Elspeth sat on the edge of the bed, her hands clasped together as she stared at the wall ahead of her. There was a suitcase by her feet.

"It'll be a bit scary, but you'll adjust soon enough," her therapist had assured her.

She wasn't scared. That was what she kept telling herself as she bit her bottom lip.

When she was told she could leave, Elspeth was ecstatic. She was going to live with John and Mary, she'd have her life back. But then the fear and anxiety trickled in, because she knew that life wasn't going to go back to normal straight away, no matter how much she wished it would. She'd spent so long under controlled conditions that the freedom lying before her was daunting.

Elspeth flinched when she bit down on her lip so hard she tore the skin, slowly dabbing her fingertips against her lip. It was bleeding.

"Elspeth." She quickly wiped away the blood away, looking up at the mention of her name. It was her therapist. "Are you ready, Elspeth?"

"Erm . . ." Elspeth looked down at her suitcase. "Yeah, I guess so."

Elspeth's therapist beamed back at her. "John's waiting downstairs for you."

"Can you just give me a minute?"

"Whenever you're ready."

Elspeth never thought that she would be scared to go home.

She took a minute to prepare herself, pulling on her coat and grabbing her suitcase handle. Elspeth took one last look around the room, amazed that she would actually miss it, before slowly trudging out into the corridor.

No one said goodbye to Elspeth. She wasn't the most popular of patients at the ward, mostly because she was antisocial and kept herself to herself. Her therapist suggested that she should make friends, but Elspeth had responded by rolling her eyes. "What's the point in making friends," she had said. "if I'm never going to see them again?"

John and Mary were waiting in the lobby together, talking amongst themselves, but they stopped when they saw Elspeth.

"Ellie," John said with a wide grin, walking forwards.

"Hi," Elspeth said quietly. She let go of her suitcase, strode forwards and wrapped her arms around John. He hugged her back just as tightly.

Mary hugged Elspeth as well, giving the teenager a gentle squeeze. "Are you ready?" she asked. Elspeth frowned. A lot of people seemed to be asking her that lately.

"Yeah," Elspeth said. "Let's go."

Her smile was small and forced, and John gave her another quick hug before taking her suitcase.

"Do you want to sit in the front, Ellie?"

"Really wouldn't advise it," John said, putting Elspeth's suitcase into the boot of Mary's car. "She's a terrible driver."

"Hey, I'm better than you!" Mary said, pretending to be offended. She grinned at Elspeth.

"I'll sit in the back, it's fine," Elspeth said with a small grin. Sliding into the backseat, she sunk back and watched John and Mary get into their seats. They were laughing and joking like nothing had happened, like everything was normal.

She supposed that for John, things were normal. He went to therapy, he moved away, he met the love of his life.

Elspeth sighed quietly. John and Mary didn't hear her.

The car ride was nice. Normal. John joked around, playing with the radio, and Mary complained about his choice of music, batting his hand away every time he reached for it. Elspeth tried to join in with the conversation but it didn't come easily to her, so she turned her head and gazed out of the window.

She was daydreaming when she saw it. Just a quick flash of someone turning, someone familiar looking – curly hair, blue scarf, a long coat.

"Stop the car," Elspeth said.

"What?" John asked, looking at her over his shoulder.

"Stop the car! Stop the car!" Elspeth shouted. Mary pulled the car up and Elspeth flung the door open, leaping out. She raced across the road before John could stop her.

Elspeth ran. She ran and she didn't stop until she reached the spot she was certain she had seen him in, her heart pounding. She heard John shout her name as he chased after her, but she kept running.

"Dad!" she cried, finally skidding to a stop. She was crying. "Dad . . ."

"Jesus, Ellie, you almost gave us a heart attack," John said, catching up to her. "Are you alright?"

"I thought . . . I thought I saw . . ." Elspeth's voice trailed off and she looked around, staring at John with desperation in her eyes. "John, I thought . . . I saw something, I saw him and I . . ." She paused, running a hand through her hair. "I don't know what I saw."

"It's fine," John said calmly, taking her arm to keep her steady.

"No, no, no, it's not fine, it's – I'm seeing things, John. I need to go back, I can't come back with you see, I'm . . ." Squeezing her eyes shut, Elspeth focused on her breathing, trying to stop the tears from rolling down her cheeks. John didn't say anything. He waited. "I thought I saw my Dad and I think I'm going nuts."

"You're not," John assured her. He put his hands on her shoulders, squeezing them. Elspeth looked at him. "Ellie, you are not going nuts, I promise. You are coming home with Mary and I, and I swear to you that we're going to look after you. We're going to get through this together, do you understand me?"

Elspeth shut her eyes. "John," she whispered. "I don't know what to do anymore."

"Do you want to know what you're going to do? You're going to come with me and get in that car, and Mary is going to drive us home. We're going to get take away and we're going to watch one of those really terrible rom-coms that Mary seems to love for some strange reason," John told her. "That's what we're going to do, alright?"

"Alright," Elspeth said, her voice cracking slightly as she sobbed, grinning tearfully at him. "Alright. I'm sorry I freaked out."

"Yeah, maybe let us drive all the way home this time," John teased. Elspeth laughed and wiped her tears away.

John and Mrs Hudson sat in the back of the taxi together. She had a bunch of flowers in her hands.

He'd asked Elspeth if she wanted to come with them, but she decided not to. "It's too soon," she'd said to him with a sad smile, sitting on her bed. "I . . . I just need a bit more time to adjust."

It was understandable, but it didn't feel right to go without her.

Neither of them spoke as John and Mrs Hudson crossed the graveyard together, coming to a stop by Sherlock's gravestone. She put the flowers down, sighing softly when she saw that no one else had left flowers. It was sad to think that no one cared enough to bring flowers.

"There's all the stuff," Mrs Hudson said suddenly. "All the science equipment. I left it all in boxes. I don't know what needs doing. I thought I'd take it to a school." She looked at John. "Would you . . .?"

"I can't go back to the flat again – not at the moment," he told her. Mrs Hudson took his arm sympathetically. "I'm angry."

John took in a deep breath, trying not to break down. He didn't want to break down, not again. He had to stay strong for Elspeth and Mary and Mrs Hudson, who patted his arm gently.

"It's okay, John. There's nothing unusual in that. That's the way he made everyone feel," she said. Gazing at the headstone, which simply bared the words SHERLOCK HOLMES – there was no point in putting something fancy or religious because Sherlock would've just scoffed at the sentiment – she sighed again. "All the marks on my table, and the noise – firing guns at half past one in the morning!"


"Bloody specimens in my fridge. Imagine – keeping bodies where there's food!"

"Yes," John said quietly, closing his eyes.

"And the fighting! Drove me up the wall with all his carryings-on!"

"Yeah, listen, I – I'm not actually that angry, okay?" John reminded her.

"Ok," Mrs Hudson said softly, her voice breaking slightly. She turned away, pulling her arm free of his. "I'll leave you alone to, erm . . . you know."

Crying, Mrs Hudson fished a tissue out of her pocket and blew her nose as she walked away. John looked at the grave, drew in a deep breath, and then looked over his shoulder to make sure that Mrs Hudson was out of earshot.

"Um . . . mmm," John said thoughtfully, trying to collect his thoughts. "You . . . you told me once that you weren't a hero. Umm . . . there were times I didn't even think you were human, but let me tell you this, you were the best man, and the most human . . . human being that I've ever known and no-one will ever convince me that you told me a lie, and so . . . there."

John blew out a long breath, whimpering slightly under his breath.

Looking over his shoulder, John walked forwards and touched the top of gravestone with his fingertips.

"I was so alone, and I owe you so much," he said. He took a tearful breath. "Ok. Ok, I promise – I swear I will look after Ellie, no matter what."

With that said, John turned to walk away. He only took a few steps before he went back.

"No, please, there's just one more thing, mate, one more thing, one more miracle, Sherlock, for me. For Ellie. Don't . . . be . . ." John's voice broke, his eyes full of tears. ". . . dead. Would you do . . . ? Just for me, just stop it." He gestured towards the grave. "Stop this."

John sighed and lowered his head. He felt broken. It had been too long since Sherlock's death.

Covering his eyes with one hand, John felt the tears on his cheeks as he stood in front of his friend's grave. He couldn't remember the last time he had cried.

Finally, John wiped the tears away, sniffed and raised his head. He straightened up and held his head up high, nodding at the grave in front of him. Nodding, John gave himself permission to leave, turning on one heel and walking away.

Standing some distance away and obscured by the shadows, Sherlock Holmes watched his friend walk away. For a long moment, he reflected on everything he had just heard.

With a final look towards his gravestone, Sherlock Holmes turned and walked away.

Thank you thestargazer7, helenamaimi, simplemusings12, dustdancingintheflickerlight, Destiny Xavier16, youngblood killjoy, xxxMadameMysteryxxx, KirstyLaura, iwanttobeaneverdeen, Tayla, GeorgyannWayson, Bookworm45669, nakari ash, TheDoctor'sAmazingCompanion, fmxc117, quidditchandsonicscrewdrivers, Goodbye Mr Holmes, aorangeinboston, Ms Moonshoes Potter, SJBHasADayPass, tardislover1, CloudlessSummerSkies, Guest, ElisePotterFreak, Treeni, Guest, bellechat and Adrillian1497 for reviewing!

Thank you to everyone who has reviewed or favourited or followed this story, without you guys, this never would've been such a pleasure to write. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

The sequel "The Game Changer" should be published by the end of the week as the first couple of chapters are currently in progress of being written, so keep a look out!