Author's Note: I've been listening to three songs from the Sherlock Series 2 soundtrack on repeat: "Prepared to Do Anything", "Blood on the Pavement", and "One More Miracle". Not an easy task, but I wanted to give writing angst a go, since I've been writing nothing but fluff. Thank you for reading.
"Three years." he tells no one. He sits in his flat, his studio flat, and takes another shot. "Three years." he mutters again. He pours himself another, toasting to the air. It has been exactly three years since the fall. To the day. He glances at his watch. Almost to the hour, if he's correct. He can't tell—the numbers have become blurred, shifting and shaping into something unfamiliar and unrecognizable… he couldn't tell.
He still had dreams at night. He'd be standing on the street, staring up at the dark figure at the very top of St. Bart's. He would hear the voice on the phone, cracking with grief it was unfamiliar with, informing him. "I'm a fake." it would say, and he would never believe it. Never. "This is my note." it would say, and he'd yell his name, as loud as he could. He'd yell his name and it would tear his heart from his chest, leave it shattered on the street.
He'd beg and plead. He'd watch the dark figure raise his arms, as though crucified in mid air, and then it would happen.
The dark figure at the top of St. Bart's would fall.
He'd wake up with a gasp, and—even after all this time—he'd still have sorrow caught in his throat. He'd still have to fight off the tears that sprung to his eyes, the ones he hadn't allowed himself to shed way back when.
"Three years." he murmurs again. He can feel the tears beginning to well in his eyes. He can feel the emotion grabbing hold of his throat, strangling him. He doesn't want to cry. It's not like him to do it. But the liquor is playing tricks with him, and he's thinking back to the day they first met. How strangely exciting life with him had been, right from the get-go. And all those times, those times he'd always thought that he was just a burden. But he always insisted that he wasn't. He had always made it clear, after all was said and done, just how much he needed him.
John takes another shot.
He glances at his watch again. The numbers are coming back into focus.
His jaw clenches.
He thinks back to the times they had outside of the cases. To Clue-do, and Bond night, and the social gatherings he'd forced him to go to. To hearing the violin early in the morning, soft and sweet, dreadfully beautiful. He'd cursed it then, of course. Had only wanted a little sleep, just to get him through the night.
Oh, how he wished he could hear it again. Just once. He wanted to wake up to find him standing at the window in 221B, violin to his chin and bow to the strings, the soft melody of a new tune being composed. Just once more.
He licks his lips, gulping back another wave of emotion that seems to crash into his body.
He doesn't say his name anymore. It hurts too much to even think about. He tries to substitute it with other names, nicknames: the dark figure, the man on the roof, the violinist, the detective. Anything other than the name itself. Is it rude? He's unsure. He doesn't care. He knows that when the name flits across his mind, like a paper in the wind, it causes instant damage to him. It shuts down his entire being. So he doesn't think about the name.
But today he will.
He looks at his watch again.
He takes another shot.
He considers all the things he never told him. All the words he should've said and never did. He never had the stomach to say them then. Thought he'd get the chance, eventually, when he'd muster up the courage to say them. How he actually enjoyed listening to the violin. How it didn't matter that he was so demanding and rude. How he'd have followed him to the end of the Earth. How he'd have followed him right off of that roof, had he been given the chance.
His jaw clenches again and tears spring to his eyes. He knows it's wrong to think, but he knows he would've. He would've held his hand and jumped right with him. A tear streaks its way down his cheek. He doesn't bother to wipe it away—now that the first has fallen, he's sure the rest will come.
He never told him he loved him. He'd always wanted to say it. He'd always felt it, somewhere deep down, from the moment they'd met. Maybe it hadn't started off where he was at then. Maybe it was something softer, gentler. A friendly love. One that insisted that he'd care for him no matter what. But then, love grows. It twists and turns and confuses, it terrifies and becomes a monster, big enough to swallow him whole. He loved him. John loved him in ways that no one could possibly love another person. He would've died for him, easily. He still loves him.
He swallows, his lungs beginning to hurt. He's holding back the sob that's threatening to choke him. It's causing his chest to strain uncomfortably.
He leans backward in his chair and rubs his eyes. The tears are making their own way now. He's trying to swallow them back but it's only causing the sob to come up faster and harder. He gasps when it makes its way from his mouth. It flies out of him in a whirlwind that causes him to become dizzier. The alcohol and tears are mixing in his mind and he fights the urge to vomit. His body is racking itself, allowing the fits of anguish to rise up and consume him.
He hates himself, for just a moment.
He wants to go back, back in time, three years ago to almost the exact moment, and jump too.
It would hurt less, he feels, if he had.
He knows he doesn't want to look, but he manages to wipe his eyes and checks the watch.
Nine, eight, seven, six…
His heart clenches uncomfortably. He's tempted to gulp the entire bottle, though only half remains.
Five, four, three, two…
He sighs, grabbing the bottle by the neck. He holds it to the sky weakly as the little alarm on his watch begins to beep. He sees it all before him, the dark figure on the phone, the dark figure falling from the sky, and he can't help the sob as he whispers his name. "Sherlock. Sherlock…"
He shuts his eyes and takes a deep, rattling breath. It doesn't contain his emotion. Tears have streaked his cheeks and he's sniffling them back as much as he possibly can, but nothing seems to be helping. Three years to the moment since the fall, and there is John Watson, shaking and staring at the ceiling, reliving a moment he can't forget.
"Sherlock." he says again.
"John." a voice replies quietly.
He doesn't look up. He bites down on his lips and shuts his eyes. He's lost it, finally, after all this time. He stares into the bottle of amber liquid before him and his tears seem to miss the entrance. He refuses to look. "Sherlock." he says again.
"John." the voice replies once more.
He gives the bottle a subtle nod. He lifts his head and stares at the wall. He's preparing himself for something awful. A delusion, a mirage. He's preparing himself to turn to see Greg Lestrade, or Mycroft, or Harry even. He's preparing to think he's just hearing a voice, that his mind is playing horrible, rude tricks on him.
He takes a long, burning swig from the bottle.
He turns slowly.
His eyes burn instantly.
Sherlock hasn't aged. He's still tall and lean. His hair is still the mop of dark curls he remembers. His eyes are still laser sharp and piercing. His coat is the same. His scarf is the same. He is standing with his coat tucked tightly around him. John's breathing is irregular. He is fighting back the complete ruining that is about to strangle him. He shakes his head. "No." he croaks.
"I'm sorry, John." Sherlock replies.
John shuts his eyes and grimaces. His clenches his teeth hard, and he shakes his head. "You… aren't real." he tells Sherlock. "You… are dead."
"You… jumped off of a four story building. Three years ago." he looks down at his watch and sighs. "Three years and 2 minutes ago. You were on the ground." he said. He's trying to reaffirm it. He is putting the pieces in his head to what he's seeing. "There was blood. I…" His breathing shutters as he says it, "I took your pulse."
"I'm sorry." Sherlock says once again.
John stands, or tries to. The liquor has rushed to his head and he's having a hard time seeing straight. Sherlock rushes to his side. He grabs hold of John before he makes it to the floor. They drop to the floor together. John feels Sherlock's arms around him, and he can't breathe. His lungs are working overtime, his heart is pumping hard, his body is convulsing in sobs that cause physical pain. "I…" he chokes out. He can't say anymore.
Sherlock cradles him. John grabs hold of his arm, grasping awkwardly. He wants to make sure it's real. He wants to know it's not a figment of his imagination. Sherlock is just as solid as he ever was, and it makes John's heart lurch. He turns, stumbling drunken within Sherlock's arms, and he grabs hold of Sherlock's face. He can feel Sherlock's sharp cheekbones beneath his palms. He examines Sherlock's face, from both corners of his lips to his jaw to his nose, to his eyebrows and his hair. He settles finally on Sherlock's eyes, and his jaw clenches. "Sherlock." he whispers.
Sherlock gives one quick, subtle nod.
John checks the watch on his wrist. Three years and ten minutes ago, John Watson had watched as Sherlock Holmes fell from the roof of St. Bartholomew's Hospital. Ten minutes ago, Sherlock Holmes reappeared, unscathed. He mentally stores both moments.
"Please be real." John replies.
Sherlock's eyes swim with emotion that John can't pinpoint. His eyebrows are creased in concern.
Tears are still running down his cheeks, but he pulls Sherlock forward and he presses a gentle kiss to his lips. Sherlock doesn't fight him. "I'm sorry." Sherlock whispers again. John shakes his head. He wraps his arms around Sherlock's neck and holds him tight. He feels Sherlock's arms squeeze him.
He's tempted to ask how, and what, and why, but he doesn't. He sighs because his heart is broken. He knows rage will come next. He will be mad, he will be livid. He will break something, he will fight the urge to hit Sherlock. There will be turmoil and he knows it'll be because of him. But he grasps on for now, because all those other moments will come. He will only be reunited with Sherlock once, and he's decided to spend it in his arms, not at his throat.