by elfin

the house

I put my hand on his chest and see blood on his jacket.

"Oh God, Watson...."

How could he die when his trust in me is shaken?  How could he leave me without knowing how much his company means?

He groans, shifting against the wall, in pain.

I spread my fingers over his shirt. 

Oh, God.

"Go."  His voice is rough, clipped.  "Get him."

How can I leave you?  I'm torn.  I can't let him get away, yet if you die here alone I will never forgive myself.


I can't.  John, please.

He looks at me, eyes dark with shock.

"Please, Holmes."

Will you ever call me Sherlock?"

In agony, I leave.

the moor

I've never been this close to panicking.  I've never been this close to death.

I underestimated him.  It's a failing of mine.

I try not to meet Stapleton's mocking gaze.  I try not to struggle against the powerful forces pulling me down.  I try not to think about Watson. 

I don't want to die without him knowing.

A bullet in the brain would, I'm thinking, be preferable to choking on the clogging mud clinging to my clothes, sucking at my skin.

When the shot comes, it's Stapleton's brains that splatter over the cold, damp ground.  I look up, but my eyesight is fading as my body concentrates its efforts on trying to stay above the cloying dirt.

"The problem now is how to get you out."

Watson!  I blink away the lights dancing behind my eyes and see him shrugging his jacket off.  What's he doing?  But however mad his idea, he's the only chance I have.  Trying not to seem desperate, I cling to the blue arm, pulling myself out as he uses all the strength of his one good arm to save my life.

Finally, I get purchase on the ground and claw my way out of death's grip.  I want to holler, but I can't find my voice.  All I can do is collapse on his legs and gasp for air, pulling oxygen into lungs that have been painfully crushed.

After a few fiery breaths, I realise that underneath me he isn't moving.  I try to raise my head but my blood is like lead in my veins.  Instead, I manage to stretch my arm up and rest my hand on his chest to feel his heartbeat under my palm.  It's racing, but he's alive!

The relief is the last thing I feel for a short time.

the train

"The answer to your question is no."

I smile.  He doesn't trust me.  But he still has faith in me, and that's what's important. 

He has accepted my dinner invitation too.

For the rest of the journey, we travel in silence.  But he glances up almost as many times as I do, and when we catch one another, we smile.

When we reach London, we haul our bags off the train like a pair of invalids.  He with one arm in a sling, me under doctor's orders not to put myself under undue strain. 

I can't help but regard with affection when he attempts to lift both our cases with one hand, and he sees me.  I don't think he knows what to do with me at the moment.

baker street

He may not trust me with our cases, but he trusts me with his heart.  He is the first and the only one to do so.

"You take too many risks with the lives of others, Holmes," he told me over dinner.  He's right.  But I won't admit it.

"I shouldn't play with your life," I responded by way of an apology.

Very rarely were our lives so dangerous.  I may play with madmen and murders, but I don't play with mortality.

When we returned to Baker Street, we bade one another goodnight but we didn't part company.  We stood in the hall and for an instant it seemed to me that I'd never laid eyes on him before.  The dark look in his eyes, the shape of his open mouth, these things were alien to me.

No longer.

We didn't speak.  We still haven't spoken, even now he's lying next to me.  I wonder what we'll say to one another in the morning.