Author Note: A lot of firsts for me in this story. This would be my first proper Sherlock Holmes multi-chap story- although I haven't really been writing for this fandom long so I have an excuse, and it is the first one in first person format. So if it goes atrociously wrong, please tell me.

Pairings: Holmes/Watson

Warnings: Dark, mentions of drug abuse, slash

Though Words Come Hindmost

"But that is in my thoughts, whose love to you

(Though words come hindmost) holds his rank before

Then others for the breath of words respect,

Me for my dumb thoughts, speaking in effect"

*

"My tongue-tied Muse in manners holds her still,

While comments of your phrase, richly compil'd,

Reserve their character with golden quill"

Sonnet 85, William Shakespeare

*

Dear John,

I don't even know why I'm writing this letter to you. It seems like a foolish endeavour, as I know you may never read what is written upon these pages, the quixotic and inane ramblings of a man who has little left to lose but his only friend, but it is one borne of hope that one day you'll understand why I'm doing this. I should just stop now, but like my many vices I have not the strength of will to hold me back. It always seemed to be you who helped me stop, who held me back with strong arms and a desperate loyalty I have never been able to understand.

I'm not one for subtleties Watson, never have been. You should know; you seem to understand me better then anyone else alive. Even my own flesh and blood in the form of Mycroft- solid, sensible Mycroft- has less in common with me then you do. I don't know why or quite understand, something that frustrates me greatly, but you and me are both on the same page, our thoughts, although not completely the same, at least meet upon the same wavelength. I often wonder why you put up with me; my moods, my vices, and my petulant behaviour, but I'm afraid I must disappoint you again.

As I can look at the clock- it is yours really, but for some reason I find it still sitting upon my mantle despite the fact you have moved out, I can see that you will be married in no less than four minutes and thirty seven seconds. I kept my eyes on the clock as though it is my lifeline, and although my spirits sink lower the closer the clock counts down to zero, I find I cannot turn away. In barely any time at all, you will belong to someone else, somebody other than me. I always considered you mine Watson, perhaps too possessively, an attachment that I now reap the benefits of, as I am left without your presence. It hurts and I feel less in control. The high I find myself experiencing with my drugs is a parody to the rush I feel when I am around you, and over the years I have become dependant on it. Now you are no longer here I am forced to experience the withdrawal, shown in the days locked in my rooms away from the light, my mind listless and unable to grasp onto any stimuli. I'm quite sure that soon I will drive Mrs Hudson quite demented with my tuneless violin plucking, no solid rhythm, just a constant sound that drowns out my hurt for a few short hours until cruel reality catches up with me. You just always seemed to be there for me and I tried to do the same for you over the years. I like to think we've become close since we first met, as close as brothers, and I would do almost anything to see you happy. Except one thing, which is why I can't accept your invitation. It sits in front of me as I write, mocking, embossed paper with words that seem to burn like fire every time I look upon them.

John Watson and Mary Morstan

Formally invite you to their wedding ceremony…

There is more but I cannot look upon it. I know you want me there John, and I am truly sorry. In any other circumstances I would be standing at your side, proud to be your best man, proud to be considered in a place of such high honour, but such things can never come to pass. I can't stand by you, not today; it would hurt too much. To know you are being married off to another is torture enough, but to stand there and watch it happen, unable to say anything…it would be unbearable. The action would hurt us both, and having been given the choice however distasteful, I would rather you suffered from my absence than from the hurt caused from the bitter words I would undoubtedly voice. I can't hold my tongue Watson, you know that. Even if it is for your sake. You deserve better old boy, and the only sadness borne of this sorry predicament is that I cannot provide you with such. This is the life you want and I find myself unable to deny you that, however much it pains me. You were always more sentimental than me Watson. If either of us were to ever rise above the constant status of bachelor, I would have waged my bets upon you every time. And you deserve it; deserve every moment of happiness you can catch hold of. Even if it does not correspond with my own.

I know I am not the easiest person to get on with, and over time I've realised that you are my only friend, and the best kind I could ever have asked for. Of course, I have acquaintances and colleagues and family, but it has only ever been you, Watson, who has kept by me through it all. Despite my vices, despite my childishness, despite my recklessness that has nearly gotten you killed on more than one occasion. Yours is a friendship I do not ever wish to lose, the wishes of a lonely and selfish man, and I hope we will remain close despite your marriage. Cavendish place is not far, I believe. You could come and visit me, wife permitting, and if you ever wanted me over for dinner or just wanted to see me… I would be more than happy to oblige.

Because of my belief and trust in our friendship, I will leave you to take the path you have chosen, wherever it may lead you, or leave me. I can only hope in my heart that I do not lose sight of you in the process.

Faithfully,

Your Sherlock.

***

Dear Sherlock,

This letter you will never read, tucked away at the back of my notebook, hidden from prying eyes, but I am writing it regardless. You would call me illogical and overly sentimental, I know, but I feel- I hope- that at some level you could understand what I'm trying to put into words. My thoughts are jumbled and I can't follow them, so distracted am I, but writing this down my help me untangle the wound-up strings in my mind. Strange that I am about to be married, but the only person I find myself thinking of is you.

I have resigned myself to the fact that you aren't coming, despite you knowing what it would mean to me. I fully understand you do not approve of my marriage and consider it a slight upon our long friendship, but I cannot help but feel saddened that for one day you could not stow away your stubbornness and stand at my side. I need you to talk to, Holmes. In truth, I am unsure of what I am doing here, dressed in an uncomfortable suit and self-conscious about the cane in my hand, and you are the only one I could talk to about it. It is five minutes (four minutes and thirty- seven seconds, I know how you like your accuracy) till I am to be at the altar, marrying the woman that supposedly I love. Perhaps it is just pre-wedding nerves but I can't help feeling that something more fundamental is wrong with what I'm doing. I do not know but you see to be at the heart of it, the master puppeteer holding all the strings. It was with a heavy heart I moved out of Baker Street, away from you, and it is with an even heavier weight that I commit my thoughts to paper as though the mere act of me writing them down makes them more real.

I miss you Holmes, more than I should. It is true we have not really parted, but it feels as such. It is strange not waking up to the sound of Gladstone barking or the noise your damned experiments make when they go wrong. Soon I will be waking up next to another body, and even stranger experience still.

I fear that my marriage will part us, my friend, and that is the last thing I want to come of this. You have corrupted me too much with your presence and it seems now like you are the only constant I possess. Without you, I am lost. I have nowhere to turn and I am so scared of being alone.

Three minutes and I suppose I better go. Get it over and done with. I am Mary's as of three minutes, and unless you come bursting in at the 'speak now or forever hold your peace' moment- which I wouldn't put past you, I know you too well, I will be married off. My hands are shaking and if I ever needed you, it would be now.

For what I am about to do, I am so sorry. Please forgive me.

Your John