No New Messages
John sighed and slid his phone shut. It had been three weeks. It was officially over.
He looked around his flat, running his fingers through his graying hair. She`d taken all of her belongings, which really didn`t leave much, as she had furnished the entire house. A couch, the end table, and everything she couldn`t pick up on her own in her rage was all that was left for him. Asleep on the ratty old couch was the one thing she could have taken but didn`t. The burden.
Suddenly his phone beeped and he opened it with sweaty hands. Maybe she`d changed her mind, maybe she wanted to come back, maybe she still loved him...
New Message from Molly
MH: hi, jon, its molly. was wondering if u could come by st barts for a bit? think i found one of his old notebooks maybe
JW: Send it to Mycroft or something. I don`t want it.
MH: really it looks important. u should really come get it.
JW: Molly I don`t want it. Keep it, burn it, I really don`t care.
MH: Come get the notebook. Now.
He shoved the phone in his pocket, annoyed, and walked to his computer. His mind was turmoil, swirling with bad memories and nightmares. He hadn`t seen his therapist in months, and he wasn`t all that eager to go back to her. He realized his fingers were already on the keyboard, the cursor a blinking line, as if it were eager for him to type a new entry. The screen remained blank. He wasn`t ready. Not yet.
He slammed the laptop shut and the level breathing from the couch faltered for a moment. John bit his lip. When the boy awoke, John would have to tell him. Mommy`s not coming home. He did not look forward to it.
For a while, he just sat there, wondering what to do. His old flatmate`s ways of getting so easily bored had rubbed off on him, and now he was dying for something to keep his mind off of... Well, everything.
His laptop was opened again after a few minutes of indecision, and he spent nearly half an hour searching for entertainment through the web. There wasn`t much, but at least he was occupied.
The bell caught him completely off guard. His laptop was quickly shut as his eyes darted across the room in search of intruders. It was the door bell, idiot, he told himself. A slight moan escaped from the drowsy boy on the couch, but again the child dozed off.
John crept from the room and darted down the stairs before the tall figure outside his door could ring the bell again. He turned the handle and peered out through the crack to see a tall man in shaggy clothing holding a package on his doorstep. He wore a low-brimmed hat that covered his face, which was okay because John didn`t really care what he looked like anyway.
"Who is it?!" called Ms. Rill, the landlady, from the basement. Her voice was raw and scratchy from this morning`s hangover.
"It`s just a delivery man, Ms. Rill, I`ve got a package!" he shouted back.
"Mind if I come in, sir? The air`s a bit chilly out here," asked the delivery man. His voice sounded old, but his unwrinkled hands showed otherwise as he handed John the clipboard.
"Um, yes, of course." He opened the door wider, holding the clipboard to his chest. The man adjusted his thick coat and handed John a pen.
"Sign, here, here, and here-and there."
"Thank you, sir," he said when he was done. He traded the clipboard for the package and began untying the twine. The delivery man didn`t move and John cleared his throat. "Um, thank you, you can leave now."
Silence. "Seriously, get out."
Suddenly the man`s back straightened and his face took its familiar, self-important tilt. A quick half smile was all it took to make John`s eyes widen, because at that moment, the man`s identity became unmistakeable. "So soon?" asked a familiar voice. "I`d venture to say we`ve some important things to catch up on, John."
Sherlock Holmes removed his hat, placed it on the peg by the door, and stood smirking down at his awestruck friend. John took three quick steps backwards, bracing himself against the wall. "Oh, my God, I`m crazy..." muttered John. "Holy s***, holy s***... You`re really standing there, are you?"
He nodded. John looked him up and down for a moment, then without warning punched him, hard, in the face. Sherlock`s head snapped to the side. "What the bloody hell was that for?!" he shouted.
"You`ve been missing for six freaking years and you just show up at my house like I saw you last week?! What the hell were you expecting?! 'Oh, hi, Sherlock, glad to see you`re not dead, let`s go grab a cup of tea and talk about our day!' You were supposed to be dead! You`re dead!"
John stood there panting in his anger. Sherlock gave him an questioning look. "Well, in all honesty, I was suspecting a bit more of a warm welcome."
The blunt remark earned him a slap in the face. He narrowed his eyes, clearly annoyed, rubbing his cheek. "Done?"
Sherlock caught John`s fist as he swung at him again and held it behind his back. "Yes, you`re done." He began walking John up the stairs, still keeping his arms immobile. "Now, I have Molly coming by soon with my belongings, I don`t have many, so it shouldn`t be too hard to unpack it. I hope you have an extra bedroom, but if not I`ll just sleep on the couch. Or not at all, as I do have a few cases at the-"
"Wait, Sherlock, Sherlock, slow down," John interjected. "Just... just give me a second to absorb this... I need to take a breath, here." They stopped at the first and only landing and John`s hands were freed. He squatted down on the wooden floors, his back in the corner, hands on his knees. "So, let me get this straight: You`re not dead?" Sherlock nodded. "And you expect to move into the flat again?"
"Well, yes, I was rather hoping things-"
"Right, and you... Molly knew you were alive." Sherlock nodded again. "And all this time, these six years, you`ve never taken the three minutes it would have taken to send a text, to just tell me... 'I`m not dead'?"
John`s voice was raw from yelling as he spoke the last three words. "Oh, please, John, don`t be like that," he said haughtily. "You know I have my reasons. No one other than Molly and Mycroft knew, and only because it was completely necessary."
"But, six years? Why didn`t you come sooner?"
"John, listen to me. Moriarty was not my only enemy. I had plenty more, and had you not believed I was truly dead, they would have known. I couldn`t tell you or niether of us would have been safe. I had to have them locked up before I revealed myself. Come on, that`s enough questions for now."
John began to protest as Sherlock pulled him up and guided him shakily to the stairs, but his voice only trailed off. He couldn`t think of anything more to say, except... "Sherlock, wait!"
"No, Sherlock, listen to me. You can not just come into my house expecting a place to sleep!"
His hand was frozen on the door handle, already turned. He removed it slowly.
Noticing the hurt expression on his friend`s face, John shook his head. "Oh, not like that, Sherlock. Believe me, I`d be happy to give up a room for you to use, but I don`t have any to spare."
"That`s fine, I`ll take the couch-"
"No, you don`t understand! I-"
The doorknob rattled suddenly, cutting them both off. The door swung open slowly, revealing a short boy, sucking his thumb and holding a green blanket. "Daddy, I`m hungry," he whined, then noticed the tall stranger in his house. He looked him up and down, then glared.
"Who the hell are you?"