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Fanfic / Alone on the Water

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At some point over the past two years he and I have become a hybrid. Sherlock-and-John. The graft has been so complete that even when we’re separated, for days or weeks as has occasionally occurred, I still feel the invisible seam that joins me to him. For a moment, I’m angry. Because he won’t be the one who’ll have to cut away half of himself and go back to being a singular entity. John-and-[redacted]. The seam will remain, though. I will bear the scar down my center to remind me of what I’ve lost.

Alone On the Water, by Mad Lori, is a well-known, one-shot Death Fic in the Sherlock fandom. Told through John Watson's point of view, the fic tells the tragic tale of Sherlock Holmes and how he's given only a month to live after being diagnosed with brain cancer. For the majority of the story, John - and everybody else that knows Sherlock - is forced to watch his friend slowly die in front of him and suffer the horrible side effects of the tumor. As you can imagine, everything just keeps getting worse from there.

The fic can be found on LiveJournal and FanFiction.Net.


Alone On the Water features examples of:

  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Instead of being killed by a villain, though, it's being slowly wasted away (and eventually killed) by brain cancer.
  • Bitter Sweet Ending: More bitter than sweet in this case. After Sherlock's death, John ends up finding himself filling in as the consulting detective for Scotland Yard.
  • Death Fic: It's a one-shot about Sherlock dying of a brain tumor. Of course it's a death fic.
  • Death Equals Emotion: Understandable, considering that it seems to finally hit Sherlock that he really doesn't want to die and wants to stay with John - after taking the pills.
  • Downer Beginning: The story begins with Sherlock and John getting the news that Sherlock has an inoperable brain tumor. This fic doesn't exactly waste its time with getting to all the depressing stuff.
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  • Driven to Suicide: Immediately after receiving the diagnosis, Sherlock and John agree that it'd be too much for them to have to go through with Sherlock having a slow death:
    John: Your headaches will get worse. You’ll begin to experience aphasia and difficulty speaking. Your balance will be affected, soon you won’t be able to walk or stand. Your cognitive processes will be impaired and your vision will begin to go. You’ll experience nausea, vertigo, pain and muscle weakness. Eventually you will lose consciousness.
    Sherlock: [nods] You are no doubt aware that the balance problems and aphasia have already started. I have no desire to go through all that, John.
    John: And I can’t watch you go through that.
  • He Will Not Cry, So I Cry for Him: "I’ve become an avatar for [Sherlock's] humanity. I must express all the emotion that he suppresses, so I end up doing double duty."
  • Not So Stoic: Although John can tell that Sherlock is scared by the diagnosis, he still makes an effort to try to act like his normal self, even as his symptoms start getting worse. This makes the breakdown that occurs after he takes the pills all the more heartbreaking.
  • Slash Fic: Granted, there's barely any real mention of such, but mentions of John/Sherlock are still evident, although mostly towards the end.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Sherlock is only given a month to live. He overdoses on pills before that deadline after his vision starts to dissipate, though.


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