A/N: Well here we go, Nova found a new fandom and Nova rose to the challenge. This is a little reunion fic to help me get over the horror that was the end of season two, hope you enjoy.
Thanks has to go greatly and wholeheartedly to my wonderful beta WitchRavenFox who has cheered me on all the way through this- be sure to check her out, especially her Sherlock series, Against the Counter.
Standard disclaimer applies, I own nothing of Sherlock, that all belongs to the gods Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss (aww gotta love Mycroft) and of course the brilliant ACD!
Remember views are love but flames will be ignored and probably receive a somewhat sarcastic response with no punches pulled.
So here we go, please sit back and enjoy the ride.Mourning'Who can say for certain, maybe you're still near, I feel you all around me, your memory so clear. Deep in the stillness, I can here you speak. You're still my inspiration, can it be that you are my forever love, watching me from up above? And I believe, that angels grieve and that love can live on and never leave.' – To Where You Are, Josh Groban.
John Watson dropped his heavy duffle bag onto the ancient wooden floor of 221B Baker Street, the impact causing a small puff of dust to fly up and settle in a haze in the room. The summer sunlight filtered through the half drawn curtains, casting rays over the furniture, unmoved since he had last left it. It had been four months since he'd buried his best friend, four months since he had fled that flat that reminded him far too much of Sherlock Holmes. He'd believed that he could never return but no other place had felt right.
He had tried Harry's but she had been all false concern and behaved like a mother, fussing every time he moved. He was determined to love his sister but he couldn't guarantee that he wouldn't kill her if her stayed with her. He managed the three weeks until the funeral with her but he had decided even before he had joined the small cortege that he couldn't go back to hers. He had been discussing his prospects of lodgings with Mrs Hudson and Molly, the only people in the room other than Mycroft that he knew. Mrs Hudson told him that Baker Street would always welcome him even as Molly stayed silent but it had been the soft voice from behind him that had made another offer.
He had been introduced to Sherlock's mother before the service had begun, Mycroft having ushered him to the front pew with them both and he had ended up holding her hand throughout, watching the silent tears her eldest son clearly had no idea how to calm. After the ceremony though she had been swept into a cacophony of family and John had retreated to the familiar faces he knew. After their brief meeting therefore he was unprepared when she had offered him a place at the family home and he had accepted out of shock rather than judgement. He had arrived that evening in a car provided by Mycroft, the sprawling house far too large for a woman alone despite the staff she kept. Mrs Holmes, Evangeline he had to often remind himself, kind and attentive with all of Sherlock's looks and mannerisms that were muted versions of her son's. The main difference in mother and son though was her accent; American, which had been wholly unexpected to John but Evangeline had explained her origins. The daughter of an oil baron who had married young to an English aristocrat and giving him two sons.
John found the house elegant and vast but empty, Evangeline receiving daily visitors but none stayed long; even Mycroft, though John always made himself scarce whenever he arrived. He had stayed out of an obligation but soon had found the kindness morphing to something else as she had tried to force onto him the inheritance that should have been her youngest son's. It was a substantial fortune but he couldn't take it, the comfort it would offer nothing in comparison to the friend he had lost.
He had left the house soon after but with a promise to visit as often as he could. Even though he left without the fortune he did have several mementos that she had begged him to keep, photographs of Sherlock that she swore she had in double and an antique magnifying glass that had been a favourite of his friend as a child. John kept a picture of his friend in his inside jacket pocket, feeling lost if he ever left the house without it.
He took up lodgings in a veterans' hotel and was glad to be around fellow soldiers again but it was not home, reminding him of the state he had been in before he had met Sherlock, and he had found himself picking up his phone one evening to call Mrs Hudson. She had offered him the flat back with all the kindness she had ever shown them both, glad that it would be lived in once more.
It hadn't changed in the months he had been away, Mrs Hudson having moved nothing and John was almost surprised when there was no noise of an explosion from the kitchen or the petulant huff of his friend as he swanned into the living room in his silk dressing gown with cries of boredom. He felt the tears sting his eyes and once more questioned whether his return was for the best but he knew he couldn't leave, he had spent the happiest, craziest months of his life at Baker Street and he could live in the memories the place invoked.
"Will you be needing anything dear?"
John almost startled at the sound of his landlady's voice, turning to see her hovering in the doorway with an apprehensive smile on her face.
"No thanks Mrs Hudson, I'll be fine," he said, "I…I thought I might go along to the cemetery later though, haven't been for a while. I wouldn't mind the company."
Mrs Hudson smiled, "Call for me before you leave then," she said before she clasped her hands with a false cheer, "Well I'll leave you to get settled then. You know where I am if you need anything."
John nodded, turning back to the scene before him as he heard her descend the stairs to her part of the house below. He crossed the small space from the door to the two armchairs that sat facing one another, one battered leather and the other over stuffed and patterned. He took the patterned, his eyes falling on the chair opposite before they scanned further back. He raked his gaze over the piles of books and papers, substance encrusted test tubes resting here and there where they had been forgotten but they were not what held his focus. A beam of sunlight had sneaked in through the smallest gap in the curtains and had fallen as if by design over the elegant black case that sat on top of the riot of disorganisation with far more grace than its companions. John got to his feet on instinct and crossed to the window, his body blocking the sunbeam but it didn't distract his focus as he traced a finger across the hardened black leather to the silver locks. He flipped them both open and lifted the lid, revealing the red velvet lining and, more poignantly, what the lining protected.
So often had he been woken at all hours of the morning to the sound of Sherlock's violin, the melody always that of a master though he had never taken the time to truly appreciate it when it had woken him. There had been other times he had heard his flatmate play, when he was jubilant at the end of a case, when he was mulling over his thoughts on another, when he was bored or just whenever the mood had taken him, John's participation as an audience never required but often quietly appreciated.
John gently traced the well-worn strings, feeling the stick of the rosin that lingered there; needing its master's fingers to skilfully remove it from its unexpected embalmment. He felt a small smile quirk at his lips as he recalled times when he had cursed the instrument only to find himself wishing that he could hear its tones once more.
"Great noisy old thing," he muttered to himself as he closed the lid, ignoring the path of the tear that coursed its way down his cheek.
"Mrs Hudson," said John as he tapped politely on her door, "Are you ready?"
He heard her footsteps and stepped back as the door opened to reveal her, a cordless phone pressed to her ear though she had placed a hand over the mouthpiece.
"My sister," she said quietly, "I won't get away for a while now. You go along. Tell Sherlock I'll pop up and see him soon."
John nodded, his heart clenching a little as his landlady's words made it sound as though their absent friend was merely away. Mrs Hudson smiled in understanding, her free hand squeezing his forearm before she bustled back into the room and closed the door. John headed out into the street, the weather clear and warm but he had pulled his jacket on all the same, Sherlock's photograph a welcome reminder in his breast pocket.
He hailed a taxi and absently gave the direction for the graveyard before he reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a plain black armband, setting it in place with a well practised ease. The cabby tried to make conversation but John was in no mood for idle chatter and his short, polite answers soon gave an obvious hint. He paid the fare as thy pulled up to the iron gates, jumping out and heading to the small flower stall that was set to the side of the entrance. The woman smiled in recognition and soon handed him a familiar collection of blooms.
The cemetery was near empty but John was glad of it, still being recognised now and then as Sherlock's companion and he didn't want to lead any of the tabloid hungry nutters to his graveside. He stiffened in shock therefore when he saw someone knelt by the neat black marble but recognition soon came to him and he allowed himself a small smile. He crossed as silently as he could before he lent down and placed his hands gently over the eyes of the woman before him.
"You tell me off for not visiting and then turn up without a word," he said, feeling the smile that graced her face before he released her.
He stood and helped her to her feet, stepping into a familiar embrace.
"John dear its good to see you."
"Mrs Holmes," he said, as she pressed an affectionate kiss to his cheek, "How are you?"
"I'd be all the better if you remembered to call me Evangeline," she said, grey-blue eyes glittering with her smile, "Mrs Holmes sounds so dreadfully formal."
"Evangeline then," said John.
He saw the familiar look of amusement in her eyes, knowing how much he still struggled to call her by her given name despite her insistence. It was a look he knew well, having seen it so often in Sherlock's eyes, the affectionate amusement whenever John had made him laugh at their situation or at himself. There was no doubting whose mother Evangeline was, the same sharp cheekbones and wild black curls though they tumbled long and were shot through with silver. John saw the same brilliant intelligence there also, the penetrating stare missing nothing and analysing everything.
"What brings you to London?" said John, as he knelt down beside the now settled earth before the headstone, setting the small bouquet down next to the dozen red roses already propped against the stone. He traced a finger along the 'S' of the engraving, the coldness of the stone stark against his skin.
"Mycroft," said Evangeline with a sigh, "His cousin is due to become a father and there are trust funds to deal with. He needed my signature."
"And he couldn't have come to you?" said John with a bristle, his distaste towards the eldest Holmes son not having dwindled in the passed months.
Evangeline cast her eyes towards the gravestone, "I find myself finding more and more reasons to come to London these days," she said, "I can't believe its been four months."
John laid a hand on her arm, feeling the tension there that spoke of repressed emotion, "I know," he said, "I moved back into the flat today, almost got a shock when he wasn't there lounging on the sofa or shooting at the walls."
Evangeline laughed, "Little horror," she said fondly, "He was always a pest, even when he was small. So much energy but sometimes I think he burned just a little too brightly."
John was silent, unsure of what to say to comfort her as her thoughts clearly strayed once more onto the memories she held. There times together had often been filled with similar silences and John found an odd comfort in it, glad there was someone in the world who he could share them with.
"He'd tell us off you know," said Evangeline when the silence became too heavy, "Getting all overly emotional."
John smiled, "He would at that," he said, before silence descended once more, "Are you staying in London tonight?"
Evangeline nodded, "Mycroft insisted and you know how he gets. I was just getting ready to head back when you arrived."
"I didn't see a car," said John, looking over his shoulder as if expecting one of Mycroft's cronies to be lurking nearby.
"Despite the predilections of both my sons, I am more than capable of getting a bus," said Evangeline, "Or even walking when the mood takes me."
John laughed but the sound was cut short as his phone beeped loudly from his pocket. He reached for it with a swift apology before he scowled at the name that winked up at him. Lestrade, another on the list of not quite forgiven, his loss of faith in Sherlock another factor that had sent the younger man to his suicide. He stuffed his phone into his coat pocket without reading the message and forced a smile to his face.
"Dinner plans?" he said to the woman before him.
"A stilted and formal dinner with Mycroft unless I find a better offer."
"I could take you to one of Sherlock's old haunts. Angelo's isn't much but the food is good," said John, "And if you like we can stop off at the flat, everything of Sherlock's is still there if you wanted to take anything home."
"I'd like to see it, if nothing else," said Evangeline, taking his proffered arm, before she reached out with her free hand to touch the headstone, "Sleep tight my darling."
John covered her hand with his own, sharing the touch on the headstone and hoping once more that his friend would perform one more miracle and come back to them. He hated to think of him beneath the ground, trapped and contained but he had had to bow to the families will and at least with a headstone he had somewhere to visit. With his own silent farewell he led Evangeline from her son's graveside, persuading her once more into the stories of his youth that offered her so much comfort.
It was late when Mycroft's conspicuous black limo finally swept Evangeline Holmes from the steps of 221B Baker Street, both Mrs Hudson and John waving to her from the door until she was out of sight.
"Such a fine, elegant woman," said Mrs Hudson with a sigh, "But so sad. You can tell Sherlock was her favourite, she doesn't speak nearly as fondly of that Mycroft."
John smiled, as he let her precede him back into the house, "Well despite his faults Sherlock definitely had the more appealing personality," he said, cursing quietly as his phone beeped in his pocket once again.
"Someone is definitely after you this evening," said Mrs Hudson, "That thing's not stopped trilling all night."
"Its Lestrade," said John, absently checking the phone to see the tenth message from the inspector, "He hasn't quite got the hint yet."
"Perhaps its important dear."
"It can stay important," said John bitterly, "If he hadn't…losing Lestrade's trust hit Sherlock hard, if he'd only…"
"Oh John," said Mrs Hudson gently, "I know how much you miss him."
John straightened himself, shaking away the pain that took him, "Crying won't bring him back," he said, almost hearing Sherlock's voice in the words, "Crying doesn't help."
"Sometimes a good cry does," said Mrs Hudson as she opened the door to her own flat, "You lost someone you loved John. You're allowed to mourn him, however long it takes."
John didn't answer her immediately, not quite sure how coherent the response would be if he tried, "Good night Mrs Hudson," he said finally.
He had turned before she had answered, slowly climbing the stairs to the flat. His phone beeped once more, another message from Lestrade and he hit the button to delete all the messages in his inbox, cursing as he realised that he'd deleted the last few texts from Sherlock in the same action. Pain coursed through him once more and only years of drilled restraint stopped him from throwing the phone at the wall in his frustration. The room suddenly seemed so much smaller around him, surrounded by familiarity, surrounded by their things, by his things. The feelings and images near overwhelmed him and he rushed from the room, taking the stairs to his bedroom two at a time. He slammed the door behind him and all but collapsed on the bed, only then did he give in to the pain of the day and cried.
The harsh beep of a mobile phone echoed through the quiet of the night, waking John from his sleep with a start. He scrubbed at his eyes, feeling a familiar grit there before his hand moved to rub his shoulder, easing the ache that lingered there.
"Piss off Lestrade," he muttered but reached for his phone all the same, frowning as an unknown number flashed on the screen.'Dún Chaoin, Co. Kerry'
John frowned at the words before him, none of them making sense to him. He shook his head and set his phone back on the nightstand, wondering if the message would have made any sense to the true recipient. He had just closed his eyes once more when the phone beeped again, the same number flashing on the screen.'Time for a holiday? SH'
John's blood froze in his veins even as a sweat broke out on his brow. He read and reread the message, so short and simple but the two letters at the end held such an extraordinary power over him.
"Sherlock," he said, his voice thin in the silence of the room, "Sherlock."
He leapt to his feet as the name on his lips finally registered in his mind. Rationality went to hell as he ran from the room and into the living room, his flatmate's name coming all the louder from his lips as it turned to a question.
He all but skidded to a halt as he was met by the darkness of the living room, surprised when there was no figure laid out on the sofa or stood in the light from the window, violin in hand. He even went as far as moving until the kitchen was in view but the table remained free of experiments, the equipment neatly arranged on the counter rather than haphazardly spread around. The sleepy fog in his mind finally cleared and memory crashed down on him. Sherlock was dead and dead men couldn't text.
John looked down at his phone and the message that had woken him, realising that someone had found his number somehow and was enjoying a sick joke at his expense. This time military training didn't come to bear, this time his patience had been worn too thin and with a curse he threw the phone at the smiling yellow face on the wall with all his might, smashing the device into irreparable pieces. It did nothing to ease his pain but by morning he had the intent to get a new number and free himself of whatever sick game the sender wanted to play.
A/N; More soon if you like it.