Things had gone well for another year or so. Reign grew and began attending a prescreening school. Sherlock had successfully hid his new skull from the others. Anderson continued to work with Sherlock. And Mary had begun to fall in love with the consulting detective. Sherlock had everything he could ask for, except for John being alive.
Sherlock examined a sample of tissue under a high pressure microscope. He was eager to determine how long this body had been laying in the backstreets. As he fiddled around making the picture clear, Anderson paced the lab. "What is it?" Sherlock muttered without looking up from his examination.
"Anderson you are a horrible lier."
"You should put the skull back" he murmured.
"He's a friend."
"What? What? Can't you see I'm working?"
Anderson simply waited for Sherlock to look up, and once he did pointed to the door where detective inspector Greg Lestrade stood with his arms crossed. "A skull?" He asked.
"Yes! Yes a skull what is so strange about that?" Sherlock stood up. "What do you want?"
"I have a court order for you." Lestrade stepped forward and handed it to him.
"This is a request to go to a psychiatrist?"
"Not a request and order, people are worried about you."
"I don't need to-" Sherlock paused and turned around. "Anderson!" He screamed.
"It's for your own safety Sherlock."
"Shut up Anderson!" Sherlock examined the date on the paper. "Tonight?"
"Court ordered" Lestrade reminded him. "I can give you a ride if you need it."
"Yes, thank you" Sherlock forced a smile and went back to his work, ignoring the others.
Sherlock sat in the brightly colored office. Across from him sat a girl, cross legged and stern looking. She held a clipboard in one hand and a pen in the other. "Good evening Mr Holmes." She smiled. Sherlock sat silently, glancing around the office. "Mind if I ask a few questions?"
"As many as you asked your husband last night?"
Don't be rude! "Excuse me, go ahead"
"Is there anything you want to talk about?"
"Nothing of major importance."
"Then I would like to address the problems your friends are worried about."
"I don't have friends."
"Okay your colleagues" she corrected herself with an eye roll. "A colleague of yours died about two years ago?"
"He was a friend."
"Tell me about him."
"What is it you want to know?" Sherlock tried hard to avoid all questions.
"Let's start with his name"
"How did you two meet?"
Sherlock was silent for a moment. "I was at work, and a medical advisor brought him in, John offered me his phone to use so I could message Gavin."
"And you two became friends then?"
"No, we became flat mates. We became closer after a case together and he sh-" Sherlock took a deep breath. "And he very well may have saved my life, but we still weren't friends."
"When did you become friends?"
"It happened gradually"
"I'm going to address the next subject now." She jotted a quick note on the paper. "You talk to a skull?"
"It's a friend."
"What do you mean by that?"
"Mr Holmes this is unhealthy."
"No it's not normal, and I don't like being normal" Sherlock stood up. "Great chatting with you but I am leaving now."
"The court ordered-"
"Don't care." He swung on his coat and stormed out in a fuss.
Sherlock had felt uncomfortable, being pried and picked at, he assumed that was how people felt when he examined them. He wandered aimlessly, unsure of where to go. He could go home, he could go visit Johns body, he could go back to work, in retrospect he could go anywhere. But he chose to simply wander. He searched for anybody he may know. He caught glimpse of Molly, dressed up quite nicely. Pretty girl. He watched her great her date and walk into a restaurant.
Sherlock couldn't control his curiosity as he joined the restaurant and watched. Molly had a history of strange boyfriends, one had tried to kill Sherlock and the other looked quite similar to him. Sherlock couldn't make out who she was with this time, he could only see the back of his head, grey hair, an aging man. Molly must be too young for him.
Sherlock knew he had to interfere, to save his precious Molly. He walked up behind her. "Oh my dear I've missed you." He faked an accent and kissed her cheek.
"Sherlock?" Molly pushed him away
"Sherlock?" The boy spoke. A familiar voice that Sherlock recognized. He turned to see Lestrade sitting across the table from Molly.
Lestrade paused for a moment, shocked Sherlock knew his name. "We are on a date."
"What are you doing here Sherlock?" Molly asked, slightly embarrassed at the crowd of eyes Sherlock had attracted.
"I thought he was an older guy, just protecting you."
"I don't need protection Sherlock."
"Look at your previous men!"
"Leave Sherlock." Lestrade stood up. "Before I do something I'll regret"
"You won't do-"
Before Sherlock could finish his sentence Lestrade punched him square in the nose. Sherlock collected himself and looked at the man he thought was incapable of violence. It turns out people aren't quite as simple as they seem. Sherlock stood up and through the staring crowd left the restaurant without a word.
He continued to walk the dark streets, alone. He had nowhere to go, nowhere be wanted to go. He wanted a friend, someone to talk to, who would talk back but not sound stupid, that friend was John.
Sherlock waited to return to 221B until he was sure Mary and Reign would be asleep. He crept inside as not to startle mrs Hudson. He ran up the stairs as quite as possible and snatched the skull off the fireplace. He sat cross legend on the floor and set John across form him. "Today has been hell" he sighed. "Got nowhere in my work, had to talk to a very stuck up woman, and got punched by Greg." He stared at the skull. "He punches harder than you."
Sherlock scooted closer to the fire and pulled the skull with him. "I was gone for two years" he sighed. "And I was still alive." He took a deep breath. "It's been two years, where are you?" He let his tears fall as he grabbed the skull, hugging it tight in his arms. "John please come back! I need you"
Sherlock looked up and through his veil of tears saw Mycroft. "Am I having a run in with everyone today?" Sherlock wiped his eyes. "What is it you want?"
"My little brother hasn't talked to me for months,ni was beginning to worry." Mycroft leaned in his umbrella.
"You never worry" Sherlock stood up and placed the skull on the mantle.
"Dismembering a human body is wrong." Mycroft shook his head as he stepped further into the room. "But dismembering the body of your friend is just plain rude"
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"That skull belongs to the late John Watson." Mycroft stepped up to examine it. "Quite good condition."
"Don't touch my skull!" Sherlock shouted.
Mycroft backed away in laughter. "Bad day?"
"You wouldn't believe" Sherlock slouched into his chair.
"Mummy is worried about you Sherlock"
"What did I do?"
"Being so- distant"
"No more than usual"
"Yes" Mycroft stood by his brother. "You've always been the one who was closer to them Sherlock, and now you aren't"
"Shut up Mycroft"
"Brother mine. Keep yourself safe and sane."
"You shouldn't care." Sherlock stood up. "Leave me to my skull" Mycroft turned and left without a word.
Sherlock put Johns skull on his chair and sat in his own. "Sorry about him" he sighed. "You know how he can be so rude." He crossed his legs. "Don't you agree John?" He pulled a book out from behind him and began to read. "Oh did you want one?" He pulled another down and set it on the chair beside the skull. "That one is written quite well, unlike some books."
He sat by the fire reading for hours until sleep finally got the best of him, he set the skull up on the mantle again and laid on the couch, where he eventually drifted off.