A/N: I wasn't planning on posting this but I changed my mind, or rather Rheadyn changed my mind, so this is for anyone who (like me) can't take the angst anymore. This past week I kept running across Reichenbach Falls images and mini fics that made me want to curl up and die and I finally couldn't take it anymore. Here is my own NOT angsty Post Reichenbach Falls mini fic. So there, take that, silly mortals that write gut-wrenching fics.
Thank you to Rheadyn for the lovely stickers. They're SO lovely! My laptop appreciates them. Also, you're a wonderful beta.
Edit: Thank you to SarahKnight for pointing out my British English failure (what can I say? I'm Canadian). So the milk has been fixed! YAY! :)
Translations: This story has been translated into several languages now by some very talented folks. The links can be found on my profile page:
Russian translation by K. Neff
Italian translation by Sfaira
Chinese translation by Furry big problem
French translation by Elie Bluebell
Vietnamese translation by whisper9293
Thank you all very much!
EEEK! The wonderful and very talented Talitha Koum has drawn fanart for this story! Even better? She's making it into a comic! The links can be found on my profile page... I'm just going to go into a corner and explode of happiness now.
Disclaimer: If Conan Doyle was still alive I'm certain he would just love to give me the rights to Sherlock. Must work out this necromancy thing… till then, not mine.
Warnings: Spoilers for TRF.
Text Me When It's Over
He kept his phone. At first he had scoffed at Mycroft when he brought it to him, repaired and almost shiny. But he kept it. He told himself that it was out of convenience because going out to buy a new phone was just too much trouble. It definitely wasn't because he had a faint hope (or fear) that John would try to text him.
Obviously. Stupid thought, unworthy of a mind as great as his. Why would John text him? It would be illogical in every respect. After all, nobody texts a dead man.
But Sherlock started writing his own texts to John. He never sent them (evidently), the hunt for Moriarty's men was still on, but he typed them out and just let them sit there for a moment before deleting them. It was stupid and sentimental and Sherlock really couldn't help it.
Mycroft is unbearable. Could I borrow your gun? –SH (deleted)
The experiment in the pantry was important you know. Now I'll have to start again. –SH (deleted)
He's cheating on his diet. His secretary has a receipt from The Chocolate Factory and she clearly does not eat there… or anywhere perhaps. –SH (deleted)
How do you stitch a knife wound on your back? –SH (deleted)
Nevermind, figured it out. –SH (deleted)
Why haven't you thrown out the toes? They're going bad. –SH (deleted)
I need a cigarette. Where did you hide them? –SH (deleted)
The hunt was slowing down, with only a few of Moriarty's men remaining, when he began to spy on John. Mycroft, of course, provided him with detailed reports but he wanted to see him with his own eyes. So he put on a disguise and waited outside 221B Baker Street till a familiar tired figure walked out and headed to Tesco's.
Sherlock had never been to Tesco's before, John always did the shopping, but he discovered that it was fascinating. Although, not as fascinating as watching John shop. He bought skimmed milk, (Why would he do that? They always drank semi-skimmed milk.), a dozen eggs (He couldn't possibly eat that many before the expiry date) and a loaf of bread. The shelf of jam was desecrated and then Sherlock was privy to John's encounter with his age-old enemy— the chip and pin machine.
After that, spying on John became a regular pastime. He followed him to the hospital, meetings with Lestrade at the local pub and then dates, when John started dating again, all the while not-texting him.
The receptionist is having an affair with your colleague. –SH (deleted)
He knows it's a murder but he can't prove it and now he's losing sleep over it. –SH (deleted)
She's having dinner with you to get revenge on her cheating boyfriend. –SH (deleted)
Don't ask him about his family life. It's not going well. –SH (deleted)
You forgot to buy milk. –SH (deleted)
She has 5 cats and they all hate her. –SH (deleted)
You never go on second dates. Why? –SH (deleted)
He was sitting in a café across the street from the restaurant where John was on another date. Sherlock didn't like her. He hadn't liked any of John's previous dates either but there had been reasons for that. This woman seemed fine, albeit from a distance, no obviously ticks or poor behavioural patterns. But he didn't like her. There had to be a reason. Dark curly hair, full lips, rather pale… not usually John's style. She was sitting leaning forward indicating interest, laughing intermittently but not too much to appear fake and there her foot was just barely touching John's.
She's too fat. Don't date her. He typed. It wasn't strictly true nor was it logical but he was in a bad mood and wanted to lash out at someone. In his savage typing Sherlock accidentally hit send.
Something like fear struck through him as he watched the little sending bar fill up and disappear. And then he was watching John. Staring at him. He should leave, throw out the phone, have Mycroft destroy John's mobile.
He didn't move.
John smiled and said something to his date as he reached for his pocket. The phone in his hand, he continued to talk and laugh. He wasn't looking at the screen. But then the waiter approached them asking the woman something and John looked down at his phone. Even from across the street Sherlock saw all the colour drain out of John's face.
He left. Quickly and without looking back. Later that night he had seven missed calls and five new messages, all from John.
Sherlock? – JW
Where are you? –JW
ANSWER ME. –JW
Are you alive? –JW
ANSWER ME DAMMIT! –JW
It was a stupid, stupid idea writing those text messages. Beyond idiotic. How could he make such a mistake? Technological malfunctions, human error, so much could go wrong. DID go wrong! It didn't matter that there hadn't been any assassins around John for the past few months, he had still endangered him, taken an unnecessary risk. But Sherlock couldn't help the thrill he felt, the quiet joy, from hearing from John again.
Whatever the circumstances, Sherlock's original hope (or fear) was now fulfilled, John started texting him regularly. Sherlock never answered him. He had a mission to accomplish, people to save from his own short-sightedness, and would finish it, eliminate the threat before he managed to kill the only people worth saving in his life. So no, he couldn't answer John, but he read every message with a tangible ache.
There were, of course, the angry texts where John took Sherlock apart for lying to him.
Sherlock, answer me! You bloody well owe me an explanation. –JW
First you're dead, then you text me and now you won't answer me? You can't do that! –JW
Do you know what I've been through? –JW
You're a bastard. –JW
Then there were the pleading texts.
Sherlock, please, I just need to know that you're alive and this isn't just some hoax. –JW
Just one text. I need to know. –JW
I miss you. Please. –JW
Eventually the texts settled into more neutral territory and it took Sherlock awhile to figure out what John was doing. It appeared that John was trying to coax or goad him into replying. These were the texts that Sherlock liked the most. He got at least one every day and they were always different, always interesting and always John.
Lestrade wants my help with a case. It's a double homicide. –JW
The toes are going bad. I don't know if that's part of the experiment or just natural. Whatever the hell was in the pantry had to go though, it stank up the whole flat. –JW
Mrs. Hudson found a tenant for the downstairs flat. How long do you think he'll last? Should I tell him about the shoes? –JW
Do you mind if I play your violin? –JW
Is the wine in the fridge safe for consumption? –JW
Too late. Don't bother texting me if it's poisoned. –JW
Actually, do text me. –JW
How much blood is too much? It looks like a slaughter house but there's only one body. –JW
Let's have dinner. –JW
… Didn't work for Irene either. –JW
After his mishap Sherlock didn't follow John for two weeks. He kept tabs on him through Mycroft's network of minions, though, and discovered a strange thing. John didn't tell anyone about Sherlock's text message. No one. Not even Mrs. Hudson. He just went on with life as usual and when people asking him about his changing moods or commented on his limp getting better, he answered with something generic. The weather was bad or therapy was finally starting to work.
Sherlock resumed his spying and his texting.
There's a dead mouse under your bed. Is that an experiment? –JW
Of course not. My experiments are always carefully stored. –SH (deleted)
The new tenant is friendly. I don't like him… God, I'm turning into you. –JW
Don't flatter yourself John. –SH (deleted)
Molly has an abnormal body. –JW
I've already seen it. –SH (deleted)
Not HER body. Just a body. In the morgue. –JW
I didn't assume you were making a crude remark in the first place. It's situs inversus, very interesting but she won't let me take it. –SH (deleted)
I'll throw out your chemistry set if you don't answer me soon. –JW
A week later there was a noticeable change in John's string of dates. It took two dates for Sherlock to notice the pattern: they were becoming progressively more overweight. Sherlock almost laughed when he figured it out but it got more absurd as time went on. Like John was trying to provoke Sherlock, push him into making a snide comment. It almost worked.
John, this is ridiculous. –SH (deleted)
You're supposed to be the nice one out of us two. –SH (deleted)
Now really, you should be giving her dietary advice, not taking her to a sweet shop. –SH (deleted)
The final straw came on Tuesday. John left the flat looking abnormally smug and headed to the pub where he usually met with Lestrade. Tuesday pub nights with the Detective Inspector had become a bit of a ritual for John. Sherlock found a dark corner and settled in to watch and deduce their conversation. But Lestrade never showed up. Instead Sherlock watched indignantly as the greasy head of Anderson appeared in the doorway and he made his way over to John's table.
Anderson? He was spending time with Anderson? No, this was unacceptable. Anderson sneered at John, HIS John, as he sat down and Sherlock lost it.
There are better ways to lower one's IQ, John. Head trauma, cerebral hemorrhage, a lobotomy. –SH
He hit send.
The smile on John's face could have eclipsed the sun.