Tired eyes stared at the wall, refusing to close. The tourniquet was tight around his upper arm, needle in hand. How long had it been since his companion had left with that woman?
A woman is arguing money with her husband across the street—a child is chasing a dog—big man, walking with a limp, favoring his left leg. . .He's looking for something, asking directions. The beggar woman has five coins in her can. . .
Although he didn't want to admit it, Sherlock Holmes was having a horrible time coping with Watson's absence. He'd resorted to his syringe every night, sometimes multiple times a day. He hadn't touched a case. . .Nothing mattered anymore. Even his whirlwind of thoughts, overrun with everything he could hear outside his walls, meant nothing anymore. He didn't want to work out any problems, his mind was suffering. . .
Someone's on the stairs, walking quickly. Lestrade—he's skipped the squeaky one. No matter, the door's locked, he'll leave soon enough—no wait. There's someone with him. . . .
His heart hurt, in a way. He'd always heard distance cries of people with their broken hearts—something impossible, as a heart does not break. But that certainly didn't explain this pain he was suffering through. It was a pain that made his chest feel heavy, caused his mouth to be dry and sometimes, when he'd collapse from exhaustion, he'd awaken to a damp pillow—or damp jacket. He'd managed to swipe one of Watson's jackets before he left, and the detective kept it here in the study, sometimes pulling it close and burying his face in it. The doctor's scent was still on it, faintly, and it was soothing, if only for a moment.
They're whispering outside the door. How bothersome, they ought to just leave. I'm not opening the door.
Outside is far more interesting to them, undoubtedly. There's a robbery going on up the road, three boys, probably not above the age of thirteen. The bakery is booming with costumers today, the noise is much louder than usual. . . It's busier out there today, so much louder—
His eyes closed finally, mind still listening to countless sounds outside. There wasn't anything he could do to stop the whirlwind that possessed his mind. Dr. Watson's coat was on the arm of the chair and Holmes pulled it to his chest, inhaling the scent. The corners of his mouth twitched into a further frown, a lump presenting itself in his throat. The detective, with his usual cold demeanor and lack of feelings, felt like he could cry. Which thus proved he wasn't as heartless as he seemed.
He'd tried to prevent the wedding and John's leaving. . . So how had it ended up like this? He was alone now—the doctor had even taken the dog. The doctor. . .had taken everything when he left. The dog, Holmes's heart (oh how pitiful old boy, he told himself at the thought), and the detective's will among other things. Now, all the times he'd spent with the doctor were nothing but memories, the only thing that remained was the good doctor's jacket. Sometimes, Holmes—his mind lost to a strange delirium—would swear he could see the doctor, or hear him moving around in his old room, but upon inspection, found that it was only a ghost presented by his mind. After the first few times, he stopped inspecting these apparitions, letting them move until they were gone.
And it was at those times that he resorted to his syringe more often. He was alone. Completely alone—which hadn't really bothered him before, but now the table had turned. It did bother him, to no end. But no one else's company would suffice except for Doctor John Watson. That man. . .
If a gypsy had told him back then that John Watson would bring him heartache, he would've scoffed and never let the man close—well, was that so much a choice? It had happened, living in close quarters, perhaps this was only because they'd lived together for what seemed like ages. . .
Holmes let out a sigh, slowly putting his syringe back in its leather case. He removed the tourniquet from his arm—he couldn't do it. Watson had always frowned upon the habit. . .He pulled the doctor's jacket to his face again, sniffing it. He would give anything to have his doctor—his friend, his brother (and maybe. . .maybe something more, if only)—back by his side. But there would be no such luck. . .
A haze was finally beginning to set into Holmes's mind. His thoughts, still endless and unconnected, began to lose coherence. The rumble skied. . . Coming storm. . . No. . .wait. . .Sky. Rumbled. Storm. Yes, a bad one undoubtedly. . .
As though he were boneless, he slid from the chair to the floor, rough hands still clutching the jacket to his chest. Dreams began to invade his mind which was trying desperately to cling to consciousness. His body was achy though, far too tired. . .
If only you would come home now, John. Walk through that front door. Your steps on the stairs; I can always tell your steps from anyone else's. Your limp is defined; sometimes your cane hit a stair or the hand rail. . .
The detective took a deep breath, finally his mind dropped off into sleep.
"I tell you, he hasn't come out in nearly a month," Lestrade said quietly. "I've come by and he won't hear it. Even Mrs. Hudson is worried, bless her heart." The inspector shook his head, adjusting his hat with a sigh. "So you see, I had to come get you, he won't let anyone else in."
The doctor listened quietly before rapping his knuckles against the door. "Holmes." He called sternly. This behavior his former companion was showing was utterly childish. When there was no answer, he tried the doorknob again. There was no such luck of it being unlocked now. . .
He didn't want to have to kick the door in, but Holmes had hidden any spare keys and Watson didn't have his anymore. Well, Holmes would have to pay for the damage, of course, and though it didn't warrant the swift kick that broke the door, it certainly eased any of the doctor's qualms about doing it. He stepped into the room, leaning on his cane. He noticed Holmes sprawled on the floor and—clutching one of his good jackets? Wait, so this was where it had gone?
Somehow, he wasn't as angry about that as someone else might've been. In fact, he was even a little flattered. . .He shook his head, turning to the Inspector.
"I'll take care of it from here," he said softly—he knew Holmes wouldn't want anyone to see him like that. . Lestrade gave the doctor a skeptical look before hurrying back down the stairs. Once he heard the front door close, Watson turned back to Holmes's sleeping form. He went to the detective's side and knelt beside him.
Practiced hands brushed through messy, dark locks and Watson had to refrain from rolling his eyes. Holmes was so obviously at mess it wasn't funny. But he couldn't help the smile on his face. Holmes seemed to be sleeping rather peacefully—which was almost disappointing. But Holmes. . .was smiling in his sleep and Watson half wondered what his friend was dreaming about.
The doctor stayed by Holmes's side for a while before rising to evaluate the damage his partner had caused in his absence. Not that he was coming back anytime soon, but. . . He wandered the rooms, surprised to find only messes and nothing more outside of the study. Once he'd finished his survey, he returned to the sleeping detective's side and stroked his hair gently. Now, Watson was a good man, he would never dream of cheating on his beautiful Mary, but he couldn't deny the secret torch he'd held for the detective.
And perhaps he'd hurried off with Mary to deny the existence of this torch. No, he did love her, but not like he loved Holmes. He and the genius had been through so much together, how could he--? Mary was a beautiful woman, strong and precious to him, but Holmes. .. Holmes was something no other earthly being could ever hope to become, and yet he was flawed as any other man out there. He had a drug problem and tended to do his body harm on some many levels through such endeavors. He was rather anti-social and yet eccentric at the same time—Sometimes Watson thought Holmes had a mental problem of some sort. The man was a genius; he could deduce the most amazing facts from simple details and tended to stun many, including the doctor.
Watson would be lying if he said he didn't admire the other man in some way. But it was more than admiration that kept him by Holmes's side for so long. And despite his conclusion of being psychologically disturbed (and saying this was the reason for staying beside the detective), there was still more to it. It was love, he knew, it was sick and wrong—anyone and everyone would frown upon such feelings. . .
The doctor was pulled from his thoughts when Holmes's arms slipped around his waist and the detective—who was still asleep—was hugging him. And Watson blushed, patting Holmes on the head. For the moment, it was okay and he didn't mind, as it was only them now, and no one else was there and no one else mattered. He stroked Holmes's hair, letting the detective sleep. He settled his back against the chair, his own eyes closing. Any other work could wait, and Mary would wait—
And for the time being, that was okay with him.