A/N: I have to say that this is therapy for me. I am having a lot of issues right now, and I decided that maybe if I could write about it in a way that was safe for me, maybe I would feel better. Whether or not that is the case, I do not know yet. I hope I can do the characters justice, however, there may be some OOC Sherlock. This also sounded better in my head as I wrote it while on a walk, then it does on paper.
This takes place after John has been at Baker Street for approximately 6 months.
Sherlock wakes with a start among the flotsam and jetsam of beakers and petri dishes. He had been measuring the coagulation of something important before he inconveniently fell asleep at the kitchen table. It only takes another moment for him to realize why. There is a crying, no a keening, coming from upstairs. John, he thinks. Nightmare. But as the keening continues on, he realizes, no not a nightmare.
He quickly makes his way upstairs. John's door is ajar, and the keening is still continuing. Sherlock debates a second about privacy and then, without hesitation, pushes the door open. He finds John curled up in the foetal position, sobbing and keening. He does not immediately notice Sherlock's presence until he feels a large hand on his shoulder. "John," Sherlock whispers, "are you all right?"
John isn't sure, no, he knows he isn't all right. He knows the instant that Sherlock is asking if he is all right instead of deducing the cause of his tears. He can hear the sounds coming out of him now, and he forces himself to stop, to breathe. It isn't working. He manages to upright himself so he is leaning against the wall, breathing heavily, still keening somehow. He shakes his head in the negative and tries to pull himself together. Sherlock doesn't say anything. He just keeps watch over John, never once removing his hand from John's shoulder.
Sherlock finally sits down on the end of the bed; leaning over wasn't doing anyone any favours at this wee hour of the night. He waits until John's breathing becomes less panicked and ragged before he asks what happened. And John tells him.
"Last February, while I was in Afghanistan, I got an email from Harry saying that mum wasn't well, but not to worry, that it was probably nothing. They had gone to A&E and had given her pain medication and that seemed to sort it. They followed up with her GP who ran some tests and they found that she had cancer. They couldn't even tell where the cancer was for Christ's sake. They just bumbled around like idiots with chemo and other things until one day I got a call, an emergency call from Harry. She was fucking hysterical. In all our lives I've never heard her like that. She begged me to come home; that there wasn't that much time. It hadn't even been a month. I was able to arrange to come back for two weeks. I thought as a doctor I could see something that they had missed. There was nothing to see. The chemo was killing her faster than the cancer. So she stopped it, she just fucking gave up. I tried to change her mind, but she was stubborn. I had those two weeks with her and that was it. I had to ship back out. The morning I left I talked to her, but I got no reply. She never regained consciousness. She died while I was waiting on a plane in Germany, waiting to go back to the war. Harry took care of everything, obviously, while I was patching up IED victims in the middle of the desert. When I got shot and invalided back, I had so many other things to worry about, like healing, so I didn't even take the time to grieve. It's been a year, Sherlock. It's been an entire year and I don't know what to do."
As John breaks down again, Sherlock watches him. He has no idea what he should do. He knows what people do, but Sherlock isn't people. So he puts his hand back on John's shoulder. And waits.
Finally, John's sobs taper off, and he looks at his watch. "It's half six. I should be getting up."
Sherlock looks at him and shakes his head. "No, I think you should try to rest, John. We haven't a case on. It's fine."
John looks at him as if he has been replaced by an alien but simply nods and climbs back under the covers. Sherlock stands up and walks quietly toward the door. As he goes to shut it, he hears a soft "thank you" from the bed. He nods toward the figure on the bed, and shuts the door.