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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1. The Adventure of the Dead Detective

It began the day John Watson watched his best friend commit 'suicide' by jumping off the roof of St Bartholomew's Hospital. It got steadily worse, and not even Ella, his therapist, could save him.

 

Ella:       Why today?
Watson: Do you want to hear me say it?
Ella:       Eighteen months since our last appointment.
Watson: Do you read the papers?
Ella:       Sometimes.
Watson: And you watch telly. You know why I'm here. I'm here becau—
Ella:       What happened, John?
Watson: Sherlock...
Ella:       You need to get it out.
Watson: My best friend, Sherlock Holmes, is dead.

 

He never would believe that his friend has been anything but the amazing detective he always was. The news reports, however, told a different story. It got to him, knowing that the world believed Sherlock Holmes was nothing more than a fraud. Never would he forgive James Moriarty for what he had done. If the man wasn't already dead, John would probably have killed him himself.

He tried to move on:

It didn't last long. He couldn't stay in one place for long. Couldn't stand being inactive. Helpless.

He told Lestrade, 'I can't feel anything, Greg. Everything's grey, lifeless, numb. A machine, merely going through the motions of living. I just want to feel alive.' There was more than just a hint of desperation in his voice.

His limp returned with a vengeance for the few months after it happened. It was to be expected. No longer was adrenaline pumping through his veins as he chased after Sherlock through the streets of London. The nightmares too, although wide staring eyes and rivulets of blood replaced the sand and gunshots of Afghanistan.

There was another difference. Post-Sherlock John was stronger than pre-Sherlock John. Stronger in so many ways. His gym membership was renewed; his limp giving him the motivation to keep in shape. The nightmares fuelled his waking life, giving him cause to keep going. Stay alive. But it wasn't enough. He frequently thought back to the day he had first met Sherlock's brother. Thinking that maybe Mycroft had been right. The war didn't haunt him. Maybe, just maybe, he missed it. Yes, he missed solving cases with Sherlock, but peel back more painful layers, and yes, John Watson did miss the army. The war. Nothing could sate his need for action like the war, although Sherlock came agonizingly close.

Sherlock's death was the straw that broke the camel's back, but this particular electric surge had been brewing under the surface for a while. It was predictable that it would end this way. As Sherlock once said, 'The wheel turns...nothing is ever new.'

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