Here we are at last. To another one-shot.
This is what happens when I've got spare time and after having got to know rather devastating news only days ago.
Pay attention to the title. I mean it. So, character death. Mentions of blood. Sadness, probably. Um... yes.
Dedicated to my little brown baby.
The Dying Detective
They say one can see his life passing in front of his eyes when one is dying.
He has never wondered if it is true, has never bothered to think about it.
He wonders if he is supposed to see anything.
Because he does not.
All he can stare at is the gun pointed at a back, unnoticed, unseen, by anyone but him, and the finger already tightening around the trigger. The face, contorted in concentration, in determination, the eyes clearly saying: about to shoot, the mouth a hard line, drawn, underlining the decision that has been made, the decision to shoot and release the bullet.
The bullet which will find its way into the back the gun is pointed at. Lodge itself somewhere near the heart, going by the angle and the non-existent trembling of the hand holding the gun.
Risk of fatality? High. Chance of survival? To be neglected.
And the fingers will pull the trigger, in a matter of split-seconds, too soon for him to shout out, too soon for anyone else to notice, too soon to turn around.
And this, he knows, is unacceptable.
So he is going to die.
He has always assumed it is going to end like that, his life blown out by a bullet, chasing a suspect, a murderer, but now…
It will be the second time, he realises as the finger tightens around the trigger, trembles ever so slightly.
Pulls the trigger.
The second time.
Normally, one does only die once for somebody else.
Not in his case, apparently.
Completely aware of what he is doing, he moves, into the direction of the bullet, to where it is going to hit if he does not intervene.
For John. Always for John.
For a split-second, long enough for the bullet to travel across half the distance between the gun and its destination, he can imagine John's face, shock on his features, anger, fury, rage.
He will gladly bear all of it if it means that John is going to live.
People have told him he is selfish before, he reminiscences as he spreads his arms, with the intention to cover as much of John's back as possible.
What if he will be too late?
Not even a second has passed, and he is not yet where he is supposed to be. Is not yet shielding John. And the bullet is coming, inevitably, closer.
Selfish. He is, maybe.
Some would call his deed selfless, in fact, sacrificing himself for somebody else.
It is not, he is sure of.
He has told John once, the thought occurs to his brain in the fragments of a second that still remain, heroes do not exist. And he is not one of them, absolutely not.
Because he rather chooses ending his own life than enduring a life with the knowledge that John is gone, is no longer there, because he rather submits John to this suffering than himself.
But then, John does have a family.
Family. John does have another life. It is not John's fate to die like that, shot by a stranger, shot during a case.
It is not, and it should never have been.
And it will not.
The last thing he sees is the bullet soaring in the air, only inches away from his own chest, finally shielding John's back.
Stupid, he thinks before time returns to its normal pace and there is an impact, somewhere, almost knocking him off his feet, throwing him backwards, against John.
Who will be angry, and furious, and in shock, and sad, maybe, but who will live. And this, Sherlock decides, is enough to go on.
Then the pain hits, seconds after the bullet, the pain making his legs disappear from underneath his body, making everything around him explode in blurry shadows, making noises and shouting and John's panicked "Sherlock!" sound like cloudy whispers, dim and muffled.
He thinks he feels something on his arm, gripping him tightly, but maybe it is just imagination, and the next thing he becomes aware of that there is darkness above him, darkness with blossoming pitches of light, exploding and blurring and imploding.
It is cold, and he cannot breathe, and now, only now, he suddenly sees John's face, staring at him in amazement, leaning heavily on his cane, in the lab of Bart's.
And John, tossing him a pack of cigarettes, John in Dartmoor, John reading the newspapers, John marrying his wife, John, John, John…
His face is replaced by another one, John again, yes, but it is not a memory Sherlock has seen before, it appears pained and desperated and grieving and…
And suddenly he realises that this is not a memory, but reality, John staring at him while he is dying, saying words which do not reach Sherlock's ears anymore.
John's hand are somewhere on his body, Sherlock registers beyond all the pain, and even if it will not do anything to change what is happening, it feels good.
I'm not sorry, he wants to say, locking his eyes onto John's face, but all that comes out of his mouth is blubbering noise, and when John's face contorts in even more pain, Sherlock decides to let it be, to not risk a second attempt.
There are things he suddenly wants to tell John, so many things, sentiment, probably, but he can't.
And so he simply stares up into John's eyes, surrounded by darkness and slowly drowning in darkness, until he can see nothing else, until everything fades away, the cold, the pain, knowledge of who he is and what he is doing here.
All he can still see is John.
Until he fades away, too.
John is so absorbed in what is happening around him, so absorbed with Lestrade shouting something and running off to the corner to the next street, the gun steady in his left hand that he does not notice what is going on behind him, what Sherlock is doing.
Then a gunshot rings out, his eyes are following Lestrade, his own gun clutched tightly in both of his hands now, and before he has got the time to wonder who has fired the shot, and who has been hit, he is ambushed by someone, sending him stumbling a step forward.
Ambushed by someone.
Time seems to slow down for John as his brain registers what he has heard, what is happening, from which direction the shot has come.
From which direction.
And who has been standing there.
He knows what he will see even before he turns around, even before he hears the shouting and commotion around him, yelling for an ambulance and for the murderer and…
John turns around.
Hears a choked noise, a noise coming from Sherlock, swaying unsteadily on his feet for a moment before his knees start to buckle.
"Sherlock!" is all that comes out of his mouth before his throat constricts, before he fully understands.
Almost unable to breathe, frozen inside, he reaches out, grabs Sherlock's arm, and yet does not even manage to slow his descent to the concrete.
Red is blossoming on his chest, red in contrast to his perfectly white skin, red from where the bullet has lodged itself into his flesh.
People are shouting around him, yelling at him, maybe, but all John can stare at is this hole in Sherlock's body, the blood seeping out, and the wheezing gurgles that elicit from his throat.
Not good, his experience as a doctor provides him with.
Nonetheless, although a part of him is screaming at him that it is useless, his left hand presses down on Sherlock's chest, provoking another strangled sound, provoking his eyelids to flutter for a moment before his grey eyes, so unfocused, lock on John's face, his right hand fumbling for the neck, for the erratic, thready pulse.
John attempts a smile, feeling the warm blood flow sluggishly over his hands. "It's alright," he chokes out. "An ambulance will be here in no time, just hold on…"
A trickle of blood is making its way out of Sherlock's mouth, a thin red line colouring his pallid skin.
"Just a little bit longer…," John recites without knowing what he is saying, simply repeating phrases over and over.
Phrases that will be useless in the end, because Sherlock is dying, because he is not breathing, because the bullet has done too much damage, because he will not last until an ambulance arrives.
"Breathe!" John orders him, pressing down harder, making Sherlock's eyelids flicker once more.
Suddenly, there is a blubbering noise, a horrifying, choking sound, causing blood to flow freely out of Sherlock's mouth, and for a moment, John thinks his heart may stop.
Sherlock seems to blink, a tiny bit, John notices with surprising clarity, staring at Sherlock's eyes and nowhere else, not at his chest, ravaged, crushed, not at his lips, leaking blood, not a his broken body.
The pain in them makes him want to reel, want to vomit, want to die, but he doesn't. He simply holds on, applying pressure although a part of him keeps telling him it is useless.
Flat, shallow, choked wheezes are all that is coming from Sherlock as John keeps staring at him, blocking anything else out.
Until they stop, more blood leaking from his mouth, and his nose.
"Sherlock…," somebody croaks hoarsely, pleadingly.
Because it is too late.
Because Sherlock's eyelids flicker once more, what has been left of his focus vanishing, his lips quivering slightly, more blood gushing out-
Before he goes limp, even more so than before, before he stops, his pulse does, and…
"No," John mumbles. "No, no, no…"
And without knowing what he is doing, he scrambles to his knees, begins CPR, presses down on a chest in which the heart has stopped beating, forcing air into lungs which are no longer able to expand.
Because Sherlock cannot be dead. Cannot.
Greg Lestrade has heard the shot, has turned around, has heard John's desperate cry - and has know what has happened.
He is by John's side in a matter of seconds, but the other man does not even realise he's there, entirely focused on Sherlock who is on the concrete, bleeding, deathly white, shot.
"Call an ambulance, now!" he shouts, and doubting in the very same moment if this will be necessary anymore.
And although he wished it had been different, for once, he is right.
Tears are leaking out of John's eyes as he clasps his hands over the hole in Sherlock's chest, as he tries to talking to his dying best friend despite his voice breaking, as he tries to keep him from dying.
Lestrade feels his own heart beating frantically against his chest as he watches a scene which has never been meant for his eyes, as he watches John while Sherlock is struggling - and failing - to breathe, as he watches the last encounter between two friends.
He turns his gaze away and tries to shut his ears, to block out the horrifying gurgling sounds Sherlock is making, to block out John's desperate sobbing and pleading.
Against all odds, Lestrade hopes for a miracle, another one.
"Sherlock…," he hears John croak, desperately, begging, and he knows, somehow knows, that it is too late.
Indeed, when he dares to look back at Sherlock and John, John kneeling next to his best friend's body, his blood-soaked hands still covering the bullet hole, he immediately notices Sherlock's slackness, his stillness, the silence having emerged after his pained gasping has stopped.
Sherlock Holmes is dead.
Greg Lestrade closes his eyes and fights the urge to vomit.
"No," he hears John mumble, feverishly, almost like a maniac. "No, no, no…"
And then John is bending down, performing CPR, pressing down, trying to get Sherlock's heart to start beating again.
Greg suddenly becomes aware of the silence around them, of the officers staring at him and John, of Sally Donovan standing there, the gun in her hands trembling, a look of utter shock on her face, and of another policeman, holding a man, handcuffed, a neutral look on his face.
"John!" he shouts. "John, stop it, it's too late. John!"
John Watson does not hear him, or maybe he does, but does not want to listen.
"John!" Greg tries again, scrambling forward, gripping John's arm, doing his best to not look at Sherlock's still face and the vacant eyes. "John, it's too late. It's over, it's…"
"No," John whispers feebly, freeing himself from Greg's grip, his trembling arms continuing their arrhythmic pressing down. "No, he's not… he can't be…," he mumbles, tears leaking down his face, tears smearing the traces of blood he has left there when running his hands over his face and through his hair.
"John!" Lestrade attempts again, this time grabbing John's shoulders while he is bending down, pressing his lips to Sherlock's, exhaling forcefully.
Tears drop onto Sherlock's face, John's tears wetting his lashes. No, is all Greg can think, swallowing hard to keep himself from vomiting.
"John!" he yells, shaking the other man who is trembling in his grip, trembling, shivering. "John… it's…"
"No…," John whispers one last time before he crumbles, breaking down, sobbing freely now. "Sherlock, no…," he forces out between two breaths, tracing his bloodied hands over Sherlock's bloodied face, carefully, utterly carefully, resting his arms around Sherlock's neck, lifting his upper body, resting it against himself, cradling Sherlock close.
Lestrade can do nothing else but to get up, on unsteady legs, averting his gaze from what he cannot bear to witness.
And the murderer… he's simply standing there, standing there and watching.
Lestrade makes his way over to him, barely suppressing the urge to punch him, to yell at him, to beat him because of what he has done.
"Why," he only says, in a clipped tone.
The man simply shrugs, not even looking guilty. "Didn't mean to shoot him," he replies. "Aimed for the other one. This one got in the way."
The other one.
"Take him away," Lestrade manages to order before he almost collapses and has to steady himself against the wall of a house. The other one.
Which means that Sherlock is dead because he threw himself in front of John, taking a bullet meant to end another life.
Lestrade closes his eyes, the picture of John cradling his best friend's body close to him and pleading, begging him to come back etched into his brain.
Sally Donovan watches from the distance as Greg finally manages to convince John to let go of his dead friend, as he finally succeeds in coaxing John Watson to get up, on trembling legs, and leads him over to where the ambulance has arrived, too late, much too late.
Minutes later, she watches John Watson sitting in the back of an ambulance, an orange blanket thrown across his shoulders, staring into space, his gaze sometimes flickering to his hands, still stained with red, with blood.
She has seen what has happened, has seen how Sherlock has moved himself in front of John as soon as the bullet has been fired, has seen why he is dead now.
Because he has chosen to save his best friend.
And somehow, even after Sherlock Holmes has come back from the dead once, his name cleared, his reputation cleared, she still does not know what to think of that.
Maybe she is in shock, she thinks, after having just seen a man die she has known for years, she has worked with for years, although never liking him particularly.
Her hands are trembling, she notices when Lestrade suddenly makes his way over to her, his face pale, eyes hollow.
"You've seen it?" he asks in a flat voice, staring vaguely at the point where the body has been lying, where… where Sherlock Holmes has died.
She nods, unable to find words. Yes, she has.
"Don't ever tell John," he forces out, his voice dark, his eyes still fixed at that particular spot.
And she understands. Because John Watson has not seen what his friend has done, has not seen why he is alive and Sherlock is dead.
"No," she agrees.
Lestrade nods, too, slowly, and unsteadily, walking over to where John is sitting, unresponsive, like a statue, the tears dried on his face.
"Sir," she adds.
"I…," she begins, clearing her throat. "Will he… be okay? John Watson?"
The freak. The freak's best friend. And the freak, dead now, who has years ago turned to be not so freak at all.
Lestrade doesn't even look at her, but it's alright. He simply stares off into space.
"I don't think so," he mumbles, possibly not even aware of what he is saying.
I don't think so.
Nonetheless, Sally nods again.
Because there actually has been no need to ask, no need to hear the answer. Even she, who has never bothered to get to know John Watson, lest alone Sherlock Holmes, any closer, can clearly see that the former army doctor will not be okay.
Not any time soon. Never, maybe.
And everything because Sherlock Holmes, of all people, decided to save his life.
What kind of life, Sally wonders suddenly, and also wonders how she has always failed to realise what those two have meant to each other.
Yes, there always have been jokes about being gay, about shagging, even after John has got married, about… but it has never been about this, Sally only understands now.
The Consulting Detective and his blogger.
The dead detective.
With his blogger left alone.
Straightening her shoulders, she turns to the policeman standing next to her. "Have you secured the evidence?"
She may be in shock, but she is still a police officer. And if there is one thing she can still do, then it is to make sure that this murderer, Sherlock's murderer, ends up in jail, for the rest of his life.
For double homicide.
For the murder of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson.
I am sorry.
Thank you for reading nonetheless. And please, reviews would be very much appreciated.