Disclaimer: Watson, Holmes and Moran do not belong to me, the startled people in the street do.
VHunter07: I just loved your last review! I must apoligise for: one death from unknown causes, one heart attack, two suicides and three hospitilizations, but I hope they will forgive me now!
HelioQueen: I'm sorry I did not make myself clear, the bad guys did not dig three graves they just put Holmes in to a coffin whos occupant was going to be buried anyway.
And so we come to the final chapter! I hope you enjoy:
After only a minute of this, I had made considerable progress. I started to sweat. My arms were aching. Not to mention my old war wounds that were making their presence known, but panic seemed to drive me on. What if I was too late? I would never forgive myself. Dirt was now flying in every direction. I had dug so far I was up to my chest. It was at that moment that I realized I could not handle Holmes' death again. I didn't know if I could go on knowing that I could have saved him.
THUD. My shovel hit something hard, and I removed the remaining dirt to see a large wooden coffin. Using the end of the shovel, I started to pry it open. What if he wasn't in there? Or worse, what if he was there, but was...no, he couldn't be. I pried it open, holding my breath.
A pale dead body met my gaze, his face was a ghastly colour, and he had obviously been dead for some time.
But it wasn't Holmes. This filled me with relief, but also a great sadness. I had picked the wrong grave. I dragged myself out of the hole, not bothering to shut the coffin lid.
I had failed him. Even now he was probably struggling for air in one of the other two graves. But I had no time. A tear fell down my cheek and I started to sob in silence, clasping my face in my hands.
Suddenly, I heard a noise that made my blood run cold. It was a gasping noise, and it was coming from the grave I had just dug up. Slowly, I peered over the edge of the hole, and was amazed at what I saw. Underneath the dead body there was another, very alive one. I could just make out the raven hair and thin face of my friend as he struggled to get out from under the corpse. I had frozen in shock, but came back into action when my friend choked and lay still. Quickly, I lowered my arms into the pit and pulled his limp form out.
He wasn't breathing. I laid him on his back, feeling for a pulse. It was there, feeble, but there. I held my ear over his mouth to listen for any sounds of breathing. There were none. The happiness that had filled me on seeing him alive was replaced once more by panic. I put both my hands on his chest and pushed down hard, his lungs instantly inflated. I continued this process until he was able to breathe again without assistance. His eyes flicked open and he weakly grasped at my collar. "Wasn..." he said faintly.
"Don't speak Holmes, just concentrate on breathing You're alright now, just lay still." I said in my typical doctors' tone. He gave a weak smile.
"Good old Watson." he mumbled. "But I have to talk... Moran."
"Where is he?" I growled.
"Train, he's on the train back to New York."
I stood up at his words, but dropped back down to my knees seeing Holmes was in no state to be left alone.
"Well Watson?" He said, his commanding tone returning. "You just have time, you have to find him."
"No, no Watson, I'm fine." he said, sitting up as if to prove his point. "The station's not far from here, just turn right when you reach the florists'."
One found it hard to disobey him, and at any rate I wanted to kill Moran for what he had done.
After gaining Holmes full assurance, I ran out of the graveyard and into the street. I obtained many a curious stare from the locals as they saw an Englishman, covered in dirt, running down the road with a revolver in his hand, and a look of rage upon his face.
As Holmes had said, the station was clearly visible once I had rounded the corner. I could still see the train to New York, but according to the sign outside, I had 10 minutes before it left. I slowed my pace, panting heavily.
Having no intention of staying aboard, I jumped on without purchasing a ticket. The train was practically empty, so Moran should be easy to find. Walking down the narrow passageway, I made sure to check each compartment before passing. I knew however, that I would not find him here. Such a man would require a sumptuous compartment, and I had no doubts of finding him in the upper class section. Just as I had surmised, I looked past a door adorned with a large gold-lettered '1st' sign, only to see the man who had caused me so much pain, both mental and physical.
I took a short time in observing him. At close range, I could tell the man had let himself go over the past few years. His face was blotched with a red that spoke only of drink, and though a fierce pride shone in his eyes, one was able to see past the facade and find only the lonely life the hunter had lived.
He turned suddenly to look straight at me, and the emotion of pity I had almost felt for the brute was oppressed by a urge to throttle him. I stepped inside, acting more brave then I felt. He stood up, and for once, I took in just how large the man was. Memories flashed through my mind of the case of the empty house, and I watched again as the man before me overpowered my friend with ease. However, It was the memory of finding Holmes buried alive that drove me to speak.
"You." I spluttered.
"Yes, my dear Doctor." He said, in an annoyingly calm voice.
"You almost killed-"
"Now, now Doctor, you must understand that I had no intention of killing you, my man on the boat failed miserably but he has paid the price for his blunder."
"I was going to say Holmes."
"Ah yes, the great detective. So he is alive? Oh well, I'll simply shoot him next time." His words shot a wave of fury through me. Before I knew what I was doing, I had raised my revolver and pulled the trigger.
A deafening 'CLICK' echoed through the compartment as I realised, too late, that I had forgotten to reload.
The train jerked into movement, and I was taken by surprise. Seeing his opportunity, Moran went for his gun that was sticking out of a pocket in his coat. I saw his intentions just in time to lash out with my arm and send the firearm hurtling across the carriage. He grabbed my lapels in fury and forced me into the wall.
Something animistic took hold of me, and I found my fist crashing against the left side of his face. Moran was obviously shocked at the force of the blow for he hunched over in a frozen state. The initial surprise did not last long, however, growling in fury he seized my arm and threw me towards the open window. I managed to steady myself in time, but Moran had other ideas as to when I should leave the train. Picking me up off the floor he forced half my body out the window.
A heavy wind struck my face, and I struggled to keep my eyes open. Moran had his hand on my throat and was tightening it painfully. I could see the blur of houses and trees as they flashed past.
Was this how I was destined to end? Hanging from a carriage window with a madman at my throat? Once again a surge of energy passed through me, as the urge to survive that has always governed man, took its hold. Without a thought, I subconsciously released myself from the rules of fair fighting, and my knee came into contact with a...rather painful area of the male anatomy. I was let go instantly and fell back onto the floor, gasping for air.
I looked up. The barrel of Moran's gun was pointing down at me.
"Well Doctor, however hard you struggled, I have come out victor. And now I am afraid you must die. Do not worry, your dear friend the detective will not be long after you. Goodbye, Dr. Watson."
My last thought before the gun discharged was that I had not said thank you to my dearest friend. That I had never voiced my thankfulness for his friendship, now I would never have the chance to do so.
The report echoed throughout the carriage.
I opened my eyes. I was not dead. Looking up, my jaw dropped at the sight that met me. Moran still stood in the same place as before, his eyes wide open, and a red splatter of blood issuing from a bullet hole in his head. He fell to the floor. Dead. Still looking where he had stood, my battered friend came into my view. He was standing in the doorway with his gun still raised, covered in dirt and in the worst state I have ever seen him.
"Well Watson, I think we should be returning to London, don't you?" He smiled weakly.
221b Baker Street
It had been a month since the occurrence on the train. Holmes had just returned from his (what he liked to call) 'forced imprisonment' at the city hospital. I had not been hurt badly on our adventure, and needed only a quiet four weeks of being tended to by Mrs. Hudson. I was feeling well rested and recovered.
I have to admit that a smile broke across my face when I saw Holmes walking back into our rooms, looking much better then when I had last seen him.
"Hello again, old friend." he said.
"Good evening, Holmes." I replied, both of us trying not to show the happiness that we felt on seeing each other again.
Holmes walked straight to the Persian slipper hanging on the mantel, and removed a... more then ample amount of shag tobacco. Lighting his pipe, he slouched into his usual arm chair, and shut his eyes. We sat in silence. After a while I opened my mouth to ask how his stay at the hospital was, however he cut in before I could speak.
"I was wondering if you could tell me something, Watson."
"Anything you like my dear fellow." I said in surprise.
"How did you know which grave I would be in?" he said in a forcefully casual manner. I savoured the feeling for a moment. I am almost sure that no else has ever had the privilege of being asked for an explanation by Sherlock Holmes, and I am equally sure that it would be the last time he asked me.
"Well it was quite simple really." I said. "I observed the footprints around the three graves. You see, to carry a dead body in a coffin requires only two people, but when I saw no less then four sets of footprints around one grave, I knew that the occupant of the coffin must have been making the job of carrying it considerably harder."
Holmes chuckled."You are right, I did not go down without a fight, quite literally. But I congratulate you on your deduction."
"I learned from the best." I replied, though turning slightly red. "But Holmes, what about you and the train?"
"Oh, I sat for a while after you left me, but I couldn't resist missing out on the final act. I followed, luckily the train was only just leaving and I managed to jump on. I passed your carriage just as Moran was saying his cliché goodbyes, so I made my choice and shot the fiend."
"And one more thing Holmes." I said.
I must request that everyone who has read this story reviews, even if its just to say you read it! Goodbye and thank you so much for reading!
Big thank you to VHunter07 who helped with the editing, your great! Also to Susicar (possibly the nicest person in the world), moonlitpuddle, KB, Igiveup, La Suka and Timelady42, for their regular reviews!