machshefa: (j and s silhouette)
[personal profile] machshefa

Title: I leave a trail of breadcrumbs to show you where I've been
Characters/pairings: John/Sherlock
Spoilers: S2, Reichenbach Fall 
Warnings: a moment of gore, apparent character death
Summary: John sees him every single time he closes his eyes.
Author notes: This story is set in the Touchstone universe found on AO3 or LJ. To understand this story best, I recommend reading 'Touchstone' first.  I plan to revisit this universe to retell the three episodes of Series 2 through the 'Touchstone' universe's lens.

This ficlet demanded writing first, so here it is.

Beta thanks to [ profile] pyjamapants, [ profile] sc010f, and [ profile] bethbethbeth.

John sees him every single time he closes his eyes.

Hears him.


Keep your eyes fixed on me!

Please, will you do this for me?

Perched on the rooftop, arms spread wide, as if he might take flight.

Oh, god, Sherlock, John thinks even now, all these months later. Don’t you know? I’ve had my eyes nowhere else since the moment we met.

But his gaze couldn’t keep his friend, my best friend from lifting his arms one last time, wish stones pouring from his fingertips like rain.

Tourmaline and ruby and opal fall from his hands and, for a moment, seem to hang in the air as if they might cradle him as he plummets downdowndown.

The sky is filled with wish stones, secrets only John understands, scattered on the wind.

Goodbye, John.

Prayers, like broken glass, burst from John’s skin, cutting the air with shrieks of pain.




But Sherlock steps off the ledge; his body in flight, falling, hurtling, helpless, to the ground, his body striking the pavement with a sick thud.

The world stops turning.

When John hits the cobblestones, it’s almost a relief. The way his head spins feels right. Confusion and horror and the pain in his body are all as they should be.

Sherlock has fallen.

Sherlock is hurt, and he has to get to him.

He must.

John’s voice, hoarse and broken, sounds far away against the rushing in his ears.

Let me come through, please. He’s my friend; he’s my friend. Please tell me he’s—

Oh, god.

Oh, god, no.

The blood.

Red and glistening like the most vibrant touchstone. But Sherlock’s skin is white, and his eyes, oh, god, his eyes are empty. No longer surging with life and love and hope.

Wish stones lay scattered around him, his heart empty, too.

John’s breath hitches now, remembering, and pigment rises to the palms of his hands. Indigo blue, streaked with black, it pulses beneath his skin. He leans his cheek against the headstone and takes a gulp of air. Hewn of earth instead of emotion, this stone grounds him. It feels as if it tethers him to Sherlock; an anchor dropped straight to the centre of the earth.

Greg hates that John comes here each week. Says it’s time for him to let Sherlock rest. And for you to move on, remains unspoken but still heard.

But John knows others still come, too. The small stones left on Sherlock’s headstone evidence of the handful of visitors who have been to pay their respects. At the centre, a piece of green amazonite from Mrs Hudson; a polished oval of jade from Molly sits tucked behind it. There’s a haphazard pile of lapis John is sure Greg adds to each time he visits. And at the edge of the headstone, set off from the others, a polished sapphire that could only have come from Mycroft.

John doesn’t touch any of them, not even when the wind and rain knock them to the ground to nestle amongst the fallen leaves.

He comes here because it the only place the noise in his head quiets. Pressed up against Sherlock’s gravestone, (Sherlock’s gravestone), his fingers dig into the ground beneath him as wish pigment floods his body, filling the blank slate of his skin with colour. With memory. With the echo of hopes and dreams he once thought were his to keep.

He buries the touchstones he manifests here just beneath the loamy soil, their rough edges brushing against the smooth surface of the polished headstone.

Agate and topaz and diopside. Everything he longs for, everything Sherlock gave to him, changed in him, his anguish and what tears he has left to cry live within those touchstones.

He leaves them for Sherlock.

It makes him feel less alone.

The earth is soft from the summer sun, and John imagines his row of touchstones all lined up like seeds, waiting for the right combination of sun and soil and water to release them from where they hide beneath the surface, freeing them to burst into the light.

Today, he lays his head down and runs his fingers through the long grasses that cover Sherlock’s grave. If he closes his eyes, he can almost feel the silk of Sherlock’s skin beneath his fingertips. Smell the sweetness of his breath against his cheek.

John pauses.

“What’s this?” he mutters. The soil alongside the stone where John has secreted his touchstones has been disturbed. A square of grass sits just the slightest bit off-kilter as if someone had cut it away and hastily replaced it.

John’s heart begins to pound. Those stones were for Sherlock. The idea of someone else even seeing them brings a furious flush to his skin, and he shoves the dislodged square of grass and soil away to uncover the crime.

“Oh, god.” His voice breaks.

He’s right.

His touchstones are gone.

John’s hand shakes. His touchstones are gone, but in their place is a single, turquoise stone.

The moment he touches it, he knows.

He closes his eyes and lets the stone’s energy flow through him.

He listens.

Hold on, it says.

John can’t help the sob that tears from his chest. He’s been so broken.

I had to.

An echo of Sherlock’s words imbedded in stone.


John curls his fist around the gem, warming it with his skin and letting Sherlock’s heart fill him with light. With hope.

I will always love you.

John’s body shakes and his skin floods with colour.

“I miss you,” John whispers into the wind.

And as if it could speak, Sherlock’s touchstone answers.

Wait for me.


Date: 2012-01-20 02:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, all those jagged prayers found their way to him!

Calming. Calming. Calm down now.


Date: 2012-01-20 03:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
John's prayers just couldn't be contained...

*breathes with you


Date: 2012-01-20 05:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
shit. oh hell. and now i'm broken. that was powerful.

i need a hug. :(

Date: 2012-01-22 01:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*hugs you

Date: 2012-01-20 07:47 am (UTC)
themusecalliope: Vulpes Vulpes (Default)
From: [personal profile] themusecalliope
I love this 'verse...but I think I need a hug now. I'm glad to hear there will be more stories to come!

Date: 2012-01-22 01:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*hugs you tight

Thank you :)

I'm hoping to delve back in very soon. I'm so glad this left you wanting more.

Date: 2012-01-20 07:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Absolutely magnificent

Date: 2012-01-22 01:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Thank you!

Date: 2012-01-20 10:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
What an awesome idea for a 'verse! I loved this piece, even as I cried.

Date: 2012-01-22 01:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! I hope you enjoyed "Touchstone" (which explains the 'verse far more).

So glad you read and enjoyed this.

Date: 2012-01-22 01:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes! I went back and read it as soon as I saw the author note. :)

Date: 2012-01-22 02:17 am (UTC)

Date: 2012-01-20 10:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
What Nom said. And I said earlier.


Date: 2012-01-22 02:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*hugs you hard

Date: 2012-01-20 02:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*dribbles of tears*

I love this universe but it's good enough to be ofic, you know.


~loves you~

Date: 2012-01-21 02:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
God, Sub, your icon.


Date: 2012-01-22 02:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*squishes you

Thank you. I'm going to play some more in the 'verse and hopefully it will be ofic one day. <3

<3 u, too. :)

Date: 2012-01-20 04:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Perched on the rooftop, arms spread wide, as if he might take flight.

Kind of pretty much what I was hoping would happen, to be honest. But, I know you can make it better. I BELIEVE IN YOU. The first story was gorgeous, of course, and I think this is a perfect continuation. I hope there are many more to follow in this universe <3

Date: 2012-01-22 02:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I wish.


I'm hoping to dive back in with the first episode of this series and see what story I can tell from within this 'verse. It's a good opportunity to develop it (the universe) further and love John and Sherlock all at the same time. :)

I'm so glad you enjoyed this. It feels a bit raw to me still, so it's hard to tell what works, you know?

Date: 2012-01-21 02:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
So basically I don't have a review, just a soundtrack of sounds emitted during the reading of this story: aaaahs and erms and eeeees and oooohs and cry-maybe-sob-noises.

It's just. So raw. So powerful. A friend and I tried to rewatch it the other night and could not for the life of us get through it. Still too painful. And reading this is like the pain and healing balm all mixed up in one. How on earth did you manage to write this after that episode? *bows*

Date: 2012-01-22 02:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*hugs *hugs

It's so hard. So hard.

I wanted to reflect the pain but also leave a ray of hope for John and for us. I hope I did even half of what I was reaching for. <3

Date: 2012-01-21 03:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
OH DAMMIT, you even made your universe canon compliant and now I'm sitting here all teary-eyed. Sniff. This is, seriously, my favorite magical universe EVER. I'm going to be an entitled whiner and beg for more. PLEASE? I'll even swap stories with you. I'll write for your prompt, if you even like my stuff. If not, I'll get *other* people to write for you!

Date: 2012-01-22 02:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*hugs you, wraps you in a blanket, and gives you tea

Thank you. So much. Wow. *hugs

It sort of blows my mind that this is your favorite magical universe EVER. It blows my mind more that you don't already know that I love your stories. How did I allow that to happen? What?

My plan is to rewatch each episode and delve into retelling those stories from within the 'Touchstone' 'verse. There are some dilemmas to resolve to keep it sort of canon compliant (it won't be, entirely, obviously... but I'm going to try.)

Of course, getting a story from you is highly motivating. *grins* I haven't done much reading since the last episode aired. I'm a bit overwhelmed, I think.

Date: 2012-01-21 07:10 am (UTC)
keladry_lupin: (Sherlock Profile)
From: [personal profile] keladry_lupin
*sniffle* You're killing me, you know that?

Date: 2012-01-22 02:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*squees like the Kel fangurl I am

So glad you read this, Kel! *hands you tissues

I was hoping to leave a ray of hope in the wake of the devastation... just a tiny ray.



Date: 2012-01-21 06:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Here on a rec. Read the first story too. I love the universe you've set up here.

Crying now. So beautiful.

Date: 2012-01-22 02:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*hugs you and hands you tissues

thank you so much... so very much. :)
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