A/N: Another Sherlock fic. I have got to start catching up on my others. But that's not the point. This will likely not contain any pairings as it's supposed to be a case. This is after The Great Game. Please enjoy. Oh, and reviewers are loved. :)

I don't own Sherlock, unfortunately.

For once in his life, he does not know what to do.

He stares back and forth between the two figures, heart running far faster than it should have been. His hands betray his panic almost as much as his eyes do. The brilliant blue have lost their intensity, replaced by something far different. Sheer panic and fear, something he's never experienced before. Because he knows: no matter who he chooses, the other will die.

It's a cruel game, one he barely managed to keep up with anyway. And he should have known. He should have known there would be a grand finale, he should have known it would end like this. He switches his gaze to the clock on the wall, its numbers screaming at him as it counted down slowly. Four minutes, thirty seconds… Four minutes, twenty-nine seconds…

"I'll give you another choice, Sherlock," a cruel voice boomed throughout the room. He froze at the sound of it. "You can die for them."

72 Hours Ago

"You are my lifeline," he whispered fitfully, eyes shut tight as he tossed and turned in his bed. "Don't leave me, not yet. I need to figure this out."

The man's breathing increased to a rapid pace before his eyes flew open. He stared at the ceiling above him in a panic for a few moments before realizing. This was home, this was safe. Home was boring, but it was his sanctuary, his place to think. He repeated this in his head for a few moments before forcing his breathing to slow, drawing in fake-calm, deep breaths.

Only in dreams did he ever seem affected by the despairing world around him. In person, up close and well awake, Sherlock Holmes hardly came off as a sensitive man who presented his emotions easily. No, only when he managed sleep did the emotions present themselves. Only then did he lose the control he carefully maintained throughout the day. He could hardly ever remember his dreams, only remember waking in a panic, calling out words that made no sense to him.

Slowly, he propped himself up on his bed and stared around the room. The same as always. Same bed, same wall, same window. Same everything. He allowed himself to release the breath he'd forgotten he was holding and pushed himself up off the bed. There was no time like the present, he'd always thought, and even then there was hardly time at all. If he could get an early start to the day, perhaps, no matter how tired, he'd be more than ready if a case were to arise.

Oh, he really hoped there would be a case soon. He'd spent the last week fighting with John over his gun, wanting so badly to shoot something but constantly finding his companion hiding the gun. It had become sort of a game between them. John would hide the gun and Sherlock would find it, most times within minutes of it being hidden. At least it had given them something to do over the last few days, but it hadn't been much.

It would be 10:00 before anyone came to the door, and by then he was well awake, fretting over John's apparent attempt to sleep until Christmas. He answered the door in excitedly, his normal composure momentarily forgotten, and found himself quite surprised at the person who stood in the doorway. He'd expected Lestrade, yes… but not her.

Not Sally Donovan, she hated him.

And yet she was standing there, looking less than amused at being there. Thrown off his game for once, it took Sherlock a few moments to speak. "Where's Lestrade?"

"Not really sure," she told him, rolling her eyes. He almost grinned at this, but the grin fell at her next words. "That's the problem. We can't find him."

"And you expect me to? Dear God, I'd hoped you'd come with something interesting."

"Freak, I'm not here to amuse you. The point is… well, we got a note at Scotland Yard. The writer wanted us to go to you. Unfortunate," Sally shook her head angrily. "Why would anyone want to talk to you, freak? But that's not the point. Here, the note."

She held it out to him and he daintily grabbed it, holding the note away from his body as if it were poisonous. This only seemed to make Sally more irritated. He scanned over the note quickly, a confused look coming over his face. Well, he'd finally gotten what he'd been waiting for. A challenge, a real challenge. He scanned the note a second time, puzzling over it.







Sherlock's mind ran a mile a minute at that moment. Thousands of possibilities ran through his mind. Lestrade had been kidnapped, that was obvious. But what kind of game was the kidnapper playing? What was this about? Still puzzling over this, he flipped it over, hoping for a clue of some kind.

He was met with nothing, at first, his keen eyes scanning every inch. Frustrated, Sherlock held it up above him, closer to the ceiling light, and the lightest of words appeared, written in pencil. He frowned and read the words quickly.





Of course. He should have known who would have done this, kidnapped Lestrade and sent such a message. Gritting his teeth, the man haphazardly stuffed the note in his pocket. He could see everything play out in his head once more, the events that he'd tried to so hard to forget. The aftermath of the pool. Which was now really not much, but he could see its sentimentality to one such as Moriarty.

"Alert John, tell him I've gone and why," Sherlock instructed Sally, who only glowered in response. He snatched his coat from the rack nearby and slipped it over his head, leaving out the scarf for once. People seemed to have developed an odd habit of choking him and he did not want to give them something else to strangle him with. Not once looking behind him, he took the stairs three at a time. Mrs. Hudson stared as he went by, opening her mouth to speak, but he only shook his hand. No time.

"Alright," he whispered to himself as he pushed the door open forcefully. "You want to play, Moriarty? The game is on!"

But there was a small note of panic in his voice that has never been there before.