A/N: I forgot the disclaimer. Sherlock and co aren't mine and neither is the song. Thanks to all of you who have read and reviewed. This is the final chapter. Please let me know what you think.
Never mind, I'll find someone like you.
I wish nothing but the best for you too.
Don't forget me, I beg. I remember you said:
"Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead."
As the taxi neared Baker Street, John spoke up to the driver, and asked him to pull over at the edge of Regent's Park. He didn't want to go back to the house. It was just a shell now. He refused to acknowledge his fear; that spending time there might make him want to stay.
The two men got out of the cab and walked silently for several paces before John halted at a park bench and lowered himself down. He felt exhausted. It was tiring saying goodbye and he knew it wasn't over yet. He looked up at the sky as the dark clouds began to roll over. Sherlock sat himself down next to John and watched him intently for any sign that he would speak first. John always used to know just what to say. But Sherlock knew in the depths of his stomach that John wouldn't speak. He was waiting for Sherlock; for an explanation or apology...something. Sherlock took a deep breath. It was now time.
"I found it hard to explain," Sherlock started, then gave a growl of frustration and ran a hand over his face. "No, I couldn't explain...Actually, that's not it either. I just didn't realise I needed to explain. I realise it now... five years later."
"Four years, five months and thirty one days," John spoke up quietly. Sherlock eyed him warily.
"Please don't make fun of me," he muttered in a low voice.
"I'm not...Sherlock, I'm not...I'm sorry."
Sherlock took a deep breath. He thought back the last time he ever expected to see John; the night before John's wedding. He'd asked so much of John before, but never in all of the time they'd spent together had Sherlock pleaded with him like he had done that night. It clearly hadn't been enough.
"I asked you not to marry her," Sherlock mumbled, and he felt John bristle beside him. "I begged you...but you went ahead and you did it. And that really hurt."
"Funnily enough, I didn't do it to hurt you. I did it because I loved Marie. I love Marie." John corrected before giving a scoff. "Once again it's all about you, isn't it Sherlock; How you can ignore your best friend for nearly five years because, for once in your selfish life, you didn't get your own way!"
The pair glared at each other angrily and Sherlock's mind moved quickly, thinking of the possible responses to the accusation.
"Firstly, I didn't ignore you. You walked out on me, remember? And secondly, this has got nothing to do with whether or not I get my own way." It had...partly, anyway. But Sherlock was angry with John for not understanding him. Perhaps they had left it far too long. Perhaps Sherlock should start to tell the truth.
"Have you any idea what it's like to look around you and suddenly everything you know is gone? I didn't want to be on my own. I wanted you to stay. I wanted you to at least acknowledge that, but you didn't. You just fucked me and left."
John's jaw dropped in shock at the accusation.
"It wasn't like that!"
"Well that's how it felt. Perhaps, if you'd have stuck around to explain otherwise, rather than rushing off to marry a woman you barely knew, then I wouldn't be feeling this way."
John sat there stunned, and then frowned. Guilt sat heavily in his chest and he hated that it was there. It should be Sherlock feeling guilty. He had caused this mess. Hadn't he?
"I don't know what you expect me to do about this. I'm sorry, Sherlock. I'm sorry I fell in love. I'm sorry that I'm happy and you're not but I can't change that. I wish I could. Do you think I like to see you like this?"
"Don't!" Sherlock snapped at him. "Don't you dare pity me. I'm not foolish enough to expect anything from you today or ever. I can't put myself through this again, so just don't. You're not here for me you're here for Martha; I know that, you've made that perfectly clear. I don't need you here, patronising me with your perfectly happy life. Just...go home John."
It was a lie and it tasted horrid in his mouth. Of course he needed John. He wanted him too. He'd spent the past five years – longer even – wanting someone that he couldn't have and yet, even now, he couldn't bring himself to tell him the truth. Everything that caused his heart to ache had been entirely his own fault and that made him hate himself even more. Hating himself was easier than hating John.
John stared at him intently for a moment before leaning back against the wooden bench.
"I don't know what you want from me, Sherlock," he said with a hint of impatience. Sherlock took a deep breath and finally, after all of these years, told John the truth.
"I want you to love me."
"I did! I do, Sherlock," John replied instantly. "Do you think there's not a day goes by that I don't think of us, and how badly it all ended? You were the one person in my entire life that could...fix me. I would have followed you anywhere. I did follow you everywhere! But I grew out of that and I knew that you never would because, to you, it wasn't just a lifestyle, it's the very core of who you are and I wouldn't want that to change. It would have broken my heart."
"Well you broke mine instead. All of those people – Mycroft, Sally, Lestrade even – thought that I didn't have a heart but you, you believed that I did. You proved them all wrong John and then you went ahead and you fucking broke it!"
John leant forward and rested his elbows on his knees. He placed his head in his hands because he didn't think he could bear to look at Sherlock any more.
"I'm sorry, Sherlock," John muttered, and he truly meant it. He'd spent the past few years waiting for Sherlock's overdue apology that it took him by surprise how sorry he felt for his own actions. "I didn't handle any of it well. I was frightened and I..." he trailed off, but immediately felt Sherlock bristle beside him, and his pale eyes stared intently, pleading for the rest of the sentence.
"What? No, forget it. Forget I said anything."
"John please! I just told you something really difficult, the least you could do-"
"Fine! I was scared. I never meant to sleep with you. It was a mistake. I knew it would ruin us and it scared me. You'd got what you'd wanted, like you always do, and then you'd lose interest and leave. Because that's what you do Sherlock; you use people and break them down until you've finished with them, and then you discard them and move on to something more interesting. I'd seen you do it to so many people – so many good people – and I was about to become the next in a long line... So, I left... before you had chance to."
Sherlock looked physically stunned. His mind whirred with possibly retaliations; his first reaction being defensive.
"I can't believe that you would assume that I would do that to you; that I would let you down like that. You of all people understood me more than anyone has ever done...more than I understand myself. Why would you think that I would do that to you?"
"Because you proved me right, Sherlock! You couldn't even bring yourself to turn up on my wedding day. Do you have any fucking idea how much that hurt?"
About as much as seeing the person you love marry someone else, Sherlock mused but he was too tired to say so. He was done with all of this and he could tell by John's pale face that he was too.
"I can't fix this," Sherlock said quietly, more to himself than to John.
"Would you? If you could? Would you go back in time and fix this mess?"
"In a heartbeat. I would change it all John, just to get you back by my side where you belong; where you've always belonged. Don't try and deny that. You know it's true. That's why this hurts so much because this isn't the way it's supposed to be."
"I know," John found himself saying, and truly meaning it, which was why he knew he had to say the next words. "I...I think that's why I need to say goodbye now." Sherlock blinked at him, his brow furrowed in uncertainty. "I think it's time we stopped hurting each other. After five long, stupid years I think we both deserve to say goodbye to each other, don't you?" His breath caught in his throat. It was foolish; he'd never even expected to see Sherlock again, so why did it hurt so much to say a final goodbye? As he studied the pained expression on Sherlock's face he wanted to take back all he'd just said. He wished so much that he could split himself in two or that he could stop loving his wife and children. That thought made him feel physically sick. He knew it wasn't possible. It was like a hammer to his heart, and John wanted to scream at the world, for he knew that he belonged by this man's side and through their anger and hurt at each other, they had ruined that.
He leant towards Sherlock and took his hand, squeezing it tight.
"Don't cry Sherlock."
Sherlock showed a glimpse of surprise as he reached a hand to his own cheek and wiped away tears which he hadn't realised had fallen.
"Stupid," Sherlock mumbled to himself. "This is just the worst day," he whispered quietly and John nodded.
"Don't forget me," Sherlock said quietly.
"Do you think I could ever forget you?"
"I think you've tried to...and I think that hurts even more."
"Sherlock," John sighed. "Find someone, please."
"I don't need anyone," Sherlock insisted instantly and John smiled.
"I know it sounds selfish but I'll be a lot happier knowing that there's someone out there watching out for you...the way that I used to," he added timidly.
"I don't think I could find anyone quite like you. You're really something else."
"True. That's true."
"Quite frankly you were terrible to live with," Sherlock added bluntly. John laughed loudly and tears sparkled in his eyes. "I'll find someone, John. For you. I'll do that." It was a lie and they both knew it.
Suddenly they were both standing from the bench; their bodies clearly more in tune with each other than either their heads or their hearts.
"So...I guess this is it."
"Yeah," Sherlock croaked.
"Shit," John breathed.
John pulled Sherlock to him and held him tightly, breathing in the smell of his hair one final time. He felt his body, warm against his, with the staggered breath that matched his own. It was a brief moment before John registered Sherlock's lips against his and it startled him for only a second, before he returned the kiss gently. Sherlock's lips were softer than John recalled, and he tasted the salty tears which he had caused. He ran his hand up Sherlock's back and stroked at the hair at his neck wishing it could stay there, but knowing that it couldn't. He could feel Sherlock's pulse beating quickly in his neck, and John felt suddenly dizzy; a dizziness which he hadn't felt for a long time...the dizziness that only Sherlock Holmes could cause. They broke apart and Sherlock leant his forehead against John's. John heard Sherlock's breath hitch in his throat. He wondered for a moment if he'd speak, but he wasn't sure he could bear to hear what he might say.
Suddenly, Sherlock let go of John and turned abruptly, walking away without even a glance over his shoulder. John watched him go, feeling a huge gap where Sherlock had once been. He watched Sherlock until he'd disappeared into the distance before falling onto the bench, and sobbing harder than he could remember ever doing in his life. He hated the world for making him choose. He hated Sherlock for making him feel this way. He hated Martha for selfishly dying. But most of all he hated himself for being so incredibly ungrateful to the universe for his loving wife and beautiful children who, for one brief moment, he'd tried not to love.
But he chose them. He knew it should never have been a choice, but he'd chosen them. Perhaps he would just have to forgive himself for being torn in two. Part of his heart would always be in London, with the man who had loved him and taught him how to live and laugh and love again. And maybe that was ok, John thought, because he would leave that part of him here with Sherlock and that's where it belonged; in his past.
John rose from the bench, wiping at his eyes before walking away towards his future, leaving part of himself behind.