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07 February 2012 @ 02:28 am
Ghosts that broke my heart; a post-Reichenbach Sherlock fic  
Title: Ghosts that broke my heart
Fandom: BBC Sherlock
Summary: NB. SPOILERS FOR END OF S2. It hadn’t even been two weeks when Sherlock came back. But it hadn’t taken John long to realize that the Sherlock he was seeing wasn’t real.
Characters/ Pairings: John/Sherlock, Lestrade, Mrs Hudson
Genre: angst, friendship
Rating: g
Word count: 1700

It hadn’t even been two weeks when Sherlock came back.
John had finally mustered up the courage to return to Baker street, and on his second night back in the flat he’d come in after getting dinner to find him sitting on the couch, chin resting in his crossed fingers, his eyes closed as he concentrated on whatever problem was currently occupying his mind.
John had dropped the take out, spilling fried rice all over the carpet, and Sherlock’s eyes had opened.
But it hadn’t taken him long to realize that the Sherlock he was seeing wasn’t real.
Yes, Sherlock spoke to him, his tone the same as it had always been as he tried to make a point that John couldn’t quite grasp. On quiet evenings alone, he played mournful tunes on his violin. But not a single case had turned up on their doorstep. At first he had thought that Sherlock just wanted to keep a low profile. But he had nothing to occupy himself with, nothing serious; he just sat at the kitchen table doing mindless experiments.
“Why don’t you tell Lestrade you’re back? Take a case, find something interesting?”
Sherlock frowned, pursing his lips. Thinking.
“You were right.” He said finally. “About the press always turning. Let them think I’m dead; I’ve got better things to do. And Lestrade can hardly work with a ghost.”
He’d laughed that off at first, Sherlock saying he was a ghost. He just meant that everyone thought he was dead. Of course that was what he meant.
But no one else could see him. No one else knew he was there. He’d asked Mrs. Hudson where she’d put Sherlock’s skull, insisting his friend needed it for an experiment. She’d merely pointed out the box before walking away, shaking her head sadly.
Lestrade had come round one afternoon, and Sherlock had been sitting at his desk. Lestrade hadn’t even acknowledged him.
That was when he started to notice. Sherlock never ate. He never drank. He didn’t seem to sleep- if John got up at three in the morning, there he’d be, working away in the kitchen. And while the equipment was out, there was never anything horrific, like thumbs or heads or eyeballs in the fridge or the microwave. The violin sat in its case, and when he opened it, the instrument had developed a fine layer of dust, as if it hadn’t been touched in months.
And Sherlock never text him anymore. He would hear his phone beep; only to check it and find he had no new messages. Sherlock used to text him from across the room to ask to borrow his phone. Or to use a pen. This wasn’t like him.
And then John had tried to touch him, to take the hand that had reached out to him on the roof top that day- only to have it go straight through. And Sherlock just stared at him, all cheekbones and unreadable blue eyes that revealed nothing, and showed no hint of life.
He was going insane. That much was obvious.
“You’re not real.” He said one night as they sat on the couch together, watching television.
Ghost Sherlock didn’t reply.
“Why are you here?”
Ghost Sherlock didn’t reply.
“Have I gone insane?” John worried he might actually answer this one.
Ghost Sherlock didn’t reply. He didn’t move. He didn’t even blink.
“I asked you not to be dead. I just… I just wanted my friend back. All of him.” Sighing, John left the room. When he turned at the doorway, the couch was empty. Maybe it was just a trick of the light, or his imagination, but he thought he saw a familiar coat corner disappearing round the corner into the kitchen.
Ghost Sherlock didn’t speak so much after that. His voice became annoying white noise, like a fly buzzing round his head. But he was always there. He stayed at 221B Baker street, and for that John was thankful. Even though he didn’t always get a response, it still felt comforting to speak to Sherlock, and John knew that if he started doing that in public… well, then he would really have a problem.
If he could contain it, he could control it. Or so he thought.
He was still in bed when he heard it, and he knew it was getting worse.
“John? John, please, are you here? John!”
He tumbled out of bed to find Sherlock in the sitting room, coat and scarf on as if he had just come in.
“John… I can-”
“Go back to bed, Sherlock. Or whatever it is you do while I sleep.”
“But...don’t you want to know how I survived? How I beat Moriarty and his final problem?”
“No.” John said shortly. He didn’t have time for wild theories, and besides, whatever his own head came up with would never be as clever as anything the real Sherlock could dream up. Yawning, he turned, and missed the look of shock and surprise on his friends face.
Sherlock woke him in the morning with tea. John starred at the cup for a full minute, panicking. If his imaginary ghost was starting to do everything for him… maybe he really was going insane.
He took a deep breath, scrunching up his eyes. “I can do this. I can do this. Alone.”
“Do what alone?”
Sherlock was still standing there, quietly sipping from his own mug.
“Everything.” John replied angrily, putting the cup down. He would bloody well make his own.
“John, what are you-”
“Stop it Sherlock! Just let me do it! Let me do it all!”
His friend took a step back. “Alright. I’m sorry.”
“No you’re not.” John mumbled under his breath, pushing past him.
He barely noticed the feel of the fabric brushing against his skin.
He rejected all of Sherlock’s help over the next few weeks, until he returned to spending his days on the couch, quiet and out of John’s way. It wasn’t until he picked up his violin that John wondered how much his condition was worsening; when Sherlock left the room, he could see the streak marks where he had wiped the dust off the violin.
Maybe he was becoming schizophrenic. Maybe he was Sherlock Holmes and John Watson in the same body. Maybe he should be locked away.
“John, have you seen my skull?”
John sighed. He had expected to be happier about Sherlock’s return, but the knowledge it was all in his head put a slight damper on the situation.
Why couldn’t it be real? John had believed him, really believed in Sherlock Holmes. He still did.
He just wanted his best friend back. And he wanted the world to know that Sherlock hadn’t been lying; he really was a genius, not a psychotic murderer.
John thought he would have known if he had been living with a murderer.
The doorbell rang. It had become a force of habit not to answer it. Sherlock never had, and John never felt like visitors these days.
“Aren’t you going to get that?” Sherlock called from the kitchen. John couldn’t remember exactly what Sherlock had said, but he gathered he was doing some sort of experiment on human toe cells.
“No.” He muttered, shrugging as he turned a page in his newspaper that he wasn’t really reading.
Footsteps on the stairs. Whoever it was had showed them self in, or Mrs. Hudson had seen fit to open the door for them.
The door creaked open. It was Lestrade.
“John! Where is he, we’ve got five murdered now, I don’t care what Donnovan and Anderson think, we need him-”
“Five, you say?” Sherlock’s voice drifted through from the kitchen, and Lestrade followed it.
“Yes, five. I'm on my way to the scene of the fifth now, will you come?”
The paper fell into a heaped pile on the floor, and John nearly tripped over it in his haste to reach the kitchen.
This didn’t make any sense. No one had seen him before... it couldn’t be...
Sherlock was calmly putting his Petri dish in the fridge while Lestrade waited, complaining to Sherlock about how many cases they’d had to pass on to other units without his help.
John couldn’t believe it. His heart was racing, he felt numb...
“You can see him too?”
His voice sounded so much higher and more pathetic than he’d intended. Like a child looking for reassurance that there weren’t really any monsters in the dark.
Lestrade turned to look at him, as did Sherlock.
“What do you mean? Of course I can-”
Sherlock interrupted. “John... I came back. I tried to tell you, you didn’t want to hear it. You wanted to be left alone.”
“I... I haven’t been alone in months. You... you...”
He saw the spark in Sherlock’s eyes that meant he didn’t need to say anything else. He understood.
Putting down the Petri dish, Sherlock crossed the room, and held out his hand.
Their skin brushed as John clasped it, feeling the heat, his fingers moving to the wrist, searching...
A pulse. He found it, leaping out at him from under Sherlock’s pale skin. Proof, actual proof that his friend was here, flesh and blood, alive and not a phantom of his own imagination.
“It was the only way to save you, John. To save all of you. I knew what he wanted me to do. But I wasn’t ready to go.”
John nodded, letting his hand drop. But Sherlock caught it.
“Please, say you forgive me. It was the only way.”
Sherlock had never needed forgiveness before. This was something new. Did Sherlock Holmes really feel guilty for leaving everyone in the dark? Surely not!
Blankly, John nodded again, and Sherlock let his hand go.
It wouldn’t have mattered what he had done. John would always forgive him, he knew he would.
“How did you do it though?”
Sherlock smirked. “Oh, it was clever, even for me. But look, Lestrade has this fifth murder... shall I tell you about it in the taxi?”
“You complete ass, Sherlock Holmes! Who fakes their own bloody murder these days?” He paused. “Ill get my jacket.”
Just like old times.
Current Location: Dunedin, New Zealand
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Current Music: Unforgiven- apocolyptica
web_of_deceitweb_of_deceit on February 6th, 2012 11:36 pm (UTC)
Oh! I've been seeing this prompt/whatever all around tumblr and I absolutely adore this! Great job!
Gininative_spirit on February 7th, 2012 03:03 am (UTC)
I saw it on tumblr too, but from Sherlocks POV and I just had to, its such a heart breaking idea!