Title: Impossible Improbability
Warnings: Language; Mentions of death and suicide; spoilers for S2E3, "The Reichenbach Fall"
A/N: This is an angsty, sort of sad oneshot about what John's life was like (read: devolved into) after "The Reichenbach Fall" and where things went from there.
It's my first Sherlock fanfic so please review with any comments and criticisms you may have. Hope you enjoy…
John Watson had seen things in war that would haunt any sane man. He'd seen friends gunned down and blown up and torn to pieces, but nothing would ever haunt his nightmares as much as what he had seen today.
He still wasn't quite sure that it had all been real. His heart was beating too fast inside his chest as he watched his best friend's body being zipped into a body bag. He felt some irrational urge to demand to know why they'd done that. Because there was only one rational thought in his head amongst all of the other clamor...
Sherlock Holmes could not be dead.
It was an impossibility. His best friend, the man that he knew, would never have jumped off that rooftop. It just wouldn't have happened.
So where did that leave him? Denial? No.
He wasn't in denial. He was just the only one who seemed to realize the truth: Sherlock Holmes could no die.
He hadn't been eating. Or sleeping for that matter. He sat up in the front room, staring at nothing.
Mrs. Hudson brought him tea every night, but more often than not it was left on the table to grow cold. He felt cold. Empty and lifeless. He hadn't expected to hurt this much and he found himself longing for something to numb the feeling right out of him. It was the only way he felt he'd be able to move on.
He'd been getting calls for more than a week from the papers. They all wanted the 'inside story'. They wanted to know what Sherlock Holmes' final words had been.
John had finally had enough when one woman had begged him desperately for just one quote. Before he'd thrown the phone across the room he'd snapped.
"You want a quote? Alright, fine. Piss off,"
He stopped answering his phone after that. It was bad enough he had to deal with questions from Lestrade and Donavan; he wasn't going to put up with the reporters as well.
That night Mrs. Hudson came up with her usual cup of tea, a hollowness in her eyes. John tried to smile as he thanked her, but he could tell she didn't buy it. She just nodded sadly and quietly left the flat, tears glittering in her eyes.
It had been over a month now. John was doing his best to "cope". He wasn't quite sure that it could actually be called coping.
He'd been eating again. Sleeping too, though that was only out of exhaustion. He'd gone back to work. He had to find some way of paying the rent, after all. It wasn't the same. Of course it wasn't.
He greeted Sarah with a sad "Good morning," and said goodbye with a short nod. He wasn't even aware of the fact that he didn't smile as he did so. He was constantly checking his phone, but for what he didn't know. Some small part of him was still holding out hope that he'd receive a curt, obscure text telling him that Sherlock needed him.
The reporters had gone. They story of the "fake" genius detective's suicide had fallen off the front page. He still heard people talking about it. Of course he did.
Give people a sensational lie and they'll repeat it until they're blue in the face. Try to give them the truth and they'll stare at you like you've lost your mind.
Sometimes John could swear he'd catch a glimpse of a tall, thin silhouette, coat flapping dramatically as he turned a corner. But that must've been his imagination.
John wasn't sure how much longer he could keep up the charade of "coping". It was tearing him up inside, sitting in their flat, looking around at Sherlock's things, still right where he'd left them. He hadn't even fixed the bloody wall and it had been ages since Sherlock had done that!
He stopped in to check on Mrs. Hudson nearly every day now. They would eat lunch together and avoid all talk of consulting detectives, deerstalker hats and archenemies.
People had learned not to say the name "Moriarty" around him.
Just the day before he had been in a coffee shop and the men behind him had been discussing the long since sensationalized story of Sherlock Holmes and James Moriarty's suicides when one of the men dared to say that he believed Sherlock had "taken the dive" because he hadn't been "man enough" to face his problems.
John had broken his nose.
It hadn't exactly been a rational response, but John didn't care. No one would talk about Sherlock Holmes like that in front of him if they knew what was good for them.
He'd been lucky Lestrade had answered the call that night. The Detective Inspector had managed to talk the man out of pressing charges. As John turned to leave the man grabbed him by his elbow, spinning him around to face him.
"John… are you alright?"
John hated him for the concern he saw there in his eyes. "I'm fine," he snapped as he jerked his arm away and walked off. He thought he heard Lestrade say "I'm sorry," but he couldn't be sure and he didn't care.
John had seen Mycroft today.
Sherlock's older brother hadn't been around to 221B since long before Sherlock's death. He could hardly look John in the eye as he entered the flat. That realization gave John a smug sense of satisfaction. As far as he was concerned, Mycroft didn't deserve to look him in the eye. John had been surprised he'd even shown up for the funeral.
"I noticed you haven't been writing your blog," was the first thing the man had said to him. And while true, it struck John as an odd start to a conversation.
"What's to write about?" John shrugged, trying his best not to think about how much just looking at the blog made his insides twist.
Mycroft had traced a finger down the side of Sherlock's violin and John winced. It was exactly where Sherlock had left it. John had been meaning to clear some of his things out, but he couldn't even bear to entertain the thought let alone actually do it.
John had grown impatient when Mycroft remained silent.
"What do you want?" he'd snapped, staring angrily at the other man.
Mycroft had looked up, his eyes wide as he stared back unblinkingly. "I'm …concerned about you,"
The words echoed in the back of John's mind and he briefly flashed back to when he'd first met Mycroft. He clenched his fists and quickly called an end to their meeting.
It was only after Mycroft had gone that it occurred to John that the man had come and left far too easily for his character. He almost called him to demand an explanation, but he wasn't willing to speak to him unless absolutely necessary.
He went out that night, just walking. He had no real destination in mind, really. But as he turned the first corner of Baker Street he was sure he saw a tall figure in a dark coat disappear down the street.
People don't stop and stare at him on the street anymore. He hasn't had a phone call from a reporter in months and he's even sort of forgiven Mycroft. But people still talk; John can hear them when they think he's out of earshot.
But they don't talk about Sherlock. No, they talk about him. Whispering worriedly to themselves about how rough he was looking lately. How hollow his eyes are, how he hasn't shaved recently.
John wanted to turn around and ask them how he's supposed to look after his best friend commits suicide, but he didn't. And not just because he can't quite admit out loud that Sherlock is gone.
Molly showed up out of the blue just the night before. He'd expected her to show up much sooner, but he supposed she needed her own time to mourn.
She had been surprisingly together. John had never considered Molly to be an especially strong woman, but he realized she must be. She'd put up with Sherlock for years and somehow, miraculously, didn't appear to have broken under that pressure.
Her eyes had been profoundly sad from the moment she saw him and John got the impression that she was trying not to cry.
She didn't stay too long. Just long enough to ask how he'd been and let him know that she would be at Saint Bart's anytime he wanted someone to talk to. John thanked her for the offer, but doubted he'd ever go to Molly to talk. He couldn't talk to anyone about it. Even the sparse amount of people who believed that Sherlock had been as brilliant as he'd claimed could never understand his loss.
John had long since given up trying to recall what his life had been like before meeting Sherlock Holmes; that seemed like such a long ways away in another lifetime, or maybe even a dream. Ever since the two of them had been brought together they'd been inseparable, really. Two halves of a functioning whole. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson.
John didn't quite know how he was supposed to carry on now that his other half was gone.
It had been a year. A long, dark year since the double suicide had taken place on the roof of Saint Bart's.
For John Watson the year had been a blur of depression and monotony.
Sherlock's things were still cluttering the flat at 221B Baker Street, but John still couldn't bring himself to move it. He'd considered moving out himself, getting a small, more affordable place. Mrs. Hudson was kind enough to give him a more than fair price, of course, but he couldn't help but feel he was taking advantage of her.
Yet he couldn't leave this place. It had become his home, as much a part of his identity as Sherlock Holmes had been. It would be like unnecessarily ripping out one more chunk of his heart. And so he stayed, spending his days in the dull routine of working, eating, sleeping, repeating. Even Lestrade had stopped coming by to check on him and only Mrs. Hudson remained.
He wasn't entirely sure how he found himself back on this street, in this spot, looking up at the last place he'd seen his best friend alive.
His therapist would call it closure or some other nonsense. But it didn't feel like closure. In fact, it felt just the opposite. It was as if he were seeing it all again. Hearing the terrifying emotion in his decidedly unemotional friend's voice. Watching as he plummeted to his death. Seeing the blood and just begging it to all have been a nightmare.
He didn't know when he'd started crying, but his tears were running down his face as he scrubbed them away bitterly.
As he turned to leave he knew he saw the twirl of a dark coat as a tall man spun away.
Not even sure why, John found himself running, trying to catch the mysterious figure, but as he turned a sharp corner he ran into a dead end. There was no one around.
Swearing to himself, John turned and headed back to Baker Street, vowing to catch the mysterious person if he saw him again.
John hadn't written a word in his blog since Sherlock's death. He isn't sure that he can. His therapist told him that he would feel better if he would just write something.
John couldn't do that because writing about Sherlock's death means admitting that he's gone and he just isn't prepared to face that.
He told her about the strange glimpses he'd been getting of a tall man in a dark coat following him on the street. She thought it was all in his head, a way for him to cling to the memory of his best friend; a way to cope with the pain of Sherlock's death.
John stopped going to her after that.
He made it his routine to visit the grave at least once a week. He didn't know what good it would do, but at least it helped him remember that Sherlock had in fact existed. Sometimes, John would find it all so hard to believe that he began to fear he made it all up.
He saw the mysterious coat-man again today. He must have just missed him as he chased him down the street.
John had started to think that perhaps Mycroft was having him followed. Of course, when he called, Mycroft claimed he had no idea what John was talking about. Still, John knew that something was going on.
He realized that he must have been acting stranger than normal because Mrs. Hudson had been giving him odd looks and Lestrade had started dropping by again, just to see how he was, apparently.
They probably thought that he was paranoid, but John knew he wasn't. He was just as sane as he had always been, despite feeling like he was living everyday inside his own personal Hell.
When Mycroft showed up at the flat that night, John noticed that he was behaving strangely even for Mycroft. He wouldn't say why he'd come, just that he wanted to make sure that John was getting on alright.
John didn't believe him and when Mycroft left he was more suspicious than he'd ever been.
John realized just how bad things had gotten.
As he was leaving work, Sarah asked him if he'd like to go out for coffee sometime. She and John hadn't been on strictly friendly terms since their breakup, but he was still fond of her and she was a friendly woman.
Which is why it struck him so forcefully when he said no.
He hadn't been on a date with anyone in over a year and oddly, this didn't bother him. It had always been difficult to keep a girlfriend when Sherlock Holmes was his best friend. The man had absolutely no sense of manners.
But his love life had been even less mentionable since his death. In fact, it was fair to say that John's love life was nonexistent.
He realized then that he truly could not function any longer without Sherlock. The only real mystery was how he'd managed to go on this long without knowing that.
Today, John Watson smiled his first genuine smile in more than eighteen months.
He was coming back from a long day at work. It been one of his better days. He'd only been on the verge of tears twice and he hadn't once seen the dark, thin figure he was certain had been following him for months.
As he forced his feet up the stairs and flung his coat haphazardly across his chair he started to make his way to his bedroom.
But then he stopped, frozen by some odd, niggling feeling that something was wrong. Looking around the room he wasn't at first sure what it was until his eyes fell on Sherlock's violin. Sitting propped up in his chair. Not where Sherlock had left it.
For several minutes John could do nothing but stare at instrument that had no right to be where it currently was. For some reason he couldn't explain, his heart was pounding away in his chest, threatening to burst entirely.
The floor board creaked behind him and the doctor turned slowly, pivoting on the spot, his entire body tense with anticipation – though what he was anticipating John had absolutely no idea.
He wasn't sure how to react when he turned completely and came face to face with a very not dead Sherlock Holmes.
He gaped at him, trying remember exactly how breathing worked as his friend's lips quirked into that familiar smirk he'd missed for over a year.
It seemed, apparently, that those words, or perhaps that voice, was all it took to snap John back to the present and before any rational thought had entered his mind, Sherlock's head swung back with the force of his blow.
The taller man winced and grabbed his now bleeding nose, blinking back tears of pain.
"Well, I should have seen that coming," he murmured in a slightly croaked voice.
"Should've seen -!" John just stared at him incredulously for a moment. "Sherlock! You're alive!"
"Of course I'm alive! And I think you've just broken my nose…"
Before Sherlock could even begin to answer, he found himself suddenly short of breath as John, grinning for the first time in over a year, rushed forward and wrapped the man in a tight hug, if only to assure himself that he really was there.
Sherlock gasped, but once it became apparent that John wasn't releasing him anytime soon, he awkwardly returned the hug, smiling and sighing in content. For the first time in a long time he was home.
Right at that moment, John didn't care how Sherlock could possibly be standing in front of him when he'd watched him die… oh so long ago. He ignored every probing, desperate question that was buzzing around inside his head. Because this was all that mattered. He had been right.
Sherlock Holmes was not dead.
A/N: So, this was written very, very quickly in a moment of boredom and inspiration, but I'm fairly pleased with how it turned out.
I hope you guys enjoyed reading it! Please review, let me know what you think!