John gave a great sniff as he sat back up, rubbing his nose and eyes and avoiding Sherlock's ever present gaze. The silver grey eyes shone brightly through the dark, boring into the side of John's head. John shifted uncomfortably, starting to recognize the significance of what had just happened.
"Are you all right?"
John glanced at Sherlock but looked away quickly. Damn it, did the man ever blink?
"Yeah, I'm-" His throat closed up and his coughed, trying to clear it. "I'm fine."
Sherlock's expression didn't change even in the slightest. After a moment of elongated silence, he spoke again.
"John, what happened?"
John shook his head as if it didn't matter. "It was just a dre-"
"That's not what I meant."
John looked up, finally meeting Sherlock's concerned gaze. Concerned. Sherlock was concerned. John tried to muster up the strength to stare the other man down, to make it clear that he was not going to go into that topic. But at the same time, part of John desperately wanted to tell his friend. He trusted Sherlock with his life. If there was anyone in this world who he could tell about his near death experience, it would be Sherlock.
"Two and a half years ago. Afghanistan. We were going back to our home base after a two week long scouting mission. We were all exhausted, dirty, and ready to get back to some place where there was at least wifi. Then the humvee in front blew up."
It was immediate chaos. John didn't hesitate, the instinct from training taking over, and he grabbed the door handle, throwing himself out of the vehicle. Gun held steadily in his hands, ready, he looked around frantically for the enemy as bullets seemed to rain towards them all from every direction. A scream filled John's ears and, despite the danger, he couldn't help but look. Just a foot to his right, his good friend, his best friend out here, Pete Johnson, crumbled to the sand. John blinked furiously, turning his attention back to the fight, when a sharp, searing pain exploded in his left shoulder.
White hot pain blinded him, the impact shoving him back against the humvee. There was an anguished bellow ringing in the air, but all of John's senses had honed in on the burning metal that had embedded itself in muscle. The doctor in him immediately took an inventory of the extent of the damage. The bullet had hit bone and shards of bone were adding to the pain as well. Warm, thick blood was steadily spilling out onto his uniform. There was a hole in his body, John realized, feeling sick to his stomach. He'd seen injuries much worse than this, but this was his own body this time: there was a hole in his shoulder, a hole where there never should be.
John struggled to keep himself on his feet, using the humvee against his back as support. The chaos of battle still raged around him, he suddenly realized, and John was going to be no help to anyone with a wound like this. He stared around, trying to decide his next move.
Suddenly the world seemed to turn into fire and sound. For the few seconds before he blacked out, a terrible noise consumed his hearing and fire filled every other sense. It was a true blessing when the hellish world ceased to exist, leaving only black.
"I don't know why I didn't die," John said hoarsely, eyes fixed in the blackness. Sherlock's presence formed back into existence in John's consciousness. The tall, lanky man had pulled his legs around into a cross-legged position, his eyes still glowing through the night, waiting and watching patiently.
"All I can come up with is just a pure, honest miracle. You can't be a doctor, you can't be in the army, without realizing miracles do happen. I woke up a few hours later. I only know it was that long because the attack had happened in the morning and when I woke up the sun was at full force, noonday. It hadn't been longer than a day because I wasn't burnt to a crisp yet.
"I was burnt badly from the explosion. Everyone else was dead. I tried to gather as much of the water canteens as I could, but most of them were riddled with holes or didn't have much water left in them to begin with. I rationed it as much as I could. Made myself a little shelter in a up-turned humvee. I lived on a small shred of hope that was sanded down by every passing minute.
"I don't know how long I was there. I never asked. But I had given up before I was rescued. I passed out before they found me. And, I suppose, the rest is history."
John gave a slight cough. All this talking, all this memory... The heat and the sand of the Afghanistan desert seemed to have settled in John's throat. Water. He wanted water.
He started when a cool, long-fingered hand rested on his forearm. He looked up to see Sherlock had moved closer, eyes looking almost imploringly at his friend.
"Thank you, John. I appreciate the trust."
John nodded sharply. "Thank you for listening."
"Is there anything I can get for you right now?" Sherlock asked, fingers tightening their grip on John's arm ever so slightly. John placed his other hand on top of Sherlock's, a silent thank you for the extra support.
"Water. Water would be nice."
Sherlock nodded, hand slipping out from under John's and getting to his feet. John watched his dark figure leave, pondering this strange development. Sherlock was always so adamant when it came to the idea that he didn't care. Caring didn't help. But it seemed the detective didn't quite fully believe that.
And John was quite all right with that.
A/N: Thank you all for reading this! I'm glad so many people enjoyed it! Maybe I should write more multi-chapter stuff... Yay or nay?
I love reviews and live for constructive criticism!