Baker Street was never static. The room seemed to be forever moulding, shifting, in a state of permanent transit from one sort of chaos to another. There was a lot that could be deduced from their flat, John always thought, from the state of Sherlock's mood to whatever it was that he was working on at the time – there were always tells. The skull travelled around the flat invariably – from the mantel piece, to the kitchen table, to Johns' bedside table (which he assumed was Sherlock's idea of a joke, which had hadn't found remotely funny) – John was sure that if he had been a sleuth with a prowess for deductions, he might have been able to find something to say about the position of the skull relatives to Sherlock's current state of insanity, but as it stood he had to deduce it by other means (which he was really rather good at).
Then there were the remnants of some experiment or other usually remained and were usually unpleasant: stains, crystallised-something-or-other (John didn't want to know) the odd oozing human spleen. Bits of paper relating to cases pinned to the walls: maps littered with drawing pins and spider webs of red string, plotting movements around London (Sherlock could do this in his head, but had gotten so frustrated at John for not keeping up he'd been 'forced to indulge in his ignorance'), usually a photograph of some dead body or other – varying in degrees of the grotesque - along with anything else Sherlock considered of note.
It was the other objects in the flat, however, that John found more telling: the tin of beans that had been given a place of honour on the mantel piece after it had turned out that Sherlock had kept his promise of shopping whilst John had been kidnapped and decorated in semtex – buying both milk and beans. The growing collection of shock blankets that Sherlock had taken to 'borrowing', John following the trend of course, until the pile had taken up an entire corner of the flat which Sherlock suddenly needed to test the probability of something or other (it had involved an alarming number of ropes attached to the ceilings and John had been trying to eat his breakfast, so he just ate in the kitchen instead and left him to it; silently mourning the collection of shock blankets that had been thrown in the direction of Mrs Hudson's bins, probably from the window). These things, the little memorabilia of ways they'd fought the boredom – a cluedo board pined to the wall, a tally chart from when he'd convinced Sherlock that he could test his deductive skills by predicting the results of the lie detectors whilst watching Jeremy Kyle(of which he was habitually correct about, annoyingly enough) – meant that Baker Street was really home to John Watson.
Sherlock would, on occasions, get frustrated if anyone touched or moved anything when he was in the middle of something. ("It's an unnecessary distraction, John, when I have to waste my energy deducing why exactly you moved something" "I hardly think the reasoning behind me doing the dishes is deduction worthy, Sherlock. We don't all like having different types of moulds growing in the sink.") Then, suddenly, he'd come back home from shopping to find that the entire layout of the flat had been changed in his absence. Sofa's had been shifted, armchairs moved, televisions dragged across the room. Sherlock would always have a perfect excuse for the change, rattling some long spiel about where the sun rose and what they were mostly likely to be doing at a particular time of day, dictating exactly why they should have the sofa facing at that angle with the window behind it. John usually just deal with the change – mostly because, as far as Sherlock was concerned, going with the flow was usually by far the best policy – but on the occasion Sherlock had moved his bed into the god damn basement (how, he didn't know, considering it had been horrifically difficult taking it back up the flights of stairs even after he called Lestrade to come over and help) because he 'needed John's room' had resulted on John exploring the impressive range of expletives he'd learnt in the army ending with the rather dramatic 'having a flat mate usually entails them having a bleeding bedroom.'
Yes, Sherlock was a perpetually annoying git who knew everything about him and only revealed things about himself when John persistently asked the right questions (Sherlock wanted to please John and if that meant dredging up unimportant details from his past, then so be it). Sherlock was also his best friend in every sense of the word. He knew that it was doubtless difficult for the outside world to really get that, but the numerous occasions that Sherlock and John had simultaneously creased up laughing was definitely at best-friend levels (did Sherlock laugh in front of other people? John wasn't sure if he'd ever seen it), without factoring in the numerous occasions where they'd helped each other out: curing the odd psychosomatic limp, shooting someone who'd been about to talk the other into joining a list of serial suicides, being a little too blunt whilst pointing out that your girlfriend was quite clearly still sleeping with her ex, dragging them both through discussion of timings and privacy and I'm not saying you can't enjoy it, Sherlock, just save the oh-look-how-fun-the-game-is until the victim's mother is out of earshot.
John was a buffer for Sherlock and the outside world. Sherlock was a buffer for the lack of danger in civilian life. So, they fought a different war against the boredom. Baker Street was their army base, where thousands of moments had passed between them, where they'd talked about everything from politics (or more, how little Sherlock knew about politics: "what does it matter? My dearest brother controls all the important policies, anyway") to the psychology of murderers (of which Sherlock's knowledge had far surpassed alarming and occasionally seemed to stretch to sympathetic). It was home.
The walls reeked with nostalgia. The memories seemed to shadow the place, meaning that sometimes John imagined he could hear their bickering, Sherlock composing endlessly for hours, Mrs Hudson's alarmed scream as she came across the three human ears that were festering on the sideboard (John never had understood why he was using three). Then, with a jolt, he'd crash back to reality and realise how utterly silent it was.
Sherlock was not there to shoot at the walls, to move the furniture, to chastise Mrs Hudson about the dusting ("I thought you weren't our house keeper?"). The skull now kept vigil over the room – a silent, judgemental glare. John wouldn't let anyone move anything. Winced when anything was touched. It wasn't right for Baker Street to remain fluid when everything about his life had come to a grinding stop.
Eventually, he'd had to get rid of the body parts. Lestrade talked him into it, easing it into the conversation and all too carefully making the suggestion that, really, the eyeballs rotting in the freezer couldn't stay there forever. John, who'd remained so solid despite the fact that his lips could no longer form Sherlock's name, had not been able to stand when he thought about the enormity of the empty freezer. The horrible, harrowing thought of being able to search for a bag of fish fingers without pulling out a bag of human fingers. He hadn't cried yet, the army doctor instinct of holding it together kicking into overdrive despite the fact that, really, he needed to pull Sherlock's second-best-dressing-gown over his shoulders, crawl into a ball on the sofa and weep.
Sherlock had cried, up on the roof. He'd cried and told John these lies about how he was a fake. Stupid, incomprehensible lies that John hadn't considered for a minute.
Then, Sherlock had this unique ability to be able to act emotional at will. How many times had John seen him fake tears? It was always quite alarming. One of the many things John had decided was not normal (although this list had gradually become lessened, as they rewrote and redefined normal to make it a much better, more exciting thing).
Sherlock was dead. Baker Street was empty. John sat in his chair longing to find body parts in the freezer. Then something snapped: something in John's stomach turned over and he suddenly felt as though he'd been winded, a knife of emotion seemed to have lodged in his throat and he was so very aware that everything about Baker Street had already changed to drastically.
Despite his best efforts it simply wasn't the same. The lack of movement, the silence, the bloody body parts. The absence of Sherlock. It wasn't home anymore. He didn't want to be there. In fact, its strange mixture of archaic objects and stacks of scientific equipment made his skin crawl. He hated it, actually. The rooms were too them: a personification of their adventures and the between-case-boredom and the post-case slumps and the mid-case-chaos that he cherished.
As the dust gathered on Sherlock's violin case – he'd yelled at Mrs Hudson when she tried to dust it, had apologised later but hardly meant it – the memories settled over him too. He couldn't take that. Couldn't take the eternal reminders.
He even missed the severed head. The way Sherlock every so often made him coffee, just to see if he still drank it after the drugging-incident (he did, mostly; the paranoia wasn't worth it – If Sherlock really wanted to drug him then it was a given that John would be drugged). The insistent muttering interspersed with sporadic bursts of the violin, pacing across the room and over dramatic sighs. He missed the feeling of having a purpose, of being valued (in Sherlock's special sort of way) and of knowing exactly where he belonged.
He walked up to his room on automatic, shoved a mass of jumpers into a suitcase with whatever else he could find around that was clean (it was down to Mrs Hudson that he had anything to pack at all, he hadn't done any washing for weeks) and flipped the lid of the suitcase. He sat down on his bed, fingers massaging his forehead as he tried to think.
He needed to get away from here. He couldn't handle it anymore.
And so John Watson threw the bag over his shoulder, called a cab and wound up at the hotel he'd stayed in the pre-Sherlock era of his life.
I've come to several conclusions as of late. The first is that my Sherlock-addiction is getting worrying and secondly that I should have started writing fanfiction for this scary new fandom with more character studies and things rather than trying to start a novel when I already have ten for various other things (not on here - this site is still pretty new and scary for me). So this is going to be a home for lots of 221B-centric pieces - maybe mini cases or things. So, yeah, if it happens in 221B then it's fair game as far as I'm concerned. I hope this was okay ^ my revision fried mind is just demanding more sherlock and if I argued with myself that would make me a little bit mad, right? Anyway, reviews would be lovely! Thanks for reading :D