six months later
He finished gathering up his things and then gave the room one last look. The white walls and light cabinetry had grated on him when he had first moved in, and it had seemed more a cage than anything else. He had wanted to escape, spending each day devising ways out of the house, off the grounds, out of Hampshire and back to London...out of the bloody country, to be quite honest. The more news he got from friends of the events he was missing, the more he felt he was in a prison and the less he wanted to cooperate and instead simply escape.
But soon the people there wore him down, broke down his walls. He didn’t let them all down, of course, but he let them down enough for their help to make a difference. He knew that he would lose everything if he continued down the self destructive road he was on. Moriarty would win if he sank back to old habits, if he let the allure of heroin take over. He had lied to his friend in the lab the day John had fished him out of the drug den; that was not the only time he had done them since his return. No, he had dabbled often since coming home and finding life had moved on without him. It had only been the incident on the plane where he had not cared about how much he had taken. But it was when he had been saved that he knew it could be his downfall if he didn’t get a grip. When his brother carted him off to rehab, he didn’t fight as much as he could have.
And now...now he was going home.
He went to the car waiting for him, saw that it was one of Mycroft’s. He supposed he was going to have increased surveillance to deal with for a time, if not the rest of his natural born life. The driver had gotten most of his bags already and he handed him the last one to put in the boot before he got into the back of the car. It was a nice enough car, he supposed, and he would be comfortable for the hour and a half long trip from Hampshire to London. He had a lot to think about on the trip there.
He knew that he was not going to be allowed to consult for Scotland Yard. That was gone, at least for the time being. What he had done to Magnussen was common knowledge, he knew that, and it was taking quite a bit of negotiations to even get Scotland Yard to consider the use of his services, negotiations that were slow going, if they were going at all. He wasn’t sure if he had any clout left for private clients at all, either. His reputation could well be in tatters; his brother had kept him sequestered in his home for most of the time until he boarded that plane and then shuttled him off to the facility almost immediately after he had deboarded, and it had been decided it was in his best interest to keep him away from news and the internet.
Nearly seven months without much contact with the outside world would almost have been pure torture, if he hadn’t gotten used to it. Now he was used to it. It would be strange to be immersed in it again.
Thinking on that, he pulled his mobile out of his pocket and palmed it. He hadn’t turned it on upon getting it back. He was hesitant to allow himself contact with the world at large again, to be quite honest. He wasn’t sure he wanted to know what the world thought of him, or what had been speculated about his disappearance. But there was more than that. He wasn’t quite sure he was ready to face his friends. His brother and parents had been the only people he had had consistent contact with, while he’d had sporadic contact with John and Mary, and he wasn’t sure he could face them while he was still trying to sort out what he was going to do with himself while he waited to find out what he was allowed to do.
But most of all, he wasn’t sure he could face Molly.
He cringed slightly as he thought back to their reunion once he had gotten off the plane. Oh, she had been absolutely livid with him. If he had thought the slaps in the face at the lab had been bad enough when he had been drug there by John and Mary the day he ended up being shot, that day was nothing compared to what their reunion was that afternoon after he got off the plane. She had spoken in clipped, short sentences, and it had been obvious someone had told her beforehand and she had sobbed over him because her eyes were puffy and red and her vice was raspy when she did speak.
But it was the look in her eye that she was done, absolutely finished with him, that had been the knife to the gut. That look had been the real reason he had decided to do the rehabilitation treatment that Mycroft told him to do. He would have given anything to take that look out of her eyes because Molly had always been the only person to be unconditionally kind to him, to never stop caring about him, and for her to look like she had given up all hope for him...he had never felt so low in his life.
And now, all these months later, he wasn’t sure he could face her again.
He turned his head and looked out the window as they pulled away from the rehabilitation center, deciding to shelve the thoughts for now. There would be time to dwell on everything later. For now, he just needed to clear his head before he returned to London and tried to pick up the pieces of his old life.