This takes place after events depicted in the second-series Sherlock episode "The Reichenbach Fall."

In honour of Sherlock and John's home at 221B Baker Street, this is a 221b ficlet (221 words, the last beginning with "b").

The Soul in Deep Distress

The therapy session proved even more useless than John had expected.

He climbed the stairs to his flat with leaden steps, like a man marching to his own execution and lacking the strength to care.

From his chair he gazed alternately inward and outward. Both views revealed a yawning chasm no act of will could possibly bridge or fill. A man might lose himself in that cold void. He could fall.

When she appeared in the doorway he started, wondering that he hadn't heard her halting ascent. Her hip troubled her this time of day.

"I made scones." She raised the tray like an offering. Her eyes reflected familiar grief, but the set of her lips was stubborn.

Not for the first time, he reminded himself who was the true soldier of Baker Street, who was the heroic old campaigner. He knew damn well it wasn't Captain John Watson.

"Tea, Mrs Hudson?" He forced himself to rise and move without the tell-tale limp.

"That's my job, dear."

Relieving her of her burden, he said what they both knew: "No. Actually, it isn't."

He settled the tray on the table, pulled out a chair for her. "Please."


Ignoring the chair, she opened her arms.

He leaned into her warmth with the trust of a child, pressing his cheek against her brow.


Vital Stats: Originally written in March 2012.

The title was inspired by the following verse:

"The soul perishes not of dark
But of cold.
The soul in deep distress
Seeks not light but warmth,
Not counsel but understanding."
-Author Unknown