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There are so many things Sherlock could say. He could say wait, don’t go, he could say alone only protected me until I met you, he could say you are everything I never knew I needed, he could say I love you.

But he lets John walk out. He lets him walk about because “you machine” is as good a conformation as any that it won’t change anything, not a thing.

-

He could say I will love you always, he could say be careful, he could say miss me, please, I have never had anyone miss me before. He could say nothing at all.

So, instead, he tells half-truths and lies.

“It’s all a trick.”

-

John needs to say I’m sorry. He needs to say Sherlock, come down, please, we can talk. He needs to say I love you, because otherwise Sherlock might never get to hear it and that would be a crying shame.

But he doesn’t.

Because Sherlock says, “Goodbye John” and then all he can say is Sherlock’s name, but then again the way he says it is sort of like I love you.

But it doesn’t matter because Sherlock’s dead and the last thing John said to his face was “you machine.”

“Sherlocksherlocksherlock,” comes out of his mouth, starting at Sherlock’s lovely, dead face, his voicebox a record that has gotten stuck.

-

John should say I hate you. John should say fuck you and your cheekbones. John should say get out of my flat, that’s right my flat, you arrogant sod.

But instead he sort of laugh sobs, pounding on Sherlock’s chest like a door, his fist echoing through the chest of a dead man, feeling the heartbeat that shouldn’t be there (but he is so terribly glad that it is, so glad).

“I’m sorry, I love you,” Sherlock mumbles, endlessly, “forgive me, I love you, I needed to keep you safe, I love you.”

“You arse,” thump, thump, thump, “I love you, you selfish bastard, you arse,” and then suddenly they’re talking through one another’s lips, two bottles without stops, words that should have been said and will never be wasted again, because, oh god, the building and the blood

“I love you,” loop and loop, an explosion of feelings from John, transferred to Sherlock—

“I love you,” endless loop, who says what, doesn’t matter, it’s all the same because—

never leave, never will, I love you, I love you, won’t happen again, best fucking better not, I love you, I know, please, okay, more, yes, I love you

Bottles without stops.