John still visited the grave, not as often as he used to, and more than he should Lestrade always said. Less than I should, John always corrected silently. It was always silent, so much of his thoughts had become silent in the last year, and he was honestly still surprised when sound came out at all.

But you couldn't very well be a Doctor without talking, and you couldn't get paid without working, and you couldn't pay rent if you didn't have money. And bugger if John was going to move out of Baker Street, bugger if he was going to watch strange men come and collect things that had no owner anymore. So he talked, and worked and stayed.

And nothing changed.

Except everything did. The kitchen was tidier, after a while he had to face reality that no matter how much it wasn't his to touch; body parts started rotting eventually.

He struggled to carry on using his room for a few months, but the limp had come back and stairs were hard. So now he slept on a small bed in the living room. He'd been told over and over it wasn't good for him. He'd been told over and over there was a perfectly good room for him on the ground floor.

And there was.

A perfectly good room that smelt of London and cigarettes, of fine wool and soft silken shirts. Of formaldehyde and leather, metal and rust, ash, smoke and a thousand other things that John could list like times tables, burnt into this memory.

It wasn't that he couldn't go into that room. It was that he spent far too much time in there to ever be able to sleep in it.

So he slept in the living room, and bore the worried looks, the frustrated words and the offers of a spare room.

No one seemed to understand. Everyone seemed to expect him to want to get away, to want to eradicate the last vestiges of another man's life from his own. When all he wanted to was to sink deeper into it.

The holes in the wall had been plastered, the violin packed away to protect it, Lestrade rarely called by with police work, Mycroft never kidnapped him.

So everything had changed. And John wonder's just how he managed to survive before this, and he remembers he didn't. He went to school, went to university, became a Doctor and then joined the Army. He marched through his life until with a loud bang and a single shot it was almost over.

It may as well have been.

He can remember thinking that so many times. Over and over and over.

It may as well have been.

And now it may as well be. The only thing that had made him feel alive was dead.

John knows better than to think he was ever a target. He knows not to delude himself with thinking he was important or special. He was a game piece, more important than a pawn sure, but still just there to be shuffled around and sacrificed.

Moriarty had promised to burn the heart out of him. Most people, perhaps even he himself had immediately thought of John.

Because the heart means something special, something important, something he loves. And John is without a doubt the only person in his life other than Mycroft. And he sure as hell doesn't love him.

But John knew better, John knows the only thing, the only thing that man truly loves is winning and having the world know how superior he is.

And that was taken from him long before those final moments. Moriarty had won long before he shot himself, long before that dreadful fall.

Moriarty had seen what everyone else was trying to ignore, and had pulled it out from under him, killing him was just icing on the cake.

So he visits the grave, to remind himself this isn't some hellish nightmare. And because a very small part of him is still hoping it is. Some conniving plan, concocted in secret and enacted absolutely. That he was important, that maybe Moriarty was wrong. That he'll look up and the scent of London and cigarettes, of fine wool and soft silken shirts, of formaldehyde and leather, metal and rust, ash, smoke and a thousand other things will surround him. That despite it being the height of summer a scarf and long coat will appear in the corner of his eye. That there will be some mad desperate reason for everything and then.

Finally.

John can get angry.

John can get angry and upset and lash out and cry and make him hurt the same way he made John hurt.

And then, maybe, just maybe everything will be alright again.


As much as I love to think Sherlock's heart is John. I suspect the reality is less romantic.

And yes I deliberatly did not use Sherlock's name.