Sherlock couldn’t understand how he had got there.
Sherlock couldn’t remember anything from the past hour and a half.
‘Mind Palace.’ His brain supplied.
He just couldn’t…think. He didn’t recollect putting on his coat or walking down the stairs or even leaving the doors to 221b wide open.
His stepping out in front of the taxi or the subsequent rant the taxi driver had yelled at him when he had simply opened the door and gotten in anyway, simply didn’t ring a bell. He had no memory of how he had jumped out after the 10 minute ride and hurled a ridiculous amount of money at the driver.
The walk to the tube station or his unseeing stare out of the window, held no mental significance to him. He couldn’t find reason for his heavy gait down the cobble-stone path.
He had no clue how he came to be standing outside of the quaint little cottage he had grew up in.
‘Nothing makes any sense.’
He only registered anything at all when he heard his mother’s familiar inquisitive tones, beckoning him inside.
“Do come inside Sherlock, you’ll catch your death out here.”
He followed wordlessly. Once he was safely inside, his mother began to move around him divesting him of his coat and dusting dirt out of his hair.
‘Oh. Oh, yes the soil samples.’ He had smashed them into wall.
His mother’s sat him down, within the sitting room in front of the fire place as she sat down next to him, delicately using her thumb to smooth over the dampness of his cheeks.
‘When had the crying started?’
They sat in silence. Sherlock soon curled into her lap like he had all the other times before. Like for example, when Harvey Jackson had pushed him into the stinging nettles in Mrs Grants front garden or when Mycroft had stopped talking to him for 2 weeks because he had told mummy about Mycroft’s fight with Harvey Jackson or when Redbeard had died or when he was detoxing or when he was going to have to ‘pretend to die’.
Yes, it was distantly fitting that he’d be here curling into her lap again…for this.
‘Silly not to have thought of it really.’
His mother softly carded her hands through his tangled mane of curls. “I’m sorry, Billy.”
She had uttered the same words when Redbeard had died.
Sherlock closed his eyes as a new wave of tears seared passed his eyelashes.
A gentle silence ensued for a moment…until Sherlock broke it.
“You know.” It wasn’t a question. It was a statement of course she’d know. Mummy always knew.
“I do.” Was the only response that came.
And, just like that Sherlock let out the sob he had been holding in for the past 5 years. Knowing he was in a safe place, a place where he would always be understood and protected, he simply…let go.
The sound that emerged from him was barely a sound at all.
It was as if all the pain, longing and desperation had eroded away any of blast that had been there for so long, that had been held on to for so long.
“Why?” Was all Sherlock could choke out in-between the sobs that shuddered heartbreakingly, out of him.
“Give it time, Sherlock. It won’t always be like this, I promise you.” His mother had hushed.
“It will.” Sherlock gasped while shaking his head. “You’re wrong this time.”
Pressing her lips to his crown she murmured. “When, have I ever been wrong?”
‘When had she ever been wrong?’
“I…” was as far as he could get.
His mother patted his cheek. “Precisely. Time…my dear boy. That’s all that is needed.”
Sherlock couldn’t make his mother understand, every time he opened his mouth his words evaporated on his tongue and his arguments became gibberish, garbled out at random. “I can’t—it won’t…”
His mother was shushing him again after seeing how his lack of language was distressing him further. “Your time will come, love.”
Sherlock clenched his hands desperately to the centre of his chest. “It won’t—I—it—everything hurts, mummy. It hurts. I’m breaking”
She rubbed her hands over his own. “Shh. You’re not breaking, you will never break Sherlock. I would never allow that to happen, neither would Mycroft despite what he might tell you.”
Sherlock clenched harder. “I hate it…I hate this…I hate hi—”
Sherlock’s sentence was cut off before he could finish it. “No. No, you don’t.”
Sherlock sat up, his eyes red and defiant. “I do. The worst thing I ever did was allow—”
His mother shook her head. “Wrong. In fact, I dare say it was the best thing you ever did.”
Sherlock recoiled, like a kicked puppy. “How can—look at me! Look at what I have become! Look at who I am now!”
His mother simply nodded. “Yes. I see you perfectly. I always have, haven’t I?”
‘Mummy…I’m…I’m not like the other boys—I’m’
‘I know, Sherlock. I’ve always known.’
Sherlock crumbled in on himself, his hands wringing together and his eyes cast downwards. “Why does it hurt mummy?”
Her answer was simple. “Love often does, my boy.”
Sherlock shot up from his seat and started paces rapid imprecise circles. “I’m leaving…I’ll move away.”
His mother watched him closely, saying nothing for a beat. “And, just where would you go?”
Sherlock paused in mid-circle. “What? I don’t know mummy! Just…away.”
She shook her head. “You wouldn’t do that to him again.”
Sherlock furrowed his brow. “Why not? Why wouldn’t I?”
His mother quirked her brow in return. “You know why?”
“HE DID IT TO ME! HE LEFT ME ALONE! HE ABANDONED ME!” Sherlock was vibrating with explosive anger.
His mother furrowed her brow fully in thought. “Yes. I suppose he did. Although you were…dead, Sherlock.”
Sherlock blinked four consecutive times before he could speak.
“You’re taking his side?” Sherlock watched his mother incredulously as she leaned back against the sofa. Arm stretched along the side, legs crossed at the knees. She looked remarkably like Mycroft at that moment. “Why are you taking his side? You’re my mother, not his!”
His mother inhaled deeply. “Sherlock, the side I’m on will always be yours. I am simply being honest with you. Would you have preferred him to have been alone?”
Sherlock looked away. The whole reason he had…gone away, in the first place was so that John could live and be happy, but the way things had unfolded had been all wrong.
‘He was suppose live and be happy with me.’
Sherlock finally spoke. “No.”
Sadness was radiating off him as he clutched his hands hard against his chest again. “But…I never wanted this. I could never have…expect to feel like this. It hurts, mummy. It feels like I’m dying. It’s feels like getting shot again, only worse because at least when I actually got shot, I had a bullet hole to blame for the pain, there was a…a direct cause for it. This. This is worse because there is no wound. No scar, just this dull ache that never recedes and…never goes away.
Sherlock eventually looked up. Once he did he was met by his mother’s eyes that were glistening intensely with the tears she was fiercely holding back. He continued to watch her as she stood up and walked towards him and cupped his chin.
“I won’t be a moment.” The door, seconds later was closing behind her.
Sherlock remained standing motionlessly. He stood swaying slightly as he tried to remember the parts of the day that had led to him being here. He had woken up, Mrs Hudson had brought tea, he had started examining his corrosive soil samples and then John—
‘Oh, yes of course.’
John, Mary and the baby had come over.
John, Mary and the baby had come over and asked him to be…godfather.
Godfather to John’s baby.
Godfather to John’s baby with Mary.
It was as if they were always trying to find new ways to hurt him. Ways that were always even more excruciating than the cruelty of Serbia because this…this torture was mental…it was emotional. The beatings Sherlock sustained so frequently were executed effortlessly by using sentiment. John was his best friend. John cared for him, accepted him, John…forgave him and that means Sherlock has to be the best friend John Watson will ever have. He owes him. The sentiment of being the best friend of John Watson compels him to always agree whatever the emotional cost, whatever the agony.
‘Best friend: such a hateful title.’
It was a title seared into his broken heart but it seemed to never stop. It simply kept scorching through the remaining mutilated tissue in his chest.
But there was always more.
He had done the best friend duties. He had helped organise the wedding. He had folded origami swans. He had written a speech. He had composed their wedding song. He had watched the groom kiss the bride. He had lied when said bride had tried to kill him. He had lied about how much it had hurt. He had gone into battle. He had gone into battle and had barely gotten out alive and yet they still wanted…more.
So when the three of them had walked in and all sat on his sofa looking like one big happy family and asked Sherlock if he would do them the ‘honour’ of being godfather. Sherlock simply had no words. Not any words, that wouldn’t endanger John’s place in his life forever. So he had simply stood up gracefully from the kitchen table, pushed his microscope gently to the side and had looked at John and Mary and the baby all sitting on his sofa all idyllic and happy and he had catapulted his corrosive soil sample directly into kitchen wall in front of him. He was vaguely grateful he had remembered his goggles for once as the ricochets were more than expected, Sherlock discarded them and walked towards his coat.
There was no satisfaction in watching Mary’s shock or John’s confusion. None at all.
He simply walked away.
Sherlock blinked, looking down at his mother who had materialised out of nowhere with two cups of hot chocolate in her hands as she sat down, smiling kindly at him. “Come sit, Sherlock.”
Sherlock watched his hands, as his mother watched him. “He won’t love me back. Why, won’t he just…love me back?”
His mother looked down for a moment. “I know what you’re feeling Sherlock.”
Sherlock shook his head vehemently. “No. No you don’t.”
She sighed. “I’ve been there too my dear, I know it quite well.”
Sherlock’s head shot up as his mind raced. “How—who?”
She smiled a reminiscent smile. “A man. A man who thought, friendship was all we could ever have. Not too many people know how to love a genius. Even fewer, believe a genius could ever really love them back.”
Sherlock’s eyes flooded at the truth within his mother’s words.
“It will be alright, Sherlock. This pain won’t last forever. You will have a better ending to this story than it started.”
Sherlock pulled his knees up to his chest rocking slowing back and forth, as his tears began to fall silently once more. His mother placed the two cups down on the side table and pulled her son into her arms, smoothing his curls and kissing his forehead.
Sherlock’s chest heaved in a deep sigh when he finally, ran out of tears. He looked around the sitting room in which he and Mycroft had fought and argued and played and wondered when it had gotten so dark.
Sherlock wondered if his mother was still awake, he had a question that he couldn’t deduce the answer too.
Sherlock wiped the back of his hand against his sore eyes. “Mummy?”
His mother began carding his curls all over again. “Hmm?”
Sherlock’s eyes fell on the dead fire place. “What happened? To—to the man you loved?”
“Oh, that doesn’t matter, my boy. That time has long since passed.”
Sherlock cleared his throat awkwardly. “I know, I—I just want to know. What…did happen?”
“I married him.”
Sherlock’s breath hitched as his heart constricted.
His mother then leaned in to his ear and whispered. “Time.”
Sherlock clutched a hand to his chest and closed his eyes. “It hurt’s mummy.”
“I know.” His mother whispered as she kissed his temple.
Shortly afterwards they both fell asleep. It was the worst sleep Sherlock had ever had, he dreamt of nothing but John, giggling and crime scenes. Sherlock was gone before his mother woke up.
Once he returned to Baker Street. Mrs Hudson brought tea and Sherlock went to take a shower, once done Sherlock sent a text to John and Mary.
I would be honoured. SH
Sherlock spent the rest of the day sat down at the kitchen table with what was left of his corrosive soil samples, in the quiet solitude of 221b.
“And so we go into battle.”
Later...Sherlock drafted a speech and cried until he fell asleep.