When I open my mouth,
The words catch somewhere in my tears;
The sound’s all but forsaken
Under miles and miles of fears.
Your gaze is steady across mine
And the stars begin to align
And I promise to myself
I will tell you it next time.
The rain was pouring steadily and a crash of thunder sounded in the distance as John walked into the living room slowly. The rain slowed to a stop and his feet fell heavy on the carpet as he stepped up to his personal armchair by the fire. He fell heavily in his chair and leaned back gratefully against the backrest as his hands wrapped tightly around the warmth of his favourite mug.
He let his head hang backwards for a few minutes, staring at the ceiling and breathing slowly through his nose, his fingers tensing and hurting from his tightening grasp on the cup. He exhaled slowly and relaxed the muscles of his unconsciously tensed legs, and sat up. His friend stood by the window, unmoving, staring out it intensely into the darkness of the night.
John swallowed, his eyes flicking to the floor and then back up to the statue of the man in front of him. He set his mug of tea on the table nearby with a light clink.
He coughed; clearing his throat in anticipation, and the sculpture came to life, turning around to greet him with a softness in his eyes reserved only for him, but an otherwise blank expression.
John smiled ever so slightly to himself, and let his gaze drop to the floor as he braced himself.
He stood up and came face to face with his friend, and they stood looking at each other, studying each others’ faces intently as the water dripped slowly down the window in front of him, and into the darkness.
John licked his lips unconsciously, his mouth dry in fear and his heart hammering against his chest, and he opened his mouth, willing the words to come to him. He thought them through, chanting them in his head like a seance, trying for what felt like an eternity, to get them out.
Sherlock still held his gaze intensely, his eyes almost kind in understanding, and for a second he felt his breathing even out and his throat open to facilitate the words.
But then snow started to fall and the supposed look of empathy was gone as John’s realism kicked in, and any false hope of courage abandoned him too. John looked away and breathed deeply, acutely aware of the eyes still trained on him in scrutiny as he gathered himself, and silently reminded himself of where he knew his friend's heart lay.
Then he looked up and smiled as if he wasn't falling apart, and then spoke as casually as he could. ‘So, she’s alive then? How are we feeling about that?’
The bells of Big Ben chimed in the distance as Sherlock took a sharp breath and a wave of malaise and exhaustion rushed over John as a new, inert year begun in 221B.
‘Happy New Year, John,’ Sherlock recited insipidly.
Ignoring him, his chest heavy with disappointment, he pressed on. ‘Do you think you’ll be seeing her again?’
Sherlock turned away to retreat to his violin, silent.
Giving in to the silence, John asked as casually as possible. 'Any requests for dinner, then?’
Sherlock just inhaled through his mouth and replied curtly, ‘none for me, thanks,’ and started a piece as John turned and escaped to the kitchen. And when John set the second plate of Christmas ham on the coffee table and Sherlock didn’t so much as move to acknowledge it, John found he didn’t have it in him to reprimand.