Disclaimer – You recognise it, I don't own it.
"No, Sherlock!" John yelled as he saw his friend jump from the building.
He started to charge back towards the hospital, hoping against hope that the jump hadn't been fatal. That maybe… Just maybe Sherlock had managed to survive the odds.
Lance and Gawain dashed after him. Lance caught up just before John could see the place where Sherlock had fallen. He then pulled the Doctor into an odd hug. Preventing John from seeing anything.
Gawain passed the pair of them, going to check on the body. He was nearly knocked over by a cyclist as he crossed the road.
"Let me go!" John demanded.
"No." Lance shook his head, holding tighter, "You don't need to see this. You don't want to see this."
Gawain was back in moments.
"He's gone." Gawain murmured, "I'm sorry TC."
"No. No. No!" John wriggled free and dashed to where the crowd stood around.
He fought his way through the crowd and grabbed Sherlock's wrist. Desperately seeking a pulse. He sank to his knees as he did so, unconsciously trying to get closer.
"Jesus," John started to pray, "Please. Sherlock."
The body was turned over, John stared at the blood marred face.
"You shouldn't see this." Gawain squeezed John's right shoulder, "Come on, TC. There's nothing you can do."
"We won the Game." John murmured, "We won the Game, Sherlock. You didn't have to do that. I cleared the board of all threats. You weren't in Checkmate. You weren't even in Check!H There was no need to abdicate. We won. Why did you do that?"
"John," Lance knelt down next to him, "Let him go. There's nothing you can do. Let him go."
Lance carefully squeezed John's wrist causing him to drop the wrist. Gawain pulled him up and away. Even as John's eyes never left the body as it was taken away on a stretcher.
"I'm sorry, TC… John. I'm so sorry." Gawain muttered.
"He's not dead. He can't be dead." John whispered.
"Leave it." Lance put in.
"Sherlock!" John yelled.
But he didn't fight them as they led him away.
It didn't feel right to John, for him to be given Sherlock's eulogy. He had never expected either of them to die. At least not unless he was in a situation where he thought he was going to do.
He looked around the congregation in the Church for the Memorial service. Mycroft and Anthea were sitting in the front row. He didn't think Anthea had looked up from her phone once yet.
John wasn't quite sure why Mycroft was there. Sherlock's brother had insisted on the funeral and cremation being an entirely family affair. So there was really no need for him to be present at the Memorial.
Lestrade sat next to Mrs Hudson. It was probably a black mark on the Detective Inspector's record, John thought, that he was so publically backing a disgraced man.
And Mrs Hudson wasn't taking the death at all well. Not that John had really been able to help her. He hadn't even been able to step back into 221B yet.
Some of the Homeless Network were there as well. So was Henry Knight and a few other of Sherlock's clients.
And right at the back, almost as if they felt they didn't belong, were members of his old unit. Ben, Merlin and the others, all in the clothes John always thought of them as wearing, just with a simple black arm band to show that they were mourning. Though none of them had ever met Sherlock. They were simply supporting John.
John was just glad that Kitty Riley wasn't there. She would twist whatever happened to fit what she thought should happen. And she, no doubt, wouldn't understand what he was about to say.
"The first thing Sherlock ever said to me," John began, "Was 'Afghanistan or Iraq?'… Not 'Hello'. Not 'How are you?'. Not 'Nice to meet you'. Not 'Who are you?'. Not 'I'm Sherlock Holmes'. Just 'Afghanistan or Iraq?'.
"That was Sherlock all over. Forget the niceties. Ignore the unwritten rules of interaction. Just cut straight to the chase. To what was important to him. In that one meeting, he never asked my name. Nearly forgot to give me his. Nearly forgot to tell me where we were meeting the next day.
"However he did manage to inform me of my profession and announce several personal facts that I wasn't particularly keen on becoming common knowledge. But that was Sherlock. Announcing to the world just what you didn't want announced. Or sometimes what you didn't even know.
"Our second conversation ended quite unusually too. He'd just been invited to a crime scene. He acknowledged I was an Army Doctor. Checked that I'd seen enough violence, injuries, deaths and trouble for a lifetime. Then invited me to see some more. My reply? 'Oh God yes.'
"I was discharged from the Army on medical grounds. Main issues? Intermittent tremor in my left hand and a psychosomatic limp. Psychiatrists had worked on me for six months, both in the field and back home. But they hadn't cured my limp.
"Forty eight hours and one rather frantic dash across half of London chasing a cab later… And I didn't need my cane anymore. Didn't even realize I'd forgotten it.
"And my tremor? Didn't even last the first crime scene. Never mind my 'abduction' by Mycroft… Sherlock managed, in less than two days, to do what three psychiatrists had failed to do in six months.
"Basically that sums him up. Doing what no one else can. At least not without a hell of a lot more time. And patience.
"But he didn't have patience. He didn't want to take the time. But he wanted the results. So he found a way. No one would condone them. But they worked. God, did they work.
"He had this annoying habit of talking to me, when I wasn't there. And then holding me to any decisions that were made in that conversation, despite the fact that I wasn't there to protest.
"He kept experiments everywhere. And I had to be careful whenever I heard him say: 'John could you…'. Because it never led to anything I expected.
"But he was the smartest person I ever knew… Ever met. His brain could make leaps of logic, faster than he could explain them to me. And then he'd turn to me with that face. That face that said: 'We know what happened here'. And then I'd have to tell him that: No, we didn't. He did. I would appreciate an explanation at some point.
"To know him was to be infuriated by him. And he was infuriating.
"To most, he was heartless. But there was a heart behind the deduction. One you never saw.
"He never bought the milk. Apart from the day, when I had a horrible cold. He didn't know what type to get… Had deleted the information. So he got one of everything.
"He was so human. In a way no one else but me seemed to see.
"He could never understand Cluedo. Kept insisting that the victim must have committed suicide…
"He tolerated the Bond films, for my sake. He loved watching TV soaps, so he could yell at them. For their banality. But put a Scooby Doo on and he'd watch it from beginning to end.
"We only ever played Scrabble once. Only way I managed to keep pace with his score was to start using Farsi. I still swear he made half his words up.
"We once sat in Buckingham Palace. He was dressed only in a sheet. And we laughed. Then he stole an ashtray. Just to amuse me. I'd been fighting the impulse. He didn't bother fighting it.
"He wasn't perfect. I'd be the last to claim that. But he was human. He was real. He was honest, to a point. But he was never a fake.
"I once would have said he was the best civilian friend I had. That is true. But it is also a lie… He was the best friend I ever had. No one else compares.
"And that is the man I remember. The self-sacrificing noble guy, who claimed there was no such thing as a hero. And yet was one. Who said he didn't have friends. Yet claimed one.
"His most common statement to me was that I saw, but did not observe.
"Well, I see and I observe right now. I see a world that no longer believes.
"Well I believe. I believe in Sherlock Holmes. The Genius. The Man. The Detective. Nothing is more deceptive than an obvious fact.
"I believe. And I will never stop.
"Remember Sherlock. He who died, so that others could live. He laid down his life, for a friend… For me. And I'm not so sure it was worth it.
"Because there will never be another like him. They broke the mould. There's a thousand of me out there. But there will only ever be one Sherlock."
John stepped down.
It wasn't what he had wanted to say. And it certainly wasn't what he needed to say. But it was what they needed to hear.
It hadn't helped him in any way. He wasn't healing. And he knew he wouldn't. Not until he could talk to Sherlock alone.
There wasn't really a wake planned for after the service. Simply people giving their condolences to John.
"I would appreciate it if you would allow me to claim Sherlock's possessions." Mycroft informed John, without any preamble.
"Mycroft, I would leave now, before I make what I did to the Superintendent look like a warm up." John stated, "You know I have not set foot in 221B since that day. I took nothing of Sherlock's. As you know. You want his stuff? Go fetch it. I will not."
John turned and walked towards Sherlock's grave marker. Not that he believed that there was any body there. Or even any cremated remains. But it was like Sherlock's skull, something to talk to.
Mrs Hudson accompanied him and talked for a bit.
Then she left him and he was able to say what he needed to say. The words from the heart.
"You … you told me once … that you weren't a hero. Umm… There were times when I didn't even think you were human, but let me tell you this. You were the best man, the most human ... human being that I've ever known and no one will ever convince me that you told me a lie, and so ... there. I was so alone ... and I owe you so much. But please, there's just one more thing, one more thing, one more miracle , Sherlock, for me, don't be ... dead. Would you do that just for me? Just stop it. Stop this…"
John turned away and walked back towards the church. His military training taking over as he moved. Most of the guests had already left. Lestrade had stayed though, clearly wanting to talk to John privately.
"John," Lestrade started, "Please, promise me, promise me you won't go seeking revenge. I don't want to lose you too."
"Greg," John looked at him, "A man, much smarter than me, once said: 'before embarking on a journey of revenge, first dig two graves'. I have no intention of dying. And I learnt to forgo revenge a long time ago."
"Good. And I'm sorry, John. I should have been quicker. I could have stopped him."
"You did what you could." John replied, "Thank you for trying. Not many would have."
"See you around?"
"Of course." John agreed.
Lestrade walked away. Ben waited until he was out of earshot before approaching and gently squeezing John's right shoulder.
"So you're not going after the rest of Moriarty's men?"
"That's not revenge. It's Justice. It's finishing what Sherlock started. Are you going to try to talk me out of it?"
"Hell no, TC. We're all behind you. You lead. We'll follow."
"I can't ask you to do that."
"Who said you had to ask? Gremlin knows how far the rabbit hole goes. We'll follow you into hell if need be. And this goes further than you realize."
"How much further?"
"Back to those we thought were gone. The reason they disbanded us."
"Not officially. No one's listening to us… No one in authority anyway. But we're not alone. Our cousins are coming."
"Uncle Sam's kids? That's good."
"Also the Ladies from Hell and the Tough Bastards from the Hills."
"Good. I'm not stopping till there's not a piece left on Moriarty's side of the board. Not a rook. Not a knight. Not a bishop. Not a pawn."
"Let the Devil shake with fear," Ben grinned, "The Tommy's are coming."
And this is where the story ends. For now. I'm sorry. But the Muse has this fascination with "The Final Problem". Won't let the story go any further. At least not until "The Empty House". I may manage to bribe her/him/it (?) into a Sequel at some point. But don't hold your breath.
A Prequel is being worked on, to some degree. Regarding an incident mentioned in this story. But it will probably not feature Sherlock. No more hints. Don't want the Muse to get upset.
I would like to thank my followers and reviewers. Thank you. This story has garnered me:
And at posting:
Not bad for something that I managed to polish off in under two weeks.
Now for Review Replies:
Aracil – I agree, and thanks for the compliment. I come from the school of Agatha Christie. If you're not on the edge of your seat, I'm doing something wrong.
Chaoticmom – John's a tricky character to write. But the Muse decided this end. But don't worry. John's not alone. Ben and the others won't let him be.
Radekris – Thank you!
Athelhelde – Depends. I have a bunch of friends who find it amusing to watch people blush as they retell old stories in front of those who don't know them. Then they start embellishing.
IzzyDelta – Loyalty up. Loyalty down. Semper Fidelis.
DarkJediQueen – Glad you like.
Shinigami Ace – Sorry to disappoint. But Sherlock didn't want to do that. If I ever write the Sequel… I have such a good bit for when John throws that in Sherlock's face.
Johnsarmylady – Fiction is the way to go. Just be careful. I have to get a colleague to proof-read all my formal stuff. I'm a bit too casual, due to my fiction writing.
YYHfan-KB – Thank you very much. Hope this was quick enough for you.
Kyer – A Hero: "A hero is somebody who is selfless, who is generous in spirit, who just tries to give back as much as possible and help people. A hero to me is someone who saves people and who really deeply cares." Perfect quote for John, don't you think? Debi Mazar. And as for Sherlock? He's a little obsessed with the Game. Makes himself play by other people's rules. John? He changes the rules.
Shinigami-Heero – Hope you didn't have to wait too long.
TheOrchid – Thank you. Never been compared to a Unicorn before.
Kid Death – John's squad know the truth. But everyone else… They're only glimpsing the edges.
HevenSentHellBroken – Welcome to the story. Hope you enjoyed.
Thanks once again.