John sat there on the pavement, refusing to move. He simply shook his head every time someone offered to help him, never taking his eyes off of the drying pool of blood that stained the floor like the memory of Sherlock stained his heart. He pulled his knees up to his chin and wrapped his arms around his legs, attempting to steady his breathing. He flexed his fingers and grasped his knees tighter as a cab pulled up near him.
"Come on, John," came a familiar voice, "lets get you back to Mrs. Hudson. I'm sure she'll have a nice cup of tea waiting for you."
John stood up, and was guided into the cab by the man who had come. He glanced up to try and match the voice to a face, but his freshly forming tears clouded his view.
Mrs. Hudson. I'll have to tell Mrs. Hudson.
At this thought, John let out an involuntary groan. He felt a hand squeeze his shoulder before he heard the cab door close and they began to move. He bent his head down and closed his eyes, hands closed tightly into fists on his knees. His breathing slowed. Unclenching his fists, he once again tried to see who the familiar voice had belonged to.
It was Mike Stamford who was sat next to him. John tried thanking him, but the words wouldn't come. His throat was dry and he didn't know what to say anyway, so he smiply nodded his gratitude and his friend nodded back understandingly. He swallowed hard as the cab pulled up in Baker Street and the memory of their first visit here rushed back to him. Him pulling up just on time in a cab just like this one. Him shaking him briskly by the hand. Him insisting 'Sherlock, please'.
Oh, what John would give to be back there in that moment right now.
He sensed a movement to his right as Mike got out. A pleasant, warm breeze swept through the cab but John didn't feel it. The door closest to him opened and he reluctantly joined Mike on the pavement, the door of 221 looming over him like a shadow. Ignoring any attempt of comfort from his friend, John opened the door and rapidly closed it behind him in an attempt to close out the awful events of the day. He could vaguely hear Mike shouting goodbye through the door as he took a seat on the stairs.
He steadied himself on the bannister and stroked his chin with his remaining hand, finally coming to terms with things.
He's dead, John thought to himself, he's dead and there's nothing I can do.
Feeling so useless and broken, John stood and straightened his jacket. Marching up the stairs military style, he felt his limp returning and he cursed under his breath. When he reached the door of 221B, his hand grasped the handle, the familiar metal feeling so odd in his grasp. His eyes scanned the white letters that adorned the door and he felt his heart skip as he remembered just how Sherlock knew about this place.
Mrs. Hudson, he'd said, owes me a favour.
Oh God, Mrs Hudson. He still had to tell Mrs. Hudson. His stomach turned and he felt ill as he imagined the woman's tears. Another emotion burned inside him now. Not heartbreak, but anger. He marched into the flat, knocked over Sherlock's chair and grabbed his pistol from the desk.
"I HATE YOU!" he yelled, tears streaming down his face. He repeatedly shot at the smiley face that Sherlock had painted on the wall at some point. "I HATE YOU AND YOUR STUPID SMILE!" He fired until no bullets remained and he threw the gun down in exasperation. "I hate you." he whimpered over and over as he walked over to the wall and ran his fingers over the freshly formed bullet holes, tears still flowing and the words now catching in his throat.
John realised that the holes formed a frown in place of the once smiling-face's mouth and threw himself on the sofa, remarkably mimicking one of Sherlock's tantrums. He cried into the cold leather for a good five minutes before he recognised the sound of sobbing coming from downstairs. Standing, John composed himself and returned to his military self and marched purposfully in search of Mrs. Hudson. He finally found her crying in to a cup of tea.
"Mrs. Hudson..." John said, reaching a hand out to her. She looked up and smiled sadly at him. "You alright?" he asked, wincing as he realised how stupid the question was. She sighed slightly and took his hand.
"I will be John, I will be." She stood up and hugged the ex-army doctor tight.
"Mrs. Hudson," John began, a confused tone to his voice, "how did you..?"
"Know?" she replied, answering his question and pulling out of the hug. "Nice girl called Molly told me, said to look after you." John smiled in confusion.
"Look... Look after me?" he asked. "Why would I..?"
"Because, John," Mrs. Hudson squeezed his arm slightly, "you and I both know that Sherlock Holmes was much more than just your flat-mate." John looked down, tears pricking at his eyes again. "Oh and John?" he looked up into the eyes of his landlandy and she smiled. "Leave off my bloody wall."