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Sherlock Fanfic: Night of the Breathing Dead - CaffieneKittySpace
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Sherlock Fanfic: Night of the Breathing Dead
Title: Night of the Breathing Dead
Fandom: Sherlock (BBC)
Alternate Postings: AO3
Rating/Content: PG13, peril, dodgy medical stuff, dodgy science, John whump, ACD story reference.
Warning: Major character is buried alive.
Word Count: 5160
Disclaimer: Not my world.
Notes: Very very very late, but written for Challenge 26: Ghost Story! Not Brit-picked or betaed, since I've spent too long fussing with this already and it's at the 'post it now or fuss with it forever' stage, so voila!

Summary: John Watson woke up in the dark with a headache, the taste of sweetened copper in his mouth, and Sherlock snarling threats in his left ear.

Night of the Breathing Dead

John Watson woke up in the dark with a headache, the taste of sweetened copper in his mouth, and Sherlock snarling threats in his left ear.

Always in a mad rush, can't even let me wake up first, he thought groggily. "'M up, Sh'lock, lemmee get-"

He'd barely lifted his head before something hard smacked him in the face. Falling back, he raised his hand to touch his head but found he couldn't, his arm bumping into a hard surface in transit.

A strange voice said, "Ah! He awakens."

The vague memory flashed of a pungent rag over John's nose and mouth, struggling as someone unseen grabbed him from the shadows under the old oak tree. "Who-?"

"John!" Sherlock's voice was oddly tinny. "Where are you? Are you in motion? What can you smell? Describe everything to me!"

"Not- not moving." John fumbled along the low ceiling, feeling rough planks. "Black. Pitch absolute bloody black. Smells like... dirt."

"Dirt, excellent. Can you taste the dirt, John?"

"S-sorry, can I what?"

The third voice snorted.

"No, no, you're right, never mind," Sherlock dismissed. "Not enough differentiation of soil types in the borough of Bromley for the untrained palate to discern, and he can't have moved you far in the amount of time he's had you."

John felt dizzy.

"What's around you, John? Move around the space you're in."

"I- I can't Sherlock. I'm flat on my back and there's wood, boards, inches in front of my f-" A shock of adrenaline burned through him. John rasped out. "It's a coffin. Sherlock, I'm in a bloody coffin! I've been buried alive!"

Sherlock swore viciously.

A third voice with a strangely lilting mid-Atlantic accent cut in, "They say, in the old tales-"

"Who in hell is that!?" John shouted.

"No one of any real consequence," Sherlock snarled.

"As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted," the third voice muttered peevishly, before dropping into its previous sepultural tone. "They say, in the old tales, that if you stand in a graveyard at midnight on All Hallows Eve, you will hear the voices of spirits, and those voices will speak the names of those who will die in the coming year."

John breathed in his dark tomb. "Sherlock, what...?"

"I'm no spirit, Mr Holmes," continued the voice, "but I promise you that John Watson will die. Perhaps even before midnight."

"Ignore him, John," Sherlock commanded quickly. "Tell me absolutely everything you can about where you are."


"In as few words as possible as your air is limited."

John's eyes uselessly widened in the dark and he huffed, fighting down a clench of panic.

"And try not to panic."

"Sherlock. Not helping." John gritted out.

The third voice chuckled.

"You can shut it too, whoever you are," John muttered, making the voice laugh outright. Tentatively, John felt around his narrow prison. "Rough boards, all sides. No padding." He brushed his hand against a lump to his left side. "An old mobile, strapped to the boards with metal, screws... wire leading up from the antenna. Dial-pad's covered."

"This is a conference call, just for us," the unknown voice oozed. "I arranged it specially, so you two can share your last moments-"

"When I find you I will kill you," Sherlock growled.

The third voice seemed to find that exceptionally hilarious.

Keeping his attention on the task at hand, rather than the fact he was trapped underground in a coffin trying to keep his breathing slow and even, John kept feeling around as Sherlock spat unnervingly detailed threats at John's unseen abductor. A small box by his left side rattled as he fumbled past it with his fingertips. "Box of... matches?"

"Don't light them, John!" Sherlock cautioned. "They'll only-"

"Use my air up, yes, thank you, I do have some common sense, Sherlock."

The third voice made a dejected pout of sound. "Not that it will matter that much, but I was looking forward to that."

"Happy to disappoint you," John growled as he continued his manual exploration of the box, ignoring the headache and fatigue. "You're sure this isn't you-know-who pulling a dodgy accent, Sherlock? He's got the mentality."

"Positive. This one's too much of an idiot. And don't speak unless necessary."

John shifted his legs and feet. An object beside his left foot rolled and clanked. "Bottle, metal." He listened closely, then tensed. "Something's hissing. Gas canister."

"Can't be poison or you'd be dead already," Sherlock muttered. "What would be the point of burying you alive then?"

"Really not helping with the not-panicking, Sherlock."

"What?" Sherlock's tone of bafflement carried through the tiny speaker. "But I said it's not poison!"

"Ooh, stop!" The third voice guffawed. "You should've had a comedy act. You're better than Laurel and Hardy."

John ignored the voice, trying to feel the size of the canister with his legs. "Small, about knee height to me, nearly big around as my calf." He inhaled attentively. "No smell, no bronchoconstriction... How long have I been down here?"

"John, don't think about that-"

"Oh, at least fifteen minutes," the third voice said with an audible smile.

"He wasn't asking you!" Sherlock snapped.

"Nonetheless," John took another measured breath, feeling nothing but the pull to take another breath, faster. "It must be oxygen. A portable O2 cylinder, leaking very slowly."

"Someone's idea of mercy?"

"Could be, but more like 'someone's' idea of cruelty or just stupidity. Lack of oxygen won't be what- what kills me in here. It'll be the build-up of CO2. Oxygen won't help that. Could even accelerate it in some situations." John swallowed as his headache and clammy, fevered feeling took on more sinister tones. Estimations of volumes and blood saturations wobbled dizzily in his head alongside terms like hypercapnia and respiratory acidosis. "Not at the rate it's going though, I don't think. Barely a trickle. It'll last days if it's full." Certainly longer than I'll last.

"Stupidity then."

The third voice hummed a cheery tune.

"You." Sherlock snapped suddenly. "You were in Florida."

"Was I now?" the third voice said with a disingenuous laziness.

"A bagman for Francis Hudson's drugs cartel who liked to think he was being clever about bodily harm and death, and who escaped the 'round-up' by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation. Also the one with the sickly grandmother in Orpington."

The voice was silent.

"Is that where you've been? Hiding out with your grandmother? Or..." Sherlock paused. "Nooo. She died. No doubt very soon after you came to England. Nobody knows though. You've disposed of her body and kept cashing her pension cheques, even kept up the oxygen deliveries to maintain the facade. Thinking you're clever again. You're not."

"Cleverer than you," muttered the third voice. "Got you to come out to Bromley."

Sherlock made a rude noise. "Please. Your frankly farcical 'case' about a centuries-old riddle and some missing hotel staff was only engaging in the sense of finding out who was so deluded as to think that would be of any interest to me at all."

John refrained from mentioning Sherlock's very serious theories discussed on the train to Bromley about cavaliers and Charles the First's long lost crown, and also his pacing out riddle-suggested distances over the hotel's landscaping like a black-coated heron stalking frogs in a marsh. It didn't seem the appropriate time, and John didn't have the breath for it anyway.

Sherlock continued. "You hate me for cutting you off from your very lucrative criminal employ and, like the coward you are, are trying to punish me indirectly through John."

"And how much further does that get you to know who I am?" The third voice said dangerously, accent slanting under stress more heavily towards American. "Other than if you think I killed my own Gran, how much less likely do you think I am to have any kind of mercy on you or your friends?"

In his muggy, dark box with their voices playing around him, John felt a spike of alarm. If he's after anyone who shut down Mrs Hudson's husband's drugs business, he could be on his way to Baker Street- "Sherlock! Mrs-"

"Shh!" Sherlock hissed. "Save your air."

There must be a chance this bloke doesn't know she's our landlady. There must be. John forced himself to stay silent, focusing on breathing, slowly and evenly, chill sweat creeping across his throat. He clenched and unclenched his fists uselessly.

"How much further it gets me," Sherlock growled, "is that you want me to find John. You want me to watch him die, not just hear it, you want me to be there, but to find him too late."

Underground, John manfully suppressed what was absolutely not a whimper. Breathing. Just keep breathing. Slow, steady.

"Yes, well," the voice snapped. "You'd better hurry up then, Mr. Holmes. The clock is ticking." The theme song from Countdown started up on a loop as the voice cursed off into the background of the call.

"Sherlock," John commanded wheezily over the clock-ticking jangle, "you have to get someone to-!"

"Save your air, John!"

"Hang up and call the bloody police at least!"

"I am not disconnecting this call, John," Sherlock said with great vehemence. "I won't even risk losing the connection."

"You have to, or find another phone!" A wave of dizziness washed over John. "Call them, get someone there to watch, she's-"

"Yes. Yes. I'll find a way." Sherlock snarled in frustration. "I'll still be listening, John, but I will have to mute my end of the call."

So the voice won't hear him. But neither will I. I'll be alone down here. John swallowed in the darkness. "Yes. Good. Do it."

"If he starts talking again, or if you-" Sherlock cut himself off. "Just stay calm, breathe slowly, I'll be there in no more than ten minutes, I swear. I'll hear anything you say even if you can't hear me. I'm not leaving you alone, John." Sherlock's voice went muffled, then silent as he muted his phone.

"Right. Great. Thanks." John stared up at the close and swimming darkness above him; breathing tense, opening and closing his unseen fists, wishing he could do something. Anything.

John tried to think of something else to say even if only to drown out the game show theme music for a moment. "Sherlock-" he began, but couldn't continue, knowing the owner of the other voice would be listening too. A blaze of anger burned through him and he gritted his teeth. I'm not going to provide any further entertainment for another murderer out to punish Sherlock. Speaking wouldn't help his CO2 levels anyway.

John imagined Sherlock wherever he was, with his rarely-used earphones in to hear anything that might carry through the connection, pocketing his own muted phone and commandeering someone else's, or calling from a random landline rather than risk disconnecting the call. Hopefully Sherlock would accomplish calling the police before spinning off into mutterings and tearing off searching for the graveya- the place John was buri-

John clenched his jaw in an unseen snarl. Buried. God. And nothing he could do to help Sherlock or anyone else, even himself. Instead he lay in the stagnant air of his coffin, never sure in the blackness if his eyes were open or closed, with the Countdown theme playing over and over and over....


Someone was calling his name. It was so peaceful now that Countdown was over. Couldn't they just let him sleep...

"JOHN!" Sherlock shouted.

John grunted, flailed his arms into the wooden walls, then hyperventilated, remembering where he was and that he really very much did not want to be falling unconscious under the circumstances.

"Christ. Here- I'm here, Sherlock." He consciously willed his breathing to slow, because the hyperventilation wasn't doing him any good regardless. It was far harder to regain control than it should have been, lungs labouring to clear carbon dioxide from his system in a small box where the air was saturated with it and there was nowhere for it to go but back into him. His head spun sickly.

"Good." The relief in Sherlock's voice was palpable. "You'd gone silent. You'd been muttering at someone named Jeff to sod off with the numbers round before, and I thought that complete silence might be a bad sign."

"I was- I might've-" Frowning into the dark, John forced himself to take as slow and even a breath as he could, barely managing something close to an everyday, yet completely unsatisfying, breath despite his lungs demanding he pant. He tried to ignore the dizziness and the increased pounding ache in his head. The slower breathing of sleep might have gained me a minute or two, but the talking in my sleep might have lost some time... The estimations swam in his head, adding to his nausea. Despite the cold autumn earth he was buried in, the air was stifling. The oxygen canister was still slowly leaking at his feet. He tried to get his mind off the amount of space and un-CO2-laden air he didn't have. "Mrs- Is she-?"

"Protected. Also... things are in motion." Sherlock sounded disgusted at having to speak so imprecisely, but since the Countdown theme had stopped it was safer to assume the man behind the third voice was listening intently from his Gran's house, and the Met's finest (or at least those currently in the Bromley area) were all creeping up on him, hoping to catch John's undertaker unawares.


"I'm very close to you now," Sherlock said, and John caught the sound of his flatmate's rapid footfalls crunching through fallen leaves over the connection. "Given your assailant's over-dramatic nature, he would have buried you in an actual graveyard rather than a random location."

"Actual graveyard," John repeated weakly.

"Yes, which is good because it was easier to find. Mycr- The mobile signal triangulated to an old section of the borough, and this is the sole graveyard in the area. Back of an abandoned church, not used for years, yet-" The footsteps stopped. "There are three recently-dug plots, John."

John gritted his teeth, feeling nauseated and clammy, cold sweat beading on his skin as he tried to slow his breathing which kept fruitlessly speeding up despite his best efforts. Not a good sign at all. "Hope you've brought a fast excavator."

"Useless." Sherlock dismissed. "It would take too long to find one at this time of night. He didn't much time to bury you though, not in this public a location, even in the dark. You'll be buried quite shallow, no more than a meter. I've got a shovel."

"Fantastic," John said with a hiccup of a humourless laugh. "Just the one?"

There was a brief hesitation on the line. "We can't wait for the rest to catch up. I was nearest by far, they'll be here too late."

"Oh," said John. "Well."

"I'm standing here, between the three plots, right now, with a shovel. For god's sake, John, make a noise!"

"Right." John raised a fist that felt inordinately heavy and pounded on the wooden slats above his chest in the blackness, hard. Dirt sifted down and he coughed.

"Again, John! Hard as you can!"

He pounded again and again, until Sherlock shouted triumphantly. John heard the first sounds of digging then let his hand drop, far too tired for that small amount of effort. Sherlock was digging him out. Wonderful.

As he listened to the repetitive sound of the shovel in the darkness, John's mind swam through childhood memories. The thunk of his fist against the boards of his tomb had reminded John of summer somehow; going to the shops with his mum and sister, picking out the juiciest melons by holding them up to their ears and listening for the watery thunk.

Watery? John shook his head from half-dozing reverie and squinted up into the darkness. How can grave dirt be watery? "H-hang on, Sherlock..."

"No time to delay, John!" Sherlock shouted between shovelfuls. "You know your blood CO2 levels will be reaching dangerous levels very soon, no matter how much bloody oxygen this idiot provided."

John frowned in the darkness. "Wait, it's-"

"Just breathe calmly." John could hear the shovel in clearer stereo now; through the phone and faintly through his coffin's ceiling. Sherlock grunted with effort between statements, shovelling steadily. "The dirt is loose, recently filled in, not packed down. The time it took him to put you here, you can't be buried deep. Rough boards, makeshift coffin, won't be airtight, the CO2 will start clearing once it's even partially uncovered. Should take no more than a few minutes to dig to the coffin surface and provide access to the air. That will give you more time and the rest can be dealt with after."

The third voice, which apparently had been listening after all, cackled again.

"No, Sherlock, there's..." John fumbled for his watch, ignoring the obvious box of matches in deference to the oxygen canister slowly leaking at his feet, aimed the watch face above his chest and held down the light button, blinking to focus his swimming vision in the sudden light.

In a slightly wider gap between two boards, something glinted.

"There's something here. Glass or-" He moved the watch lower down his body, sending light up through the pound-thickness gaps above his chest at a steeper angle. A faint yet tell-tale golden-straw-coloured flash met his horrified gaze.

"Sherlock! Sherlock, stop!" John wheezed, eyes wide.

The clunk-scrape of the shovel in the loose earth ceased.

"It's petrol, Sherlock. A huge glass jar full of petrol."

"Petrol," Sherlock breathed, tinny over the mobile.

"Yes. Right over my chest and under your feet. One strike of the shovel-" John blinked and swallowed. "The oxygen tank, Sherlock. It was never for me. It's for-"

"For the petrol. Probably also some ignition mechanism, something to spark from the strike of a metal shovel." Through the connection on the phone and faintly overhead, John heard the dull clang of the shovel being dropped to the ground. "To light the fire and burn you the second I shatter that jar. Jars. Must be more than one to be effective."

"If there's enough and it all goes up, it'll get both of us." John released the light button on his watch and stared up into the darkness at the suddenly even more menacing ceiling of his tomb, panting in the thick air. "It's a bloody IED."

Sherlock cursed.

The third voice on the phone chuckled. "I hate to admit it, but I'm indecisive. Couldn't decide on straight burial or cremation. Now you get to decide, Mr. Holmes. You can keep digging, douse your friend in gasoline - and yes, there's more than just one jar - then foom! Up you both go. Or you can stand back and listen to your friend suffocate to death, just feet away from you, all alone in the dark."

"Stay back, Sherlock!" John shouted, turning to face the unseen mobile. "Leave it! I- I'll go comatose in a bit, they can revive me later." He hoped that wasn't as obvious a lie as it sounded.

"Don't be stupid, John!" There was a thump and faint scraping noises far above, and Sherlock's voice went breathy with exertion. "You can't have been more than a meter down. I've already made significant progress and if the jars are of any size, that's even less dirt to move and I can avoid breaking them. I can-"

"Scratching in the dirt like a dog won't do you any good, Mr Holmes!" crowed the third voice. "By the time you've dug down far enough, Dr Watson will have already suffocated to death. Won't be much longer now. And who knows? Maybe I've rigged the jars to blow regardless!"

The faint scraping noises above John's head ceased. "Did you hear that?"

John's head was swimming again, the breath he'd used for shouting mixing with the CO2 building up in his system and the fading remnants of whatever he'd been knocked unconscious with. "Can't hear much down here."

"Vatican cameos!"

Adrenaline rushed through John's system. "What!? How!?" He flung his arms up to wrap around his head as best he could, hoping Sherlock wasn't about to blow up the load of petrol above him. His arms muffled the sudden oddly-tripled clang of a shovel smacking a granite headstone, a sound that carried both clearly from above and doubled through the mobile so loudly that the speaker distorted. A similarly-doubled howl from the third voice swiftly followed it.

"He's watching me dig!" Sherlock's voice jarred as he started running, footfalls thunking overhead. "He's still here, John! That means-"

The next sound that carried through the mobile was the unmistakable and very loud sound of gunfire.

John flinched away from the speaker-distorting noise in the enclosed space and shouted, "Sherlock!" at the mobile affixed to the wall of his casket. His vision flashed in the dark from the effort.

Over the mobile there was silence. As John's hearing faded back in from the sound of the gunshot over the mobile, he could hear quick quiet breaths, but there was no telling whose they were. Aside from that only the faintest rustling of leaves, barely audible over the still-leaking O2 tank.

Whether there was air to breathe underground or not, John's breath quickened even further, gasping. Must do something. What can I do? Gather his resources. Head swiming and vision sparkling, he kicked against the O2 tank, getting a toe under it and nudging it laboriously up towards his reaching hand. With some wriggling he got hold of its neck and shut the valve. There. Fantastic. Now what?

On the mobile, another shot rang out. "Really," snarled the third voice, "I go to all this trouble to put together a nice creepy Halloween death, one with a real graveyard and everything, and you have to go and screw it up!"

"This is Britain, you idiot!" Sherlock shouted back, causing John to sag in relief. "We don't 'do' Halloween!"

"Gas then. A fire for your Guy Fawkes!" Another shot.

"John," Sherlock whispered, directly into the mic pickup it sounded like. "I didn't dig far enough but I have to draw him away! If I'm standing over you and he shoots and misses, or just shoots the grave deliberately-"

"Yes." A muzzle-flash followed by an expanding fireball of ignited petrol that consumed both of them filled John's mind's eye. "I know. Go."

"I'll get you out, I swear I-" More gunfire and running. "Hang on, John!"

Several inadvisable bits of plans hazed through John's mind, most ending in fire, before John caught hold of one. First, get air. Then think. Panting desperately now, he pawed blindly along the pound-wide crack between the boards and found a gap above his face not impeded by petrol-filled glass. He set the O2 cylinder base against the floor next to his shoulder, wedging it between the ceiling and floor, and with great effort, suddenly cranked the canister to full open.

There was a great blast of pressure and John's ears popped, but most of the sudden burst shot up through the small gap in the boards, cracking one. Panting, John let the tank drop beside him, empty.

Did that... did it-? He peered up into darkness. A sliver of moonlight shone down, seeming after the darkness to be as bright as a beacon. John let out a weary laugh. He'd blasted enough of the dirt away from Sherlock's excavation with the tank to open his tomb up to the air, just a bit. He could feel the faintest freshening trickle from the gap between boards. It wasn't much, but it bought some time and was helping clear his head. He struggled up onto his elbows to put his face right up to the crack and breathed the dirt-scented air.

"John! What was that eruption? Are you-" Another gunshot, followed by the spang-fwee of a close-in ricochet off some poor bastard's headstone.

None of this was helping Sherlock though. "Go on, get him! Worry about me later, I'll manage."

"You'll mana-!" Two shots in quick succession, the sound tripling in John's ears.

"Don't let him shoot you, you berk!" John picked up the empty canister and, careful of the jar of petrol still above his chest, began thumping and prying at the cracked board, trying to break it apart to let in more air.

From the faint sounds through the mobile now, Sherlock was leading John's undertaker on a wild chase through the graveyard, taunting him with details about the man's most recent romantic entanglement and latent childhood issues. Don't encourage him to shoot you either, John thought but didn't say, knowing that with Sherlock there was no point.

The board cracked further, widening the gap and dumping nearly a half cup of dirt on John's face. He spluttered, then pulled his shirt up over his mouth and nose. The clearing air was helping strength return to his limbs, and he wedged his fingers into the gap and pulled with as much of his weight and strength as he could, pulling himself off the casket floor and jerking side to side as the sounds of the chase through the graveyard continued.

Another shot rang out as Sherlock said something devastating about the man's personal grooming habits. Not knowing the make of the gun being fired, John knew keeping track of shots was fairly pointless as there could be anything between six to sixteen shots in a fully loaded handgun.

The board cracked away entirely under the strain of John's pulling, leaving a half-foot gap. Yes! John quickly skinned one arm out of his jacket sleeve and levered it through the gap past the elbow. With a bit of wedging and twisting, a second distressed board cracked and then broke. John barely braced the jar of petrol before it slid into the gap, then pushed it away from the hole through the loosened dirt, down towards his feet.

Across the graveyard the chase was continuing unfettered. He hadn't been deliberately quiet about his progress - you could only be so quiet when breaking out of your own grave - but between the gunfire and Sherlock's taunting he was sure the shooter hadn't heard him at all.

Through the wider gap in his coffin John could see the lichened gravestone looming over him, the pale light barely illuminating the date of death as 1939. John suppressed a brief shudder, thinking of some poor bastard mouldering another few feet below him. Head clear with the fresher air now, John started pulling at another board to open up a space wide enough to get out.

Heavy footsteps and the sound of a semi-automatic's empty clip being ejected nearby made John retreat back into the shadows of his grave, hermit-crab-like. He watched his undertaker's shadow cross the gravestone as the man took a position standing over John. His back was turned, but he was so close; John could see one white earphone wire leading up from the man's phone, the other dangling as he listened intently for Sherlock's movements in the moonlit graveyard. He evidently hadn't seen the opening John had made.

Good. Just you keep reloading... Very quietly, John repositioned, shifting so his shoulders were more directly under the hole in his coffin.

"Guess you made your choice, hunh?" the man shouted, a flash of frustrated teeth in the moonlight as he fed bullets into his clip. It seemed he hadn't planned on needing more than a few shots to end this. "You'd rather piss me off and run away than try to save your buddy's life!"

Just a little closer... John took a deep breath and slid a few crucial inches. In the absence of other sound, he could hear Sherlock's faint breathing and the rustle of leaves through the mobile as he moved around the graveyard.

"I don't mind." The man slapped the clip into the gun and chambered a round with a sharp ch-chak. "You were dead either way, but this way you and your friend both go knowing who the real coward is." As the man peered around the dark graveyard for Sherlock, he assumed a firing stance, his right foot edging back toward the opening in John's coffin.


John lurched up, wedging both arms out through the hole and grabbing the man firmly around one ankle.

The man shrieked shrilly, eyes wide and white-rimmed as he twisted backward, pointing the gun down at John.

Peering out the tiny space between his outreaching arms and the broken slats, John shouted, "I really don't think you want to shoot so close to your own jars of petrol, do you?"

Sherlock's footsteps quickened over the mobile as the man hesitated. John used the moment to shift his grip slightly, twist the man's ankle sharply between his hands with a meaty clunk of shifting bone - netting another shriek - and jerk his undertaker's leg out from under him. The man fell with a satisfying 'whump'.

"He's down, Sherlock!" John shouted redundantly as Sherlock swooped out of the shadows like a graveyard bat to pounce on the felled gunman.

In the ensuing unseen struggle, the man's ankle twisted out of John's grip, letting him bring his aching arms back down into the coffin to block falling dirt. He wasn't worried. Even if he does get away now, that dislocated ankle will keep him from going far. The petrol jars won't break under his weight or Sherlock standing over them earlier would have cracked them. There's only...

A curt bark of "John! Catch!" from Sherlock heralded the man's gun sailing overhead, hitting the dirt rim of John's excavation and sliding down into easy reach.

"Got it!" John grabbed the gun and held it down by his side in the coffin, well out of potential grabbing distance. Yes, that. Much better.

There was a final thud and Sherlock's silhouette appeared through the broken boards, hair everywhere, earphones long gone. "Are you alright?"

"Me?" John shrugged as best he could. "Oh I'm fine. Quite relaxing down here actually, now that there's air and the murdering psycho out to blow us up is out cold."

The man laying on the dirt over John's grave groaned; John's hand twitched toward the man's gun, but Sherlock waved a dismissive hand.

"I'm sitting on him if you're concerned at all. Well, kneeling, really. A tactic learned in childhood from Mycroft. Knees in the kidneys." Sherlock sniffed. "Though I didn't feel any compunctions at all about kicking this one in the head."

The man moaned, then fell silent.

John nodded. "What about you? You weren't hit?"

"Of course not."

"You went silent for a bit while you were chasing around, I thought he might have got you."

Sherlock grinned in the moonlight. "I wouldn't have worried, John. For a former American gangster, he's a staggeringly bad shot."

The two-tone bleat of sirens dopplered in.

"Cavalry's here, sounds like."

Sherlock snorted. "Typical. After we've done all the work."

"We? I didn't do much except get abducted and buried alive this time."

"Really, John. You broke out of your own coffin and fractured a man's ankle."

"Dislocated, not fractured."

"Oh, well then," Sherlock said with a smirk. "That's entirely different. Obviously you're useless."

John giggled as the sirens grew louder then stopped. "You'd better send up a flare or flag them down somehow or they'll be searching the graveyard 'til dawn."

"They might anyway. You'll be alright?"

"I'm fine."

Sherlock leaned back from the opening, and bellowed, "Over here!"

John grinned up at the sky through the gap he'd wrenched through the boards of his own coffin, watching the overhanging tree branches in his dirt-framed view intermittently flared with blue-tinted light, and breathed.

(that's it)

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14 comments or Leave a comment
aelfgyfu_mead From: aelfgyfu_mead Date: January 1st, 2015 11:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Scary! Being buried alive is one of the worst things I can imagine. But John got the guy himself! Yay!
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: January 2nd, 2015 12:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, that was part of the reason this took so long to finish. It went kind of like:

Me: Look. Dude. You are in a coffin, underground, running out of breathable air, with a kind of a bomb thing on top of you. Can't you just, you know, hang out, breathe and wait to get rescued?

John: No.

Me: But you're-

John: No.

Me: *sigh* Fine.

*shrug* so yeah. Also, I wanted John to have a chance to do the Romero "hand comes out of grave" schtick.
aelfgyfu_mead From: aelfgyfu_mead Date: January 2nd, 2015 01:02 am (UTC) (Link)
John: No.

Me: But you're-

John: No.

Yep. John is like that!
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: January 2nd, 2015 01:51 am (UTC) (Link)
charis_kalos From: charis_kalos Date: January 2nd, 2015 01:11 am (UTC) (Link)
This is awesome! And, of course, John is super-awesome.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: January 2nd, 2015 01:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! Very glad to see you're still around the place as well!
borgmama1of5 From: borgmama1of5 Date: January 2nd, 2015 02:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Watched through Episode 2.2 over Christmas with my daughter, and now find your fic--it's like a second Christmas! Only I have to be careful not to go past what I've watched.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: January 2nd, 2015 04:09 am (UTC) (Link)
No spoilers for anything in this one, though in retrospect, one thing might be seen as a bit of a reference to something you haven't seen yet (even though it's really not).
From: play_your_song Date: January 2nd, 2015 05:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
That was suspenseful! I like that John was able to do something to help himself out!
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: January 3rd, 2015 02:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
He wouldn't just lie there and wait to be rescued, but that's our John.
ciaranbochna From: ciaranbochna Date: January 3rd, 2015 09:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Need to reiterate that I love this, as you know:)
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: January 3rd, 2015 11:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
*blushes more*
monkeybard From: monkeybard Date: January 28th, 2015 12:17 am (UTC) (Link)
"Dislocated, not fractured."

"Oh, well then," Sherlock said with a smirk. "That's entirely different. Obviously you're useless."

So much love for this moment! The whole fic was a delight, but this was so perfectly IC that I could see it clearly.

caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: January 28th, 2015 03:47 am (UTC) (Link)
What a compliment, thank you!
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