Welcome all. I haven't written/posted since last summer. Series 2 has helped me to regain some of my mojo. I'm still getting back into the swing of things.
Each chapter will have a lyric at the beginning, which reminds me of Sherlock and the fall. The lyrics, like Sherlock, do not belong to me.
"Please hand me the bottle, I think I'm lonely now. Please give me direction, I think the hurt's set in…and I don't feel nothing…yet." Matchbox Twenty.
John Watson wasn't sleeping. It wasn't for lack of trying. He was so desperate, in fact, to fall asleep, that he'd even gone to see 'The Iron Lady' at the cinema, by himself. It hadn't worked. He had left half way through.
His therapist had asked him to talk about what he was avoiding in his sleep. He hadn't been able to say to her, but he knew. Of course he did. Every time he closed his eyes, he saw the familiar figure, falling slowly, and tearing his life apart.
It had been obvious from the look on Ella's patient face that she knew that he knew. She also knew he wouldn't tell her.
"John," she had smiled kindly, "if you can't say it to me, there is nothing to stop you talking to someone else about it. Who could you talk to?"
"Sherlock," John had replied. There had only ever been Sherlock. Ella hadn't pushed the subject further, and John had been grateful, but he knew she was right. It was time to speak to someone.
That evening, John stirred at the sound of his phone vibrating against the coffee table. He picked it up and attempted a smile as he read the message.
Drink? Alcohol, large, I'm paying.
He hadn't spoken to Lestrade since Sherlock's death, though it hadn't been for Lestrade's lack of trying. It had been several weeks since the fall, and John still couldn't bring himself to face the sympathy and the questions. John typed his response and exhaled. There was something about leaving the house that filled him with a sense of dread. But maybe he was ready?
A few hours later, John stepped inside the Rose and Crown. His face felt hot at the thought of several eyes on him. Lestrade was sat at a small table, around the corner from the main section of the bar. Two pint glasses sat expectantly. John picked one up and took several big gulps, before even managing a greeting. He sat down heavily and managed a small smile at the Detective Inspector.
They looked at each other and laughed awkwardly.
"Oh, Greg," John said with a sigh, and shook his head by way of explanation.
"I know," the other man replied. He did know. They sat for a moment, lost in their own thoughts. Lestrade cleared his throat.
"John, I'm really sorry. For everything."
"It wasn't your fault."
Lestrade nodded, looking unconvinced.
"How are you holding up?"
"I'm not. If it appears that way, it's because I've had a lot of practice at being a man who is pretending to be ok." He faltered at his own honesty.
"Well, you know where I am, if you need me."
"You're here," John pointed out. Lestrade smiled.
"I, uh, I went round the house, a couple of weeks ago. Mrs H said you're not there anymore."
John took another big gulp of his pint.
"Ah, no. I'm staying at my sister's. She's not there," he added, seeing the look of surprise on the other man's face. "She's working away. Spain, I think. And I can't go back to the flat. Not right now anyway. Maybe one day."
Lestrade nodded in understanding. They each took a sip out of their glasses, and John took an opportunity to take a good look at the man sat opposite. He'd lost a lot of weight in a short space of time. Pale skin only highlighted the dull, dark eyes. It was like Greg wasn't in there anymore; like he was going through the motions. John felt it was like looking into a mirror. He opened his mouth speak, but was silenced by Lestrade's question.
"Why didn't you come to the funeral, John?"
John faltered. He had begun to regret the decision, as the weeks had passed. Maybe it would have offered some closure. But he was a man holding on to something. He wasn't sure what.
"I don't know. I couldn't face it, and all of the press." He'd seen the papers the following day. It had made him feel hollow inside. "They won't leave him alone, even now. And, I knew Mycroft would be there. I really don't have the energy for him anymore. He calls me, every day. I've stopped answering my phone to anyone."
Lestrade thought on this piece of information.
"You could block his number?"
John laughed loudly at the suggestion.
"Mycroft owns every number. No, he'll get bored eventually. He's only bothering me because he feels guilty for…"
"Guilty for what?"
"Nothing. We didn't part on good terms, let's just leave it at that." John offered a tight smile.
"So, have you heard from Molly?" Lestrade asked. John frowned and shook his head.
"Well, she was there at the funeral, obviously. And she phoned me the other day, to ask how I was. It was…odd really."
"Yeah, well, Molly is odd," John replied. He hadn't heard from Molly. Not at all. Not even in those first few days after Sherlock's death. John considered that maybe he should have called her. Lestrade broke that thought by announcing he was hungry, which promptly reminded John that he, too, hadn't eaten in quite some time. Molly was forgotten as they pulled on their coats and headed for the door.
They bought a tray of chips and sat in the cold air, by the Thames.
"I'm thinking of retiring early," Lestrade announced. "I think they'd pay me off. I'm not exactly in the good books at the moment." Things weren't the same anymore, they both felt that. It had been brilliant, and it had unravelled the moment Sherlock had gone. The moment he had jumped.
"What would you do?" John asked, popping a steaming chip into his mouth. Lestrade shrugged.
"Go somewhere warm. Find a nice girl, house by the sea. Live the dream. Maybe I'll get a dog." He smiled sadly.
"Sounds nice. Send me a postcard, won't you. And if this girl has a sister…" They laughed.
"What about you? What's your plan?"
John shook his head.
"I'll be here. Waiting."
"Waiting for what?"
John frowned. He wasn't sure why he'd said it. He'd always be waiting.
"I don't know. I'm hoping it'll find me."
They walked down the river bank and over Vauxhall Bridge. The temperature had dropped and John shivered. He considered, for a moment, calling for a cab, but the thought of going back to his sister's empty flat filled him with a new wave of grief. Silence was his flatmate now. Instead, he focussed onto what Lestrade was saying.
"Do you think you'll go back to the flat?"
It took John a moment to realise he meant Baker Street.
"I don't know." In truth, John couldn't see a reason anymore. 221B was far too big a space for one person. "I might pop in to see Mrs H every now and again. She texts me, you know."
Lestrade raised his eyebrows in mild amusement.
"Yeah, she sends me texts. And then calls me two minutes later to check that it has sent."
They both chuckled.
"She's a dear."
"Yes. I miss her."
John stopped abruptly, putting an arm out for Lestrade to do the same. Lestrade frowned, noticing a change in John's face.
"What? What's wrong?"
"We're being watched," John muttered, his eyes fixed at the car parked across the street. Lestrade looked too.
"Is it the press?"
John shook his head, and reached into his pocket to produce his gun. Lestrade scoffed in disbelief.
"Do you always bring a gun on a pub date?"
"It's not a date," John said with a small grin, his eyes still fixed across the road. How many times had he said those words before? "I recognise him. He's on the 'most wanted' list."
"How would you know?" Lestrade asked as they turned a corner and stood with their backs against a wall.
"I have a copy," John said vaguely. "It's laminated, and on my fridge."
"God, I wish you were joking."
John poked his head around the corner. What he had failed to mention to Lestrade was that this man was Sebastian Moran who worked closely with James Moriarty as an explosives expert and that one evening he had dragged John to a deserted swimming pool, and strapped a bomb to his chest. If he mentioned this, Lestrade would think that John's actions would be an act of revenge. They weren't. He was just really bored.
"Where are you going?" Lestrade hissed as John headed back into the street. "Oh, come off it. I'm off duty." He followed nonetheless, as John began to run across the street and towards the car. The car's engine promptly revved up and it sped off down the street. John stood in the middle of the road and, with a steady hand, shot three deliberate bullets at the retreating car.
"John, for fuck's sake!" Lestrade shouted. They watched as the car skidded loudly over the road, rolling onto its side, before coming to a halt as it hit a telegraph pole. John was on the move again, towards the wrecked car.
"Call the police," he shouted over his shoulder "…and an ambulance," he added as an afterthought.
Lestrade did as instructed, with a sense of dread that he was now a key witness of John Watson killing a man.