July 2, 2104

I was myself not a moment ago, now I have been lost unto a repose that mirrors death its self. At first I felt it natural to be disturbed by my thoughts, but that notion quickly left, replaced by intrigue. How is it that I could feel this way about my life? It left me dreading the walk to my grave, yet almost longing for it. The game is my repertoire, but why?

July 6, 2104

From out of a hover car emerged two figures conversing in a hurried manner, a young woman and a metal man. They paused to gaze up at 221b. Baker Street's still drawn curtains with apprehension.

"You said he's been like this for four days now?"

"Yes, I have no idea how to rouse him. He hasn't moved from the couch except for occasional trips to the toilet; the man acknowledges nothing."

The woman pursed her lips determinedly. "We'll see about that," as she forcefully entered the suite, leaving Watson on the stoop.

Beth Lestrade took the steps to the sitting room two at a time, not bothering to knock before entering. She found herself stuck dumb at the sight of it all. A massive chemistry set occupied what floor space wasn't covered by stacks of books, papers, and furniture. Bottles of unknown liquids lay strewn about, or unceremoniously knocked over. The only clear place in the whole room was a lone chair by the fireplace, in which sat a hawk like man, his head bowed.

"Do take care not to upset my chemicals, Lestrade." The languor in Holmes's voice accentuated by a wave of his pale hand. "I should hate to see them spilt." He didn't look up.

Lestrade started to open her mouth.

"I suppose Watson sent for you then?"

Her mouth closed. "He did. What is the meaning of all this, Holmes? I haven't heard from you in days."

"My dear Inspector," he said looking at her finally, "surely you are aware I get a bit in the dumps, why act surprised?"

"Being depressed is one thing, what you're doing is something else."

"Is it really?"

"What have you been doing in here anyway?" She gestured towards the glass set on the floor.

Holmes followed her gaze with his eyes rather than turning his head. "I have been attempting to re-create a sedative that has been off the market for some time. I dear say I've succeeded. The solution works as it should."

Lestrade narrowed her eyes at him, speaking sternly. "What solution?"

"Hm? Oh. Morphine." He held up an ancient syringe. "I would offer to you, but I agreed with the real Watson that the sharing of needles is a nasty habit."

Lestrade's face contorted into shock, her mind unaware of the steps her body took to bring herself down to Holmes's level, unconsciously making a swipe for the needle. Her senses returned when she realized her fingers connected with something hard and cold. Holmes's hand. His grey-blue eyes clearing up to give her an unreadable stare.

"Never do that again." His voice calm, but furious; thin fingers flexing around her small wrist. "Now, sit down before I have you thrown out." He released her and placed the syringe in its morocco case.

Lestrade flopped into the opposing arm chair usually inhabited by Watson, mind-boggled. Holmes had never behaved this way, sure she read about his unsavoury habits, but never of him reacting so vehemently to a lady.

Then again, she thought, I'm probably the only person who's ever tried to force him away from his drug addiction.

"Yes . . . you are the only one to ever attempt that."

"What?" Lestrade started.

Holmes stared at his lap, the old Stradivarius across his knee. "Not even Watson dared to try using force."

"But Morphine? You shot yourself up with self-brewed Morphine. Holmes, why in the hell would you do such a thing? How did you know what I was thinking?"

His sensitive lips curved into a genial smile. "Would you care to hear something?" He brought the violin to his chin and began to play a slow, pensive song.

"How did you know?" She begun to rise.

The music halted. "You were grinding your teeth in anger and clearly shook up. How could I not know? Now kindly let me play, perhaps the music will settle your nerves."

Lestrade pushed herself as deep into the plush chair as she could go, defeated, for now. Watson had been right, there was just no talking to Holmes in this state. She closed her eyes, forcing herself to concentrate on the music instead of daydreaming about beating the detective senseless with one of his thick books. It failed.

"Holmes, this is insane. Why do this to yourself?" Lestrade shot up towards him, placing one hand on either arm of his chair, bringing them nose to nose; the violin hanging forgotten in one hand.

Holmes gazed ahead blankly and gave her a smile that was half smirk. "Since you will not leave, or let me to my Stradivarius, I suggest supper. Unless I miss my guess, Watson has come to fetch us for that very reason."

Watson, who at that moment had just raised a hand to knock, spoke on hearing himself addressed. "I did whip up a beef and carrot stew; if you would care to join us, Inspector."

Lestrade glanced from Watson back down to Holmes. "I'll eat if he does."

Holmes smiled and shrugged. "Well, we can't have a lady go hungry can we, Watson? I guess I have no choice. Shall we then?"

"Yes, lets." Lestrade smiled with a sarcastic twitch, backing off. "After you, Holmes."

"As you wish."

July 7, 2104 -midnight

A light unto my feet.

July 11, 2104

Someone was shouting. He was sure of it. But who? Now another voice entered the row. Was he shouting back? Impossible to tell, though now silence reigned.

"I curse the day life its self donned an evil face." That, he was positive was said aloud.

A female voice; concerned. "Holmes?" Dampness crossed his brow.

His eyes flashed open, throwing the washcloth across the room. Leaning to one side he struck the girl with a glare like none other.

"Heavens, Lestrade, how long have I been out? What is today?"

Lestrade snapped. "How the hell should I know?" Calling over her shoulder as she stood, "Watson! He's awake."

With all the rush of a mother hen, the robot of a man came in and breathed a sigh of relief. "Good God, Holmes, you had me worried you hadn't just fallen asleep."

"Fallen asleep . . . Yes, I lied down naught two hours ago. Really, Watson, such a fuss over a nap."

Watson looked incredulous. "I don't call slipping into shallow breathing a nap."

"Nonsense. I'm perfectly fine."

"Perfectly fine? Perfectly fine?! You haven't eaten in three days. Look at yourself," Lestrade dropped a mirror in his lap. "Go on. Take a look."

He had to agree with her, he did look deplorable. His eyes were glossed over, his clothes wrinkled, and his dark blond hair stuck up at odd angles. Anger welled in him. "What is it to you, Inspector? Losing pay?" The mirror hit the wall opposite, shattering into tiny pieces.

"Holmes, that mirror was a valuable antique, why . . . ," Watson began.

"Yes, and now it's broken." Holmes spat bluntly.

"Enough of this, I'm leaving. Call me when you find your brain in this mess you live in." Lestrade took up her coat and stormed out.

Watson rounded on him. "Holmes really, you have been nothing short of unbearable to her lately. This needs to stop."

"You're right. Get out."

"What?" Watson looked at him quizzically.

"Get out." He reiterated softly.

Watson's brow knitted in consternation. "But, Holmes. . .why?"

"A grand adventure to emulate the late Dr. Watson I'm sure, but do you really believe it to be in good taste?" Holmes put his back to the other. "Like our dear Inspector Lestrade, except I suspect having the real thing under your finger is much better."

"Fine, Holmes. I'll leave you to yourself then."

"Thank you."

July 14, 2104

Before my eyes you're gone, lost in a life I cannot know. I never knew time could vanish the way it has. I never wanted to stand alone.

That damn woman is at my door again.

July 16, 2104

Lay your hands on me God . . .

July 19, 2104

"Holmes, get out here now!"

"Lestrade, I have no intentions of leaving my bedchamber today. Your pounding on the door for the hundredth time will not persuade me."

"I'll kick it in."

"You will do no such thing."

"Wanna bet?" A heavy thud resonated as her foot connected with wood.

Holmes threw open the door livid. "Inspector Lestrade, I will not tolerate this behaviour in my home."

Lestrade fixed him with a sneer. "Nice to see you up and dressed. I feel so special."

Holmes snorted, securing the tie to the mousey dressing robe he had thrown on over his sleeping bottoms. "What the devil do you want?"

Lestrade pushed past him. "To see where you've stuck yourself."

"Yes, I'm sure."

"Holmes. Seriously, what did you say to Watson?"

"Ask him yourself." He motioned towards the door, and returned to his bed.

"I can't."

"Shut himself off did he?" Holmes's muffled voice rose from among pillows.

"Yes. Now what did you say?"

"It seems to me, that a private conversation between two individuals is just that," Holmes rolled onto his back, pushing up his sleeve, reaching for the syringe all the while, "private. Surely you don't divulge to others what is said in confidence. Do be so kind as to hand over that vile in your hand."

A rather arrested expression arose in her face. "Holmes, no! You can't keep doing this, not again."

"Once again, I have no choice with you do I?" He sighed, and with a deft leap moved for her. Lestrade pinned herself to the wall, the vile behind her.

"Holmes, don't you dare." She kicked him, causing him to stumble a bit. Throwing himself at her, he wrestled her to the floor. Lestrade fought him as best she could, but for someone so sinewy, he was remarkably strong. Nerves frayed, and tired from arguing with him every day, she slumped down watching as he drove the morphine into his dotted arm. Holmes smiled wide, fading back onto his bed.

"Why do you do this to yourself? You know you haven't worked on anything in almost a month?" Lestrade started shaking despite herself. Holmes slid to the floor watching her watch his eyes glaze over.

"What do you want?" He asked gently, bringing his knees up in his arms, sitting; his eyes suddenly brilliant.

"Stop."

July 20, 2104

. . . oh please won't you say . . .

July 21, 2104

There. That was the last of it down the drain. She still couldn't believe he'd handed all of it over to her to dispose of. It had taken a few more arguments that she never wanted to recollect again, but she won. He even allowed her to thoroughly search his room just in case. Still, with all his drug gone, he listlessly lay upon the couch, eyes vacant. Lestrade supposed it was him coming off weeks of abuse, only he never answered her inquiries.

Watson was slowly coming round after whole-heartedly accepting an apology from Holmes. Strange thing was, Lestrade was almost prepared to swear Holmes's words were false, though his tone said otherwise. A great uneasiness filled her, as if the morphine had kept them from losing the detective altogether.

He no longer touched the food Watson brought him, and his bones were becoming more pronounced. Lestrade had told the Yard about Holmes's declining health, but they all shrugged it off as trickery on his part. They wouldn't send a doctor just to prove he could act. So there he lay, sleeping fitfully in his bed, as Lestrade kept vigil in the doorway.

"What do you want?" Said a tired voice, snapping Lestrade out of the stupor she had fallen into against the doorjamb.

"What?"

Holmes looked at her wearily. "You stand there so often . . . what do you want?"

Lestrade became indignant. "Don't start. You stress me out, you know that?"

Holmes chuckled. "It's raining."

Lestrade took a breath, listening hard, barely distinguishing the soft patter of rain that Holmes had probably heard sharp as a bell. "So it is." He didn't respond. "Holmes?" She sat for a moment, watching the rise and fall of his chest. Huh, his hair has a wave to it, she noted, absentmindedly brushing loose strands off his forehead.

Man, I need sleep, she thought mid-yawn. Striding to the door, Lestrade paused to look back at him, her finger on the light switch. Night, Holmes. She sighed, turning away.

July 23, 2104

. . . that you'll heal me today.

July 24, 2104

Holmes was gone. Watson and Lestrade searched every inch of the Baker Street flat with no luck. The great detective, illness and all, had simply up and vanished. Lestrade hated to admit it to herself, but Holmes had probably walked out the front door, into the thunderstorm.

Perfect. He has to choose now of all times to disappear on us. She grumbled to herself angrily about him, casting worrisome glances at the entry way, as if he'd just stepped out for a breath of air. This was driving her mad.

"Oh, where could he be? He shouldn't be out in this weather, not in his condition." Watson wrung his hands as he paced in front of the fire.

"I know, Watson, I know. That's the sixth time you've said that in less minutes. We've looked everywhere we can for now, try to be patient. He'll turn up."

"Lestrade, that is all very well indeed, but Holmes does not simply vanish like this when truly ill."

"But he has."

Watson opened his mouth to reply, but thought better of it. "Are you hungry? It's almost time for supper." He asked instead.

"Sure, I am a little."

"Right then, I'll get started on that. You call me up if you need anything." The silver man headed for the kitchens with renewed vigour, believing that if Holmes did return, at least he would have a healthy, warm meal waiting for him. Lestrade, feeling edgy just sitting, got up, telling herself that one more go around couldn't hurt.

First up, the bedrooms, she told herself.

Absolutely nothing out of the ordinary was to be discovered in Watson's chambers. So she moved on to Holmes's room, her enthusiasm dwindling, nothing new to be seen at all. The room was still an unbelievable mess of everything he couldn't fit in the sitting room below.

When did he leave the radio on? Lestrade thought as low singing reached her ears. Wait a minute . . . She flung the window wide open and climbed onto the roof.

"Nice of you to join me up here, Lestrade, it's quite invigorating." Said Holmes, sitting up against the chimney stack.

"Holy . . . Holmes, what are you doing up here?" Now completely soaked, Lestrade walked up to him glaring. "We've been looking for you everywhere."

"Not true. Had you looked closer you would have seen the water spots on the sill and floor from when I first opened the window to come up."

"You'll catch your death up here. Come inside." She folded her arms around her body, discovering she was rather cold. "Please."

"You will not win this one, Lestrade, of that I am most certain. Sit down. You'll be warmer if you do."

"I'll be warmer inside. Now come on." She tugged on his shoulder.

"I am not coming in."

"Why not? There's no reasoning behind this."

"There is always a reason for everything I do."

"What then?" She exasperated. "Tell me."

"Sit down."

Lestrade sighed and sat beside him. "There. Now will you tell me?"

Holmes wrapped his arm around her and pulled her in tight. Lestrade felt heat rising in her face when he pressed his lips to her ear. She felt him smile only to hear, "why only me?" whispered in her ear. She frowned.

"What? I don't understand."

Holmes put his head back and inhaled deeply. "He died today you know."

"What? Who died? When?"

"Watson, my dear, Watson . . ."

"Watson's down stairs, Holmes. He's fine."

Holmes shook his head. "I'm not acting. I am ill, but I do think I put too much on you this month. That downstairs, is not John Watson, close, but most definitely not him, nor will he ever be. No . . . John Watson died one-hundred-and-seventy-five years ago today."

Lestrade's expression lightened into sympathy. "I'm sorry." Her hand found his knee.

"My dear Watson was a remarkably ordinary man, but so much more. I will never be completely content with a robot as opposed to the real thing, but it matters not."

"Are you sure about that?"

His lips found her ear again, as the wind roared up. "Yes," he whispered. "This world was never meant for his eyes. I scarcely understand how I myself have managed to adapt."

"You're stronger than you think. We could always try you know, to bring him back. I'm sure there is a DNA sample of his somewhere."

"Ah, yes there is, and it's currently in the labyrinth that is my sleeping quarters. But as I said, no."

"Why not?"

"Because I chose this for myself after he died. I would never be so presumptuous to choose for him to live life over, and expect him to be happy."

"Are you happy?" Holmes's fingers twitched on her arm.

"What do you want, Lestrade?"

"Me? Nothing."

Holmes smiled. "Yes, I am happy."


A/N January 2010

This chapter was written as a separate short story along the same vein as the rest of the tale and as such is now technically a forward, or more to the point an event that happened possibly a few weeks to a month before chapter two.

Corrected minor slips in punctuation, and checked for words spelled in the American variation that might have been overlooked.

Random song lyrics are from "Lay Your Hands On Me, God", Dave Long, Joel Weldon Hendrickson & Steve Mills © 1992 - Little Peach Music, Inc.

Title pulled from the song "Numb", The Sickness (2000), Disturbed.