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


2. The Adventure of the Lost Soldier

It was sunny. It should be sunny. Or maybe it should have been raining. British weather for a British guy. Black adorned the scene, draped across the sky. The goddess of darkness come to take away one of her own. The sun's rays could not permeate the air of melancholy that floated like fog over the wilting flowers by forgotten names. It touched everyone with cold, damp fingers, sucking every inch of happiness from their bones. Even Sherlock was not immune to the virus of sorrow infecting that day.

He watched from the shadows, unable to reveal himself to the mourners. He was still technically 'dead' after all. Now was not the right time to come clean. He had wanted to be there. He hadn't gone to the State Funeral; it wasn't his John. But his parents had wanted a private funeral, for the John that had been his best friend. And that, he could not have missed. Nor could the others in John's life.  His ever observant eyes noticed Molly Hooper, tear tracks fresh on her pale face. D.I Lestrade was there too, standing stiff-backed, uncomfortable. Sherlock could see the tension in his shoulders, the emotions just kept at bay. There were others; family, friends, work colleagues. But none of them interested Sherlock as much as the smartly dressed blonde woman standing by the coffin. The space around her was barren, except for the baby she held tightly. From his vantage point on the fringe of the woods, next to the churchyard, he couldn't see her face, but if he could, he knew he would see no tears. He'd never met this woman, but he knew her.

Mary Morstan.

He knew John had dated her, when he was on leave. He knew no ring adorned her finger. He knew the child was John's. He knew Mary was hiding something, but in a twisted version of events, he didn't know what. She was an enigma. But then again, John was always addicted to a certain lifestyle. He was abnormally attracted to dangerous situations and people, so was it truly such a surprise that the woman he fell in love with conformed to that pattern?

His hawk-eyed gaze moved from Mary to another person daubed in black. Mycroft. His presence here was not a surprise, but the raw emotion flooding across his face was. Like Sherlock himself, Mycroft rarely gave in to sentiment. John must have really made an impression on his older brother.

From what Sherlock could see, the ceremony had only just started. Nothing too elaborate. It made sense that John should leave the world in the same way he had lived in it - with no fancy trimmings. Watching the people standing in the graveyard reminded Sherlock of another time, another name on another gravestone, another man mourning the loss of his best friend. The same man watching from the trees, unable to show himself. But this time, the grave held a body.

Sadness filled his heart as memories threatened to drown him. Instead of forcing the barriers in his mind palace to come crashing down, he let the deluge in. Sherlock remembered.

Remembered John Watson.

The first time they met.

I know you're an Army doctor, and you've been invalided home from Afghanistan...You've got a brother worried about you, but you won't go to him for help...I know your therapist thinks your limp's psychosomatic, quite correctly...The name is Sherlock Holmes, and the address is 221B Baker Street.

Every 'That was amazing'.

The way John kept surprising him.

A man holds a handgun, nerves of steel, fingers steady despite the tremors his therapist records, acclimatised to violence. He fires only when the other is in immediate danger, has a strong moral principle.

Even attempting to sacrifice his own life for Sherlock's. Moriarty's taunts had meant little to Sherlock, but it was different now - he was different; people get so sentimental about their pets. They're so touchingly loyal.

John was worth a thousand of James Moriarty. Obedience was a trait required for army life, but loyalty was different. It meant so much more than a man like Moriarty could comprehend. John was so much more. Every little detail Sherlock learnt about his flatmate during their too-few years together was so much more.

He hadn't expected this, though. The John he had known would not have done this. But the John he had known had been gone long before this. The Union Jack draped over the coffin. The hole in the chest of the body in the coffin. Captain John Watson of the Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers before...then just John Watson...no, not just John Watson...brilliant John Watson...kind John Watson...brave John Watson...words-can't-do-justice John Watson. But it was Captain Watson in the coffin; same rank, different regiment, different man.

A bird flew out of a tree above Sherlock's head, the rustling leaves startling him out of the reverie of remembrance he had sunk into. He glanced upwards in disdain. A pigeon. John deserved better. An eagle, maybe. A small smile came unbidden to his lips. John would have laughed and said he was not worth that praise. He was, of course. If there was one man that was worthy, it was John. A bittersweet thought. Once, Sherlock would have smirked at the irony.

Once, he still had his blogger.

Not anymore.

A solitary tear slid down his cheek.


*Quotes from the TV show, some slightly changed. Not my own words.*


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