When Sherlock Holmes got down of the cab, all eyes turned to him. Nobody had approved Lestrade's decision to call him for the case, even if they didn't have the ability to solve it without help. Some thought he was not ready, others simply didn't like him. It was the first time he was called in the last three months, since the night in the pool.
Anyone that looked at him now could judge that nothing had happened. He seemed fine, being terminated by only a few small details: the lost pounds, the deeper dark circles under his eyes... However, nothing in his expression indicated that he was still suffering. He hadn't forgotten the pain; however, he was a great actor and had found a way to move on.
Seeing that all eyes were focused on him, he instinctively touched his arm, even though it was impossible to see the needle marks hidden by the coat. He didn't talk to anyone as he entered the house, and went immediately to the office.
Lestrade was standing beside the body of a young girl, but turned when heard Sherlock coming.
- I'm glad you decided to help! It seems to be a murder disguised as suicide, but I don't see who might want to mur...
Before he could finish the sentence, Sherlock was pushing him out of office.
- I cannot concentrate with all that noise! - Sherlock said to Lestrade as he pushed him out of the room and closed the door.
When he was alone, he looked at her body and smiled. There was John, analyzing the injury caused by bullet that passed through the head of the young girl. Although a small part of his mind knew that what he saw wasn't real, he found it hard to ignore his friend in front of others. It was too real not to believe and now it appeared even when he wasn't under the influence of drugs.
- What do you think? - Asked kneeling beside John to better analyze the wound.
- The cause of death was obviously a shot in the left temple, but the gun is on the right hand. Also, by the position of the gun, I'm pretty sure it was planted.
He looked so real! Could it be that the truth was that he was still alive and that the scene at the pool was the real hallucination? He felt that something had happened that night, something beyond what he could remember. The last dose was more than ten hours ago, it couldn't still be in effect. He no longer needed the cocaine to be able to see his friend, now he always followed him. John wouldn't abandon him again.
- You always forget the most important things. There is gunpowder in the left hand, and this was the room of a left-handed.
Sherlock went to the computer, while John stood beside the body. Even while searching for deleted files, the consultant looked away every few seconds to check the presence of John.
- So what was it? Suicide or murder?
- Come here. – he said while turning the screen. - It's a suicide note. Apparently someone thought that deleting the file was enough to hide it.
John was so close that Sherlock was sure that if he reached out to touch him, he would feel the warmth of his body. Still, he feared that the contact would be enough to break the illusion. At that moment, Lestrade entered the office.
- Were you talking to someone? – he asked fearfully.
- No. – he replied without taking his eyes off John.
- The coroner arrived to remove the body. – he said a little embarrassed, feeling that he had interrupted something.
- It was suicide, arrest the girlfriend for obstruction. – he said getting up and leaving.
- Wait! She had no girlfriend, she was the bride of a male prosecutor. - Lestrade said stunned.
- Read the suicide letter, it's on the screen. She couldn't bear to have ended her affair with the roommate to get married, so he decided to die. When the colleague found the body, she pretended it was a homicide to protect the family from the truth.
He was right, of course. He did not need a confirmation. He looked at John again, silently thanking him for the help. And then they returned home.
He threw himself on the couch before turning again to his friend. He feared that if he lost sight of him for more than a few moments, he would be abandoned again. He couldn't endure this, likewise he couldn't bear the first time. He knew it wasn't moving on, it was getting increasingly stuck in the past. But nothing could prevent him from taking the little box that was on the table and prepare the next dose. Maybe he didn't hide his drugs because he wanted to be caught, he knew he needed help. But the only person who could help was dead.
- You should stop it. - John said. - It does nothing good for your health.
- Help me not follow the same path of that young girl. I don't think putting a bullet in my head would count as a good for my health.
His hands were steady, they never trembled when holding a syringe. Years of abstinence, only to surrender again to drugs. If the real John was there, he wouldn't allow that to happen. Of course that if he were there, this problem wouldn't exist.
- You are doing nothing to improve the situation! You know what to do for the pain to pass.
John was sitting on the arm of the couch and gently touched the shoulder of Sherlock, as if to comfort him.
- The pain will never end. – at the end of these words, he pushed the plunger and felt the drug enter into his bloodstream.
- You need to finish them off, Sherlock. Jim Moriarty isn't the solely responsible for what happened, you need to find the others. You need to find the others.
Those were the last words he heard before losing himself in the delirium. He hated the delusions, but he loved the peace that came after. An hour or two without thinking, it was what he needed now. Revenge might wait, now all he wanted was to forget everything for a few hours.
He looked at John one last time before closing his eyes and letting his mind wander. All that mattered was that they were working together again. Even that it wasn't real.