The second chapter! This one covers the time after Sherlock's 'death' and shows how John is dealing with everything. I hope you like it, please let me know what you think! And thanks to everyone who read the first chapter! And don't worry, we'll see Sherlock again soon.
I don't own the characters or places!
"John, are you sure that you're alright? You didn't leave this flat in weeks." Mrs. Hudson's voice echoed through the silence. John heard her walking through the room and then she opened the curtains. He hissed when the light was blinding him and covered his eyes with his hands. "Why are you even sitting here in the dark?"
When his eyes got used to the light, John looked around until his eyes landed on Mrs. Hudson. She was looking at him with so much worry in her eyes that it made him feel guilty immediately. He opened his mouth to say something, but his throat was feeling dry. When was the last time he drank or ate something? Or even stood up? He wasn't so sure anymore.
Mrs. Hudson seemed to notice that he wasn't feeling well and didn't wait for a reply. She walked to the kitchen and began to make tea. "John, you have to take care of yourself." She said while she was busy and he stood up slowly. His legs felt weak when he joined her in the kitchen. "It's not good that you sit here alone every day. You should try to distract yourself."
It was true, after the funeral, he'd rarely left 221 B. Only when he needed to get food or other things from the store. However, he'd also stopped doing that in the past days. Everything just seemed so senseless now that Sherlock was gone. His phone had rung several times in the past days, but John had ignored it. He wasn't in the mood to talk to anyone.
Most of the time, he was just sitting in his armchair and tried to think of nothing at all. It wasn't working, though. Too many memories were coming to his mind, most of them of his time with Sherlock. Especially the last weeks when everything turned upside down. Ever since Moriarty decided to continue his game with Sherlock. John still couldn't sleep because of the nightmares. Every time he tried to sleep, he saw Sherlock jump again.
"John?" Mrs. Hudson's voice took him back to reality. She handed him a hot cup of tea.
"Thank you." He muttered and his voice sounded rough. He cleared his throat and took a sip of the tea. It was still far too hot, but he didn't care. In this moment, it just felt good to feel anything at all. Not the numbness which always came back when he was alone. Because that's how he was feeling. Numb. After days of crying, the tears wouldn't fall anymore. His anger was also gone. Which just left an incredible sadness that John tried to push away as hard as possible.
"You're not alright." Mrs. Hudson said and sat down next to him.
"No." There was no point in lying to her any longer.
"Do you want to talk about it? It might help. It helped me."
"I can't do that." He shook his head slowly. "Not yet."
"The funeral was nearly three weeks ago, John." She sighed. "You can't stay in here forever."
He knew that. Hell, he knew it! But he just couldn't go out there again. Not after everything that happened. Not with what all those people believed about Sherlock now. That he was a liar. A fake.
"I know. But I don't feel ready yet, Mrs. Hudson."
"You never will if you don't try." She argued immediately. "I know how I felt after the death of my husband. It's like you can never be happy again. But you're wrong, John. Everything will get better with time. You're such a strong person, you will get over this."
He wouldn't. But there was no use in mentioning that now.
Mrs. Hudson seemed to see something in his expression because suddenly, a slight smile appeared on her lips. "DI Lestrade was here yesterday."
John nearly choked on his tea. "Greg was here? What did he want?"
"To check on you, of course!" She said as if it was the most logical thing in the world. "He's worried. You didn't contact him again after the funeral."
"I didn't think that he'd care anymore. Not now that he's gone." He couldn't say his name.
"John Watson, you will listen to me now!" At her loud words, John flinched. "You can't stay in here forever! And even if you won't believe me, let me tell you one thing. There are people who care about you, John. You have friends who are worried because you shut yourself of from them. We all want to help you to get better."
He stared at her. "I'm not sure, Mrs. Hudson..."
"You will go out again." Now she sounded really determined. And it wasn't a request. "Tomorrow, you'll go shopping with me. Then you'll call Lestrade and go out with him. Let him tell you something about his cases, anything to get your mind away from him. You will also go back to work. I won't watch you fall apart in here!" Her anger seemed to lessen slowly and was replaced by a sad look. "I've already lost one of you."
When her eyes started to fill with tears, John reacted instinctively. He placed his cup on the table and wrapped his arms around Mrs. Hudson carefully. His mind was racing. Could he really just continue with his life as if nothing happened at all? No. Could he get back to normal? No. But could he try to carry on? Not for Mrs. Hudson or anyone else, but for Sherlock. Because he wouldn't have wanted John to stop living at all, would he? He could do that. At least that's what he thought.
"Alright, I'll try, Mrs. Hudson." He said softly and stroked her back while she was crying. "But I won't promise anything."
"You don't have to." She replied immediately and when she looked up again, she was smiling widely. He could see triumph in her eyes. "It will get better, I'm sure of that." Then she stood up and looked around as if nothing happened at all. "You should clean up in here, John. I understand that you couldn't do it, but this chaos in here has to end." She pointed at some of Sherlock's things which were still lying around. "Take your time with it."
He stared at her in confusion when she walked to the door. "Oh, and I've made you an appointment with a therapist in two days." When John started to shout at her, she was already gone.
Greg was surprised when John called him later that day, but he agreed to meet him immediately. John thought that he could also hear relief in his voice. Maybe Mrs. Hudson was right and John should see more people. They couldn't lessen the pain, but it would be a distraction. At least for some time. Until he returned to the flat alone.
Being with Greg again was nice. They met at a bar close to 221 B and talked about many things, except for Sherlock and Greg's work. When John noticed that Greg was also sad because of Sherlock's death, he felt guilty. He was also mourning his friend, but didn't stop living at all. He kept going. However, to Greg, Sherlock had just been a friend and nothing more. For John it was different. He'd lost everything.
John and Greg agreed to meet again at least once a week. When he returned home that day, he was glad to know that he could always count on Greg. Until now, John didn't see him as a real friend, but this changed. Even if the day had been nice, his nightmares returned at night.
Mrs. Hudson's idea with the therapist was the worst she had in a long time. John went to see her, even if he didn't want it. But he'd promised Mrs. Hudson to go there at least a few times to see if she could help him. She couldn't. She was a nice woman, but she always tried to make John talk about his feelings concerning Sherlock. Then he realized that he wasn't ready for it yet. He even had to force himself to say that his best friend was dead. After seeing her three times, John ended the sessions with the therapist.
For a long time, he tried to avoid talking about Sherlock at all. First, it worked pretty well. Normally, John hated it when others acted as if he was made of glass, but at least this prevented them from asking any questions. Months passed and slowly, John couldn't ignore all the questions any longer. As well as all the reporters who were following him around, wanting to hear the truth about Sherlock Holmes, he lying detective, as they called him now.
It hadn't been easy for John to read all those articles and watch the news on TV, but at some point, he just had to do it. He needed to know how the world saw Sherlock now. What he found out made him feel sick immediately. Just like that, all his anger returned. At Moriarty for playing this game with Sherlock. At all those people who believed the stupid lies. And also at Sherlock because he didn't talk to John about all this. He was still sure that all this could have been prevented if they'd worked together. But Sherlock had decided to shut him out. This thought still hurt like hell. Knowing that Sherlock didn't trust John with this. They'd always worked together. Well, except for that incident at Baskerville, but that was quite crazy.
John knew that he had to do something about the lies people told about Sherlock. He couldn't stand knowing that the memory of him was stained like this. It would mean that he had to talk about everything for the first time in months, but it was necessary.
One evening, he mentioned this to Greg.
"I've been wondering when you would come to this conclusion." His friend said with a frown on his face. "Are you sure that you're ready for this, John?"
He sighed. "I have to do this, Greg. I can't stand it any longer."
"And you'll be alright...?" Greg didn't finish his question, but John knew what he meant. Will you be alright after talking about Sherlock or will it make you lose your mind again?
He took a deep breath. "It's time to tell people the truth. All of it." Well, maybe not everything, but most of it. He would never tell anyone just how much Sherlock meant to him. Would he break down again after talking about Sherlock? Most probably. Nevertheless, he had to do it. John knew already that he would never be alright again.
"I miss him too." Greg said quietly. "Even if he was annoying most of the time."
John chuckled weakly when Greg grimaced. "He would have told us to stop being sentimental."
"Would have told us to do something useful." Greg agreed.
"Maybe also complained that there weren't any interesting cases at the moment." John added.
This caught Greg's attention. "Oh, but there are some." He said suddenly and John raised his eyebrows.
Greg nodded. "They would have thrilled Sherlock."
"Tell me about them." Those words left his mouth without hesitation. John was surprised by himself. Could he really just listen to Greg's stories?
Greg looked insecure and opened his mouth to say something, but John was faster.
"If you'll ask again if I'm sure about this, I'll hit you." He looked at him warningly. "I'm not made of glass. Maybe a distraction would be good."
And just like this, Greg began to tell John about their recent cases. Of course just the most difficult ones. To his surprise, John even enjoyed talking about them. He might not be as good as Sherlock, but he had a few ideas. After all, he had the best teacher. Soon, they were discussing John's theories to Greg's cases.
In this moment, John realized something. He'd missed this. Those riddles and the excitement while trying to solve them. "If you ever need help, let me know." He said when they were about to leave the bar. "I could use some change in my life."
Greg grinned. "I'll keep that in mind."
They walked in silence for some time until they reached Greg's car. He placed a hand on John's arm. "Keep me updated about the reporters. And if you don't want to talk to them alone, call me."
John smiled at him gratefully. "Thank you, Greg."
He shook his head. "Not for that."
On his way back to Baker Street, John kept thinking about his conversation with Greg. It was true, he had to tell everyone the truth about Sherlock Holmes. Would they believe him? He wasn't so sure about it. But he had to try either way.
Before he could change his mind again, he unlocked his phone and wrote a short text.
The answer came nearly immediately.
I will arrange everything. - MH
The truth about Sherlock Holmes is out now! - Sherlock Holmes: Liar or hero?
Months after the world's only consulting detective's death, his friend and companion Dr. John Watson finally told us his story. Was the press wrong all this time and fooled by one of the most dangerous criminals?
From what Dr. Watson told us in an exclusive interview, we got the story of Sherlock Holmes wrong all this time. He describes their first meeting and the development of a very special friendship that followed. Also how they started working together on cases until Mr. Holmes met his greatest challenge, Jim Moriarty. A man who fooled the entire country with his evil plans.
Read the entire interview on page 3.
John stared at the paper for some time, but he didn't turn to page three to read the article. He already knew the story, he'd read it before it was published. Mycroft had made sure that it wouldn't be changed again after that, John knew this. Ever since the article was published this morning, his phone wouldn't stop ringing. Everyone wanted to hear his opinion to this interview. However, John didn't have anything to add. He'd told them his story and he didn't want to tell them something new.
He just hoped that they would believe him now and stop telling those lies.
"Now they'll realize how brilliant you were." He said into the silence of his flat. "I had to do this. I know that you wouldn't have cared, but it bothered me so much." John knew that it was stupid to talk to someone who was dead, but he couldn't help it. He also still visited the graveyard regularly.
He'd expected to feel relieved after telling the truth about Sherlock. However, that feeling wouldn't come. Instead, John just felt empty. Ever since he'd talked to the reporters Mycroft contacted a week ago, the sad feeling Sherlock's death had left returned with full force. Greg had visited him a few times in the past days, but he also couldn't get John out of the darkness again.
Sherlock Holmes was dead. He would never come back. And John didn't get a chance to tell him that he loved him.
Would Sherlock have wanted to hear this? Probably not. After all, sentiment was a chemical defect to him. Maybe he would have broken John's heart. Nevertheless, it would have been better than this. Knowing that he never got a chance to tell Sherlock the truth about his feelings. Or did he already knew and that's why he pushed John away in the end? He doubted it. When it came to feelings, Sherlock was completely blind until someone told him about it.
"I miss you." He muttered and closed his eyes. "Without you, everything just seems so pointless." He laughed weakly. "It is pointless. But I have to carry on. You wouldn't have wanted me to stop everything, right?"
When he opened his eyes again, he glanced at Sherlock's armchair and swallowed. Why was it still so difficult? Months had passed since his death, but John couldn't forget it. Ever since it happened, he didn't sleep in peace a single night. Slowly, he was even getting used to the nightmares. Every night, he saw him jump again. The phone call – it's, er... it's my note. It's what people do, don't they? Leave a note.
"You're such an ass. You can't just leave me alone. You must have known what it would do to me. You always knew those things." He breathed in shakily. "I can't count anymore how many times I asked this but... please, just come back to me. Don't be dead, Sherlock."
Like so many times in the past months, John began to cry again.
"That woman over there is looking at you." Greg said and when John looked up from his glass, he saw that his friend was grinning. He turned around and followed his gaze, just to look away again. It was true, a blond woman was smiling at him from across the bar. "I've already noticed her last week. She seems to like you."
"Are you sure that she's not looking at you?" He asked, not sure what to make of this.
Greg chuckled. "She's definitely staring at you, John." He glanced at the woman again. "And she's quite beautiful."
John didn't turn around once more. He didn't want to give her the impression that he was interested in her. "Well, I'm not interested." He muttered. It was true. He didn't look at women for a long time. He'd already lost interest in them long before Sherlock's death.
"Oh come on, John. You can't stay alone forever. I bet some company would make you forget about Sherlock much faster. Always being alone can't be good for you."
"Not interested." He repeated.
"You should really give it a try." Slowly, Greg's smile vanished and was replaced by a concerned look. "Sherlock's been dead for over a year now. You can't mourn him forever."
He could. And he would. "Just drop it, Greg. I don't want any company at the moment."
"Well, then bad luck. She's coming over." Now he was grinning again and his eyes were gleaming when he saw the shock on John's face. He turned around quickly. It was true, the blond woman was walking towards them.
"Good afternoon. Is that seat occupied?" She gestured at the empty seat next to John and smiled charmingly.
"Make yourself comfortable." Greg invited her immediately.
John would have loved to sigh, but he held himself back. Instead, he forced a smile on his lips. "I'm John and this is Greg." He introduced them.
"I'm Mary." She explained with a wide smile. "I've already seen you last week. Do you come here regularly?"
"We do." Greg answered. The next minutes, Mary kept asking questions about them and in return, Greg asked questions about her. John remained silent most of the time and only talked when she turned directly to him. Which she did far too often for his liking.
He had to admit that Mary was a beautiful woman. Many months ago, John wouldn't have missed the chance to talk to her. She was nice and even funny. He liked her. But that's it. When she leaned closer to him, he didn't feel any physical attraction towards her.
When she finally announced that she had to leave, he felt relieved. "Will you be here again next week?"
"Most probably." Greg answered when he noticed that John wouldn't answer the question.
"Maybe we'll see each other again." While saying this, her eyes were focused on John. She had blue eyes, he noticed for the first time.
John looked after her when she left the bar. Once she was gone, he let out a breath he didn't know he'd been holding. He noticed that Greg was watching him with a frown on his face.
"You were so quiet." His friend noticed.
"As I said, I didn't want any company."
Greg didn't look convinced. "Normally, you wouldn't have missed a chance to talk to such a beautiful woman."
"Well, maybe I'm not that interested in women right now." John muttered. Greg's eyes widened and John froze when he realized what he'd just said.
"You mean...?" Greg didn't finish his question and shook his head slowly. "Oh no... So you and... Sherlock?"
He knew that he couldn't deny it anymore, not after what he'd just said to Greg. He ran a hand through his hair and nodded silently.
"That's why you're still so upset." He could see nothing but sympathy on Greg's face.
"So it doesn't bother you?" John asked hesitantly. Before, he'd never considered that his friends might see him differently once he'd told them that he was gay.
"Of course it doesn't!" Greg exclaimed loudly. "You're still one of my best friends and that won't change because of this." He hesitated. "To be honest, some people had already suspected it. You and Sherlock, I mean." Now there was a sheepish look on his face and John assumed that Greg belonged to those people.
He sighed. "He didn't know."
Greg's eyes widened. "Oh god."
John nodded weakly. "I never got a chance to tell him."
"That sucks." Greg muttered and placed a hand on John's arm.
"It does." John agreed quietly.
"You were really important to him."Greg broke the silence between them. "He changed when he met you. Became less unpredictable. Even more sociable at times."
John chuckled weakly. "I just wish we had more time."
Greg smiled sadly. "Do you need a drink?"
John nodded gratefully.
"Come on, go to him. He looks nice." Greg tried to convince him again.
"No. I can't." John argued.
"You can." He replied immediately. "He's been staring at you for the last hour or so."
"I don't want to talk to him." John muttered.
"But he's gorgeous." Mary said suddenly. "You didn't even look at him, John."
He sighed. "You two are impossible. You've been trying to find someone for me for weeks now."
"Because you really need company." Mary said sternly. "Ever since we met for the first time, you've been so quiet and there's this dark look on your face. And we know each other for months now, John. I would like to see you happy at least once."
Finally, he looked over his shoulder. The man was tall, with short brown hair. He was smiling and even from the distance John could see that he was good-looking.
"Just talk to him." Greg tried once more.
"But I'm here with you."
"We'll be alright." Mary assured him. "Just go and have fun."
"Fun." John muttered darkly. He didn't even know what that was anymore.
"If you won't go there, you can't accompany us on this case tomorrow." Greg said now.
"That's unfair." Nevertheless, John stood up slowly. Could he really do this? When he glanced at Greg and Mary, they both smiled at him encouragingly.
Taking a deep breath, he walked towards the man.
It turned out that he couldn't do it after all. His name was Ben and he was really nice. He could even make John laugh, which wasn't so easy anymore. After some time, he moved closer to him and placed a hand on John's. This had made his heart beat faster, but not out of excitement. When Ben also tried to kiss him, John couldn't stand it any longer. He excused himself and left the bar as fast as possible.
He barely noticed the worried looks on Greg's and Mary's faces.
The next days, he only left 221 B to go to work. Greg and Mary tried to call him a few times, but he didn't answer their calls. John wasn't in the mood to talk to anyone right now.
Every time he closed his eyes, he saw familiar green eyes.
The name is Sherlock Holmes and the address is 221 B Baker Street.
This time, he wasn't thinking of Sherlock's death but all the good times they had together. He even read some of the stories on his blog again, laughing and crying at the same time.
Mary wasn't too disappointed when John announced that he didn't want a relationship. She was pretty smart and noticed very quickly that he was gay. She even supported him with this. Together with Greg, she'd made the plan to get John a boyfriend. However, Mary was often gone for weeks, so they didn't get a chance to fulfill their plan very often. John was glad about it. He didn't want a relationship. Most probably not ever again.
The press didn't tell lies about Sherlock anymore and he was glad about it. Apparently, his article had made any doubts the people had vanish. Sherlock Holmes was a hero again. Even Mycroft had thanked John for restoring the reputation of his brother. Only a few people kept believing the stories about the lying detective. John could live with that.
Nearly two years after Sherlock's death, John still wasn't over it. He still missed him. The nightmares kept haunting him every night, there was nothing he could do against it. Sometimes, he sat in his armchair and told Sherlock about everything that was going on in his life. Or he told him the stories on the graveyard.
John had already accepted that he would never be alright again.