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Laid To Rest

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John sat in his favourite chair overlooking the garden. A silent tear slid slowly down his face, over his throat ending at his shirt collar. He looked down at his hands and the container he was holding, a loud sigh escaped his lips as a tear fell on to the container, staining it. A plaintive moan came from his throat as he held the urn closer to him.

Wiping his eyes, he stood and stepped onto the garden path, slowly he made his way to the end of the garden. For a few minutes he stood at the gate in silence, watching the bees flying to and fro, in and out of the hives. Softly he spoke to the urn, telling Sherlock how the hives were doing and that Mr Robertson would be taking care of them for the rest of the season, so he needn’t worry about his bees, they would be well looked after.

He knew of course that Sherlock wasn’t really there, but somehow talking to the urn as he made his way back to the house made him feel a little better.

Sadly, he shook his head exhaling a deep breath as he stopped to look at the flower beds, so lovingly planted in the spring, now in full bloom. They had argued about the types of flowers to plant, he’d given in of course, he could never deny Sherlock anything, and now he could imagine Sherlock’s smug expression at being right. The bees certainly agreed with him, there were so many flying about creating a lazy hum in the air.

He made his way back inside, and carefully placed the urn on the kitchen table. As he waited for the kettle to boil, he rested his hand on the urn and murmured quiet reminiscences about their kitchen in Baker street. Warm memories flooded his mind. His fingers traced the scar from a sword fight, there were stains from various chemicals, split over the years, burn marks from experiments that had gone wrong, and oh! the smells, Sherlock had seemed to be impervious to the noxious fumes that sometimes drifted through the flat.

Once they’d settled in to the cottage it hadn’t taken Sherlock long to restart his experiments, and the table had once again disappeared under an assortment of petri dishes, test tubes, slides and the ever-present microscope. Thank fully there were no body parts in the fridge any more.

He took his tea and Sherlock’s casket to the living room. Looking around, he tried to swallow the lump that had formed in his throat, he could still feel Sherlock’s presence in the room. In the corner was Sherlock’s latest manuscript, finished only a short time before his death, handwritten in his spidery scrawl.

John looked at the top sheet and its dedication to him; it had been placed on top of the pile only a few weeks ago. He remembered how happy Sherlock had been that he had finished the manuscript for the book on bees. He had been looking forward to it being published, and now, he thought, it probably never would be. John wasn’t sure he could part with a single page. But in his mind, he could envision Sherlock rolling his eyes and hear his soft baritone voice telling him that it was his job, as Sherlock’s blogger, to type it up and send it away.

After their retirement from London John had taken the opportunity to write up their remaining cases, as far as he was allowed to. Sherlock would often look over his shoulder and criticise his writing, saying he was romanticising things too much that he should stick to the facts. It made John smile remembering that the irresistibly low rumble of Sherlock’s voice and its accompanying warm breath on his neck as he typed often turned into kisses and touches, which invariably lead to their bed and lovemaking, typing forgotten. Spent and sated they would hold each other and doze.

Years before, John had asked for a miracle, after Sherlock had jumped from the roof at Bart’s. Asked that he not be dead. He’d got his miracle, Sherlock had returned, it had taken time but life had eventually returned to some kind of normalcy. John had forgiven Sherlock, of course and Sherlock had explained why he’d jumped. This time there would be no miracle, Sherlock was gone for good.

With a deep sigh he got up and put the cup in the sink. He picked up the urn and headed to their bedroom.

Placing the urn on the bedside table he packed his suitcase for his trip back to London. Packing done he lay back on the bed and tried to relax. Closing his eyes, he let his mind drift to happier times.

He remembers the excitement they had both felt when they had first moved in. Had it really been 15 years since then? Newly married at the time, (if you could count 2 years as still new) Sherlock had insisted that their honeymoon wasn’t over, and it wouldn’t be until they had christened every room in the cottage. John had tried to explain to Sherlock that normally the honeymoon lasted 2 weeks and happened straight after the wedding. Sherlock had replied with “Since when do we do what everyone else does”? It had been an exhausting week that first week, John had giggled, and smiling, had tried to remind Sherlock that they weren’t teenagers any more. Sherlock’s reply was to whisper in John’s ear, soft words of love. John had found himself powerless to resist the sound of Sherlock's voice, and his cock, much to his surprise, and Sherlock’s delight, so soon after his orgasm, had risen to the occasion.

The room they had chosen for their bedroom faced the garden; they’d had the windows made bigger to let in as much light as possible. Occasionally, in the summer, they’d make love on the floor with the sun streaming in warming their bodies. Their sex life was always interesting, sometimes as they held each other in bed, their lovemaking was slow and sensual, soft caresses and gentle touches, quiet words of love and affection. Other times there was an urgency for them to be close to each other, skin touching skin, and then their coupling would be hard and fast.

John looks at the photo on the bedside table, of the two of them on their wedding day, picking it up he touches it with his finger. A fleeting smile ghosts over his lips, they had been so happy that day. Sherlock’s proposal had come out of the blue, walking back from Tesco’s he’d just come straight out and said that he thought it was time they got married. John had stopped in his tracks and almost dropped the shopping in surprise. Sherlock had kept walking, not noticing that John wasn’t at his side. He’d hurried to catch up and had asked him to repeat what he’d said, he hadn’t been sure of what he’d heard. Sherlock had rolled his eyes sighing, he’d said “Really John, your hearing is excellent, must I repeat myself?” Back in the flat Sherlock had stated the reasons he thought they should get married, John had agreed with him, said yes and that was that.

A few weeks later they’d got married, the speed that the arrangements had been made suggested Mycroft had had a hand in things. Two years later, after one too many narrow escapes from various madmen with guns, knives or thugs just spoiling for a fight, they had decided that it was time to retire. It didn’t take them long to find the perfect cottage; Sherlock had enthused about keeping bees. John had found work in the local GP’s clinic and they had settled in very quickly.

He stroked his hand over the bed spread recalling the last time they’d made love, Sherlock’s large hands so careful and gentle in their caresses, his lips were soft and full, John had never been able to resist that cupid bow mouth. He’d stroked his hands through his wild curls, still soft but streaked with grey and longer now they were away from London. He’d kissed him as he’d ridden Sherlock’s cock, while Sherlock stroked John to and through his orgasm, his own following swiftly behind. After they’d lain tangled in each other’s arms and had slept.

Had it really only been a few weeks ago when he’d woken up that fateful morning and known that something was terribly wrong. Sherlock, in all the time they had been together, had only remained in bed long enough to still be there when John woke up a handful of times. Turning onto his side he’d pushed a curl out of Sherlock’s closed eyes, expecting him to wake up but his skin was cool to the touch, looking closer he could see Sherlock’s lips were bluish. Swiftly switching to doctor mode, he felt for a pulse but found none. John had known before he’d even dialled 999 that it was too late. Eventually he’d been told that Sherlock had died of natural causes, he had simply gone to sleep and just not woken up. John though, suspected that the years of drug use, refusing to eat and forgoing sleep for days at a time had eventually taken their toll. Privately he believed that Sherlock’s ‘transport’ had finally had enough. Clutching the photograph to his chest he fell asleep.

The next morning, he went through his usual routine and got ready for Mycroft’s arrival. Though their relationship was often strained, over the years he’d come to appreciate how much Mycroft really cared for his little brother, and now he was even gladder of Mycroft’s quiet presence; he knew that the older Holmes was mourning his brother still. He had made all the funeral arrangements that John had found himself unable to do.

The funeral had been attended by Lestrade, a few others from New Scotland Yard including Anderson and Donovan. He’d noticed some of Sherlock’s old homeless network attending, and Molly had been there too. He’d hated the funeral, it was so hard to stand and talk about Sherlock, the man he’d loved more than anything. But the worst was the people telling him ‘at least he didn’t suffer’. No, Sherlock didn’t, but he did and he was. For the funeral Sherlock had been dressed in his favourite dark suit with the purple shirt and his beloved Belstaff coat and blue scarf, he would have approved of that John had thought at the time. His body had been cremated and a week later the ashes were returned to him.

He tried to smile even as he fought back more tears, what would Sherlock say about him crying all the time? Sentiment John, Get over it! But John knew that Sherlock had loved John as much as he had loved him back. John went into the bathroom to wash his face; Mycroft would be arriving soon.

Looking out of the window he saw the sleek black car arrive. “Come on love”, he murmured and picked up the urn and his case, “time to go”. He locked the front door and got into the car. Greeting Mycroft as the car pulled away.

Mycroft had assured him that what he was about to do was perfectly legal and they talked a little about the past. Mycroft looked as though he hadn’t slept very well, John could relate to that. John knew that he felt the loss of his baby brother keenly, knew that he felt that he had failed to protect his brother. He wouldn’t listen to John telling him that when he’d married Sherlock, his care had passed from Mycroft to him. There was nothing that either of them could have done differently. Sherlock had been happy, and in the end that’s what counted the most.

The car pulled up outside Baker street. John left the car and began his slow walk around the streets of London. He would meet with Mycroft later. He was aware of the discrete surveillance Mycroft had put in place. His heart swelled with love for Sherlock when he realised that even though they had not used them in many years, both he and John were remembered and respected enough by his homeless network that they kept a silent watch on him as he passed by.

Every so often he stopped, each spot where they had solved a crime or caught a criminal, he sprinkled a little of Sherlock’s ashes. Sherlock had once said that London was a part of him, now he would be a part of it.

There was one last place to visit before Mycroft’s car would collect him. He stopped and looked at the familiar door to 221b, he half expected Mrs Hudson to appear and open the door as he approached but she had died some years ago. He took his old key from his pocket (Mycroft had told him that the key would still work) and opened the door. The hallway was quiet and he made his way slowly up the seventeen steps to the flat. He paused before he opened the door, reliving the first time he'd gone in through that door. He took a deep breath and walked over the threshold.

The living room was dark, the curtains letting in only a small amount of light, but John could find his way around in the pitch black if need be. A small smile formed on his lips as he made his way to their old bedroom. Opening the door, he went in, the bed frame was still there though the mattress, bedding and everything else, were long gone.

Slowly he got to his knees and reached under the bed finding the loose floorboard. As he pulled it out, he wondered if Sherlock had ever known that John knew that this was where he’d hidden his drugs. It was here that he sprinkled the last of his ashes, save for the small amount that he would take back to their home in Sussex. His hand lingered in the space as, with tears in his eyes, he murmured a final farewell to Sherlock and Baker street. He got stiffly to his feet and sighed. He took a last long look around the flat before closing the door and leaving for the last time.