He stared at the blinking cursor on the screen. And then to the words before, just typed.
He was my best friend and I will always believe in him.
There was really nothing else to say was there? It was an apt summation of the entire event. The entirety of their relationship. Nothing else mattered really, not when the outcome was...this.
John thought on what he would have written, had he not...
Had things been...different.
The cursor blinked, again, and again, and again. Like a heartbeat...
Everything felt so slow. Too hot and too cold. John's enemy was his mind. He could hear it eating itself alive, whispering and whimpering as it did. Soon he would be tumbling, down the hole his mind had eaten into itself. Falling down and down, endlessly, colliding with abstractions, that formed words, that made up pictures, and those pictures were real.This was real.
The cursor. The heartbeat. John's heartbeat, thudding and thudding and thudding, driving blood to his brain, that was eating a hole through itself that he was tumbling into. The images were rushing back; the pavement, dyed so thickly with blood that the puddle looked black. The rain with gentle fingers, coaxed deep red away into pink ribbons...
John gasped in and let out a wooshing breath of air as he leaned forward, eyes looking anywhere else but at the laptop screen. The small, sad squeaking noises had to be coming from the chair below him. Not from his tightening throat. Not from his gasping lungfuls of air.
"I don't want to. I don't want to..." He whispered to himself as he shook his head back and forth faster until he stopped and laid his forehead against the edge of the desk. It was a dull edge, but it hurt. He pressed into it harder, until he was sure it would leave a horizontal line.
Wasn't there a gash on Sherlock's forehead like that? Straight. Defined. Right across his hair line.
"No please, no...no...no...I can't." His voice cracked.
His hands were trembling, leg was aching, shoulder was so stiff it felt as if it would snap, the tension of holding every fibre of muscle taut to keep it from coming.
It ; The tears, the sobbing, the anger. The world as it was without his best friend.
John needed to get up. He needed to move. If he grabbed for his cane (the only way he could walk anymore was with that god damn cane) it would be all over. He would begin to sob, he wouldn't be able to get up. He would fall.
At least he'd gotten the cane back from Angelo that first night. Thank God Sherlock had gotten it back for him. It was the least he could do, leave his friend with a crutch, something to cling to.
Sherlock was solid...warm...his friend. His best friend. Why had John never tried to hug him before?
Because Sherlock would have pushed him away.
Knowing what he knew now, John was certain he wouldn't have let his friend push him away so easily.
John Watson would go to bed that night but he would not sleep. It was too quiet to sleep.
Mrs. Hudson could hear a loud sob echo through the hall, but she knew better than to go up to 221B. John hated when she saw him like that.
"Do you want me to help you pack up the rest of his books, dear?" Mrs. Hudson called from the kitchen of 221B, as she bustled about, running a rag over every surface that looked remotely dusty. The dust plumed in air and swirled in the light streaming through he curtains.
What was it that Sherlock had said about dust? Something about it's elegance?
John snapped one of the books in question closed. He'd began reading everything, everything his friend had left. All of those books and paper, they were important weren't they? Like little pieces of Sherlock's mind.
"No, thank you, I can take care of it, later."
The landlady came over and put a gentle hand on his shoulder, "Keep all the books you like. At least the head is out of the fridge. You can fill this entire flat until it bursts with books and things and I wouldn't mind at all, as long as that..head stays gone", she emphasized with a bit of disgust.
John laughed, "So I can keep the skull around?"
Mrs. Hudson eyed the skull warily, putting a hand to her face, clasping the other hand to her elbow, "It's terrifying but at least it's not rotting..."
The door bell rang sharply.
"Oh, oh! That would be for me! Would you like some tea up here later? And something to eat?"
John smiled as he looked down at the book again. Medical text, on Phrenology. Complete bollocks that whole idea was. Studying someones skull to determine their likelihood of becoming a criminal...
Was Moriarty's head oddly shaped? The doctor had never noticed...
"'Not my housekeeper' remember?", John replied in a murmur.
Mrs. Hudson waved away his words, "Just this once, hm?"
The bell rang three more times quickly.
Mrs. Hudson jumped and quickly shuffled down the stairs, yelling, "Here I come! Here I come!"
The front door opened quickly, bumping the wall, sharply. From the sound alone John knew the door knob would leave a mark on the wall. Maybe he could fix it for their...his landlady. It wasn't as if he was busy with anything else. No one wanted to hire the madman who followed the 'fraud detective' around all over London. John knew how they looked at him when he went to interview for a position. He could see it behind their eyes.
'Poor delusional man.'
'Probably doesn't have a grip on reality.'
'Only children play pretend-crime solver, not a grown man. Not a real doctor.'
'...he probably helped the fraud set all of it up...'
An accomplice to the illusion.
John bet Anderson's head was a funny shape. Mycroft's too...and Sally...phrenology would have them all damned, the idiots.
What did Sherlock's head look like? His hair was too messy to tell. He imagined it would be lumpy where parts of the brain had grown out from concentration of information stored in certain areas. Knowing over two-hundred kinds of cigarette ash would cause a swelling. Would the part where he knew everything about John be a small lump? Maybe in the back of his head that would be the bump that remembered how John liked his coffee, or how John always liked the left side of his desk clean so he wouldn't have to lean so far to use his laptop or his shoulder would ache, or what got on the doctor's nerves the most...
Or maybe that part of Sherlock's head was sadly concave...
The part that contained information on astronomy would be dented in. It's probably why he'd grown his hair out so wildly. Genius mind. Lumpy head. No one wants a man solving crimes who has a funny shaped head...
John smiled slightly.
But the fleeting moment of happiness, that fond thought of his lost friend, was just a herald to the darkness. He began to retreat into his mind, into the shadows where most of the memories of Sherlock lay. Even the good memories, all veiled by the black lace loss...
His thoughts began to tangle around him.
His head, Sherlock's head.
On the ground.
Like rope, round and round his thoughts wrapped him, until he was wound up tightly. He couldn't move. He could only sit stock still, staring...
Bleeding and cut and smashed on the pavement. Eyes. Lifeless. Astonishingly lifeless.
His eyes were open weren't they...
And John's hands began to shake again. His throat felt tight.
The question, it still burned him him like a hot poker through his chest.
His friend was stronger than that. Strong enough to know that ending his life, when he could have solved all those problems Moriarty had created with John's help would have been so much simpler.
Did he think that John couldn't have helped? Did Sherlock think that he was a burden towards the end? Unable to help him sort it all out and continue on?
Was that what made his friend jump? Because the only person in the world who truly cared to help him was an ex-army doctor with a bum shoulder, too dim to be considered an equal?
The anger was taking over now.
John Watson was a weakness. He was Sherlock's bad leg, bad shoulder, slow mind. Too emotional, too sentimental, too damaged. John could hear it in Sherlock's voice in his head, resonating...
Will caring about them help me save them?
"No..." he whispered aloud.
Then I will continue not to make that mistake.
No matter how much he cared for Sherlock, no matter how much, he could never have saved him. Emotions don't save people. Caring doesn't save people...
John would never hear his voice again.
His stomach clenched and boiled at the thought, as if he were to be sick. John was reeling. More thoughts kept flooding in. He could hear them all in Sherlock's voice. He could picture the man walking about his own body, lying on the concrete, leading John around, assessing the situation.
The fall had probably broken his neck, damaged his windpipe. It wouldn't have mattered. He'd hit too hard to ever survive, too akwardly to survive.
Sherlock's body was in the ground now.
He was decomposing.
He was rotting like the head that was in the fridge.
...the head in the fridge.
John threw the book down quickly and dug his palms into his eyes. The image was there. It was burned into his memory. And it wasn't even real.
This is what it felt like. Not to be able to turn one's mind off. It was maddening. Ella would have a field day if he told her-
Mrs. Hudson's voice pulled him back from his mental tail spin.
"Yeah?" He continued to rub his eyes. God he probably looked like a mess, eyes red, entire body vibrating.
"Come down! Have tea down here with us! Come meet your new neighbor!"
John grabbed blindly for his cane and rose stiffly. He hobbled to the doorway of 221B before he stopped, turned, and went to the kitchen quickly. The cane clattered against the kitchen table and chairs as he threw it down and wrenched open the refrigerator door.
He took inventory, eyes flickering around unable to focus for a few moments.
Milk, jars, plastic containers...food. Just food. What the hell had he expected to see there?
Oh God, he was going crazy.