Sherlock Holmes is sure there are better things to be doing on one's best friend's wedding day than sitting in a hotel in France and endeavoring to get piss drunk - but he can't think of any. Other than, you know, visiting Switzerland like he has always wanted to, and throwing himself off Reichenbach Falls. And then the notice of his death would appear in the Times, perhaps the Globe, and Watson would read it and curse himself for not being there in Holmes' hour of need.
Yes, that was just the thing to do, but first he needed more alcohol.
Or maybe, he thinks, looking at the pyramid of bottles beside him on the floor, maybe not. With a heavy sigh, he flops back onto the bed, so that he is lying with his arms spread and his legs still on the floor. The ceiling is spiderwebbed with small cracks and stained with the signs of past leaks. Dilapidated. Shabby.
If there's one thing to be said for the decor, it's that it suits the mood remarkably. He stares hard at one set of cracks, extending from the upper right corner of the room and dividing the plaster ceiling into at least five parts. Not that he's counting, or trying to deduce anything from the pattern of cracks (structural weaknesses in the foundations of the building, combined with repeated stresses likely from a stairway or other attachment on the outside wall). If anything, his imagination is back in London at St. Bartholomew's Cathedral, where Watson is no doubt at this very moment being joined to Miss Mary Morstan in the bonds of Holy Matrimony.
Their hands would be joined and the priest would be, at this very moment, saying those immortal lines: "In sickness and in health..."
"When he got pneumonia that time, I took care of him," Holmes tells the ceiling in an effort to block the images from his mind. "I nursed him back to health. With his instructions, of course; he's the doctor, but I did help him. Better than that woman would have."
No doubt he'd prefer the woman's touch, though, a voice replied in his head. It sounded so much like Watson that Holmes, much more than half drunk, started and looked around the room before realizing it was his own imagination. Or conscience. It didn't matter.
She has nicer hands, the voice continued coldly, and Holmes lifted up his arms so that he could examine his hands against the ceiling. Scarred with various and sundry chemical burns and possessing raggedy nails from various bad habits, they were anything but delicate. He had never hated his own hands more.
What's more than that, she doesn't make deductions that people would rather not hear. She doesn't get herself into danger every other day and if she did, she would certainly not forget her revolver. She does not drag her friends into foolhardy plans and she does not sit all day in the dark in her dressing gown and carve letters into the walls with bullet pocks!
"Watson," Holmes says, clenching his hands into fists and putting them back down onto the bed. He can't take this lying down so he sits again, unsteadily, feeling the room tilt around him. "Watson, Watson, don't do this, not now, you're getting married..."
But his imagined companion had no mercy. You must always be the smartest person in the room, you have to experiment on my dog and wake me up with your infernal violin playing at all hours, you can't ever, for once in your life, be wrong!
"I was wrong, Watson," Holmes moans, putting his head in his hands. "I was wrong when I let you... When I gave you away... Next time, if there ever is a next time," he promises, "I will do better. I swear it. I won't... If you come back I won't let you go again."
That seems to satisfy some karmic debt because the voice of Watson is gone now. Holmes is alone, and that is a very cold comfort indeed.
This... This calls for more alcohol.