Seven months post final problem.
It was dim, the room felt empty, the once colourful array of colours that would light the room in such a way it would be described as lustful, now seeming nothing more than the patterns of - once was.
The fond memories now a distant memory, it felt. John would close his eyes, remembering tiny details of conversations, bitter filled arguments and petty discussions. Just hoping that he could remember enough so that it would feel as real as it once was. But no matter how he tried, no matter the time he spent, it felt as though it was impossible - it wasn't going to work, nothing would.
John had found himself visiting here, 221b Baker Street, every other day, sitting in his rightful throne that he had claimed as his own several years ago, just waiting for a miracle. But even he knew, that this time, it was different.
Here he was, hunched over slightly, a crumpled excuse of a letter in his fingertips where it had been most of the time, his eyes scanning over the marksmanship of his best friends excuse for handwriting. He had examined every scribble, spelling mistake and spillage on the paper, trying to understand what Sherlock would have had to gone through to write this.
The words would hit him, again and again, like a stabbing knife right through the wound that would be his already fragile body.
He sat back, once again, forcing himself to read the words that had haunted him for months.
That's the correct way to address someone in a letter, isn't it? I wouldn't know, you always did say I had this inability to function like a normal human-being.
I'm writing to you because, as you know, I find emotional outbursts through conversation difficult to say the least, in fact, I find it un-bearable. And I'm aware that you would much prefer a normal conversation than to receive a letter left for you, but this is the only way I know how to speak about these things, so forgive me, John.
I have thought about what I was going to write a lot, in fact, it was the only thing on my mind for at least five days.
I believe the correct way to start this would be to say I'm sorry, John.
When you met me seven years ago, I was in a very dark place, to say the least. I wasn't aware of friendship, human nature, emotions or even being around people who weren't like me. But you still chose to move in with me, in fact, you chose to join me on our first adventure. It still amuses me that an army doctor found himself waltzing the streets with a high-functioning sociopath, solving crimes. It really is something that you would only see in a fictional novel. But it happened, all of it.
There were many times where you saved my life John Watson, but there were also many times that you nearly lost your own and I wasn't always there. In fact, there were too many close calls in all of it. I nearly, no, we all nearly lost you too many times. We moved on, I understand that, we just got on with things as we had always done. But it wasn't until we were confronted with my equally sociopathic sister that I had felt, dare I say it, fear.
I nearly lost you John, I was minutes away from losing you. There was a chance that I wouldn't have figured it out, maybe I wouldn't have reached you in time, endless possibilities. And that, that is something I wish to never feel again.
I know that Euros had already murdered my childhood best friend but when it came to you, the idea of losing you, it was beyond anything I had ever felt before. I don't know how to explain such a human feeling in words, but I imagine it's total devastation and genuine terror.
You mean a lot to me, John Watson.
And that's exactly why I'm writing this to you, I can't feel that pain again, never. I refuse to. I also refuse to put you in a dangerous situation again, I will never be responsible for any harm that may come your way, again.
I'm leaving John, Mycroft has an undercover assignment that he is willing to give to me and I have accepted it. I will be leaving after writing this and I don't believe I will be back.
This will hurt me just as it will you, I'm sure. Because, whether I would like to admit it or not, you are, well, yes, you're my best friend but you are also much more to me. To be without you is a world I don't want to live in. But if it means keeping you safe and alive, then that's exactly what needs to be done.
Forgive me, John Watson. I will miss you, dearly and always.
Forever in my heart, if there is one inside of me.
Sherlock Holmes. x
The words burned a whole right through John's chest, the pour of emotions and heart break that he felt both from Sherlock's words and himself was something he had never endured before in his life. And it was horrible.
He felt the tear fall from his cheek so effortlessly, burning on his skin like his body rejected it. He hated this.
He hated Sherlock for leaving, after everything they had been through together, the physical and emotional pain that no other friends had been through before, it just wasn't right. Why would Sherlock bloody Holmes beggar off because he was scared of hurting him? Sherlock wasn't scared of anything. He had made that plainly obvious for as long as he could remember.
He sniffled, wiping his eyes with the back of his hand as he heard the stairs creak, he wanted it to be Sherlock, he always did, but from the sound of tea wear clattering, he knew that it was Mrs Hudson, right on cue to offer him some tea and some company.
"I made a pot of tea" She announced, much like every time John would visit.
She stepped over the shoes that John had flicked off his feet without a second thought, assuming that this was his home once again. It was a habit.
"It smells fresh in here today" She noted, placing the tray onto the coffee table beside John.
John just hummed an agreement, sitting back and folding the letter between his hands. He looked up at Mrs Hudson, her eyes were full of sadness when they saw him, he knew it was pity, pity that his best friend had just upped and left him with nothing but a simple fucking letter for a reason. He couldn't blamed her, he'd probably react the same.
"Oh John, you're a bloody mess"
"I beg your pardon?"
"Look at you" she snapped, pulling a chair from the kitchen to sit beside John. She sat down, gazing up and down at him in dissatisfaction "I expected more from you"
"I'm sorry, have I done something to offend you Mrs H?" He was baffled, well and truly.
"It's been months, instead of demanding to know where he was or hunting him down, you've instead spent your entire time sulking in this bloody flat!"
"- do you really think Sherlock would be doing this if it were you that went missing? No, he'd be out doing everything he could to find you"
"Yes, well, he made it perfectly clear that he didn't want to be found" John's voice flurried with bitterness.
"Did he say that then?" She challenged.
"Not in exact terms but-"
"No buts, no nothing, oh for goodness sake. You bloody boys are like two school kids" she rolled her eyes, leaning back in her chair looking exhausted from the situation "everyone knows that you two can't live without one another yet you two seem to be the only ones who don't know that. For heavens sake John, your boyfriend buggared off seven months ago and you've done nothing"
"He's not my boyfriend" He quickly argued.
"Yes, well, he certainly won't be if you spend all your time sulking in here"
"Look, I know that you're just trying to help. But, if Sherlock really and I mean really needed me, he would be here. He wouldn't be half way across the sodding world on some stupid assignment he most likely begged his brother for. He'd be here, Mrs H, right here"
"I know it's hard John, but Sherlock is stupid, he doesn't know what he's doing half the time! Usually what he thinks is right is usually the worst bloody idea ever invented. Give him time, after all, if you don't find him, he will definitely find his way back to you"
"He's done this before, except last time he faked his own death. He can't keep leaving me, allowing me to grieve his loss and then spring back on me like nothing has happened"
"He's not bloody dead, John"
"Yes, well, for all we know. He could be"
"You're so dramatic. He'll be back, I promise"
"I suppose one of us has to be optimistic"
"Well yes, considering I'm spending my time with a depressed doctor who's missing his boyfriend. One of us really does have to be optimistic or we'd be sat here listening to sad songs and crying all bloody day"
"You know, you really are quite something, Mrs H" John hummed out a short laugh.
"Yes, well, that's why you boys love me" She spoke through a gentle smile as she stood up, leaving the tray on the table as she head for the door.
"That and because of your nice car"
"You're not driving my car, John"
"Worth a shot" John shrugged, leaning back with a exhale of breath.
He looked around the flat once more, noticing the fine details that concluded that Sherlock really was real and they were, slowly, fading away into the dust, much like the memory of him.
He knew that Sherlock wasn't coming back, even Mrs Hudson knew, he knew that it was time to stop this. But even if he did, much like Sherlock said, he would always be in his heart.