The Things One Notices is a Sherlock fanfiction, written after I watched the British TV series with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. I was obsessed, and I shipped them (if you don’t know what shipping is, look it up). Please forgive me this little indulgence!
The Things One Notices
When he had woken up, all those weeks ago, Sherlock had noticed a few things were different.
The first thing he had noticed was the darkness, its taloned hands beckoning to him just outside his line of sight. It crept up on him when he wasn’t expecting it, dizziness washing over him in dark waves. It was in the fuzzy edges of his vision, flaring up when he spun his head around too quickly, or tried to speak.
The second thing he had noticed was the echo, the remains of a cracking noise heard long ago bouncing around inside his head. It was a constant ringing in his ears, a throbbing, metallic sound. Unlike the darkness, it was always there, in the back of his mind. It was really quite annoying.
The third thing he had noticed was the chills, the little icy pinpricks creeping its way up the left side of his body. Never his right; it was always his left. They started in the palm of his hand and bit their needle teeth up his arm, rendering it numb and cold. He ignored the tiny part of his brain that told him it was loneliness. It was chills, that’s all it was. How silly, how preposterous to think that you could feel loneliness as a physical condition!
But still Sherlock felt that he was missing something about the whole thing, one small piece of the puzzle just out of his grasp. All this, the darkness and the echo and the chills, it didn’t add up. He knew something wasn’t quite right but he just couldn’t… figure… out… what. So he did what he always does when he can’t figure something out. He gets a second opinion, someone to bounce ideas off who may be able to see the sliver of light his eyes couldn’t, clouded with darkness as they were. Someone bright, someone down-to-earth, someone gifted and special and everything he couldn’t be.
He began the long trek from… wherever he was. Where was he, exactly? Even now he couldn’t put words to it. All he remembered was the door, all beech and silver and so polished it almost glowed. He opened it, stepping onto the street and following the short sandy-haired man a few paces in front of him. Brows furrowed, eyes narrowed, he tried to reach him, to tap him on the shoulder, but the crowd seemed to swell every time he tried. Sherlock was clever, though. He would be patient, wait for the man to enter the grocery store or butcher, and then swoop on him.
Patience is difficult. Goddamn it, why couldn’t he just go into a store already? Get off the- ahh.
The man had turned, pushing open a gate crested with tall black spikes. This was unusual, Sherlock thought as he ghosted. The man had never been here before. In the back of his mind he noticed the man had switched his sweater and tracks for a black suit that hung slightly on his frame. Hmm. That suit had never hung like that before. Did he lose weight? Maybe.
The man passed stone after stone, trailing his fingers lightly along each, until he stopped in front of a black marble piece. He pressed his hands to the stone, sinking to his knees and just staring. Staring, eyes moving back and forth as they took in the letters carved on its face. Eyes slowly filling. And then the man hung his head and let the tears fall.
But Sherlock was confused. Why was the man crying? Who would be cruel enough to leave this man all alone? This man didn’t deserve it. This man was a good person! A terrible anger began to fill him, enough so that he stormed out from behind the trees and to within reading distance of the stone. His eyes flicked over the name etched at the top, and froze.
What? No. How could… no, there must be some sort of mistake.
How could this happen? No! This wasn’t possible!
But then, all of a sudden, he remembered.
He remembered the gunshot, the blood of his enemy on his shoes. He remembered the choice, the phone in his hand. He remembered calling, talking, crying. This man, this beautiful man, watching him step to the edge.
Suddenly the things he’d noticed before, the darkness and the echo and the chills, all made sense. The darkness of death’s hands. The echo of the gunshot. The chills of loneliness from the absence of a hand to hold.
Oh John, I’m so sorry. Please John. Turn around. I’m right here, behind you. I’m still here, I’m with you. Don’t cry John, please. I’m not dead! John, please, I need you!
Look at me!
And suddenly he was. Spinning around, turning to leave, John had frozen with his face inches away from Sherlock’s. Sherlock stared into his eyes, deep and dark and full of tears. John stared into empty space. For a second, John had thought – but no. He was hallucinating again. He was always doing that, seeing Sherlock out of the corner of his eye when he wasn’t there.
God, he missed that man.
John wiped away the tears that were making tracks down his cheeks and composed himself as best he could, walking slowly back down the path, straight through Sherlock. Sherlock gasped, feeling for a moment warmth and happiness and love, the kind of feelings that it is only human to feel. But he wasn’t. Not anymore. As John’s footsteps faded Sherlock’s hands dropped to his chest, feeling… different, somehow. Like he had dropped something- no, not quite.
It was the feeling of heartlessness. Sherlock had no heart, not anymore, he realised.
John Watson had taken it from him.