Always

My first attempt at Sherlock fan-fiction. Post- Reichenbach. Please go easy on me.

DISCLAIMER: All character and locations are property of their original creator and I make no claim to share any of the property created by said authors. Also I take no credit for the picture.

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1. Always

With a soft sigh I rest my forehead upon the cold, reflective marble of Sherlock's grave. Above me the sky is a dull, uniform grey that hangs heavily above the barren trees, their crooked branches reaching towards something only they can see. I can't believe its been a year and a half since I watched the worlds greatest detective and my closest friend plunge off the roof of St Bart's hospital to the pavement below. I close my eyes, forcing back tears that still want to be shed.

Even after all this time the world still believes my friend was a fake with headlines still takling about the suicide of a fake genius. I, however still believe him to be the most brilliant detective who has ever lived despite the fact he confessed to me about being a fake. I know that somehow Moriaty must have gotten to him. I can't even let myself think of anything else, I owe so much to Sherlock. He was the one who'd pulled me back from the brink of the deep depression I'd sunk into after coming back from Afghanistan. Without him I was utterly lost.

The dirt soaking through the knees of my jeans is cold and sends small shivers through my back but I am barely aware of it. I find myself unable to care about the minor details any more. How can I worry about anything when the only person I have ever really cared about is gone. An image flashes into my mind and for the briefest of moments I am back on that frozen street, watching Sherlock standing on the edge of the hospital roof with his phone pressed to his ear. I close my eyes, remembering fragments of the last conversation we'd shared.

"Its all true. Everything they said about me. I invented Moriaty."

"Keep you eyes fixed on me. Please will you do this for me?"

"This phone call, it's my note. That's what people do don't they?"

"Goodbye John."

I wish I could have done something to stop him, rushed up onto the roof maybe and pulled him away from the edge. I know however in my heart that nothing I could have done would have been enough to save him. For some reason I was unable to see he'd made up his mind that jumping was the only thing he could do. My hand is shaking as I reach out and trace the letters spelling out his name, letters that had made everything so horribly final a year and half ago when it had finally hit me that Sherlock was gone and he wasn't coming back.

"Why did you do it Sherlock?" I whisper softly before repeating the words I had spoken the last time I'd been here. "One more miracle, Sherlock, for me. Don't be dead. Would you do that, just for me?"

Of course I don't receive a reply and I inwardly curse myself for even daring to still hope there was a chance he was alive. I had seen Sherlock's body myself as he lay sprawled on the pavement like a broken toy, had felt his blood trickling through my fingers from the wound in his forehead as I'd cradled his limp body in my arms, praying for him to open his eyes. The tears come full force then as I am unable to hold them back any longer. They spill out in a flood, stinging my eyes and dripping down my cheeks.

A year and a half later the memory was still almost too much to bear. I clap a hand over my mouth to stifle my sobs and draw in a deep, shaking breath as I try to get myself back in control. It is hopeless and I know I am fighting a battle I am going to loose. Sherlock had saved me from what I was before and had transformed me into an entirely new person. Now through he's gone and I am alone.

Molly had told me, when I was still in the earlier stages of my grief, that eventually the sorrow would gradually fade over the years. Somehow, though it is still early days, I don't think I will ever get over the grief of losing my friend. Some small irreplacable part of me had broken when I'd seen Sherlock's...body. I still find the concept difficult to grasp. Sherlock had always been there beside me, solving crimes and beating those who dared pit themselves against him. I still find it hard to get my head round the fact that he is gone and I will never see him again.

I hear footsteps coming up behind me but I don't react. Whoever they are, they are probably visiting departed loved ones just like I am. There was no chance of me being disturbed from my private sorrow, it isn't unusual after all for someone to be crying their heart out in a cementery. When I'd first started visiting Sherlock's grave every other day to lay flowers I had glanced up every time I heard footsteps, hoping that somehow Sherlock had managed to fake his own death and had been lying low until it was safe enough to resurface. I had the fantasy all planned out. The two of us would embrace, return to our flat on Baker street and life would be able to carry on as normal. By now however I was beginning to resign myself to the fact he wasn't coming back.

The footsteps pause behind me. I wait for them to move on and leave me to my tears. I am annoyed when they don't and glance up, curious to see what kind of a person finds a broken man so interesting to look at. Through eyes blurred by tears I see the reflection of a tall, skinny person dressed in a long, woollen trench coat, standing there watching me. I am unable to see their face.

For a moment my heart catches, Sherlock wore a coat like that. But then my gaze falls on those two words carved into the gravestone, “Sherlock Holmes”, and I remember that he is gone and I am only fooling myself. I let out a loud sob and bury my head in my hands. Hopefully once they've seen enough the person will move along and leave me alone. I jump when a hand cautiously touches my shoulder. I am on the verge of turning round and snapping at the person to back off when they say a single, simple word that freezes me to the spot.

“John?” The deep voice is hesitant, the hand on my shoulder shaking slightly.

Hardly daring to believe what I am hearing I slowly turn round. I was half afraid it was going to turn out to be only a figment of my imagination. I raise my eyes up to the person's face and my lips part in a gasp as I find myself staring at the person that has haunted my dreams every night since that day. First impressions show him to be healthy, the only indication he ever fell an almost healed scar disappearing under his black hair. His blue eyes are intense as he waits for me to speak. I continue to stare. What am I seeing just can't be possible and yet I can see him with my own eyes, I take a step closer and swear I can feel the warmth radiating from his skin.

“You died.” I stammer, completely taken aback. “You had no heartbeat when I...” Anger floods through me in a sudden unstoppable wave and I clench my fists. “All this time Sherlock. All this time you let me think you were dead. Did you not even consider for a second how that would affect me? I saw you jump that roof, I saw you hit the ground... How did you do it?”

I will him to say something to rid me of this grief I feel and of the all consuming anger now coursing through my veins. Sherlock however remains silent as he kneels down on the ground beside me. Hesitantly he reaches out and lays his palm on his gravestone.

“I told you to keep your eyes fixed on me John. If you had you would understand.” he says softly.

“I got hit by a bike Sherlock or weren't you able to observe that?” I snap. I hate myself for the bitter tone in my voice.

“I understand why you hate me. You watched me die without knowing exactly why I did what I did. Please listen to me before you judge me too harshly.” Sherlock sighs and sits back, wrapping his arms around his knees. “I did it to protect you.”

I shut my eyes and feel hot tears running down my cheeks. “How was that protecting me exactly? Couldn't you just have asked Lestrade or someone for help.” I yell, my voice quickly becoming hysterical. “I needed you Sherlock and suddenly you weren't there. All I had was a grave with your name on it.” I put my head in my hands and let out a loud sob. “God Sherlock, you broke me when I saw you lying there. It-it hurt so much.”

Sherlock hesitates for a moment before he leans forwards and tentatively wraps his arms around me. This simple human gesture makes me cry harder as I remember yelling at him, calling him a machine.

“Its al right John. I'm here now and I'm not leaving.” His voice is choked with emotion. “I never should have listened to that manipulating bastard.”

“Who?” I manage to choke out. “Moriarty?”

For a moment it seems as though he isn't going to reply but eventually he draws in a deep, shaky breath.

“Yes Moriarty. He said he'd kill Mrs Hudson, Lestrade and you John if I didn't do as he said.” Sherlock's voice is heavy with regret.

There was still one thing I was unclear on. Why had he confessed during the phone call to being a fake if Moriarty had been pulling the strings all along?

“Why did you say you were a fake?” I ask, my anger fading away to be replaced with a sense of relief. Sherlock was alive and well! I look up at him in time to see a pained expression flash across his face.

“I had to make my suicide seem real so the world would believe me, so you would believe me. I was half hoping you would forget me and carry on with your life without being in constant danger because of me.” he said with a weary smile.

I rest my head on his chest and breath in his familiar scent. “I never stopped believing in you Sherlock. I don't mind the danger so long as I'm by your side.”

A sudden thought struck me then and I draw back slightly. “Why wait so long to reveal yourself? Why now?”

Sherlock sighs and wipes the back of his hand across his eyes. Suddenly for no reason I remember how oddly he'd acted when I had told him Mrs Hudson had been shot. Realisation struck me. He must have set the whole thing up to get me away from St Barts to somewhere safe, away from Moriarty. He really had been trying to protect me. Sherlock shifts slightly and rests his head on mine.

“I tried to stay away, knowing you'd be safer without me around.” I hear a sharp intake of breath. “But every time I saw you, you looked so broken, so lost. I simply couldn't take it any more.”

“Have you told any of the others yet?”

Sherlock clears his throat, appearing nervous. “Molly and Mycroft already knew. They helped me pull it off.”

“Who else knows?” I demand, cutting off the end of his sentence.

Abruptly Sherlock stands, dragging me to my feet. He puts his hands on my shoulders and looks me directly in the eye.

“No-one John. Please, please believe me. I never wanted to cause you so much pain.”

I return his gaze, studying the face I have missed so much. “I believe you Sherlock and I-I forgive you. I'm so happy you're not dead.”

Sherlock's mouth quirks up in a smile. “I'm happy I'm not dead too.”

I am more in control now. There is still of course a little bit of anger still bubbling beneath the surface, he had after all disappeared for a year and a half, but most of my emotion is relief and happiness that my friend is by my side. Together we stand before the grave wrapped in each others arms, both of us with tears staining our cheeks. I realise then that anyone walking past on the path would be able to see us. I move away but Sherlock simply smiles and tightens his grip.

“Sherlock.” I protest. “People can see.”

Suddenly I am aware of how close we are to each other, our bodies almost touching.

“It doesn't matter.” he breathes. “I don't care. I was so scared I was going to loose you when I confronted Moriarty. I would have done anything he told me to keep you safe.”

I feel myself beginning to well up again and hastily wipe a sleeve across my eyes. Sherlock watches me for an intense moment before he steps back and releases me from his grip. He fiddles with his scarf and I can't help but smile. He really hasn't changed at all.

“I missed you John.”

“I missed you too Sherlock.”

He lays a hand on the sleeve of my jacket and tugs me in the direction of the gate. Willingly I follow, knowing I can trust him, knowing that underneath the sometimes machine like exterior he really is human. I hear Sherlock sigh irritably and I realise he's trying to ask me something.

“I suppose this means we're heading home?”

I glance at him in surprise. “What about Mrs Hudson?”

Sherlock smilies. “Don't worry she hasn't rented out the flat and only goes in occasionally to dust. Anyway she's tougher than she looks.”

A laugh escapes me. I'd forgotten just what life with Sherlock was really like. I breath in deeply, my gaze lingering for a moment on his grave which I now know to be empty. “OK back to 221B Baker street it is.”

I pause and Sherlock looks at me, frowning slightly.

“What's wrong?” he asks

“What about Moriarty? Won't his henchmen or something come after you?” I say, a little frantic.

Sherlock shakes his head and I notice a hardness in his eyes. “Don't worry. They've been dealt with.”

Not wanting to delve deeper into what he means I instead decide to change the subject. “Right then lets go home and Sherlock... you will stay with me? I mean you won't leave again?”

A slow smile creeps onto his face as he gazes down at me, his black hair gleaming darkly in the sunlight. “I'm here to stay and I will always be by your side John.”

Together hand in hand we walk between the neat rows of graves, Sherlock glancing round every now and then to check if we are being followed. I, however, am unable to take my eyes off Sherlock. After so much sorrow and grief I am so happy to have him by my side once more. This time, I think as I glance at out entwined hands, I am never letting go.

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