Molly was in on Sherlock's secret, John was certain, but now she was nowhere to be found. He kicked himself for having let her run out before he got some real answers from her. He'd tracked her to her flat, but according to a nosy neighbor, Molly had run out earlier with a rucksack that looked to be bursting at the zip. She had left London, he presumed. Although it was disappointing that she wasn't talking to him, her actions were practically shouting that Sherlock Holmes was alive and well. And that was…well, magical seemed like a strong word, but by god, when John thought of Sherlock being alive the only word that came to mind was magical.
The next few days seemed to pass in a blur as John turned this over and over in his mind. The great joy, the chemical rush of endorphins, surging through his body at the thought of seeing Sherlock again was almost overwhelming after so many long, dark months of loneliness and misery. Now that the fog had lifted from his brain, he started to really see the world again. The bright spring jackets of the pretty girls who worked on Shaftsbury Avenue, the shimmering rain drops reflecting traffic lights, making them look like dancing beads of pure color. And twice, from the corner of his eye, he thought he saw a man in a great coat, moving away in a quick swirl. It was fast, too fast to capture the image in his mind and bring it into perfect focus, but although his eye could not verify it, his heart said it was Sherlock.
He continued his detecting, trying to fill in some of the gaps by making his own deductions, starting with the assumption that Sherlock went to the roof of St. Bart's to fake his own suicide, for reasons that must be tied, in some unknown way, to Moriarty. Sherlock had the ball, the blue rubber ball, with him that day, John was sure of that. Clearly Sherlock had gotten Molly to get a group of medics (or people to play at being medics) to surround Sherlock when he fell. This group of faceless people who somehow kept John from doing more than lightly grazing Sherlock's wrist in search of a pulse (which he now believed didn't register due to the pressure of the ball against Sherlock's axillary artery). Now that he thought about it (with some distance from the emotional hell of seeing his friend's lifeless body and bloody face), John felt that it was all rather odd that suddenly there was a gurney that swept Sherlock's body away on that fateful day without waiting for the police or Medical Examiner. Shouldn't they have tried to revive him? Done more of an examination at the scene? Who were those people who swooped in and hurried Sherlock away? Colleagues of Molly's? Members of Sherlock's homeless network? The possibilities were intriguing.
After work one evening, John, knackered from a long day at the surgery, made himself a strong cup of tea. He was about to take his usual chair and tune out with a bit of tele, but for some reason, he sat in Sherlock's former chair instead. In the quiet, semi-dark room, he leaned his head back in the chair where Sherlock had spent so many hours struggling to make sense of the facts, the data, that were unique to every case.
"Alright, just pretend I'm Sherlock. Easy enough." He snorted at the absurdity of that statement. "What's the biggest question I have?" John thought for a moment. There was one thing that kept rolling around in his mind. One question that seemed like it could answer many others. "Assuming that he was trying to get away from Moriarty, why did Sherlock fake his own death as opposed to just going into hiding?"
It was a daunting question, that was certain. Sherlock could have vanished more easily than making this big spectacle of his death. But then, Moriarty would have gone after him, right? So, that's one reason, John thought to himself. What else? "Come on, think!"
He brought himself back to those last moments on the telephone with Sherlock. Usually when John thought about their last conversation he was filled with regret for all the things he left unsaid, he rarely dwelled on the words that were actually spoken. "What did Sherlock say? I'm a fraud. Tell them all, I'm a fraud."
John recalled the emotion in Sherlock's voice during this "confession," the cracks and strains in the pitch and timbre of his voice. There was no faking that kind of feeling. John knew Sherlock, knew what kind of man he was. Proud. Absolutely certain of his intelligence. And moral. Sherlock Holmes would trick someone into giving information or saying too much, but he would never live his own life as a lie. When Sherlock said, "I'm a fraud," it was a lie. But why? Why would he lie to John, and why ask John to tell Mrs. Hudson and Lestrade that Sherlock was a fake?
"Ohhhhh." To make it easier for everyone he left behind. "Dammit, Sherlock. Did you think we would just stop caring?" That Sherlock would think this, that he would think that his friends only loved him because of his deductive wizardry, and that if this somehow vanished that they wouldn't care about him anymore, made John very sad. More than at any other time he had the strong desire to hold his friend in his arms, to comfort this terribly difficult, prickly man. To let him know he was loved unconditionally.
"I hope I still get the chance." John was having success verbalizing his ideas and so he decided to roll with it. "Alright, what do I know so far? Well, I know, or at least strongly suspect, that Sherlock Holmes faked his own death with assistance from Molly Hooper. I think he did it to both evade Moriarty and to protect the feelings of the few people that he cared about. I believe he is still alive and I even think…" and there was a flash of mental light as John found his fingers curling around the blue ball in his pocket, "I even think that Sherlock Holmes planted this ball in this room in the hopes that I would put it all together and realize that he's not dead."
The energy and exhilaration he felt while expressing these theories aloud propelled him out of Sherlock's chair and he stood bolt upright with arms spread in the middle of the room. "Oh, yes! Yes!" John shouted at the world. "Ha, ha! I'm going to find you, Sherlock. You can't come out and tell me where you are, but I'll follow the clues and find you, if it's the last thing I do. I'm coming for you, Sherlock Holmes. That's an absolute promise!"