John stood outside the stonewashed building, squinting slightly against the pouring rain as he leant heavily on his crutch. This is a bloody stupid idea, the doctor thought to himself. He didn’t need to talk; he had long since had enough of trying to put into words his feelings. Still, he owed it to Greg to do this. John inhaled deeply and limped up the stone steps before pushing open the glass doors.
“Doctor Watson?” John cast a brief glance over the receptionist, blonde hair. Any other time John would have willingly tried his best moves in an attempt to take her for a drink and more. Not today. Today wasn’t appropriate. He affirmed with a nod. “Room 221, upstairs, second floor. Doctor Wright is waiting for you.” John mumbled a thanks and followed the receptionist’s directions. When he got to the door he froze, mesmerised by the white lettering, stark against the dark wood. He lightly fingered the numbers “221” smiling weakly at the irony. He didn’t know if he should laugh or cry.
“Come in” John heard a woman call from inside the room. “Doctor Watson? Take a seat.” He was greeted by a woman with raven hair and grey eyes. She was wearing a formal pinstripe suit and John shook her hand before taking the seat opposite her. “Now, why have you come today?” She had a warm face that smiled softly, encouraging John to relax. He decided immediately that he preferred her to his old psychiatrist.
“I needed a new doctor,” he told her. “It wasn’t working out.”
“Why is that Doctor Watson?” She asked, leaning back into her plush leather chair.
“John, please. Ahem… She wasn’t helping me anymore,” he shrugged, “so I stopped seeing her.”
“And what makes you think I will be any different, John?”
“My friend was worried about me. I haven’t been eating properly and he threatened arrest if I didn’t come see a new psychiatrist.”
“He sounds nice.”
“Yes…” John began to toy with the handle of the crutch, “Greg has been great. A true friend to me after…” He choked on his words suddenly, and that surprised him. “He always calls me in the middle of the night, like he knows I can’t sleep and he just listens to me. Last night was…” He swallowed audibly. “Bad. I wasn’t in a good place and he found me.” John thought back to the previous night where Greg had received a call from a panicked Mrs Hudson and forced John’s door open to find him lying on the floor in a foetal position, Sherlock’s coat wrapped around his shoulders. Greg had picked him up and placed him on the sofa, holding him until the tears stopped. He stayed the night, soothing John’s back as he finally fell asleep. Yes he would be eternally grateful to the Detective Inspector.
Doctor Wright said nothing, continuing to stare at John with those piercing eyes. “Sher- Sherlock died two years ago and I still can’t get him out of my mind.” John pressed a finger into the side of his head as if trying to force the very memory of the consulting detective out of his mind.
“Tell me from the beginning. In your own time,” she added when he had rest his head in his hands.
“You want my story?” He raised an eyebrow almost surprised that she would but she nodded. “I met him by a complete accident and he blew me away.” John smiled briefly, thinking of all the times they had run down the streets of London, chasing infamous criminals. “It was in the darkest of my days and he took my sorrow and my pain and just… buried them away. My limp,” he pointed to his leg with the stem of his crutch. “Is psychosomatic but Sherlock knew straight away. I stopped limping when I found him. But now… now I can’t leave the house without it. Sherlock was my crutch I guess… Without him, I’m reduced to this.” He threw his head back suddenly, both distressed and frustrated with what his life had become. He seemed to shake himself and he leaned forwards again, the soldier always composed and ready for action. Doctor Wright put away her notebook and continued to study the soldier. “I remember this one time, he had a case in the country and I had work. I remember taking him to the train station and watching him get onto the train. He said he would miss me and for a second I thought I had heard him wrong. But before I could ask him to repeat he had swept onto the train. As it pulled away I saw his hand waving out of the window at me. I had this compelling urge to run after him. Grab the hand and tell him to stay. But I just stood and watched him wave. Baker Street isn’t the same without him. Those bloody newspapers spewing their shit about him. It made me sick. I tried so hard to earn him back the credit he deserved but no one would believe me.” He looked up at Doctor Wright again. “I can’t keep screaming at the world when it doesn’t want to listen.” She smiled sympathetically. “So just to save my voice and sanity I stopped. I know the truth and that’s enough for me. It would be enough for him.” He clenched and unclenched his trembling hand.
“If Sherlock were here right now. What would you say to him?” John paused and raised an eyebrow.
“What difference does it make? I’m a realist. He would have told me to stop moping and go get the milk. And the beans.” He ran a hand across his face, drawing colour to it instantly. A hysterical laugh bubbled to his lips and stopped suddenly almost frightened by the sound. He placed a finger to his lips fearful of repeating the foreign noise. Doctor Wright was studying him intently now and John suddenly felt hot under her gaze. He flushed with embarrassment and looked at the door suddenly eager to escape. “Well,” he said after a long pause. “My time’s up.” The psychiatrist frowned at him.
“That’s my line and you still have fifteen minutes.”
“No. There’s somewhere I need to be. Thank you.”
Every step made John’s heart feel heavier, almost as if it was pulling him in the other direction. But the wind brushed his ears, as if Sherlock himself was calling him home. He was leaning on the crutch but seemed to pay no heed to the rain as he stopped in front of the grave of Sherlock Holmes. He stood on the patch, hand pinching the bridge of his nose as he willed himself to find the words he wanted, no, needed to say.
“God I wish you were here. You’d tell me to stop babbling and out with it.” He smiled fondly and let go of his nose. “Greg was with me last night Sherlock. I was pretty bad and he stayed the night. I think I must have been on that sofa with him until dawn.” He stopped to glance over the empty graveyard. “I came because… well because I can’t keep doing this to the people I love. People you love, Mrs Hudson, Molly, Greg… It’s just, sometimes I miss you so much I feel like I could self-combust from the lack of excitement in my life! God, how I long for your bloody violin in the early hours, your damned experiments and the way you swan about, lording it over us at a crime scene. I miss you Sherlock.” He was shaking now and he took a moment to compose himself. “The amount of times I spent waking up in that room upstairs alone. I used to wish that I could lay down beside you after a crap day at the practice or after chasing gangsters or whatever. My dreams were haunted with the image of waking up to see your pale face against the morning sun. But I never said anything!” He struck the cane against the grass. “I never said anything because I was terrified. I knew that like everything I’ve ever known you would disappear one day. So I spent all our time hiding my heart from you. Bloody fool. I never had a chance to tell you so I’m telling you now Sherlock. And you’d better be bloody listening.” He took a deep breath, filling his lungs to maximum before exhaling sharply. “I-" He cleared his throat. “I came to tell you that I have to move on now. For the sake of those we love. I can’t spend my whole life hiding my heart away. So this is it. Goodbye Sherlock.” He placed a hand on the stone, staring for a few moments. Finally he walked away into the rain, leaving his cane resting against the head stone.