I can’t help but wonder if the last two gifs are Sherlock’s “face death with dignity” face, or at least a conscious effort to not show how worried or maybe even afraid he is. He delays turning to face Moriarty for as long as possible, and right before he does it looks like he’s bracing himself.
It’s early enough in the game that Sherlock might not know what Moriarty’s planning, but he knows it won’t be good. Moriarty is out to hurt him. Not kill, that would be obvious. (But of course, there’s always the possibility that Moriarty was lying or changed his mind, or decided that the time is now.) He wants to hurt Sherlock, which when you think about it can ONLY mean hurting the people Sherlock cares about. I mean, what else does Sherlock have going for him? Just his massive intellect, and that’s safe because the name of the game is “Who’s cleverer?” For Moriarty, ordinary people are fun to manipulate and kill, but unless you spice things up it’s so easy it’s boring. For Sherlock it’s the same thing, just replace “manipulate and kill” with “deduce and catch/send to jail”. (And in his case it’s the ordinary people who occasionally make things interesting. That’s the difference between Moriarty and Sherlock: Moriarty acts where Sherlock observes. Sherlock suffers EXTREME boredom without something interesting going on, but instead of creating massive, unseen international crime networks or strapping bombs to people Sherlock merely sulks. He doesn’t care about most people in general, but neither does he see them as insects to squash in creative ways for entertainment.)
Where was I? Right- Moriarty and Sherlock want to beat each other, because neither of them has met anyone else as smart as they are (Mycroft aside). In each other they have a challenge. Sherlock is the first true challenge Moriarty has had in ages, if not ever, so he can be relatively certain Moriarty won’t kill him immediately. But for Moriarty, being smarter isn’t enough- he likes to hurt people. And Sherlock’s body is just transport. So: His intellect is safe, his body is unimportant, which just leaves his heart.
In short, Sherlock has very good reason to worry. But is he afraid? I think he must be. At his graveside John calls Sherlock “the most human- human” he’s ever known. Verbally stumbling in a highly emotional state, probably, but I’m inclined to agree with him. Sherlock is incredibly human to me; he goes to such incredible lengths to hide his emotions, which to me is a sure sign that he learned at a young age that to show emotion was to expose himself a world that doesn’t understand or like him. Geniuses are not well liked unless they have other, “redeeming” qualities, which Sherlock hasn’t got. Unlike his brother (who you’ll note occupies a minor position in the British government whereas Sherlock is an antisocial unknown before John’s blog accidentally makes him famous), Sherlock does not understand people, to the point where I’m positive he has an actual disability. I’m not qualified to diagnose him with anything, but he’s presumably 30-something and still doesn’t get it. He can fake the “correct” behaviors when he wants something from somebody, but he doesn’t understand how people’s minds work. This means that people don’t understand HIM either, because he functions outside the norms that he doesn’t know, and as a general rule humans don’t like what they don’t understand. Imagine Sherlock as a child: absolutely brilliant, deductions and leaps of logic right and left, but with the same or less understanding of how NOT to upset and offend people than he does now. I imagine he had to withdraw from society at a fairly young age in self-defense. As an adult, he’s deliberately abrasive because he doesn’t know how else to protect himself, emotionally. If he’s deliberately rude people won’t like him because they think he’s an asshole. The alternative is being disliked for being himself. John is the best thing to ever happen to Sherlock: for probably the first time in his life, he has a friend, a true friend, who not only recognizes and admires his mind, but accepts Sherlock without judging him. John recognizes that Sherlock honestly doesn’t understand, and gently corrects him rather than make Sherlock feel that he, rather than what he said or did, is bad and wrong.
So yes, Sherlock has a heart he now has to worry about, and it’s probably a more vulnerable heart than most because he’s afraid to even acknowledge it. And in the mean time, I imagine he’s feeling dreaded Doubt. (I suspect doubt is such a big deal to him because all he has is his intellect. His heart is locked away and everything else is just transport. All he cares about is making correct deductions, not what people think of them, and his deductions are almost never wrong. Doubt cannot be a common occurrence, and in light of how important knowing he’s right is, I imagine it is utterly terrifying.)
Doubt, because the last time he went up against Moriarty, Sherlock lost. He and John got out of the pool alive, but only because Moriarty let them. Moriarty had Sherlock right where he wanted him, and the ONLY way out Sherlock could see was to shoot the jacket, triggering an explosion that in all likelihood would have killed all of them. (Holy- I only just now realized this) In BOTH showdowns between Sherlock and Moriarty, the only move for Sherlock was to kill himself. Moriarty could do whatever the hell he wanted, because no matter what Sherlock did, Moriarty won.
And Sherlock must know that, worse than that, Moriarty wouldn’t have abandoned the pool if he weren’t utterly confident that he could put Sherlock in an equally powerless situation again. When Moriarty was creeping up the stairs to pay Sherlock a visit, Sherlock knew this wasn’t a fun game anymore, a battle of wits between two equally intelligent, equally bored geniuses. Ever since the pool Sherlock has known the game is now one of his own, and probably his friends’, survival. And if he’s fighting for his life, there’s a possibility that he won’t win.