The sun slips through the clouds, but offers no warmth. Its light is brittle and white and Sherlock wakes to the impatient vibration of a flip phone. He can feel John’s frown, and he sits up, knowing the time for secretive, shy touches and whispered latin words has passed already.

His spine juts out, and his complexion is pale, made paler by the light outside. He’s corners, and curls and glittering dust and bedclothes. He knows that John sees him. His bruises, the redness under his eyes, his near-constant thin film of sweat. John can’t turn away, and Sherlock can’t pretend.

He just hopes, hopes with all his heart, that John will always look at him the same way. But John won’tThe real question, was would he take Molly’s crest-fallen, wounded look or Lestrade’s stubborn, hard-set jaw and grinding teeth? Or perhaps he would be similar to Mycroft, and avoid looking at him all together.

He crawls to the edge of the bed and pulls out a violin case from underneath the mattress. He clicks it open and tucks the stringed instrument under his chin. He tunes it impatiently, and begins to pluck, and play. His bow slices through the dust motes, slipping up the neck of the violin, and back to the bridge. When he stops, he remains silent.

His limbs are loose but taut like a child, and though he cannot say it, a shy smile in the corner of his mouth and a softening of his eyes would suffice.



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