John watched the players on the stage as Imogen awoke next to the beheaded Cloten, mourning who she thought was her husband, Potheusmus. It wasn't and everyone in the audience new it. She smeared the man's blood on her face and sobbed over his body.
It wasn't her husband's body.
It was dressed like him, but without the face she couldn't tell the difference.
The audience around him was chuckling under their breath. Oh it's so amusing. She thinks it's her husband but it's really her stepbrother. Oh, I wonder how she'll react when she finds out. Oh, the irony. Oh, he's fine and she'll think it silly later how she mourned.
It was about as ironic to John as ten thousand spoons when one was in need of a knife.
John left the theater in the middle of the ending reveal where everything started to come together. He wasn't in the mood to watch the star-crossed lovers reunite or the brothers take back their kingdom or the exiled soldier taken back by his king and country. It was too much to hope for- Sherlock being alive. He had believed, for so long, that Sherlock would just walk in the door and say "I'm alive and we've got a case." He'd then drag him along in a stupor and solve it with none of John's input. He wouldn't need it. It would be his apology. There would be no I'm sorry. He would just go on as if nothing happened.
John didn't know if he could do it. He didn't know if he wanted to.
He was always making excuses for Sherlock. Always staying by him, and trusting him even when he kept his plans from him. It wasn't fair that he went through all of that for him and Sherlock just kept pushing for more.
John was always so patient.
It had been three months since Victor's visit and John was tired.
John ascended the stairs to his flat.
He stopped and turned, but for the hundredth time it was not who he hoped. Victor stood behind him, eyes nearly glowed blue bright in the light of the streetlamps.
"You were out?"
He nodded. John hadn't been out in a long time. When he saw the ad in the paper, however, he couldn't stop himself. "Went to a play."
"Ah, I heard they were doing Cymbeline."
The way he said it made John grind his teeth. "Stop playing games and tell me what you know."
"I do not know what you mean."
"Then leave." John turned to unlock his flat.
John turned back again and Victor was silent. Silent in a way that was asking too much of him. It was like it meant so much how could he not know?
John stepped down the stairs so that he was level with the taller man. He looked him straight in the face. It was a test. He knew it.
When it finally clicked he couldn't stop himself.
He punched him.
"You bloody idiot! You stupid, selfish bastard!"
"John I can-"
"No! No you cannot just- will you take that bloody face off?"
Sherlock pried off the prosthetic makeup and revealed his sharp cheekbones and unruly brown hair. John punched him again.
"Would you please stop that, John? I-
"No! No. I am going to punch you every single day from now until you are actually dead! Do you hear me Sherlock Holmes? I will punch you until one of us no longer walks this Earth and you will shut up and take it."
Sherlock held his cheek and sighed. "Really, John I thought you'd take it better than this."
"No. No I won't because I-" John felt the tears coming up and it took everything to not sob. "I mourned you, Sherlock. Do you understand just how much that killed me inside?"
"Stop saying my name like that."
"John I know it was difficult-"
"You have absolutely no-" But John stopped. That day on that street corner played through his mind. Eyes on him. He needed him to see it. He needed him to confirm that he had jumped, that he was dead. Desperate to have him watch.
"They were going to kill you."
Slow tears slid down his cheeks and he wiped them away. "Well, do you know how many times I wished they had?"
But he didn't go on. John was finally going to let Sherlock talk, and he had the decency not to have anything to say for himself.
Looking at Sherlock now though, he was brilliantly reminded of why he had so loved Sherlock in the first place. "Sherlock." He stepped forward and kissed him fiercely. It was like water in the desert or food for the starving. It was the first sign of life in his veins for what felt like all time.
He came up for air and John's hand went to Sherlock's cheek. "You owe me. You have no idea."
"I will never leave you again. I swear it."
"Oh, you have no choice. I would find you. I would hunt you to the end of the world. I will never believe you are dead ever again, you clever bastard. You fantastic idiot."
"I have so missed your particular way with words."
"Shut up and get in the flat, you heartless bastard." John went to drag him in and have his way with the stupidly brilliant consulting detective, when Sherlock stopped him and grabbed the doctor's hand. He laid it over his own heart and smiled.
"Not heartless. Feel this heart beat with the love it grants thee." John turned red but yanked Sherlock up the stairs after him.
"Stop bastardizing Byron and get in here. He'd be in tears if he heard you now."