Written for the johnlockchallenges gift exchange on Tumblr. My prompt was "some post-Reichenbach to break my soul"

If anyone cares, herein lays the tale of my life after It happened. It was bloody and messy and sickening. Whenever I think about It, my gut twists painfully and my heart clenches and I have to stop to regain my composure. It stole my best friend, my partner, my lover, my life, my very reason for existing.

Too bad you can't rob Death of his possessions.

xxxxx

For several weeks after It happened, I didn't eat or sleep very well. My clothes became too loose, but I couldn't be bothered to buy a new wardrobe to fit the "new John", the "John without him". I only ate when the pangs in my stomach reminded me that I was, unfortunately, still alive. I can't remember what I ate. I'm not even sure where the food came from, seeing as I'd stopped doing the shopping.

I hated closing my eyes to sleep, because every time I did I saw It, and I never wanted to see It ever again. But the images haunted me. I was forced to relive every little detail, like someone had burned the images on the back of my eyelids. What little sleep I did get was fitful, hardly enough to keep my body going.

Mrs. Hudson dropped by from time to time, and it might have been her who brought food. I can't really remember. It's all very vague, nothing worth recalling. She would fuss over the state of the flat, try to create some small talk.

I never answered.

xxxxx

After one month, I stopped making tea for two.

xxxxx

Some days, I was angry. I remember breaking several objects by throwing them across the flat. On those days I would scream at the skull, cursing it until my throat was hoarse and I felt like I might cough up blood. Those were the days when I couldn't stay still. I stomped about the flat restlessly. I was angry with him for doing what he did, for not telling me what he knew was going to happen, for leaving me. I was angry with that monster for doing it to him. I was angry with the world for doubting him. I was angry with myself for not being able to stop him.

Other days I was despondent. Those days, I could hardly move. Sometimes I cried. Sometimes I just sat there, wallowing in the hopelessness of it all.

xxxxx

After three months, I stopped saving a shelf in the fridge for experiments.

xxxxx

I didn't stay in all the time. After a while Sarah called to tell me that she couldn't keep my job at the clinic any longer, and if I didn't come in soon she'd have to replace me. So I went back to work. I no longer found the joy in being a doctor, no longer revelled in helping people who were sick or injured. I saw patient after patient, the names and faces all blending together. There was no easy banter, no chit-chat. They would walk in, I'd blankly diagnose them, and they'd walk out, only to be replaced by another.

When I wasn't working, I would walk aimlessly around London. The thing about this was that my feet seemed inclined to take me to places that would dredge up memories of him. I'd find myself in front of Angelo's or our favourite Chinese place. I'd visit old crime scenes or walk the path of a chase. It seemed that there was nowhere in London free from the bitter taint of our memories.

xxxxx

After eight months, I stopped turning around expecting to see him there.

xxxxx

People treated me like I was made of glass, like I would shatter at any given moment. It was ironic, seeing as I had already been shattered. Mrs. Hudson tried to take care of me. Molly stopped by a few times, her visits mainly comprised of an awkward hello, a few minutes of staring, and an equally awkward goodbye. Mike came by once or twice. Mycroft increased his surveillance. Even Donovan and Anderson had the decency to not speak when I saw them. Greg took me to the pub a few times, although neither of us ever ended up drinking. Once he offered to help me pack up all of his things, everything in the flat I had no use for, like his microscope.

I screamed at him and went home.

xxxxx

After ten months, I stopped sleeping with one of those too-tight, button-down shirts every night. I'd run out of shirts that still retained his scent.

xxxxx

These days I still live at the flat. Someone, Mycroft I suspect, sends half of the rent to Mrs. Hudson every month. His things are all still where he left them, the microscope on the table, the bespoke suits in the closet, my old room still serving as a now-unused lab. I eat more. I sleep better. But every night, once I fall asleep on our bed, after I've relived It in the moments before I dream, I see him. I see luscious ebony curls, high cheekbones, and piercing slate blue eyes. I feel smooth pale skin sliding beneath my fingers. I hear a rich laugh, a velvet voice whispering declarations of love from between smiling lips before that mouth brushes against mine.

It is at that moment I always wake up, tears streaming down my cheeks as my lingering sleepiness clings to those swiftly fading dream-induced touches as if they are all that is keeping me alive.

Which, I suppose, they might be.

xxxxx

After one year I stopped calling his mobile just to hear his voice when the call inevitably went to voicemail.

xxxxx

Days go by. I can't be bothered to count them anymore. My heart aches and my head hurts and no medication can ease the pain.

I've never stopped missing him.

I've never stopped loving him.

I've never stopped wishing he'd come back.

But he won't.

It took him from me.