A/N I've had this one written for a while and wasn't sure whether or not to post it, but I figured it couldn't hurt. Well, it couldn't hurt me anyways.
As the Bell Rings
Written by RippleInThePond
Sherlock sat across from John as he normally does, his hands clasped under his mouth as he stared at John. John was reading the paper in an attempt to find a job. He knew that Sherlock couldn't support them as he had a horrible tendency to be a complete arse to anyone but John and would be unable to hold a job. John looked up at Sherlock and raised an eyebrow.
"What're you doing?" Sherlock continued to stare straight ahead as he responded. "I'm thinking. Be quiet." John rolled his eyes and shook his head good-naturedly. The doorbell rang, and John left the room. Sherlock heard chatter in the back of his mind as John spoke with the man at the door, not paying attention to the words. He heard their voices become hushed and thought he heard a cry of sadness, but ignored it.
John ushered the man out and walked back upstairs. Without looking at John, Sherlock asked, "Who was that?" John walked over to his chair and sat down, a letter between his fingers as he placed his head in his hands and his shoulders began to shake. Sherlock sighed exasperatedly and leaned over, grabbing the letter from John. He soon found that he wished he hadn't.
Dr. John Watson,
By order of her majesty the Queen, you are hereby drafted to serve in the royal army in the coming battle. You are to depart in seven days at 6:30 a.m. from Heathrow...
The paper fluttered out of Sherlock's hands as he lost his grip. He felt his chest become heavy as a new emotion filled him: fear. He felt numb, his mind ceasing to work. His hands began to shake as his now over-active mind that had gone blank realized what was happening.
John was being called to war. He was leaving in seven days, and he might not come home. They sat in almost complete silence, John crying quietly as Sherlock sat dumbfounded in shock. Sherlock's singular compassion towards his friend caused his human instincts to react at the sight of his one true friend's distress.
He stood up and walked over to John, laying a hand on his shoulder as he kneeled in front of him. John looked up, his streaked with tears. He threw his arms around Sherlock. "I-I can't go back. I c-can't do it, Sherlock. I almost lost myself last time! I can't d-do it again!"
Sherlock felt John's tears seeping into his jacket, but he couldn't bring himself to care that it would be ruined. He held his friend until he stopped crying, his tears putting him to sleep. He carried John to his room and tucked him into bed. Sherlock went to his room and rage burned through him. He took his phone out of his pocket and dialed Mycroft, his brother picking up almost immediately.
"Get him out of it." He heard Mycroft sigh over the phone. "Get whom out of what, Sherlock?" Sherlock began to pace the room. "John! John, Mycroft! Undo it!" He heard Mycroft sigh again with annoyance. "Get him out of what, Sherlock? Whatever mess he's in, he was probably put there by you."
Sherlock practically screamed. "Keep him out the war!" Sherlock heard silence on the other end of the phone. "What?" Sherlock growled. "You know, exactly what you bloody arse! John was drafted." Sherlock waited for response, and it came in a whisper. "... Sherlock, I wasn't informed. If I was unaware, that means i do not have the jurisdiction to do release him. I may 'be the government' as you put it, but there are still people higher than me. I can't do anything."
Sherlock threw the arm that wasn't using the phone up in the air. "Try dammit!" Mycroft was silent before responding. "I'm sorry Sherlock." There was a click as Mycroft ended the call and Sherlock threw the phone at the wall, and it shattered on impact. He fell to his knees and laid his head in his hands as he cried for the first time since Redbeard.
The next seven days passed in a blur. John would pack boxes for most of the day while Sherlock would distract himself from the pain with drugs and immersing himself into the case he was on, completely ignoring John. Sometimes Sherlock would open his mouth as if to say something, but nothing would ever come out. Sometimes John would walk into the room and Sherlock was blind to his arrival.
On the day before John left, John returned home from the storage unit where he was placing his belongings to find Sherlock asleep. He was in on the couch, curled up into a ball, but there were tears on his cheeks and he held one of John's sweaters to his chest.
John felt his heart break as he was reminded that he was leaving Sherlock behind. He was Sherlock's only friend. Sure, there was Lestrade and Molly, but for Sherlock, John knew that Sherlock viewed only him as his best friend.
John walked to his room and pulled a blanket from the closet that he had been meaning to take with him; he had had it since he was a child. He placed it on top of Sherlock and went back to his room.
Sherlock woke at 5:45 the next morning, his tired mind not remembering what the day was. When he remembered, he shot up of the couch, the blanket had laid on him falling off. He grabbed it, his mind automatically deducing it was John's blanket and that John had had it a long time. Sherlock gave a small smile as he thought of the sentimental man he had become friends with.
He walked to the kitchen to find John putting on his coat, his suitcase lying next to him. John looked up at him, his eyes haggard. Sherlock walked over and hugged him with uncharacteristic kindness. "You come back, you hear me?" John nodded and then picked up his suitcase and descended the stairs. Sherlock quickly called out, "John!" John stopped at the bottom of the stairs and Sherlock grabbed something from his room before running down the stairs and placing it in John's hands.
It as the blue scarf that Sherlock wore everywhere. John looked at him confused. Sherlock gave a smirk, putting up a facade. "I expect to get that back from you." John gave a small shake of his head before smiling and going to walk out the door. He turned back slightly towards Sherlock. "Goodbye, Sherlock."
Sherlock numbly walked back inside the flat and into John's room. He looked around the room for a piece of John that had been left behind, but all he could find was a piece of paper. He picked it up and began to read it as he sat on the bed.
If you are reading this, then I have already left for Heathrow and whether or not I will be returning is a mystery. I'm afraid that I must apologize to you, however. I am not a brilliant detective like you, but I know what I see plainly before my eyes.
I am one of your few friends, I know that I am the only one you view as your best friend, and I have left you alone. I pray that you can forgive me. Make sure to get a new partner. Your cases can get dangerous and you need someone to back you up.
That blanket is something I have had since I was very young, and I want you to have it. I expect to be coming back, but that blanket is a part of me, and just in case I don't come back, it is now yours.
Don't ignore the people around you Sherlock. While I may be your closest friend, you are not alone. Please be safe and be there to pick me up when I get back.
Eight months had passed since John had gone into the army, and Sherlock received letters from his friend every other week. Sometimes they were mundane, merely an update on events. Others were more exciting when John spoke of an experience or a time that he was reminded of life back home.
However, on April 8, it didn't come. Sherlock thought that maybe John had just had nothing to write. But when the 22nd came and there was no letter, Sherlock feared the worst. He sat in his chair back at the flat, staring at where John should have been sitting. He heard the doorbell ring and he raced to the door only to find that it was not the mailman.
Mycroft stood outside the door in the pouring rain, one hand holding an umbrella above his head, the other in his pocket. His face held a somber and forlorn expression. His head had been tipped down slightly and when he heard the door open, he looked up. Sherlock saw the look in his eyes, and his heart shattered. Mycroft lifted a hand his hand out of his pocket.
It was the scarf he had given John as a token before he left.
"I'm so so sorry." Sherlock felt the world fall away as Mycroft explained that there had been an ambush and they had targeted the doctors so there was no one to help the wounded. He fell to his knees and his head tilted forward bonelessly, but he couldn't feel it. He couldn't feel it when Mycroft laid the hand holding the scarf on his shoulder in a gesture of comfort. He dimly felt tears streak down his face, the hand on his shoulder tightening. Sherlock was numb as his heart shattered.
John was gone. He was dead and no unsolved case or unexpected miracle could bring him back.