The Haunting of John Watson

Chapter 1

Disclaimer: I own nothing and no one. I am not making any money whatsoever off of this fanfiction.

A/N: This is my first multipart fic in ages. I don't have a good track record with them. I will attempt to update every other week at least.

John Watson really didn't have much of a social life anymore. He no longer went to work, he was just simply unable to do it. He had tried, at first, but...it was just impossible to concentrate and that wasn't fair to the patients or his co-workers who had to pick up his slack. Of course, there was a spot always open for him there, Sarah had made that clear and once in a while inquired as to whether he might return soon. But he just...wasn't ready.

He might feel ashamed of leaving his spot open, but the fact was it was currently occupied by a temporary hire. The temporary was indefinite and that seemed to suit that person just fine. No doubt they felt that the longer John was gone, the more likely it was that eventually Sarah would just hire them on permanently instead. And, to be honest, John didn't much care. It was one of the last things on his list of many to worry about.

Then again, most of the list was unimportant to him at the moment. He'd moved out of 221b, away from Baker Street completely in fact, and rented a bedsit outside of London, using his modest pension. If it weren't for groceries, or the occasional pint with Lestrade at a pub, he'd probably never leave the bedsit.

He kept it tidy only because it was a compulsion after so many years in the military. But, in truth that was done on automatic rather than something he really had to think about. Nothing really seemed to matter much anymore to him. He did occasionally go to his therapist. His limp was back at this point again, and he knew he had demons to work out.

In addition to the return of his limp, the nightmares had returned with a new viciousness that he hadn't known was possible. And this time they all featured Sherlock in some way. He even invaded John's nightmares of Afghanistan. They were far more violent than anything he'd experienced before. Not only did he thrash during the night and wake up in tears, but he had on more than one occasion begun to sleepwalk and he'd fallen out of bed on some occasions as well. He'd wake up with bruises or small cuts and have no idea where they came from.

So, he avoided sleeping as much as possible. Not that it did a lot of good, either. There wasn't much to do except mindlessly surf the Internet or watch crap telly. Or stare at the ceiling. He did that a lot. The walls, too.

His therapist had suggested that he start to take anti-depressants, even gave him a prescription, but he refused to take them. He didn't want them, whether he needed them or not and quite frankly he didn't care either way. There was no way he thought it would be possible for him to feel better and part of him didn't even want to feel better. What right did he have to feel better? Sherlock was gone? Committed suicide. He wouldn't have believed that Sherlock would do that except...he'd seen it, he'd watched. The man had fallen several stories off of Bart's and then landed on his head.

He'd seen the blood, the vacant look in his best friend's eyes as they stared unseeingly, unblinkingly at the grey sky that day. All that blood marring his face...his beautiful, pale face. He'd even gotten through for a moment, before that damn crowd had pushed him away. He'd touched Sherlock's hand, still warm, the wrist. He hadn't been able to get a good read on whether or not Sherlock had had a pulse at that moment, but he hadn't felt anything for the brief half-second he'd been able to touch him. Not that it mattered in the long run.

At the moment John was sitting in a chair, staring up at the ceiling. He was at his desk, having been attempting to write his most personal thoughts in a regular, old-fashioned journal. He didn't trust these specific, most precious, thoughts of his best friend to be stored on a computer where anyone and everyone might have hacking access to them or he might make a mistake and publish something he didn't mean to publish.

The ceiling was painted red with his thoughts. A movie playing out over it as if on a screen. Sherlock jumping from that rooftop, but oddly enough the things he'd said just moments before on the phone were what played through John's mind at the moment, played in his ears as if speakers were somewhere in the room.

Out of everyone Sherlock could have called, he'd called John. Out of everyone Sherlock might have wanted to speak to, he'd chosen John. He had wanted John to hear what he had to say, to hear his voice one last time, to hear the confession that John still didn't understand because it was all just a pack of lies. To look at him one last time, to see him fall.

Of course, it was just coincidence that John had come back to Bart's at that moment, but...he had still insisted John stand there and watch. He hadn't let John go up, despite John having tried to persuade him otherwise. It wasn't as if, even with the lift, John would've gotten to the roof before Sherlock would've been able to jump. No, Sherlock had wanted someone to see, someone who knew him and cared for him. He'd wanted John to see.

And so John had watched. In disbelief and horror. And John continued to watch. Every day in his mind, the walls and the ceiling and his own eyelids as the screen it all played out on. Every time he stared blankly at a flat surface, or shut his eyes to sleep. He watched, over and over. He remembered. He heard.

And sometimes, because he knew he was alone and nobody would have any reason to bug his bedsit now, he would softly cry. And beg for reality to suspend itself, just one more time. Just one more time for Sherlock. To perform one last miracle. For Sherlock to be alive. To walk up to his doorstep, to knock and to tell him it was all a ruse.

If that were to happen, John didn't think there would be a happier man in the universe, even as vast as it was. And he didn't think he'd be able to stop himself from kissing the world's only consulting detective.

But, reality didn't suspend itself so easily. Things didn't work that way in the real world. When people died in the real world, they stayed dead. John knew. He'd seen it many times. Perhaps this last time was finally enough to break whatever was left of John inside to care about the world anymore. Everything seemed empty and hollow and dull and muted without Sherlock.

He reached up when he felt a tear slip from his upturned face back toward his ear, wiped it away, before sitting up properly again and picking up his pen once more so that he could finish the entry he'd started in the journal.