He made it the first week. His military rigidity firmly in place, he kept up appearances and managed to stay in routine. He worked at the surgery, kept the flat in order, went out to eat a couple times. For all the world cared, he looked like he was managing just fine.

But a week of silence broke him. No ridiculous chases through London, no absurd cases to keep him up half the night, no milk to replace every third day, no texts to harass him at work, no Sherlock… He couldn't keep up the pretense that Sherlock was just absent, and could return any day.

A week after the Fall, he lay in bed, staring at the ceiling, long past noon.

Three weeks after the Fall, he requested to be on call instead of working regular hours.

Five weeks, and he stopped working at all.

Six weeks after the Fall, he started cleaning out the kitchen.

Six weeks and a day after the Fall, he realized he couldn't change a thing about 221B, and never tried to again.

Seven weeks after the Fall, he couldn't sleep anymore. He took to wandering London by night, and sporadically falling asleep for a few minutes in the day, before nightmares woke him.

They weren't nightmares. They were memories.

Some days John can't even make the stairs. He slumps against the staircase and holds his head in his hands, and wonders… He wonders, why, of all the things that had to be taken away from him, it'd be Sherlock.