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

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


Observed


The two men arrived separately within seven minutes of one another. Two hours and forty-six minutes after the latter entered the pub, they exited together.

Despite the layers they wore, he could read the familiar language of their bodies, trace the changes their shared fellowship had wrought.

The sag of the older man's shoulders spoke more of chronic weariness now, a bit less of punishing defeat.

The tense lines drawn by grief and anger in the younger man's limbs had eased slightly; his hands, no longer clenching into restless fists, gestured as he spoke. He nodded to punctuate a comment he made, glancing up at his companion with a wry twist of his lips.

This wasn't quite a proper smile; the answering gruff exhalation wasn't quite a proper chuckle.

It was as close to "fine" as either man had appeared in eleven weeks and nine days.

As the two parted, he deduced from past experience details he couldn't see: Lestrade tucking his chin into the worn folds of his scarf, the tips of John's ears turning pink from cold.

Each man setting his jaw, anticipating a new day.

They would meet again, not as mates sharing a few laughs, but as the last adherents of a dying faith seeking communion, reaffirming truth.

"Sigerson" would be watching.

His friends, they still believed.


THE END


Vital Stats: Originally written in April 2012.

In "The Adventure of the Empty House" by Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes explains that he used the name "Sigerson" as an alias while pretending to be dead during the Great Hiatus.