The pulse of the city was gone and John Watson found himself lost in the current of everyday life. From the day that his world ended, he couldn't find a foot hole and it felt as if he was falling slowly through a bottomless pit without end. There were moments, during the first week at 221b after the Fall, that he would wake up screaming in the night. His skin covered in a sheet of cold sweat, he would get up, hoping that it was all just a dream. Nothing more then images of something that would never happen.
He would go downstairs from his room, go to the living room, to see his companion hoping to be strewn out upon the couch, but every time, he would find the furniture empty.
John would wake from dreams of beautiful bows of violin music only to be crunched away into some screeching process of dislike, hoping to hear, but finding only silence.
He would go look into the the old bedroom, only to find the sheets strewn, as if the occupant had just gotten up, and then, he would touch cold sheets.
Each night it happened, and as every night, he would break and the once proud and stoic army doctor would crumble inward onto himself and find that the one sole connection he had after his dark years was lost. Some mornings, Mrs. Hudson found him, either on the couch or in the kitchen, and she never said a word when he would wake, bleary eyes red rimmed and dry tears upon his cheeks. It was after a week, when they had visited the grave of one late Sherlock Holmes, that he had decided he would no longer live in 221b.
Too much reminded John of what was once there and he turned his back upon it without another word, except one silent plea.
"One more thing, Sherlock. For me."
John had stopped before completely walking away, and turned toward the smooth black grave stone.
"Don't be… dead."
His voice had cracked upon the last word and he had paused to take just a moment to reign in the rush of pain and hurt that rang true in his chest, that closed his throat, and made the stab of itchiness in his eyes of tears. He had tried to speak again, and his voice came soft and barely there, strained under the pain, ready to snap.
"Would you.. just for me? Just stop it. Stop this."
A few final parting words that he barely made out, and John straightened with a quick swipe at his eyes, before turning, and heading off back to the entrance to where Mrs. Hudson was waiting. He tried to ignore the ache in his leg, the returning dull pain that deadened his limb, and left him limping ever so slightly through the cold marble stones. His crutch, his connection, was gone, and John Watson had no idea what to do.
Now, the city, once beating with a pulse that was once there, startling John into a fierce battle against crime alongside his companion, was gone, leaving the city cold, damp, and dark, with nothing to bring any reaction from him.
John was lost.
The knock upon the weathered old door made John perk his to the side, eyes still latched upon the window where the rain was pouring in dismal sheets. Eyes shutting for a moment, he gave a heavy sigh and pulled himself up to his feet, taking his old cane in hand. His leg and shoulder felt tight and the doctor could only believe that it was thanks to the weather that he was in such a state. That, or, the stress of throwing himself into his work, into his patients, and staying up too many nights from nightmares returned and horrible emptiness.
Moving toward the door, the clunk of his cane upon the threadbare carpet and wooden floors could be heard quite clearly alongside his shuffling steps. As he came up to the beaten door, he unlocked the latch and with a breath in his lung, was ready to tell the person off behind the door. Even now, after three years, there are still occasions when reporters looking for stories would come and try to find their worth with John Watson, the great friend of the 'World's Greatest Detective'. Before John could even speak the words, his hazel eyes had locked onto a tall, lanky frame, covered in a picturesque black coat with it's collar turned up and worn blue scarf.
Soaked to the bone, Sherlock Holmes dripped rain water upon the landing floor and John Watson could do little for it, frozen to the spot. He looked as gaunt as ever, but still, with the water plastering down black curls to white cheeks, he looked alive. Healthy. Eyes wide, John couldn't stop his breath from catching at the inhumanly beautiful face staring back at him and his breath is crushing his lungs. He doesn't realize he's hyper ventilating until cold, leather-gloved hands are pushing him inside with a concerned touch and moving him into his horridly furnished living room. He has his frame pushed into his seat and then, his head is pushed down ever so slightly, toward his knees, to ignore the sudden rush of nausea that runs through him.
A clatter of cups and water from his faucet rushing could be heard, and John Watson finds a cup in front of his nose when he sits up a bit later. Ignoring it, he turns his face upward to the man bending over him and he wonders for the longest moment if he has finally gone mad. If he's finally become so crazy that he was seeing the phantom all over again. Hands drop his cane, - he had been clutching it tightly between his fingers, - and reach out to the pale face. Sherlock does not pull away, stares down at him with those same icy blue eyes and somewhere in there he can find the pain at John's appearance before him.
Somewhere in the back of his mind, John wonders how horrible he must look to his handsome friend. With what little money he made, he lived in old ratty jumpers, his skin had grown paler from the little time he spent outside, and the bruises under his eyes darker from what little sleep he could get. Ignoring any more thoughts, calloused finger tips touch smooth alabaster skin, freezing to the touch, but underneath it, there was an underlining bite of warmth. His fingers press back the black curls, looking for the torn skin, the scars that would be left over, the distinguishable wound of jumping off St. Batholomew's Hospital and he finds only smooth, white skin.
Cupid bow lips tighten ever so slightly at the desperate hope for truth in John's eyes as his hands drop and grasp the hand for a pulse that should not be there. He had been dragged away from the body that day, he had only the barest moment of a chance to touch that thin artist wrist, a brush of musician's fingers, to find a cooling body and no pulse what so ever. Now, the warm skin, John having pulled away the glove for a better look, found the pulse strong and hard against his finger tips and before he could stop himself, he was bending over that hand, shoulders shaking.
John shared not a tear, but couldn't help the dusting of water in his eyes at the over lying sense of relief and panicked fear that he was dreaming.
His voice is hoarse as he speaks, painfully broken and filled with pallid joy.
The low baritone is tight, but his tone is reassuring in an almost gentle sort of way.
John Watson remembers the day his heart was given back, and sitting there, bent over that pale hand in a quiet, dingy, and dirty apartment room, he clasped the cloth at the front of his shirt in pain. He felt his heart beating with such ferocity, it was horrible, and yet, all so wonderful.
His heart synced together with the one at his finger tips and he couldn't be happier.
John Watson would often be checking Sherlock's wrist.
It happened so often, and both man knew why exactly the doctor kept on touching his companion's wrist, at every moment that he could, that it became such a subtle, natural movement.
John Watson, after a bit of convincing, had moved back into 221b with his flat mate, and had settled back in, but then, nothing could exactly be the same as before, though the both of them tried to make it as such. John, on occasion, still walked with a cane on his bad days, but slowly, the thin frame of ex-army doctor John Watson was beginning to grow strong again and the bruises beneath his eyes were beginning to lighten. And so, as Sherlock Holmes himself became to fill out again, -John having found that he had shriveled up like a skeleton with what little food he had eaten over the three years-, took back to his cases after bringing himself back from the dead.
Lestrade had mourned the death as much as any one else who knew Sherlock properly, and when their first reunited meeting, ignoring the rude text message about one of his cases, 'Wrong. It's the sister if you find the yellow broach. Is this what happens when I leave you alone? -SH', was a firm hand shake and a simple nod from the Consulting detective.
Now home, he slowly began to return back to the cases with John beside him, or as slowly as Lestrade made him go as not to catch the Police Chief's eye again. Their cases were always simple, or as such as they could be in the cases of murder, extortion, or petty black mail. During the more intense moments, when they were faced with dangerous guns or on the chase after killers or running from an underground extortionist's thugs, he would find times to grasp Sherlock's wrist, to feel the pulsing, racing heart beneath the skin, to feel the heat, and hear the gasping breath in his ear as they hid around London alley corners.
There was one case though, years later, that they had gone on, upon the search of three Garridebs, but after a swift bout of deducing, Sherlock had found that John Garrideb was actually James Winter who had killed three people in America and Roger Presbury in London. Upon their trip to the Garrideb home, James returned home, and Sherlock and John had followed him from their hiding places and captured him, only before they had done so, John had been shot down, twice in the leg, and was left groaning upon the floor.
Bleeding, the doctor was in a world of pain, and he looking up he had found the fiercest look of rage and fear in the Consulting Detective's face as he knocked the man unconscious. From where he had fallen, he found blood trickling from the hit, only to have the view blocked by the collar of a black coat. He brushed aside Sherlock's concerns taking his time to look over the wound. Finding it nothing to major, he pressed against it to try to even out the blood flow before he ripped up a nearby blanket and tied it tight upon his leg in a practiced manner. It was only moments later that a hand had grasped his wrist, clammy and cool upon his skin and he looked up at Sherlock to find the dredges of rare concern and fear in his blue eyes.
With a quiet murmur of words, he found Sherlock relaxing and giving his wrist a squeeze. He clenched his fist a moment after in a reassuring way and offered the man a weary smile and only one statement to ease the last of his panic.
"Not going to get rid of me that easily, Sherlock."
The man's cupid bow lips curled into the slightest bit of a smirk, before he shook his head and shifted his hands to twine their fingers together in just a simple moment of relieved understanding.
"That would be improbable, John. I wouldn't let you go."
And it was with those words that buoyed John throughout most of his life, still ringing in his ears every time they touched, finger tips to wrists, heart beats to heart beats.
Into their years, it was no longer a thought, it was no longer a habit; it was something instinctual and buried deep within their heads. A heart beat under warm flesh meant a pulse, a pulse meant life, and with life, meant meaning.
Life was only possible if John Watson was alive.
Sherlock's running heart, forever against his finger tips, was what kept him alive, with his feet nailed to the ground.