Fandom: SH (BBC)
Slash Pairing: Sherlock/John
Overview: The events which occur after "The Great Game"
Rating: NC-17 (eventually)
John springs into action as soon as Sherlock shouts, his military training allowing his body to react immediately, throwing himself bodily at Sherlock sending them both flying across the tiles and landing with a splash in the water. John barely glimpses Moriarty running at full speed towards the back fire exit door to escape the massive explosion which they have just triggered.
John doesn’t see how far he gets before the warm, heavily chlorinated water rushes into his mouth and eyes rendering him all but blind and deaf. He can vaguely see a bright yellow flash of light expand above the water as he pushes himself further down into the water, his movements less than effective as his limbs are tangled with Sherlock’s. John knows the safest way to avoid the shockwave of a big explosion is to get as far under the water as possible for as long as possible, but as he slammed into Sherlock’s body almost all the air in his lungs was pushed out so he doesn’t think he can stay underwater for long. He can see Sherlock’s blurry shape next to him, his hair floating wildly around his head, a look of absolute panic in his eyes. He is struggling to get loose from John and desperately flails his arms and legs, trying to get away. John untangles himself immediately, his vision starting to blur as he uses up the small amount of oxygen in his lungs with the action. He can see his friend’s struggles slowing, his movements becoming un-coordinated as he desperately tries to swim for the surface but going the wrong direction. John realizes that Sherlock must have run out of air almost immediately they hit the water and is now so oxygen deprived and disorientated that he doesn’t know which way is the surface. As the other man’s movements slow and then stop completely John dives down to grasp his forearm and begins to desperately drag him towards the surface, hoping that the worst of the explosion above them has passed. He struggles to pull Sherlock’s dead weight No! I won’t even think of the word dead in connection to him! John thinks as he concentrates on swimming the last few feet. His head breaks the surface and he gulps a huge lungful of air before dragging Sherlock’s head above the water. He waits for Sherlock to take a deep breath, and nothing happens. His dark head simply lolls in a sickly fashion onto John’s shoulder, rivulets of water running down his face from the sopping locks of his hair plastered across his forehead. Come on Sherlock! Breath damn it! John thinks desperately as he adjusts his grip on Sherlock to wrap his arms around the taller man’s waist, struggling to tread water while keeping Sherlock’s head above the water and trying to squeeze his arms together as forcefully as possible trying to push some of the water from Sherlock’s lungs.
Suddenly he hears his name being yelled by a half-familiar voice just above him. There, standing on the edge of the swimming pool almost directly above John’s head is Mycroft, his arms reaching out towards him and his brother. He clumsily manages to pass Sherlock’s body over to his brother who, displaying an unlikely amount of strength, pulls him out of the water and onto the tiles beside the pool. In a matter of moments John hauls himself out of the water and shoving Mycroft aside he quickly grabs Sherlock’s left wrist and searches for a pulse. Feeling a faint beat beneath his fingers he sees that Sherlock is still unconscious and not breathing. With fingers laced together John pushes down on Sherlock’s lower sternum forcefully with both hands, moving back quickly as a gout of water gushes from his patient’s mouth and he begins to cough and hack. Gently rolling him onto his side John leans over Sherlock’s body from behind, watching his face to see the colour slowly return to waxy cheeks and blue-tinged lips with a sigh of relief. He rubs soothing circles on his friend’s back as he coughs and vomits up the last of the water from his lungs, breathing easier now though still far from recovered with his eyes closed, seemingly completely oblivious to his surrounds. John considers that he is probably in a state of utter exhaustion following the stresses of drowning and then being revived on his body. Mycroft clears his throat suddenly, startling John who had been so absorbed in attending Sherlock that he hadn’t noticed the other man’s presence beside him.
“He seems to be out of immediate danger now Doctor Watson so I’ll leave him in your no-doubt capable hands while I attend my men” Mycroft says before quietly adding “Thank you John” with a meaningful look at his brother’s rescuer. “Your actions tonight take a world of worry from my shoulders – it is good to know that he has such a capable partner watching over him on those occasions when I cannot”.
With that Mycroft stands, running his hands swiftly over the front of his immaculate jacket and waistcoat before striding over to the knot of men in expensive-looking business suits who are talking in low tones to one another. With a jolt John realizes that the scene of devastation he has been expecting has spectacularly failed to appear and aside from a slight smell of ozone-scented smoke there is no indication that any altercation has taken place, let alone an explosion the size of the one that jacket full of explosives should have set off. He looks around more carefully, trying without success to think like Sherlock and deduce what, precisely, has occurred.
“There never was an explosion you know” Sherlock slurs throatily from his position on the floor in front of John. “The flash of light and sound were just from a ‘flash-bang grenade’ one of Mycroft’s men threw as I fired the gun.” His eyes are still closed and aside from the slight movement of his lips he would appear to the casual observer to be unconscious still.
“Wha? Huh?” John blurts out. “How the hell did you know that Mycroft was here? How could you have possibly guessed...oh wait, I see.” A dawning realization comes to him, “You planned this out with your brother didn’t you? You lured Moriarty here and Mycroft and his men were all geared up to take him out. I see...” He feels incredibly stupid and irritated to once again have been left out of Sherlock’s plans, once again left to fumble about in the dark simply trying to survive and follow the ‘Boy Genius’ in his complicated investigations. “Well I can only assume that as you essentially drowned and Moriarty got away that your grand plan didn’t quite go to plan hmm?” John says bitingly as the fear and horror of the past couple of hours finally breaks through his usually tolerant demeanour. He pushes himself up off his knees and stands with his arms crossed looking around for someone to leave Sherlock in the care of before going home and trying to wrap his head around this evening.
“No John”, Sherlock rasps as loudly as he can, his throat still raw from the chlorinated water so recently forcefully expelled from it. “There was no plan with Mycroft...” But John doesn’t appear to have heard him as he looks towards the group of men now huddling around the explosive-lined jacket which still lies, un-touched on the tiled floor. Sherlock begins to feel slightly panicky as his body won’t obey his commands to move, his legs only twitching feebly. He can hear John shifting his weight behind him, as though about to walk away and the thought of being left while he is so vulnerable makes him gasp – not a good idea after the trauma his lungs have recently been subjected to. He begins to cough again, great wet, hacking coughs which go on so long that he can’t get breaths between them. As his vision starts to fade, going grey around the edges, he feels a strong hand rubbing between his shoulder blades and can hear John talking in his ear.
“Calm down Sherlock. Just try to relax and take shallow breaths. Your lungs are still hyper sensitive and coughing them up isn’t going to do anyone any good. Just calm down will you? C’mon mate, just breath gently and you’ll be ‘right.” John says soothingly as he once again rubs firm circles on Sherlock’s back, leaning over his stricken friend as he finally starts to listen to him and starts taking the shallow, quick breaths he needs to get oxygen back into his system. “Listen Sherlock, do you want me to take you to hospital so they can look after you...?”
Sherlock shakes his head minutely, still struggling to catch his breath, “No. No hospitals...please?” he wheezes.
It’s the please that gets John. Sherlock so rarely says please or thank you and as irritated with his flatmate as he is, he still can’t bring himself to refuse him. “Ok mate, I’ll get one of Mycroft’s men to give me a hand getting you back to Baker Street and you can recover there alright?” John waits for Sherlock’s faint nod of acceptance before standing up and walking the few meters over to where Mycroft appears to have finished talking with his men, constantly looking over his shoulder to his friend lying on the floor.
Sherlock can almost hear the conversation John is having with his brother over the high, tinny ringing in his ears. He is still lying on his side, facing the large expanse of water and so can’t see the other people in the room, just hear the low murmur of voices and the occasional echo of a footfall on the tiles. He shuts his eyes as he waits, trying to get his scattered thoughts into some sort of order so he can process the night’s events. His thoughts are grey-tinged and floating just out of reach which frustrates Sherlock no end, he is used to being able to easily access his thoughts. He wonders if this is how normal people feel all the time, struggling to reign in the drifting thoughts in their brains and force them into coherency. He is concentrating so hard that he doesn’t hear the approach of someone from behind his prone body and when a hand lands gently on his shoulder he startles, his eyes flying open.
“Hey mate, calm down – it’s just me” John says as he gently squeezes his shoulder. “I’ve managed to get us a lift back to the flat so now we’ve got to get you up and into the car.” Sherlock feels John’s arm reach underneath his shoulder and roll him slightly onto his back before slowly pushing him up into a sitting position in a manner that speaks of much professional experience. A dry, scratchy blanket is carefully put around his shoulders and John wraps his strong, warm arm underneath his shoulders and across his back. “Ok Sherlock?” John asks with concern, Sherlock’s eyes have closed again and he can feel his body shaking slightly under the unfamiliar touch. “Just relax mate, I’ve got you. We’re going to get up in a bit and between us we need to get you to the car just outside the side entrance ok?”
As Sherlock nods John begins to lever his slender friend up into a standing position, pausing while Sherlock gets his feet underneath him and allowing the dizziness to pass. They make their way slowly towards the exit, Sherlock’s feet unsteadily shuffling, barely taking his weight while John strains to hold his much taller friend up and steer them in the right direction. Finally they reach the open door of the black sedan which will be taking them back to Baker Street. John helps Sherlock into the back seat, gently shoving him over so he can sit next to him. The door closes and the driver, one of Mycroft’s nameless men, starts to pull away from the curb.
Sherlock lets his head fall back to rest on the headrest behind him and closes his eyes feeling more exhausted than he ever has in his entire life. He can feel the damp, cold sleeve of John’s cardigan brushing against his hand as it lies inert on the seat between them, hears the quiet breathing of his companion and the sounds of the traffic outside the car. He rolls his head slightly to the left and cracks open his eyes slightly to see John staring unseeing out the window, shivering slightly in his wet clothes, arms wrapped tightly across his chest. The street lights outside throw is friend’s tired, worn face into relief and Sherlock realizes that he owes he partner his thanks and gratitude for saving his life again.
“John...” Sherlock says in a hoarse whisper wincing as his throat protests. John turns his head to look at him.
“Are you ok?” he asks, running his eyes over Sherlock, “Can you breathe ok? Are you hurting anywhere?”
Sherlock shakes his head, “No, I just realized that now I owe you twice.” John looks puzzled, “You’ve saved my life twice now.”
John’s face heats up in a blush as his earlier irritation surfaces again, “Not that you really needed it this time huh? You and Mycroft had this sewn up – well almost anyway. No need for poor stupid John to get caught up in it eh?” He turns his head towards the window again, his anger obvious in the tight set of his shoulders.
“No John, you misunderstand.” Sherlock tries to explain but John is resolutely not looking at him and he is feeling weaker by the second. “Please believe me John, I didn’t know Mycroft was there until I heard him enter the swimming pool complex during my discussion with Moriarty. I had no idea how we were going to get out of there alive until then and if you hadn’t been so quick to understand my plan I doubt we would have managed to escape without further injuries.” John’s shoulders relaxed infinitesimally and he took a deep breath.
“I’m sorry that I almost got you killed Sherlock. If I’d been a bit more careful when I was going to Sarah’s place I wouldn’t have been grabbed by Moriarty’s henchman, if I’d been more careful knocking you into the pool you would have had more air...” John says quietly, voice trembling slightly.
“John, you are in no way responsible for anything which occurred this evening. I am far from a proficient swimmer and I expect that had more to do with the incident in the pool than you did. As for Moriarty – he would have found a way to get to me through you whether you had gone out tonight or not.” Sherlock says seriously before smirking, “Now please let your unnecessary guilt go and concentrate your talents on the recovery of your patient if you will.” With that, John’s frown lightened and a small smile twitched at his lips as he settled back in the seat and they made the rest of the journey in companionable silence.