It was late at night when Sherlock received the text.
He had spent the day hidden under a half disintegrated house, escaping from a small legion of Moriarty’s men who had put a price on his head. Before that, he had been held captive for 329 hours in a basement in Pakistan. It had been humid and unduly hot and dark, but for the first time in weeks, Sherlock had found comfort, tied down there. He couldn’t see anything, couldn’t touch anything. But he could hear.
The sound of the rain.
The sound of London. The sound of home.
And even though he had not seen the light of day in over a fortnight, those hours when he could hear the soft beating of the water falling remained the highlight of his days on the other side of the world. The slinking, forbidden memories of Baker Street flooded back in his mind with the force of a tsunami. The vibrations of his violin as he put notes together forming melodies in his ears. The flavoured breathing in of the steam dancing over his cup of tea. The sound of fingers typing on a keyboard, of the dull knock of nails against the wooden desk as John searched the right words for his blog.
Sherlock’s beard was itching. His hair was annoyingly determined to stay in front of his face. He had just had his first meal in days. The last thing he had slept on was a wet piece of wood. He stinked so much he wouldn’t even want to put on his Belstaff if he had it in fear of soiling it. He had been burned and cut, hit and strangled in the previous days. Tortured, tied up, chained, poisoned. But that was nothing he hadn’t experienced before. Nothing he couldn’t deal with.
But being apart from John...
That was not one of those things.
And ironically, protecting John was the reason for which he was going through all this. Running away in the middle of nowhere, risking his life with every breath he took. Not a second of break. Not one deep, calm inspiration. Sherlock was always on the guard, always looking out the corner of his eye. He was hurting with every move. But he was not getting tired, not giving up. This was for John. He had jumped to prevent John from getting shot. He was dissembling Moriarty’s network to make sure John would be safe. And only when he was done, when he would have made sure the doctor was no longer in danger, would he return to him. He was getting as far away from John as he possibly could only to make sure he one day would be able to be at his side again.
Sherlock was used to life’s ironic sense of humor when it came to him.
That’s why, in one of the occasional shelters he found on his way, contacting his brother to inform him of the development of his mission, the only exterior reactions betraying Sherlock’s feelings when he read the news and his brother’s condolences were tightening his lips, his gaze hardening, and closing the text conversation. He got up, walked outside. He made his way through the forest, waiting for his enemies to localize him. It didn’t take long before he heard the sound of the helicopter and the running steps of armed men.
He took a last step forward and closed his eyes. There was nothing to fight for anymore.
The sound of the shot resonated through the air.
10 days earlier
People had brought flowers. Had offered him apologies and words of comfort. There had been supportive squeezes on his shoulders and kisses on his cheeks with sad, patronizing stares aimed at him. There had been a buffet. People had sit. People had talked. They had checked their phones while eating crustless jam sandwiches. And it had just been so God damn pathetic. It had been meaningless and superficial, because no one cared the way John did. Not one felt the way he did, no one had known Sherlock the way he had. No one even believed the detective anymore, not one had come for Sherlock. They had all come for the fraudulent detective. To assist the evenement, to say they had been there, to the fall of the Reichenbach Hero. Not one would truly understand the things John had to say. And he couldn’t handle it anymore. So he left.
The sky was gray that afternoon. The air was chill. Autumn was returning, and everything in the city would lose its colour. All the plants would die and all the birds would fly away. The buildings were tall and imposing, all heteroclites and yet forming a unique and harmonious whole. Sherlock loved it, he loved London. He loved its heartbeat, the pulse of it, its little secrets and dark lurking streets. He took such a pleasure exploring and analysing all the things people did not see, as much in plain sight than in the abandoned alleys. And yet, all John could see standing on that rooftop was the impersonality of the city, its organized structure, neat and predictable and boring. John was watching it from up there, and he was above it all.
The man who had brought him back to life was dead. The only man left who believed in him, who had made him feel like he was worth something and given him a purpose to live was gone. And John, who had been the exact same person for this man, had let him go. Let him down. He had told Sherlock he was a machine, that he was selfish and uncaring, and, at the last moment, had not been able to find the right words to bring him back.
And now, Sherlock was not there to say the words to bring John back.
The doctor looked down at the pavement. He closed his eyes. Murmured his answer to the last words Sherlock had spoken.
“Goodbye Sherlock,” he whispered, and took a step forward.
The farewell was lost in the wind.