thank god for harriet

‘Money is Power’ is probably the biggest thing that we are doing wrong right now, worshiping people just because they make a lot of money. You have cats, rappers included, who run for photo ops with Warren Buffett while Maya Angelou was alive and never ran for that photo op. 

Like when Jay [Jay-Z] said, “I couldn't help the poor if I was one of them.” 

Thank God Harriet Tubman didn't think that way. 
Thank God Sojourner Truth didn’t think that way,
Malcolm didn’t think that way, Martin Luther King didn’t think that way, Assata Shakur didn't think that way.

- Saul Williams. Breakfast Club interview

John’s funeral is the most awful thing he’s ever attended. The hall is half full, guests primarily consisting of people he’s already met and bolstered by a scattering of John’s old uni friends and fellow servicemen. Lestrade, Mike Stamford, Mrs Hudson (who’s survived them not once but twice, god). Mycroft doesn’t bother, though the obnoxiously large bouquet that’s bigger than anything he ever sent to the occasion of Sherlock’s false passing stands as symbol of his condolences (he understands Mycroft’s abstinence, later might even be grateful for it, but for now he’s simply grateful for something to hate.) His parents try to come, but the night before he’s met with the terrible realisation that looking into his mother’s face and meeting her calm, knowing eyes would be the undoing of him. He tells her to stay at the hotel, enjoy London, bother Mycroft, and she understands. Molly is another he wishes to stay at home but he has no right to dictate her actions and so she sits quietly towards the back of the small church, eyes always on the casket once it arrives, for which he will never thank her and always be grateful. A few others he knows: Sarah, Janine, and thank God for the way she manages to dare him to crumble with every look they share, thank God for the way she holds her nerve despite the concern veiled thinly behind her challenges, thank God for her. Harry. Harriet Watson, and that’s one conversation he never imagined having to stumble through. He avoids it. He avoids her. He very nearly misses the Major as he slides into a pew at the very back, civilian clothing notable, and just as quickly as he sees him he leaves him be. They are both men who would rather not be seen today. 

Sherlock doesn’t have that luxury. 

Sherlock walks John’s casket in with a handful of others from the gathering, aware of every step. Calculating the exact weight of John’s body as dispersed between the bunch of them, working out how much of the strain on his shoulder is John and how much is the wooden box that’s holding him. The impression of the floor underfoot is stitched onto both soles until he’s certain he’ll be treading this short twenty metre stretch for the rest of his life. The room smells sweet. Mrs Hudson’s breath hitches and he bites the inside of his cheek. 

The service is to the point. Harry speaks and Sherlock is confronted with stories of John as a boy, his mischief and his troubles, his love and his strength. A soldier stands and Sherlock learns more about the days John never shared beneath a searing hot sky, lives saved, scars earned. Inevitably, Sherlock does as is expected of him. He stands, takes his place at the front of the room. His eyes trail once over dark, dead wood, linger on the picture of a face he prays will never fade from him and when he turns to address them, he speaks to Janine, to the back wall, for a brief half-second to the damp-eyed man in the back row. He doesn’t say a lot. There are no anecdotes. There is nothing shared. There’s no use in whispered secrets of the truth of John Watson that’s so much greater than anybody seems to grasp. There’s a brief, concise explanation that no person, living or dead, will ever leave the impression on him that John Watson has left in their all too brief association. To any of those sitting in the room today, he adds, who have known even a fraction of the man that John Watson was, I am very sorry for your loss.

He means it. He cannot meet their eyes, but he means it.

John’s body disappears into fire, as it ought to have to begin with and didn’t in the end, and Sherlock sits, yearning to run and shout and shoot and scream, live precious years again, wring the life right out of them, a whole host of days encasing him in the need to chirp at John to come along and drag him out into street to throw him in the way of something awful and dangerous. Instead, he watches the curtains close and imagines the casket fed into the incinerator. He’s conscious suddenly of all the things John should have been dressed in, all the things Sherlock should have put in there with him to mingle with the remains and become part of him. He pictures jumpers, oatmeal and cabled and folded neatly at home. He pictures the hat, begrudgingly accepted as part of the picture John helped paint of him, sitting on his head that first time with John smirking just inches from his back. He pictures strands of Redbeard’s fur, his violin bow, a discarded Cluedo board.

Sherlock comes around to the gentle squeeze of Lestrade’s hand on his shoulder. Mrs Hudson waits for them politely by the door. There’s no indication from either of them how long Sherlock’s been gone, and no knowing how much longer they would have let him stay there were it not for the urging of the attendant that they’ve a wedding to prepare for and they really do need the space, terribly sorry to rush you. 

Lestrade drives them home. Sherlock’s too exhausted to respond to the hug he’s pulled into before the man leaves. He nods loosely along to Mrs Hudson’s promise to be up soon with tea. Carrying himself limply up the stairs to flat, he pulls out his key to let himself in and disappears immediately to his bedroom, eyes clenched tight shut against everything else. 

In a way, it’s just as well he’d never taken the chance to tell John. At least now there’s one place in their - his, his - flat which isn’t covered top to bottom in the traces of a man whose ashes aren’t Sherlock’s to spread.