Disclaimer: I do not own Sherlock. No profit is made off of this fanwork.
Author's Note: Written just after Reichenbach because I have all the feels.
He gets by.
He does; everyone says so, at any rate, and no one bothers to ask John himself.
He goes to work everyday. He talks to people, presents a rather good front at the whole 'living' thing. He's got most people fooled, even those who actually know him, who know how close he and-
Well, he's got them fooled, is the thing.
Of course, no one is there to see the struggle because John lives alone, in a dingy little one-bedroom that's got no touch of home at all, and serves only as a roof over his head, and a place to not-sleep. There are no random body parts laying all about, or heads in the fridge; the toaster hasn't been taken apart on a whim, and there's no garish, bullet-ridden yellow smiley face drawn on the wall. There's no lab equipment stolen in the name of science, and no mournful, familiar strings of violin music winding through the air to settle the soldier inside John.
He doesn't remember the last time he's slept a full night. No, that's a lie; he does, but he doesn't want to. His therapist is still telling him to talk, to say all those things he couldn't, and doesn't understand that he still can't. Not when there isn't anyone here to hear them, anymore. She writes things like 'not coping well', and wonders if he's a risk to himself. He could probably fool her too, just like the rest of them, if he tried.
John doesn't bother trying. There's a lot of things he doesn't bother with, these days.
Tea with Mrs. Hudson, check-up calls from Lestrade, and the sleek black car that pulls up next to him on the curb. John has no interest in seeing Mycroft; he doesn't want to deal with the anger that he still feels for the man. It's about the only thing he feels these days, and if he could just get rid of that, then he'd be comfortably numb.
No one really seems to care about John Watson, in the public; they've all forgotten about the blogger, the man who stood beside-
The point is, he can walk down the street without being recognized, and he does. John roams the streets of London like he needs it to breathe, limping along on the bad days, but he never resorts back to the cane. He doesn't need it. Everything is mostly a haze, fog drawn around him in some odd effort to protect himself from everything else. He doesn't want to feel, knows the crushing grief that's waiting for him if he ever gets that far.
Lestrade picks him up off the streets, usually, or sends someone in his place when he can't. John's been picked up by Not-Anthea a couple times as well; Mycroft's not-so-subtle hint that he's still watching, looking out for John for some reason.
He used to tell them that he didn't want them looking after him, that he could handle himself; he doesn't bother anymore.
Even Harry comes for a visit, a few months after. She's read his blog, followed along enough to know the gist of everything, and John's told her some of it himself during those rare phone calls when she was sober, and remembered she had a brother.
John doesn't want to answer the door, stares at it blankly for a long moment before he sighs heavily, and gets up. There'll be no stopping her once she's got it in her head to come in, and it's easier to go along with it. It's easier to go along with a lot of things now, when John is just so tired of fighting. He's lost his best friend; his…Whatever they had been, in truth, because friend seems to small a word for them, and he doesn't know what to do.
He doesn't see how his alcoholic sister is really going to help, but he lets her in anyway because she's Harry, and he can't not. Of course things go all wrong half-way through; they wouldn't be them if they didn't.
"John," she says, firm, and he looks up at her blankly. "John you've got to snap out of this. It isn't good for you, wandering about like you don't know up from down, anymore."
He doesn't know how to fix this; he doesn't know how to heal himself, how to forget all the things he doesn't want to remember. How did-
"He's dead, John. Sherlock isn't coming back," she finally throws the words in his face, cruel because she thinks she has to be, thinks he should finally break, and let it out.
John's already broken, already cried, and raged, and begged; he's pleaded, and bargained, and prayed. He closes his eyes, and sucks in the pained breath the words invoke. "Think I already knew that, Harry, thanks," he snaps, staring down at his hands because it's easier than looking his sister in the eyes.
She shakes her head, opens her mouth to speak, and John just holds up a hand. He doesn't say anything, just uses the same, simple gesture he'd used that day, when he'd reached out to hold-
"I wish you'd let that therapist of yours actually help, John; there are still people here that love you, too," Harry tells him finally, a crack in her voice, before she finally turns, and slams the door behind her. He doesn't even flinch, too lost in memories he doesn't want.
He doesn't see the world around him, anymore; the only thing John can see, every time he closes his eyes to sleep, and every time he wakes up in the morning, is Sherlock.
Sherlock, who cried for him, and lied to him, and told him goodbye. Sherlock, who fell.
John watches his life fall from the rooftop, over and over again, and it never stops. There's just the fall, and the blood, and John can't breathe with the heaviness of it all weighing him down.
Just one more miracle, Sherlock. Just one more, for me. Don't be dead. Just for me.