WARNING: SPOILERS FOR S02E03 "The Reichenbach Fall". Proceed with extreme caution! Also deals with suicide and contains grief, angst and so forth.
Summary: Episode tag for "The Reichenbach Fall". John and what he's left with.
A/N: Short thing that I could not get out of my head. Good lord, the trauma this episode inflicted on John!
Moriarty had forced him. John was sure of it. Dreaming that street night after night, Sherlock's voice breaking in his ear, watching him fall and fall again, he knew. Moriarty had held the gun on Sherlock and forced him to—
No, stupid. Held a gun on Sherlock and, what, John, threatened to shoot him if he refused to kill himself? No.
Lying in the dark in a hotel room at two in the morning, half his brain listening for sound from below. This wasn't Baker Street and there were no noises.
Forget the gun. Didn't matter. Who knew what had been discussed up there, what deals made. He knew Sherlock would have sacrificed himself if it meant ending Moriarty as well. He'd seen it once already. No matter what others might have thought, idiots like Donovan and Anderson and all of them, all of them who had no idea what Sherlock was, what he'd really been like—
It had been a relief, almost, to find Moriarty's body up there, head blown out. Without it nothing that had happened made any sense. Sherlock couldn't—
Some deal had been made. Sherlock got up there, said those words, threw himself off and sealed his fate and his reputation forever as some kind of fraud, lie, charlatan – then what? Sherlock dead, Moriarty kept his end of the bargain? Did the honourable thing? Couldn't live without his favourite toy, victim, object of torment? Who knew?
Who knew what had gone on up there? No one who was capable of telling.
The city was bright through his window. Too bright for stars. Made him think – beautiful, aren't they? Always a surprise.
John sank back against the wall beside the window, folding around something that wasn't there. "Oh," he said aloud to no one, "it hurts. Really, it does."
He was angry. So angry. Angrier with every report that called Sherlock a fake. A criminal. A murderer. It was unjust, and they were stupid, and it was wrong. Everything was wrong. Everything had gone wrong from the moment he'd thrown those words at Sherlock and walked out of that lab, and god, he should have known. God, he was stupid. Of course Sherlock wouldn't sit there uncaring. It was Mrs Hudson, for god's sake. Sherlock had adored her, in his strange way.
But of course, he'd been played, hadn't he? Sherlock had played him. Always. Alone is my protection. He'd meant alone is your protection. Protect you, John Watson.
He got back into bed, for want of anything better to do. Stared at the ceiling, spotted with damp in the dim light through the open curtains. But sleep was far away. He kept hearing Sherlock's voice, this is my note.
And that was what really terrified him, here in the dark at nearly three in the morning. What if it hadn't been a deal?
Who knew what had been said up there? What Moriarty had stolen or broken of what little Sherlock had left to him?
What if Sherlock had been standing on that edge bleeding out to him in words?
What if there was something he could have said that would have made him stop?
Of course the fraud stuff was nonsense. But what else had been going on in that huge brain and that impossibly complicated, conflicting, impenetrable person? What if he'd been up there in pain and John hadn't had the words—
A gasp coughed out of him, shuddering through his body so hard it hurt his chest and caught in his throat. Just one. He pressed the back of his hand to his mouth, inhaling through his nose. Breathing around the knot. No. No, and no and no.
Did it matter? Did any of it matter? It was three in the morning in a world that didn't have Sherlock Holmes in it.
He rolled to the side to stare at the empty sky, trying not to think of a dark shape against blue, arm outstretched for him. Trying not to think why, and I'm sorry, and I never said.
Eventually the sun rose, but it made no difference.
(End, and thanks for reading!)