Sherlock clasped his hands in front of his chin and examined his sleeping flatmate. The scans hadn't shown any serious brain injuries, so it was just a matter of waiting for John to wake up. He wasn't comatose, but he wasn't simply sleeping either. He was in some strange space in between.
And Sherlock didn't like it. In fact, it was deeply unsettling.
"You have to wake up John," he directed. He'd already tried that multiple times, and it hadn't worked.
The nurses told him to try talking about something that John would want to hear. Sherlock didn't know what John would want to hear, since he was interested in normal, mundane things. Human things.
Sherlock had an idea. He pulled his chair closer to the bed.
"John, you need to wake up so I can tell you the 206 reasons I think I may just love you, one for every single bone in your body. And I don't care that you've got broken ones, you're not getting extras just for those." He rolled his eyes. "But you have to wake up and listen, otherwise I'm simply talking to myself and I look like a fool, so John Watson, wake up and let me give you a reason for every single bone, every single reason why I think I may love you. But you have to wake up first."
He examined John, who hadn't stirred in his hospital bed.
Sherlock sighed, and continued on.
"I suppose that's what love is. Having a reason for every single bone in their body for why you need them to wake up. Naming off all the bones and telling you the reason why I cherish them all. That must be love." He shrugged. "I wouldn't know. See, this is something else you need to wake up for. To tell me. I don't know what love is, but I think I might be feeling it for you."
"Do you hear that John? I'm having feelings, and I'm trying to express them, and it's hard, and you know who usually helps me with that? You. I do not appreciate having to deal with this on my own. It's very inconvenient. There are all sorts of cases I could be working on, Lestrade has been phoning non-stop, and the website has gotten a number of inquiries, and yet here I am sitting at your bedside because I appear to be besotted with you. It's very inconvenient."
He considered that.
"I may be fibbing. Just slightly. So if you could wake up and tell me off for that, it would be nice, and then I could share all the reasons with you, and we could move past this, which that would be terribly unselfish of you. Not to say that staying asleep would be selfish of you, but it is. At least a bit."
Sherlock sat back in his chair and waited, hoping that would do the trick. Of course it didn't. That would be too lucky.
So despite what he'd said to John only a moment ago about looking like a fool, he began to speak. He started with the larger bones.
"I love your clavicles because I could imagine myself tracing a finger across them, soft like a whisper. And maybe one day even kiss them, if you would let me. For science, of course," he added, in case John was getting any ideas.
"I love your left femur because of your limp, and I cured you as we ran through London streets together. You said it was the most ridiculous thing you'd ever done." He smiled. "I think there may be some more ridiculous things you've done by now though."
"I love your right femur because it's so strong. Strong enough to hold you up when you shoot cabbies, when you grab psychopaths from behind and tell me to run."
"I love your patellas because you always run to me. You run to me despite barely knowing me, you run to me when I tell you not to, you run to me when there are people shooting. It makes no sense, but you always run to me." He scoffed in a fond way.
"I love your left tibia because even though it was broken, you still worried about me because I had a head injury. You always worry. I love your left fibula because it didn't break, even when it was under that much pressure, much like you."
"I love your right tibia because that's the leg you stand on when you're exasperated with me. You sigh and huff, and sometimes cross your arms, but you always smile slightly, and I know it's okay. I love your right fibula because it keeps you strong and steady, not easily bowled over by people who are too idiotic to know that you're not someone to mess with. It provides a firm base for throwing people down, or for boosting me up, sometimes quite literally, to windows and ledges."
He moved from the leg bones to John's face.
"I love your mandible because it allows you to speak, and have no illusions about this John, you shouldn't always speak, but that doesn't mean that I won't cherish every single word that comes out of your mouth."
He moved back down John's body.
"I love your ribs because of every breath that you continue you take. The number of breaths, and therefore the number of reasons far outweigh the number of ribs you have, so you'll have to excuse me lumping them all together like that." He smiled.
"I love your sternum because it protects your heart, and therefore mine. I love your C1 because it's the atlas, and it's upon it that you carry all your heaviest weights, some of which I am sure I am the cause of, for which I'm sorry. I love your C2 because it's the axis which my world spins on. I love your C3 because it being whole and intact means your spinal cord is safe, letting you breathe and speak and live."
He skipped over the rest of the vertebrae for the time being, because otherwise he might forget all the other reasons for all the other bones, the words stumbling over each other in their hurry to come out of his mouth.
"I love your left scapula because you were shot, and you getting shot was the best thing that could have ever happened for me. You getting shot meant you came home to London, and I met you, and now we're running around like madmen together. It may very well be my favourite, because even though it is damaged, it holds up the rest of our everything, and is therefore invaluable. I love your right scapula because that's the arm you throw around people for casual hugs and sometimes that person is me. I know I grumble about it and make faces, but we both know that's just for show." Sherlock rolled his eyes. "But don't you go letting on. I have a reputation to protect, after all."
He continued. "I love your left humerus because it supports the arm you write with, the one you hold the scalpel with, the one that you use to patch me back up after I break myself in so many different ways. I love your right humerus because it's your shooting arm, even though it doesn't make sense. That's the arm that saved me on our first night together."
Sherlock paused to stare at John again.
"Are you going to wake up, or do I need to go through all the small bones of the hands and feet? Because I do have the time, seeing as how I'm practically trapped at your bedside, playing the role of your desperate spouse. Not entirely inaccurate I suppose, but people would talk, and you wouldn't appreciate that."
Sherlock smiled slightly at John, who didn't stir. "Of course, I never really minded," he whispered.
He shook that thought out of his head and continued, bored with the larger bones, moving onto the intricate bones of the hands.
"I love your left scaphoid because you make me tea, and it's always perfect, even when you're angry. Or maybe it's not, but because it's from you, I think so. I love your right scaphoid because it's the one that clasps my hand when you're worried, or scared I'm going to do something stupid, even though people would talk. Like we care about people," he scoffed.
"I love your distal metacarpal of your left index finger, because you type so slowly. You peck at your keyboard, and it drives me mad, but it's also endearing. I love your distal metacarpal of your right index finger because it's the clicking finger, and you always visit my blog, even if it's an ash post, and you always read it, even if it doesn't make sense to you."
He paused, checking on John. "I will continue on with all the metacarpals and metatarsals until you wake up you know."
John was silent.
Sherlock looked back up and mapped out the bones he'd done already.
"I love your-"
"Stop," came the hoarse whisper.
"John?" Sherlock asked delightedly.
"Mhm. Now stop it."
"I was simply conducting an experiment about whether-"
"Shut up," John said kindly. "Save them for later, when I'm conscious to hear them, because I would really like to. But for now, I'm going back to sleep, so just sit there quietly."
"Okay," Sherlock assured him.
As John drifted off, Sherlock grasped the hand closest to him, and began assigning reasons to all the remaining bones. Reasons that he would tell John when he woke up.
Reasons why he seemed to be in love.