America is brighter than he thought it would be. Bigger than he could have even imagined. Even the sunlight creeping in through the slats of his blinds is brighter, somehow, and yet also washes him in dull grays that leave him numb and strangely cold. Brighter, yes - and yet colorless. Lifeless. Empty like his life has become. It is loud here in New York City and yet the noise has no meaning. The city is thrumming with life, and yet Sherlock feels no love for this place like he feels for London.
He would make himself a coffee, but the truth is that he never fell asleep last night. He spent the entire night lying awake in the blackness, staring up at the ceiling, wordlessly begging for the heaviness of sleep to overtake him. He doesn't have a case to work on because he's anonymous here, going under a pseudonym (several pseudonyms), and he can no longer be a consultant for the police when he is back to square one. Nobody knows his true name, his true identity. Well, no one except one.
Irene Adler is in this city, continuing her profession with her one friend at her side. Sherlock helped to put her here, after all, and he isn't sure whether or not he regrets that now. Petty of him. Childish envy. That she can have everything while he has nothing. He grips his sheets and slides out of his small rectangular bed, the springs creaking under the sudden absence of weight, and he walks into the tiny kitchen, where the light has become so bright that his eyes sting.
For a brief moment, as he blinks his eyesight back to normal, he sees the phantom vision of John Watson in one of his usual awful jumpers (the one with the diamond pattern, garish, clashes with his hair), holding two cups of coffee (one for himself and one for me), smiling. And for that brief moment, Sherlock feels his heart seize in his chest and wills it into calmness again.
It has been one year to the day, he remembers upon checking his phone, since his swan dive off of the roof of Bart's. The PTSD has, for the most part, left him. PTSD like John once suffered PTSD. Waking in cold sweats at three o'clock in the morning because it's not so much the feel of the fall as the sound of it, the air ripping through his curly hair and past his cheeks and his eyes are watering, and his landing into the rubbish truck doesn't matter because all he feels for that one moment is terrified. There's no contingency plan, if this fails. The point had been that the fall had been the contingency plan in the first place.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Flinching at sudden, loud noises, noises like gunshots, recalling in the back of his head the image of Moriarty's blood and brains painting beautiful dark flowers on the pale concrete. The feel of Moriarty's hand tensing in his own in that final moment. It makes him want to retch because the stench of blood had been powerful enough to make his head spin.
The kitchen is empty. Chillingly empty. Sherlock had, at one time, been quite accustomed to living alone, and had even preferred it. But as they say (the ubiquitous They), that was then, and this is now. It feels like losing a limb of particular importance. Like he had given up a leg and now is forced to hobble, uneven, wherever he goes.
He doesn't make himself a coffee, nor does he get dressed to go out. There is nothing to do here, and life, he finds, is boring and depressing. (He hasn't suffered depression this strongly since he was a teenager.)
Instead he curls up on his ratty excuse of a sofa and remains there until the sun sets again.