His Last Bow - The Adventures of John Watson

What happened to John after Sherlock's death? What happens to Sherlock after John's death?
Canon up until The Reichenbach fall - doesn't fit with season three.
Cover by the amazing @Squonk of the Nightshade

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4. The Sign of Two

Mary held the baby tightly, raising her eyes briefly to meet Harry's. The woman was strong, but grief could tear down anyone's defences. Anyone but Mary. She had cried herself out of tears years ago. There were no more to give for John. She had loved him. She was in mourning. Charlotte would grow up without a father.

She exhaled slowly. That worried her. A baby had never been in her plan. It may have been in John's. They'd never talked about it. They'd never had time. John could only get so much leave. They had not had enough time together for this to happen. She was not mother material. Could she cope? Should she?

Charlotte gurgled, blinking her sky-blue eyes, before closing them again and snuggling closer to her mother's breast.

A surge of raw emotion ran through Mary. She inhaled sharply. She was a mother. She had a child. She had to cope.

 

She'd been working overtime at the hospital with a influx of patients due to the terrible weather conditions. That's the first time she met him.

"Part-time nurse or not, I've been on my feet for ten hours straight. I don't need - Oh." She looked up from the computer. The first thing she noticed was the uniform. The second was the unconscious women he was carrying.

"She's my sister," Uniform explained. "Drunk. She tripped and knocked her head. She will have a concussion, but no internal bleeding.

Mary looked impressed. "I would say a doctor will be with you shortly, but you seem like you've grasped the situation rather well."

Uniform almost smiled, but his eyes were grim. "I'm a doctor myself. An army doctor, on leave from Afghanistan. I wanted to know she'd be safe. I'm no stranger to her...problem."

She noticed the warmth in his voice, the strength in his gaze. It calmed her. "Right. So you know we have to keep her here overnight. Can you sign here, please?" She passed him a sheet of paper. "What's her name?"

"Harriet Watson. She's 39, and a regular alcoholic trying to quit." His voice portrayed his scepticism that that would ever happen.

"And you? We need contact information. For security."

"John Watson. Here's my number."

 

She avoided looking at the coffin, instead scanning the area, the people. Not the service. John deserved to be remembered by these people, but this was not the way she would remember him. She remembered John. Alive. Full of all the things that made him unique.

 

A light breeze entwined her body with the scent of the roses she knew were there but couldn't see in the twilight. The champagne bubbled and fizzed as they clinked their glasses, sparkling in the light of the many candles John had placed around the table. Somewhere, an owl hooted.

"This is perfect, sweetheart. You always know exactly what I need," she murmured, not wanting to disturb the peaceful atmosphere.

John's smile was bright in the moonlight, so rare and so precious. "Anything for you." He shifted slightly, weaving his fingers through hers. "Actually, I've been wanting to take you on a moonlit date from the moment I met you." His cheeks reddened, and she giggled. Legitimately giggled. Like a school girl.

"I always knew there was a romantic inside you. Any particular occasion we're celebrating tonight?"

His face grew serious, his grasp tightened. There was a pause, before he spoke again. "I-I'm leaving the day after tomorrow. I know. It's sooner than I anticipated, but there's a big operation planned and they need every available soldier."

The night grew colder. Desperation clouded her voice. "But you're not a soldier. You're a doctor. Couldn't you - ?"

He shook his head. "I'm sorry, Mary. I wanted to make this night special. For you. I love you."

This time, it was her that blushed. "I love you too, you gorgeous, brave man."

"Let's forget about everything else. It's just you and me tonight."

She smiled. "You're so corny." She raised her almost empty glass. "To us." Then she kissed him.

That night seemed to last forever. The two of them went to paradise and back, but in the morning, he had gone. Left a note saying he didn't like goodbye's, and he loved her. She hadn't cried, then. She didn't realise she wouldn't see him again.

 

Mary had many secrets. Her past was littered with them. She'd never told John, and he'd never asked. That, at least, was something she didn't regret. He deserved better. Even in death, he was a much better person than she could ever be. She just hoped she could bring up Charlotte to be more like her father. He'd never even met his daughter, and she would never meet him.

 

Dear John,

It's been a few months since I last saw you. I miss you every time you have to leave me. But now I have someone else to care about. No, I'm not cheating on you, don't worry. John, I'm pregnant! We're going to have a baby. You're going to be a father. I only found out yesterday, and I just had to write to you. I know it's old fashioned, but I also know how erratic you can be with emails out there. I thought this way would be easier. Anyway, it's kind of romantic. I love you, and I'm looking forward to your return.

Please, sweetheart, please come back. Alive. Please.

Mary x

 

Five months later, Charlotte was born.

Six weeks later, her father was announced dead.

And today, Mary was here, surrounded by John's family and friends. She felt out of place as she surveyed the faces gathered there with a cold, impersonal gaze. She'd only known John for a year and a half, and a good portion of that he'd been away. She only recognised a handful of people. There had been many divisions of John's life, of which she was only one. She'd only known part of him. There were people here who knew different parts of him, but the only person whom she knew of that knew all of John Watson was also dead.

She wasn't sure what she'd do now. Part of her wanted to move as far away from London as possible. Away from everyone she knew. Away from everyone who had known John. Start again with Charlotte. But Mary knew she would never get a normal life. She'd tried many times before, but 'normal' didn't seem to want her.

"I'll look after you, darling. I promise. Whatever happens, we'll be alright. You and me," she whispered to her child. Where once John would have given her the strength to keep going, she now looked to Charlotte. Innocent still in a world where no-one was entirely void of corruption. The way Mary saw it, the only mistake she'd made was falling in love. Once, she'd thought she'd never have her heart broken again.

Once, she'd been happy.

Not anymore.

There were no more tears to shed.

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