"Letter for you, Watson." Came the call, and John stood up to grab the letter.
He didn't recognise the handwriting on the front of the letter, so he tugged open the envelope with no small amount of suspicion.
As part of my therapy from the rehabilitation program I am on, I have been instructed to write to you. Mycroft said he'd pass it on, so I hope this reaches you and you are well.
We were sixteen, and we were idiots. I hope you do not see me too unkindly for forcing you away from your family, and ultimately, into the army. It was never my intention to drive you to such measures to get away from me.
However, there is no denying that our cohabitation was unsuccessful from the off. There were a number of mitigating factors leading to your betrayal, but the blame is not all mine and I refuse to take it as such.
(My therapist assures me that I am perfectly within my rights to be furious at you, even ten years on.)
It will no doubt disappoint you that I am still struggling with my addiction, but I find I don't much care what you think of me. What we had was short and sweet and ended far too bitterly, and that is the issue I am trying to address.
You were the first person I loved - there have been no others since, though that holds no relevance to this letter. You did not properly know the extent of my feelings, and at the time, that was my intent.
I did not deserve you, John. You were solid where I was frayed around the edges, and I think you knew that, and that's why you lowered yourself to such base emotions. I apologise for the vitriol that spewed out of my mouth in difficult times, for forcing you to deal with my addiction. I do not apologise for being who I am, and I hope you'll understand why.
You asked what it was you were worse than, in that last conversation we had.
My family, John, have long been cold and uncaring, and I had never known any different until you. And then you took it away.
I may never be able to forgive you for showing me what could be, and what I can now, never have.
"John? You alright, mate?" Someone said. John nodded dumbly.
"Fine, just, not what I was expecting."
Someone smirked. "Is that a love letter, Watson?"
John shook his head slowly. "Letter from an ex, isn't it?" He said, slowly.
"An ex is writing you?"
"From rehab, apparently." John said, grimacing.
"You heartbreaker." There was laughter.
John smiled slightly. "It was a long time ago. I thought..." He shook himself.
"You going to write back?" Someone said, bumping him on the shoulder.
"No address." John said, showing the envelope. "Besides.. it's not exactly begging for a response."
"Give us a read, then." Said Bill. John half laughed.
"I might just burn it, mate." He said, smiling. He got a couple raised eyebrows.
"That bad, huh?"
John nodded. "That bad."
"Oh Johnny," said Bill, "You really are a heartbreaker."
"It was ten years ago!" He said, sounding defensive.
"Well, you know how these teenage things hang on. I mean, rehab, really?"
"There was a drug problem before I came along." John said. "That wasn't my fault."
"Who else got a letter, then?" Someone said, to much laughter.
John rolled his eyes. "Just me. A therapist's exercise."
Someone groaned. "I hope I'm never the topic of discussion with an ex's therapist."
"I never thought I'd be, either." John said.
He waited a moment. "Can we talk about something else now?"
There was laughter, and the tide of conversation duly turned, but John found himself still turning Sherlock's words over in his head.
Had it been their living together that had driven them apart? John had missed his family, had blamed Sherlock for the fact that he missed his family, but he had still wanted to be with Sherlock.
Maybe that wasn't enough for them, at 16, to stick it out.
He wondered if Sherlock had grown up since then. He couldn't picture it, but still, he wondered. He was in rehab (though it was possible he was there by force - John had seen Mycroft's wrath, after all) which must count for something. He was willingly engaging in therapy, even. Enough to send John a letter listing all his failings.
John had failed Sherlock, hadn't he?
He shook himself a little. There was no use dwelling on what happened between them. It was over, and he was never going to hear from Sherlock again.