The cold rain fell steady and hard. Head bent against the icy spikes of water, Sherlock walked the deserted streets of Kensington. Tonight he stood at the precipice, unsure if he’d survive until morning with his sobriety intact.
Reflections of the street lights shimmered up at him from the black puddles of water he trod through. He didn’t care. Sherlock walked the rain-soaked streets in an effort to distract himself from what had once again welled up inside of him. Wild loops of thought, tight and razor sharp, spun and spiraled through him, doubling back on themselves, binding around him into a tangle that left him dazed and mentally hemorrhaging. He kept walking.
His thoughts were in New York, in Brooklyn. Joan was back there, in NYC. Alone. That’s what she wanted, he quickly told himself. She made her decision. His body tensed at the thought of her. His hands clenched in his pockets. His jaw set rock solid. Sherlock needed to know she was safe. That’s all he wanted. Just to know she was safe, unharmed.
"That is a damn lie," he mercilessly corrected himself. Watson could take care of herself and she had the whole NYPD as backup. He knew she was safe; well, as safe as she could be without him by her side. But that was the problem, wasn’t it. She didn’t want him at her side.
Mycroft had made it abundantly clear that Watson thought of him as a responsibility, a burden to shoulder. He left NYC partially to settle things with MI6 and partially to give her the space she wanted, completely away from him. Sherlock Holmes was no one’s burden.
His feet were numb but he kept walking. He wanted oblivion. He wanted the noise and the chatter and the need to stop. Just stop. He wanted to cave in, to stop yearning for all the things he could not have. The packet was right there, inside his jacket. Peace was within his grasp. But damn her, he couldn’t use it. And it wasn’t because she’d be disappointed. It was because her words, her thoughts, her beliefs had become his. He wouldn’t shoot up because he understood what the outcome would be. He wouldn’t use it; not tonight at least. He’d just keep walking until exhaustion dulled the need. Sherlock thought of Alistair and walked faster.
The honest truth was he missed Watson. He missed working with her, the mental challenge she presented. He missed the conversations from the philosophical to the asinine. He missed just knowing she was there, sharing meals and stories and the quiet … Sherlock stopped suddenly, picked up his head and let the cold rain stab at his face. This couldn’t go on. He had to stop. He had to find an escape. Wiping the water from his face, he saw the light of a still-open pub.
Bourbon, whiskey, a good scotch … A drink. A drink was not heroin. A drink was innocuous. Yes, it meant he would be back to square one, his sobriety breached but it was just a drink. He wasn’t addicted to alcohol. Sherlock lied to himself, used his best powers of persuasion as he argued the case to himself for having a drink, or two, as he started walking towards the pub.
He was soaked. His pants and coat sodden with rain. His nose red from the cold. Sherlock walked into the half empty pub and made his way to the counter. Every fiber of his being vibrated, as he fought with himself. The pub owner jerked his head at him in lieu of asking for his order.
"Tea, good and hot." The words came out on their own. The owner acknowledged the order and turned. Sherlock squeezed his eyes shut, wiped at his face, muttering, "God damn that woman! She will be the death of me."