Every day John Watson thinks about killing himself. Today he has decided to stop thinking about it and actually do it. There's nothing particularly special about the day, a Tuesday in January, but it's convenient. He's just finished the last of the milk in the fridge, his sister called the night before to say she's back together with her ex Clara and John is sick of living.
He stares at his computer screen, his fingers on the keyboard but not moving. The Blog of Doctor John Watson. There are no entries in his blog. In the end there will be just one. John doesn't know how he's going to say goodbye to this world since words were never his strong suit. He is not known for being eloquent. He stares at the blank entry and it is like it's mocking him.
His life seems to be nothing but blank pages. His therapist promises writing will help. He continues to tell her that nothing happens to him. She continues to not listen. John doesn't know what he would write about anyway. The war? His continuing nightmares? Returning home and being useless?
If there's one thing John can't abide, it's being useless. And he is. Not a single person on the whole fucking planet could honestly say they needed John Watson. He is quite certain that when he finally shuffles off, he will leave a fairly small dent in this world. Harry will miss him, some of extended family perhaps. Maybe even some of his old mates from Uni will read his obituary and wonder what the hell happened to him. But he was going places!, they'll think as they read that he took his own life.
Still, not quite the legacy he had been hoping to leave behind. He just wishes there was one bloody person that would actually miss him when he's gone. Sarah might, he muses to himself. She's always been nice to him since he started working at the surgery. If things had been different he might have asked her out. But since he knew he wasn't long for this world, asking her out seemed like a waste of time. Besides, limps are not usually a turn on.
He shuts his laptop without writing a word, deciding he will write his suicide note after work. He stares at the army issued Browning L9A1 before putting the laptop on top of it and closing the desk drawer.
He showers, just like every morning. He gets dressed and goes to work. He's not exactly sure why. Maybe helping a few people before he goes will make him feel better. More likely not but it's worth a try. He sits when he sees his patients, unable to stand. John offhandedly wonders if he'll be remembered as that doctor with the psychosomatic limp. The limp that hasn't gotten any better despite his therapist's assurances that it will.
The day moves slowly, slower than John would like. After work he goes and sits on his favorite bench in the park. There are two teenagers snogging and John watches them for a moment, feeling a pang in his chest akin to loneliness. It's been a long time since he's wanted someone in that way. Or that someone wanted him.
He forces himself to look away and focuses his attention instead on the calm water of the pond. He is that pond, frozen over in places, no one bothering to disturb it. Just calm and still, waiting for spring to come so it can begin to move again. Except John Watson is sick of waiting. He won't make it to spring. He won't make it to tomorrow.
The first thing John notices when he gets to his block is the lights. There are at least six police cars parked outside his building. John stops in his tracks, panicking that they might be for him. But then he remembers that he hasn't actually committed any crime yet. So he tentatively makes his way through the crowd that's formed around his building and goes as far as the police tape.
He tries to duck under it to get to his flat when a woman police officer hurries over. "Oi, stay behind the line." She hollers at him.
"I live here." John replies indignantly.
"Well you can't go in until they're done."
"It's quite alright Sally, he's with me." A deep baritone voice from behind John says.
"Hello Freak." The woman, Sally, counters. John turns to find a man he's never seen before in his life standing directly behind him. He's tall and good looking with dark curls and high cheekbones. John can't help but shrink a little in his presence. The man is somewhat intimidating, yet John has no idea why this man claims they know each other. John has a good memory for faces and he certainly would remember this man. He blinks a few times, lost for words.
He wants to go up to his flat but there is little point now. He's not going to kill himself with a dozen police men surrounding his building. Although he supposes it would be convenient for them, make their jobs easier. Two crime scenes instead of one. No point in making them come back round in the morning. Still, he'd prefer some resemblance of privacy when he kills himself. This scenario is not ideal.
"Why are you here?" Sally asks the man, who is now at John's side.
"Lestrade invited me." The man replies calmly.
Sally sighs and lifts up the tape. The man ducks under it and then stares expectantly at John. "Come along."
"Oh, um, ok." John stammers. Sally reluctantly lifts up the tape again and John slips under it with some difficulty from his limp. He follows the man into the building. "Why did you say you knew me? I've never met you before in my life."
"Any chance to defy London's finest." The man says with a shrug. "Besides, there's no point in their ruining everyone's night with their blundering about."
This man has no idea just how thoroughly they are messing up his night. "Well, thank you." John gives the man a nod and heads for the elevator.
John is sitting at his desk, staring at his computer screen for the second time that day. He thinks writing a suicide note shouldn't be this hard, but it is. He ponders what to write and yet nothing comes to him. The problem might be that he has no one to say goodbye to. He and Harry never got on, his parents are both dead and he has no real friends to speak of. Why bother writing a note if no one will miss you?
He hobbles over to his bed and lies down, staring at the ceiling. He hates this apartment, he always has. Unfortunately it's the best he could do with an army pension and what he makes at the surgery. For awhile he had thought about getting a flat share but he had no idea who in their right mind would want to share a flat with him.
There's a knock on the door and John sits upright. "Who is it?" he calls out but no one replies. They simply knock again.
John huffs out a breath and heads to the door with some disinclination. Harry would have called before coming over. The person knocks again. "Alright I'm coming." John snaps in irritation.
He opens the door to find the man from downstairs. He stares for a moment, his brow wrinkling in confusion. "Can I help you?"
The man doesn't answer and pushes his way into John's flat. John stares mortified after the man, wondering who the hell he thinks he is. The man's eyes are scanning about his apartment, taking in the surroundings. "Does this have something to do with the body downstairs? Because I didn't kill him."
The man stopped moving and looked at him. "I never said you did."
He obviously didn't feel compelled to say anything further and John's mouth gaped open. "Then why are you here?"
"Afghanistan or Iraq?"
"Afghanistan or Iraq?" The man repeated.
"Afghanistan. How did you—?"
"It's quite obvious." The man says as he glides across the room and into the kitchen.
"Not to most people." John crosses his arms over his chest and leans on the kitchen door frame, waiting for an explanation
"The way you hold yourself and your haircut scream military. The laptop on your desk is open to The Blog of Dr. John Watson along with a hospital badge that says Dr. John Watson. So, army doctor. Your hands are tanned but not above the wrists so you've been somewhere sunny but not on holiday. You've also got an at least slightly psychosomatic limp, suggesting trauma. Where does an army doctor get wounded in action these days? Afghanistan or Iraq."
"Fantastic." John says in awe. "I mean quite simple once you explain it all but most people would have missed most of that."
"Yes, well, I'm not most people." The man says opening John's fridge, taking the empty milk carton. He examines it for a moment and then puts it back. "Do you consider yourself a rude sort of man, Dr. Watson?"
"This is the second time we've met. We've been having a conversation for the past few minutes. You've asked me several questions including why I'm here but you haven't asked for my name. So I inquire again, are you a rude sort of man?"
"You never asked for my name either. You read it off the computer screen." John replies, deflecting the question.
"Yes, well I am a rude sort of man. Ask any of the police officers downstairs."
"Speaking of which, shouldn't you be getting back? What is it you do, anyways?"
"Yet another question that is not my name." The man points out, walking round the kitchen table.
"Fine, if I ask you your name, will you leave?" John asks. He is starting to get increasingly annoyed and just wants to be left in peace.
"Why not?" John groans. He presses the heels of his palms into his eyes and rubs.
"The case downstairs is hardly worth my time. Right now I find you much more interesting." The man is looking with such intensity that John feels almost naked.
"And why is that?" His tongue runs along his lower lip.
The man's eyes continue to fixate on him with a piercing stare. "You're about to take your own life."
John sputters for a moment, forgetting how to put sentences together. He forces himself to take a deep breath and puts his hands on the table to steady himself. "How? What? How?"
"After our conversation downstairs, you never introduced yourself or asked my name. Conclusion: either you are a rude sort of person or you have no interest in meeting someone new. You said thank you, so not a rude person. You're living here, in a terrible flat, so it can't be that you've already got too many friends. If you had friends you would have gone to them for help. This points to death. You've either got a fatal illness or are about to die very soon. The only reason you wouldn't want to know my name is if you were a dead man walking."
"You got all that based on the fact that I didn't ask your name?" John was astounded. "Did you ever think that maybe I just didn't care?"
"A polite person would have asked, even if the likelihood of us seeing each other again were slim, especially after I'd just done you a favor. We've already established your character so it was obvious that you're not long for this world. You could be ill but besides your limp you seem healthy enough. It could be something internal like an aneurism or cancer but you don't look like you've had chemo. Besides any of those would give you an estimated time of death, not a specific date. You wouldn't already be done meeting people."
"Also there's the thing about the milk. It's empty and yet you were out today and didn't buy more. It could have slipped your mind but there are three used cups in the sink. You drink coffee or tea fairly regularly and would have remembered to pick up some more. The only way you could know that you wouldn't need more milk is if you weren't expecting to need any ever again. All that combined with the fact that you're a man recently returned from military service makes it much more likely you are planning to take your own life."
"And that's the sort of thing you find fascinating, is it?" John was wondering what sort of madmen he had let into his flat. He should have been angry or scared and yet he wasn't. Instead he felt almost…relieved. It was refreshing for someone to just get it without it needing to be explained.
"Ok, so are we done here?"
"How do you feel about the violin?"
"I play the violin when I'm thinking. Would it bother you?"
"Why are you asking me this?"
"Because you clearly detest living here, I have a flat with two bedrooms that I honestly cannot afford on my own, even with the landlady giving me a discounted price."
"Are you seriously asking me to move in with you? Be your flatmate?" Honestly this man is unlike anyone he's ever met. A ten minute conversation and he's already inviting John to move in with him? People just didn't behave this way.
"That was my intention, yes. Interested?"
"No." John shook his head in disbelief. "Are you some sort of mental person?"
"That would depend entirely on who you ask." The man says with a smirk, moving towards the door.
"Are you always like this?"
"I think anyone who lived with you would go mad."
The man didn't answer. He opened the door and stepped through it. The door was very nearly closed when his head popped back in. "In case you survive the night, the name is Sherlock Holmes and the address is 221B Baker Street. Have a pleasant evening."
"What makes you think I'll change my mind?" John calls after him.
"Your right hand." Sherlock says with a wink, disappearing and closing the door behind him. John hurries over and wrenches it open. Sherlock's long coat swishes around him as he makes his way down the hallway.
"What about my hand?"
"Till tomorrow Doctor Watson." Sherlock replies without turning around.
John doesn't sleep. He sits up in his bed all night, holding his gun in his hand. It feels heavier than it ever has. Mostly he stares at his right hand, wondering what the hell Sherlock Holmes was banging on about. It doesn't sound like a real person's name and yet he doubts it was made up. After all the man didn't have to give his name. John had never asked it. When he glances over at his bedside clock, it's just after six in the morning. So he's made it to tomorrow.
He makes a cup of tea with no milk unlike his usual morning cuppa. Turning on the telly, he sits and watches a story about the murder that occurred in his building the night before. His downstairs neighbor, Mr. Whitman was killed. John barely knew him. He hadn't exactly gotten to know the neighbors except when they ran into to each other in the hall or were getting their post at the same time. No mention of Sherlock Holmes in the story.
John turns off the TV and goes over to his laptop. The page is still blank but it doesn't feel the same as it had the previous day. He exits out of it and looks up Sherlock Holmes on the internet. He spend several hours reading his website called "The Science of Deduction." By the time he's done, it is almost nine. He is late for work. If he left immediately he could make his excuses to Sarah and still hope to keep his job.
His eyes drift down to his gun. It's sitting in its usual place in his top desk drawer. He could still do it. A part of him still wants to. It would certainly show that smug bastard Sherlock Holmes. And yet his hand doesn't move to grab the gun.
"Damn it." He shouts, shutting the drawer rather forcefully. He grabs his cane and his keys before heading out the door to his flat. It takes a few moments to hail a cab but when he does he climbs into the back and gives the driver the address 221B Baker Street.
Nothing has been resolved, not in the slightest. John still wants to die. He wants to stop feeling useless. He wants everything to stop. But there's this niggling voice in his head telling him that a complete stranger thought he was fascinating. That the man came upstairs on nothing more than a hunch and stopped John from killing himself. At least someone seemed to think this world was better with him in it. And whether Sherlock realizes it or not, he just saved John Watson's life.
Maybe I'll see Spring after all, he thinksas the taxi takes him closer and closer to Baker Street. There's something building in his chest, something he hasn't felt in a very long time. It considers it the entire cab ride but can't find a name for it. But as he steps out and stands in front of 221B Baker Street, the name appears to him quite suddenly. He feels foolish for not recognizing the feelings sooner. It's hope.