Days when John was off work and an overly excited Sherlock was out of the house tended to be both boring and relaxing days. He got tired of facing death, murder, sick people – both mentally and physically, and utter chaos every day. He had gotten bored of normalcy after the war, and now he found he craved it from time to time.
The doctor's job was only there to fill his need for being a doctor and to provide some calm within Sherlock's chaos, but it often failed. The first few weeks of working there were blissfully boring; only children with coughs and hypochondriacs. One night he was called in for help when the hospital was short staffed in emergency. They knew he was a war doctor, and they had no problem calling him in. After that night, the hospital staff had begun calling him into emergency more often to the point where he was scheduled there twice a week.
Tonight, however, his phone was off. The world was a mess outside the flat walls, but John was at peace in his flat. He had a bad movie on the television, tea beside him, and a box of Chinese in his lap waiting to be eaten. The flat seemed empty without Sherlock pacing, experimenting, or ranting. John pushed that thought out of his mind and focussed on the food he was about to enjoy.
A knock at the door distracted him.
John sighed, and merely looked at the door. He didn't want to deal with people right now. He wanted to be alone and enjoy his one night of peace. It was the only night he had off from everything in a long time, and he was sure that it would be the last to come for many days. The person on the other side knocked again.
Harry's voice. John set his take-away aside, and hurried to the door. He rarely saw Harry, and he only talked to her a few times a month. He had mentioned his new address once in a feeble attempt to subtlety get Harry to pop by at least once. John and Harry never really got along much growing up. Harry was against the war, and the distance between the two siblings grew even more once John enrolled for the army. The drinking made the distance grow miles apart. All that said, John could hear the tears in Harry's voice through the door. The brother inside him was made him get off the couch to see his sister; to try and fix what had upset her.
"Harry," John opened the door wide. His sister was in front of him, a puddle of tears. Normally by this time he could smell vodka or gin radiating off her, but tonight was different. She was stone cold sober, and she looked a mess. "What's wrong?"
Harry sniffed, "Its Mom, John," Her voice cracked. "She was in an accident."
John felt his heart drop. "Oh, God," He whispered. "Is she-"
"She died," Harry's voice was nearly a whisper. "She's gone."
John felt his throat tighten and tears prick his eyes. He reached for his sister, and wrapped his arms around her small frame. She was so much smaller than he was. He could never get over that fact. He felt her arms wrap around his body. Her body was shaking in his. John kissed her forehead, and buried his face into her shoulder. He let himself go, not caring that Mrs. Hudson was at the bottom of the stairs watching the scene unfold.
"I tried to call," Harry managed to say between her tears.
"My phone's off," John immediately felt sick. His phone was off. He could have known earlier. He could have been there. He was a doctor; he could have done something. He could have at least been with his family instead of with bad food and even worse television.
Harry sniffed, and released John. She looked at him with watery eyes. "Dad's at the hospital filling out shit. The doctors said that if you wanted to see her before they-" Harry waved her hand in a circular fashion instead of speaking.
John wiped his eyes, and took a deep breath. "Could... could you come with me?"
Harry smiled, "Of course. Get your coat, it's cold outside."
The ride to the morgue was silent. Harry was holding John's hand as an attempt to keep both of them together. John was trying not to be sick in the cab as he thought of his mom. He hadn't spoken to her in about two months. He was close to his mother growing up. Not quite a "momma's boy", but he certainly loved and respected his mother. He imagined her face in his mind. Always a smile on her face, eyes as big as the moon, laugh lines, surprisingly good teeth. He felt fresh tears about to fall when the cab came to a halt.
John paid the cabbie and got out of the cab. The cold air was numbing to his body. He waited for Harry to be by his side before he started to walk into the morgue. He felt the numbing sensation of the cold as he walked into the morgue with his sister's arm entwined with his.
"Don't we need to talk to someone?" Harry asked as John took a left after walking down the main hallway.
"Yes, but she's probably around here somewhere," John sighed. He kept his eyes peeled for Molly as he walked the familiar hallways.
"Are you here that often that they let you wander around?" Harry whispered as they passed a technician that gave John a friendly nod despite his visible distress.
John felt a smile tug at the corners of his mouth. "Yeah, I'm a regular."
Harry tightened the grip she had on John's arm, actually using both her arms to hold onto her brother. John sniffed a few more times in a pathetic attempt to regain composure. He still felt ready to be sick at any given moment. Why had he turned his phone off? He could have said goodbye.
A flash of reddish brown hair down the hallway caught his attention. "Molly!" He nearly shouted. Molly quickly turned on her heel and looked at John with a smile on her face. "I need your help," He said as she hurried to him.
"Sure, sure, what is it?" Her eyes grew wide, clearly wishing it was a favour for Sherlock. The poor girl was so blind to Sherlock's lack of interest. "Oh, hello!" She smiled at Harry.
"Molly, has there been a body admitted in the past..." He looked at Harry for a time to confirm. The sick feeling grew even worse; he didn't what time his own mother had died.
"Hour," Harry's voice tightened once again.
"Female. Early fifties," John said.
"Uh, yes, actually," She looked at the clipboard in her hand. "A Mrs. Margret Wat..." Her eyes grew larger. She looked at John, then Molly, then her clipboard, then back to John. "Oh, no," She whispered. "I'm sorry."
"Where is she?" John asked, feeling his own throat begin to constrict itself.
"Follow me," Molly nodded sadly, and turned around to lead them. Harry was shaking again. John squeezed one of her hands with his free hand, and felt his eyes prick again. He could have said goodbye. John mentally beat himself up as Molly led them downstairs to the storing facility. John knew the route all too well, and usually he wasn't bothered with seeing dead bodies in the morgue. He just felt numb as he entered the morgue.
As soon as he entered the large room, his eyes were on his mother. She was laying on an examination table in a black body bag. He knew it was her even before Molly unzipped the bag. "John," Harry whispered.
"What?" John never took his eyes off Molly's hands, unzipping the zipper and revealing his mother's face.
"Where's the bathroom? I'm going to be-"
"Third door on the left," He whispered. He felt his sister's warmth leave his side, and Molly looked up for a moment. "What happened?" He walked towards Molly slowly.
"Drunk driver," Molly said quietly as John observed his mother's face. Blank expression, paler than death; he didn't want to remember this as his mother.
John sniffed. "What exactly happened?"
Molly flipped through her clipboard. "Do you really want to know?"
"Yes," John took a deep breath in. Disinfectant filled his nose, and the sick feeling returned.
"She was pinned between the car and a pole. Broke her spine and ruptured her spleen. Internal bleeding was the official cause of death," Molly said quietly, quickly.
John knelt down beside the table, and looked at his mother's profile. He could have said goodbye. He could have been with her while she was at the hospital. She would have been in insufferable pain, and it would have been brief, but he could have seen her. John rested his arms on the table, and dropped his head in them. He let the tears that had been building up in the cab and the way to this point out. He felt Molly put an awkward hand on his shoulder, and then quickly recoil. He heard her heels click their way out of the room.
John stayed like that for a few more moments before lifting his head. He brushed a few stray hairs off her forehead. She was still a bit warm. He could almost feel the last lingering bits of life left in his mother. She was officially gone, but a faint light was still there. "I'm sorry," He whispered between sobs. "I'm so sorry I couldn't help," He stroked her cheek. "I'm sorry."
He heard the doors open, and he looked to them. Harry was walking back in, her face fresh with tears as well. Within a moment her arms were around him, and they were sobbing into one another's shoulders like the scared children they were.