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“Remember that you were loved by me and that you made my life a happy one. And there’s no tragedy in that.”

These are the words Sherlock leaves to John.

Molly delivers the note to him, late in the evening after the hospital has released him and he's begged Lestrade to leave him in peace (and he pretends he doesn't hear him whispering fervently to Mrs. Hudson to please be careful, to search the flat and make sure John doesn't act reckless and John allows Mrs. Hudson, who is also pale and shaking with the weight of their loss, to stay with him even if they only perch on the couch, silently sipping tea in each others company long past her usual bed time). John is absently cleaning out the tea pot when Molly Hooper's mousy brown hair peeks around the corner of the kitchen. She makes muttered apologies about the door being unlocked (and that's all she apologizes for, offers no sympathy or condolences for his friend and John should find that odd, he really should, but the fog in his head--a fog that might be from his concussion or might be from the shock and grief that will certainly overwhelm him before long--mutes these thoughts, addles them and makes his reasoning unclear). Her large eyes sweep across his face and there is so much worry in her features that John can barely stand to look at her right now. He doesn't offer her tea, instead he waves the pot a bit, distractedly, as if to say 'sorry, pot's full of soap right now and I can't use the other one because that one is Sherlock's and he never cleaned it out after the last time he used it and it's still full of his dregs' and as he thinks about this his heart aches and his head spins and Molly awkwardly pats his arm and he sets the pot back down in the sink.

They stand in the kitchen together, surrounded by Sherlock's equipment, experiments and dirty dishes and John wants to collapse against the small girl in front of him (so so so exhausted) but instead he forces a questioning grin at her as he wipes his sudsy hands on the front of his jeans. She hands him a slip of torn paper and looks away when he takes it.

The note is wrinkled from being torn hastily and John recognizes instantly that it's come from the small Moleskine Sherlock carries (carried) on him (always in the inside pocket of that damn coat, carried right over his heart and the one time Sherlock handed the notebook to John to take down his rapidfire notes, the cover had been warm and John's heart had stuttered as he stroked the smooth leather casing).

“Remember that you were loved by me and that you made my life a happy one. And there’s no tragedy in that.”

The writing is tiny, cramped, and written in a shaking hand and John doesn't need skills as fine as Sherlock's (were) to read the desperateness in those scrawled lines.

 Molly is shifting uneasily from foot to foot and then John sees the blood. There, just on the bottom corner of the paper is a half smudged fingerprint, terrible and dark and rust colored. A wave of nausea hits him and his face must have gone funny because Molly takes a tentative step forward, brings a hand to his arm and inhales sharply when she looks down at the note.


“I... I was still at Bart’s when they...” she swallows, and her fingers tighten on John’s forearm,”They asked me to perform the post-mortem. For him. I must have...” 

Molly is bringing her other hand up, reaching for the note and John yanks it away, carelessly stuffing it in his pocket.


He reassures her that it’s fine (it’s fine it’s fine it’s all fine) as escorts her to the door, remembers himself and thanks her for bringing him the note (but he hates it, that fingerprint now burned into his retinas and he can see it every time he blinks and if Molly doesn’t leave, if he doesn’t sit down he’s going to be sick on her shoes) and to his own surprise leans forward and pecks her cheek briefly (just in front of the door, two feet from where Sherlock kissed her in the exact same way and does Molly even realize). She leaves and John slumps to the ground with his back to the door and he brings the note out of his pocket again. He tries to smooth away the wrinkles, carefully at first, then more desperately, his fingers fumbling with the paper and he shakes his head when the first tear splashes on the paper, just above Sherlock’s other last words.


“Remember that you were loved by me and that you made my life a happy one. And there’s no tragedy in that.”

And he’s terrified now because what if he smudges the pencil, what if he ruins the (incredibly precious) last thing his best friend ever did for him and he’s worried that the tea he had with Mrs. Hudson really won’t be staying down and his tears are falling in earnest now so he brings the note to his chest and presses it there, away from his face, away from the danger of being cried on and I feel like such a ponce he thinks but god dammit Sherlock what do you mean there is no tragedy in that?

It hurt, it was the worst hurt John had ever known, worse than earlier when Lestrade came to verify Sherlock’s death in the hospital. Worse than waking up in a different hospital years ago and being told by a frantic medic that he’d been shot. 

And he’d known dammit that Sherlock had loved him, knew it without needing a fucking note, knew it each time they looked at each other at a crime scene and smiled, and when Sherlock played one of John’s favorite songs on his violin and I know I never told him which ones I liked but Sherlock always knew that about me and even if I never told him.... never told him that....

And John choked and prayed that Sherlock knew that he was loved. And he had made John’s life an amazing one. A better one.


“Remember that you were loved by me and that you made my life a happy one. And there’s no tragedy in that.