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A Close Call

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The night was dark and foggy as a pursuit across the pier disturbed the once peaceful quiet of the city. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson charged after a known associate of the infamous Professor Moriarty as he attempted to elude the sleuthing duo in a desperate bid to avoid being put on trial as an accessory to Moriarty's crimes.

"Stop!" Sherlock commanded as he and Watson easily kept pace with the fleeing man. As the suspect ducked into a nearby warehouse Sherlock motioned for Watson to enter the building from another door with a silent gesture from his hand. "STOP!"

Watson slipping through the small door in an attempt to head off the suspect while Sherlock remained in pursuit.

As the suspect bolted through the warehouse he foolishly ran to a dead end as the warehouse only had two entrances; the large door meant for shipping creates where he and Sherlock entered, and the smaller side door that Watson had used.

Turning to face Sherlock the desperate man pressed his back up against the wall and glared icy daggers at the approaching detective. While he focused on Sherlock closing in on his location the man discreetly slipped a sharp dagger from down his jacket sleeve and into the awaiting opened palm of his hand.

"You've nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide." Sherlock stated calmly as he approached the man with his hand outstretched as if he could pause the man's motions with a simple gesture. While his keen eyes remain focused on the suspect he could see Watson approaching the suspect from the side through shadows from the corner of his eye. "Surrender to us now and I'll ask that your sentenced be reduced."

"Reduced?" The suspect nearly scoffed at the offer with a sarcastic laugh encased within a sinister grin. "There's no sentence more menacing than anything the Professor will do to me if I let you take me in."

"We can protect you from Moriarty." Sherlock replied as he watch Watson step closer to the cornered suspect. "Just tell us what we need to know and we can-"

"No." The suspect interrupted firmly as he turned his head quickly and caught sight of Watson now standing beside him. "You can do nothing."

Watson attempted to reason with the suspect calmly and honestly. "Come now, don't do anything foolish." As he reached out a hand toward the suspect the trapped man responded with a flash of violence and a sharp blade. "Allow us-"

"WATSON!?" Sherlock shouted in alarm as a splash of red blood splattered over the wall as Watson fell backward onto the ground, his hand clutching at his hemorrhaging wrist in a desperate bid to stem the bleeding.

Sherlock fell to his knees, the suspect completely forgotten in the moment of chaos, and knelt beside his bleeding friend. Watson was laying on his back with his hand hand completely covered in his own blood as his wrist continued to bleed profusely despite the pressure being applied to the ghastly knife wound.

The suspect saw his window of opportunity and took it. Dropping the bloody knife he sprinted out of the warehouse and into the darkness of the night as he successfully escaped the pursuit of the clever detective and good doctor.

"Watson!" Sherlock pulled a handkerchief from his coat pocket and wrapped it around Watson's bleeding wrist. Horrified Sherlock watched as Watson's face quickly turned pale and his eyes began to glaze over from pain and incoherence. "Watson, stay with me old boy! Talk to me!"

"Holmes?" Watson slurred with a groggy tone as he fought to keep his eyes open.

"Yes. I'm right here. I'm with you Watson." Sherlock attempted to apply more pressure to the wound but the severity of the slash to Watson's wrist made it difficult to pinpoint the exact location the vein and artery had been damaged. "Watson, I cannot seem to stop the bleeding. What do I do?"

Watson's eyes began to close as exhaustion set in and the world grew dark.

"Watson!" Sherlock gave his friend a firm but necessary slap to the side of his face. "Keep awake. Keep your eyes on me."

"So tired Holmes." Watson again slurred as his strength began to leave him. "So very tired..."

"No, no, no. You can't sleep now!" Sherlock insisted as he begrudgingly applied more pressure to the wound knowing it would cause Watson pain, but he also knew that the pain would be able to rouse Watson from his sleepy state and become more alert. "Listen to me Watson, I need your help! I am not a doctor, I do not know what to do."

"...Doctor?"

"Yes, yes. You are a doctor and right now you are also a patient!" Sherlock spoke loudly to ensure Watson could hear his every word. "Talk to me Watson. Talk me through this. How do I help you?"

"...Help?" Watson's eyes began to droop with fatigue and his voice began a hushing whisper.

"No. Do NOT fall asleep!" Sherlock commanded as he raised Watson's bleeding wrist up into the air and applied as much pressure as he dared. "Watson, we need to use deductive reasoning to figure out our best course of action. Bear with me and listen closely: You have a patient who suffered a knife wound to his radial artery," Sherlock stated clearly as he studied Watson's paling face. "the patient has lost a great deal of blood and immediate medical intervention is not an option. What would you do to aid this man?"

"...Blood loss." Watson weakly stated as he fought to keep his eyes open as felt his strength leaving his body. "The patient..." A faint smile appeared on Watson's face. "your patient," he corrected briefly before continuing. "is going into shock."

"Shock? How do I correct this?"

Watson licked his lips, his head lolling to the side as he breathed slowly and his eyes closed.

"No, no!" Sherlock scolded as he again slapped the side of Watson's face. "Eyes open. What do I do Watson? How do I treat my patient slipping into shock?"

"You... you must..."

"I must what?"

"You must keep applying... pressure to the wound. Tie a tourniquet." Watson forced the words to the surface as he fought back against his mounting drowsiness. "and keep the patient... warm."

"That I can do." Sherlock stated awkwardly slipped one arm free of his coat sleeve, his opposite keeping the pressure on the wound until his arm was freed. Switching hands he kept the pressure constant as he wrestled his other arm out of the other sleeve. Using his free hand Sherlock draped his thick coat over Watson's body. "Warmer, yes?"

Watson weakly nodded. "Yes."

"Now, the tourniquet." Thinking quickly Sherlock reached his free hand down to shoe and untied the lace. Pulling the lace free of the eyelets of the shoe he wrapped the lace around the handkerchief tightly to keep the makeshift bandage in place and tie off the bleeding artery. "Tourniquet."

Watson sighed weakly. "Good."

"Watson, I must get you to a hospital. But I fear I cannot carry you that far. Can you get up?" Sherlock grabbed Watson's uninjured arm and wrapped it around his neck. Watson's grip was non-existent as he arm and hand remained limp around Sherlock's shoulders and neck. "Please Watson, get up! You must get up!"

"I... I'm trying." Watson huffed as Sherlock forcefully pulled his friend up to his feet and let him lean heavily against Sherlock's side. Automatically Sherlock snatched his coat before it fell to the ground and draped it over Watson's back and shoulders to try to keep him as warm as possible. "So tired. So-"

"Don't say another word." Sherlock insisted as he all but dragged Watson out of the warehouse and across the pier. The darkness of the night made it all the more difficult to traverse with the heavy weight against his shoulder but Sherlock was determined to save his friend's life. "I'll summon the very fist hanson that comes our way."

"Holmes..." Watson was fighting to remain conscious, his head falling forward heavily and his eyes only partially opened. "I must rest..."

"You can rest after you've had your arm seen to." Sherlock refuted as he escorted Watson down the pier and back out onto the streets. The late hour ensured that no one would be walking the streets, but it also ensured that the cabbies would have their hansons idle on the streets unless directly beckoned. "Just a few more minutes and you'll be taken care of."

The shadows on the streets were as eerie as they were vast as they snaked over the empty streets and quiet sidewalks courtesy of the burning lamps that lined the way.

A faint and familiar silhouette sitting idle against the side of the street just a few yards away. An unoccupied hanson.

"Cabbie!" Sherlock shouted to the driver who was bundled up in a cloak in his seat at the head of the hanson. Waving his arm and shouting he easily caught the attention of the cabbie who turned to look at the approaching duo. "To Charing Cross!" Sherlock commanded as he carried Watson closer to the hanson across the street. "Hurry!"

The cabbie saw the blood stained on Watson's hand and soaking all the way up the sleeve of his coat to his elbow. "Goodness! What on Earth-"

"Never mind that!" Sherlock nearly snapped as he pulled open the side compartment of the hanson and pushed Watson inside onto the seat. Watson laid on his side, his bloody arm outstretched before him. "Just take us to the hospital, and don't spare the whip!"

"Right away, sir!"

Sherlock climbed inside the hanson and sat on the seat beside his injured friend. Draping his coat over Watson's body Sherlock reached over to Watson's bloodied wrist and continued to apply additional pressure to the devastating wound in an effort to keep Watson from losing anymore blood before they arrived at the hospital.

The crack of the cabbie's whip and whiny of the horses sounded off through the vacant streets as the duo were whisked away to the hospital in the dead of the night.

"Hold tight, Watson." Sherlock kept his voice level and feigned confidence. "We'll have you patched up in a matter of moments."

"Holmes?"

"Yes, it's me. I'm with you."

"Did... Did we lose him?"

"What? Lose him?" Sherlock's brow furrowed as he realized that Watson was referring to their suspect. As the realization set in his eyes went wide with surprise as Watson had kept his focus set on capturing the suspect. "Yes, Watson. He got away."

"So sorry..." Watson slurred pathetically as the hanson raced off to the hospital. The cab rocked from side to side as his sped along the streets as fast as the cabbie dared to maneuver.

"Don't be sorry Watson. It wasn't your fault."

"But it was..." Watson sounded more lethargic with every breath. "I was clumsy."

"No Watson, if anyone is to blame it is myself." Sherlock put his hand on Watson's arm and squeezed once. "I should have seen the knife. I should have anticipated such a dastardly trick from someone under Moriarty's employ. I am so sorry Watson."

"Don't be..." Watson's eyes shut slowly and his breathing became shallow. "Not your fault..."

"Watson?" Sherlock shook Watson's arm but received no reply. Shaking harder and tightening his grip Sherlock felt a knot form in the pit of his stomach. "Watson?!"

The cabbie called down to his two occupants loudly as he slowed the hanson's speed. "We're at the hospital sir!"

Sherlock pushed open his door and put his arm beneath Watson's side to lift him upward on the seat. "Help me carry him inside! Quickly!" Keeping his coat draped around Watson's shoulders he supported his friend's deadweight as best as he could while keeping his own balance.

"Yes, sir!" The cabbie hopped down from his seat and met Sherlock at the opened doorway.

Together Sherlock and the cabbie lowered Watson down from the seat and practically dragged the injured doctor inside of the hospital. A doctor who had been sitting idle at a desk spotted the commotion and joined in carrying Watson to the nearest exam room.

"What happened to this man?" The doctor demanded as Sherlock continued to hoist Watson deeper in the hospital, down the corridor and to the nearest room.

"A madman attacked him with a knife. He's lost a great deal of blood. The blade must've nicked his radial artery."

"I'll see to him." The doctor stated bluntly as motioned for a nurse walking the corridor to join him inside the room. Pulling Sherlock's coat away from Watson the doctor pressed it against Sherlock's chest while commanding him out of the room. "You wait outside. I'll see to your friend."

"Now see here-" Sherlock tried to argue but the doctor pushed him out of the doorway and into the corridor before slamming the door shut.

The cabbie, who had been an unfortunate witness to the whole ugly ordeal, stood quietly in the corridor with his hands nervously fidgeting around the brim of his hat.

Sherlock backed away from the closed door. It pained him to know that just on the other side was his best friend, laying unconscious and bleeding heavily from what could prove to be a fatal wound at the hands of Moriarty's lieutenant in crime.

"Sir?" The cabbie spoke up softly. "Will you still be needing my services?"

"What? Oh, no..." Sherlock fumbled through the pocket of his coat and handed the driver a sum of money. It was then Sherlock saw a gruesome blood stain on the side of his coat where Watson's blood had soaked into the fabric.

"Thank you, sir." The cabbie pocketed his fare and stepped back from the detective. "Give my best to your friend, will ya'?"

"Yes... of course."

Sherlock slowly walked down the corridor to the waiting room of the hospital. His gray eyes were transfixed on the crimson puddle that stained his coat with a morbid gaze. Standing alone and statuesque in the waiting room he patiently contemplated his friend's fate while also awaiting an update from the doctor who had taken Watson into his care.

"I swear to you Watson I will bring this deviant to justice and ensure that his punishment is no less than a visit to the gallows."

"Mr. Holmes?" A nurse approached the stoic detective warily. She was young and timid but exuded a kindness that could warm even the coldest of hearts. "Would you like to see Dr. Watson?"

"Yes, of course! Where is he?" Sherlock excitedly asked as he tucked his coat under his arm. "Where is Watson?"

"Right this way, sir."

Sherlock walked hastily as the nurse escorted him to the room where Watson had been taken to rest. The recovery room was a dreary shade of gray and dimly lit by four lanterns on the walls of the room. Resting in a bed that was concealed behind a white curtain was Watson himself. The nurse pulled back the curtain to reveal the good doctor asleep with his left arm wrapped heavily under white gauze and draped carefully over his chest.

"Watson..." Sherlock stood beside the bed and put his hand on Watson's shoulder. "See? Didn't I tell you that you'd be patched up in a matter of moments?"

"Oh, I hardly call three hours a few moments, sir!" The nurse replied with a sweet smile. "But I do suppose since waiting is so difficult time would seem to move differently."

"Three hours?" Sherlock repeated the time frame with mild confusion. "Yes, right. Beg your pardon, but might I have a moment alone with my friend?"

"But of course, sir. I shall be at the desk if you need anything.

"Holmes?" A weak voice from the bed pulled Sherlock's attention away from the nurse as she marched out of the room to give the two friends a moment of privacy. "Is that you?"

"Watson!" Sherlock's hand subconsciously tightened on Watson's shoulder. "Good to see you awake."

"What happened? Where am I?"

"The hospital. Moriarty's subordinate attacked you with a concealed blade."

"Attacked?" Watson looked down at his arm. The memories of the pursuit, the warehouse and of the searing pain that cut into his damaged wrist all came flooding back to the good doctor. "Yes, I remember now. And the suspect got away."

"For now." Sherlock replied curtly. "Once you're on the mend we shall resume our pursuit of this demented criminal and ensure that Moriarty and all of his men are locked securely behind bars."

"Then what are we waiting for?" Watson attempted to get up from the bed but Sherlock wouldn't allow it. Pressing his hand down firmly against Watson's shoulder he managed to keep his friend from moving around.

"Rest. I will see to it that by morning you're back in Baker Street and recovering in your own bed. But until then take it easy."

"Are you going to report to Inspector Lestrade."

"I will once you're back home. Until then," Sherlock pulled a small chair away from the wall and over to the side of Watson's bed. "I shan't leave your side."

"Thank you Holmes."

"Thank you Watson."

"Thank me? What the devil for?"

"For pulling through. What good are my adventures without a Boswell to chronicle them?"

Watson smiled appreciatively at the comment as he closed his eyes and fell asleep.

"Rest well, for tomorrow we resume our search for Moriarty."

-The End