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Without Words

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John turned away from his chair and walked to the windows. He reached into his trouser pocket and pulled out the usb stick with Mary’s real initials on the outside. The black letters seemed to mock him. If his wife was to be believed, everything he needed to know about her was sitting in the palm of his hand. John clenched his fist tightly around it, the metal cool against his fingers. He asked himself, do I really want to know? Can I live with not knowing?  He’d held onto it for weeks unable to bring himself to look at it. Things between him and Mary were strained. They barely spoke. John couldn't bring himself to spend more than a few minutes in her presence. He knew they couldn't live in this hellish limbo forever.

John felt the numbness inside him beginning to crack, replaced by a growing rage. He looked at the device still in his hand and forced himself not to throw it across the room. John took a deep breath and made a sudden decision. He looked around until he spotted Sherlock’s laptop, walking over to it and picking it up. He went and sat in his chair and rested the laptop on his thighs. He didn't open it right away. The anger simmered just beneath the surface, but John refused to let it get the better of him.

John didn't know how long he sat there looking at the laptop without really seeing it, when he felt someone staring at him. He looked up. Sherlock was staring at him from his own chair, sitting in his familiar thinking pose. John hadn't heard him come in – the detective had only been out of the hospital a few hours. John realized he had been waiting for Sherlock to come home. He couldn't face this alone. The other man still didn't speak, but after a moment he stood up and walked over to John. They stared at one another in silence as understanding passed between them. Sherlock took the laptop from John’s suddenly nerveless fingers, before walking over to the sofa and sitting down. John slowly stood up and followed. He sat down next to his best friend as Sherlock opened the laptop, and as it woke, John handed him the memory stick.

They waited until the laptop was ready, then Sherlock placed the usb in its slot. Then, he reached out and lay his hand on John’s knee. He squeezed once gently before letting go. John glanced at Sherlock, who was staring at the screen intently. He was grateful for the show of support. He knew showing his emotions and physical contact where difficult for Sherlock. Affection for his best friend welled up inside him, momentarily displacing the anger and hurt. He turned back to the matter at hand. As the files appeared on the screen, John took a deep breath.

Sherlock clicked on the first file. It was going to be a long night.