The Unforeseen Game
The shrill sound froze Watson's heart.
Holmes was screaming. Holmes was screaming somewhere in pain.
The harsh cries that spilled from the speakers resembled nothing of the arrogant, eccentric detective he had grown close to over the recent years. It was such a strange yet horrifying notion. Watson was overwhelmed with an utter sense of helplessness as he was pinned down by a very skilled sniper. As he hid, he racked his mind for solutions.
With the sniper's level of skill, the odds of survival by running a serpentine pattern were poor. In this instance, he was forced to act offensive. He needed the sniper on defense. He leaned out and fired a few rounds, but quickly ducked back when the loud pang of bullets bounced off the structure near his head.
He heard another awful scream ring out above that sadistic music.
His legs were moving on their own accord and swiftly climbing a latter. The adrenaline pumping through his veins dissembled the painful throb of his leg and the consuming fear of being shot vanished. He needed to help Holmes. He could not listen to another moment of his dear friend being tortured.
Then he found them. Large ear muffs that would only be needed for something as loud as a cannon. After looking around, it dawned on the doctor that he was hiding behind one. He quickly shoved on the ear muffs and aimed for the bricked tower that Holmes sketched. Not certain on how the contraction worked, he yanked the string and was thrown bodily off the structure. The cannon struck the building, causing the whole structure to rapidly keel over. It groaned as it slowly collapsed and violently tore through the roof of the lower building. A thick cloud of dust jolted up to filled the air.
The doctor lay gasping for a near minute, but quickly recovered and sprinted forward.
"Holmes." He breathed out quietly amongst all the rubble and dust.
His chest felt unbearably tight as he frantically looked through the debris. What if Holmes didn't answer? He climbed over piles of brick, moving with more urgency. The doctor's thoughts were whirling and ascending towards panic as he scanned for the detective. What if he inadvertently crushed his friend by dropping a building on him? Unfortunately, when the doctor heard Holmes' cries, he simply could not deduce a less moronic solution.
"Holmes!" The doctor tried again and was answered with a soft groan.
"Take your time, take your time..." The detective muttered. Despite the advice, Watson rushed over. He dropped to his knees and cleared the rubble off the man. Fortunately, not much of the building fell on Holmes. He gently rolled his friend onto his back and Holmes released another soft groan of pain. All relief faded as the doctor caught sight of the hook protruding out of Holmes' shoulder and the blood staining his shirt. Watson frowned and quickly pulled the hook from his shoulder. He put pressure over the wound, wishing he had time to properly care for it. Holmes stilled and was silent for a moment as he tried to manage the heightened pain. His hand gripped the doctor's forearm painfully tight and he focused his dark, sharp eyes on the doctor.
"Ah...well, it's good to see you, Watson." The detective smiled slightly and Watson returned the smile sadly.
"And you. Let's get you up, old boy." Watson replied and pulled the detective to his feet. The man hissed and suddenly leaned into the doctor. The mere vibrations of movement sent more jolts of pain through his shoulder.
While supporting Holmes, the doctor caught sight of the rope connected to the discarded hook and suddenly felt his face burning.
Realizing what occurred, he was absolutely livid. Moriarty, the sadistic bastard, likely stabbed the man and hung him from the ceiling. The doctor could only imagine how painful it was and the damage of his shoulder must be extensive. Watson wrapped his arm around the man's waist and provided support for walking.
Soon they were up and running. Watson was utterly fuming as they paused to stock up on weapons.
"What were you thinking?" He spat at the detective. He briefly let go of Holmes to collect some weapons. They might have avoided this situation if Holmes divulged his plans for once.
"Wait, wait..." Holmes muttered as he weakly collapsed to the ground. He quickly tucked a stray pistol into his vest. For Holmes to display this much weakness, the pain and the blood loss must be substantial. Watson ripped the cover off the guns and immediately began picking up as much as he could carry and handing off guns to Holmes. The doctor darkly wished he could just blow this whole place to smatterings.
"If you must know, I was thinking I had him right where I wanted him." Arrogant as ever.
"Right, crack on then."
Then they were moving again. They weaved through train cargo and the adrenaline pumped fiercely through their veins. Moriarty's men were hot on their trail and not matter how many they dropped, more showed up. As Simza and the other gypsy men led them closer to the edge of the city, Moriarty's men began pulling out their largest guns. They quickly huddled behind train cargo for cover from a machine gun. Their odds were becoming frighteningly dismal.
Watson felt Holmes' press closer to him. The doctor shifted his gaze and felt his heart swell as he caught sight of the detective holding his arm out protectively over him. Even with his wounds, Holmes was still trying to protect him.
Amongst all the furious German, gunfire, smoke, and debris in the air, their eyes met. Pale blue met fierce, dark brown and Watson felt something shift. He reached out and tried to shield Holmes from the debris.
Before either could deduce the next move, an explosion abruptly went off near them and more debris shot through the air. The smoke warmed their faces and burned their lungs. As the smoke cleared, they realized that Moriarty's men blew a huge hole into the wall. They quickly sprinted through and were met with seemingly miles of daunting forestry. They had no horses and the plan was to catch the train according to Simza.
The odds of escaping were steadily becoming more atrocious by the second. Moriarty's men were pulling out their largest guns and were shooting blindly through the forest. Distantly, Watson felt a sharp sting in his side and saw bark burst off trees in front of them. A few of the gypsy men were shot a mere couple of feet from him.
A high pitched whistle sounded before an explosion knocked them off their feet. Trees near them ruptured from the blast and dirt burst up to rain upon them. Watson lay for a moment next to Holmes, attempting to push past the disorientation and the loud buzzing of his ears. He felt a pat on his back and spotted the men running in their direction.
The doctor swiftly moved to his feet and disarmed the first man. Holmes held nothing back and used all fighting skills at his disposal. He quickly knocked out another man. Another explosion went off and Holmes stumbled forward to catch himself against a tree. His exhaustion was beginning to show.
After the last man dropped, the train rang out like a beacon of hope in the distance. They turned towards the sound and sprinted forward. Simza and one of the gypsies climbed in first, followed by Holmes and Watson. The last gypsy was unfortunately shot by the sniper.
Holmes was leaning against the wall of the train with his head tilted back. He was still holding his hand over his wound, trying to keep it from bleeding too much. His shirt was soaked crimson, nearly half of his face was covered in blood, and his brown hair was errant. But his dark eyes were ever vigilant and calculating as they moved along Watson's form. Watson knelt next to him, disregarding a sudden wave of dizziness.
"Take off your vest and shirt, Holmes." The doctor ordered, pulling a small medical kit from his jacket with shaking hands. When Holmes didn't respond, Watson began to unbutton the man's vest. Holmes caught his hand and he noted the large amount of blood covering the detective's fingers.
"Oh, that won't be necessary."
"We don't have time for this, Holmes. You have lost a substantial amount of blood and I need to stitch up your wounds."
"I am not your first priority, my dear doctor."
Before the doctor could argue with him, the detective reached out and very gently moved Watson's ripped coat to the side. While there was only a growing red spot on the outside of his coat, his white shirt underneath was surprisingly drenched in blood. Watson examined the wound with shock, he must have been shot while running through the forest and felt only a light sting due to the copious amounts of adrenaline. It appeared a bullet grazed his side and nicked an artery. That certainly accounted for the dizziness.
"It wouldn't do for you to collapse while attending to me. Especially when others may require your skills." He continued softly, his gaze raising to meet pale blue eyes. He seemed strangely reserved. Watson hesitated, torn between the sound logic of his argument and his own emotional responses. He needed to at least slow the bleeding for Holmes. He tugged his coat off and rolled up his sleeves. He spotted the scarf Mary made for him and brought it forward without further contemplation.
"Lean forward." The doctor ordered as he began to wrap the scarf around Holmes' shoulder.
"I don't believe Mrs. Watson will appreciate her hard efforts being utilized for such unconventional means."
"What did you say earlier? It is an early effort and heinous at that." He pulled the scarf tightly around Holmes' shoulders and made a knot. He unbuttoned his shirt and quickly went to work with his own wounds. He began by disinfecting and then stitching, ignoring the searing pain of the needle without an anesthetic. He willed his hands to be still with the extensive blood loss and the movement of the train.
During those perpetual minutes, Holmes watched him wordlessly from his place on Simza's lap. He was being unusually quiet. She was singing softly in French while stroking the man's hair. Watson could only pick up a few words, but the melody was very soothing to their exhausted minds and bodies.
"He's not breathing!"
Simza suddenly proclaimed worriedly, her hand hovering over the detective's mouth. Her dark eyes flickered back and forth from Holmes to the doctor. Watson halted in his work and knelt over the man. Holmes' eyes had slid shut and his lips were slightly parted. He felt his neck for a pulse.
His skin was disturbingly cool.
He felt his own heart stop for a moment. No.
"Cradle his head, raise his legs." He said automatically. He had recited the phrase on hundreds of occasions for patients, but never for Holmes. It was never this bad.
"You're bloody well not gonna die on me." This wasn't going to happen. Not on his watch.
He began to perform chest compressions, checking for a pulse between each.
"I'm not gonna make this easy on you." He breathed quietly while shaking his head.
He formed a fist and slammed down on the man's heart, endeavoring to will it to life with mere shock. The detective's body shook with the force, but his heart remained still. His eyes were still closed and suddenly, Watson yearned to see those nearly obsidian eyes again. He longed to hear the man's arrogant yet, insightful observations once more.
"Come on..." The doctor chanted as he compressed his heart again.
"Come on!" He nearly punched the man's chest, torn between sheer determination and a psychological breakdown. What if Holmes never woke up? The idea had never seriously occurred to him before. Holmes sometimes returned from cases battered, but always returned alive and full of eccentric energy. He always came back animated and speaking so rapidly that the doctor wondered if his mouth simply could not match the celerity of his mind.
Watson leaned over the man, gazing desperately at his relaxed face.
"I know you can hear me, you selfish bastard. Come on!" He nearly growled through clenched teeth. Through his medical studies, he deduced hearing was the last sense to leave a dying body.
He shocked the man's heart once more and still found no pulse. Hope was beginning to dwindle away and the raw anguish of the truth was emerging.
His dear friend was dead.
Memories of them together were suddenly flicking through his mind. Memories that would never repeat themselves. They would never chase down criminals and return home for a brandy.
"Come on!" He pounded his chest once more, his eyes were beginning to sting with tears.
They would never bicker over Holmes' self-destructive habits or his lack of hygiene. He would never listen with admiration to the detective's deductions or violin playing. He would never be able to patch the man up after fights or see another elaborate disguise. He never tell the man how much...
"I know you can hear me, you bastard!" His voice broke and he was suddenly being yanked away by Simza.
How much he what...?
He struggled against her, refusing to believe this was the end. His eyes remained locked on Holmes form and he racked his distraught mind for solutions. If only he had a chemical that could somehow induce his heart beat...
Then it occurred to him.
"His wedding gift." He stumbled towards his jacket, pulled out the leather case, and slipped the syringe out. He injected directly into the heart and pulled away. The next few seconds felt like the longest seconds in his life.
Holmes' eyes shot wide open and he gasped for air. He howled as he quickly climbed to his feet and sprinted into the other side of the train. They all watched him with shock as he began rambling with wide eyes.
"I had a terrible dream. You and Mary, and Gladstone and I were at a restaurant. And that satanic pony was there as well! He had a massive fork in hoof and he turned on me!"
The detective suddenly swayed forward and Watson stepped forward to catch his forearm. He resisted the urge to embrace the man and words escaped him completely. He was alive and it was due to his own experiments.
The doctor never before felt such affection for the man's outlandish experiments.
Holmes focused his sharp eyes on him, attempting to catch his breath.
"What have you administered?" He inquired, more steady on his feet.
"Your wedding present." The doctor showed him the syringe. Holmes touched his chest, presumably noting discomfort.
"And who has been dancing on my chest?" He shouted breathlessly.
"Me, now lie down so I can stitch you up. No more waiting, Holmes." He commanded while gently pushing the man to the floor. Holmes began to unbutton his vest, but Watson swatted his hand away.
"Stay as still as possible, old boy. I shall make this as quick as possible."
His own wound was only partially stitched up, but he didn't care. He unbuttoned the man's vest and shirt with shaky fingers, revealing dried blood and a toned chest. He had seen Holmes in various states of undress over the years, but somehow it seemed more intimate now. He slipped a syringe and small vial of morphine from his medical kit. He hovered over the man as he applied disinfectant to his forearm, his own open shirt lightly touching the man's abdomen. He slowly injected a small amount into his forearm. There was only enough morphine for one of them and Holmes certainly needed it more than him with the extensive damage to his shoulder.
"I am sorry you didn't make it to Brighton." Holmes said quietly.
Watson paused in his work and nodded at the detective. His chest felt oddly warm as he appreciated the apology from the normally selfish detective.
Holmes rarely apologized and revealed his regard in subtle ways that one with poor oberservation skills might not comprehend. On many occasions, Watson dozed off in his chair in front of the fireplace and woke with a blanket on him that Mrs. Hudson denied providing.
The image of Holmes holding his arm out over him amongst all the shooting and debris flickered through his mind. During cases, Holmes protected him on numerous occasions and always silently checked him for injuries. Over a year ago, Watson became particularly fond of a type of brandy and Holmes always had it on hand.
"Me too." He replied, his gaze rising to meet the detective. He was not troubled about missing his honeymoon, but more so about watching Holmes nearly die. The very idea unsettled him and sent him into an inward frency of emotions. He would endeavor to never let the man itch so closely to death ever again.
He suddenly wanted to reveal how much he cared for the man.
The strange phrasing of his thoughts suddenly occurred to him.
Revealed how much he cared...?
The detective was undoubtedly aware of his admiration for his skills and his loyal friendship, so what more could he divulge?
The simple deduction dawned on him and struck him with such a profound force that he stopped in his work to cover his mouth.
It was shocking and yet clarifying.
He was in love with Holmes.