A/N: When thinking of a name for this story, I decided to use the song title When The Heartache Ends by Rob Thomas. Only after choosing this title, did I notice that the song fits perfectly :-) Please review.
Disclaimer: I do not own Sherlock. It's owned by the BBC and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
As the cab reached London, the rain became torrential. The roads were covered in a layer of rain that the drains were incapable of shifting at such a pace. Although it was only 3pm, the sky had darkened to a steely blanket of cloud, which showed no sign of clearing for the rest of the day. The cab pulled up outside 221b Baker Street, sloshing rain onto the pavement. John Watson paid the cab driver and hastily made his way to the front door, feeling himself becoming drenched in the brief moment it took him to find his house keys. Thunder rumbled overhead as he struggled with the door, shifting his hold-all further up on his shoulder. Heat and light from the house hit him powerfully in the face and, as he closed the door behind him, he took in the welcoming sight of the empty hallway of his house.
"John? Is that you?" came Mrs Hudson's voice from down the hallway. She appeared with her arms out stretched and a warm smile on her face. She pulled him into a hug. John laughed uncomfortably.
"How are you, dear? How's your sister?"
"Fine, fine, we're both fine," John told her, shuffling further into the house with his bag still weighing down on his shoulder. He felt his landlady's eyes on him as he made his way to the bottom step.
"How about I cook something up for you tonight? Just this once, mind you. What do you say?"
John smiled at her politely. This is what Mrs Hudson did best. Comforting in the only way she knew how.
"Thank you, that's very kind, but I don't think I could manage anything."
The woman nodded, and John saw the flash of pity cross her face.
"Oh, John...before I forget..." The passed him a red jumper, neatly folded. "Sarah brought this round while you were away. I told her I'd pass it on."
John nodded and gave a tight smile.
"Uh, thank you." He began to climb the stairs, willing to get away from the awkwardness that fell between them. "Is he in?" he called back to her.
"Yes, dear. But he's not in a good way..."
John didn't wait for her to elaborate, but continued up the stairs. As he passed the sitting room, he took a quick glance through the open door, and saw two bent knees poking up from behind the sofa arm. John tackled the next flight of stairs, and dropped his bag down heavily on the bedroom floor. His bed looked so inviting, and having spent the last five nights on a sofa, his shoulder was aching dully. John rotated it, feeling the joint creak. He took a long look at the jumper in his hand, and fought the urge to breathe in the smell of it. He gave a long sigh, and with a huge effort, headed to the sitting room. The room was dim, and though the curtains were open, the sky had darkened considerably. John crossed the sitting room floor and switched on the desk lamp. A packet of nicotine patches lay unopened beside it. He turned to regard the person lying motionless on the sofa, his knees bent up and his eyes directed at the window. A button on his shirt was being agitated between an index finger and thumb.
John headed for the sofa and sat on the floor at one end. He placed a cool hand on his friend's forehead, and let it linger there for a brief moment before pulling it away. Sighing, he scrambled up, and headed for the kitchen. It was in the exact state he'd left it in, five days ago. A bowl of dishes lay untouched in a cool and now rancid bowl of water. John opened the fridge and sniffed the milk, gagging slightly as he removed it from under his nose. He filled the kettle and searched the cupboards for some bread.
He squeezed his eyes shut tight, trying to banish the headache that began to form. He knew he couldn't fix him, not really. All that would fix his flatmate's heartache was a phone call, a knock at the door, an announcement of the sickening and ecstatic news that someone had lost their life.
Minutes later, he left the kitchen, carrying a plate of toast in one hand and a mug of coffee in the other. He placed them on the floor beside the sofa and lowered himself back down, his elbows on his knees and his head against the sofa arm. John couldn't tell how long he sat there for, listening to the rain drum against the window. The lamp light grew brighter as the sky darkened. Eventually, when John decided that he could no longer feel his backside, he rose and made his way to an arm chair. He found his laptop, untouched, on the coffee table and switched it on. A sudden dizziness came over him, as he thought of his blog, and how long it had been since he'd shared with the wider world out there how he was feeling, what he was thinking. Seven days. Seven days since she'd left him. His fingers refused to type.
A sudden sound filled the room, and John looked up.
"How does it feel to be you, John?"
From the rasping, growl of the words, John knew that Sherlock Holmes hadn't spoken for five days. He sat in silence, looking at his blog page for the answer to the question. A narrative that aimed to define him: Doctor, soldier, colleague, friend, brother, flatmate...Boyfriend? It was clear to him that some of those roles came naturally to him, and that others were more difficult to achieve. So what did he feel? Longing towards the War. Resentment towards his sister. Impatience towards his flatmate. Anger towards his ex-girlfriend... Ex-girlfriend.
"She broke your heart." The words were spoken bluntly.
"Yes," he whispered. "Yes she did. And it fucking hurts!"
"I know," came a gentle reply. But of course, he doesn't.
For somewhere deep inside, Sherlock Holmes feels a frustration welling up inside his gut. An internal rage. His incapability to comfort a friend who needed him. That John had to find solace in his sister, even though it tore his pride in two. And Sherlock feels numb to these feelings which John is wrestling with constantly, and he wishes that he could feel his own sense of inner turmoil just for one moment. Even though John sits by his side, anguished by a broken heart, Sherlock somehow manages to selfishly envy that. And while John needs time, and attention, and softly spoken words of comfort, Sherlock has somehow managed to make this situation all about him. His lack of feeling. And he wishes that there was a part of him that could hate himself for it.