John Watson wasn't quite sure of where he was.
Christmas was dull. He had received a few cards, a call from Lestrade, and a visit from Molly. But the rest of the holiday felt almost muted, and there was something about the entire season that felt off. But John was done with questioning, aware that his calls to whatever higher powers there might be would never be answered. So he sat in his chair and watched the sun rise on Boxing Day, unsure of where the last few hours of Christmas had gone.
Somehow, he blamed the whiskey.
Several times, John had sat with his laptop open, ready to write something, anything, on his blog. And every time he had shut the lid and sat deep in thought, knowing that there was nothing to be said and that really, by now, he should have moved on. There were other people in the world, John knew, and there were many more years to live out alone. He would have to get up and live one day.
Already he had come across people he wanted to talk to, people he would have happily have a drink with after work. But they all lacked the mysterious qualities of Sherlock Holmes. John had never before seen himself to go for those who said little but implied a lot, those who chose to reveal only what had to be said. And yet, he appeared to have fallen for Sherlock Holmes, and everyone else had nudged him along as though it was fate.
Not that he had literally fallen for him. Sherlock had done most of the falling.
He had asked him, on the first case they ever solved together. Sherlock Holmes was completely unattached, married to his work, a man of science and late nights and experiments that no one else understood. Sherlock had never asked John. Sherlock didn't need to ask, he could read it. John had breeze through girlfriends like wind through leaves, and yet Sherlock had never explicitly told him that it would never last, that there was something John needed to discover about himself. Maybe it had always been present, and John had never noticed, or maybe he had chosen to ignore it, worried that anything more would ruin a working relationship. Sherlock Holmes was John Watson's best friend, and perhaps the only man that John would use that term for. John didn't know what he had really been to Sherlock, and for that he was a little bitter.
This wasn't the whiskey talking.
John eyed the violin, his head suddenly filled by tunes, played late at night after a victory. The bow brandished at visitors, the way Sherlock swayed with the rhythm, that violin held a million memories. Sherlock had always been somewhat attached to it, gravitating to the instrument in times of need, trouble, and joy. Never a better companion, John thought, than a violin.
John had never had a better companion that Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock was the person who came to you once in a lifetime, a chance meeting that became so much more.
John wished he had said something.
It could have been anything; they were alone so often that there had been too many missed opportunities, too many times when John could have just spoken and yet had never had the courage or the words. Everyone else had admitted it, encouraged it; why not John?
Perhaps he was afraid. Soldiers rarely came home from war unscarred.
The days rolled on by, John slowly slipping into the chair he sat in. It was now a routine: get up (at some point), take a good hour trying to make breakfast (by which time it was lunch), then sit and watch the sun slip from one half of the sky to the other. Repeat as necessary. John took no joy in the simple, pathetic life he was now leading, but he also didn't care: there was nothing left to do, no work he could bring himself to walk to every morning.
Everything seemed pointless without Sherlock Holmes.
When the stars appeared, John would count each and every one, as though by the end of his trial, Sherlock would appear behind him and announce a new case, and new adventure. So far, John had counted thousands of stars, only to turn around to an empty room. There was something that told him that Sherlock could hear his cries, disguised within the thread of numbers that he threw into the heavens every night. If only he would respond, confirm it.
That was all John needed.
But Sherlock Holmes was not coming back. The enigmatic, brilliant detective was gone forever, not immune to his body slamming onto the concrete. Some days, John replayed it over in his head, desperately searching for ways that he could have lived. But there was nothing, no genius in dying; even for Sherlock Holmes.
John paused as he realised that he was now in the kitchen, apparently preparing tea. The cups seemed to fill themselves up these days, and most of the time John was unsure as to whether it was himself or Mrs Hudson making the steaming hot beverages. He knew only this: when he appeared to prepare the tea, there would always be two mugs.
John needed to get his life together. Perhaps one day he would. But for now, he seemed locked in a trance, unaware of what was happening around him. Some days he would stare at the news and wish that a case would come up, something to call Sherlock home. But nothing ever did: even the criminals were holding a vigil to the man.
John's vigil never ended. It never broke. He sat and watched the chair and the violin and the face that had never left the wall, wishing for Sherlock to burst through the door and start shouting about murder. Then, he would tear up the room in search of a book, waltz out the door with John's had in his, and they would do as they had always done.
Sun rises had never been of any particular comfort.
John hadn't left the flat in the days following Christmas, preferring to sit inside and wait for the joy the melt from the streets below. He wasn't opposed to the fun of the holiday, but there was something about other people's happiness that sent a dagger through his heart, head spinning, blood running, until finally he was gone.
On one of the many days following Sherlock's death (John had lost count some time ago, but a day was a day and every one that passed was filled with pain), John noticed an owl, attempting to gain entry to the living room via the window. One thing that struck John as odd was the fact that the bird was not decent enough to try the front door.
That was when he remembered that this was a bird.
John hurried to the window, aware that even that much was chore. He threw the thing open and let the own fly in, where is rested on the back of Sherlock's chair, watching the man opposite with beady eyes. The owl was in that sense much like Sherlock, but John did again have to remind himself that he was staring at a bird, and that the bird was also carrying a letter in its beak.
John slowly attempted to take the letter from the owl, and was met with little resistance. Once the letter had been exchanged, the owl ruffled its feathers and watched as John carefully opened the envelope it was in.
John knew no one who one, used owls to deliver letters, and two, wrote on parchment. The ink was black and although it didn't shine, John found it all too easy to imagine the mystery writer penning the letter by candlelight, ink drying as he finished the final sentence. Somehow, the only image he could conjure up seemed to be set in the eighteen hundreds, and owls certainly weren't able to travel in time.
So with shaking fingers, John opened the letter and began to read:
Perhaps it would be best for you to not be aware of my identity. The work that I am able to carry out from my new position is perhaps vital to the survival of both myself and you, and it would be a shame to void what I've already achieved.
I can't give you much information. I am around, leaping from spot to spot like a homeless rabbit. I know you'll try to track the owl and I also know that you will fail, given your lack of ability to a) fly and b) run as fast as the owl and c) see as high as the owl chooses to cruise. You cannot find me. Currently, my status as friend or foe could be called into debate, but be assured that whatever happens from hereon is for the best, and that whatever you do, you must not talk to the receptionist.
Sorry about the owl.
John was now aware of two things: one, he was confused. Two, he was irritated. What was the point of writing a letter that revealed nothing and only confused an already broken reader? John sat at the desk and pulled a fresh sheet of paper from the draw before realising that he had no address to write on it.
He checked the letter: addressed simply to John.
Mystery letter writer:
I'm fine without knowing your identity. My lack of abilities list stretches to also include a lack of ability to deduce; I am no Sherlock Holmes, and so perhaps we can both take a small comfort in anonymity. Your choosing not to sign your letter either means that you're pulling a silly trick, or that you could use a friend.
I could also use a friend. One thing you should know about me, mystery writer, is that I do not take attempts to impersonate my best friend lightly. From what I am reading, you appear to have adopted the writing style of the late Sherlock Holmes, and while it is one that I admire, it is also a little tactless. Perhaps you should develop your own.
If you choose to reply, then I commend you on your bravery. If not, then I hope you now think better of who you choose to play your pranks on.
Looking back at the letter, John was more than aware that what he was doing was stupid. It was pointless. The letter would probably fall from the owl's beak and end up in a pond. But something to occupy him could never be passed up, and so John found himself offering the letter to the owl and letting it fly from the window once more.
No one sent him letters any more. Perhaps this would be a fun correspondence. Of course, John could have been dreaming, but the lines between reality and dreams were so now so blurred that he as having trouble telling the difference.
The owl disappeared into the sky, no longer even a black speck.
okie dokie here we go
1) Yes, Sherlock is getting OOC. I'm sorry; I'm snowed under with writing projects right now (finishing my second novel, poetry, writing class, etc) and this wasn't supposed to be as long as it is,
2) This does not mean that i don't care about this fic and the lovely readers and reviewers and all sorts. Because I do care,
3) I have no update schedule; I write fics when I feel like it because I'm not good at updating anymore,
4) LIKE ALWAYS I'M GOING TO MAKE AN EMPTY PROMISE THAT THE NEXT CHAPTER WILL BE SOONER AND BETTER BUT WE ALL KNOW THAT'S NOT QUITE TRUE
5) I'm thinking of changing the title of this fic, any suggestions will be appreciated and definitely considered.
So I hope you enjoyed this, thanks for reading, and let's all hope that I manage to write the next chapter before 2015.