missing all her hair, including eyebrows. He checks the cereal bowl on the top shelf – yep, still the eyes from yesterday – sniffs at the milk carton – it still smells of milk, at any rate – and then finally braves the cardboard coy on the middles shelf that hadn’t been there in the morning. John braces himself and peeks in cautiously.
“Sherlock – is that curry?” he calls out.
“Yes, have it; it’s perfectly edible.”
“Oh. Thanks. Is the microwave safe, too?”
“It’s clean,” Sherlock confirms.
As he waits for the curry to warm up, John wonders why he feels so pleased that Sherlock thought of ordering food for him, too.
John has just entered the flat and is about to flop down into the armchair after a tiring day at the clinic when Sherlock's phone buzzes. Before John even has time to blink, Sherlock jumps up from the sofa and shouts, “YES! FINALLY!!”
He strides over the coffee-table, shrugs into his coat and calls, “Come on, John!”
“I’ve only just come home,” John protests, “and I’d like to know where –”
“Oh, never mind that,” Sherlock interrupts with a manic grin, grabbing John’s hand and dragging him down the stairs, “we’ve got a murder to investigate!”
John sleeps with few interruptions these days; Afghanistan hardly ever haunts him anymore, and the memories of that night by the pool have faded with the growing certainty that Moriarty is dead.
But now there’s been rumours of another Moriarty, and Sherlock has received a message on his blog that can only be from his archenemy, and so John sleeps fitfully that night, tossing and turning and dreaming of ticking clocks and a bright red spot of light on Sherlock’s forehead.
He wakes up to a cold hand on his temple. John’s gun is in his hands and pointing at the intruder before he even realises it.It’s Sherlock.
“What are you doing here?” John finally manages. “And why were you touching my face? I thought –” he doesn’t finish the sentence.
“I was merely confirming you're all right. I was… worried.” The admission comes quietly, almost tenderly.
“Well, everything’s fine,” John says. “go to sleep.”
It’s one of those days again when John finally realises.
Sherlock is sitting on the couch in his purple dressing gown, glaring at the TV, which refuses to send any interesting news beyond the usual political fraud and deadly epidemics happening elsewhere, when John comes home with the shopping. As he passes the couch on his way upstairs, Sherlock reaches out and pulls him down beside him.
John feels the weight of Sherlock’s arm around his waist and his warmth against his side and the pieces fall into place.
“So – how long have we been together?” he asks mildly, because he can’t bring himself to be angry about this.
“About two months,” Sherlock answers, a satisfied smile fighting its way onto his face.
There’s a pause as John considers this. “I’m not giving up on getting a girlfriend,” he tells Sherlock.
The hand on his hip tightens momentarily. “I know.”
“Good,” John says, and leans into Sherlock’s side.