Sorry it took so long...I got really lazy and stuff but it’s finished now! Warning: cussing (that’s as far as it goes for mature content) and LOTS of feels. Part one is link.
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Vic's heart skips a beat. No. It can't-- but she's--
But the message is there, plain as day, as real as the sun in the sky and the hope in his heart. His first thought is that it's a fake, an imposter, trying to lure him into a trap. His head is telling him to stay in the safety of the flat, but his heart is screaming for him to go to the café. He decides to trust his heart, hoping with all his might that it's really her. That she never was dead, that she regretted leaving and she wants him back. And something's telling him that it's not a fake. The text sounds so like her; everything in the short message, down to the signature, screams Marion Holmes. Shoving his phone into his pocket and throwing his coat over his shoulders, he races down the steps and onto the street.
Fifteen agonizingly slow minutes later, the cab pulls up to the curb in front of East Café and Vic scrambles out, heart racing, hands shaking as he fumbles with his wallet. Dropping the bills into the cabbie's palm, he mumbles a quick thanks and straightens his jacket as he walks towards the café. He cranes his neck, staring at all the customers, searching for the girl he needs right now more than anything in the world. Third table on the left, third table on the left... It's almost four o'clock, but the café is still packed; a middle-aged, tired looking couple with a slew of screaming kids, an older man with a mug of coffee and a laptop, a group of giggling teenaged girls, a young dark haired woman and blonde man, clearly a couple, laughing at something...Wait. He knows that girl. Heart sinking, he slowly walks over.
She doesn't seem to notice him at first, and he studies her carefully. She's changed so much these last two years that she's almost unrecognizable now. Her hair is shorter, the now stick-straight strands cascading just past her shoulders, and it is lighter at the ends, suggesting that it was recently dyed and has just faded back to its original rich, dark brown. Her once-bright eyes have lost their spark, and her face looks gaunt, haggard, skin sagging and heavy bags around her tired eyes.
The young man, on the other hand, looks alert and alive, impossibly white teeth flashing as he beams at her, chocolate-brown eyes sparkling, neatly combed blonde hair practically glowing in the sunlight. He looks like he’s about to say something when he spots Vic out of the corner of his eye, and he frowns. Marion, puzzled, swings her head in Vic’s direction, and her grin falters, eyes wide with surprise. “Vic?”
Vic crosses his arms, rage bubbling through him. Not bothering to waste time on pointless greetings, he cuts directly to the heart of the matter. “Where the fuck have you been the past two years? And who’s this asshole?”
The blonde looks indignant and opens his mouth to speak but Marion, unfazed, puts out a hand to stop him. “Victor,” she says calmly, tone as pompous as ever. Vic doesn’t even bother to point out that he prefers not to be called by his full name. “First of all, it hasn’t been two years. It’s been twenty-one months.”
Vic clenches his fists, infuriated, and is about to protest when she continues.
“But that’s beside the point. I’ve been gone for a reason, a very good reason, and one that you probably don’t want to hear. So I’ll spare you the details.”
“Because you care about me, right?” he spits sarcastically. “Because you know I’ll be unhappy, and you don’t want to make me unhappy? Of course you don’t. You’re always looking out for my feelings. That’s why you fucking left, and made me think you were fucking DEAD.” He’s yelling now, but he doesn’t care. The hum of chatter that filled the café has gone silent, all heads turned to stare at Vic. Vic ignores it, cocking an eyebrow as he waits for a response. Finally it comes, quietly.
“Victor, I didn’t mean--”
Vic’s face burns with rage. “You didn’t mean what? You didn’t mean to disappear? You didn’t mean to vanish without a fucking trace, make us all think you’d been fucking murdered? Bullshit. You know what it was like when Sherlock did it to you! Why did you think you could do it to me?” His voice breaks on the last word, and he has gone quiet, the color draining from his face. His vision starts blurring, and he realizes that his eyes are swimming with tears. Biting his lip, he blinks them away, hoping she doesn’t notice. She probably does, because she stares up at him, a deep sadness in those pale blue-green eyes. He shoves his hands in his pockets and looks away, blood still broiling as he tries to swallow down another outburst. It doesn’t quite work.
“And who the fuck is this guy? Your boyfriend?”
Marion blinks at him, and the blonde man raises an eyebrow. Marion clears her throat. “This is Simon, and he’s not my boyfriend.”
Simon smiles. “You must be Victor then? Nice to meet you.” He extends a hand amiably, but Vic doesn’t take it. He already hates the man. He’s too pretty, too perfect, and Vic knows that unlike himself, Simon has everything Marion needs. He swallows down the lump in his throat, then abruptly turns on his heels and begins to walk away.
“Simon’s a lucky man,” he calls over his shoulder, not bothering to look for her reaction as he walks out of the restaurant and hails a cab. “Baker Street,” he mutters, still blinking back the hot tears gathering at the edges of his vision, and doesn’t look back as the cab speeds away.

~~~

I am right here with you.
Or at least I thought I was.
Pretended I was.
Because now I’m only a ghost.
Why, Marion? You break my heart, burn me up, tear me apart.
Why don’t you see that you’re doing this?
And why do I let you break me? I want to let go, but I can’t.
I can’t go back now.
It kills me with every breath to see the life I left. There’s no way I can turn back. Only you can save me, only you know who I am.
Please.
I’m reaching out my hand.
Save me Marion.
Save me now.

--VW


~~~

He groans, deleting the unsent message. He can’t send it anymore. It just feels odd, now that he knows she’s seeing them. Funny, how before he wanted more than anything to have her back but now he only wants her gone. No, not even that. He wishes she had never came back. It just hurts too much; so much worse to know she’s alive and he can’t have her, than to remain in the blissful illusion of her death. The truth is cold.
    By the time the cab reaches Baker Street it’s early evening. Swallowing down the lump in his throat, he unlocks the door with shaking hands and trudges up the stairs into the flat. No sign of John or Sherlock, and he spots a note on the counter, hastily scrawled, in John’s handwriting. Out on a case. Should be food in the fridge, if not go down to Angelo’s. Will probably be back later tonight. --JW
    Sighing, he crumples the note and walks over to the fridge, but thinks better of it and sinks down onto the couch instead. He isn’t very hungry. Staring at the wall, littered with bullet holes and that irritating repeated pattern, he isn’t surprised when the first of the tears breaks free and slides down his cheek. After that, they all come in a rush, and he’s violently sobbing, body shaking as fat teardrops soak into the fabric of the chair where he’s resting his head. Gasping for breath, eyes stinging from the deluge of tears pouring down his face, he pushes himself upright, wiping his nose and eyes, which only makes the pain worse. As quickly as it started, his eyes run dry, and he slumps backwards, feeling the void inside him swelling until it threatens to engulf him completely.
Time creeps by. He doesn’t know how long he’s been in the chair, frozen, unmoving. He feels empty, hollow, skin stretched tight over an empty frame. He doesn’t realize that the sadness has melted into anger until he stands, fists clenched tight. Unable to think, to hold off the swirling rage, he finds himself pacing, feet thundering on the floor, knuckles white. He’s in Marion’s room now, surrounded by the clutter of all the items she’s left behind. This is one of the first times he’s actually set foot in her room, and although most of the clothes are missing, at first glance you’d never know that she was gone. Blindly, he walks to her dresser, fingers running along the line of dust that coats every surface. Strange objects, things he couldn’t identify even if he tried. With a low growl, he flings himself against the wood cabinet, barely making a dent but causing pain to spiral through his body. But that only spreads the fire; blind with rage, he grabs a glass box and flings it against the floor, the echo of shattering glass filling him with vengeful satisfaction. He throws another, and another, pain from the jagged shards stabbing through his bare feet, until every breakable object has been broken. He collapses against the wall, not caring that he landed in a pile of glass, and watches the blood trickle between his toes, eyes swimming with tears. Slowly, the anger fizzles out, but he remains motionless on the floor, wondering what will become of him.
    Sometime later, he manages to bring himself to his feet and limp back to the sitting room, where he collapses back in his chair. He hardly notices when Sherlock and John come back, until John is staring into his eyes, worried. Vic mutters something, and John sighs and slips away. Vic stays in that position all throughout the night. Everything is a blur; in the morning he’s not sure if he slept, but everything feels the same. John tries to talk to him, make him tea, drag him out into the city but Vic stays put and eventually John gives up. He stays that way for days, not eating, not sleeping, hardly moving at all. Sherlock doesn’t even seem to notice, but that’s not particularly surprising, and John stops trying. The jagged cuts on his feet slowly begin to heal, but the skin stays red and swollen, caked with dried blood that he can’t be bothered to wash off. He is numb to the pain, numb to everything, his thoughts blurring and swirling, always around Marion. Part of him knows he shouldn’t be doing this, that he should pick himself up and carry on, but the other part refuses to budge. He doesn’t cry, he doesn’t scream, he doesn’t feel.
    The days drag on. He doesn’t know how long it’s been since he moved, or done anything. He can’t feel anything, only pain, and emptiness. Sherlock plays the violin as usual, but it seems distant, muffled, a faint echo of a sound that Vic can’t quite hear. Evening comes. He doesn’t even notice that the violin’s stopped until he feels John’s hands on his shoulders, his voice in his ear.
    “Victor.”
Groaning, Vic looks up. John’s face seems worn, forehead creased with worry, faint bags under his dark gray eyes. Vic can only imagine how he must look to John. He mutters something, but John doesn’t leave.
    “I know you’re not fine, Victor. Clearly you’re not. Tell me. What’s wrong?”
Vic slides lower in the chair; he doesn’t want to face his brother right now. He doesn’t want to do anything. But John persists.
    “You haven’t moved since you came back from the café four days ago. What happened? Is it...” His face falls, his voice is a low whisper. “It’s Marion, isn’t it?”
    Slowly, Vic nods. “She--she...” He can’t find the words. Without warning, the tears he didn’t even know were forming spill down his cheeks. John’s sitting on the edge of the chair now, his arms wrapped around Vic’s shaking body. Vic dimly feels John’s hot skin pressed against his, as he convulses with sobs. Finally, his eyes dry up, but John doesn’t move. “What happened?”
    Numbly, Vic tells him everything; about the text, about Simon, about his breakdown. John remains silent. When Vic finishes, he looks up at John, at the faint confusion etched in the mild features of his face. Finally, John speaks. “How long have you loved her?”
    The surprise hardly registers with Vic; somehow, he knew that John knew. He shrugged. “I..dunno. Was I that obvious?”
    John nods slowly. “Yeah. Somehow I didn’t see it until now.”
    “I knew,” Sherlock pipes up from the corner, where he is absentmindedly rubbing rosin through the bow of his violin. John shoots him a warning look. “I knew from the moment I met you.”
    “Sherlock,” John growls. “Not helping.”
    Vic sighs, and John pulls his arms away. Vic hadn’t even realized that John was still holding him. “When was the last time you ate?”
    Another shrug. John stands, and briskly walks to the kitchen. A few minutes later, he returns with a mug of tea and a plate of food. Gratefully, Vic eats, not even aware of what John brought, but glad to take the edge off of his burning hunger. John watches him carefully, and clears away the dishes when he’s finished. Exhaustion washes over him, and John seems to know, because he pulls Vic to his feet. “You need to sleep.” Dimly, Vic allows himself to be led to his bedroom and falls into bed, drifting into a deep, dreamless sleep.

    He awakes feeling much better, and groggily he stumbles into the kitchen where John already has breakfast made. He sits down at the table across from John and eats, all too aware of John’s eyes on him. John heads off to work at the surgery, and Vic is left at home with Sherlock, who as usual is oblivious to everything.
    As always, life goes on. Vic finds a job at a coffee shop, and although dull, it helps him stay occupied. They go on cases every so often, and Vic starts coming along. When he’s busy, he doesn’t have to think about Marion.
    She texts him one day, asking if he’d go with her to lunch. Despite his mind telling him to stay away, he goes anyway. Simon’s there. Somehow he manages to contain his anger, at least enough to ask her again why she left. She doesn’t have an answer, but she does inform him that she’ll be back once she finishes a few things up. He doesn’t press the matter, but, ignoring the biting disappointment already eating away at him, heads back home.
    His twenty-third birthday comes, and he receives a text a few days later, from her. Happy birthday is all it says. He can’t help but sigh.
    They begin meeting regularly, trying to pretend that nothing happened. But their conversation feels stiff, tense. Simon is always with her, and Marion still insists that he’s not her boyfriend. Vic starts to hate the man a little less, but he still feels uncomfortable. They are civil, at least.
    One day, Vic heads into their usual meeting place, a café, to find Marion alone. Silently, he walks over to her, and she looks up briefly. He slides into the booth.
    “You’re alone today.”
    She nods tersely.
    “Simon finally have enough?” He knows the words are cruel, but he can’t help himself.
    “For the last time, he’s not--”
    “I know, I know. Not your boyfriend.” He rolls his eyes. “Why?”
    His voice is quiet, barely more than a whisper. She doesn’t answer. They order their food, and eat in silence. Something feels different today. He isn’t sure what, but something has changed. Maybe it’s that Marion seems happier now. The dark circles are gone from her eyes, and when she smiles, it feels genuine. With a pang of sadness, he realizes that she’s moved on. The worst part is that she seems happier this way. But he can’t stand to let her go. Finally, he speaks.
    “Have you seen Sherlock recently?”
She shakes her head. “I didn’t think it was necessary.”
    “Not necessary?” He’s incredulous. He thought she at least cared about her brother. “Marion, it’s been three years. Don’t you think you should at least pay him a visit?”
    “He’s doing perfectly fine without me, isn’t he? It’s you who my leaving really affected.” There it is, that irritating loftiness. And the worst part is that she’s right. Dead right.
    “Look, Marion, I know you’ve moved on, and you never really cared about me in the first place. But..uh...I really missed you.”
    She doesn’t respond to that. He didn’t expect she would. He doesn’t even know why he’s saying this, but then again, a mind like hers, she probably already knows.
    “If...if you ever feel like you want to come back, like you want to, you know...see me, just tell me. I’ll let you stay.”
    She lets out a sigh. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to come back. There’s a lot I have going on right now, and just...” She trails off, and his heart sinks.
    Before he can stop himself, the words are tumbling out of his mouth. “It’s just--I really, honestly, want you back. I need you back. Marion, I...I love you.” Shit. Why did he say that? No turning back now. The next thing he says is, unbelievably, even worse. “Do..do you love me?”
    He cringes at himself. What’s gotten into him today? He studies her face, but it’s completely blank. He sighs and stands up. “Um, yeah. Alright. That’s-that’s fine. I understand. I’ll just...go now. Sorry.” Disappointment eating away at him, he slides out of the booth and heads for the door, tears already filling his eyes. She sits there, motionless, staring at him. If he stayed for one more second, or listened a little closer as he headed out, he would’ve heard her, a mere whisper immediately lost to the wind.
    “I do.”
Whoop whoop! Finally finished something! *glares* What do you mean it’s taken me 2 months? Lies! Tell me what you think??