BBC Sherlock: Hold On To What You Believe 2/2 (Complete)
Characters/Pairing: John/Sherlock epic friendship, brief appearances by Mycroft, Lestrade and Mrs. Hudson
Rating: PG 13 (to be safe)
Warnings: Angst/Reichenbach feels. But there's also fluff, a reunion, and the enjoyment of music. And a bit of supernatural goodness.
Summary: Ever since he was young there has always been one piece of music Sherlock has never been able to play. It is the melody he hears in his dreams; when he dreamed of London, warm blue eyes and a kind smile.
He never thought he would find the answer in a seemingly ordinary army doctor by the name of John Watson.
This was written for calamitybreak for the Sherlockmas 2012 fic exchange. Reveals were posted today so I'm finally able to post this here! There were also a lot of wonderful stories you should be sure to check out! Thanks to calamitybreak for the wonderful prompts, and the mods at Sherlockmas for their hard work!
I hope you enjoy this!
~~~ * ~~~
Two days after the funeral of Sherlock Holmes- a small affair with pouring rain and a turnout of only a handful of people- John Watson disappeared.
John had been adamant that Sherlock was not a fake and was a real consulting detective and had done everything he could to make people believe. Lestrade did his part, but since he was on leave pending investigation he had to keep his head down. And Mycroft, well he’d only tried once to talk to John and after that had left him alone.
That night John went to sleep in Sherlock’s room where he’d been sleeping ever since that day. He hadn’t touched Sherlock’s room at all, leaving everything the way it was. John only used the bed to sleep in, spending most of his time in the living room or kitchen. Most of Sherlock’s belongings and experiments were put away, but there were still reminders of Sherlock everywhere; reminders that his friend and the most infuriating genius in the world was gone.
Almost as soon as his head hit the pillow he was transported elsewhere. A familiar voice spoke to him, a voice with hints blaring horns, hooves on cobblestones, and the sound of rushing water. “It’s time John Watson.”
A wave of panic fiercely gripped his chest. “No, no!” He protested, desperate for this to not happen. “Not yet.”
“He’s gone, John. There’s nothing left for you here.” The voice told him gently, sounding saddened.
John considered this. “But he’s coming back, isn’t he? I want to be here when he comes back.”
“You will,” the voice reassured him. There was a light pressure on his forehead. “If it’s meant to be, you will.”
Before he could protest John was swallowed by a golden light and he knew nothing more.
~~~ * ~~~
Soon after Sherlock Holmes’ funeral DI Greg Lestrade forgot about the typically mild-mannered doctor who used to accompany Sherlock on cases and help him solve crimes.
Then Mrs. Hudson forgot about the second of her two dear boys, who were really so good for each other and so clearly
sweet on each other.
And finally Mycroft Holmes forgot about the stubborn army doctor who had been so loyal to Sherlock and the one person who could possibly understand his brother.
In the end, John Watson was completely forgotten in the space of a few weeks.
Except for by the one man who mattered the most.
~~~ * ~~~ * ~~~
Three months after the day of the fall:
Body ready for disposal.
Is John still safe?
Will be taken care of.
John Watson, my flat mate.
John is fine. Keep working.
Nine months after:
One sniper down. Mrs. Hudson is safe.
Update on John?
No new information. Will keep surveillance
on Mrs. H.
Look after him.
Twelve months after:
One left. Returning to London.
How is John?
Finish the task, then you can see
Do you know of a John who was involved
in Sherlock’s life?
To: M Holmes
No, don’t think so. But there’s a lot of
John’s out there. Does this have to do
with the investigation?
Merely satisfying my curiosity. Thank you
Thirteen months after:
Done. Going to Baker Street. Don’t try to
I wouldn’t dare.
~~~ * ~~~
After nearly fourteen months of traveling the world, moving from country to country to destroy what was left of Moriarty’s organization, Sherlock was finally finished and home in London.
He had been waiting for this for a very long time, for what felt like longer than thirteen months. And finally he was standing in front of Baker Street, exhausted, several stones lighter, and probably looking terrible.
Sherlock took a deep breath then stretched out his hand to grip the handle of the door. He expected John would be home and sitting on the sofa with a mug of tea and the day’s paper. That was if John hadn’t changed his routine in the past months.
He slowly pushed the door open, revealing the unchanged inside of Baker Street. Sherlock listened closely. He could hear Mrs. Hudson puttering around her flat, but nothing from above in 221B. Walking quietly so as to not alert Mrs. Hudson
Sherlock crossed to the stairs then slowly went up. He didn’t have the energy to take two at a time like he once had, but he did manage to ignore the creaky step.
He froze again on the landing for several long heartbeats, staring at the wood of the door. John was hopefully on the other side and safe and Sherlock would see him in the next minute. He took a deep breath- why was he so nervous? - and turned the knob. The door slowly creaked open- they’d never gotten around to oiling it- revealing the all too familiar living room of 221b.
Almost immediately his gaze snapped to where John’s chair was facing the sofa and where John should be sitting. But John wasn’t there.
John’s favorite pillow wasn’t on the chair, or the sofa, or anywhere else within sight. The floor where Sherlock looked next was much neater than he remembered it ever being. John’s laptop wasn’t in its usual places on his chair, sitting on the sofa, or on the table. There also weren’t any mugs or coasters John regularly used sitting on the table.
Sherlock walked over near the bookcases, but instead of them overflowing and being disorganized from the combination of both his and John’s books all the titles were his. Every single one.
Sherlock walked behind the sofa, past his room, and through the open doors to the kitchen. His experiment materials were still on the kitchen table, although none of his ongoing experiments were there. The canister of John’s favorite tea wasn’t on the counter next to the stovetop where John kept the kettle. There wasn’t even a kettle. Sherlock opened the cupboard doors to find that none of John’s mugs were on the bottom shelf within easy reach, not even John’s favorite RAMC mug.
After a closer inspection of the entirety of 221B, there was absolutely no sign of John’s presence anywhere in the flat. Everything belonged to Sherlock, or had been there when he moved in. So unless John had somehow moved all of his
things into the room upstairs, it was as if John had never stepped foot inside 221b.
Sherlock angrily dug his hand into his pocket and pulled out his mobile. He scrolled down to his brother’s number and
pressed the call button.
After two rings Mycroft answered, “Sherlock, to what do I owe this pleasure?”
“I’ve had enough of your tricks, Mycroft,” Sherlock hissed angrily at the microphone. “Why didn’t you tell me John moved to a new flat?”
He could hear the confusion in his brother’s voice. “There is no trick Sherlock. And you have never lived with anyone named John. You have never flat-shared with anyone.” A sound that could have been a laugh. “Even at university you refused to share.”
Sherlock vigorously shook his head, tangling long fingers in his hair. “That’s ridiculous Mycroft; I was sharing a flat with John for over a year before Moriarty made me fake my death. John was one of the snipers targets!”
“Sherlock-“ His brother started in his most annoying ‘you’re not being reasonable’ silken drawl.
Sherlock refused to listen to Mycroft any longer than he needed to. He ended the call and dropped the mobile back into his pocket.
“Mrs. Hudson!” Sherlock called, turning and rushing to the door. He called again as he went down the stairs and into the hall.
The door to Mrs. Hudson’s rooms swung open just as he came to it. His favorite landlady stood in her doorway, one hand still gripping the handle.
“Sherlock?” She asked, her voice wavering. A hand rose to press against her chest as she stared at him. “Is that really you?”
He was about to impatiently brush her question aside and demand to know where John was, but then he realized Mrs. Hudson deserved more. So for a brief moment he put aside his worry and annoyance about John and said, as calmly as he could manage, “Yes Mrs. Hudson, it is me.”
A shaky exhale escaped Mrs. Hudson’s lips, and her eyes began to well. “Sherlock,” she whispered. Then she took a step towards him and enveloped him in an embrace that was tighter than it should be for a woman her age.
He suffered the embrace, maybe even leant into it a little, until she finally released him. Mrs. Hudson moved back and
swatted him on the arm. “Never do that to me again Sherlock, do you understand?”
He was taken aback by the ferocity in her words. But then again Mrs. Hudson often surprised him. “Yes, Mrs. Hudson.” He
That made her smile at him again. “Good. Now let me give you something to eat, you’re just skin and bones.”
He waved her off- as tempting as that did sound- and returned to the real concern. “No Mrs. Hudson, thank you. Now, where is John?”
She blinked, not quite catching on. “John?” Mrs. Hudson asked, sounding confused. “John who, Sherlock?”
This was getting ridiculous, had everyone grown thick in his absence? “John Watson, the John I was sharing the upstairs flat with for over a year. That John!”
Mrs. Hudson was still blinking, looking bewildered. “You’ve been renting the upstairs flat on your own, Sherlock. And you’ve
been on your own all that time. I don’t know any of John.”
Sherlock froze, not understanding. He had thought Mycroft could be playing a trick on him, an awful trick, pretending to have forgotten about John. But Mrs. Hudson didn’t seem to remember John, and Sherlock could tell she wasn’t lying to him.
What was happening? He shifted restlessly, fighting the urge to start pacing. He needed to move around, to help his brain start working again. He needed to pace, or to play his violin, or to-
Sherlock spun around and went as quickly as possible back out to the hall and up the stairs to 221B. He thundered into the flat to stop near the end of the sofa.
He had missed his violin during his travels, but Mycroft wouldn’t send it to him so Sherlock had looked forward to playing it on his return. But on his earlier survey of the flat he hadn’t seen his case anywhere.
The only place he hadn’t looked was his bedroom. So Sherlock slowly crossed the living room towards the door to his own room. He stopped in front of it and gently pushed the door open.
His room didn’t look any different then how he’d left it: the sheets and blankets were still piled on the floor, his piles of books were knocked over near the wall, and the top two drawers of his dresser were open.
Except on top of his unmade bed, was his violin case.
It was closed, didn’t look like it’d been touched, and there was a folded white note card on top of it.
Sherlock tried to figure out how his case had gotten onto his bed without him moving it, or anyone else doing so. But then he walked forward to pick up the card.
There were only two lines of handwriting on the card. And they were in John’s familiar distinctive scrawl.
‘I’m sorry Sherlock. I didn’t want to go.
Keep playing, I’ll find you.’
It wasn’t a very enlightening message. There were multiple possible meanings, and no clear clues he could read from John’s handwriting. Yet he did now have proof John had existed; even if it didn’t seem he did now.
Sherlock simply would have to think of a way to find John again. He refused to sit around and wait for John to find him.
~~~ * ~~~
A week later Sherlock was still holed up in 221B trying to figure out how to find John.
In the beginning he’d gone and spoken to anyone who had had contact with John- Lestrade had only answered his question after punching him in the jaw, Sarah had yelled then thrown him out of the clinic, and Molly had cried before hugging him tightly- but none of them remembered John. And there was no one by the name of Mike Stamford teaching at St. Bart’s.
Everything pointed to him being the only one who remembered John at all. Somehow everyone else had completely forgotten.
Sherlock had fallen to playing his violin to help aid his thought process; which meant he was playing nearly every minute since he didn’t have time to sleep. Mrs. Hudson of course protested this, mostly by yelling up to him and trying to feed him up.
But even playing as much as he was wasn’t helping him figure out how this could have happened. Nothing was helping. He was just becoming more irritated and exhausted and he wanted John back.
What had John meant by ‘keep playing. I’ll find you’ anyway? He had been playing for days now and John still hadn’t reappeared.
Maybe John had meant something else by his message; could he have read it incorrectly?
Sherlock wasn’t about to give up on John, not at all; but if he could find another way to solve this…
~~~ * ~~~
Sherlock continued to play for several more days; playing different types of songs to see if that would make John appear.
But John never did. Baker Street remained absent of John. Sherlock was only playing for himself.
He refused to believe he had made up John Watson because that was impossible. They had survived and done too much together for it not to have been real. He couldn’t possibly have made up someone like John. Not in his most thorough imaginings.
So if John wouldn’t come to him at Baker Street, Sherlock would have to try and go to him. Where ever John was.
Sherlock started by visiting places he and John had gone together, places that were special to the two of them. If any place was special it was Baker Street, the flat they had made into a home together, but John wasn’t there.
He first went to a few of the places where he had played and waited for John to find him. They had never gone to one more than once, Sherlock had always found a new place each time; but they were each still special because both he and John had enjoyed the game.
But at all of them no matter how long Sherlock played, even when he played the same songs as he had the day they were there, John didn’t appear. Sherlock stood on his own on the pavement with his eyes closed and his violin on his shoulder, and played as long as he could. And nothing happened.
He finally decided this wasn’t going to help him find John. So Sherlock decided to try another place he and John had spent
He next tried playing near the Yard, but for that he only received irritated looks from many of the officers as they passed and sharp remarks from those who didn’t appreciate his return. The only one who confronted him was a condescending chief officer who had been there for his- and John’s- arrest and subsequent escape, and didn’t appreciate the fool they had made the Yard look.
Surprisingly, or perhaps not so, Lestrade came out several times to stand near him. When he wasn’t playing Lestrade cast him worried looks- which Sherlock didn’t appreciate- or tried to get him to go back to Baker Street. Sherlock protested he needed to stay to find John, and he couldn’t go home, not now, Lestrade spoke to him in a voice Sherlock had heard him
use with victims in shock and refused to listen to anything regarding John.
Finally Sherlock again decided John wouldn’t reappear here, the Yard wasn’t special to them, and went off to find somewhere else. He didn’t want to spend any more time near this building than he had to. Even with Lestrade back as the most helpful and intelligent of the lot.
Sherlock considered playing at Barts, but then he remembered John’s face that day- heartbroken, disbelief, regret- and how hard it had been to decide to leave him behind thinking he was dead.
He decided not to play at Bart’s after all.
His last idea- after a sleepless night of thinking and playing- was Angelo’s, where they had had many of their traditional post-case meals.
The large man greeted him warmly, embracing him and offering a free meal. Sherlock agreed to eat whatever Angelo chose to put in front of him but ended up only eating a few mouthfuls. He wasn’t very hungry and really only interested in finding John. But Sherlock also knew John would give him a hard time if he didn’t look after himself at least a little.
After filling his stomach Sherlock picked up his case off the chair and walked outside. He stood out on the pavement just in front of the front windows and took out and prepped his violin.
Once he was ready, he raised the instrument to his shoulder, closed his eyes, and played the first note.
Almost two-thirds of the way through the piece, in the slow(er) section following multiple lines of runs, chords, and complicated fingerings, Sherlock suddenly became aware that someone was standing just behind him.
He consciously played slower, not quite stopping but his mind was now focused on something other than the music. Sherlock tried to deduce anything he could about the person but there was frustratingly nothing to read.
Soon he was focusing completely on the person and just playing the rest of the song on auto-pilot. Finally Sherlock stopped his fingers on the strings and the bow in the air, abruptly ending the song.
At the familiar clipped voice Sherlock stiffened, wrapping his hand tightly around the neck of the violin. “John?” He asked, his voice not nearly as steady as it usually was.
“Sherlock.” His name warm, patient, fond, and said the way only John ever pronounced it.
If this was a hallucination, or a dream, it was the best one of all. And if there was even the slightest possibility that this was real, that he really had somehow found John again…
Sherlock lowered his violin from his shoulder, and slid it into the crook of his arm. Then he began to turn towards what could possibly be John because he just needed to see…
He froze, twisted partially around to the window and frustratingly not quite able to see. “John-“
John must have heard his frustration because he said soothingly, kind, “You can’t Sherlock.”
“Why not?” He demanded, knowing he sounded half a second away from stomping his foot.
John didn’t reply right away and Sherlock’s chest clenched painfully with the horrible thought that John was gone again already.
“I’m not really here, not completely.”
Sherlock desperately fought the urge to turn around because John had said not to and he didn’t want John to disappear. He wavered between all the questions he wanted to ask John and everything he wanted to say, before finally settling on, “No one else remembers you.”
John laughed- warm, not mocking. “That’s because I don’t really exist.”
Sherlock scoffed; that was ridiculous. “Of course you do.”
“Do you remember the song you used to hear in your dreams?” John asked, changing the topic with a very strange and seemingly random question.
“Yes?” Sherlock replied, the answer coming out as a question. For some reason he didn’t think it at all peculiar that John knew of the song.
“Play it for me.”
It wasn’t a demand, not from John. It was a request and one Sherlock wanted to fulfill. But he’d tried so many times to play the song in his head on his violin and he had never been able to.
“John I can’t-“
“Play it,” John said softly.
Sherlock sighed and raised the violin to settle it back onto his shoulder. Desperately hoping and wishing he wouldn’t disappoint John, Sherlock closed his eyes, placed his fingers on the strings, and began to play.
And somehow this time he didn’t have any trouble at all. The song flowed perfectly from the notes in his head down to his fingers where he made his violin sing with the melody he had heard for so long. His emotions swelled, rising and falling with the music and all the feelings it raised in him.
And as he played, he remembered. He remembered who he was, who John was, and all the history they had together.
Sherlock lost himself in the music until he finally came to the end of the song, letting the last note fade away into the crisp air. When he opened his eyes again and lowered the violin Sherlock realized his cheeks were wet and his hand was shaking slightly.
Slowly, oh so slowly, Sherlock turned around to face John. And this time John didn’t try to stop him.
He turned around to find John smiling at him, grinning really, and looking just completely like John.
Sherlock smiled back, feeling like his face would split in half, and basked in the warmth he felt.
They stood in silence for a while, grinning- probably stupidly- at each other.
Finally John cleared his throat and asked, “Do you want to go back to Baker Street?”