Reichenbach Fall Spoilers.

After the graveyard scene, John ends up at home. This is what I imagine could follow. This is not my typical area, and as always, feedback is appreciated.

Disclaimer: I do not own Sherlock

John sat in his typical chair in 221B Baker Street, holding a glass of water someone had handed him before leaving, staring out at nothing. Seeing everything, yet comprehending nothing. It all looked the same.

Why did it all look the same?

It was not supposed to look the same.

Everything was different, therefore everything should not be the same.

The axis of his world had collapsed, so why was the Earth still spinning?

He stood up, slowly, looking around their- his- flat. The yellow face on the wall smiled back, as though gloating that the one who had shot it was no longer there.

The organized chaos that surrounded him seemed oppressive, as if waiting to, yet again, be reorganized by the next case.

Road noise from the street was at a dull roar, much as it was always.

"Don't be dead."

John had said those words earlier, but no response came.

The silence of "I'm not paying attention to you right now" or the look of "Isn't the answer obvious" had not answered that question.

There had been nothing. No answer.

John threw the glass of water at the face on the wall.

It shattered into pieces, but the destruction did not heal John's pieces; did not provide even brief opium for his pain.

He entwined his fingers together behind his head, realizing he needed to come to terms with the truth.

That was the crux of the matter, however. What was the truth? Sherlock would- John stopped himself. That was the problem. Sherlock was in no position to answer.

Many options were possible explanations for this situation.

He could be busy, working on a case no one had bothered to tell John about, but then again, there had been no text to ask him to hand over a pen, or get his computer, not to mention the obvious lack of a pulse. This was a feeble explanation. John knew it. He was only clinging to straws with this one. Sherlock would be so disappointed. No, this was not the explanation.

Another explanation could be that Sherlock was experimenting; he wanted to see how long his… absence would be dramatized by the media. That same media which any time John turned on the telly jammed daggers into his flesh before cruelly twisting and pulling out his insides. No, this could not be the explanation. In more recent days, though Sherlock might cause John pain, he also had done his best to make it right. He had never before deliberately allowed John to think he was dead.

John was drowning; drowning in the details, and media, and the emptiness that had come with losing his friend. No, Sherlock would not allow him to go through this without sound reasoning, and there was none that John could see.

The final explanation was that Sherlock Holmes was de… no longer with them. It seemed to be the only true explanation based on the details.

John lowered himself into his chair again, burying his face in his hands.

Short of Sherlock being gone forever, temporarily gone was a better option. John was not prepared to handle anything permanent.

In all, the truth was that it didn't matter. If Sherlock really was- dare he think it- alive, then he had a reason to not be here. He would not put John through this pain if there was no reason. He would choose the lesser of two evils, which meant if he was alive, he was somewhere out there in more pain than John. John pushed past this train of thought. He had already been down that path many times. It would do no good to travel down the road of what he could not do.

If Sherlock was faking his death, then he needed it to be as realistic as possible. If he really was- John gritted his teeth, forcing the word into his mind- dead, than John would eventually need to move on.

The truth was, John had to pretend to move on, for the sake of his sanity, and to protect Sherlock, if he was still alive. He could feel the eyes of those who knew Sherlock on him at all times when he left his flat; watching where he went, who he talked to, looking for patterns; looking for indications that all might not be as it seemed. If he outright refused to acknowledge the situation, important, dangerous people would begin to question the death of Sherlock. Whatever Sherlock's reasoning for pretending to be dead, John expected he could do it more efficiently if there was little doubt.

And if he wasn't faking, if John was hoping against all odds, as he believed himself to be, then what did his false recovery mean? It would result in people looking at him with less pity than they were now. People would stop treading around him as though he were a fragile object. He already was broken pieces. The most he could do was glue the pieces back together and pretend to be the whole individual he was. They might still see cracks, but they would expect those, but he could continue to nurse the small piece of hope that was lending him strength to come to this decision.

John heard footsteps on the stairs: Mrs. Hudson. She was probably coming to check on him after the crash.

He allowed tears to flow down his face. After denial ended, there was general agreement that acceptance followed with other emotions in tow. He had been in denial long enough. It was time to act as though he had moved on, as if some part of him didn't expect Sherlock to come sauntering into the room at any odd hour of the day.

"Are you all right, dear? I thought I heard a crash?" Mrs. Hudson's face was tearstained. For the media, this was just another scandal. For the people who knew Sherlock, it was agony.

"He's gone," John's voice broke, and he released a breath he didn't recognize he was holding, "Sherlock's gone."

A/N: Just a thought on that afternoon. For those of you reading Checkmate, I am working on the next chapter. Review if you feel so inclined. I always appreciate feedback.