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John surfaced, greedily pulling air into his burning lungs. He wiped the water from his eyes, only to take in a horrifying sight. With horror, he watched as Sherlock's body slowly slid below the surface of the water, while blood continued to stream from a wound to his forehead. His body was limp, his eyes closed. He was clearly unconscious or worse.
Without a thought to his own safety, John lunged towards Sherlock, meaning to pull him above the water so that he could breathe.
"Not so fast!" shouted the fat bodyguard who stood several feet from Sherlock's body. "Or are you ready to suffer the same fate as your friend?" he asked in a cruel mocking tone.
John turned, hoping to sneak past the fat bodyguard or perhaps to jump out of the pool and grab a weapon, but he was thwarted again.
"Where do you thinking you're going, Doctor?" asked the other bodyguard, still breathing hard from his swim across the pool. "Do you think we're going to let you go after you've ruined our suits and wasted half the night with us chasing you around? You aren't going anywhere!"
John realized that he was about to die and yet he felt no fear for himself. His hand did not shake with its usual tremor and his leg did not give out beneath him despite the exhaustion he felt throughout his body. His only fear right now was for Sherlock, who had been under the water for nearly a minute and who could not survive without oxygen for much longer. As the bodyguards circled in on him, their faces exposing a barely contained rage, John had only one thought. I'm so sorry, Sherlock, my friend.
Suddenly, the doors to the pool were flung open, revealing a CO19 team, led by Detective Inspector Lestrade. "Hands up, keep your hands where I can see them!" the CO19 members shouted with authority.
Moriarty was no fool. As soon as he heard the noise of the pool door being breached, he slipped out the door leading to the locker room to evade the authorities. He much preferred pulling the strings unseen while sending others to do his dirty work and so escape was his only option.
As the bodyguards heard the CO19 team's entry, they looked to Moriarty for guidance as how to proceed. Upon the realization that they were leaderless, without weapons, and surrounded, they quickly determined that immediate surrender was their only option.
John was at Sherlock's side in a flash. He immediately slipped his arms beneath Sherlock's armpits and towed his body to the surface. He leaned down to place his face next to Sherlock's, expecting to feel the reassuring breath against his cheek. He found none. Sherlock was not breathing. John shouted to Lestrade for help pulling Sherlock out of the water so that he could resuscitate him.
Sherlock heard a sound that seemed to be coming through a long tunnel. His head throbbed and his body felt cold and damp. He could tell that someone was speaking, but it seemed to require too much effort to translate the sounds into words. Couldn't everyone sod off? Was it too much to expect a bit of peace and quiet while he took a nap? The sounds were becoming much louder and more insistent. There was someone's voice quite close while another louder, booming voice shouted commands in the distance. There were new sensations too. The feel of a soft knit pressed to the side of his face. A hand, warm and reassuring that rubbed against his arm. Something about the quiet voice and the gentle hand immediately set Sherlock's mind at ease.
Sherlock was starting to understand that he was not on the couch in his flat taking a nap, as no one shouted or otherwise disturbed him while napping and certainly, no one touched him. But where was he? If only Sherlock could put together the pieces of this puzzle and determine the series of events that had led him to this location, he might be able to find the cause of the splitting pain in his head, arm, and side.
Once John removed Sherlock from the water, he immediately positioned him for CPR. He gave Sherlock several chest compressions before breathing a sigh of relief as Sherlock began to cough violently, a fountain of water spewing from his mouth and lungs. John turned Sherlock's head to the side and patted his back, encouraging him to cough out all of the water
"That's it, Sherlock. You're okay. Just take some slow deep breaths. You'll be alright." John directed. Sherlock continued to cough but did not fully regain consciousness.
John next turned his attention to the bleeding wound at Sherlock's temple. He needed to get the bleeding under control. He looked about the room, searching for something dry that he could use to bandage the wound until the paramedics arrived. He saw a dry towel discarded on the bleacher and decided it would do.
"Lestrade," called Doctor Watson. "I need you to grab me that towel."
John pushed back a wet lock of Sherlock's hair in an attempt to better visualize the head wound. He gratefully took the towel from Lestrade and began dabbing at the blood that continued to steadily stream from Sherlock's temple. Once he had wiped away some of the blood, John was able to see that the wound was quite deep and would inevitably need stitches or staples. Sherlock is not going to be thrilled about that, John thought morbidly to himself.
As John put firm pressure on Sherlock's wound, Sherlock began to stir, wrinkling his face in pain and moaning softly.
"Sherlock?" called John questioningly. "Sherlock, can you hear me? I need you to open your eyes. I know that your head is hurting a lot, but I really need you to try to look at me."
Slowly, Sherlock opened his eyes, groaning with pain as he did so, seemingly as a reaction to the bright fluorescent lights overhead. His eyes scanned the room, looking confused by what he saw.
"John?" he asked. "Where are we? What happened?"
"It's alright, Sherlock. Moriarty set a trap for us here. We jumped in the pool to avoid the bodyguards, but one of them beat you up pretty bad. You've been unconscious for about five minutes."
"Oh," was all Sherlock could mutter in response. He immediately tried to sit up, but was pushed back down by John.
"Sherlock, you need to lay still, okay? You're hurt pretty badly, and the paramedics need to check you over and make sure you are okay before we move you. The ambulance is on its way, so just hang in there for a few more minutes. Are you hurting anywhere besides your head?"
Sherlock ignored John's last question since he knew that telling John that he suspected he had broken his arm and some ribs would not help convince John that he was okay.
"John, I'm fine. I'm not going to the hospital. I was only out for a few minutes and I'm feeling much better now. I just want to go home and lie down," said Sherlock insistently.
Before John could respond, Mycroft walked through the doors to Sherlock and John and immediately kneeled down next to them. John watched as Mycroft scanned Sherlock's body and took in his injuries.
John addressed Mycroft, saying "Mycroft, Sherlock lost consciousness after hitting his head. He likely has a concussion and is going to need stitches for a big gash in his forehead, but he's refusing to go to the hospital. Can you help us out here?"
Mycroft slowly shook his head. "Look, the public hospitals in London are a joke. He won't get the care he needs there. You are a wonderful doctor. He'd be better off at home with you taking care of him."
John sighed in frustration. "I don't think you are getting the seriousness of the situation. Even if I agreed to take care of Sherlock at home, he's still going to need a whole battery of tests like x-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. How am I going to take care of him if I don't have the proper equipment?"
Mycroft waved his hand dismissively. "I can get you any medical supplies you need within the hour. Just make a list."
John decided it was pointless to argue the issue further since both Sherlock and Mycroft had clearly made up their minds. John nodded his head in agreement and then looked down at Sherlock. Sherlock's eyes were closed with his face contorted in pain. John also noted that his breathing seemed more shallow than it had a few minutes ago. It was clear that he needed medical treatment quickly.
"Alright, we will try it at home first to see how it goes. But if Sherlock seems to be getting worse or if the tests show any problems that need surgery, you need to promise me that you'll go to the hospital, deal?"
"Deal," said Sherlock. "Now can we get out of here? This pool room smells like mildew and I'm ready to get out of these wet clothes."
I know that Sherlock not going to the hospital may require a little suspension of belief but to me, it seems in character for him to refuse going to the hospital. I can also see Mycroft setting up a makeshift hospital in their flat. The location will become important for the chapters to come and will also give us a chance to see what John was like as an Army Doctor in the field. Please review and tell me what you liked or didn't like.