Title: A Lack of Colour.

A/N: OH GOD THAT EPISODE DESTROYED ME D: Gatiss and Moffat are such trolls...bring on 2013! This is a short, angsty post-reichenbach story written basically to rid some of the angst. And John isn't a happy bunny, for lack of a better description. Rated for language/themes of suicide.

Warning: Major spoilers for Reichenbach, incl. how I -think- he survived.

A year later...


John Watson sits, nursing a cup of tea that went cold hours ago. The television is on, but he can't hear or see it. His senses are a blur.

His cane leans idly on the chair next to him. The limp has gotten so much worse, he can barely walk. To think that he'd been sprinting around the streets of London only a year ago...it seems ridiculous. Sprinting around, after that wonderful man. That hero.

A tear, one of many past, crawls its way, slowly, down his cheek. But crying doesn't hurt any more. He can't cry. He can't sob. He can't feel. He just lets it continue in a silent endurance until he's stopped.

Numbness is the only word he can use to describe how he's feeling, how he's felt for the last half a year. Following months and months of hurt and blame and anger and confusion and hope, stupid stupid hope, he's lost all feeling. Because if he started it again, it would destroy him. But is existing worth it at all? He's so very lonely, now.

Mrs Hudson visits sometimes. But he can't entertain her, he can't watch her walk about, commenting on his home as if it were old times – it's too much for him to bear. He's started barring her calls now. He's tried dating. But after the first, he realised it just wouldn't work. He can't impart his heart and soul to these total strangers. He can't burden them with what had happened, it would break their hearts and his all over again. His psychiatrist tries to get him to speak up, but he couldn't. He just couldn't. So he's stopped going to his sessions now too. And the blog...the blog remains untouched.

He'll read the stories sometimes. And they are stories. They're not real. He can deal with them because it's so easy to detach himself from his own writing, and pretend that he and Sherlock are characters in a novel, going out and solving crimes and always winning in the end.

Always.

Now that one tear has finished its journey, more start to join it, and he can't see any more. His fingers twitch around the revolver in his lap. No, not yet. He wants the last thoughts to be good ones.

It's raining. He remembers how Sherlock loved the rain. Would lie there, on the sofa, eyes wide and far away, watching the drops hurtle past the window. Hours, he'd spend, days if he'd wanted to. The edge of John's mouth quirks. He remembers the violin, that fucking violin, and how he'd never be able to sleep at night. The gunshots in the wall. The skull. The flat. Sherlock. Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock's cold, dead eyes, staring up at him, pale face, blood – so much bloo-

John closes his eyes, breathing hard as pain grips him. This is the first time he's felt anything in a long time. But that's good. That's because it's the end. With those blue eyes staring into his soul, he closes his eyes, and picks up the revolver. His fingers quiver on the trigger, as he lifts it to his-

"John. Stop."

He doesn't. He thanks his mind, his fragile, broken mind, for granting him one last fantasy before he goes. To have the other man standing at the door, eyes wide with panic as the gun is placed at his skull.

Thankyou.

His finger twitches on the trigger. He smiles. He finally smiles. It's ti-

"JOHN!"

Just as he pulls the trigger the gun is knocked out of his hand. He hears the bullet whiz past the back of his skull, and hit the wall. Like old times.

Is he dead?

He opens his eyes. The room is there, the same room. The television is on. The vision of Sherlock is standing over him, closer now, staring at him with wide eyes, shaking, breathing hard. God, his head was creative. He must have dropped the gun out of nerves.

He calmly gets up, walks past ghost-Sherlock and tries to pick the gun back up again. But Sherlock grabs it first. He's surely gone insane now. Is his own treacherous mind trying to kill him from the inside out?

"John, for god's sake! Don't ruin what I worked so hard to achieve!"

His mind is being very, very cruel now. It's just as if the other man's baritone is actually sounding in his ears. And the vision, it's so lifelike. Everything so intact. He'd never had such a satisfying hallucination. But god, it's starting to hurt. Tears keep streaming down his face. He feels a sob welling up in him.

"Don't."

"Y-you what? John. Why aren't you looking at me? Look at me."

"You're not real. I need to stop this."

"I am here, John. It's me."

He knew his mind would do this. Plague him as best it could before the end.

"Give me the gun."

"No. John, it's me. I promise."

The vision moves closer. And John knows, John knows as a ghostly arm reaches out to touch his, he knows he's not going to feel it. And Sherlock won't be there. He braces himself to feel-

Warmth. Pulsating, living, warmth.

His eyes snap open. He can't let himself believe this. But- god, Sherlock pulls him into a hug. And he begins to shake, begins to tremble with what's been built up. What's been saved, what's been bottled up almost too deep to resurface. But the walls are crashing down around him.

"Sh-s-"

And he's collapsing mentally, emotionally, physically in the other man's arms. But the vision doesn't disappear, it stays fast, taking his weight.

"John, please. I need to explain myself."

"Y-you're n-not. Y-you c-c-ca-" He begins to sob uncontrollably, clinging on to the other man for dear life. "S-stop, oh god s-stop. I-it hurts." He's a crumbling, shaking mess.

The other man starts to shake too. John looks up and meets his eyes for the first time. Grey. Wide. Real, so very real. Tears are starting to form. Oh god please let this be real.

He drops to the floor, his knees, hugging himself. Sherlock drops with him.

"I'm real, John. I faked it. I faked it. I'm so, so sorry. I had to."

And suddenly, John is filled with rage. Unadulterated, uncontrollable rage.

He swings a punch at the other man, who goes flying. He's real. He's here. And John has been hurting. So. Badly. It's been a year of this. And he hadn't said anything, ANYTHING.

"YOU BASTARD." He swings another punch, which Sherlock grabs and holds. He jabs again with his other fist, Sherlock dodges and holds him. He's breathing hard now, he's seeing red. He wants to hurt the man, black and blue. This is the worst thing Sherlock has ever, ever done. He's hurt, humiliated, wronged, broken. And all for him.

"A YEAR, Sherlock. A year waiting, hoping, dying. While you- y-you-" He's still sobbing, but these are angry tears now.

"John, let me explain. Please."

"Were you WATCHING, Sherlock? W-were you watching...me?" He's shaking harder than before. His body can't cope with the emotion.

"No, John. I wasn't. I couldn't. Not at first." The other man's face is sad, blank, solemn. A tear has begun to fall. He tries to reach out again but John won't, can't let him.

"Anything, Sherlock. A text. A letter. ANYTHING."

"Too dangerous. I shouldn't even be here now, John."

"WHY. WHY THE FUCK NOT."

"I died...so you wouldn't."

"What." John is trembling, voice quieter now, barely a whisper. "What do you mean?"

"I had..had to convince you, everyone, Mrs Hudson, everyone that was in danger..."

"What are y-you talking about Sherlock, I wasn't in danger. I was coming to help y-"

"You were, John. If I hadn't jumped off that building it'd be me here, instead of you. Mrs Hudson, Lestrade, you'd all be dead. Moriarty had snipers at your head. And the signal to call them off was m-"

"I – I don't know what to say." He doesn't. He doesn't at all. Sherlock had been saving him, when all this time he'd been blaming himself for not saving Sherlock. He can't believe this, not yet.

"B-but I saw you jump – I saw you hit the ground. I-I felt your pulse-"

"I never hit the ground John. I'd taken a drug to halt my pulse. Molly-"

"Molly knew?"

"I owe my life to her, John."

"B-but, the ground, the jump. I saw you."

He's crying, with hope, with painful belief now. He wants this to be true, oh god he does.

"I did jump. That was me. But I'd paid a man to knock you out during the moment of 'impact'. Don't you remember?" Sherlock's voice is shaking with emotion.

The cyclist. That fucking cyclist.

"B-b-"

"A truck was positioned at the roadside, with large sandbags on the back of it. I took the drug that Molly had made for me as I was falling, the driver placed me in the road with the blood and drove away, and all this before you could get there. I'm so sorry John. I couldn't lose you, not then, and certainly not now."

"Sherlock, I-"

But he can't finish. John is speechless, tears streaming endlessly down his face. The hurt has begun to dissipate, slowly, gradually. He's still shaking. And Sherlock moves to embrace him again. But this time, he lets him.

A/N: Did anyone else see that truck drive away? Sleuthy Moffat! Hope you enjoyed!