John knew better than to think it... but Sherlock had also taught him to observe his surroundings and right now, thirty-thousand feet above the ground, John was observing that Sherlock Holmes did not like flying.
Of course, this was a given going into the plane trip for a case. Sherlock hated to sit still when he had something on, and an eleven hour flight to America left little room for the consulting detective to do anything. So, he was antsy. That was to be expected.
However, Sherlock looked nervous. He was fidgeting, licking his lips often, occasionally gnawing at his lip as he gazed out the window. He barely looked away from it but when he did, his eyes bounced from one thing to another erratically. He hadn't touched a thing to eat and wouldn't have anything to drink, and mostly just sat with earbuds in and listened to... whatever he was listening to on them.
Sherlock shifted again, switching his legs to cross them at the opposite ankle, tongue flicking out to wet his lips again.
John sighed. He didn't really know if Sherlock was anxious because of the plane ride or if, perhaps, something was wrong with him. He reached over and hooked a finger around the earbud cord to pull it loose.
Sherlock looked around at him, frowning. "What?"
"Are you okay?" John asked.
Sherlock stared at him. "Why wouldn't I be?"
"You're fidgeting all over the place. I asked you if you wanted the aisle-"
Sherlock shook his head once. "I'm fine."
John resisted the urge to sigh - again. "I wish you wouldn't do that."
"Do what?" Sherlock asked.
"The 'I'm fine' thing when you're clearly not. You keep biting your lip, licking them. You're fidgeting, so you're clearly uncomfortable. Either you're just antsy because we're on a case and there's nothing to do up here or something's wrong. Have to go to the loo or something?"
Sherlock swallowed just then, a motion that John nearly missed but immediately recognised, given the circumstances.
"Are you sick? You're not going to throw up, are you?"
Sherlock scowled. "I am not. I hope I'm not," he muttered, more to himself. "I think I will stretch my legs, though," he said, raising his voice again.
John watched him stand, a little less fluidly than usual. "You get motion sickness?"
"Air sickness," Sherlock clarified. "I have no problem on trains or in cars. Yes, I do."
John frowned. "Did you take something?"
"For air sickness? No." Sherlock moved past John easily, stepping out into the aisle.
John followed him with his eyes. "They make meds, you know, pills."
Sherlock's eyebrows furrowed. "Do they?"
John sighed. "Maybe take some next time you go on a flight."
Sherlock nodded slightly before putting his hands in his pockets and striding away with as much grace as a man with air sickness on a plane. John watched him vanish into the loo, wondering if he had gone there to throw up and wouldn't tell him after.
Still, when Sherlock returned, he was sipping at some light carbonated drink and seeming, if not nauseated, more nervous. He flopped right back into his seat and sighed heavily over his drink, eyes slipping closed. Almost as soon as they had closed, they opened right again and returned to the window.
He had been about to ask if he was sure that he was okay when the seatbelt sign clicked on. John sighed, prodded Sherlock and pointed at the sign, and fastened up his belt.
"Did you go to the toilet to throw up?" John asked bluntly, looking back at him.
Sherlock looked back at him. "What? No. I went to the toilet to use the toilet," he said dryly, looking back at the window. "And with relatively good timing, given the seatbelts." He sighed, reaching for his drink again.
The captain informed them that they were going to be experiencing some turbulence soon, but John disregarded the announcement in favour of watching Sherlock. "Is there a reason you aren't looking away from the window? Can't be that interesting."
Sherlock looked back at him again. "Not really."
"Is that a not really to the reason question or a not really to the interesting statement?"
Sherlock's lips twitched down again. "What?"
John sighed. "Nevermind."
John was just about to turn back to his book when he noticed the turbulence. Just a small bump, nothing that particularly bothered him, but the reason for the seatbelt was clear in that moment.
And, also, something else became quite clear in John's mind at that exact moment.
Because Sherlock's head had snapped up at the bump and, for a moment, there was a flash of full-blown panic blowing Sherlock's pupils wide in the brightly-lit cabin.
"... You're afraid of flying," John said. It wasn't a question.
Sherlock swallowed again and set his drink down. "I would say that 'afraid' is a bit of a stretch," he muttered, swallowing yet again.
John started to wonder, sincerely, if Sherlock would keep his stomach down. There was no option of getting to the loo now and John doubted Sherlock's tolerance to throwing up into a paper bag.
"You're afraid," John said quietly.
Sherlock shifted uncomfortably. "Okay, fine, I am. I'm not very good at flying and I never have been. It's too cramped and boring and there's an infinite amount of things that could wrong. A simple bird strike could take the whole plane down."
"You know the probability of that happening, right?"
"Yes." Sherlock sighed. "It is irrational. But..." he trailed off. John watched him shiver, visibly, and look away.
"It's alright to be scared," John said, "but I'm sure we'll be fine."
Sherlock shrank in on himself slightly, ducking his head. "That is the logical outcome." He swallowed, fidgeting a bit more.
"... Sherlock," John muttered. "We're fine. You're fine."
Sherlock looked back at the window. "Yes." His squirming had stopped, but his foot had started to bounce quickly.
"Why do you keep looking out the window if you're afraid of flying?"
"I want to make sure the plane isn't going to crash when I'm not looking," Sherlock said.
John sighed. "It's not going to crash. Just a little turbulence."
Even as he spoke, there was another jolt from the turbulence. Sherlock's breath caught and his exhale sounded almost like a whimper.
"Hey." John reached over, gripping his shoulder. "Everything's going to be fine. Okay?" Sherlock ignored him. "Sherlock," John repeated, squeezing his shoulder. "Look at me."
Sherlock looked back at him. "What?" His eyes flicked to John's hand on his shoulder and then back to meet his gaze.
"We're going to be fine," John said strongly. "We'll clear this shortly and the rest of the flight is going to be smooth sailing. Alright?"
Sherlock stared at him for a moment longer before ducking his head in a nod. "Yes... not that you would know, really."
"You doubt my deduction?"
"Well, anything can happen," Sherlock muttered.
"Anything can. I could become a genius in the next twenty minutes," John said cheerfully, dropping his hand.
Sherlock stared, again, before raising his chin slightly and straightening his spine. "I take it back. Not everything can happen," he muttered.
John laughed quietly and offered Sherlock's earbuds back to him. "Put those in, put on something relaxing, and... you know, relax."
Sherlock paused before taking them, pushing them back into his ears with a hesitant half-smile.
Okay, call it OOC. Get it out of your system. Okay? Now onto the point; I'm writing a series dealing with Sherlock having everyday, normal fears. Fear of flying, for instance. I know it's slightly OOC; he doesn't seem like one to be scared of inane things, but I wanted to explore with him being human. (Because I haven't done that enough already...) Each chapter will stand-alone and will not have to be read in any particular order.
(Not to mention I'm sort of having a breakdown that the fact that they filmed the last episode of Cabin Pressure last Sunday and I can't write CP when it's making me so sad so I stuck Sherlock on a plane for this chapter as a bit of allusion.)
I do not own Sherlock. I'm just trying to scare the detective a bit. :D And your opinions are, as always, always the reason that I write at all. Thank you!