Author's Notes: I want to point out that there are several inspirations for this piece of work: first, the Wolfsheim song "Find You're Gone," which, if listened to, always sounds to me like the singer is saying 'I find your gun', which served as the primary jump-starter for this work; second, my first Sherlock fanfiction, 'Like the First Breath, in Reverse', which sets the scene and creates the basis for what Sherlock is doing; and finally, Martin Freeman's ancestry, as his grandfather served as an army medic in World War II and was killed in the line of duty while stationed in northern France. I have used an altered form of Leonard Freeman's name to maintain this basis while still being respectful to Mr. Freeman's family.
Sherlock mourned the man he knew in the only way he could: he psycho-analyzed his memory. Working through John's meager cache of belongings provided him ample opportunity to do so, by touching and tasting and holding and feeling all the things that the doctor had held so dear in life.
He hadn't had much of material possessions. His service weapon, his phone, his laptop, his coat and a few other items were the only ones that Sherlock had noticed John actually using on a regular basis, other than the red teapot he had been so fond of, and so angry about when Sherlock had melted it during an experiment. While the doctor did possess a plethora of jumpers and plaid shirts, there had never been one that Sherlock noted was a particular favorite: they were serviceable items, part of an ensemble and nothing more. The cane that Watson had so quickly abandoned earned the same treatment; there was no emotional attachment to speak of, just appreciation for its functionality.
Sherlock padded quietly into John's former room, its drawn blackout curtains invoking a feeling of entering a mausoleum, the last vestige of a fallen hero's physical presence, however transient. The consulting detective was immediately reminded of Romeo stealing into the tomb of his beloved, and his winced at the theatricality, however accurate it felt in the moment.
There was no notable décor, no displays or items of clear importance; it was a spartan interior, quite suitable for an Army doctor. The desk was blank of most embellishment, or so it seemed, until Sherlock noted a small, ornate box in the upper left-hand corner, almost like a jewelry box. Curious, he pulled it closer, noting the craftsmanship with appreciation. This was an heirloom, a prized treasure passed down inside a family. How had he never noticed this before?
Opening it, he found a small, battered gun, obviously used in battle several times. It was sooty and blackened, never cleaned since its last use (perhaps out of deference for its former owner) and pitted with scars. Sherlock immediately recognized it as a Royal Army service revolver, World War II era, probably given to a medic for self-defense judging by its lack of adornment.
He needn't have deduced, Sherlock realized, as there was small index card snuggled into the corner of the box's lid, which told him everything he needed to know:
Service weapon of Leofwin Watson, Royal Army Medical Corps, killed in battle February 1940, France.
The handwriting was John's, clumsy but legible: he judged it to have been from John's days in medical school. A young man, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, cherishing this object of his ancestor's bravery, immortalizing his memory in his own writing, so he would never forget the reason he chose to put himself in the line of fire: to make his grandfather proud. To save the memory of his family by saving lives.
Sherlock set the card back down, put the gun away, and cried.