And how much this would sort of suck for them.
Rachelle mentioned to me that she thought Holmes would probably send word to his brother Mycroft (canonically, the only person who does know Holmes is still alive) to tell Watson the truth.
So today, partly because I spent a good chunk of the day sitting around to find out if I was going out in the afternoon and then didn't because it rained and outdoor concerts in rain are not fun, and partly because this scene had been rattling around in my head for a day or two anyway, I sat down and wrote this scene, where Mycroft sits Watson down to tell him this news.
And I don't know what to do with it so I'm posting it here.
Continuing Good Health
"Word reached me of Mrs. Watson. You have my condolences, Doctor."
I nodded, uncomfortably. I have never been at home in the Diogenes Club, the Stranger's Room or not, and I have never quite been sure of where I stand with Mycroft Holmes. He has the same uncanny way of looking at a man as does his brother, but while with Sherlock Holmes I have at least usually known where it is I stand, and that my secrets are tolerated if they are known, I have no such reassurance with the elder Holmes. I had no idea what he might think of me, what conclusions he might come to from the way I answered his questions.
And least of all, I did not wish to discuss Mary with Mycroft Holmes.
"Thank you, Mr. Holmes." It had been months since her passing, at least by the calendar. By my own memories it had been far longer, but I could not trust any of them. "Your sympathy is appreciated."
Mycroft looked at me, as though hesitating, though his face was impassive. "Dr. Watson, I am afraid there is not any easy way to say this, but I feel I am about to give you some news which may be rather disturbing to you."
A thrill of hope ran through me then. I am certain I betrayed this somehow, but I sat still, with my chin high. I could not allow myself to think that. It was not what I wanted. What I wanted was for an extensive hallucination, a fantasy, a despair-induced delirium, to be reality. There had been no island, no men from the future or other worlds, and most certainly, no Holmes.
Whatever Mycroft's news was, it could not be that.
"My nerves are not so shattered I cannot handle it," I assured him.
And yet he still hesitated, as though debating the wisdom of this to himself. Why shouldn't he? Who was I, to him? The friend of his brother, no more. "To begin with, Dr. Watson, whatever befell you in Switzerland two years ago, my brother yet lives."
This was playing out like fantasy. I shut my eyes, momentarily, to recover. I had known, but the knowing was impossible and I had tried to ignore it. When I opened my eyes, I discovered Mycroft frowning at me, concerned.
"Go on," I said.
"I have been in touch with him sporadically since shortly after his encounter with the late Professor at the Falls. He has been in great danger, and in fact still is, as there are still several of the Professor's men who are out for his blood." He was watching me so carefully, and was moving to the sideboard to pour out some brandy. "I was forbidden to tell you this fact, but very recently I received a telegram that undid that." He pressed the brandy into my hand, and the folded telegram into the other. I set the brandy aside – I wanted my sobriety just then – and unfolded the paper, willing my hands to stop shaking.
PLEASE INFORM MY PHYSICIAN OF MY CONTINUING GOOD HEALTH. ISLAND HOLIDAY WAS EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED. WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF HE STILL AGREES.
It was posted from Tibet. But then, I had known that would be the case.
I looked up at Mycroft, uncomfortably mute, not certain if I trusted my voice to not betray me.
"This reference to an ‘island holiday' means something to you." It was not a question.
"Yes. Yes, I do know what he refers to. Tell him," I hesitated. "Tell him that I agree that the holiday was the best possible thing."
"You knew he was alive," Mycroft said, after giving me a very long look.
I shook my head. "Only hoped."
To part two...