spock: logic is sexy

Sherlock Ficlet: I Hope It Was Fast (John, gen)

Title: I Hope It Was Fast
Rating: PG-13
Characters: John Watson
Summary: John thinks about the accident that killed his parents.
Warnings: Discussion of death and grieving

June 1998
He was sorry he'd looked at the newspaper photograph.

He was glad he'd looked at the newspaper photograph.

It didn't matter if he was glad or sorry; he couldn't take it back.

The car was a crumpled ball of blue steel, its windscreen shattered and half peeled away.

“Mum,” he said when he looked at the photograph. His voice was quiet but it startled him; he hadn't intended to speak aloud. I'm sorry you were alone, he thought. But was she alone? Had she gone first, or Dad? Both at the same time? That would have been better. Maybe they held hands, said – briefly – goodbye. Or had she looked over at the passenger seat and seen...

He swallowed. Not a good thought. He clenched his fists. I'm sorry I wasn't there with you, he thought. He didn't want to die, but he would have liked to have been there, with them. To see that they were alright. Stupid. They weren't alright.

Killed at the scene, the police had said. It would have been fast. Did he want it to be fast? Yes, he hoped it was fast. Not too fast though. Maybe just an instant to know what was happening. To think of something beautiful, to remember something nice.

Or maybe if they had lived – even just for a moment – the pain would have been too great to bear. Killed at the scene wasn't the same as killed instantly, was it? Had they been alive, scrambling for the mobile, screaming for help that arrived too late? He couldn't stop imagining his mother lying back against the headrest, looking out at the gray sky and knowing she was lost. Had it stopped raining before the accident happened? Had she had a coat? He tried to remember her on the day she'd died, and yes, he was sure she'd worn a coat. A man's coat, brown corduroy, lined with puffy white wool. He couldn't have invented something that specific, could he? He swallowed again. At least he knew that she hadn't been cold.

And what about his father? Had he been alright? John didn't understand why he couldn't think of his father, couldn't picture what he was wearing, couldn't worry about whether he was alone or afraid. He scrunched up the newspaper in his hand, tried to breathe deeply through his nose. One parent at a time, he thought. He would grieve for them one at a time. It was all he could afford.

Someone was paging him over the intercom. He stood up and tossed the crinkled newspaper into the bin. With effort, he forced himself to walk past it, out of the office and into the bright white corridor. The custodians would empty the bin, and he would let them take the photograph away. Absently, he wiped a hand across his face, and when it came away wet, he bent over the drinking fountain and splashed cold water across his cheeks. Yes, he decided, he hoped it was fast.


November 2010
John had been punched in the shoulder. The impact sent him reeling backward, and as he stumbled, he looked around for his assailant, but no one here would have hit him. Anyway, he was wrong; he hadn't been punched, he was on fire. His shoulder, the back of his neck, all the way down his arm were burning. The world spun and went quiet around him, the sounds of gunfire eerily muted. Gunfire, he thought. Oh. He was on the ground now, didn't know how he'd got there. A man was leaning over him, and his lips were moving, but no sound came out. Above him, the sky was blue, and the clouds reeled in circles around his head. He felt someone squeeze his hand, and he squeezed back as hard as he could. The blue was fading into black.

Please, God, he thought, don't let it go too fast.

A/N: For my student who was killed in a car crash yesterday. I'm sorry you were alone, and I hope it was fast.
This really packed a punch - and was so thoughtful, too. And then I read your A/N and it brought tears to my eyes. A lovely tribute.
Very thoughtful and capturing the emotions. I do hope that by writing this it's helped a little with your own pain.
I'm so sorry about your student. {{{hugs}}}

Lovely fic. Very emotional.
Oh, sweetie. This is painful and beautiful and true, and I am so sorry your student was killed. *hugs you a lot, lot, lot*
Wow. This is a beautiful and powerful little fic, and I'm so sorry to hear about your student.
beautiful, painful, and so, so true.

Edited at 2011-12-23 10:58 am (UTC)
Oh, honey, I'm so, so sorry! What a terrible thing. This is such a beautiful little story.