Title: And the Daffodils Look Lovely Today
Prompt(s) used: ""John, any; "I was so alone, and I owe you so much." Now John is alone again...even surrounded by people. I want to see John, alone in the crowd. Here is my heart. Feel free to abuse it as you see fit, take it as far as you want."
Word count: 1500
Warnings: SERIOUS WARNING FOR MAJOR CHARACTER DEATH (suicide).
Notes/Acknowledgments: many thanks to the_deep_magic for a lovely beta job.
His will is explicit- no marker, no metal box. Just a wooden coffin, set on top of Sherlock's own.
The lab equipment, well, all of Sherlock's useful detritus really, will go to Bart's- heaven knows enough of it came from there originally anyway, it's only fitting that it be returned with a bit of interest. The rest of Sherlock's assorted collections he's leaving to Molly; she'll either keep it, or get rid of it, or know someone who may want an antiquated thirty-five book collection of information on keeping bees. It feels like a bit of a cop out, leaving so much to her, but she's more than capable, and she'll be respectful without being overly sentimental, and at this point, he just... he just can't.
His own things are easier; there aren't many of them, for one. The few photos he's kept go to Harry, as well as his cuff-links and tags. His medical bag had taken some thought, but he's decided to leave it to Stamford's young son, who likes to dress up in his da's lab coat and use a stethoscope on the family dog. He really has nothing else of value.
His gun will no doubt be confiscated as evidence.
He's waited. He's waited a long time, in fact. He's a doctor, a soldier; he knows what grief is. He's seen it before, many times- he's felt it before, more times than he'd like to count. He knows it takes time to pass, that there are stages to grief. He knows that he has already worked through the anger, the denial. He no longer lies awake all night waiting for a step on the stair, a key in the lock. He no longer sees the red haze around the edges of his vision as he thinks about how Sherlock deliberately misled him, left him behind.
Bargaining was mostly out of the question; who was he going to bargain with, after all? Depression, well, depression is a fact of his life, and has been since he was a teen. But yes, he has moved past the moments when he realizes there are tears streaming down his face without a clue as to when they began or why. Now he only cries when he intends to, for the most part; usually between about 7 and 10pm at night, when he just lets it come and wash over him, leaving him empty and exhausted before he falls asleep on the couch.
Acceptance, then, and not much for it. The problem being, namely, that the world he now has to accept, even has come to accept, is a world without Sherlock in it. And that? Is just not on. He didn't sign up for this in the first place, there was no informed consent, no disclaimer pinned to the back of Sherlock's ridiculous coat, and now that the terms of the agreement are disclosed, John finds that he is unwilling to sign on the dotted line. He cannot, will not accept that he must exist for upward of forty more years, that he must spend his middle age, his old age, his dotage, without Sherlock, that he will never again hear that voice, or see that face, or touch that hand.
It is his right as a human being to determine what sort of life he is willing to accept, and this is not that one.
It's not simply that he misses Sherlock, though of course he does, in that way that one misses a limb, or an internal organ. It's not simply anything, really. It's that the world has lost its color, the air its scents, people their basic humanity. It's beyond being lost in a fog; it's like being on another planet. He can't do his job, because he can no longer feel empathy- a patient has a pain? How very sad for them. But isn't that the nature of life, to feel pain? A patient has injured themselves through their own stupidity, or been the victim of someone else's indiscretion. So what? Why should they, why should anyone, be alive when Sherlock is not? He can't talk to his friends, or rather, they don't want to hear what he is saying. Lestrade looks at him like any minute now, he'll wake up; Molly can't see him because of what she's lost herself. Stamford pats his hand and talks about the natural course of emotions. Harry, maybe, begins to get it; she looks at him as though he's a cripple, which is how he feels, and he thinks she may understand the best when he leaves her here as the last of their particularly accursed branch of the Watson family tree.
It's just not worth the effort anymore. The cost-benefit analysis doesn't weigh out. He may as well be gone already, the way it is now- Sherlock's death has left him a breathing ghost, a tarnished afterthought in a sepia-tone world.
But no more.
He is a man of action, and now is the time to act. He has addressed all of the contingencies; all that is left is to solve the final problem.
Friday evening he spends emptying the fridge, taking out the trash. He vacuums, dusts. Does his laundry, folds it, puts it away. The few things going away to specific people are laid out on his bed; his will is clearly visible on the surface of his desk. There are texts in his phone set to go out at ten am tomorrow morning to Molly and Lestrade. There's a text to Emergency Services set for nine; his friends will not be the ones to find him, he's not a cruel man.
He goes to bed at ten, pouring himself two fingers of brandy and sliding in to Sherlock's bed. He's never been much for brandy; he's more of a whisky man himself, but one grateful distiller had gifted Sherlock a bottle, a particularly nice blend, and it seems a shame to waste it. It's warm in his mouth as he leans back against the headboard, bare toes cold against the unchanged sheets. He'd slept here the first night Sherlock was gone, but then not again since. It's too much of an indulgence. But tonight, well. He may as well indulge himself in the hours he has left.
It still smells like Sherlock in here, even after more than a year, and he feels the closest thing to a real emotion he's felt in months. There are dark hairs on the pillow, stuck to the weave and waiting. A tell-tale lump at the foot where a sock still lingers under the covers. He drinks his brandy slowly, blows his nose, and turns out the light. There are cars whispering by in Baker Street, but it's nearly silent here in the dark, and he feels himself begin to slide into unconsciousness slowly. It's blissful, calm. One last night, he thinks. One last night, and then, Sherlock, then...
The sun wakes him just past six; he showers, shaves, makes his bed, and hangs his towel to dry. He doesn't bother with breakfast.
One last check of everything- the heat is turned down, the door is unlocked; he makes sure all the lights are off, then goes upstairs. His gun is where it always is, lying unobtrusively in his bottom desk drawer. He bought a silencer not long after he met Sherlock- convenient, that. He touches it with a finger, then picks it up. The weight of it in his trouser pocket is reassuring against his thigh.
The bathroom is cold, and it feels a little silly to be lying down fully clothed in a bathtub, but... it's the least messy option by far, and he's far too considerate to leave Mrs. Hudson with ruined wallpaper. He feels guilty enough in a vague, insubstantial, way to be leaving her at all, but he knows she'll understand. There's nothing for him here anymore but a cotton-wooled existence; the least he can do is take himself out of this world with as little fuss and mess as he entered it.
He lies back, closes his eyes. It's spring again now, there are flowers sprouting on Sherlock's grave. The sun through the bathroom window is warm against his face, a counterpoint to the cool metal of the gun against his temple.
Sherlock. I'm coming. Wait for me. Sherlock...
His hand is steady, his finger strong.
A sudden pressure, and then...