Life without Sherlock was much like life BEFORE Sherlock. Or at least, John had to keep telling himself that. If he really stopped to analyze the differences, he invariably found himself curled uncomfortably into his armchair, trying not to sob loudly enough to warrant a trip up the stairs from Mrs. Hudson. It wasn't that her visits didn't help, so much as he didn't want to exacerbate her hip. But yes, a hot cup of tea, a slow rub of the back, and a fond anecdote or two were usually enough to distract John from the detective-shaped hole presiding in the other armchair. As Mrs. Hudson was leaving after one such occasion, John blinked away his last tear and thanked her again for her company.
"Don't mention it, dear, I know what it's like to deal with heartache. You should have seen me after I found out my husband wasn't the man I thought he was." With a smile and a blown good-night kiss, the kindly little landlady carefully worked her way down the stairs, leaving John to stare pointedly out the window, instead of at the other chair.
Life without John was like nothing Sherlock had ever experienced before. Each week found him in a new location, donning a new identity, hunting a new target. He could barely recognize himself in a mirror anymore, and his surroundings were entirely unfamiliar. Japan was kinder to him than most places; Bangkok was harsher than most. Sherlock missed the life of luxury he'd grown up accustomed to. He missed the cases which kept his mind occupied. He missed the smell and the sight and the feel of London. And most of all, he missed not being alone.
"Brilliant," he mumbled softly to himself, filling in both the roles of himself and John as he zeroed in on his next quarry.
"Not at all," the other half of his mind pardoned, following along silently with the rest of the thought process.
Occasionally he was forced to stay in one location long enough to build up a report with the locals. Never long enough to make a new friend.