"Sherlock! Talk to me! Sherlock-" They had just gotten home after their run in with Moriarty. His quick thinking had saved them both but now he just wanted to sleep. For the first time in a long time he was completely exhausted. Sherlock just wanted to rant until he found his room, but John kept interrupting. "I had no choice he had a gun! A GUN!"

"I know that."

"Well then don't blame me!"

"Yea, then you go and try and play the martyr. How noble! If you'd died-" Sherlock went silent. Then proceed to storm up the stairs. John froze at the bottom, dumbfounded.

"You were wrong."

Sherlock stopped in his tracks, standing at the top. "What?"

"Dear sweet Mary! YOU were wrong."

He was not in the mood for a supposed lesson from his flat mate. But he was curious. Not many people had the gall to call him wrong to his face. Especially not right after he saved their life.

Sherlock turned on his heels. "What do you mean 'wrong'?"

"You said you're a high functioning sociopath."

"And?"

"The key elements of a sociopath are but not limited to: Superficial charm, cunning, lying, lack of guilt and empathy, incapacity to love, shallow emotion, and narcissism. Generally speaking, of course. There are a couple other things that my tiny brain, I'm sorry to say, just can't store for very long. Even a high functioning one does not have these things. They're just AWARE of it and cope."

"Point?"

"You are a good liar, Sherlock, but not that good. Sociopaths do not care genuinely about the well being of others." Sherlock looked confused. Sherlock was never confused by such simple statements.

"So?"

"He's a real REAL sociopath. He knows when someone is bluffing… and when they aren't. There are a lot of things you are, Sherlock. Hyper-intelligent."

"Yes."

"A bit obsessive compulsive."

"Isn't everyone?"

"Self absorbed."

"I have every right to be."

"A highly addictive personality."

"I can stop at anytime."

"A prat."

"Oh come now."

"But not a sociopath."

"How do you figure?"

"You were really, honest to god scared that I was going to die, weren't you?" Sherlock just stared at John. His brain had come to a full stop for the first time in his entire life. It all stopped and the only thing he could see was John and that last sentence hanging in the air between them. "You'll just have to get use to it. You're a good liar, Sherlock. But you can't fool me."

"I wasn't scared."

John ignored him. "You know, you make a lot of sense being the way you are. You've been harassed your whole life because you were different, people like Anderson are everywhere. Of course you thought you were a sociopath, you don't care about people who call you a freak, who give you dirty looks, and get offended simply because they can't hide from you. You don't care about people you don't know. You don't care about nosey self righteous brothers or absentee parents. But just because you don't care doesn't mean you can't care." He was biting back a smile, obviously pleased.

"What's your point?"

John opened his mouth but no noise came out. He closed it again and just shook his head, starting again. "That was it, I think. I have no idea how it happened really. I'm not the genius here. I mean, what you do? What you see? It is bloody amazing." It might have been the earnest way he said it, but Sherlock felt his cheeks heat up. "So why me? So ordinary and typical? That's for you to sleep on I suppose." John walked up the stairs and passed Holmes who still stood as still as a statue. "I'm going to bed. You should do that same."

"Wait. I can figure this out."

John crossed his arms, patiently waiting.

It was always something.

That Harry was his sister was one thing but to miss something so essential in his own life was unforgivable.

He cared.

John had already been a bit of a puzzle. Nothing he thought he couldn't figure out.

Why was John different?

Maybe he cared about Mrs. Hudson…

No Sherlock was getting off topic. JOHN. John was the focus of this internal conflict. Sherlock moved into the sitting room to pace.

John.

John Hamish Watson;

Kind, strong, nerves of steel, intelligent but not exactly anywhere near his level, a doctor-

Yes, these facts were, all well and good but that wasn't the point at all.

No. He was focusing in on John but that was only part of the equation.

John and Sherlock.

Sherlock- supposed sociopath but apparently not according to one John Watson- was starved of the attention he deserved and lacking any real concrete socialization, though a master manipulator.

Sherlock meets John- rather random encounter. Stamford must have been a genius to think they would get on at all… But they did. John was the dependable sort, a giver. Their current association was marked by a mutual love of the macabre and exciting as well as a need for a flat. But John…

He looked at the man waiting patiently, a small smile like he knew the answer already tugged at the corners of his mouth.

John.

Every little detail Sherlock reveals is amazing to John. He praises him without second thought; he never shied away from him or his massive intellect. John had been more than right about the narcissism. John wasn't brilliant, but he always asked the right questions. Always. His slowness was not to slow but irritating enough to spark the correct train of thought in him.

Sherlock was a man of habits. Watson was a habit. From day one, he wanted to keep him. And when he shot the cabbie? Well, there was no way he could turn away from such a display of loyalty, was there?

And the pool.

He shuddered at the thought.

John was right. This was guilt. It had been a long time but he knew it when he felt it.

Somehow that thought wasn't as comforting as it should be.

"How did you know my parents were never around?"

John jumped. "You never mention them; it suggests you weren't close. Only mentioned your mother and she seemed to only ever be upset with you."

Sherlock studied him for a moment. "You're getting clever."

"Never as clever as you, my dear Holmes." He went to go up the stairs.

"Wait." John stopped and turned back, looking exasperated. "You're right. I won't say it again." John grinned. "Don't look so smug. I'm still a lot of other terrible things and far from being a good man." John looked like he wished to be dismissed but Sherlock hesitated. "Will you… Will you sit with me a while?" John sat on end of the couch and Sherlock sat on the end opposite. They faced each other, John probably unable to see Sherlock's face in the dim light. Sherlock however, saw John's face, half illuminated by the street lights outside. John was watching him curiously. His blue eyes seemed at ease enough. Always was a man of action. Tonight probably didn't get too far under his skin.

"Moriarty-"

"Let's not talk about him."

"What about then?"

"I would like to know about you."

John went blank a moment, as if he hadn't heard him correctly. "Me?"

"I've guessed enough. I want you to tell me now." John raised an eyebrow, obviously suspicious.

"Only if you tell me about you in return."

"Sure." Sherlock answered without hesitation, only because it was John asking the questions. He always asked the right questions.

John raised an eyebrow, "You're certain?"

"Positive. In fact, you may go first. Ask away." He tried not to look as terrified as he was.

John took a moment to think. "What were you like as a kid?"

"I was small for my age. I didn't grow this tall until university."

John laughed, "Did your family have a pet?" Clever John moved on rather than push the question.

"Two, a border collie and a tabby cat. I preferred the dog. Mycroft liked the cat."

John smirked, "What was its name? The dog?"

"Aminta."

"Was she good?"

"Well behaved, loved to walk, and didn't pull the lead. She was brilliant. For a dog, of course."

"Where is she now?"

Sherlock hesitated a moment too long. "Dead."

"How?"

"She ate an experiment I was doing." Sherlock wasn't looking at him, but at the skull on the mantle. John didn't push that subject either.

"No friends?"

"No. I wasn't exactly social."

"Have you ever had a friend?"

Sherlock didn't answer.

"Where did you grow up?"

"The country, out near Peterborough."

John laughed, "I bet you hated that."

Sherlock smiled. "I did. I got bored rather quickly. Read a lot of Poe."

"Where'd you go to Uni?"

"Cambridge."

"Like it there?"

"Enough… Can I ask about you then?"

"Ask away."

"What was father like?"

John immediately went stiff but cleared his throat, "Stern, military type, wasn't around much."

"Your mother?"

"Like my sister… Very like my sister actually. Left when I was nine; she ran off with the nanny. I was taken care of by my grandmother." John bit his lower lip, as if he were nervous. He noted it and moved on.

"Did you play sports?"

"Football in my university days."

"What position?"

"Goalie."

"Was your grandmother the Catholic?"

"How did-? Never mind, yes. She was. A strict one too. Always got into a fuss with Harry."

"But not you. You were here god given solace. That's where the rift started?"

"No, it started when I caught her snogging my girlfriend when I was eighteen. What about you and Mycroft? Where'd the bad blood start there?"

Sherlock did his best not to tense. "He let Aminta into my room where I kept my experiments… He hated that dog."

There was a silence in which John watched him with a look Sherlock couldn't place, "I'm sorry."

A silence fell on them and Sherlock looked at John. Really, LOOKED at him, he was perfectly ordinary, not explicitly attractive but not hideous, he had plenty of worry lines and his eyes spoke volumes to someone like Sherlock. It rattled him that he could probably just sit there and look at John all night and be content. "You should go up to bed."

John looked over at the door but then turned back to Sherlock. He had that look again, like he knew the answers to all Sherlock's turmoil. "I'm fine here."

Sherlock appreciated John indulging him. Sherlock didn't want John out of his sight. Was that normal behavior for a friend? He wasn't sure; it felt like over stepping a boundary… A little.

He and John sat in a comfortable silence for an hour or so before John nodded off. Sherlock got up and got him a blanket without thinking twice, then took up his seat on the other end of the couch to continue watching him, and to think.

There was more to this. He felt it. There was something so calming in watching John. Him and his plain, average face.

Somehow he just couldn't stop staring at him until he too fell asleep.