Hi guys! It's been a while! I have been mega busy with university over the past few months so writing has taken a backseat. I am in the process of writing a multichapter Sherlock story but I won't be done for a while. I also have a Supernatural one in the pipeline, but again, it's going to be a while. The idea for this story came to me a couple of weeks ago and I had to write it, so managed to slot in a little time each night to write this. I just cannot resist sad John and nice Sherlock!
Just to warn you, this is my first attempt at a story from a first person perspective and told in both the past and present tense. So if there are any mistakes I apologise!
Just to be proper, credit goes to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Steven Moffat, Mark Gattis and Steve Thompson for creating the wonderful characters of Sherlock and John, as well as updating the stories to the modern era. Thank you sirs for bringing such joy!
Emotions: irritating hormonal malfunctions that get in the way of rational thought. It is fortunate that we Holmes' never bothered with them, allowing our genius to develop far beyond its so-called potential. My father, my brother and I were what can only be described as highly functioning sociopaths. It drove my poor dear mother insane. Still, I should be grateful that mother was unfortunate enough to be burdened with human emotions. She actually cared for us – fed us, clothed us, kept us clean and tended to us when (on very rare occasions I may add) we succumbed to ill health. My father was the complete opposite. Any attention we received from him was to earn a scolding. "99 out of 100? No son of mine will achieve less than 100% within any academic discipline!" or "I don't care if you have had no sleep for 24 hours, you cannot lose focus now boy!" Maybe that's how Mycroft and I turned out as we are – not that I am whining. His tyrannical approach to parenting allowed my mind palace to expand and for me to become the world's only consulting detective. Brother dearest believes my use of the Holmes' genius is futile and beneath us. He chose to rule the country. How dull and predictable. No puzzles exist in the political world, with the possible exception as to how certain individuals are allowed into positions of power – especially Mycroft. He may be an adequate politician, but he is so annoying.
I digress. Like I said, emotions are not something we Holmes' men bother with. Relationships, platonic or intimate, are just as tedious. Dear Mrs Hudson seems to have taken a shine to me after I ensured the execution of her husband. It may seem peculiar, but she has developed rather maternal feelings towards me. She does remind me of my mother in a way, which I suppose is why I put up with her. Plus, my rent has received a pleasingly significant discount. As for young Molly Hooper – well, as much as I try to put her off, she is utterly infatuated with me. I suppose this represents the common attribute many youngsters face, finding attraction towards another who is totally unobtainable. Don't get me wrong, I tolerate her. Besides, she is rather helpful regarding my investigations (don't tell her I said that, I don't want to hear that ugly screeching sound some women make when pleased). I guess having an admirer has its advantages. Finally, we have Detective Lestrade. Inspector is it? No matter, he is an incredibly infuriating little man, but the only member of the entire police force I would even consider working with. Why, you ask? He is a first rate detective (although that's hardly a compliment), yet he is the only officer courageous enough to consult me when he is out of his depth. The police on the whole are useless. All right not entirely useless, they do get the basic cases right. However, the number of innocent beings I have had to release from incarceration due to the incompetency of the majority of detectives is quite extraordinary. No detective has a higher success rate than Lestrade, thanks to his ability to come to me for assistance. Don't worry, I allow him to take the credit. Every man needs some shred of dignity. If I rob Lestrade of that, he is unlikely to bring me any cases and I would just go mad with boredom. So, do I consider them as friends? No. Acquaintances, allies, associates, assets or colleagues, not friends. I don't have friends. Friends slow you down, they stop you from achieving. It would be inconvenient if Mrs Hudson, Molly and Lestrade chose to cease all contact with me, but that's all. I would merely find someone else to assist me. At least, that's how I once felt.
Emotion, friendship, compassion. Those concepts were once alien to me. That was until a middle-aged army doctor entered my life. In my youth – Hell, even the day before we met – if you had suggested the possibility that a doctor injured in Afghanistan suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder could change me, could make me human… well, I would have laughed in your face and suggested that you consider psychiatric treatment. At first, he didn't seem like much. A depressed, lonely little man in a knitted sweater, struggling to pay his way on an army pension and simply searching for a flat share with anyone who would be willing to "put up with him." Yet, underneath the soft exterior, I could sense immense anger and resentment towards the world for removing him from the war in which he fought. The man did not care for violence or death, that was clear from his chosen profession as a doctor, but as far as he was concerned, his contribution to the war effort was, in his opinion, all he was good for. A single bullet destroyed his livelihood, the one thing he was good at; as he saw it, that one injury took away his reason for existing. He saw himself as worthless – what use is a soldier who cannot work? Or a doctor who had grown accustomed to military medical practices, trying to re-establish himself as a simple GP? However, he showed admirable determination. Despite his feelings of hopelessness, he did not display the attributes of a man who had given up on life. It was as though he had maintained hope that things would improve, that he would discover a new purpose in life. Maybe that's why I took a strange liking to John. He could have taken the coward's way out, ending his misery. Instead he chose to live with it, to fight it – and he did so without a shred of self-pity. Metaphorically speaking, he was waving his middle digit at his emotions. Besides, at the time, I figured his medical knowledge could come in handy when examining bodies. I deplore admitting any sort of weakness, but there are certain things that only someone with medical training can see. I have diverse knowledge of disease characteristics, but actually making the initial diagnosis (or, more usefully, determining cause of death) by observation proves to be a challenge. I need an expert on scene, but no police coroner will work with me – and frankly, I do not work well with them. I guess you could say I was going to test him out on my next case – if he proved to be problematic, then he would merely be the man who helps pay my rent. I could tell he wouldn't be a problematic flatmate, and his apparent need for companionship meant he could cope with aspects of my personality that others have described as annoying.
That was how I met John Watson. My deductions proved to be correct – he was indeed very useful as a colleague. Despite the numerous warnings he received, he refused to stay away. If anything, the warnings spiked his curiosity and made him more determined to stick with me. Well, the man does enjoy danger. Our first case together was that of the cab driver who murdered four people by convincing them to take a poisoned pill. Initially, I was only going to allow him to view the body of the fourth victim and to offer any knowledge of poisons. However, as we worked together, I grew… well… fond of him. When I made deductions about his personal life, he didn't tell me to piss off, or punch me in the face; those are the usual reactions I encounter – apparently, people don't appreciate a stranger revealing their innermost secrets. Instead he was… impressed. "Brilliant! Amazing!" he would exclaim. I acted rather nonchalantly, but deep down I was ecstatic. I mean, who doesn't appreciate an ego boost? The man certainly brought a smile to my normally expressionless face. For me, the defining moment in our initial relationship was the incident at the high school during the first case. The taxi driver had challenged me to take one of the two pills, and a Holmes is not one to back down from such a challenge. John will say otherwise, but I know my chosen pill was free from poison. That murderer was easier to read than the menu at Speedy's. However, John wouldn't allow me to prove that. Despite knowing me for only a short while, he was willing to chase a taxi across London (oh yes, I was able to cure him of that psychosomatic limp the war had burdened him with), solve murders and kill a man in order to save my life. He displayed a loyalty that even my own brother could not contend with. Don't get me wrong, he is hardly a hero worshipper. While the paramedics treated me for shock after my brush with death (according to them anyway), John just shook his head and called me an idiot. Looking into his eyes, I could tell having to murder a civilian was painful, but when I asked if he was all right, his typically English "stiff upper lip" attitude took over and the pain subsided. I guess that comes with the military training.
That chance encounter at St Bart's was the starting point for my transformation. I'd like to call that an exaggeration, but I cannot. John Watson changed me. I did not care about anyone in my life other than my mother, and I certainly had no friends. I have been called a psychopath and a freak and thought of as inhuman. When I first met Moriarty face to face, he vowed to "burn the heart" out of me. I could have laughed at him, had there not been a risk that the three of us would be blown to smithereens. In the past I have been reliably informed that I have no heart, and I said as much to Moriarty. His reply – "now we both know that's not quite true" and his attention turned to John. That's when the realisation finally hit me. The reason I had the gun pointing at Moriarty but wouldn't pull the trigger. I didn't care about my own safety, but I wasn't willing to endanger John. Days before, John had scolded me for my insensitivity towards Moriarty's victims, to which I commented, "will caring about them save them?" Yet at the pool, I cared about what happened to John and I refused to risk his life. I cared. Sherlock Holmes, highly functioning sociopath, cared for the life of his best friend over his own. Of course, this is not something I have ever told John. Maybe I should have done.
However, part of me wishes I didn't care. A part of me wishes I had never even met John. Not that I don't appreciate his friendship and the happiness he has brought to me as a result. But if we hadn't met, I wouldn't have destroyed him. I have been told that the friendship I gave to John saved him. The war had left him with nothing, without a sense of purpose; becoming my colleague, my friend, gave him a new purpose in life. For once, I'm not being arrogant, that's how John felt. He never told me directly of course, but it's what I deduced from the heartfelt plea he made at my graveside. "I was so alone, and I owe you so much." At that moment, I wanted to run over to his side and tell him that he owed me nothing. John was the one who saved me. He saved me from the loneliness I didn't even realise I felt until I met him. Hell, he even made me change my opinion about Mrs Hudson, Lestrade (Greg) and Molly; those whom I considered as mere assets to my work. John was not the only one who became my friend, but he convinced me that they had been my friends all along. Unfortunately, my newfound friends turned out to be my Achilles heel, which Moriarty used to his advantage. I was so close to beating him, but even beyond the grave he couldn't let me get away scot free. He forced me to fake my own death in order to save my friends from his henchmen. It wouldn't have been too much of a problem, if I hadn't been required to not only sully my reputation, but to keep my survival a secret from the ones I cared about. It affected them all, but none more so than John. I watched from afar as he sank further into depression.I wish I didn't have to hurt him in that way, but I knew it was for the best. Luckily, I had been able to share my secret with Molly (I needed someone to help me fake my own death), so she agreed to look out for him and make sure he didn't give up. Not only did she keep him grounded, but she introduced him to a wonderful woman named Mary Morstan. By the time I returned, three years after my "death", John was engaged to her. I remember arriving at the door of the flat they shared. She was indeed a beautiful woman, with golden hair, porcelain skin and piercing blue eyes. Apparently, John had spoken of me often, because her first words to me were "well, Sherlock Holmes, if you are looking for John, he is at work. But he will be home soon. You may come in, and maybe you can explain to me how John's deceased best friend is now standing in our doorway." We spoke for a while, but I refused to share the details of the past three years. I wanted John to be the first to know. Although, when John laid eyes on me as he walked through the door, he didn't give me a chance to explain before punching me in the face. Can't say I didn't deserve it, but he readily forgave me when I told my tale. If you are interested in the full story, I'm pretty sure John uploaded a colourful narrative onto his blog.
Life for John improved after my return. Mycroft had been able to clear my name and expose Moriarty as a fraud, so John and I could resurrect our fallen business as private detectives (well, consulting detective and tolerant doctor to be more precise). He and Mary soon wed, and I had the privilege of being John's best man. Things couldn't have been better. Of course, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. In his mind, John finally had the perfect life, but fate couldn't let that happen. His desire for happiness was snatched away after hearing a few simple words from his beloved. "I'm dying, John. I don't have long left." She had been diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, which had metastasised to her liver and bones. Her health deteriorated rapidly and a few weeks after diagnosis, she was bedridden. Doctors, including John, implored her to spend her final days in a hospice so that she could have access to pain medication. Despite the pain, she refused. "My husband is a doctor and I know he will care for me until the end. He will never leave my side. I'd like to spend my final moments with the man I love, passing peacefully next to him in the bed we have shared, in our home. I know it will hurt, but as long as John is with me I know I'll be all right." Mary got her wish; she died in her sleep, with John holding her close. He stayed with her all night, even though she had died hours before. He wouldn't let her go.
I knew it would be hard for him. I also knew that I wasn't the best source of comfort at a time like that, so I kept my distance. I told him I'd be there if he needed me, but I knew he would deal with it on his own. However, I insisted that he move back into 221b Baker Street so that he wouldn't be totally alone. It wasn't until the moment he moved back in with me that I realised how I had truly destroyed him. If we had never met, I am sure it wouldn't have changed the events that unfolded with Mary. I truly believe they would have met, fallen in love, wed and said their final farewells as she died in his arms. However, he would have dealt with her death. I saw how he came to terms with my apparent passing, so I know he would have coped. Our friendship meant that wasn't going to be so easy. How, you ask? Simple. John was convinced that I had died when I fell from the roof of St Bart's hospital. He watched me jump, and saw what he thought was my bloody corpse on the pavement below – but I came back. He witnessed my death, yet it had been a lie. Thus, when he watches his wife die in front of him, John deduces that this is also a lie. He is convinced that, somehow, someway, Mary faked her death to protect John from some threat. As I speak, I am watching John frantically read every newspaper he was able to purchase that day, searching for a secret message from Mary, a sign that she was alive. A sign that doesn't exist. He barely eats and has lost a considerable amount of weight. I have to loan him some of my clothes, but even they are slack on John. Sleep is something that John has practically given up on; if his body didn't collapse with exhaustion to provide him with the energy he needs to live, I don't think he would ever sleep again. Watching John made me realise how frustrating it must have been for him when I obsessed over a case. It's been over a month since I last worked on a case. Someone needs to be with John to make sure that he stays alive. John made sure I ate and slept enough during a case, so it's the least I can do to repay him. Even my heartless brother is chipping in. John is paying rent for our flat at Baker Street, but he is also continuing to pay his mortgage on the flat he shared with Mary; he wants to make sure she has a home to return to. Of course, he spends every waking moment obsessing over the search for a wife who will never come home, so he hasn't been at work. Therefore, he does not have the finances to afford such expenses. That's where Mycroft comes in. He injects enough money into John's account to cover these payments and more. I guess John has touched the heart of another sociopath.
"I think I see her!" a cry erupts from the other side of the room. If I didn't want to hurt John's feelings, I would groan. I walk over to his side and look to the picture he is pointing at in the local paper - don't ask which one, they are all pointless babble to me. Above his fingertip was a tiny, blurred face with long blonde hair. The image quality was so poor that it is impossible to detect any distinguishing feature. However, since it was taken last week in Zimbabwe (some local lady was raising awareness about HIV and AIDS), it obviously could not have been Mary.
"Well, Sherlock? Don't you agree with me?" I turn to face John, to be met with large, moist eyes. The look said "please Sherlock, I don't want her to be dead, please tell me she is alive. Tell me she's OK." For the first time in my life, I cannot respond. I am unable to find the words. I can't bear to see him looking so broken, so I want to tell him that everything is all right. I want to be able to tell him that Mary is alive and well. On the other hand, I can hardly lie to him. Pretending that she is alive will only make things worse in the long run. I know that I can't humour him any longer; he needs to accept the truth. I just wish that I wasn't the one that needed to tell him.
"John… I… no. I'm sorry John. I wish I could tell you that she is all right, that she will come back to you. But she's gone. She died in your arms and we buried her in the church graveyard. It isn't a hoax, John. Your wife is dead." Saying those words ripped my heart to pieces. I know this will hurt him, but he has to accept her passing before it kills him. To be honest, I don't know what to expect. Will he shout at me, punch me in the face, or break down? Well…none of those. He just, looked at me. A look that I never want to see again for as long as I live. Tears threatened to spill, but he fought to maintain his composure. Even though a single word is never uttered, his eyes told me everything. This whole time, he knew she was gone. He has always known. But in his despair, he had created his own little world of lies and conspiracy so that he wouldn't have to accept that the women he loved was dead – and he hoped that I would let him stay in that world. My words tore him from that security and dragged him back to cruel, bitter reality. He wanted to be angry at me, to hate me, but he also knew that he had to face the truth. After a short pause that felt like an eternity, John simply nodded. What am I supposed to do?
"John, I'm so sorry. Are you -" SLAM! John stood so suddenly that his chair crashes to the floor. He turns and leaves the room without a single glance in my direction. I hear him climb the stairs and close his bedroom door.
I've been sitting at the bottom of the staircase for well over an hour, listening to the heart-wrenching sobs from John's room. Part of me wants to run out the door so that I don't have to face this emotion from my closest friend. The other part of me wants to provide the comfort that a friend should provide, but I am clueless as to how to go about it. So, I remain in this spot, stuck in a sort of limbo. What can I do to fix this? I feel myself standing up, but which way do I go? Do I keep myself busy and try to ignore the grief of my friend, to give him the privacy he clearly wants? Or do I ignore his desire to deal with this alone and help him? Can I prove to him that I am human, that I do care? Prove that I am not the heartless freak everyone considers me to be, but a man who cares not what happens to himself, as long as his best friend is OK? I sense my feet moving, but my mind is so full of confusion and contradiction that I do not notice where they are taking me. It isn't until my hand grasps the door handle that I realise that I am at John's room. I pause for a moment. Do I knock and ask how he is? Or do I just walk straight in? What do I say? Do I ask him to talk about it, or do I talk about something to take his mind off the subject? Once again, my body appears to have moved of its own accord and I find myself standing in the middle of the bedroom. John doesn't appear to have noticed me, and the part of me that is terrified is screaming at me to get out while I still can. But I can't run, not now. This is about John, I can't let my own selfishness get in the way of what is right. I shouldn't be so afraid. It's JOHN. My best friend, the man who is always there for me. Helping him should be a natural thought; I shouldn't even have to think about it, to feel concerned. So why the Hell do I find this so difficult? Why am I scared to show my friend that I care? Am I afraid of what he might do? Afraid that he blames me for his inability to accept her passing as I blame myself? This is John, he wouldn't blame me for that. I know he won't. Get a grip Sherlock. Get a grip. I have to help him, somehow. Careful not to startle him, I walk over to the bed and call his name. As soon as he hears my voice, he becomes flustered and tries to hide the fact that he is crying. Typical John, he never wants people to see him upset, he doesn't like his vulnerability on display.
"What is it Sherlock?" he croaks. I sit on the floor at the side of his bed and turn to face him.
"I know that you hate people seeing you like this, especially me. But you shouldn't be alone right now. I just need to know that you'll be Ok." I gave him a warm smile and a look that told him I genuinely wanted to help.
"I… I don't know what… thank you. Thank you." That final thank you was a mere whisper and John turned to face the wall. I could barely hear a sound, but the gentle shuddering of his shoulders told me that silent tears were falling. I said nothing, but placed a hand on his arm, giving it the occasional squeeze. Eventually, the tears ceased to be silent, although they were far quieter than earlier, as though he was still determined to hide his pain. That didn't make them any less heart-wrenching. Despite my discomfort as my legs started to go numb, I remained in the same position and continued to rub his arm, whispering occasional words of comfort. I did this until exhaustion took over and he fell asleep. Once I was certain he was no longer awake, I crept into my own room and retrieved my duvet, placing it over John when I returned. He was, after all, lying on top of his own duvet. I then carried the desk chair over to the bed so that I could sit in a more comfortable position. Hey, it's better that John knows I am here when he wakes up. Call me a sentimental fool if you like, but I can't leave him just yet. I adjust my body so that I can be comfortable, but am able to return my hand to his arm, should he need reassurance during the night. Somehow, I know he'll be all right, but I'm going to make sure it will definitely happen. With that final thought, I allow myself, for the first time in over a month, to fall into a peaceful slumber, without any guilt or worry. We'll be Ok, we'll get through this together, as best friends should.