The older John got, the faster time seemed to go — except when he was on a train. No matter how fast the scenery slipped past, he always felt as though he had been on the train forever and always would be. It was true even when he was headed somewhere he didn't want to go; it was doubly true when he could barely wait to arrive. Right now, he was so eager to reach the end of his journey that he wanted to whine "Are we there yet?" in a manner more befitting a toddler than a man mere weeks from his 65th birthday.
Sixty-five, he thought. How is that even possible?
He'd always thought he and Sherlock would go out in the proverbial blaze of glory — gunned down in an alley, blown up in a car, drowned in the Thames at the peak of their crime-fighting career. But it hadn't happened, and then eight years ago they'd taken one leap too many from one rooftop too high. Yes, the hip replacement had allowed him to walk and even jog a bit without pain, but, well. It had been time.
Now he lived alone on the ground floor of the building Mrs. Hudson had bequeathed to them, turning their cases into true-crime novels that, to his astonishment, people actually bought. Sherlock had left his archives upstairs in 221B for the sake of John's research, but the man himself had decamped to Hastings five years ago. John had always thought his supremely urban friend was joking, but no, he was off in the country. Keeping sodding bees. How Sherlock hadn't expired yet of sheer boredom, he had no idea.
He checked his bag to make sure he had the file Sherlock had requested by text that morning. ("Bookshelf to the left of the bedroom door, second shelf, blue folder." How he remembered that, John also had no idea; he supposed the mind palace now had a librarian.) Usually, he simply dropped the file in the post or set it aside until their next visit, but they hadn't seen each other since John's last book was published. That had been two years ago, speaking of things that didn't seem possible. Time, flying again, except when he most wanted it to.
He twitched his fingers. The screen in his glasses slowly brightened as the letters appeared before him.
How has it been so long? Why can't this train go faster?
A moment later, the earpiece vibrated minutely to signal an incoming reply.
The tyranny of the quotidian. I'll see you in an hour. SH
More than 25 years, and the man still signs his texts as if I wouldn't know who he was otherwise. John smiled with the old, familiar sense of fond exasperation. Texts and emails and the occasional video chat were all well and good, but. Well.
The train couldn't go fast enough.