Pairing(s)/Character(s): John, Sherlock, Moriarty
Warning(s): (spoilers in warnings; highlight to read or skip this warning) Murder; character death.
Summary: The bomb explodes. John reacts.
Author's Notes: Set immediately after TGG. Title and all dialogue in the fic taken from the Lasagna Oath – the modernised rewriting of the Hippocratic Oath, by Dr Louis Lasagna.
Dipping my toes into the Sherlock fandom. I'm writing a longer piece that may or may not ever see the light of day, but in the meantime, have this ficlet.
Edit: This fic has now become the first of a 'verse I'm calling the Affection-verse. Not S2-compliant, obviously.
If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help. – Hippocratic Oath, Dr Louis Lasagna
The bomb goes off, and three bodies hit the water.
It’s not entirely planned. The impact shoves them all in the direction of their movement at that point. Sherlock had turned to the side; John had been angled forward from a crouch; Moriarty had started to his left. The blast hurries them along, pushes them forward. Sherlock’s back snaps sharply and he hits the water face-first. John plunges into the water after him.
When he hits the water, this is what he thinks of: ears, brain, abdomen, lungs. Apnea, bradycardia, hypotension. Butterflies, ghostly pale on translucent grey. Haemorrhages, tissue shearing, pulmonary contusions. Overpressure, reflections, blunt trauma.
This is the next thing he thinks of: Sherlock.
The water is still shuddering as he kicks forward frantically. Can’t surface yet, he thinks, still a chance of fire and falling debris, and the snipers, what happened to the snipers? Sherlock caught the blast in the back, possible complications? Spinal trauma, god, no. Apnea might help, keep water out of his lungs. But too long and that will kill him and why isn’t he moving?
A thumb-drive tumbles sadly through the water in front of him. John grits his teeth, grabs for the back of Sherlock’s jacket, then immediately lets go. No, not this, not like this. Possible spinal injury? How to best minimise further damage, how should he –
He needs air. Sherlock’s floating near the top of the pool, so it’s hardly any distance at all to cover. John breaks the surface and takes a quick look around. He’s no deductive wizard, but he knows how to take in the important things at a glance. Parts of the building have collapsed but the ceiling is not about to fall in on them, there’s enough smoke filling the place to make it impossible for the snipers to pick them out (if they’re still alive), and Sherlock is still in the water.
There’s a way of doing this properly, John knows, but he can’t remember it and anyway he’s liable to cause more damage if he does it wrongly. He settles for being inordinately careful as he rolls Sherlock around, bringing his nose and mouth out of the water. Sherlock isn’t breathing, but John refuses to think about that for now. A slow crawl forward takes them both to the side of the pool, where he’s faced with yet another problem. From his current position, he can’t push Sherlock out with possibly causing further trauma. He needs to lever him out from the opposite direction. Sherlock’s body bobs limply in the water as John clambers out, then reaches down to gently, carefully, pull Sherlock out and onto the side of the pool.
There are fragments of rubble around them. John has been hit by at least a few pieces of shrapnel, but he can’t spare the time to worry about that. He unbuttons Sherlock’s jacket, then his shirt, then stops.
Moriarty is clinging to the side of the pool.
He isn’t seeing much of anything, John can tell. Blood is streaming down the side of his head; must have been hit by shrapnel. Or possibly the edge of the pool, as he went in – John replays the last minute in his head and reconfirms the fact that Moriarty had to have entered at a thoroughly awkward angle. He’d probably bounced off the edge before hitting the water. Concussion? Likely. It’s hard to be sure, but John thinks the water’s a little red around Moriarty. He’s probably got more open wounds than just the head trauma. Primary blast injuries – probably much the same as Sherlock’s likely to be suffering.
John looks down. Sherlock’s heartbeat throbs in his wrist, slow but steady against John’s fingers. John can’t quite remember when he’d started checking for a pulse.
Sherlock’s still not breathing, though. John uses his free hand to open Sherlock’s mouth and check for obstructions. Nothing. John leans down, seals his mouth over Sherlock’s, and breathes.
Again. And again. And again, until Sherlock takes in a shallow, pained breath.
John gets up on unsteady legs and moves over to Moriarty. Moriarty is breathing, he realises resentfully, still breathing though clearly in dire need of medical assistance. He might survive if he gets it.
Moriarty doesn’t look up. An explosion, John thinks, can render even great minds human. He glances back at Sherlock, then kneels down in front of Moriarty.
“If it is given to me to save a life, all thanks,” John says. He can’t hear his voice, and for the first time he realises that there’s a loud buzzing in his ears that’s drowning out everything else. Tinnitus, possible perforation of the eardrums, doesn’t matter. John reaches for Moriarty’s shoulder, and the man finally, finally looks up.
“But it may also be within my power to take a life,” John says, and pushes down. Moriarty loses his grip on the side of the pool, and sinks below the water. John leans forward, keeping up the pressure as Moriarty flails weakly.
“This awesome responsibility,” John says, “must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty.”
Moriarty’s movements are growing weaker. John waits patiently, counting the seconds in his head. The transition from unconscious to dead comes at three hundred and forty-two. John pulls Moriarty up to check, then rolls him back into the water. Then he goes back to Sherlock. Sherlock, who’s now breathing on his own but still unconscious. John sits down next to him and strokes wet, black hair away from his face.
“Above all,” John tells Sherlock quietly, “I must not play at God.”