Disclaimer: I do not own, nor profit from.
You believe in ghosts.
John yawned. It had been a long day at the surgery. Work was him "establishing a routine", according to his therapist. Some form of him making closure. Moving on.
"It is a really good sign you're moving on from this." Had been her exact words. But he didn't want to look for closure. He had lost so much in the last year. Lestrade no longer called with cases. Mycroft never sent his sleek black cars after him. Mrs Hudson spent less and less time at 221, only barely saying hello to him. He knew they all still went to the grave. He saw new flowers there every Sunday. All these people were getting closure after Sherlock. John was doing the opposite. Submersing himself in a dead man.
He still saw him. Just a flash of a coat, or a glimpse of dark hair. These small sightings were what were keeping John sane. John laughed to himself quietly. Only after Sherlock Holmes would he think that was sane. He knew it was all in his head. Dead men don't just rise again. Dead men stay dead. But he still remembers. He still wants to see. Because if he didn't, that would be like forgetting Sherlock. Not believing in him. So he sees. To remember. To scream out a silent message at an unobservant world.
"I believe in Sherlock Holmes".
He doesn't tell anyone he still sees his dead best friend. Not his therapist. Not Sarah. Not Mrs Hudson. No-one.
He walks up the steps to the front door, which still shows the shiny gold number of the house, 221B. At least those shiny gold numbers hadn't left him. It was some sort of continuity. He had considered moving out, in those first, desperately hard weeks. But he couldn't bring himself to. It was too much like accepting defeat. After he got better, more "normal", he had thought about trying to get himself a girlfriend. But that was like an insult to Sherlock's memory. Plus any potential girlfriends might get freaked out by the skull. Which was continually stolen by Mrs Hudson, and taken back by John.
He slowly walked up the stairs, noticing a newspaper outside Mrs Hudson's door again. Maybe visiting her sister. He walked into the flat, glancing around, making sure everything was how Sherlock had left it.
Skull – check. Purple shirt – check. Microscope – che- not check.
He quickly walked back into the lounge, making sure that it wasn't hiding anywhere. Even though a microscope is very hard to hide. Given its size. He couldn't see it. Panic was starting to build. He didn't want Sherlock's stuff to be touched. He wouldn't have wanted that. He ran into Sherlock's bedroom. Not in there. His bedroom. Not there either. He ran back down the lounge, frantically combing a hand through his sandy blonde hair. He took a few deep breaths.
"Think logically. Where could it be?" He paused, imaging where a microscope could possibly be. Bedrooms – no. Lounge – no. Attic – maybe.
John raced up to the attic, three steps at a time. After a couple of minutes frantic searching, he found the microscope. He let out a breath of relief, and the tears which he hadn't realised he had been holding back. He turned the microscope around, making sure there were no blemishes made on it. The only new thing was a note, written on a scrap of paper. John fumbled with the paper, his hands still shaking from his sobs a minute before. Four words were written there.
Move on John. Please.
Mrs Hudson walked quietly up the stairs, and peered round the doorframe. She constantly worried about John. After Sherlock's death, instead of crying, grieving, he closed up. Refusing to believe he was hurting. The military had something to answer for, if she had had her way. She generally left John alone though. Every time she saw him, it seemed like Sherlock was there. Like a presence. She couldn't deal with losing him again. She knew John was hurt by it, but he seemed happier alone. That was why Sherlock's brother never came. That was why that nice DI never came. It was like looking at the past.
But she was worried about him.
Generally, she heard him moving, talking to no-one in particular, and hearing the telly. He had been back for hours, and not a movement. Not after that boisterous running, which was nearly 5 hours ago now. She knocked on the door. No answer.
"John?" She called, looking around. No sound. She moved into the living room. Not a thing out of place. She checked the kitchen. She checked Sherlock's bedroom. She left the flat, standing on the landing. She decided to check John's bedroom. She was standing outside his door when she felt a breath of air. She looked up the remaining set of stairs, and saw the skylight open. She poked her head up onto the roof, and saw John sitting on the edge of the roof. And she didn't go to him. She climbed down the stairs, and called two people. That nice DI, and Sherlock's brother. The last thing she said to Mycroft was to remind his brother that he was a git for leaving John. She promptly hung up.
Greg Lestrade stood on the roof of 221 Baker St. John Watson sat on the edge of that same roof. Greg just stood and watched, not wanting to break John's train of thoughts.
"And there was the time we played Cluedo. And Sherlock was insistent on the fact that Dr. Black was the murderer. That game ended up on the wall." John laughed, swinging his legs. Greg just carried on watching. John suddenly looked up at him.
"Do you believe in Paradise, Greg?"
Greg started, shock crossing his face. "I... umm... I dunno..." He trailed off lamely. This part of the job was what he hated most. Having to watch grief unfold when he told a family their loved one was never coming back home. Having to pick up the pieces. It didn't help when that was happening to someone you know in your personal life. It made it all that bit harder.
"Yes. Yes, I do believe in Paradise." Greg asserted. John looked up at him.
"Do you think Sherlock's there?" The question came out almost as a whisper. Greg winced at the pain in the voice.
"I think so. He's probably running around, chasing all the criminals he didn't catch before." Greg laughed, his voice catching slightly. He moved to sit down next to John, his legs dangling above the busy world below.
John thought to himself before replying, "I don't think he is though." John's voice grated on the silence. "I think he's still here. I think he wants to make sure we're okay." John's voice starts to tremble, only slightly. "Because he wasn't a sociopath. He did care." The tremble got louder, more noticeable.
"What he wouldn't be happy about though is his best friend sitting on a rooftop." Greg stated, watching John from the corner of his eyes. Something in John resolved itself then, his composure remaking itself.
"I just... I dunno, felt closer to him up here." John sighed. "It was either here, or the morgue. And dead bodies aren't the world's friendliest companions." Greg laughed, then stood up.
"I do believe in ghosts. And I do think Sherlock's around here. He's probably been solving all the crimes down at the Met, then getting frustrated when we don't pay attention, and then bringing body parts back to the flat." John thought about this.
"I don't think I believe in ghosts as such. I think I just believe in Sherlock Holmes." John sighed again. Greg waited, and watched this broken man lose another piece of himself.
"Coming back inside?" He asked, holding out his hand. John waited for a few seconds, then took the offered hand, and hauled himself back up.
"Lead the way."