Okay. This is my first attempt at a Basil of Baker Street fic, so be gentle. Ratigan isn't dead, but his two month absence has left a vacuum of power that someone had to fill. So London has a new crimelord. Guess who's on his tail? Prologue is Ratigan's survival.

Disclaimer: It's not mine. Except the plot, and that only barely. Enjoy.

Prologue: Survival

The dogs that lived along the banks of the Thames were feral beasts, scavengers, carrion-eaters. What they found, they ate. It was that simple. Anything and everything, all the edible flotsam of the river ended up in there bellies. A rat, alive or dead, was just another meal to them.

But sometimes the meal proved too much, even for these killers. As one old bulldog discovered, some rats, half-dead or not, simply do not lie down to be eaten. The dog's henceforth eyeless condition testified to that. Ratigan was not happy.

He'd had Basil beaten! Save for pure chance and dumb luck, the infernal detective would be dead! And yet somehow the insufferable bastard survived, despite all his efforts!

Of course, the same could be said of himself. It was only chance that scaffolding for restoration lower down the tower had broken his fall. It was only luck that the building waste he'd fallen into had gone into the river, and not an incinerator. He was alive, but only by the same kind of perversion of fate that sustained his nemesis. Yet, somehow, he wasn't the least bit surprised. He hadn't won, but neither had the detective. Their continuing contest of wit and mettle had always been marked by such half-victories and twists of fate. And it would continue. Oh yes. He'd see to that.

But first, he had things to do. An underworld to terrorise, a criminal empire to rebuild, fiendish schemes to concoct that would shake the empire to its core once again, and, of course, some properly tailored clothes to procure. A criminal mastermind must always look his best while plotting the overthrow of queen and country, and the demise of an arch-nemesis.

He stood on the banks of London's river. His river. His city lay before him, his territory to retake, and rebuild once more in his image. The name Ratigan would echo in the hushed bars and dens of underground London once again. What was his, stayed his, to the end.

Ratigan was back.

Well? This is just the prologue. The other chapters will be a bit longer. So what do you think? R&R?