Fandom: Sherlock (BBC)
Characters/Pairings: John Watson, Sherlock Holmes
Spoilers: End of S2
Warnings: Graphic descriptions of rot and decay
Author’s Notes: Written for zombi_fic_ation. Thanks to brighteyed_jill for betaing.
Prompt/Summary: 394. Sherlock (BBC) - Sherlock and John - John died in Afghanistan. He doesn't remember how he came back. Or why.
Also at Ao3
“Do something for me, would you? Just… don’t be dead.”
John needed Sherlock not to be. What was he supposed to do? Why had he come back otherwise?
The ambush had taken place in a nameless twisty little canyon ten miles from the nearest outpost. A hidden sniper had picked John off, blasting clean through his shoulder and spinning him off balance. He’d tumbled off the road, sliding down into a ditch beneath a rocky overhang. Safe from further sniping, but too far from his squad. Too dangerous to risk extraction. Too dangerous to try. Sporadic fire echoed between the rock walls until they’d finally had to retreat. Leaving him alone. Leaving him to die.
Blood seeped out and was drunk by the thirsty soil. The pain surged and retreated in waves. John could feel death approaching, cold creeping into his flesh. Weakness rising, too painful and too much effort to lift so much as a finger. Thirsty, starving, dying, sand creeping into his throat, turning him into part of the landscape. When the moon set, the sniper came down off the heights, seeking the prey he’d wounded, following the blood trail and the almost soundless breaths of John’s pain.
John could hear him shuffling amongst the rocks, uttering no words, speaking no threats, just a menacing darker shadow against the stars that loomed up outside John’s impromptu mausoleum. The sniper put his gun down and crawled in on hands and knees, breathing heavily in the confined space. With a sudden growl, he grabbed John’s leg, where the trousers had ripped from falling, revealing a small, bloody wound, and bit hard, teeth sinking in sickeningly.
Defiant courage and fear gave John the last of his strength as he swung his pistol up in his good hand and shot the man in the head. He draped heavily over John as he fell, a fresh rotting blanket, his blood oozing into John’s wounds. Dying, weak, John closed his eyes.
He opened them once again to see a glimpse of sunlight sky. The flies were everywhere. He felt too sick to vomit. Closed his eyes again. Cold now, even in the noontime. How many noontimes had it been? His fleshy blanket was lighter now as it liquefied, the rot sinking into him. John turned his face away. Why was he still awake?
Closed his eyes. Opened them again. Twilight. His dance partner was half decayed. Flies made their own music in his ears. John begged his body to give up. He was no longer bleeding.
Closed his eyes. Open once more. The blanket was now bones. It was dawn. John no longer felt sick. He was not giving up, apparently. His knee hurt. He had to go back. He was awake, the flies were gone, he had to go back. He had a duty; his unit needed him.
He should be dead. He might still be. But that didn’t stop him from moving. One motion at a time. Out of his grave. Back on his feet. Limping back to base. A month had passed since he was left out in the canyon. They’d given him up for dead. John didn’t smile at the joke, but he returned to London anyway when they discharged him.
Two years later, Sherlock took a dive off the roof of Bart’s, and John felt the one last thing inside of him die when he saw Sherlock on the sidewalk. He lunged in before he was pulled away and kissed him, drew blood and let his blood mingle with the little wound.
They’ve died enough. Both of them have died enough.
A month after Sherlock is buried, John went to the grave.
“Don’t be dead,” he’d told him. For once, Sherlock had been forced to listen. John put his hand over the soil and gripped Sherlock’s questing hand when he reached out from the grave.