John sat in his little arm chair, fiddling with his cane. He absolutely hated the fact that he needed it again, but his limp had come back and his therapist demanded he started using it.
Mrs. Hudson had decided to let him stay, knowing he couldn’t afford the flat by himself, which he was very grateful. She knew what he was going through, and told him that he could stay as long as he liked. But John knew he couldn’t stay here forever. He tried looking for a job, but nothing seemed interesting to him. He was thinking about asking Lestrade if anything was open, but he never got around to it. Maybe he will tomorrow.
The rain was hitting the windows with enough force to make the sound echo throughout the flat. John noticed that lately, he’s been welcoming the rain. Not that he hated it before, but he never appreciated it. The amazing smell, the soothing sound, the sparkling droplets on the window. He grew to love it, and it made him that much happier. John was beginning to feel annoyed by sunny days. Like the world was moving on, and he’s being dragged along with it.
John sighed and his eyes glanced at Sherlock’s chair. He smiled as he remembered him jumping up and down in jitters, so eager for someone to get murdered so he had something to do. Or when he brought his knees up to his chest, holding a teacup, yelling at the ridiculous people on the telly. And how he’d get up out of frustration and went to play the violin. John’s eyes followed the trail where Sherlock walked over to the window and started playing the instrument. He could still hear the melody that he composed, sad and haunting, yet beautiful.
Then he remembered how he used to think Sherlock was insane. Everything that he did, John would roll his eyes and just deal with it. His heart squeezed when he started to wish he could visit his oldself. To tell him to listen to Sherlock’s rants, to watch him throw things around the flat when he was looking for his cigarettes. To crack up when he shot the wall, because he had to admit, it was amusing.
John rubbed his eyes when they started to sting. He was a soldier--he had to stay strong. He forced the painful lump back down his throat, and made himself get up and walked into the kitchen. He started the kettle, and he found himself staring down the hall, to Sherlock’s room.
“No. Nope. No John, don’t even think about it,” he said to himself.
John had made sure that he stayed out of Sherlock’s room, knowing it would be too much. Plus, he felt like he would be invading his privacy, even though he was…
John shook his head quickly, and finished making his tea. But something inside him was stirring, urging him to go down that hall and walk into his room. He mentally slapped himself, and sat down at the table.
But he kept glancing down the hall. He tried distracting himself by reading the paper and sipping his tea, but it didn’t hold his interest. Instead, his eyes would raise back up, despite his wishes.
John sighed a curse, and gave in. He limped slowly down the hall, his heart racing as the door came closer and closer. He hesitantly turned the knob, and pushed it open.
The room looked exactly the same. The curtains were open, the rain casting shadows across the unmade bed. Clothes littered the floor, and his bookcase still held all of his equipment on its shelves. It smelled dusty from not being disturbed in a month, making John sneeze.
He gulped, gripping his cane. What was he doing in here? What was he hoping to find? Surely, he had no business being in here. So why was he so eager to come in?
He bit his lip as he stared at the bed. An idea crossed his mind, but he wasn’t sure if it…reasonable. He glanced down the hall. He was alone. And he was curious.
John sat down on the bed, which was surprisingly very comfortable. He stared at the pillow.
“God, this is ridiculous,” he whispered and picked it up. He brought it up to his face, and took a deep breath.
His stomach squeezed and dropped at Sherlock’s scent. It was almost fading from time, but it was still lingering on the fabric. He took another shaky breath, closing his eyes and absorbing the last trace of Sherlock. The thought of saving it till later crossed his mind, but with as little of it was left, he knew that wasn’t an option. This was his last chance.
John hugged the pillow to his chest, taking in one last breath. Most of it smelled of dust and air, stinging his nose, with just a hint of Sherlock. And that was it.
And John broke.
Tears escaped from his eyes, tears that he tried so hard to keep back. But he let them flow freely now. Mostly because it was too late, but also…it felt good.
The emotions that built up inside him was finally making through the soldier’s tough barrier and out onto Sherlock’s pillow. He burrowed his face in it, squeezing his eyes, the tears never stopping. Sobs rocked through him uncontrollably. He didn’t know what to do besides rock back and forth and just let everything out. All the pain, the hurt, the memories, the sadness. Everything was spilled onto the pillow.
It was the biggest emotional breakdown John had ever had.
He realized that during this process, memories ran through his mind. Happy memories. Everything from chasing down a criminal to every single one of Sherlock’s smiles. And each one of them were being put into drawers and files and rooms and being locked away. John blinked through the tears as he watched his subconscious do this, his sobs growing quieter until they finally reached to a stop. Even the endless stream from his eyes ran out.
Finally, the last memory his brain had of Sherlock. Watching himself fling off the roof. The paramedic turning his lifeless body over, his long, curly, black hair soaked in his blood that painted his face. His eyes wide open. The memory that caused him the most pain, the most nightmares. But John felt too hollow to feel that pain now. It lingered there, as if his subconscious was leaving it up to him to deal with it.
John hiccupped as he mentally hung the memory on a hanger, like it was a shirt or a coat, and put it on a rack, closing the closet door.
He took a breath to steady himself, and let go of the pillow. His lip trembled. He knew that this didn’t mean that he completely forgotten about everything and moved on. It wasn’t that easy. But this was the start. And he was happy that he got at least this far.
He rubbed his face, massaging it. His eyes felt puffy and his nose was stuffed up, but he didn’t care. He wiped away the tears that soaked his cheeks and trailed down his neck. He looked out the window, and noticed that the rain had stopped.
The soldier stood, nodded to himself, and walked out of the room. With no limp.
And certainly no cane.