He feels something warm and wet pooling at the side of his head, can see the tint of red that shimmers dimly across the floor and a familiar smell of copper that’s greets him most of the time when he steps into a crime scene.
Blood, Sherlock thinks dimly, and that’s soon replaced with another realization. My blood.
There’s no doubt about it now—he is dying, blood staining the pavement below him and Sherlock can feel his own strength slowly seeping out from him. There had been… there had been a plan, a contingency in place in case something like this did happen, but the fact that he’s here bleeding himself out shows that the contingency had failed. Even in death, Moriarty still remains triumphant over him. The only comfort Sherlock supposes he has now is the fact that the consultant criminal is now dead too.
He can hear the patter of footsteps as medics and doctors and passer bys rush to him, and even through his fading senses he can still hear the familiar sound of John’s footsteps. It only takes a few moments after that to hear the shift of medical staff as they try to restrain John back from the scene.
“I’m a doctor,” he hears John say, and it’s easy enough to listen to the desperation in his voice. “Let me come though, please. I’m a doctor.” The nurses say something to him at that, something that Sherlock can’t catch at all because all he can focus on right now is John. John, who’s still trying to push through with chants of ‘he’s my friend, he’s my friend’.
Sherlock wants to raise his head, wants to see John properly because he wants John to be the last thing—the last person—that he sees before he dies.
He feels the warmth of John’s fingers on his wrist, the man attempting to check his pulse, but even Sherlock knows that his heart now beats too weakly for any human to catch.
(You can still live.)
Something beats inside Sherlock at the new voice—a heartbeat, a roar, the crack of thunder. He feels the tenuous part of him stirring, struggling to survive, to live. It’s human instinct, he knows, and he forces himself to follow through because this is all he has left now. This desperate struggle to keep on living no matter what may come. He always knew that he would not have endings that others desired, and perhaps in another time he would have accepted this fate of his.
He wants to see John again.
The something shifts inside him at that thought, nudging gently as it speaks again.
(I understand), the voice says, so quiet and soft like its whispering an intimate secret into his ear, and Sherlock knows that the voice isn’t lying. Just like him, there is somebody that the voice wants to see again for some reason or another. Somebody that they’re both fighting both tooth and nail just so they can see them again no matter what they had to do. And somehow, Sherlock just knows without words what needs to be done now. What he needs to do here.
He wants to see John again. Just one more time.
The voice hums its assent. (Of course.)
Then, Sherlock thinks as he feels his mind slipping and the icy grip of death gripping at his sluggish heart. Yes.
The last thing that Sherlock hears before he fades away are the thunderous wing beats of a million birds.
He watches John Watson walk away from the grave, and even from here he can see that the doctor’s (no, not doctor now, soldier, just like him) face is set in an expression that he knows all too well. After all, he’s seen that very same expression on Dean Winchester after his brother threw himself into Lucifer’s Cage.
Castiel continues to stare at the shrinking figure of John in the distance, not even blinking as he feels the consciousness from his new vessel prodding at him insistently. So, are we going now or not?
The angel turns his gaze away from the graveyard and stares at Sherlock’s hands, flexing the long fingers experimentally. “Yes,” he rasps out eventually, voice hoarse from disuse.
He makes a small start when Sherlock swiftly takes control over the body, although he supposed he should have expected it—Sherlock Holmes is a far, far cry from the bloodline of his true vessel, but Jimmy Novak is long gone and he had promised never to touch Jimmy’s family again. It’s a miracle by itself that this arrangement is even working in the first place, and Castiel will take what he can get, so long as he can see Dean once more.
The angel watches Sherlock as the man casts a last glance at the graveyard behind him before he turns away entirely and addresses him once again. “Off to the States we go, then,” he mutters, and Castiel feels control being handled back to him.
Please warn me next time before you do that, at least, Castiel says quietly as he flexes his fingers once more.
Sherlock’s only response is to make a small huff. I doubt so.
Castiel lets a small smile cross his face at that before he snaps his wings open and takes off towards the man who he has to see again and to apologize to.
There are amends that he has to make now that he is back, and he will start from Sam.