Disclaimer: Do not own. =(
Author's Note: I am working on my other fics, but this one was written for an auction over on livejournal to raise money for the Queensland floods. Set straight after the Great Game so major spoilers for that.
It wasn't possible. It just wasn't. The rain poured down around him, and the lights of the numerous emergency vehicles flashed red and blue and still he couldn't process it. He couldn't get one small thought to fire from nerve to nerve and have his brain accept it.
Because Sherlock Holmes couldn't be dead. It just wasn't possible. The man was larger than life, cold and emotionless, and seemingly immortal.
But if Lestrade was to believe the paramedics standing before him, the possibility of one surviving the blast they were attending was…low to say the least. The building was unstable, and rescue personnel were certain it would take hours to even reach the victim(s? Lestrade wasn't sure if the bomber Sherlock had been meeting had made it out). By which time so much could have happened…
Lestrade couldn't take it. He had to know if Sherlock was alive. Sherlock was the most infuriating, cold, brilliant man who ever lived and Lestrade…well Lestrade counted him as one of his friends and team members even if Sherlock didn't see it that way. So while the other high ranking personnel tried to figure out a plan of attack, Lestrade slinked closer and closer to the smouldering doorway until he was close enough to dash inside, ignoring the cries and shouts behind him.
Clutched in his hand was a mobile he had pick-pocketed from Donovan. Sherlock's antics did sometimes have their uses if only to encourage him to improve his own abilities in hopes of catching the detective out.
He hadn't even taken two steps before the smoke and dust started to make him cough. Lestrade ripped his coat off and covered his mouth with it. I have not thought this out… he thought, searching through the smoke and debris for any sign of Sherlock. He could hear the voices still calling for him and was about to give up hope when a tiny movement caught his eye.
A hand was reaching out from under a piece of the roof. Lestrade dropped to his knees beside it and carefully took the long, pale hand in his. He smiled as Sherlock squeezed his hand, then replaced it with the phone. Lowering his coat, he went to speak but another coughing fit over took him and Lestrade realised he had to get out if he didn't want to add to the causalities list.
Crawling, he made his way to the doorway, where Donovan was waiting with a group of fire-fighters. As soon as they saw him, two men grabbed him under his arms and carried him to the waiting ambulance.
"What were you thinking Sir?" Donovan yelled as the paramedics gave Lestrade oxygen. His head was clearing and he ignored her, fumbling for his radio. "Sir!"
"I was thinking that I might be able to confirm our favourite consulting detective is still alive." He snapped, finally being able to pull his own phone out.
"He's our only consulting detective." Donovan muttered, but without heat. In fact, the emotion in her voice would have been called worry in anyone else. But not her.
Lestrade takes a deep breath and presses down the call button. There's an anxious moment as the call connects, then rings. "Sherlock?" he says when the ringing suddenly stops and a person's breathing starts to come through.
Donovan gives him a long searching look but before she can comment a voice comes over the speakers. "I assumed it was you who squeezed my hand. I could" a cough has Lestrade sitting up straighter, "feel the…" Sherlock's weak voice trails off and Lestrade starts.
"Sherlock!" he screams.
"and you are the only person who would feel obliged to crawl into a crime scene for me." Sherlock continues. Lestrade sighs in relief realising that Sherlock just moved his head out of range of the phone.
"Sherlock, I need to know what injuries you have. We're working on digging you out, but it's going to take time and any moment we can gain could save your life."
"Is John there, or is he already on the way to the hospital?" As usual Sherlock ignores his question and confuses him in the same breath.
"We haven't been able to contact John. Sherlock, what injuries do you have?" By now, Lestrade has moved to the planning centre with all the other high ranking people and has the phone on speaker. Any information Sherlock gives them will help and it's easier to yet everyone hear it first-hand rather than risk it getting gargled.
"Nothing serious…you don't have John?"
Lestrade is sure he's talking to a brick wall sometimes. "Sherlock you can't make that decision. There are professionals here who can. So tell us your injuries."
"But no John?"
"For God's sake!" Lestrade turns to Donovan. "Find John and get him here."
"You won't…find him." Sherlock still seems to be five steps ahead of everyone…or has the best hearing of anyone Lestrade has ever met. Probably a bit of both.
"I…I don't…do...know." Sherlock's voice is confounded and one of the nearby paramedics mutters 'concussion'. It isn't a large leap for Lestrade to deduce that Sherlock has taken a blow to the head during the explosion.
"Hey, Sherlock stay with me."
"Why? You're boring and you've lost John and I don't need to talk to you." Sometimes dealing with Sherlock is like dealing with a child…who happens to be about six foot tall and gets bored easier.
Logic always helps when dealing with Sherlock. "The more you talk to me know, the quicker you get out of there and the less you have to talk to me in the long run."
A pause. "My arm is pinned. The left, before you ask. I can feel it, but moving my fingers is near impossible at the moment."
Taking this as the victory it is, Lestrade pushes. "What else?"
"I took some form of blow to my head, most likely the beam currently above me. There seems to be small burns along my free arm and I can feel the same things on my legs. They, while not pinned completely, are hard for me to move more than five centimetres in any direction and the right aches far more than the left so possibly a gash there. I also have a graze from a bullet on my torso, left side."
"Yes, a bullet. Moriarty had…snipers. Why did I forget the snipers?" Sherlock's voice, which was clearer while he explained his injuries, has become confused again. The head injury is obviously a serious one. The implication that Moriarty had snipers is a big one. Now they know there was more than one person here instead of guessing there was. Before it could have just been a trap Sherlock walked willingly into… now it means they have to search for multiple victims.
"Don't worry about it. It's a minor detail." Lestrade tries to reassure Sherlock.
"No detail is minor." Lestrade flinches at Sherlock's tone and wonders why he bothered to try to reassure Sherlock.
"Detective Inspector?" One of the planning men, as Lestrade has begun to think of them, comes up to him. "We have figured out how to get to him. We'll go the same way you did, through the main door, but wear protective masks and move slower. It should take us ten minutes to reach him and then we'll tell you how long it will take to dig him out then."
Lestrade nods as an acknowledgement then returns to his call. "Did you hear that Sherlock?"
"…Hear what?" comes the groggy reply.
"The rescue teams are coming in via the main entrance. In a few minutes we'll know how much longer you'll be there."
"Why those door?" Sherlock's grammar slipping is not a good sign and it forces Lestrade's concern up a few notches.
"Because it's the closest entrance to you."
Sherlock is silent for a moment. "But…John is closer to the side entrance." He whispers finally.
Lestrade's blood runs cold. "Sherlock…was John with you?"
"No." Sherlock sounds affronted. "I saw no need for him to be here." Anger seems to make him focus. Lestrade starts to wonder if getting Anderson here might be a good idea. "Moriarty brought him."
It isn't fair that Sherlock is concussed and can still run rings around Lestrade. "Why would Moriarty bring him?"
"Five. Four? No it was five." Sherlock is definitely getting worse but he still can communicate his meaning. John was the fifth pip.
Which means John was the bomb. Lestrade has to blink back a tear when he realises the man whom had begun to humanise Sherlock Holmes; the nicest, most dependable man he knows…is dead. He can't cry…grieve later. Right now he needs to get the man John died for to safety.
It's the least he can do.
"Of course. Sherlock, where was Moriarty standing?" Lestrade decides to keep Sherlock thinking and therefore keep him talking until he is safe.
"By…by the pool…other end?" Sherlock's voice is far fainter than before…
"So far away from you?"
"Yes. He was by the bomb." Sherlock sounds like he is smiling, probably happy he can remember this now.
"No by the bomb. John was next to…next to…the stalls…me!"
Lestrade feels likes he's missing a piece of the puzzle, a usual state when dealing with Sherlock. "John wasn't the bomb?"
"…no? Lestrade I can't remember! I should remember…John?" Sherlock's voice is getting childlike and the confusion is still growing.
"Shh… it's okay. It's okay."
Predictions are it will take an hour to dig Sherlock out of the rubble. There are enough men to do it in half the time, but with Sherlock confirming John Watson is in the nearby rubble Lestrade has demanded they search for him too.
"Have they found him yet?" Lestrade closes his eyes in despair as Sherlock asks the same question for the tenth time. He seems to be having trouble remembering what questions he has asked before now and always asks this one with so much hope in his voice it kills Lestrade a little to say "no" each time.
A squawk from Donovan has him pausing. "Hang on a sec," he says to Sherlock. "Donovan? What is it?"
"The doctor. They've found his left arm and it has a pulse." She said with a huge smile. "They think he was protected partially from the blast and if all goes to plan they will have both him and the freak out at the same time."
"Sherlock!" Lestrade doesn't thank Donovan but returns to his call, excitement in his voice.
"They've found him?" Sherlock asks.
Lestrade doesn't bother asking how he figured that out. "Yes!"
"That's good? Is it good?" A deep sigh comes over the phone.
"Sherlock?" Lestrade asks after there is no reply for a moment. "Sherlock!" he calls again.
"Huh? Lestrade...Why are you yelling?"
Lestrade takes a deep breath in relief when Sherlock replies. "You didn't answer me."
"You're…boring. I think…I'll sleep in protest."
His eyes widen in fear as he instinctually checks his watch. "Sherlock you can't sleep. They'll have you out soon and then you'll be with John and can sleep."
"John…" Sherlock's voice is barely coming through now, and whether this is because he's dropping the phone or dropping off, Lestrade doesn't know.
"Yes, John. Stay awake Sherlock." Lestrade is pleading now and he doesn't care.
"Say sorry…'bout the bomb. He's not…heart…shouldn't have…there." Sherlock isn't making sense anymore and that worries Lestrade more than anything else tonight.
"Sherlock I need you to explain that to me." A pause for a reply then, "Sherlock, come on. I'm an idiot, you know that. Now prove it and explain that to me!"
Sherlock doesn't reply no matter how he begs or pleads.
It is the longest forty five minutes of his life.
Despite everything, it is John they pull out of the rubble first. He has multiple serious lacerations on his arms, probably from throwing them up to protect his head. He too has a head injury, and doesn't appear to have regained consciousness. There's a bullet graze on his torso and the possibly of internal bleeding. He also has broken his right leg.
Sherlock is not as serious, but only just. They are both covered in blood and bruises and it's so wrong to see Sherlock not moving because Sherlock always moves, that's him and now John just looks like a broken doll covered in ash and dust and blood and it's everywhere and somehow on Lestrade because he's touching one of them, trying to make them move so they'll not look dead.
Donovan takes one look at her boss' face and practically shoves him into an ambulance (Sherlock's, simply because it's closer and because John's has left already). She reckons he's in shock and even pulls a blanket over him.
Lestrade doesn't care what she says so long as he can stay with Sherlock and John. It doesn't help when they reach the hospital. The staff takes one look at him and directs him to the waiting lounge. A nice nurse gives him a cup of sweet coffee and then everyone seems to forget him.
Sherlock and John are rushed into emergency surgery.
Twenty minutes after Lestrade entered the hospital a man walks calmly into the waiting room. He walks up to the help desk, makes an enquiry and after a few minutes comes to sit by Lestrade. Lestrade barely notices, except when he sits partly on Lestrade's blanket and drags it down a bit. Other than pulling it out of the man's way, Lestrade ignores him.
Until he speaks. "Whose blood is it on you? John Watson or Sherlock Holmes?"
"Excuse me?" Lestrade asks as he turns to face the man.
"You have blood on your hands Detective Inspector and your shirt front. One cannot tell blood from one person apart from that of another so I simply wish to know whose blood is it. John Watson's or my brother's?"
Lestrade feels…well he's not feeling much now but shock would probably be something. "You're Sherlock's brother?"
'Mycroft Holmes. Whose blood is it?" The man…Mycroft, is starting to sound a little desperate but only years of dealing with Sherlock Holmes allows Lestrade to notice that.
"I don't know. I don't remember."
Mycroft grimaces. "Are you sure you couldn't remember?"
"Not really… How did you know I was…wait I forgot you're Sherlock's brother." Mycroft smiles, a brief smile but it is there. "Why do want to know whose blood it is?"
"I have my reasons." Mycroft is eyeing the clock and the help desk. He is clenching his hand like he is missing something.
"He's alive you know. They both are." Lestrade states softly.
"I know." Mycroft replies just as quiet. Lestrade nods and takes a last slip of his horrible coffee. He goes to stand up to throw it away, but thinks better of it and stays where he is.
Side by side, Mycroft and Lestrade wait for the coming of the dawn and news.