Actions

Work Header

Alternate Endings

Work Text:

Title: Alternate Endings
Author: cathedral carver
Pairing: John/Sherlock
Rating: T
Spoilers: Reichenbach
Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me.
Note: This is a deathfic, as requested by the lovely ununpentium. A real deathfic, as in someone really dies. Please direct all subsequent hatemail to ununpentium ☺

Summary: When you’re the writer, you’re in bloody charge for once. Aren’t you?

A/N: As always, thanks to ckofshadows for providing…a lifeboat, of sorts. An island. And for pushing me, repeatedly, to fucking write something, and even when I let you down, I am always writing in my mind. Scribere.

 

//

 

That’s all we have, finally, the words, and they had better be the right ones.

 

//

 

A week after John gets married, Sherlock overdoses on cocaine.

 

//

 

A week after Sherlock overdoses on cocaine, John pulls out his laptop for the first time in months. The keyboard is hard and smooth and cold and uncompromising beneath his hands. He sits and stares at the blank document page for close to an hour before he realizes there are absolutely no words available for what he wants to say. He closes the computer. He puts it away.

 

//

 

John has a hard time being in public for long stretches of time. He feels a scream building in his mouth. He worries it will one day escape.

 

//

 

John sometimes confuses fantasy with reality. His therapist tells him that under the circumstances this is “normal,” but John doesn’t remember whether she really told him that, or if he made it up.

 

//

 

Mary: Are you all right?

John:

Mary: John.

John: What?

Mary: I’m…concerned about you.

John: I don’t know what to say to that.

Mary: You look…

John: What?

Mary: Lost.

John:

Mary: John.

John: I’m…fine. Fine. Really.

Mary: Are you feeling any…better?

John:

Mary: John?

John: Better than what?

 

//

 

A week after John gets married, Sherlock overdoses on cocaine. It’s an accident.

 

//

 

Three years is a long time. A lot of things can happen in the space of three years. More than 1,000 days. More than 26,000 hours. More than one million seconds. Unfathomable, when each second feels like a year in itself. So much time to fill. What does a person do to fill the time? Well, he tries to move on, to maybe fall in love again, to attempt to create a life, certainly a very different kind of life from before, but a life nonetheless, one that might provide a little happiness. But, then just as he gains some even footing on relatively solid ground, someone miraculously returns from the Dead and fucks everything up, throws it all off kilter. All the old, half-healed wounds are ripped wide open again, left gaping and gushing and everything hurts and conversations that once seemed inconceivable are now a reality.

They stand in the kitchen of 221b because 221b is Sherlock’s home again, and this is where he lives (because he’s alive not dead) and John is attempting to explain how he managed to fill All The Time.

“But why on earth would you go and get engaged?”

Because I thought you were dead.

“It’s what people do.”

Especially people who think certain other people are dead.

“What people?”

“People who are in love.”

“I don’t understand.” Sherlock tilts his head. He’s agitated. He looks like he’s shaking water from his ear. “Why did you get engaged to her?”

“Because I love her, that’s why.”

Except I don’t love her, not really, not like I love—

Sherlock snorts and waves a dismissive hand. “You love me, but I don’t see you asking for my hand in marriage.”

John has absolutely no way to respond to this. There are no words. He blinks. His chest aches. Sherlock looks at him. He weighs his words.

Sherlock says, “I need you. In my life.”

“What for?” says John. There is no anger in this question, no rancor, no…nothing. Sherlock studies John’s face. There is nothing there, either, no clue, no tell. No suspicion, no sadness, none of the usual expressions Sherlock has come to recognize and catalogue and use when making deductions. There is nothing there. A blank. John’s voice and face are completely and utterly blank.

“I don’t…I…”

“What for?” John says a little louder, but not angrily, not in the least. “As an experiment? As a sidekick? A housekeeper? A best mate? A sounding board? What? Do you even know? Have you even thought about it?”

It’s all Sherlock has thought about for three years. But he doesn’t know how to tell John this; there are no words, so he says nothing at all and lets events unfold as they will.

 

//

 

Ella: Are you writing? If you can’t talk about it, you should at least be writing.

John: Why?

Ella: It might help.

John: Help with what?

Ella: With determining how you’re feeling.

John: I’m not feeling anything.

Ella: You are, though. You just don’t know what, yet.

John: I can’t write. There’s nothing to say.

Ella: I find that hard to believe.

John (laughs): Okay. Even if there was, what would I write? Poems? Sonnets? Letters? Haiku? What?

Ella: Whatever you need to write. You won’t know until you try.

John: No.

Ella: Why?

John: I can’t.

Ella:

John: I’m afraid.

Ella: Of writing?

John:

John: Of everything.

 

//

 

A week after John gets married, Sherlock overdoses on cocaine. It’s an accident. Not the marriage, John would assert, though that’s debatable, in Sherlock’s opinion.

 

//

 

The week following the wedding is as close to bliss as John will ever know. It’s quiet, peaceful, still. He and Mary do not fight during that week. They don’t even raise their voices; there’s no need. They share the housework and take turns making the meals. They watch Telly in the evenings when they both get home from work. They laugh often, about silly things, and they kiss and they make love every night. She falls asleep with John’s arms wrapped around her and his nose pressed to the top of her soft hair. It’s the sweetest, calmest most unremarkable week of John’s life.

He hates almost every single second of it.

 

//

 

John asks, “Are you coming to the wedding?”

Sherlock shifts infinitesimally on the couch and says, “What wedding?”

“Sherlock.”

Sherlock sighs. “I haven’t decided. Besides, I’ve yet to receive an invitation.”

“What are you on about? I left one here for you last week.”

John looks around the flat and realizes why the small, unassuming, square envelope may have been overlooked. The rooms are a mess, piled high with papers and boxes, books and mouldy plates of food. It’s dim. It’s dusty. It’s more than dusty. It’s dirty. And it smells. Sherlock smells.

“Hasn’t Mrs. Hudson been in?”

“Not my housekeeper.” Singsong.

“Right.” John takes a deep breath. “Working on any cases, then?”

Sherlock waves a careless hand. “What does it look like?”

John shakes his head. “It looks like—”

“Like what?” Sherlock snaps, the first sign of life he’s shown.

“Like you’re wallowing in self-pity.”

For just a moment Sherlock’s expression breaks, crumples, melts, but then it reforms, strengthens, solidifies. He sniffs. “If you must know, I’m sick.”

John raises an eyebrow. “What’s wrong with you, then?”

“Well, this conversation, for starters, is making me unbearably nauseous.”

John smirks, but it hurts, it really actually hurts. He’s about to leave but fuckit. Fuck. It.

“So, is this how you’re going to be when I come here? Is it?” he says. He says, loudly, “Maybe I shouldn’t even bother anymore.”

“I don’t even want you here,” Sherlock says, and he’s surprised to find he actually means it. Well, he partly actually means it. It’s just very confusing, because he wants John here, but not this John. He wants His John, the Other John, the Mary-less John. Not the John with the too-pressed shirt (and where did he even get that shirt? Sherlock has certainly never seen it before, ugly ugly shade of green), and the too-scrubbed face and the too-combed hair. This John doesn’t even smell right, all flowery laundry detergent and shoe polish and some cologne with far too much bergamot in it, for Christ’s sake. For a horrifying moment Sherlock is fairly sure he might vomit. He clutches his stomach and closes his eyes.

“What? What is it?” John asks, leaning forward. “Are you in pain?”

Yes. Excruciating, and probably terminal. Sherlock shakes his head. “It’s passed,” he says, instead.

“Listen, Sherlock—”

“No, you listen—”

“What do you want—”

“I…want. I want…you, John. I want you to stay with me. Here. Don’t leave. Please.”

In the silence that follows, John’s vision swims and then narrows until all he can see are dust motes. Thousands, millions of dust motes. He swallows several times, licks his lips.

“Now? Now you do this? Now you tell me this?” John’s voice is quiet and calm, but his mouth is pulled into a tight, hard line, and his hands are pulled into tight, quivering fists against his thighs. Sherlock wonders curiously if John might strike him. Wouldn’t be the first time.

“It seems like an appropriate moment, me on my deathbed and all.”

“No, Sherlock. This is not an appropriate moment,” John said. “And, you are not on your deathbed.” Sherlock can almost hear him gnashing his teeth. “Don’t even say that.”

“Just tell me who you think about.”

John looks at him, wide-eyed. “What?”

“Late at night, when your fiancee is asleep, safe in the knowledge that you’re thinking of her when you touch yourself. Who do you really think about?”

John huffs out a breath through his nose. He looks, surprisingly, like he might cry. His eyes are very shiny and his breathing sounds watery. He shakes his head.

Tell me.”

“You’re a right selfish bastard, you know that?”

And since there’s nothing to say to that, neither of them says anything else.

 

//

 

A week after John gets married, Sherlock overdoses on cocaine. It’s an accident. Not the marriage, John would assert, though that’s debatable, in Sherlock’s opinion. And though it’s an accident, or rather ruled an accident, the whispers are there, and the doubts: Did he, or didn’t he?

 

//

 

John decides Ella may have a point after all, and since he doesn’t particularly like the ending to his and Sherlock’s latest story, he decides to change it, on paper at least. Well, not on paper, really. Just, in writing. The beauty of the written word, he’s discovered over the years, is that when he’s writing, he’s in bloody charge. He can write whatever the fuck he wants and fuck anyone who dares argue with him, even—

Well, anyway.

He takes a deep breath and begins altering his world.

 

//

 

The night before the wedding John shows up at the flat. It’s almost midnight. He’s half-drunk. Sherlock is lying on the couch. Still. Again.

“Bachelor party?” Sherlock says. His voice is bored but his eyes snap.

“That was last week.”

“Oh. Must have missed the invite.”

“No, you didn’t.”

John slams the door behind him. Sherlock pushes up on his elbows. The movement takes more effort than it should.

“Then what are you doing—”

Time both speeds up and slows down, a clock running both ways, John thinks later. Sherlock’s face is the only thing he can see, that beautiful horrible tragic treacherous blazing—

He crosses the room in three steps and twists his hands in the front of Sherlock’s impossibly silky dressing gown. He understands that he may tear the fabric but he doesn’t give a shit. He wants to tear it. He’s so angry, he’s been so fucking angry for so long and now he has the object, the target of his anger beneath his fingers and he wants to shake and rip and hurt. But even as his fingers twist and clench, he’s leaning close, he’s kissing Sherlock, right on the mouth, well, almost on the mouth. Being tipsy makes one’s aim a little iffy and John’s lips are half on Sherlock’s mouth and half on his chin, but the intent is true and Sherlock seems to get the message, because in a matter of seconds he’s kissing John back, his hands on either side of John’s face, guiding their mouths directly together.

He pulls John down roughly on top of him (or maybe John loses his balance and falls, it’s difficult to tell), but either way the lengths of their bodies end up pressed together. Is that his hardness he feels through his trousers, or Sherlock’s? Doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter, does it? John grinds against Sherlock’s long, lean thigh and gasps into his mouth. Sherlock’s body arches beneath his; John swears he can feel each rib, each hip bone, and between the hip bones, Sherlock’s cock, as hard as his. It is, isn’t it? It must be. John himself is so hard he hurts, but there’s no time, no time to unzip or unbutton or do anything other than the frantic squirm against Sherlock’s own writhing body. It’s too much and not enough at the same time. John kisses Sherlock harder, lips pushed flat, no softness anywhere except for Sherlock’s hair sliding between the fingers of John’s right hand. They’re both making noises, grunts and groans half-caught between bitten lips. They sound like they’re trying to hurt each other and when John’s teeth scrape against Sherlock’s jaw and Sherlock flinches, his fingernails digging into John’s neck, maybe they are. John pushes and pushes and grinds and twists and feels Sherlock do the same beneath him until their gasps come almost in unison.

There’s no time, no time, not enough time, before it’s all over.

Sherlock bucks up against him and screws up his face like it hurts. Maybe it does. John comes with a muffled shout, his sweaty forehead shoved into the salty hollow between Sherlock’s jaw and shoulder. It is suddenly, blindingly quiet. John can feel a heart thudding beneath the fabric of his shirt like a bird beating against a cage. He wonders whose heart it is. In the quiet both of them realize they have things they’d like to say, lots of things, sweet things, angry things, cutting things, loving things. But, since neither of them knows which words to use, they say nothing, wait for the heart to stop beating instead.

 

//

 

Did that really happen?

Would it matter if it didn’t?

 

//

 

Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.

 

//

 

Harry: You need to get out of the flat.

John: I get out of the flat.

Harry: Mary says you haven’t been out in weeks except for work. And you’ve called in sick five times.

John: When were you talking to her?

Harry: She’s my sister-in-law, John. We do talk.

John: About me.

Harry: Occasionally. Believe me, you’re not my preferred topic of choice, but she’s worried. She thought I might be able to help.

John: You have a magic wand?

Harry: What?

John: Nothing. I’m fine.

Harry: No, you’re not. You’ve lost weight. You look even more exhausted than usual.

John: Thanks.

Harry: We’re just…concerned, is all.

John: Well, thank you, but I do have a therapist. And. I’m writing.

Harry: Writing?

John: Yes.

Harry: Writing what?

John:

Harry: Writing about…Sherlock?

John: Yes. No. Yes. In a way.

Harry: I don’t understand.

John: You don’t need to. I’m writing, okay? It’s fine. I’m fine. It’s all fine.

 

//

 

A week after John gets married, Sherlock overdoses on cocaine. It’s an accident. Not the marriage, John would assert, though that’s debatable, in Sherlock’s opinion. And though it’s an accident, or rather ruled an accident, the whispers are there, and the doubts: Did he, or didn’t he? But, Sherlock wasn’t attempting suicide: That’s absurd.

 

//

 

It’s Mycroft who finds him, and it’s Mycroft who makes the arrangements. It’s Mycroft who calls John. And it’s Mycroft who holds John when John finally breaks down and cries until he’s sick.

 

//

 

John doesn’t like that ending. He decides to rewrite it.

After all, he’s a fucking writer, isn’t he?

Isn’t he?

 

//

 

He’s not sure. Sometimes he gets confused.

 

//

 

A week after John gets married, Sherlock overdoses on cocaine. It’s an accident. Not the marriage, John would assert, though that’s debatable, in Sherlock’s opinion. And though it’s an accident, or rather ruled an accident, the whispers are there, and the doubts: Did he, or didn’t he? But Sherlock wasn’t attempting suicide: That’s absurd. How can you kill yourself when you’re already dead? No, he was simply trying to quiet the clamour and noise, repair the utter wreck and nonsense his life had become since his return.

 

//

 

Get your facts first, and then you can distort 'em as much as you please.

 

//

 

Mary: What are you writing over there?

John: Nothing.

Mary: That’s a lot of typing for nothing.

John: They’re just. Just…stories. Nothing.

Mary: Oh. Well, then.

John: Just…nonsense, really. You wouldn’t like them.

Mary: If you wrote them, I’d like them.

John: They’re…silly.

Mary: You don’t want me to read them?

John: They’re…silly.

Mary: It’s all right if you don’t want me to read them.

John: It’s therapy. Ella suggested it.

Mary: Why don’t you want me to read them?

John: They’re...

Mary: Silly.

John: Yes.

Mary: Are they about me?

John: Of course not. They’re fiction.

 

//

 

The more he writes, the easier it gets, until the stories are simply spilling from his fingertips and he can barely keep pace with the torrent of words.

John Watson as Hired Assassin.

 

John Watson as Nobel-Prize-Winning Doctor.

 

John Watson as World-Renowned Wooer of Women.

 

John Watson as Superhero Possessing Superhuman Speed and Strength.

 

John Watson as Devoted Companion and Lover of Sherlock Holmes.

 

And fuck it, while he’s on a roll: John Watson as Saviour Who Sends His Sister Harry to Rehab so She Never Drinks Again.

 

//

 

Sad. Miserable. Cheerless. Heartbroken. Gloomy. Unhappy. Despondent. Wretched. Glum. Low. Hopeless. Blue. Morose. Sullen. Pitiful. Abject.

Bereft.

John likes the Thesaurus.

 

//

 

The phone call comes in the dead of night, of course, and at first John thinks it’s part of his dream. He is dreaming about Sherlock, again, and they’re running together, very fast, but Sherlock is ahead and John can’t catch up and John’s mobile keeps ringing so he slows to answer it, and Sherlock pulls even further ahead, which isn’t fair, and then Mary is speaking on the phone, very quietly so as not to wake him, but it’s too late because he hears her startled gasp and hears her say Sherlock’s name and John knows without even asking. He shoves his face into the pillow to muffle his scream.

 

//

 

Sherlock: You run through my brains.

John: I…what?

Sherlock (shaking his dark disastrous delicious head): No. No. You run through my veins. Obviously.

John: Ah.

Sherlock Yes.

John: Ok.

Sherlock: You run through my veins. My veins.

John: I don’t know what to say to that.

Sherlock: You don’t need to say anything. Just remember. Remember.

 

//

 

A week after John gets married, Sherlock overdoses on cocaine. It’s an accident. Not the marriage, John would assert, though that’s debatable, in Sherlock’s opinion. And though it’s an accident, or rather ruled an accident, the whispers are there, and the doubts: Did he, or didn’t he? But Sherlock wasn’t attempting suicide: That’s absurd. How can you kill yourself when you’re already dead? No, he was simply trying to quiet the clamour and noise, repair the utter wreck and nonsense his life had become since his return. This was not how he had envisioned it at all, those years away, not what he had planned; John was not supposed to be engaged and he was not supposed to be in love and he was not ever supposed to get married. Ever.

 

//

 

Ella: I’m glad to hear you’re writing again.

John: Yes.

Ella: Is it helping?

John: You wouldn’t believe.

 

//

Ironically, the most difficult story to write is one that really happened.

 

//

 

John Watson as Badass Who Beats the Shit Out of Sherlock Holmes Upon His Return From the Dead.

Three years is a long time. A lot of things can happen in the space of three years.

Sherlock is gaunt and exhausted but his eyes are bright and questioning and after a moment’s hesitation he lifts his arms fractionally, as if he might embrace John and John considers it for a second but then thinks, fuck that.

John raises his arms, too, but uses them for shoving instead. Hard. Sherlock is unprepared and so thin and stumbles backwards. John moves forward. Shoves him again. Hard. Sherlock stumbles back again. His hands move out awkwardly and immediately, scrabbling for purchase on the walls. He misses. He uses his hands only for leverage, not for retaliation. He deserves this, he knows. He knows. John moves forward. Shoves him again, both hands, small, capable hands, flat on Sherlock’s chest. Shoves him harder. Sherlock stumbles back, finally falls on his arse, hard. John stands above him, breathing hard, eyes finally finally finally showing signs of life, of anger of something other than dead space.

“Do you…do you. You don’t. You can’t. You have no fucking. Maybe you do. Who the hell even knows? Do you. What you did. What you did to me. You fucking.” John’s hands are balled into small, tight fists at his sides. His chest is heaving now. Sherlock watches it rise and fall, expand and contract with mild amazement. “I don’t think you do, y’know that? I don’t think you have a fucking goddamn fucking clue—”

Then he’s upon him, falls fully upon him with fists and knees and hot, sharp breaths and hissed expletives and, god, are those tears, too? Of course they are. Hot and wet and sharp as the words. Sherlock lets his hands, his arms, fall to his sides, lets his body fall backwards entirely. But, he doesn’t close his eyes, because that wouldn’t be fair. He needs to see what’s happening. It’s only fair.

John finally stops hitting him and wraps his arms around him, instead. He’s so thin, so very thin, hard and uncompromising under his hands.

“Tell me what happened,” John says into his chest.

Sherlock tells him.

 

//

 

Mycroft: I’m so…very sorry, John.

John: About what?

Mycroft: Sherlock—

John: But, he’s not dead.

Mycroft: He is, John.

John: No, he’s not.

Mycroft: John—

John: He’s done this before. He’s tricked me before.

Mycroft: I realize this. This time is not a trick. I promise you.

John: I don’t believe you. I don’t believe him.

Mycroft: I understand that—

John: How do you know?

Mycroft: I know.

John: How?

Mycroft: Everyone knows.

 

//

 

A week after John gets married, Sherlock overdoses on cocaine. It’s an accident. Not the marriage, John would assert, though that’s debatable, in Sherlock’s opinion. And though it’s an accident, or rather ruled an accident, the whispers are there, and the doubts: Did he, or didn’t he? But Sherlock wasn’t attempting suicide: That’s absurd. How can you kill yourself when you’re already dead? No, he was simply trying to quiet the clamour and noise, repair the utter wreck and nonsense his life had become since his return. This was not how he had envisioned it at all, those years away, not what he had planned; John was not supposed to be engaged and he was not supposed to be in love and he was not ever supposed to get married. Ever. And when Sherlock realized his Plan was not gelling with Reality, he reached blindly for his only option, just to stop everything.

 

//

 

This time Sherlock is buried in an actual grave at the Holmes family estate. John never visits this site, but he hears of its location from Lestrade, who attends the funeral. The actual funeral. With an actual coffin that contains an actual dead body this time.

John tries writing about it, he really does, but he deletes everything and throws his laptop across the room. It lands on the couch, undamaged. He’s not sure if this is a good thing or not.

 

//

 

The only time I know that something is true is the moment I discover it in the act of writing.

 

//

 

Molly: He loved you, John.

John: No.

Molly: Yes. Yes, he did.

John: No.

Molly: Yes.

John:

John: How do you know?

Molly: Everyone knows.

 

//

 

And they all live happily.

Because when you write something down, you almost almost believe it to be true, right?

Right.

So, Sherlock is Not Dead.

 

//

 

Fiction is a lie, and good fiction is the truth inside the lie.

 

//

 

A week after John gets married, Sherlock overdoses on cocaine. It’s an accident. Not the marriage, John would assert, though that’s debatable, in Sherlock’s opinion. And though it’s an accident, or rather ruled an accident, the whispers are there, and the doubts: Did he, or didn’t he? But Sherlock wasn’t attempting suicide: That’s absurd. How can you kill yourself when you’re already dead? No, he was simply trying to quiet the clamour and noise, repair the utter wreck and nonsense his life had become since his return. This was not how he had envisioned it at all, those years away, not what he had planned; John was not supposed to be engaged and he was not supposed to be in love and he was not ever supposed to get married. Ever. And when Sherlock realized his Plan was not gelling with Reality, he reached blindly for his only option, just to stop everything. Not forever, of course. Only for awhile.

 

//

 

Another story goes like this:

After the overdose, John starts texting him, four or five times a day.

How are you?

What are you doing, right now?

Where are you, right now?

Sherlock always replies, sometimes with one or two words, sometimes with a few sentences, but he always replies. Always. Because he knows how important it is to John to hear something in response, to know that Sherlock is alive. Somewhere.

 

//

 

“Rehab? Are you serious, Mycroft?”

“Very,” says Mycroft. “He’s reached the end of a good, long run. I’m surprised he lasted this long, actually.”

“Sherlock…in rehab? Can you even picture it?”

“I don’t have to,” Mycroft says and John feels so dizzy he has to grab the edge of the desk.

“I’ll…look after him. I will. I promise. I’ll do…better. Just. Don’t. Don’t send him away.”

“John.” Mycroft clucks his tongue. Clucks it. “Sherlock is no longer your responsibility, I’m afraid. And, I’m also afraid, without you in his life on a daily basis, he is quite.” Mycroft stops, weighs his words. They feel very heavy in his mouth. “Well. He won’t make it. I don’t think.”

“Because of me? You can’t be serious.”

“John. I’m afraid you once again sorely undervalue your importance in my brother’s life.”

“This…this is not my fault.” John, to his horror, feels himself starting to cry. “He left me, remember? He left. Not me. He…was gone. He let me believe he was dead, and he’s a fucking great actor. What was I meant to do?”

“You were meant to believe it.”

“Well, I did.” John sucks in a tight breath that hurts his chest. “I…did. I did. I—”

“And you did what you needed to do, John.” Mycroft’s voice is gentle, and final. He stands. His eyes are kind. He touches John’s shoulder with two fingers.

He says, “No one blames you.”

 

//

 

A week after John gets married, Sherlock overdoses on cocaine. It’s an accident. Not the marriage, John would assert, though that’s debatable, in Sherlock’s opinion. And though it’s an accident, or rather ruled an accident, the whispers are there, and the doubts: Did he, or didn’t he? But Sherlock wasn’t attempting suicide: That’s absurd. How can you kill yourself when you’re already dead? No, he was simply trying to quiet the clamour and noise, repair the utter wreck and nonsense his life had become since his return. This was not how he had envisioned it at all, those years away, not what he had planned; John was not supposed to be engaged and he was not supposed to be in love and he was not ever supposed to get married. Ever. And when Sherlock realized his Plan was not gelling with Reality, he reached blindly for his only option, just to stop everything. Not forever, of course. Only for awhile. A rest; he just really needed a rest.

 

//

 

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.

 

//

 

And, this story just writes itself.

After the overdose, John brings Sherlock home from the hospital to look after him. John helps him up the stairs, helps him down the hall, helps him into bed. Then he falls on top of him. Sherlock is very much alive, his body lithe and warm beneath John’s hands. John finds it interesting that his hands are shaking a little as he moves them up and down Sherlock’s body.

“Why, Sherlock? Why? Why?”

If Sherlock attempts to explain it, John doesn’t hear, because he’s covered his moving mouth with his own.

John lies on top of him, covers his body with his own best he can and vows never to let him up again.

 

//

 

John doesn’t like this ending. He wants a different one.

 

//

 

Sherlock: You were a gift.

John: What?

Sherlock. You were a gift, John. The best gift I ever received.

John: I don’t know what to say to that.

Sherlock: You don’t have to say anything. Just don’t ever stop writing John.

John: All right.

Sherlock: I like your stories. Very much.

John: Me, too.

Sherlock: They make me happy.

John: Me, too.

Sherlock: Sometimes, when I read them late at night, it’s almost like…I like to think…they actually happened.

John:

 

//

 

A week after John gets married, Sherlock overdoses on cocaine. It’s an accident. Not the marriage, John would assert, though that’s debatable, in Sherlock’s opinion. And though it’s an accident, or rather ruled an accident, the whispers are there, and the doubts: Did he, or didn’t he? But Sherlock wasn’t attempting suicide: That’s absurd. How can you kill yourself when you’re already dead? No, he was simply trying to quiet the clamour and noise, repair the utter wreck and nonsense his life had become since his return. This was not how he had envisioned it at all, those years away, not what he had planned; John was not supposed to be engaged and he was not supposed to be in love and he was not ever supposed to get married. Ever. And when Sherlock realized his Plan was not gelling with Reality, he reached blindly for his only option, just to stop everything. Not forever, of course. Only for awhile. A rest; he just really needed a rest.

A little rest.

 

//

 

-30-

Writing quotes from Raymond Carver, Franz Kafka, Mark Twain, Jean Malaquais, Stephen King and Ray Bradbury.