A/N: Post-Fall angst fest, spoilers, one sided slash (if you squint), and my own slightly warped head canon.
Coping. That is the best way to describe what I've been doing this past year. I'm working full time again as a surgeon, but besides the regular 12 hours shifts, not much goes on in my life besides missing him. I'm not living at Baker Street anymore, but I couldn't bring myself to truly move out either. That would mean facing the last tangible remnants of the man that was Sherlock Holmes.
I tried, though, about 6 months after he died. I remember how badly my hands were shaking as I fumbled with the keys trying to open the door. Mrs. Hudson gave me a long sad look as she opened the door for me, but said nothing, instead summoning up a small smile. I was unspeakably grateful.
Walking into the flat was like a slap. Nothing had so much as moved. Sherlock's last experiment, something to do with various cultures of dirt, was still sprawled over the kitchen table and I almost expected to see him bluster in talking quickly about some case or another, or maybe hear a snippet of violin coming from behind a closed door. I felt an unexpected lump in my throat as my eyes ran over a cold cup of tea resting in front of an open book on the table, and my eyes watered when I saw one of his scarves carelessly draped over the chair. I numbly picked it up.
I rolled it slowly through my fingers, letting the soft yarn run over my skin. A wave of regret flooded through me. All the things I hadn't told him, not even as he told me he was a fraud. About how he had suddenly become my whole world without so much as a 'by your leave' and how nothing could be the same. In that moment, I missed him harder than ever, in that room filled with his things, his smell and his ghost. I could barely breathe, but somehow I found myself staggering blindly into his bedroom where I collapsed on the rumpled rarely used bed.
He enveloped me there, the smell of chemicals, soap and his skin still strong despite the passage of time. And I was weeping, though I hadn't felt the tears on my face. It was like something was being slowly excised from my soul, something Sherlock shaped and very important. I wept and wept, until there were no more tears left, but even then I was sobbing, like a sick man with nothing left in his stomach.
I must have fallen into an exhausted sleep, because Mrs. Hudson woke me with a soft pat on the shoulder, her face pinched with sorrow and sympathy.
"I am so sorry, Dr. Watson," she said softly. I gave her a weak smile. "I know it hurts. But Mr. Holmes called after you." Mycroft. "You should go home."
"But the things—" I said, gesturing limply to the room.
"Take as long as you need love," she said, pressing her hand to my cheek. "I won't move anything out." My heart clenched at her kindness. I slid out of the bed, smoothing out the place where I had slept. Without saying a word, I let myself out, Sherlock's blue scarf still in my hand.