Sherlock paced around the living room, deep in thought. He had a case on and although it was nothing too challenging - he had known who the killer was in less than five minutes - it was definitely interesting. A teenage girl found dead in her room in a supposed suicide. He was just considering the means that the killer had used to escape the locked room when the crashing noises finally registered in his train of thought and he stopped short, head swiveling to look at the kitchen where John was taking apart one of his experiments. He sighed and joined him in the kitchen, his expression unchanged, “What are you doing?”
“Don’t talk.” John hissed in reply, tossing a dark glare at Sherlock before returning to his task, “Just... don’t talk to me right now.”
Sherlock rolled his eyes at how short and frankly dramatic John was being. He knew all too well that his protests were useless, John was just going to take them as him being rude and disrespectful, but he pushed on anyway, trying not to snap since it would only make things worse, “No. Tell me what you’re doing. Why are you going through my things, John?"
John barked a laugh and straightened up to glare at Sherlock properly, “One week, Sherlock. One week I’ve been saying that you should clean this kitchen,” He gestured at the equipment from the experiment, unwashed and growing mold, “And what have you done? Nothing. Does it actually get through your head that you're being incredibly inconsiderate? You’re not the only one that has to be here. When I say that you should do something, you shouldn't sit on your arse working on those damn cases that don't actually solve any of the problems in front of you, like this bloody kitchen!"
Without warning, John grabbed one of the beakers and made like he was going to throw it onto table with a dangerous snarl. Sherlock lunged forward to stop him, arms outstretched to catch it, but when he moved closer, John took a quick step back and stared at him in near horror, as if he thought Sherlock's intention had been to attack him. Sherlock caught himself and retreated, hands wringing together in an attempt to conceal his annoyance. He hated when John got like this. It happened so often lately. Normally he was able to brush it off, since he knew that there were emotions that John had to deal with since his return and he understood that, but there were other times where he simply couldn't ignore how John made him feel. All of those subdued emotions would manage to break free with a particularly hurtful word, making his stomach twist and eyes prick with tears. Right now, he was on the brink of losing control, unsure if he was actually scaring John.
"Don't you dare touch me.” John whispered, seeming genuinely terrified.
“No, John, talk to me, please. You can tell me what to do to make you happy but throwing a fit won’t prove your point and it just-” Sherlock started but cut off when he realized what he’d said. The words hung in the air and Sherlock held his breath, adrenaline spiking his heart rate.
“A fit? I’m throwing a fit?” John whispered, shaking his head as he looked at Sherlock, “You scared me, you came at me. I wanted to express a bit of frustration- Hell, I deserve to! I wasn’t going to hurt you, but you came at me, Sherlock. That was not a fit, I’m just tired of cleaning up your goddamn messes. You put me through so much work, I’m exhausted between picking up after you and my job, and you don’t see the sacrifices that I make.”
“I never asked you to clean up my messes.” Sherlock reminded John in a weary tone. He didn’t understand why John bothered with the responsibility of always cleaning up if he saw it as such a burden.
“Well obviously you need me to because you haven’t fucking done it. You’re like a child.” John snapped, going back to moving around the kitchen and picking up all of Sherlock’s test tubes and materials left out, starting to throw them into the trash.
Sherlock looked at him with an intense gaze before he moved towards the trash and began to get the test tubes out, setting them on the counter and muttering sarcastically, “That’s incredibly smart, John. Throwing good money away simply because you want to prove a point.”
John whirled on Sherlock, throwing the glass onto the ground and yelling to the point of his voice breaking, the glass sound of the glass shattering ringing through the flat, “Is that what this is about now? I’m not smart enough for you!? I’m never smart enough for you, Sherlock. No one in the world is smart enough for Sherlock Holmes!”
Sherlock didn’t respond, knowing that it was no use trying to fight with John. He would just sort through all of this later, going through the words said until he found a logical point in them and then throw them out with the rest of his unneeded memories. He left for the living room and sat on the couch, pulling his dressing gown tight around him as he glared at his lap. Very little got to Sherlock but one of the most unsettling things was when people yelled at him and didn’t give him a chance to explain himself. Lately, John had been doing it most and the increasing frequency was becoming unsettling.
Sherlock sat silently, struggling to enter his mind palace for some kind of escape only to be dragged out of it with every violent noise in the kitchen. It forced him to wonder about the fight. How could John get so emotional over a flat that he no longer even lived in? He didn’t tell John to move out after he left. After a few long minutes when Sherlock had just been thinking he would slip under this time, John spoke up and broke his concentration again, “You know, it would be nice if you would just do what I tell you to do the first time so that we don’t have to keep fighting like this.”
Or maybe we would stop fighting if you stopped being overly passive aggressive every time I do something that you don’t like Sherlock thought to himself.
“You know, I cry every night because of you, Sherlock.” John continued, coming from the kitchen to the living room. This was the part where the fight would get dragged all over the flat. John sat on the coffee table in front of Sherlock, lifting the taller man’s chin and wiping the tears off of Sherlock’s cheek gingerly, eyes tender again, almost as if he was on the brink of crying himself right now. Sherlock hadn’t even realized that he was crying, but he hated it because now John was going to use it against him.
“How you feel right now is how I feel on a daily basis because of you.” John said in a matter of fact tone. Sherlock was used to hearing that by now, but every time he did he felt a small sting in his chest mostly because not many people saw him cry and the act that John just held it against him every time he did even though he had broke down his walls just made him build them back up. He instinctively brushed it off and focused on keeping himself disconnected from the conversation.
John looked at him and cupped his face in his hands, speaking with a cracked voice, “I would die for you, love. Do you remember? I was going to die to be with you.”
“Yes John.” Sherlock whispered, his voice small.
John nodded and looked at him, “So don’t say that I don’t love you. I love you more than anything in this world.” He pressed a kiss to Sherlock’s lips, pouring passion into it to force him to respond equally, and when Sherlock failed to reciprocate, John pulled back again.
“Don’t you love me?” John asked, glaring at him with an expression that was equally desperate and loving. His gaze burned into Sherlock’s and the taller man looked away, unable to deal with the emotion coming from him. Of course he loved John. He loved John more than anything, more than he cared to admit, but he just didn’t know how to show it and John knew that. He didn’t know why John was holding it against him. He didn’t know why John held anything against him anymore, but he did. Sherlock was too tired anymore to figure out why, emotionally drained all the time with the effort of trying to make a relationship like the one John wanted work. He sighed a little and tried to speak although it came out a slurred mumble.
“What’s that?” John asked in a slightly brighter tone, taunting, “Come on, Sherlock, that’s not becoming of you. Especially since you were so loud and rude before. You’re an obnoxious bastard most of the time, anyway.
The words made Sherlock tense. John continued with the name calling, each one making Sherlock scream inside of his head. No. John, stop it! Just shut up! Why won’t you just leave me alone? “You’re just so rude, Sherlock. An arsehole that no one should have the misfortune of meeting. You can’t even pick up on a hint to clean up a rotting mess on the counter.”
Sherlock pulled his head from John’s hands, shaking it like he might somehow shake out the negative ideas John was planting in his mind as he stood and strode quickly to his bedroom, slamming the door behind him, needing to be alone. He heard an indignant, “Really?!” from the living room and he looked at the door, knowing he didn’t have much time left before John came in and taking the moment to brace himself. The next instant, the door to his bedroom was flung wide and John came in with blazing eyes, making him realize that he had only made the things worse.
“You can’t run from me, Sherlock. I know you. I’m the only one that will put up with you.” John hissed, "You're an embarrassment, it's why you've always been alone. No one else can stand you picking them apart the way you do because they can't handle your cruelty. There are times where I wonder why I bother. You make me feel so awful with the things you say... If you cared you'd show it."
Sherlock’s mind couldn’t take anymore and he began to say anything to appease John, fighting back the urge to let out any more tears. John’s voice slowly calmed with Sherlock's hurried, apologetic words and he stepped forward, caressing Sherlock’s face with his hands once again. He looked pleased. It always amazed Sherlock how he could just drop everything after a fight, how quickly his moods seemed to change. His words came out in a soft coo, exasperation masked in his tone. At times, he made Sherlock wonder if maybe he actually was the victim in all of this.
“Sherlock, you understand that no one would put up with you besides me, right? I don’t want you to leave only to find that no one else is as accommodating and accepting as I am. No one else would tolerate what you did in the kitchen.” He said, pressing their mouths together again and again before pulling back for an answer.
Shame washed over him as he looked down at John’s hand. This was usually the part of the fight where he shut off, getting lost in his mind to try and frantically sort through the onslaught of emotions. When this happened he would crave physical affection, but he usually tried to keep it under control until John initiated it for fear of rejection. He looked up at him with big blue eyes, his gaze growing submissive, before he nodded and worked up a smile.
“And you know that no one loves you like I do?” John asked, his voice coming out sweet and relaxed. Sherlock nodded again and looked up at John, the fear in his eyes dulling as his smile widened in relief. He was just praying that the storm had passed. John broke into a smile and nuzzled against Sherlock’s cheek, “Good.”
Sherlock wasn’t fully cooled down from the things John had said, but he loved how touchy feely John got after a fight and how it helped soothe away that pain left in his chest from John’s words. He slowly held up his arms, looking at John with childish hope
There came no hug.
John’s smile was still on his face and he stepped back, shaking his head, “Ah, sorry love, I’ve got to meet Greg for a drink. I’m sure you can handle yourself for a few hours?”
Sherlock sighed and his arms fell to his sides, mentally kicking himself for being so stupid in offering a hug. He was being too needy, of course that would put John off. Sherlock managed to pull up his smile again and watched as John left, wishing that he knew how to make the man happy. If he said one thing, he should have said the other. It was never right, but one day he was going to manage it. Not today, but one day.