John opened his eyes to a sun that was at a distinctly lower angle than he recalled. He took a moment to assess his current state. Wet and muddy. Head splitting. Shoulder aching. Half his face in the dirt, the other half in the sun. Ankle throbbing despite the cold pond water. Hang on. He should be out of the pond by now. He'd promised Ford he would be out before the ghost came back with Sherlock. How was he still partly submerged? And where was Sherlock?
He reached a hand to his head, noting that while both hand and head were still filthy, now it was with dry dirt and grass. Okay. So, he'd been here long enough for skin and hair to dry in the warm afternoon sun. That was worrying, as was the fact that he had apparently fallen asleep.
With a moan and a pained wince, he rolled over onto his back, his legs splashing as he shifted position. They felt heavy with the muck and silt of the pond. Really he ought to haul himself further out, but his head was so bad that just the small movement he'd achieved made him dizzy. Concussion, he thought. Must be. He forced himself to sit up, groaning all the way. He needed to stay awake, and that was easier done upright.
He took several deep breaths, hoping his head would stop spinning soon, and looked himself over. God, he was mess. His back was relatively dry from his little nap in the sun, but where his clothes hadn't been exposed to the air, they were stuck to him and caked with mud and clay.
He had to get the rest of the way out of the water. He'd promised. He didn't know why it was so important to Ford, but it was. Desperately important, even. And John was a man of his word. All right, then. He still had one arm he could trust not to buckle under him, and one leg that should be more than sufficient to push himself further up the bank. He was already about as grimy as he could possibly be, so what was a bit more mud?
Using the arm attached to the shoulder that wasn't shouting obscenities at him and the leg that didn't have an ankle screaming similarly profane opinions, he inched his way backwards on his bum. His head spun faster with each small shove and his stomach began turning, too. He was well woozy by the time his feet finally cleared the water. That was the moment his stomach gave out. He lurched to one side and vomited up what little was left of the lunch he'd had before leaving the house.
That exercise in misery complete, John rolled onto his back again and gasped for air. He took tiny satisfaction in the fact that he'd managed not to throw up on himself. Small victory, but he would take any he could get just then. He lied there for several moments, catching his breath and willing his body to obey him: Stop hurting. Stop spinning. Stop heaving.
Where were Sherlock and Ford and Toby? Oughtn't they to be here by now? How long had he been out? He raised his right hand and tried to get a look at his watch. Mud smeared the crystal and his eyes wouldn't focus, and he soon gave up.
Won't be much longer, he told himself. They'll be back soon. Just stay awake. Sun's still highish. Concussion
The sun was warm. It was a beautiful day. He was so tired. Just a little kip would do him wonders.
He knew he should. He sighed and his aching body relaxed a little into the ground. His eyes drifted shut. The sun was a bit bright was all. That's why he closed his eyes. He wouldn't sleep.
He wouldn't sleep