He can't see anything, not even what's in front of his eyes.
Sherlock feels as if he's being pressed from all sides by invisible walls. He knows that this is impossible: the feeling of claustrophobia is an illusion created by his mind. He's seen the swimming pool, has the floor plans firmly fixed in his mind, knows the position of every brick and tile. But the explosion has changed everything.
His mind, usually so methodical, has problems remembering the details. Sherlock can remember the minutes before, Moriarty, the jacket, John. After that, it's all a blur. He'd be hard-pressed to recall just what had happened, who had pressed the button, or even whether someone had pressed the button or the bomb had been triggered in some other way.
The bomb had exploded, Sherlock was sure of that much at least. There was no other reason why he'd be scrambling in the ruins of what until a few minutes ago had been a perfectly ordinary swimming pool in the suburbs of London.
He might be injured. He's not sure of it, he doesn't feel all right, there's a dull ache in his chest and shoulder. It might physical or it might just be the shock. Right now, that doesn't matter. It's not important. There are more pressing matters.
Sherlock has no idea of where John might be. He remembers him standing just a few feet away, his grim determination as he tackled Moriarty, his voice telling Sherlock to go. He also remembers Moriarty's tone, mocking, laughing, as if this was all a game, and Sherlock swears he'll get revenge for this. But not now.
Now he needs to find John.
Sherlock scrambles among the rubble, calling John's name over and over. He gets no answer. He can't hear anything at all apart from the sound of his own irregular breathing, his footsteps, the debris shifting under his feet, a steady trickle of water falling from he doesn't know where.
Without being able to rely on his sight, his other senses are becoming so much sharper than usual. The smell of chlorine that was so overpowering has now been replaced with something sharper. The smell of bombs, of metal and broken bricks and destruction that Sherlock will always associate with Moriarty from tonight onwards. He hopes that he'll never have to associate this smell with something much worse.
John still isn't answering.
But he has to be here, somewhere, under this pile of debris that Sherlock can't see but feels under his questing hands. He'd been here when the bomb exploded, or so Sherlock thinks. He can't remember those seconds. John's life hangs in the balance, and still Sherlock can't remember.
It seems like part of the wall has collapsed, filling this part of the pool with broken tiles and pieces of plaster. Why hasn't the police arrived yet? John might be under here, he might still be alive. Part of his brain, the part that isn't currently being overruled by hormones, tells him that it's too late. Tells him that John was closest to the bomb, there's no way he could have survived. Tells him that this is futile.
Shut up, Sherlock thinks.
He starts digging among the debris with his bare hands. Their edges are sharp, jagged, they keep him anchored to the reality of this swimming pool. He cuts himself, a sharp line of pain across his palm, and feels the blood trickle down his hand. He files this information away, maybe later there would be time to get it bandaged and disinfected.
Later, he keeps telling himself, everything else can wait until later. Even Moriarty will have to wait. John takes precedence. And Sherlock curses inwardly because he's never felt like this about anyone. He hates not knowing things, being unsure. It's too human. And painful. Sherlock doesn't know what's so special about John, why he should care so much, why he should search so desperately among the ruins of a swimming pool, calling for a man who's not answering.
But John had been ready to kill for Sherlock. He'd been ready to die for Sherlock. And Sherlock has seen a lot of deaths, but he's never had anyone die for him, and he thinks he's not ready, he doesn't want this.
Then there's sounds, coughing, someone struggling to get up, a warm hand gripping Sherlock's wrist. He clasps that hand in his own, blindly, calling John's name like a prayer.
"Wrong," says Moriarty.