Tap. Tap. Tap.
Sherlock had been considering deleting Morse code from his mind. After all, there was never a use for it.
He knew caring was not an advantage. He knew letting himself feel things was not good, and would probably come back to haunt him. He knew he was a high-functioning sociopath, and this wasn’t what high-functioning sociopaths do.
But his heart pushed aside all thoughts of reason and allowed him to fall for John Watson.
Since the realization, Sherlock had tried denying it, he’d tried ignoring it. He’d tried playing his feelings away, or tucking them into bed and trying to sleep them off. (Not drugs, though. He knew John didn’t like it. And although at first he’d thought that John deserved it for making him fall in love, Sherlock had ultimately decided that Molly would also be angry. Not to mention Mrs. Hudson. She was a fright.)
Occasionally, he’d lay awake at night, berating himself for being so foolish. And then Molly would say he’d have no business blaming himself — love doesn’t care who you are or what situation you’re in. But his chest felt so constricted and dense with all these feelings . HIs body didn’t know what to do with them.
Ignoring them wasn’t even something to be tried anymore, as John was everywhere in Sherlock’s life. He was Sherlock’s life, if the detective would be honest with himself. You can’t just ignore your life; Sherlock knew that from experience.
Eventually the unwelcome feelings pent up, and John was just sitting directly across from Sherlock in his chair, legs crossed as he tapped away at his keyboard.
It felt better to get it out of his chest like this, in carefully ordered but seemingly meaningless taps on the table beside Sherlock’s own armchair, without John realizing than to just keep it in any longer.
He carried on tapping that same message, over and over.
I love you.
It became his mantra. What he’d fill silences with, what he wish he could verbalize.
What seemed to keep him sane through the inexplicable bouts of emotion.
I love you. I love you. I love you. every single time John was around.
Every time, it relieved a bit of the insurmountable warmth inside Sherlock’s chest. John didn’t even seem to even notice, but that was just as well. He seemed to worry about Sherlock, as if the latter didn’t know what to do when faced with emotions.
Clearly Sherlock was the expert.
John’s face seemed to get a little lighter when Sherlock would start tapping. Sherlock only started observing this after John seemed particularly on edge, during one of their biggest lulls on the murder front and after an especially frustrating day at work. His shoulders had been tense and the worry lines on his forehead more prominent than usual. His posture had seemed to relax, though, as Sherlock settled into his chair and resumed his tapping.
And after a cup of chamomile and a change of clothes, John had curled up, now completely at ease with his surroundings. Maybe it was the familiar taps, or their message, or the relaxing weight of his favorite sweater.
And eventually, it brought on a yawn. Before he knew it, his head had slumped on his shoulders, and then it was dark … and he was in his bedroom?
The moon had risen, and John was disoriented until he heard Sherlock’s violin going downstairs. The Gadfly Suite, if John had improved at all at knowing what songs his best friend was playing. It sounded wonderful.
Despite it being half three, according to the clock on his wall, he decided to go down and have some more tea. (He reckoned there was no such thing as too much tea.)
And Sherlock was just finishing up when the kettle finally whistled. John poured out two cups of boiling water, assuming Sherlock would want some and planning to drink it himself if he didn’t, then returned to the sofa, sitting close enough to the violinist that their knees touched.
The moonlight streamed in through the smudged window, and John was really noticing how they probably need to clean it, because God, was that glass dirty .
And then the tapping started again.
The couch was small enough that John could easily and inconspicuously reach the table to his left, and he did so in a stroke of warmth.
Sherlock was tapping again, because not even tea and violin would stem these feelings.
I love you. I love you.
It felt kind of nice to say it in a way that wouldn’t be understood.
And then John shifted himself, no doubt thinking he was being subtle, and reached the table on his own side.
He started tapping, and at first Sherlock fancied he was being mocked. And then it all came crashing down upon him, because of course, John was in the military and, of course, he’d know Morse code and this was a mistake Sherlock you really should be leaving right about now and going to someone to get rid of your feelings and —
No, this was okay.
Because even through his haze of panicked thoughts running far too fast, he translated the taps.
I love you too, you stupid git.