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The Dark Reaches of the Night

By Colorado

Mystery / Drama

Prologue

It was a lovely shade of green, like the first grass of spring blended with absinthe in a crystal bottle. John Watson remembered how it brought out the golden flecks in her soulful brown eyes. He had wanted to compliment her on the dress in the hopes of seeing one of her rare smiles, but that's the moment when everything had gone so terribly wrong.

Now he would never have the chance.

He could barely see the green anymore, the blood was gushing so fast. Too fast. Warm and sticky, it soaked through the delicate fabric and dripped onto the upholstery. No matter how quickly he applied pressure to one wound, another would spurt. It was as if her abdomen had been aerated.

Sweat beaded John's brow as he worked to keep her alive. His frontline experience in Afghanistan had schooled him in containing his emotions, and he was good at it. Hell, he had taken out a serial killer standing in another building without so much as blinking. Nerves of steel. But as he looked into Molly Hooper's alabaster face, the enormity of what had happened—to Sherlock, to her, to all of them—over the last six months sucker-punched him. He had no words, just his heart pounding, his body trembling.

"Jesus, Mary, drive faster!" he shouted.

Curling his hand over her forehead, John braced Molly against him as his wife took the next corner hard. As soon as the car had righted itself, he placed two fingers on Molly's carotid. His heart sank.

"You're going to be fine, Molly, please."

She roused a little then, moaning in pain.

"That's it, stay with me, Molly," he whispered into her ear. "You did such a good job tonight. You were so brave."

Her head lolled to the side, then jerked back suddenly, hitting him hard on the chin. Her legs shot out at an awkward angle, and she began convulsing.

"No, no, no, come on. Shhh, shhh. Don't do this, don't do this," he chanted, struggling to hold her and keep her from bleeding out.

"John?" Mary called from the front seat. He could tell she was crying. "What's happening?"

His eyes blurred as frothy pink foam bubbled at the corner of Molly's mouth. It couldn't end like this, her dying in his care. She was too important to him and to Mary. And Sherlock? If he did come back to them—and John wasn't kidding himself about the odds of that actually happening—Molly's death would kill him.

No. This won't happen. Not on my watch.

John gritted his teeth. He wouldn't lose her. And by God, he wouldn't lose Sherlock either.

"Tell me!" Mary pleaded.

John's resolve hardened.

"Just get us there."

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