Title: Burn The Heart Out Of You - Part Eight: Game Over.

Author: starjenni

Disclaimer: Not mine!

Pairings: Eventual Sherlock/John, and implied Sherlock/Moriarty if you read upside down and squint.

Warnings: Dark, dark happenings.

Rating: T


Summary: Sherlock has not backed off. Moriarty follows through on his threat. How much of Sherlock must he destroy before Sherlock lets him go?

A/N: THIS IS THE FINAL CHAPTER GUYS. Thank you to everyone who has reviewed and encouraged me, it means more than I can say. And I hope this ending is good and that you like it, and thank you, THANK YOU, for everything. I love you all. xxx

It is colder in the pool this time, but that is the only difference Sherlock can find in the situation then and the situation now. Except that he knows this time John won't suddenly appear, a hostage where he should not be a hostage, because John won't be appearing anywhere ever again.

It is so cold that he can see his breath mist before him when he breathes out.

Moriarty does not make a grand entrance this time; he is already waiting at the other side of the pool when Sherlock enters. He has the same suit on - symmetry, of course, he likes it as much as Sherlock - and his hands are in his pockets, and he is smiling at Sherlock like he is a long lost lover.

"Darling!" he crows when Sherlock enters, and when he has walked up to the edge of the pool and stopped. "Hi!"

Sherlock watches his breath two, three times. He says, "Mirrors. That's how you did it. The Rosetta Stone. You used mirrors."

Moriarty's smile gets somehow wider; he looks like a shark, smiling before devouring. "Ooooh, well done, Sherlock," he says. "Very clever - how did you work it out?"

"They had a new case made for the Stone a few months ago," Sherlock says, not entirely answering the question. "You put mirrors in the seams - very small, very thin and perfectly placed so that they could not be seen, and yet, when you triggered them, they would move to create the illusion that the Rosetta Stone was no longer in the case, whereas, in actuality, it never left."

"Gorgeous," comments Moriarty, on his plot or on Sherlock's deduction, it is not clear.

"You did it just to confuse me," says Sherlock. "Just to hurt me with a case that I thought I could not solve. You were never going to steal it. That wasn't the point."

Moriarty applauds, a slow clap, pacing up the side of the pool with the slow grace of a waiting predator. "Lovely, lovely, lovely," he says between each clap. "Oh Sherlock, isn't this fun?"

He stops halfway up the side of the pool. Sherlock goes to close the distance, until they are merely an arms length away from each other.

Baker Street, Mrs Hudson, seven thousand people and John Watson stand invisible between them.

They stare at each other. Sherlock can feel time thickening between them, slowing, as this were the end of the world, as if everything else in the world has burnt down in flames and ashes and now only this pool is left, this scene, teetering on the brink of utter destruction, waiting to tip down into the nothing that is waiting on either side. Nowhere else he can go, nothing else he can do.

He looks into Moriarty's eyes, black as coal, black as the nothing. "I am going to kill you," he tells him.

Moriarty pouts in reply. "Oh, now that's no fun," he scolds, as if Sherlock were a small, disobedient child. "Oh really, Sherlock. Haven't you realised?"

Sherlock blinks. "Realised."

"Why I'm doing this. Why I killed all of them. The real reason. You don't know?"

"You wanted me to stop," Sherlock says. "To leave you alone."

"Oh, you were never going to stop," Moriarty tuts. "Not for anything or anyone. I know you Sherlock. No, no, no. That's what I let you believe, but it's not true. Oh no." He steps forward, one more step, and his face is inches from Sherlock, and Sherlock can see into his eyes, can see the madness in the darkness, and it is awful, it is addictive, it is beautiful.

"No, no, no," Moriarty says softly. "I was getting rid of them for you, Sherlock."

Sherlock's eyebrows snap together in a frown. "What?"

Moriarty smiles, as if he has given Sherlock present. "You're free now," he says. "You have no heart. I've destroyed it. It's gone. You're free."

It's so cold that Sherlock can barely feel his fingers. "And why," he says slowly, "Would you want to do that?"

Moriarty beams at him. "Because now you can join me," he says.

Sherlock stares at him.

"Oh come on, it's not like you haven't thought of it," continues Moriarty breezily, stepping back, pacing around Sherlock like a hungry lion so that he is behind him. "Like you haven't dreamed of it, or wondered about it. Imagine what we could be, Sherlock. Can you imagine it? We would take this world over, Sherlock. We would twist and bend and warp it and it would follow our every move. We could own it. We could do anything. Together."

A finger, cold at the touch, very gently reaches up and traces the outline of Sherlock's cheekbone. It chills his skin, sends up goosebumps.

"I've helped you," Moriarty says from behind him. "I've got rid of all those little troubles, all those little naggings. Everything that would tell you to ignore me, I've deleted. It's gone. Goodbye conscience. Now there is nothing stopping you. You know I'm right, Sherlock."

The finger drags gracefully down to the base of Sherlock's neck.

"We could be dreadful," Moriarty whispers.

Sherlock sucks in his breath, the cold air burning his lungs, and then turns, swiftly, steps back, and takes the gun out of the pocket he has been hiding it in.

He levels it, aims it at Moriarty.

Moriarty sighs. "Boooooring, Sherlock."

"You killed him," says Sherlock, completely steadily.

Moriarty rolls his eyes. "Don't pretend you care," he snaps back. "You don't care. Not really. All those people died before him, but you didn't care. Oh, maybe you thought you did, maybe you made a show of caring, but you don't really care, Sherlock. You want to believe what they all say, what he said, that you are as caring as they hope you are, but really, deep down inside, you are as cold and selfish as me, Sherlock, you are just like me."

The thing in Sherlock's head, the darkness that whispered you will forget John Watson, now whispers he is right and you know it.

And then, abruptly, suddenly, he thinks of the kiss. Of both kisses really, a kiss while the world burns, and a kiss goodbye. Of the heat and the pressure and home. He thinks of home. It's gone, but it's still there, somehow. It warms him, warms his fingers, warms his body. He is above Moriarty suddenly, above this cold, cruel, calculation. There is something more, something he has that Moriarty doesn't. Something filling him up, rising out of the ashes like a phoenix, something amazing.

He smiles.

Moriarty's face drops into outrage. "I've done everything for you," he snarls. "I've helped you! I've done so much so that we can be together, even though you resisted at every turn, I deserve you, how dare you - "

"You," says Sherlock. "You have killed John Watson."

"If you kill me," Moriarty says quickly, "What will you do afterwards? I've left you with nothing, Sherlock. There is nothing left but me. You have no other choice, nowhere else to go and nothing else to do. No more choices! I'm dead, and so is all the crime that you love. Nothing else, except a life of mundanity. Can you imagine it, Sherlock? I think you can. And that's why you haven't shot me yet."

Sherlock's finger, tight on the trigger, lifts up just slightly, and Moriarty smiles, slowly.

"See?" he says. "I'm right."

Sherlock swallows.

"You won't kill me," Moriarty continues. "And I won't kill you. And we'll go on like this forever, Sherlock. You and I for all of eternity, chasing and being chased, the whole of the world waiting to be played. This is what the world is, Sherlock, it's our toy. That's why it's here. And we should play with it."

"You killed him," Sherlock whispers, from very faraway, he thinks.

"Play the game," Moriarty hisses.

"Moriarty." Sherlock tightens his finger on the trigger. "Game over."

And he fires.

Moriarty was right in one thing; Sherlock does cherish the look of surprise on his face.

Moriarty crumples to the ground. Sherlock fires again. Twice. And then stands over him, like some figure of death he imagines, like some winged destroyer, and stares into Moriarty's black, black eyes, and sees nothing but chaos.

Moriarty looks up and him, coughs. Blood runs down his chin. He flashes Sherlock a scarlet smile. "I win," he says.

And then, finally, finally, finally, the face goes slack, the black eyes go dull, and Moriarty is gone.

The pool teeters on the edge of nothing. Sherlock closes his eyes and momentarily forgets everything, for a second he is nothing, he is no one, he is no longer Sherlock because everything that made Sherlock Sherlock is gone.

What the hell is he now?

He spins in chaos.

From somewhere, very far away, he hears the door of the pool squeak open.

He opens his eyes, and turns around, and there - not a vision, not an angel, not a demon - stands John.

His breath - he can see it - leaves him in one great gasp of freezing mist.

John does not smile. "Evening," he says.

Sherlock feels his chest jump, and he doesn't know whether what he is squashing is a sob or a laugh. The gun, having been held tightly before, slips out of his fingers and onto Moriarty's blood-splattered chest. He doesn't even notice.

"I'm not dead," says John quickly, as if him standing there isn't proof enough of this. "I'm not, I. It wasn't me. I went to Sarah's, but - I left quickly." He shrugs. "She has a new boyfriend, that was who the body was. I mean, she had. I mean. I wasn't part of her life anymore. I left as soon as I realised that."

Sherlock says nothing.

"I was going to tell you," John says. "When I found out. But then I met Mycroft, I spoke to him, and we thought…we thought maybe, if you thought I was dead, maybe you would do the right thing, Sherlock. I didn't know if you would otherwise. You might have let him go. There was always that possibility. And then it would just start all over again and again, Sherlock, and I couldn't let that happen. Not to you, not to everyone else. Mycroft and I agreed: no more deaths. And we thought, what is one sure-fire way to get rid of an addiction? And that is, to take it away completely. But we couldn't do it, you had to do it, to be really free of it. And we thought. If you. If you were angry…Do you see, Sherlock?"

Sherlock thinks about mirrors. He thinks about how they can hide the truth. This whole thing has been mirrors, mirrors, mirrors. He opens his mouth, but his words, as well as his identity, seem to have left him entirely. For someone who speaks so much, who knows how to twist and bend words so effortlessly, he is completely dumb. It is quite terrifying.

John's mouth - a mouth that Sherlock thought he would never see again - is twisted unhappily, there is concern in those eyes that can still see, that aren't dead, that aren't forever unseeing.

"God, I'm sorry," he says. "I'm sorry, Sherlock."

He rushes up the side of the pool; stops himself before they touch. They stare at each other for a long, silent moment, and then John averts his gaze down to the crumpled bloody nothing that used to be Moriarty.

"But it worked," he says quietly.

When he looks up again, there is a single tear trailing down Sherlock's pale cheek, almost unnoticeable. John watches it wind its way down, lost for words.

Sherlock speaks, a deep, hoarse rattle. "What do I do now?" His voice trembles on the last word, breaks, falters. He is lost, he is completely lost.

John bites his lip; thinks. Then he reaches forward and gently swipes the tear away with his thumb.

"Well, I don't know about you," he says quietly, "But I'm starving."

Sherlock's face twists, and then he laughs, a short, harsh huff of laughter. John smiles softly. "Chinese?" he says. "And then after that…well, then we'll see. We'll just see."

Sherlock nods. John leans down, takes both Sherlock's hands in his. They are cold, white, alien things, but John's touch, John's fingers curled in between them, manage to make them look and feel normal again. He clings to John and thinks John, John, John.

John pulls him gently away from the side of the pool, away from the soundless lump of dead flesh beside it, away from the past.

"Come on," he says. "Let's go."

His hands guide Sherlock away.

When Mycroft and his team arrives, Moriarty's corpse is already cold. He looks at the blank face, thinks about spitting on it, decides against it.

"Clean it up," he says to his team.

He checks his phone as they do so. There are no messages and no Sherlock in sight, but he knows where they are anyway.

Somewhere, not very far away, in a crap Chinese restaurant that is open until some ungodly hour, its neon lights flashing, there are two people, holding hands over the chow mein and the spring rolls, and talking quietly, and occasionally looking at each other as if they are the only thing in the world. That somewhere is nowhere and everywhere. Here there is an end, Mycroft thinks, but there, at that somewhere, there is just starting a new and brighter beginning.

The End.