He's Only Ever Human

John hated, sometimes, that Sherlock was such an antisocial prat. He didn't mind the silent taxi cab rides on a good day, but it wasn't one of those good days.

Maybe it wouldn't have been so bad if their case had gone a bit better. They had caught the killer, but another life had been sacrificed. Because they had failed to notice one little thing, one thing that would have saved a life. Death shouldn't have been such a shock, considering their line of profession. But it had been a kid. A kid. A bloody four year old kid. She'd been the hostage, the bait, or whatever the hell Sherlock called it, and they had done exactly what it was that the killer had wanted but it had been out of their control.

Now the silence of the cab ride was eating at John.

He didn't mind the silence, especially when he wanted to reflect on the day. He didn't want to reflect on today. He just wanted to forget about it, actually. But he wouldn't. He just... couldn't forget that image.

Sherlock had lost whatever little colour he had in usually pale skin when they had gotten to the crime scene. He argued with his usual vigour with Lestrade, with the whole team, almost, when they had begun to accuse him of being able to prevent it. John hadn't been able to say a word, in the end, but he'd just leaned against he wall with a sick taste in his mouth until Sherlock shot out of the building with a swish of his dark coat.

John hated the quiet. He hated it so much right now. That bitter taste hadn't left his mouth and it tasted like poison on the back of his tongue.

His gaze had been glued on his window, but now he looked up, glancing sideways at Sherlock. The detective was looking out his own window, posture stiff. Maybe John was imagining it, but he thought Sherlock was even more quiet than usual.

John almost said something, almost asked if Sherlock was okay, because this behaviour was most definitely not normal for him, when they pulled up to 221B. Sherlock slipped out of the cab without a back glance and briskly walked to the door, leaving John to pay the fare. He was slightly disgruntled but not surprised.

Sherlock was on the couch, his jacket thrown haphazardly onto the chair. He was sitting slumped, fingers steepled in front of his face, his eyes directed at something floor-level that John couldn't see.

John deposited his own coat on the back of his own chair, planning to make a cuppa for himself before hitting the bathroom for a long, hot shower. He needed to ease some of his tension out, if only a little.

"Sherlock, do you want..." John trailed off, as he had turned his attention back to Sherlock. Sherlock's gaze had whipped up at the mention of his name, but he had looked away quickly enough afterwards. Sherlock had caught his gaze for only a moment, but it was enough. His eyes were glassy, shiny, gleaming. He blinked rapidly, a few quick times, before he had looked away. His fingers steepled in front of his nose once again, although his jaw was clenched and he was now avoiding the doctor's eyes.

John recognized the signs; he had dealt with so many fussy younger patients in his office. They were prone to waterworks. Sherlock Holmes wasn't.

"... a cup of tea?" he finished, only a few seconds lost between his initial sentence and the finished part of it. John couldn't analyze things as quickly as Sherlock could, but he had picked up some face-saving behaviour now and again.

"Milk and sugar." Sherlock's tone was clipped, but his voice was steady. John would have rethought his assumption if he hadn't see the symptoms firsthand; he would have passed it off as a trick of the light, but he had seen it. If it had been anyone else, he would have passed it off as unimportant. But this was Sherlock, and John only had to look once to realize when the detective was, somehow, close to a rational, human response.

John brewed up two cups of tea, one for himself and one for Sherlock. It was still silent, but John was settling into it now. It was awkward to think of Sherlock being reduced to such a state, but, at the same time, he found himself to be more comfortable than he had been for the better part of the hour. Maybe it was just nice to know that Sherlock was only human, even if he claimed that he did not entertain normal, human reactions.

He passed the cup off to Sherlock. Sherlock took it, hands steady, and sipped from it. John was watching the detective now, unobtrusively, over his teacup. The fleeting moment seemed to have passed, although Sherlock still seemed like he was going to make no move for physical activity or verbal communication. John didn't mind.

They finished their tea in silence, both of them, John was sure, trying not to think about the day's events.

He didn't know what had caused Sherlock's strong reaction, or what had caused to react at all, for that matter, and he was fairly certain that he would never know. Maybe it had been something in his childhood that clicked with the murder, maybe it had been the reality of being wrong, of doing something wrong, of not saving the child. Perhaps it was just a case of Sherlock realizing that he did have emotions and that it was okay to show them.

The last option was a far stretch and John knew it, but, whatever the reason, he didn't mind Sherlock's display. He would never say anything of it and he knew Sherlock wouldn't, either; neither of them would probably talk about this case again. Regardless, it made John a little bit more comfortable just to know that Sherlock, despite all of his insecure flaws, really did care.

This actually may end up being a series of oneshots that promote Sherlock's humanesque side.

What do you think? Ta!