Written for this prompt: I woke up at three in the morning wondering what would happen if, when in the Empty House, Mary had gone ahead and shot "Sherlock" not realizing that it was John. I'm still wondering.

Sherlock rattled off his deductions about her, slouched in his wheelchair. She still wasn't sure how he'd managed to get out of hospital with his injuries, since she'd chosen them carefully, but he was a stubborn bastard, she had to give him that.
"You were very slow," she scolded him.
"How good a shot are you?"
Oh, Sherlock... "How badly do you want to find out?"
"If I die here my body will be found in a building with your face projected on the front of it. Even Scotland Yard could get somewhere with that. I want to know how good you are. Go on, show me. A doctor's wife must be a little bit bored by now."
"Yes," she replied sadly. "I am. And I am very sorry about this Sherlock. But John can't ever know that I lied to him. It would break him and I would lose him forever and Sherlock, I will never let that happen. Please understand. There is nothing in this world that I would not do to stop that happening." She paused for a moment, aiming at him. "I thought that once would do it." She sighed heavily. "I suppose not."
She aimed carefully and shot.
A cry rang out, but it was not from the phone in her ear. That only held a sharp intake of breath.
It wasn't Sherlock.
Mary's heart sank. Who had she shot then?

A flurry came from behind her, coat rustling in the wind as Sherlock pushed by her. He looked awful.
"John," he breathed, reaching the figure at the end of the hall.


Her first instinct was to collapse to her knees.
She'd just shot John. John Hamish Watson, the best man she'd ever met. There was only truth in what she told Sherlock. She loved him and cared for him and was willing to kill so that they could stay together, anything to keep him from knowing the truth.
But now she was going to lose him.

She resisted her first instinct and went to her second.
Mobile out of her pocket, dialling 999, at John's side.
Situation, need two ambulance, ten ambulance, help help help, address, hang up.

But she'd been the one to shoot him.
And after the first time, shooting Sherlock, when the stubborn bastard hadn't died (she wanted to give him a chance, but he wasn't supposed to be up so soon, not supposed to be like this, none of this was supposed to happen) she'd been more careful. And by careful she meant going for the kill shot.
Not in the head, because even she couldn't do that to Sherlock Holmes. She couldn't do that to his brain. It was such a magnificent thing that she couldn't put a bullet in it.
So she aimed for the heart that some thought he didn't have, but Mary knew would bleed, no matter how he may have shown his emotion.

But now it was John's heart that was bleeding.
His strong, brave, soldier heart.

It would break him and I would lose him forever.

And now she was going to.
The very thing she'd done to prevent it had caused it to happen.

There was so much blood. She realized that. So much blood.

There was only one saving grace. She hadn't expected it to be John. It was supposed to be Sherlock. She'd based her shot on Sherlock's anatomy, not John's.

That was all she could think as she pressed hard to his chest with Sherlock's scarf. Maybe she'd missed.

Eight minutes for the ambulance to get there. Mary couldn't tell if John was still breathing. She just... the blood. All the blood.

The blood on her hands. Both literally and metaphorically.

The ambulance took him away before she even noticed what was happening.
She wanted to call after them, because they'd left so much of John on the floor. Didn't they need to take it with them? Didn't they understand how important this man was?

Something in her phone call must have made sense, because there was a second ambulance, just as Sherlock collapsed.
He had been looking bloody awful, having skipped out from the hospital, separated himself from the drip, and the morphine, and was probably bleeding internally, which was what he mumbled to the paramedics as they urged him to lie still.
She could have laughed at that, if she'd remembered how. Sherlock was always right.
And what else was it that John had called him? A drama queen.
Yes, that he was.

She hitched a ride in his ambulance after he passed out, possibly from blood loss, or maybe the pain. It was good though, because he was only going to say things that couldn't be said.
She didn't even know what she was going to do about that. She'd shot John. His blood was still on her hands. There must have been gunshot residue on her hands and the gun... oh god she didn't even remember what she'd done with the gun.
It was all over for her.

They took Sherlock away when they got to A&E, and no one told her where John had gone, just stuck her in a curtained off area, still covered in his blood. Maybe they thought it was hers. Maybe they thought she was the one hurt instead of the one doing the hurting.
Oh, how wrong they were.

The two men she cared most about, hell, the two people in the entire world she cared most about, and she'd shot both of them. Probably killed both of them.

She didn't notice she was crying until the blood staining her hands and clothes turned to pink, diluted with the salt water.

There was a police officer who came to speak to her. She couldn't find words, only sobbed quietly as he stood there uncomfortably with his notepad and uniform. He left after a while, speaking to the doctor outside the curtain about shock and surgery. Mary wondered if they knew the curtains weren't anything near soundproof.

They let her stay there.
She was his wife after all.

He made it to surgery. He wasn't dead. Words like miracle were used, but she was told not to get her hopes up. Sherlock had also been taken back into surgery. Internal bleeding.

Bleeding. So much bleeding. So much blood.

A nurse gave her hospital scrubs to change into, and the police officer put her clothes in bags and took them away. Evidence.
They washed her hands and face, cleaned the blood out from under her nails, scraped it into little evidence jars.
Every bit of her was catalogued and photographed and noted for evidence.
When she was all recorded and cleaned, they took her to a surgical waiting room.

She stared at her nails, not sure if some of the blood flecks under there would ever come out. Not sure if she wanted them to.

Her muscles cramped and her joints ached, but still she sat in the chair, waiting. For something. Anything.
She knew they wouldn't come to tell her about Sherlock, she wasn't family, but she hoped he was alright. She really did. She never wanted to hurt him.
She never wanted to hurt anyone, but look where that had gotten her. Husband in surgery.
It would break him and I would lose him forever.

Oh god she didn't know if she could live with that.

Mary clasped her hands to her stomach, feeling for the movement of a baby that they had made. It wouldn't be there, not yet anyway, far too soon, but she wanted something to show that a bit of John was still alive.
They'd taken him away, they'd taken his blood away, but they couldn't take his baby away.
She didn't think so anyway.

She blinked and there was a surgeon there.
Mary had thought she was good at reading people, but apparently surgeons had better poker faces that spies and killers, because she wasn't getting anything. Maybe it was the shock.

Most of the words ran together, but there were two that she could make out. Intensive care.
"He's... alive?" she choked, the first words she'd said since the ambulance.
He nodded. There were more words after that, but she couldn't hear him over her own tears. Grief was so noisy.

They took her to his bedside, probably with more words, but there was nothing in her ears besides her own words ringing.
John can't ever know that I lied to him. It would break him and I would lose him forever.
She clasped one of his hands between her own and held it to her lips. It was cool, cooler than she felt it should have been, probably from blood loss and all that. She felt an overwhelming urge to offer her own, or at least the stuff of his she still had underneath her nails, in the cracks of her skin where she broke when the bullet pierced his skin.

He was pale and cold from blood loss, and not breathing on his own, and his heart rate was shaky at best, and his blood pressure was only double digits, and his entire body seemed to be tubes and wires and bandages, but he was alive.

It was certainly more than she'd ever hoped when Sherlock had brushed by her, coat swirling behind him, breathing John like he could make it all okay.

She cried again to John, cried for him, whispered apologies into his fingers and folded them closed, to keep for later.
She kissed him, weaving around lifelines to plant her own on him.

She found Sherlock two doors over, looking decidedly better than John, but not conscious.
She held his hand too, whispered apologies in it, folded his fingers closed, and kissed them for good luck.

"I'm so sorry Sherlock," she whispered, one last glance at the brilliant man.

And with that she left the hospital. She left Mary Elizabeth Watson's life.
She set off to find a new one.

Because what she told Sherlock was true.

John can't ever know that I lied to him.
It would break him and I would lose him forever.
There is nothing in this world that I would not do to stop that happening.

That's what she was doing. There was no way for her to lose him if she was already gone.