John Watson sat back, in his chair, with an impassive expression on his face. His mind was drifting back to his days as a military doctor; the bloodshed; the adrenaline, and, at least for a short amount of time, it took his focus off reality.
But, cruelly, life always brought him back to the present. John supposed life was generally like that, though. Cruel.
He returned to reality now, his eyes slowly focusing on the worn leather chair in front of him and the impression left there by…
Mentally shaking himself, John became conscious of the position he was sitting in; leaned back with an emotionless face and, to complete the look, his fingertips were pressed together just underneath his chin. His therapist believed it was psychological, that he was making up for the void left by…. Him.
John stood up and fetched his coat, just like he used to fetch His revolver. John smiled at the memory before putting on his coat. As he did so he stretched out his hand in an attempt to cover up the tremors that had reappeared.
Once downstairs and out the door, John hailed a taxi with surprising ease for London. On his way to the cemetery, John tried to ignore the persistent emptiness on the seat next to him.
Slowly, John walked through the maze of headstones in the cemetery, below which hundreds of bodies lay. The thought unsettled him, but stopped the tremor in his hand. John had reached the grave and didn’t have to read the name on it to know. He knew his way, now he’d been coming once a week for months. John did look at the name though, out of respect for his flat-mate and best friend.
Taking a shuddery breath, closing his eyes and placing his hand upon the cold granite, John muttered to his friend, “I am so alone. Again.”
He took his hand away and opened his eyes to see a figure other than himself reflected in the granite.
“I’ve seen you here often, John. But I’ve never approached before. But of course you know that, don’t you.”
John turned to look at Mycroft Holmes. He was, as always, gently leaning on his ever-present umbrella and John thought it astonishing how he never seemed to grieve his little brother.
They stood, silent, regarding each other for a moment.
John sniffed, determined not to let his tear ducts get the better of him in front of practically the British government. It was not working. Stupid biology.
“You miss him.” Thoughtless Holmes’ deductions.
Mycroft smiled thinly before continuing, “John, my little brother was an insufferable man who was too clever for his own good. He is now, as some would say, beyond this veil of tears.”
“He was also extraordinary and skilled in the science of deduction. He was my best friend.” John remembered the details of his friend; his slender fingers, his impossible cheekbones, the turned up collar on his trench coat and the look of pure elation when Lestrade turned up with a triple homicide for him to solve.
“He saved me when no one else could. Patched me up and made me feel so much more alive than any adrenaline fuelled assignment in Afghanistan.” He took a shaky breath. “And now I am broken, once more.”
John remembered how he had been before Sherlock had welcomed him to the work and the running and the incredible lifestyle. Hollow, an empty shell of a man, with a jagged war wound on it’s left shoulder.
John remembered Him so that he did not forget. He did not want to lose from his memory the man that had transformed his life and become his companion.
John was still loyal, and always would be.
They were silent a moment more while John’s words sank through Mycroft wintery exterior.
“There is a man standing by the cemetery’s front gate that may be an interested party in what you just told me.”
John looked over to the front gate. There, stood a tall man wearing a flat cap. His collar was turned up in a familiar way and not much light was hitting his face so he was obscured in shadow. But the way he held himself, with his hands in his pockets and his feet apart reminded John of his friend.
John dismissed the likeness. He did not want some stranger to inflict on his heartbreak. But just as the thought streamed through his mind, the tall man by the gate raised his head ever so slightly so the sun hit his high cheekbones.
It was this slight action that made John Watson sure. Sure that his mind had been wrong; he should not dismiss the likeness at all.
“Sherlock.” John whispered.
Abandoning Mycroft and setting off at a steady but hurried pace, John headed towards the gate and the man he was sure was his best friend. All the time watching him and the tall man watched him straight back. Seeing into his soul with deep grey eyes that penetrated his heart.
But just as John’s pace started to become more of a run, the man slowly started to walk away.
John reached the gate and where the tall man had been standing and, bracing his hands against it bellowed, “Sherlock Holmes!” as the man continued walking.
As he continued walking, Sherlock smiled crookedly to himself. Unknowing that John Watson had pulled out his mobile phone and speed dialed Sherlock’s number.
They both heard it. Sherlock’s phone rang in his pocket. He glanced back at John, who was a little further behind him down the road, and grinned at the look of astonishment on his face. Sherlock winked, cheekily and rejected the call, John knew, before continuing to walk away.
John’s breath was coming heavier as the familiar rush of adrenaline filled his body, aiding in wiping out his tremor. A fix that he needed, that he was addicted to.
The clicking of Mycroft’s umbrella behind he did not distract his focus away from Sherlock’s back that continued down the road, quickly disappearing into sudden throngs of people.
“’Beyond this veil of tears?’”
Mycroft clicked his tongue along with his umbrella. “I did say that only some would say it.”
John shook his head in disbelief and, deep inside him, he felt the fire igniting once more, fixing him.