"John, hurry up!" Sherlock called impatiently to John. Lestrade had just called Sherlock to come and investigate a new crime scene and John was taking an unusually long time coming down from his bedroom. They had experienced a bit of a dry spell and it had been a while since they had received a summons from Lestrade. Sherlock was bursting with excitement and energy and was ready in an instant but John for some reason was taking a great amount of time getting ready to leave. Sherlock was so anxious to leave that he was just contemplating leaving without John when he finally heard John coming down the stairs. Finally, now they were going to get somewhere.
Sherlock headed for the door, ready to leave at once with John. But he immediately knew that something was wrong before he even saw John. John's steps were slow and heavy. Usually, he would be walking fast and determined. He would also be excited for a new case, a new adventure, new danger. But these steps were the ones of someone heavy laden. Something was troubling John. As John came into view the visual clues further confirmed this conclusion. His head hung and his arms hung at his sides, his mobile gripped in one hand.
"John, what's wrong?" Sherlock said concern evident in his voice.
John opened his mouth to speak but it opened and froze waiting on words that did not come. And still he did not look up. Sherlock walked closer to John and spoke gently "Tell me what's happened."
John looked down at his mobile like it was a foreign object, staring it as if he didn't recognize it. "It's…It's my sister," John said finally looking up at Sherlock. There were tears in his eyes, some even on his face. Sherlock was startled at the sight of it. He had never seen John cry. If John was crying and he didn't even try to hide it, then something was very very wrong.
Sherlock wanted to urge John along to get to the answer faster, so he would know what was happening, but he knew it was better to let John come to it in his own time. John paused for quite a while before finishing his sentence. "She's dead."
Unease filled Sherlock's stomach. Sherlock was used to being around death. He saw people dying all the time or saw someone receive the news that someone they cared about had died. It didn't bother him because it didn't concern him. But this was different. This was John who was affected, John who would be hurting. Sherlock would not be able to escape this.
Sherlock dreaded what he knew would now be a head of him. Death was always so uncomfortable. People were always incredibly emotional surrounding death and highly unpredictable. They often were fine one minute, then crying the next. They would be angry then depressed. They were incredibly nostalgic and in denial of the future. And there were always so many tedious and uncomfortable rituals to go through. Funerals, viewings, family gatherings surrounding food that no one ate. None of it made any sense to Sherlock.
And until this point, he had never been close enough to someone to have to put up with this. But now he would have an obligation to John. John would be very upset and he would expect Sherlock to be there for him. He would have to live with John and his vast array emotions for who knew how long. Sherlock did not look forward to it. And he really didn't know how he was going to do it.
"She was in a car accident…and she's just gone. Died on impact," John said in a very wavering voice. Sherlock could tell that he was just on the edge of losing composure. He spoke in a far away detached voice like he could not believe what was happening. But at the same time Sherlock knew that the pain and reality of it was hitting John hard enough. Sherlock desperately hoped that John would not burst into tears liked it looked like he might.
Sherlock searched his mind desperately for something to say. John looked so sad and he wished to say something that might help, that might ease some of the pain. But Sherlock did not keep that kind information on hand and it was only now he wished he had. Instead he could only think of the most common and cliché thing to say. "John, I'm sorry to hear that."
"I…I…"John started but he couldn't seem to finish the thought if he even knew what the end of it would have been. An uncomfortable distance and silence hung between him and John and he desperately wanted to end it. Things were never uncomfortable with John and he did not like the feeling of it. But Sherlock could not think of anything to do.
John was the one to break the silence. He took several deep breaths before saying "Go ahead and meet Lestrade. I'm…going to stay here," he said heading for the stairs.
Sherlock was more than satisfied with this answer but doubt filled his mind. "John…are you sure you don't want me to stay?" Sherlock offered because he knew it was the right thing to do but he really hoped John said no.
John turned around and looked at Sherlock. His face looked weary and tears weighed heavy in his eyes. He shook his head. "No…I really just want to be alone."
Sherlock looked at John and tried to tell if he was being truthful. It made no sense to him, but often people said one thing when they meant the exact opposite. They expected the person to know what they wanted even though they didn't say it. But as John walked away he could tell that John really meant what he said. So, Sherlock left the flat to solve the latest crime and leave John to deal with his grief alone.
On the cab ride to the crime scene Sherlock had nothing to do but think about John. He did not know the full details of the crime yet and he did not begin to work a case out until he did. That left him with only John and what had happened to him to think about.
Sherlock was puzzled by the event. John was clearly upset over the news of his sister's death. Sherlock couldn't really figure out why that was. John did not get along with Harry and said that he had never really gotten along with her. John never went to see her and rarely talked to her. When he did talk to her it was because Harry had called him and those conversations were always tense and short as Sherlock had observed on more than one occasion. John never talked about her to Sherlock and Sherlock had never even met her.
The way that Sherlock saw things, John and Harry didn't even have a relationship. They were simply related and nothing more. Sherlock searched his brain for a reason why her death would affect John to the point of tears but he could really find none. This was clearly territory that Sherlock was not well versed in and it made him unsettled. He didn't know what state John was going to be in and he didn't like the feeling. In the past year that he had John had known each other, he had come to know John well. He knew his temperate, his routine, his likes and dislikes. They were comfortable together. But Sherlock had yet to witness John go through a tragedy and he did not know how John would handle it.
However, when he arrived on the crime scene he put thoughts of John to the back of his mind and focused on the work ahead. He walked straight into the dilapidated office building where the dead body of the victim was already surrounded. The victim worked at this office but was confirmed by several people to have been on vacation at the time. And yet his murdered body had been discovered by his fellow employees one morning. Sherlock made observations about the surroundings and was already formulating theories when Lestrade came up to him.
"Where is John?"
John's absence had not escaped anyone's attention. People had come to expect John and Sherlock together as a pair. Where one went the other was always there. It was not at all uncommon for people to ask one where the other was when they were not together. "He's at home," Sherlock quickly replied not taking his eyes or his attention off the work in front of him.
"Why didn't he come? Is he sick or something?"
"No. His sister died," Sherlock said still not deviating from the work in front of him.
"What?" The strange tone in Lestrade's voice made it clear that this was going to become a conversation and Sherlock was going to have to look up from his work.
"I'm a little busy here," Sherlock said looking up and into Lestrade's incredulous face.
"John's sister died?"
"And you're here?"
"Yes. You are the one who called me to come. What does that have to do with the case?" Sherlock asked impatiently, not at all seeing that there was a problem.
"John's sister just died and you came here and left him alone?"
Sherlock rolled his eyes. How many times did he need to say things to people for them to hear them? "Yeah."
"Why did you leave him there?"
"He didn't want to come. He told me to come without him."
Now it was time for Lestrade to roll his eyes at Sherlock's obliviousness. "Of course he didn't want to come. His sister just died. Why didn't you stay at home?"
"You told me to come." Sherlock was beginning to wonder if Lestrade was ever going to leave him alone and let him get back to that work that he wanted help with in the first place.
"Yeah, but I would have understood if you wanted to stay with John."
"John said he wanted to be alone."
"Yeah, but he might have wanted the company anyway."
"John doesn't play those kinds of games with me. He said he wanted to be alone and he meant it."
"Alright," Lestrade said putting his hands up in mock surrender. "If you say so. You know him better than I do. But still you might want to do something nice for him when you get home."
"Sherlock, come on. He's your best friend and he's probably really upset. Even if he wanted to be alone now at some point he probably will want your company and he'll want to know you're there for him."
Ewww, sentiment. Sherlock could practically feel it making his skin crawl. He'd been very certain that John did want to be alone. This conversation made him doubt for a second and wonder if maybe John did want him to stay. But thinking again about the conversation he had with John he knew that John did want to be alone. But Sherlock had not thought far enough ahead of time to think what John might want later. He felt dread thinking about it. Would John want to talk about it? Would John start crying?
"Well, what do you suggest I do?" Sherlock didn't want to ask. He hating asking people for advice but if there was one area that he wasn't an expert this was it.
"Just be there for him. If he wants to talk, listen to him. Listen," he said emphasizing the word. "If he wants to be left alone, leave him alone but stay close by. And just do something nice for him."
"Just something you think he'd appreciate." Lestrade smiled slightly when he saw Sherlock's face. "I'm sure you'll come up with something."
Lestrade finally walked away, leaving Sherlock to his work. Sherlock had no idea what he was going to do for John but he couldn't think about that now. He put it at the back of his mind to think about later when he was done at the crime scene and went back to work. He enjoyed focusing on the work in front of him; something he was an expert on. He was already dreading returning home and the sentiment that he was not an expert on.
Hello Everyone! Sorry it's been a while but I have many stories I am rolling over in my brain and it took me a while to finish just one. I hope you will follow this little hurt/comfort fic of mine. Much awkward Sherlock in sentimental situations ahead :)