'Move!' hissed Detective Inspector Lestrade, and he shoved several people out of the way as he raced to the police car. Two others were already setting off, and the police station was buzzing with adrenaline as people typed furiously and made knots in the air with their muttered conversations and orders. Sergeant Anderson and Donovan were shooting words at each other furiously, before Donovan pocketed her gun and set out of the door.
'Can we check the –'
'I'm getting readings, he's heading-'
'Have we got the officers over there alerted about-'
'We need someone over here now!'
'Regulations 9.24 –'
Lestrade slammed shut the car door with unnecessary vigour, and fumbled with the ignition key. Cursing over and over, he finally slotted it in and after a lifetime the car groaned into life. Rain hurled itself against the vehicle, fighting against it.
On any other day he would have had his status immediately removed by the way he was driving, but right now Lestrade couldn't care less. First gear, foot flat on the floor, go, go! The landscape on either side couldn't move fast enough. The Inspector cursed cars, cursed all vehicles on the Earth.
He hated the moan above his head, a moan of despair that seemed to say again and again, you're too late, you're too late, you're too late you'retoolateyou'retoolate…
'Shut UP!' It wasn't often he lost his temper, but he could have sworn that ten more roads had been built in the way of his destination, the time it was taking to get there. As he slowed down to give other cars time to move to the side, he could hear the distant mourning of the other two sirens. The three wails twisted together like a rope until they were one continuous hopeless weeping.
Finally, finally, he rounded a corner and there he could see the scene, the scene he had been so desperate to get to but now he wished he could be anywhere but there.
'You've got to go!'
'I haven't "got" to do anything!'
'How can you be so callous! I don't think you realise the urgency of the situation!'
'Don't be ridiculous! Of course I realise how dire this is.'
'I don't think you do. I think you don't want to go because…'
'What? Because what?'
'You've always hated him! I bet you'd love to see him afterwards.'
'Oh my god, how can you say that? Of course I- '
'That's what it is, isn't it? You always wanted to see him fail, I could see your expression every time he arrived. This is your perfect situation.'
'You disgust me.'
'Don't lie to me!'
'I'm not ly-'
'You ARE LYI-'
'I SAY I'M NOT, DAMMIT!'
'If you don't hate him, then go.'
'Look, we've been through this. I can't go – it's too late now. Look, the cars are already leaving.'
'Oh, my god, you, you….'
'I can't believe you! Fine, I'll go!'
'Just don't expect me to talk to you again if I can help it!'
'You think that's meant to make me feel bad?'
'Oh my god, you utter monster-'
'I thought you were going to go? Or are you just going to stand there and complain?'
'I am going, look, I can catch that second car, despite what you say…. Fine, sulk, I don't care, no-one should!'
I wonder if it's happened yet. It was inevitable, of course. Most regrettable. But one must move past these things.
Oh, this'll really kill him, and I can't stop laughing.
Oh, look at that, he's forgotten his revolver. I do worry about the things they get up to. Awfully dangerous. One of these days they'll get hurt.
The bird watches. The bird sees. The bird wonders. The humans. Always a jumble, chaos. The bird didn't like the scene before it. It was grey. It was grey and rapidly turning black. It makes the bird sad. But it doesn't really understand sadness, it is a bird. It shouldn't be able to. Humans should, and they are all the worse for it.
Now the scene has turned. It is a series of black noises, ear-piercing images and hard smells of the end.
The bird spreads it's wings and glides away, flying through oblivious air that invites it and takes it away, and it swims through the air and away from the human chaos. But this time it drags a human soul along, showing it the way like a teacher.
It had to be raining, didn't it? Wasn't that the way things went in stories like this? Pouring rain. And it was raining. I thought it was mocking me by making it the perfect surrounding, the biggest cliché. But that was only part of what me and the weather knew. Because in scenes like this, we all know how they end.
The drops came in millions, swarming like an army, each drop breaking and dying its own separate death as a lonely soldier. I looked for the extra drop.
All alone. Surrounded. Another cliché. The darkness had wandered in and was leaning against every corner like an attacker waiting to strike. I hated it because I knew I couldn't fight darkness, and I hated losing.
After a time, I fell to my knees, noticing how wet the rain was making my face. And the water was warm. That didn't make sense. I hated this situation because I had to be a loser. And a loser is just another word for failure.
The pavement was cold, and my trousers were probably dirty now, but that was irrelevant and therefore unimportant.
Where we were felt like a bubble separated from the rest of the world, the place under the murkiest cloud, and other noises so typical of a London street slid round it and avoided seeing the truth. There were sounds of traffic, and a trio of sirens was rising from the faraway bustle. I almost hated the fact they were coming. Not now. I liked this silence.
Suddenly, I realised we were not alone after all. A bird sat nonchalantly on a windowsill, where it wouldn't get wet. I looked at it and thought of the dissected bird in my room, revealing the anatomy behind it. A flesh machine. I could do with another one.
I looked away, and when I glanced back the bird flew off, out of reach.
Staring back next to me, I locked eyes with him and then slowly, gently, became truly alone.
Dr John Watson
'It's too late.' I told him firmly and calmly, and to my surprise it didn't scare me to admit it. After Afghanistan I knew I was lucky, and ending now was ten times better than ending there.
'No, no, no it's not!' Sherlock regarded me with an air of confusion and worry I had never seen before. He stared helplessly at my shirt changing colour to red, not knowing what he should do.
'Of course it's not too late, don't say that, tell me what to do!'
'There's no point.'
'No! Don't you dare say that! Tell me now! NOW!' His eyes flashed anger, but whether he was angry with me, or what had happened, or himself, I didn't know.
I felt a sudden urge to cry at his face, a mixture of hope and despair, and was surprised again. Because I was not sad about me, but about him. How could I leave him like this? I sighed, and this time my voice cracked a bit. 'Sherlock, I'm so sorry, it's too late.'
He saw how sure I was, and the hope finally slid from his face, along with the rain, but his eyes were the sky. 'Are you sure?'
'Yes,' and by now we were both crying, so uncharacteristic.
'Doesn't it hurt?'
'Does it matter now?'
A long silence.
'How can you be so calm? Aren't you afraid?'
I laughed, but the laughter shattered every tear into ten more. 'What is there to be afraid of? After Afghanistan, I've been living on borrowed time. Anyway, I'm not afraid because nothing bad will happen.'
His over-used look of curiosity took over, despite the situation. 'Really? What do you… what do you think happens?'
'I don't really know what happens next. Reincarnation? Perhaps I'll come back and we'll meet again, or perhaps I'll be a fly or a… a raindrop.' It sounded a bit cheesy, but neither of us noticed, 'Well, we'll meet again, anyhow.'
'Do you have to go?'
'Why don't you stay?'
'You know I can't-'
'Oh god, Sherlock, we've been through this!'
Another silence. Then he abruptly looked worried. 'I'm sorry.'
'Being such a bad friend.'
'What? No, you're not a bad friend.'
His eyes looked downcast and his face mirrored that of the storm above. 'Don't say that, I know I've been terrible.'
'You really haven't.'
'You don't have to-'
'Listen to me,' I feebly reached for his hand, but it was so weak that Sherlock didn't see and I gave up, 'You might have some bad habits. You play the violin at all sorts of ungodly hours, do crackpot experiments and then leave them all over the place, and can be so exasperating. But the truth is, you're still the best friend I could ever have.'
'Even though the head is still in the fridge?' I rolled my eyes and laughed again, laughed at the sky and the ridiculousness of everything.
'Even though the head is still in the fridge.' He saw my face and despite trying to stay serious, a smile cracked onto his face and the edges crawled upwards. For some time, we laughed at the memories arising around us, before I gasped at the renewed pain of the wound and the bitter truth came rushing back.
My clock was running out and I accepted that.
'So,' I said.
'So, ' he said.
'This is really it, huh?'
'Yes. Did you find your life to be of an acceptable standard?'
'It has been one hell of a good life,' I said vehemently, and I meant it.
'Nothing really left, is there?'
'Not really.' I had forgotten I was still crying, until a silence broken by choked breaths from Sherlock reminded me.
'Sherlock, I suppose I'd better say it now, I'm… I'm going. Goodb-'
'Don't say it!'
I was startled by the fury lacing his words. He deflated. 'Sorry, I know, but just… don't say it.'
The tears welled up anew in my eyes at his defeated yet resigned face, and he continued. 'Let's just pretend that it's a normal day, that I'm bored again and you're annoyed with something I've done. That's… that's about right, isn't it?'
'Y-yes,' I choked.
'And… and then Lestrade will appear, and tell us about an interesting case – a rarity these days. And I'll drag you off to the crime scene, and –'
'Amaze people with your deductions? Take Anderson down a peg or two.' He smiled at me.
'Yes, and then I'll have to go somewhere, and you stay behind. But I know… we know…. We'll see each other again later, and solve the case.'
'I can pretend that.'
There didn't seem to be anything left to say. All these emotional things suddenly coming out of the normally cold detective's mouth broke me down until I was a wreck.
Together, we watched the world survive, me lying on the ground. I felt the rain spatter on my face and smelt pizza from a bin nearby. I could hear London's odd song, the cars and the rain and the people causing an odd symphony of life.
I saw a bird sitting on a windowsill, but before I could take it in I suddenly realised the blackness had penetrated the corners of my vision and was growing, and growing…
I locked gazes with Sherlock, and his water-shedding eyes were the last thing I saw before the darkness snuck over my entire vision, and then there was nothing.
-I might continue this and make it a story, as was my original plan. But after writing this, supposedly the first chapter, I might keep it as a oneshot. What do we think, people? Story or oneshot?