Disclaimer: I do not own Sherlock BBC
This is a de-anon with a title change for the following prompt on the Sherlockbbc kink meme (Part VIII, Page 4):
Sherlock and John are both immortals who meet up every few centuries or so. Friends or lovers, I'm not terribly picky. Just that sort of relationship where they're really close to each other, best friends/old married couple, even if they're not always together. The reunions are always spectacular, but eventually they end up separating again.
Please note: This shiny, cleaned up one-shot was made possible by my wonderful new beta, phantomwillow!
(For my Motivation readers, this is one of the things I worked on while under the sway of Sherlock BBC. Yes I'm weak willed, so what?)
Moments and Lifetimes
"Don't be dismayed at goodbyes, a farewell is necessary before you can meet again and meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends."
- Richard Bach
John (he'd taken to calling himself John again, these days; it was a good name, with good memories) went to war. He always seemed drawn to war, to bloodshed and death…as well as the hope and the healing he could offer as a medic. It was a delicious dichotomy. And most importantly, it was rarely boring.
After all, when a man got to be as old as he was, keeping things interesting was something of a challenge.
New technology was all well and good, but in his thousands of years of life, humans hadn't changed much, if at all. New experiences were increasingly hard to come by for an immortal such as himself. However, even though war was one of the oldest of human inventions, people were ever so insistent on finding better and flashier ways to kill one another. Ironically, they were also always intent on finding innovative and more efficient ways of saving each other, too.
Which was why he was in Afghanistan, again. He always seemed to end up there, fighting the unwinnable war against the same barbarous louts who refused to die and never, ever surrendered.
He still remembered those hellish years during his time with Alexander the Great like they were yesterday. If he closed his eyes, even now, he could still smell the potent mixture of blood and ash that had followed their burning swath through that harsh desert. In the end she had been the one land his beloved and hated leader could not quite conquer.
He'd marched there with other armies, in other times, but that land and her people had not changed. Victory was impossible; still, the battle called his name and he could do not but answer, again and again.
These days Afghanistan mostly made him think of the late eighteen hundreds, of being wounded at the Battle of Maiwand and of being invalided back to the cesspool that was London in those years. Inevitably, such thoughts always lead him back to a flatshare in London and the last time he'd seen his oldest and dearest friend.
There was little time, however, for losing himself in his memories in the midst of battle. That was one of the reason he always reenlisted, regardless of the country or year. If he dwelled too long on the past, he might forget to live.
So he relished his time on the front lines. He flirted easily, was a good drinking buddy and always had a kind word to say. He was a friend to everyone, though few if any ever had the opportunity to return the favor. As anyone could tell you, John Watson was a man you wanted covering your six and handling your wounds.
When things went south in the field, (as they always did) John thought little of the shoulder wound he'd gained from protecting his last living patient. The man died of complications a short while later, but John of course lived on. He always did.
His shoulder healed up easily enough, but his mind, perhaps cracking with the weight of ages, insisted that there was something wrong with his leg. Psychosomatic, the psychotherapists had said with sympathetic smiles before shipping him back to London (he was British again; it was a nationality he never quite managed to get sick of).
He laughed at the diagnosis and privately accused himself of feeling nostalgic for gas lamps, frock coats and the last time he'd been recovering from a leg wound. He amused himself for a while with his therapist and her silly blog (unfortunately, he'd found over the years that any technology that couldn't be used either to kill or to heal, was completely beyond him). However, he quickly realized that he couldn't make a new life for himself (perhaps in America, he hadn't been there as a citizen since their Revolution) until the damn limp was healed.
He stopped laughing when months later the bloody limp was still there.
For the first time in decades he began to feel trapped.
He was usually good about staying interested, finding ways to occupy himself, but now, caught up in a routine of utter sameness, he was stagnating. At night, in his plain rented room he dreamed of battle and death and eventually began to wish that he too could die.
Then he met Mike Stamford in the park.
Feeling sentimental he followed his old friend (incidentally, the great grandson of another old friend from another of his regular stints at medical school) back to a lab at Barts.
He had not expected that someone else might also be feeling a touch nostalgic so soon after the turn of the most recent century.
John froze on the threshold of the room, his eyes riveted on the man before him. In his mind's eye the modern lab equipment was replaced with older, cruder apparatuses. He could see that man look up at him with a wild grin upon his face as he announced that he had discovered a reagent for haemoglobin detection.
For the first time in far too long John felt himself relax as the pain in his leg was finally, finally, silenced by the excitement in his heart.
And when those familiar blue eyes locked on his and that wonderfully dark voiced asked with a hint of irony, "Afghanistan or Iraq?" all John could do was grin.
It had been far too long.
He had missed this.
He had missed him.