Golden Years (455 words, gen, rating: g)
After John departed with Mary to Chiswick, after Mary departed the mortal coil, after John came back and left again for another wife and Sherlock took to his hermitage by the sea and they didn’t speak for months on end for no reason other than the divergence in their lives’ paths, the echo of all they’d done together remained.
Unlike other close friends grown distant with time, they never fell back on, “Do you remember when-?” or, “It’s like that time with —” They didn’t need to reminisce to reconnect; they’d never lost what connected them in the first place.
Separately, in private moments, each was given to bouts of melancholy in their twilight years when thinking of that time together; how it would never be again, how they wished there were more of it. Not only the excitement, but the quiet times, too.
John had chronicled it all; from the broken, limping man he was and the ways their friendship had been forged and tested in those early days, the excitement and intrigue of all their years together, to the slow decline in interest as age took its toll. He’d abandoned his blog after Sherlock’s suicide and never returned to it, but he kept writing, faithfully transferring and converting his old files every time technology took another startling leap forward. He always had the vague notion that one day he would do something with them.
They were both widowers; John twice over, Sherlock in quiet mourning for his work since leaving London years ago. Two sad old men that the world had passed by, John thought on his worst days. It was a year after his second wife passed that he got the letter (an honest-to-god bit of paper in the post; an affectation Sherlock had taken on since his retirement, when some things became less urgent and dictated a certain level of formality) inviting him to Sussex.
Time distorted when they were together again, moments lasting forever and gone too soon; they were young men in deteriorating bodies. Nevertheless, they hadn’t felt so alive in years.
When they sat in front of the fireplace that had warmed countless generations, they had only to catch the other’s eye to know that their shared memory was intact and not something they needed to remind themselves of with words. They both knew there would come a day when one chair would sit empty, they’d always known, but that day seemed just as far away as the day they’d met.