A/N: Hello. If you haven't seen A Scandal in Belgravia, I highly recommend 1) going to YouTube, 2) searching "punch me in the face Sherlock", and 3) viewing the first video link that results. It won't really spoil the episode for you and it will make you laugh your ass off. But it also got me to thinking, is that really what John thinks whenever he hears Sherlock speak? Somehow, I doubt it.
John Watson is a liar. He doesn't really hear "punch me in the face" when Sherlock speaks. At least, not every time. Not even most of the time.
What he really hears every time Sherlock speaks is "kiss me". Also a bit of "not good", a smidgeon of "you're an idiot", and a good helping of "shag me", to boot. (Not much sub to that text, actually. "Shag me" is usually the first thing he thinks of whenever he hears Sherlock's voice.)
He's always impressed by Sherlock's deductions, the things he can hear that haven't been said. So he's surprised that—so far—Sherlock hasn't been able to hear what John's not saying whenever he opens his mouth. He's sure its there underneath. He's almost said it out loud several times (okay, be honest, all the time, there's only so many ways to call someone "brilliant" and "amazing" without saying what you really mean).
He loves the thrill of chasing Sherlock, loves solving crimes with him, loves him as a friend. But he's begun to suspect that maybe he's actually in love with Sherlock, too. (You think? Do just friends usually hear "shag me" nonverbally whenever their partner-in-crime-solving talks?) Lately he feels he's in limbo, waiting to see if Sherlock realizes that when he speaks, John's subtext is saying something back.