Historian's Note: This takes place after Sherlock is gone and presumed dead, post-Reichenbach (or any other "Final Problem"-esque scenario you choose).

In honour of Sherlock and John's 221B Baker Street, this is a "221b" ficlet (221 words long, with the last word ending in "b").

Evening Falls So Hard

"Lestrade." John sounds surprised.

"I may be slow, but I usually get there in the end. You had me bloody well terrified I'd be too late here."

"Sorry," John says. "And thanks for the thought. But you shouldn't have come."

"Why's that?"

He considers. "You didn't know me, before. Former soldier. Former doctor. Now I'm a former flatmate, former... well. There's only so far a man can go, measuring himself by what he isn't anymore, what he's lost."

"You're a good man. That hasn't changed."

"I shot that cabbie."

"Yeah, I know."

The water mutters below them.

"Pardon me for asking the obvious," Lestrade says, "but I've been told it's what I do. Planning to jump, are you?"

"And waste my valuable training? Why, with these skilled hands" – John's right one clutches his cane, while the left trembles violently – "I might could do up my own shoelaces, given enough time."

"It's not your hands he valued the most. It's your heart."

"That's not in the best shape either, these days."

A pause. "Not just yours, mate."

John turns, stares at Lestrade as if he's never really seen him, and then nods.

"No, I'm not jumping," he says at last. "Just limping along. Wouldn't mind some company, though."

John's brief smile is grateful, if bleak. "Always good for a clearer view, bridges."


Originally written in August 2011.

The title refers to the lyrics "When evening falls so hard, I will comfort you" from the song "Bridge Over Troubled Water," written by Paul Simon and first performed by Simon and Garfunkel.