It's that time of the year again. I'm not sure why I still remember it, why I ever remembered it, but I do.
January 29th, the day I met Sherlock.
I'll go to the Winchester with Mike and Lestrade, no doubt. It's been a tradition the last two years running, we all go out and get utterly pissed before calling cabs and wandering back into our flats. Mycroft came the first year, had several whiskies one after another, and then walked away from us, using his umbrella for balance. If any of us were in the mood for entertainment, we might've laughed.
Last year Anderson showed up around midnight and I punched him twice. Lestrade had been a bit angry, but more at Anderson, because of all the nights to make snide remarks about Sherlock, this was the worst. He knew that, the bastard.
Mike invited Molly again, but I doubt she'll come. He's invited her every year, but she always refuses. I wonder, sometimes, if she and Sherlock...before he...
It's rubbish, of course. He wasn't interested in anyone, except Irene Adler, and I doubt he'd choose that night to start experimenting. But still, she hasn't looked me in the eyes since he died, and I do have my suspicions. Not that they matter.
Oh God. I always forget how crowded this place is at 10. Prime drinking time, perhaps? Mike is looking a bit sloshed already. He always has been a lightweight. Lestrade's left already, something about a triple homicide on the other side of London.
He's gone grayer since Sherlock died. I've helped, do what I can to lessen the workload, but it's difficult. I'm not clever, like he was, or intuitive. I've kept up the homeless network, of course. Mycroft insisted on it, puts regular deposits in my account to hand out to Sherlock's informers. It's good to be around people who don't think Sherlock was...a fake.
They call themselves Watson's Warriors. The younger ones must've spent hours spraying it onto every wall in London, the first few months. It was heartening, in a painful way. Couldn't blot out the papers, though.
I haven't drunk much tonight. It's odd. Like I've gotten over it. Which is a total fucking lie.
Maybe I have got over it. I think I'd hate myself if I did. You don't get over someone like that, ever. You shouldn't. It's like a betrayal.
I haven't. His bloody flag pillow is still in the living room on my chair, isn't it? And his room is still the same. Or it should be. I locked it, the day after.
I hope there weren't any experiments in there.
Of course there were. It was Sherlock's room. Oh god.
Maybe I should clean it tomorrow?
Mike's almost passed out. I've had...three pints? Don't remember. The pub is almost empty, and so quiet. There's a man in the corner with dark hair like he had. Curly, probably just as soft.
No, can't think like that.
That man in the corner is walking over here. I don't know why. I can't see his face too well, but he's got those cheekbones.
Damn it. Why'd he have to come to this pub on this night?
John is slumped against his chair, chin tucked against his chest and eyes half-closed. He watches the dark haired man walk closer to his table, with that self-assured swishiness that Sherlock had always walked with. The light in the pub is fucking terrible, it's impossible to make out the man's face. Beyond those cheekbones, of course. Those stupid cheekbones.
He's right at the table now, and the lamp on the wall is showing that he's got a long face, and a nose that's...that's very...it's...
John scrambles into a less prone position, eyes wide and mouth slightly agape.
The man looks at him, face calm.
"John," he says, like it's been a day, an hour, a minute since John saw him jump from the top of Barts, like they've just talked, like he just called John from the other side of London to borrow his phone.
"No," John says, shakes his head quickly, regrets it because he's a little drunk, or maybe more than a little because Sherlock is here and Sherlock can't be here because Sherlock is dead. Sherlock is Dead.
"John, it's me," Sherlock says, and John stands up, a little wobbly but with the bearing of a soldier.
He punches him, square on one of those stupid cheekbones.
Sherlock staggers back, looks both surprised and not, like he knew John would do this, but he didn't think he would. Well, John always has been a surprising man.
He almost punches Sherlock again, but his fingers hurt and his head hurts and this is all slightly too much. Instead, he walks forward, cocks his head to the side and takes in the sight of his friend, his best friend alive and well. Not dead, mouldering six feet under. Very much alive.
It's fair to say he falls into Sherlock's embrace very easily.