He'd been gone for three years and it pained her so much. She couldn't deal with the constant reminders of his existence. Sometimes she would convince herself that he wasn't real, that he was all in her head.
But she couldn't find the confidence to change the apartment or get rid of his belongings. They stayed in the same place and were cleaned with the help of Mrs Hudson.
She went on dates but she didn't feel anything towards them. They made her laugh and smile but they didn't make her heart skip a beat the same way he did.
Their smiles weren't as crooked and their eyes didn't light up and nothing spontaneous ever happened and she grew bored.
Life had grown boring.
John had gone off on plenty of dates and had grown a moustache much to her disliking.
They hadn't spoken about him, they would never dare bring him up in a conversation to stop the pain in their chests. At odd moments they would sometimes say or do something that would remind them of him and they'd smile until they became a train-wreck.
Now John had scurried off on another date with Mary, leaving (Y/N) to her own devices.
She curled up on his old chair in her pyjama trousers and blue short sleeved t shirt. The TV was on but her mind was distracted.
John had suggested a few times to get new furniture but she protested against it, saying there was nothing wrong with the furniture they had and there was no need to change it. So it stayed, everything stayed.
Her fingers tapped against the arm of the chair as she hummed a symphony that she had heard Sherlock play when she was recovering from the hospital when they had first met all those years ago.
"That's a symphony that I had written isn't it?"
The monotone voice stopped her humming and tapping simultaneously. It was her mind playing tricks on her, that wasn't his voice.
He wasn't there.
He wasn't standing by the door in his white shirt that was protected by his black blazer and trousers, his jacket and scarf hanging on the bannister of the stairs no more than three feet from the door.
She slowly whipped her head around to see if it was true. Her eyes must have been playing tricks on her.
"Sherlock?" She whispered. She jumped up from her chair but didn't move near him.
She didn't want to believe he was there. If she did it was too good to be true.
"No, no no no no." She shook her head as she repeated the simple word over and over again.
Sherlock stepped towards her and like the opposite side of a magnet she moved away.
"You're dead, I-I watched you fall. I watched you hit that pavement and watch your blood seep onto the concrete and watched your lifeless body be taken away from me."
She found her back hitting the bookshelf that had a layer of dust growing over it.
"(Y/N) let me explain-"
"No, no this isn't happening." She gripped onto several books on the shelf and slowly removed them from the shelf. "You're dead, you're dead you selfish bastard!"
She began throwing the first books she found at him as he attempted to step closer to her. Only a few hit him and he raised his arms to protect himself from the spins and corners of the books he had read several times over the years he had lived there.
Tears streamed down her face and she stopped throwing objects. Her hands trembled and she leaned against the table to stop herself from falling over.
"Mrs Hudson!" She shrieked. There was no one else to shout on. There was no noise from downstairs, no sound of Mrs Hudson scurrying to her rescue. "Mrs Hudson!"
"She's down in the cafe, now (Y/N) please listen to me." Sherlock urged, walking towards her.
There was nowhere else for her to run, her back was literally against a wall and she couldn't moved, paralysed by fear and curiosity.
When he was close enough and as his fingertips tapped the outline of her hips she slapped him across the cheek with the back of her hand.
She punched his chest, her knuckles turning white as she cried and screamed, letting go of all of the emotions she had been holding in her trembling body for three years.
"Why did you go..you left me, you left John.." Sherlock caught her trembling hands in his own strong and steady hands. "You promise you wouldn't leave me but you did, you broke another promise."
She fell against his chest, sobbing quietly and clung onto his shirt as she stained his clean shirt with her salted tears.
"I was tempted to kill myself so many times in hopes that I would be able to see your face again. That's all I wanted, to see you again and stupid photographs weren't good enough." She sniffled. Sherlock wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her closer to him.
He had seen the changes that his so called death had caused. She was broken and bruised. She had built an armour and wouldn't dare to allow anyone the ability to break it down after the years it had taken to construct it.
The scars on her arms were enough to raise suspicions on how depressed she was, on how desperate she wanted the pain to go away.
And it killed him seeing her this way. It killed him even more when she confessed to contemplating suicide and it made him feel worse when he was the cause of all her pain.
But he couldn't hold back any longer. He had to see her again, he had to hold her, kiss her. Make her smile again.