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Wavering Light

Title: Wavering Light
Author: ciaranbochna 
Sherlock, brief mention of John
Disclaimer: I own neither the characters nor the world.
Length:  623 words 
Rating:  PG
Warnings: Holding breath underwater, bullying
A/N: Inspired by the quote preceding it, and thinking that Sherlock needed a proper bath.

"The door to the past is a strange door. It swings open and things pass through it, but they pass in one direction only. No man can return across that threshold, though he can look down still and see the green light waver in the water weeds."

Loren Eiseley, "The Snout," The Immense Journey


The candle on the sink is the only light in the bathroom. The water around him is blood on fire, reflections rippling across the walls. He installed the 72” hexagonal copper tub with his share of Sebastian’s money. He doesn’t need anything else, and he could never stretch out properly in the old ceramic bathtub. Sherlock has run the bath twice—once to heat the copper, then a second time to slip beneath the water to rest. He uses earplugs to block the water’s intrusion. He stares up through the distortion.


Sherlock does’t see the point of swimming laps after the first three days. Any idiot could set a pace for themselves, and break it in the following lap. It is simply a matter of changing the body’s responses and adjusting the flow of oxygen accordingly. Apparently his team mates don’t appreciate his logic.

“Leave off teacher’s pet. We don’t need you around lousing things up for the rest of us. Why don’t you go play in the deep end? If we’re lucky you’ll dive off the high board and drown.”

They laugh and Sherlock rolls his eyes and walks away. His lungs burn a little from practicing laps. Or it could be the chlorine content in the water; it seems a little high today. Sherlock’s ears ring from the echo of people in the pool, and his head starts to grind like there is broken glass in his skull. Perhaps the deep end will be useful after all.

Sherlock doesn’t dive in, as the equalization in his ears would be too painful to make it to the bottom of the pool. He climbs down the ladder and glances around him to check for lifeguards and the teacher. They are occupied with the pathetic fools who had spoken to him. Excellent. Sherlock slips beneath the water and begins his descent. It takes him half a dozen tries to make it to the bottom, waiting for his eardrums to adjust. The pain is worth it with the last attempt he takes. He lets go of the last step on the ladder and sinks into the hush. He sits cross-legged on the bottom of the pool, braving the sting of chlorine to stare up through the water. Everything is warped above him, but muffled. Sherlock smiles at the way the light refracts down to where he sits in the corner of the pool. No one looking down from above can see him in the shadow. His personal record is seven minutes without air. But he is sure that record can be broken.

Sherlock’s peace is shattered by one of his classmates diving into the pool. The explosion of bubbles and thrum in the water around him makes Sherlock’s skin crawl and his eardrums tighten in pain. Sherlock waves as the boy who taunted him earlier spots him in the corner. Sherlock’s hair is drifting around his head like kelp. It is almost worth being disturbed to see the boy scramble away, limbs flailing in the water, mouth agape.

It is the last time Sherlock is allowed in the pool. Pity, he is sure he can crack 10 minutes under the next time. Houdini has some interesting techniques involving breath control.


Sherlock has been submerged for 12 minutes when he notices the water shiver above him. John has come to check on him again, pounding on the door. Sherlock closes his eyes and rises through the water.

“Coming John.”





( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 5th, 2011 06:23 am (UTC)
This is lovely. Poor Sherlock, getting interrupted...
May. 5th, 2011 03:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you:)I know, the cheek of John..lol
(Deleted comment)
May. 5th, 2011 09:11 pm (UTC)
Of course:)
May. 7th, 2011 10:25 pm (UTC)
Sherlock, you are a strange duck :)
May. 7th, 2011 10:51 pm (UTC)
Oh he is..lol I do want the tub he is in though, I found the link doing research;)
May. 10th, 2011 10:40 am (UTC)
This was so very lovely!
May. 10th, 2011 07:01 pm (UTC)
Oh thank you, I am glad you liked it:)
Jul. 15th, 2011 03:30 am (UTC)
I'm reeeeeeeccing youuuuuuu! Twice. This one and 'Leitmotif' were in this batch of links I finally got coded, and they're posted here.
Jul. 15th, 2011 06:05 am (UTC)
Wow. Umm thanks! Yes, I will never get used to that..lol
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )