Summary: After "Reichenbach Fall," John struggles to understand what Sherlock would have wanted him to do and to find a new direction in life. Until one morning he's awakened by pounding at the door.

Disclaimer: Other people's characters + my imagination = just fun, no profit

The End of the Road

When you're at the end of the road
And you've lost all sense of control
And your thoughts have taken their toll
When your mind breaks the spirit of your soul
Your faith walks on broken glass
And the hangover doesn't pass
Nothing's ever built to last
You're in ruins

~21 Guns, Green Day

Chapter 1

He could hardly call it a funeral. Only he and Mycroft and Mrs. Hudson stood by the grave and watched the coffin descend. Mycroft had tried to consult him about the arrangements, and he had not responded at all, which was made easy by the fact that Mycroft chose not to seek him out in person. He texted and John didn't reply. Accordingly the next text simply announced a time and location. John replied to that one, and Mycroft was waiting along with a clergyman and the cemetery staff when their taxi pulled up.

John shook hands with Mycroft and Mrs. Hudson hugged him. Mrs. Hudson clutched John's arm and John permitted Mycroft to lay a hand on his other shoulder as they witnessed what they had come to see. One of the workers handed Mrs. Hudson a spade. She scooped up a load of earth from the heap nearby and spilled it into the empty space. It made a surprisingly loud sound when it hit the coffin. She passed the tool to John. He felt that he should offer a prayer or at least a thought while he performed the task, but nothing whatsoever came to mind. "Goodbye John." He had no answer to that. Rest in peace? No. That made no sense. Sherlock and the concept of peace had nothing to do with each other. He gave the spade to Mycroft, but rather than adding his quota of dirt to the grave, Mycroft returned it to the worker. They stood for a moment and then Mycroft spoke.

"I must speak to you about something, John. If you would."

John nodded. Mycroft was going to take whatever he liked from John's posture, his clothing, his grooming, his expressions, but John was determined that he was going to guard his words. Mycroft tilted his head, indicating they should step away from Mrs. Hudson and the breach in the ground.

"Do you intend to remain at the Baker Street flat?"

"I hadn't given it much thought, actually."

"I, ah, I would like to propose that I pay Sherlock's share of the rent."

At that John's head snapped up and he looked at the other man's face.

"Sherlock's share," he echoed."I suppose you should come by and pick up his things."

"His things?" He seemed to have surprised Mycroft.

"Yes, his clothes, his books. His violin. All yours now, isn't it?"

"But will you be staying there? Do consider my offer. For as long as you care to remain in residence."

"I really don't—"

"It would be a great favour to me."

"A favour? To you?" he repeated stupidly. Mycroft said nothing, giving him time to contemplate the situation. What was this supposed to be? Guilt? Quid pro quo? Merely another entry in the infinite series of inappropriate requests issued by the Holmes brothers that John was apparently powerless to refuse? Nope, not an infinite series, he corrected himself. But if Mycroft says, "It's the least I can do," I will say no.

"Just think about it, please, John. I'll send someone round for Sherlock's effects. Whenever you like. You have my number."

That seemed to be his final word. John returned to Mrs. Hudson's side, put his arm around her, and they climbed back into the waiting taxi.

Author's Note: It was scary to write for a new fandom, and I greatly appreciate all the help and support from my betas, ebhg and goddessofvolcanoes. This story does start a bit slow but the mood changes a few chapters in. Please let me know what you think. Reviews mean so much to me and I reply to all of them.