A/N: Here I am again! I'll say what this story means to myself. It's time I did this. There will be some OOC. Enjoy.
Holmes sighed as he looked at two nearly identical framed photos. One had been taken earlier than the other. They both captured four men, but only three men in both pictures were the same.
The earlier one contained himself, Watson, David Burke, and Jeremy Brett. The later one contained everyone but David. In his place was an older man by the name of Edward Hardwicke. In both pictures, all four men are happy, grinning, cheerful; oblivious that within the decade one of them will die. There was an obvious friendship between the four of them.
There was only one man who had caught Holmes's interest. He had died a month ago, but it still seemed as if he had just died yesterday. The pain, grief and guilt was still so fresh and painful.
Holmes felt guilty. He could have done something, even though there was nothing that could have been done at that time. He should have ignored the promise he had made to Jeremy. He should have let the others know. Maybe they could have done something. Now he would never know for sure.
Holmes had seen what was, to him, obvious. He had seen the faint signs that something was wrong, but didn't know what it was until Jeremy collapsed from sheer exhaustion after his wife had died. He had confronted Jeremy, who told him to drop it. Out of respect, Holmes did. He didn't tell the others of his suspicions. He would let Jeremy tell them himself. He did eventually, when it became obvious to everyone. By then it was too late.
He felt a light touch on his shoulder. He knew it was Watson.
"He's actually gone, Watson," Holmes whispered. To anyone who didn't know Holmes as well as Watson, they would have thought his voice sounded cold, but Watson heard the unspoken grief.
Watson stayed silent. He knew Holmes didn't need words to comfort him, just his presence was enough.
A few moments of silence passed as Holmes draped two pieces of black cloth, a sign of mourning. In fact, the only outward sign that Holmes was still grieving over his friend.
"I should have done something, Watson," Holmes said, his voice carrying a hint of his sadness and guilt.
Watson laid his hand on Holmes shoulder, but remained silent. Holmes needed to vent. He wouldn't say anything that might, possibly, make Holmes clam up. Watson hoped that by giving voice to what he was feeling, Holmes would be able to grieve properly.
"I shouldn't have listened to him, or I should have seen sooner!"
Now Watson spoke. "Holmes, is wasn't your fault. Jeremy would have probably stopped you either way. Even if you had found out sooner, you wouldn't have been able to diobey him, at least not where his health was concerned."
Holmes looked at his friend, tears in his piercing grey eyes. "I, still, should have done something different," he whispered.
Watson put an arm around the younger man's shoulders as the tears finally fell down his cheeks. Though Watson was just as grieved about loosing Jeremy, he was, also, relieved. He knew that Holmes hadn't had this emotional release during the past month. He knew Holmes had felt like he had lost his brother all over again. That experience had been hard enough.
Suddenly, Holmes straightened and wiped his face and with one last glance at the pictures, turned and left the room. Watson watched him leave, unconcerned about Holmes's abrupt manner.
Watson, then, took Holmes's place in front of the pictures. He looked at the photos for a few minutes, remembering the good times and the bad. He let his own grief flow. He turned and followed Holmes. At the door, Watson looked over his shoulder one more time at the pictures and thought, We shall never forget you, Jeremy.
He left the room.
A/N: This is a personal story for me. Holmes's grief is my own, though not his guilt. Ever since I learned about Jeremy's death, when I was seventeen, a few months after I became fascinated by his Holmes, I hadn't been able to mourn him. I know this sounds stupid, but I couldn't, even after I grew to love him as himself and not as one of his characters. I couldn't even cry for him as I learned just how talented he was. I rarely cry, in any case, but I knew I should have been able to by now. I have channeled some of my grief into this story and I'm, actually, feeling a little bit better.
I had avoided writing this fic because it felt like I was saying good- bye and I wasn't ready for that, yet. It doesn't seem so now, though and I, probably will keep writing more Granada- verse stories, when I can.
Anyway, sorry for dumping on you. I just thought you would like to know. Thank you for reading.