Sometimes John thinks it would be easier if the war had deprived him of sexual interest entirely. I didn't invade Afghanistan to be cockblocked by a sociopath, he would say, if he were the type to lose his temper more easily. He's a man who likes to know where he stands – he hates almost, in any scenario. That's what he would have said before, anyway. Sherlock was in that sense a kindred spirit, a man so sharply delineated by fact that the curves of an irrational world struggled to contain him. Two men so certain of themselves – but somehow, they seemed to collect almosts like body parts, more hidden and yet more evident than a head in the fridge: John almost hated the man sometimes, except that he almost loved him, in whatever way; they were almost like a married couple, except for all the ways in which they obviously were not; John could almost keep up with him… kind of and, some days, high on the thrill of the hunt, both of them alive and exhausted and ecstatic, he almost felt like the war had been worth it for the sake of bringing him to this moment.
And he could almost do life with Sherlock. Yes, the man was a nightmare, but John was used to those, and in his nightmares the murderers didn't get caught. Sherlock would be abusive, insensitive, ridiculous, and John, not usually pliant, would bend and bend and bend until something inside him would snap unless he escaped to reality for a while. Living with Sherlock Holmes was like being shot in the shoulder, and sex was a psychosomatic limp. He supposed that made boring, pretty women his crutch, which was probably cruel, but then, he'd developed a higher benchmark for cruelty these days.
And now… well, he could almost believe Sherlock was dead. And John had seen death, knew death, lived death, if that were possible – but it had always been a certainty. Almost was the space the winds of doubt blew through, shaking and chilling him. He kept the composure of a soldier, limped like a man whose problems could be neatly categorised, but below the surface things creaked and sighed. And on some nights when he laid awake, never crying, never speaking, he felt his foundations shift, and wished that Sherlock had never introduced him to the beginnings of this uncertainty.