He knew better now.
"Say it," his – still useless – therapist insisted.
He kept staring at her, wondering at her complete ignorance of his inner turmoil, and at his apparent masochistic tendencies that made him keep his appointments with her. He really didn't know what had made him come here this time, knowing for sure that she could not help him, nor would he ever give in to her insistently repeated question.
What really had him on edge was exactly this: He knew. What he was doing to himself – or rather not doing – was profoundly stupid, not helping, not getting him anywhere at all.
Then again, it was all so obvious to him that he could not conceive of the others' blindness: Harry, Mrs Hudson, Sarah, Greg, and – Mycroft. And no one else anymore, by the way. His stomach did a painful roll and he moved his thoughts elsewhere. Not now. He was not going down that road now, and surely not here. This again only served to show how utterly ridiculous his behaviour was becoming. This was his goddamned therapist – she, of all people, should know about his pain and heartache – how else could he expect her to help him?
Oh, but this was the sore point: Did he? Want to be helped, that is? He pondered this question for a moment instead of lapsing back into thinking about the others. He moved his gaze from his therapist's expectant face to his own hands, which he should have known was a bad idea. Not good. A deep, suffocating wave of nausea rolled through him, leaving him light-headed and trembling, the crawling sensation filling his chest, radiating out from his stomach to grasp his lungs and heart. The taste of blood was suddenly on his tongue.
He did his best to snap out of it but his eyes were glued to his fingers, short nails (bit to the quick, if truth be told) and the scabby cuticles. Of course, he was not seeing any of that now.
"John, stop it!"
The order came harsh and cold, touching on something deeply rooted in his soldier's mind. He raised his eyes abruptly, sitting up straight and gathering his usual air of purposeful detachment around himself like a cloak. He had used it before, this no-nonsense persona of ex-soldier and disillusioned, I've-seen-it-all doctor. He could manage with its help again. The therapist's eyes bored into his.
"You are aware that I know what you're trying to do now, aren't you?" Her voice held no amusement at all and it occurred to John for the first time that maybe he was scaring her a little.
"I should not have come to you again," he mumbled, his first words in the last twenty minutes. His own voice grated on his ears, rusty and – just weird, like something was permanently stuck in his wind-pipe. And he could feel it there, too.