Shortly after it was obvious they had escaped Moriarty's men, Watson had tended to Holmes' shoulder as best he could then he had insisted that he laid down, and for once the detective found he didn't have the strength to argue with the good doctor. Now the only sound that could be heard in the train car was that of Simza's gentle, soothing singing. The woman had been kind enough to allow the use of her lap as a pillow for his head and now Holmes watched as Watson was taking care of his own injuries.
Between the gypsy's singing and watching his friend, Holmes felt himself being lulled towards sleep. The pain in his shoulder plus the subsequent harrowing escape had worn him out to the very bone, and he closed his eyes quite sure Watson would be pleased that he was getting some sleep at last. When he closed his eyes he wasn't aware that he'd just be opening them right away to look into the face of Irene Adler.
“Hello, Sherlock,” she said mischievously and nonchalant as though this were a casual meeting between them.
Although had never been certain what he felt when it came to Irene, he wasted no time crossing the little distance between them, and kissed her as he wished he had the last time he had seen her.
/He's not breathing.../
Time as well as the need to breathe seemed to have lost all meaning until Simza's voice broke through. He started to turn his head to look back... wait back at her... shouldn't that be looking up at her instead?) but Irene grabbed his face with both of her hands and locked her lips onto his in another impossibly long kiss.
/Bloody well not going to die on me./
Upon hearing Watson's voice Holmes pulled away from Irene again, and this time succeeded at looking back in Simza's direction. What he saw made him realize the truth of his situation as Watson was pressing on his chest in what was obviously an effort to revive him. His conclusion was confirmed a few seconds later when the doctor checked his throat for a pulse and found none.
/I'm not going to make this easy on you./
Irene touched his shoulder, the shoulder Moriarty had put the hook through and Holmes was startled when he felt no agony radiating from it. “We haven't got much time, Sherlock.”
/Come on. Come on!/
“I'm dead.” Given he was watching Watson's efforts to revive him, it was a statement rather than a question.
Irene nodded needlessly. “Yes, but you won't be for long.” He looked at her. “You see Watson won't give up, and there's also the matter of your wedding gift.”
“The adrenal extract will only work if the good doctor remembers it in time.”
“Indeed, and he will.” She sounded so sure of the future actions Watson had yet to take, so certain that they would happen. “You know, Sherlock, despite what you might be foolishly thinking just because he got married, he's not ready to lose you yet.”
Holmes cleared his throat, dismissing the emotions her words invoked, and instead looked around them. “I would deduce that this is some sort of afterlife?”
“We both know you really don't believe in such things, so let's not waste what precious time have left. Hmm? It'll be a long time before we see each other again, Sherlock.” Irene replied.
Meanwhile Watson's efforts to revive him were becoming a little more desperate, he noted as the doctor was also striking his chest in an attempt to coax his heart to beat again.
/I know you can hear me, you selfish.../
“I seem to recall saying you were in way over your head, darling-”
“Yes, when Blackwood tried to make me into a sausage!”
Holmes ignored her. “And had I realized you intended to meet with Professor Moriarty after the last last time...” He managed to keep all emotion out of his voice, except perhaps a touch of anger with her for not telling him she was still working for the very man she had warned him about.
“Sherlock, I-” she stopped when she saw such sorrow in his eyes. Touching his face, she prayed he understood what she was about to say. “If I hadn't continued working for him or gone to meet with him that last time, he would have killed me anyway and I don't mean in the physical sense either although I would have wished he had.” Now she was close to tears.
“Irene, what are you so carrying on about?”
She chuckled mirthlessly, “Sherlock Holmes, for a man so utterly brilliant in both observation and deduction you can be so stupid sometimes, as well as beyond clueless!” She laughed again when she saw the look of pure confused puzzlement cross his face and it was her turned to be a little sad when she said, “Don't you know, you idiot?”
“Irene, blast it! You're not making any sense.”
/I know you can here me, you../
Simza had halted the doctor's efforts to revive him by wrapping her arms around him, holding him close as the realization hit Watson that Holmes was gone. Tears shone brightly in Watson's eyes but there they stayed, him being the former military officer that he was.
“Do you remember when I told you that everyone has a weakness and that Moriarty had found mine?”
Simza's voice was soft and soothing when she said, “I'm sorry.”
Holmes nodded an affirmative to her question. “I also remember asking you precisely what it was.”
Irene sighed. “You really never figured it out on your own?”
Watson's eyes widened and brightened suddenly. There was hope in them again as he said, “His wedding gift!”
“It's you, you big idiot! I've loved you since the moment we met!”
By now Watson had found the case the syringe was in and was opening it.
There were tears in Irene's eyes as she looked at Holmes, who for once seemed at a complete loss for words. “You don't have to say. I know you might find it hard to believe that I love you but I do you know and why I asked to have this last chance to say goodbye to you.” She kissed him again until they both should have been gasping for breath.
The detective pulled away, and saw Watson was posed in a way that suggested any second now he'd be stabbed in the heart by the needle. They had precious seconds left because the extract wouldn't take long to bring him back from death's clutches. Taking his eyes off the doctor, Holmes decided to spend whatever few seconds they had left kissing Irene, and the moment he felt the stab of the syringe he whispered, “Oh, Irene, I lo...”
Sunddely he was back in his damaged body, feeling the agony of his shoulder again, and running to the other side of the train car screaming. “Terrible dream. You, Mary, Gladstone, and I were in a restaurant. That satanic pony was there as well, a massive fork in his hoof and he turned on me!” Watson had joined him on that side now and had grabbed his free waving wrist, no doubt checking his pulse. “What have you administered?”
Watson held up the syringe for him to see. “Your wedding present.”
“Who's been dancing on my chest?” Holmes exclaimed.
“Me.” Watson replied and bent down to retrieve something close by.
“Why is my ankle so itchy?”
“Because you have a large piece of wood sticking out of it.” Watson held out a small bottle to him and guided him to sit down again. “Drink this. I need to get that out before it turns septic.”
Holmes drank the contents of the bottle and then asked Watson, “Did you call me selfish...”
“Probably.” The doctor replied, taking a hold of the piece of wood.
“Just leave it. Leave-” Holmes held in a groan as Watson removed the splinter from his ankle. “You are a...oh you are some sort of...”
“Be nice!” Watson interrupted, pulling off his boot.
Holmes fell silent, looking towards the corner opposite of them where he saw Irene standing there, smiling at him. She threw him one final kiss before vanishing from his sight completely, and once again he regretted that he hadn't finished telling her how he felt about her. Focused again on the friend tending to his injured ankle he said with quiet sincerity, “I'm sorry you didn't get to Brighton.”