John stared up into the face of Sherlock Holmes. The old army gun was pointed directly at the bomb, which was sitting mere metres away from them on the poolside floor. Sherlock's perfectly chiselled features were stone-solid in concentration, his arm not moving an inch. John gripped the side of the changing cubicle he was crouching against and tried to steady his breathing, preparing for what might come.
Sherlock turned to look straight at him, and piercing blue eyes met brown. John saw a flicker of terror pass his face for an instant, and felt his heart rate skyrocket. If he pulled that trigger, they would both die within split seconds. John could not see how they could find a way out of this. If Sherlock shot the bomb, they would all die. If Sherlock didn't shoot the bomb, the snipers would kill them. But Moriarty would survive to kill again.
John looked down the pool towards the man who, faced with death, still had a smug grin on his face, almost daring Sherlock to pull the trigger just for the mere entertainment of it. He has to be stopped.
John took a deep breath and decided that since he was going to die, he might as well bring a criminal mastermind down as well.
'Sherlock', he whispered, the name almost a caress. Sherlock turned his head towards him slightly and John nodded in acceptance, as if to say 'it's okay'. Sherlock showed no sign of acknowledgement of the exchange between them.
He watched as Sherlock suddenly lifted his gaze to the balcony above them and grinned. John gaped in astonishment.
'I can't see what you find so amusing Sherlock, one of us is gonna have to make a move eventually. But either way, I win.' Moriarty's high Irish accent drifted and echoed through the swimming pool, emphasised by the taunting grin that followed.
'Oh, I don't think so.' Sherlock's strong, deep voice sounded confident, but still tinged with a little fear. John watched as he twitched his left eye. Nothing happened, but the red lights dotted all over Sherlock's chest flickered off for a split second.
Sherlock smiled and then lowered the gun, while John could only sit and watch. He's lost his mind!
'Oooh bad move, Sherly. Now it's my turn.' Moriarty danced around like a child excited about winning a game. 'Kill them.'
John took one last look at Sherlock, then closed his eyes and waited for the blackness to engulf him.
It never did.
John opened his eyes slowly.
Moriarty looked confused, then furious. 'KILL THEM!'
Still, nothing happened.
'Oh, shouting won't work. Sorry, Jim.' Sherlock spat the last word.
'What have you done?!' Moriarty started towards Sherlock, who remained still.
'Rache.' Sherlock said the word with an excellent German accent, seemingly into the darkness.
'Wha-' Moriarty's confusion was cut short as an almighty bang went off, amplified by the walls of the swimming pool.
John's gaze flashed from the bomb, to Sherlock, to his own chest, expecting a jab of pain and a spurt of blood.
Suddenly Moriarty sank to his knees, a look of utter astonishment on his face.
Before John could ask what had happened, a side door opened and in walked none other than D.I. Lestrade and Mycroft Holmes.
'Tranquilliser,' said Lestrade, and as if to illustrate it, Moriarty feebly pulled the dart from the side of his neck, still looking dumbfounded. He looked up at Sherlock, who was walking towards him.
John heaved himself up onto legs that felt weak, and it surprised him how scared he had been. Not for his life, but for Sherlock's. He began walking slowly towards his companion, who stood over the hunched figure of Moriarty, who was fighting to stay awake.
'Bitch.' Moriarty slumped back onto the floor, his arms tucked under him. Sherlock began to laugh.
Moriarty made a sudden movement. Sherlock, laughing, had no time to react. John had a fraction of a second's advantage.
Just as Moriarty pulled the gun from the waistband of his trousers, John rushed forwards and grabbed Sherlock, shoving him as far as he could.
But not far enough.
The bullet ripped through Sherlock's torso, and as the two companions hit the floor of the swimming pool, Jim Moriarty finally passed out.
John sat up to see Sherlock lying on the tiles in a growing pool of blood.
'SOMEBODY CALL AN AMBULANCE, NOW!' John roared as he tore his cardigan off. He was in Doctor mode now.
'Oh God...' Lestrade's stricken voice came from over John's shoulder, followed by the beeps of a mobile phone. Mycroft appeared at John's side.
Sherlock's face was paler than it's usual alabaster, and the effect made him look ghostly. He clutched at the growing red stain on his stomach and gasped for breath. Apparently the force of the bullet had knocked the wind out of him.
'John...' he croaked.
'Sherlock, it's going to be OK. I need you to apply pressure to the wound. Here.' John pressed his cardigan to Sherlock's stomach and, taking Sherlock's hands in his own, pressed them to the fabric, which was rapidly turning a sickly shade of crimson. Sherlock cried out in pain but quickly tried to stifle the sound.
'The ambulance is on it's way. It should be here in around six minutes.' Lestrade shouted, snapping his phone shut.
'Shit. He's losing too much blood. I can't tell where the bullet went through, or what's been damaged.' John's face was filled with terror. 'I need cloth, has anybody got any-' deciding on an easier option, he slipped an arm under Sherlock's shoulders and removed his suit jacket, then scrunched it up and pressed it to the dark red mess that had been Sherlock's white shirt. Sherlock's face was filled with pain as he looked up at John and put his hands over the Doctor's.