Unbeta'd, un-Britpicked. Fic inspired by the brilliant gifset by Tumblr user doomslock: post/26234782631
"Well, where is he? We've got things to do! Places to see!" The Doctor looked around the flat for some sign of Sherlock.
"Sherlock's dead, he fell and ended up bloody on the floor." John's pronouncement was forceful and angry.
The tone alone caused the Doctor to sit in the nearest chair, while the words caught up to him. No. That wasn't possible.
"But you were too busy gallivanting around the universe to save him, weren't you?"
The words hit him, like running into a wall. Sherlock Holmes was dead. Sherlock-dead? That wasn't right. That wasn't right at all. It couldn't be. Could it? Had time been rewritten without him?
"Well?" John demanded. "You great big bloody know-it-all alien. Do you have anything to say for yourself?"
The Doctor looked up, barely having the courage to meet John's eyes. "I...I... I'm sorry. I didn't know. I didn't-"
"That's because you never stick around long enough to find out, isn't it? You come, you go. You show up on the fun days, and the rest of us just have to live out the day-to-day."
"NO," John shouted. "You don't get to do that to me. You don't get to say your sorry." He turned away from the Doctor, pacing frantically. "Everything we've been through. Sularians and Cybermen and Daleks. Planets I don't even remember the name of... all before I was fifteen. And what did you say to me back then? Do you even remember, Doctor? You told me you're there for 'all the important ones.'"
The Doctor ran his hands through his hair frantically. "I am sorry John. I didn't know. I just... DIDN'T KNOW." How could he not know? How could HE not know that the timeline had changed? They were supposed to be great together. They were supposed to retire to bloody Sussex for Rassilon-sakes. "I would have been here-"
"But you weren't, were you? I guess it wasn't important enough. Like when you dumped me off back at home, without so much as a goodbye. 'Oh yeah, John, it's been brilliant, but off you go. It's the thirty-first. School starts tomorrow. Off you get.' And out the door of the TARDIS I went, and I figured out how to go on with normal and with nothing ever happening. And then..." His jaw tightened. He ground his teeth together. If he let it out, it would never stop.
"And then I had him. And... HE was the important one. He was EVERYTHING to me. EVERYTHING in the world. That day was the most important-the WORST day of my life. And where were you? WHERE WERE YOU? He wasn't important enough for you, or the universe, but he WAS my life!"
The last word cracked, breaking the Doctor out of his thoughts. The alien rose, slowly and stiffly, feeling all of his nine hundred and some-odd years. He crossed the flat to John, who was frozen, grief pooling in his eyes. As the Doctor slowly wrapped his arms around John, the Time Lord's eyes started to leak.
John stiffened for a moment in the other man's arms, but then returned the embrace, deep and painful sobs erupting from his smaller frame. He mourned quietly, unable to vocalize his grief, as if giving sound to it would somehow make it even more painfully real. His fingers dug into the Doctor's scratchy tweed coat, as if he could hold on for dear life. "HE was my important one," John reiterated again, much quieter this time.
"I know, John," the Doctor said quietly, one hand brushing the other man's hair. "It wasn't supposed to be like this. You two... were supposed to live happily ever after."
With this, the first audible cry of despair left John Watson, reluctantly and miserably. "What-what-went wrong?" he asked finally.
"I don't know." The Doctor brushed tears from his own eyes. "I don't know. But we'll find out. Together."
John sighed, straightening himself, wiping his face clear of tears and tugging the wrinkles out of the front of his coat. "Can we fix it?"
The Doctor regarded John sadly. "We can't undo what's already happened. You know that. We couldn't stop Waterloo any more than we could stop this."
John turned away then, and leaned heavily on the mantle above the fireplace, staring at his own tired reflection. "Tell me Doctor... then what good ARE you?"