Haunting Laughter

John lay where they'd thrown him, in an uncomfortable heap against a wall of a filthy warehouse. It wasn't his injuries, slight as they were, nor the handcuffs that kept him from moving, it was what they were doing to Jorrun.

They were touching his daemon.

More than touching. They were hurting her. Her pain and fear bled through their bond to him and he could do nothing but watch as Moriarty pulled the choke chain around her neck tighter.

"Interesting." Moriarty turned to his daemon. "Asnneth, look how the good doctor's breathing is affected when I choke his daemon."

The hyena laughed, seeming to enjoy watching John cough and wheeze. "If I bite her, do you think he'll bleed?" She leaned closer, looming over the binturong, baring her teeth in anticipation.

"I don't know. What do you say, Johnny boy, should I let Asnneth have some fun? She doesn't often get to play, poor dear." Moriarty rested his hand on Asnneth's head briefly, giving her a scratch behind the ears before lifting if off with an exaggerated flourish and then running it along Jorrun's back. Jorrun shuddered and tried to move away, but a jerk of the choke chain halted her movement.

"No. Please," John begged, trying not to cry out in pain. "Hurt me if you must, but leave her alone. Please."

"Where would be the fun in that?" Moriarty dropped the chain and practically skipped over to John, grabbing him by the front of his jumper and pulling him up until their faces were only inches apart. "We have the whole day to play together. Don't you want to play with me, John?"

John responded by head-butting Moriarty and struggling to his feet. "Run, Jorrun!" he yelled, but immediately collapsed and cried out in pain as one of Moriarty's henchmen attacked Jorrun with some sort of electrical prod. His nerves were on fire, his vision filling with flashes and sparks and black spots that got bigger and bigger... and he thought he could hear Jorrun screaming over Moriarty and Asnneth's laughter, but he passed out before he could tell for certain.


Waking up strapped down on a table was disconcerting. Doubly so when, the second John opened his eyes, Moriarty clapped his hands and announced, "Excellent! Now that both parties are awake, it's time to begin the experiment!"

Still groggy, John made a "Hrmm?" noise in response as he turned his head and saw Jorrun on a similar table a few feet away, with Moriarty looming over her.

"Now, I need you to describe for me the pain and discomfort that you feel at each touch." He reached over and flicked Jorrun's ear. "On a scale from one to ten, with one being barely noticeable, and ten being similar to when you were shot, how would you rate that sensation?"

John flinched at the strange flicker of discomfort he felt as Moriarty touched Jorrun, but refused to answer.

Moriarty stamped his foot and flicked her ear again. "I said," he hissed slowly, carefully enunciating every word, "on a scale from one to ten, how would you rate that?"

"I refuse to play your little game," John ground out. Jorrun huffed in approval.

"John, John, John," Moriarty tutted in response. "So stubborn. Asnneth? Bite her ear for me please."

The hyena laughed loudly, and stood on her hind legs with her front paws on Jorrun's table. "Can I bite it off? I've never eaten binturong before."

Moriarty smiled fondly at her. "No, perhaps later. For now, I believe a nip hard enough to draw blood should do nicely."

"Now, hold on-" John started to say before breaking off in a gasp of pain. His stomach rolled through waves of nausea, and his ear was on fire.

"Oh, interesting. Did you see that, Asnneth? That movement? He jerked his head to the left, as if trying to get away from you. Bite her other ear, let's see if we can replicate that reaction."

John opened his mouth, about to beg them to stop, but he was hit by a sudden, crushing pain, and he could no longer focus long enough to form the words.


Day turned to night, but John didn't have any real sense of the time passing. Moriarty was at times angry and at other times gleeful. Occasionally both. He praised John for being a good, if uncooperative, subject as he ran his hands through Jorrun's fur and yelled, slapping John in the face when John's mind wandered. Asnneth was always there, just out of John's peripheral vision, laughing. Always laughing.

John came back to himself suddenly, disjointed and achy. He was alone in a small room, a cell of some kind or other. He had been stripped of his jumper at some point, and his thin tee shirt did little to keep him warm. Being cold wasn't too much of a concern, he'd just curl up next to Jorrun; her fur and body heat always... but Jorrun wasn't with him.

Jorrun!

She wasn't here. He had to find her.

John jumped to his feet. "Jorrun!" he cried out, grabbing the doorknob. Memories flooded his mind. Memories of Moriarty and Asnneth and his kidnapping, and Jorrun shrieking in pain. He threw himself against the door, trying to kick it open, then slamming into it with his good shoulder, but it didn't budge. He had to get through it, he had to get to Jorrun.

He was overcome by the horrible, wrenching sensations of wrong, wrong, wrong and alone, so alone, and shouted for his daemon louder and louder, banging on the door. He could barely sense her, the connection between them stretched to the point of fraying. Jorrun needed him. He needed her. He had to get to her. He had to be with her.

It might have been minutes, or even hours, later when he finally sank to his knees on the floor in front of the door, his hands raw from scratching and scrabbling at it "Please," he cried, his voice hoarse and broken, "Please, Moriarty, bring her back." Shaking, he wrapped his arms around himself, trying not to cry. "Please. I'll do anything."

There was an electric crackle and John looked up, noticing for the first time the camera and speakers mounted in the centre of the ceiling. "How would you rate the discomfort you are experiencing at being separated from your daemon?" Moriarty asked, his voice echoing slightly in the bare room. "On a scale from one to ten if you please, Doctor Watson."

"Moriarty," he sobbed, his voice breaking.

"Answer the question, doctor. It will all be over as soon as you answer the question. You'd like to be reunited with your daemon, wouldn't you?" Moriarty's voice was almost soothing. Understanding. Kind. "You'll be able to touch her. Bury your hands in her fur. She wants to be with you, John. You know she does. And you want that too, don't you?"

Despite himself, John nodded. He wanted to be with Jorrun. He needed Jorrun.

"You can have her back, John. All you have to do is tell me you feel right now, how it feels to be separated from her. You can do that for me, can't you, John?"

John nodded again, eager to be back with Jorrun.

"On a scale from one to ten," Moriarty began.

"On a scale from one to ten..." John aped, shakily.

"How would you rate the discomfort you are in?"

"How... How would I rate..." John tried to think. He hadn't answered Moriarty's questions before. It had seemed important not to, but now he couldn't remember why. All he had to do was answer and then he'd get Jorrun back. One answer. What harm could it do?

"I am waiting, doctor."

John tried to think, tried to compare the pain and twisted feelings in his gut from being separated from Jorrun to the mere physical discomfort of having his shoulder torn apart by a bullet. "I... I don't know." He looked up at the camera, hoping Moriarty could see that he was at least attempting to answer his question. "It's bad. Bring her back. I need her back."

"I will return her to you as soon as you answer the question."

John decided it didn't matter if Moriarty was sincere or not. He needed Jorrun, and if he answered maybe they'd be together again. He wrapped his arms tightly around his legs and began rocking back and forth, slowly. "Nine," he said, softly.

"A nine? Interesting," Moriarty replied. "Very interesting."

John waited, but Moriarty said nothing more. "Will... Will you take me to Jorrun now?" He wasn't sure, but he thought he heard someone laughing before the speakers crackled again, indicating the connection had been severed.

He could feel Jorrun though. Their connection wasn't as painfully stretched, and she didn't seem to be in pain. Unable to stay still he got to his feet and began to pace the small room; Jorrun would be here soon and then everything would be okay. Well, not okay, he'd still be the prisoner of a mad man, but at least he would have his daemon.

John wasn't sure how much time had passed before the door to his cell was thrown open and a bright light shone in, nearly blinding him. He was about to step forward, but at the sound of guns being cocked, he froze, waiting to see what Moriarty and his men would do. There was a rolling sound, the squeak of metal on wood and then Jorrun was there, caged, being wheeled into the room.

"Your daemon," Moriarty announced from somewhere out in the hallway, "as promised."

Before he even realized what he was doing, John was reaching out, unable to wait to get his arm through the bars, to try to touch Jorrun. "Oh, Jorrun," he said, sinking to his knees next to her and seeing the dried blood on the side of her face. "What have they done to you?"

"I will be back for her in one hour. I recommend using your time together wisely."

"Wait, what?" John was on his feet immediately, hands balled into fists. "What do you mean, an hour?"

"I said you would be reunited with your daemon if you answered my questions, dear doctor. However, I did not say for how long. I can, of course, separate you earlier if you do not behave."

"No!" John shouted quickly. "We'll be good. Please." He curled his hand tightly into the fur at the scruff of her neck, gripping her harder than he normally would have. She, however, made no sound of protest, she needed his contact as much as he did hers.

"One hour," Moriarty repeated before the door slammed shut with a clang.

Pressing his face against the bars of her cage, John inhaled Jorrun's familiar scent, relishing the rightness of having his daemon next to him.

"It will be all right," Jorrun said, softly. "Sherlock will save us."

John could only hope she was right.

After sitting together quietly for a few minutes, John opened his eyes and carefully ran his hands over his daemon, checking for injuries. "I'm so sorry," he whispered, apologetically, as he ripped the bottom off his shirt to use as a rag to clean her up.

"It's not your fault. We knew what we were getting into." Jorrun licked John's hand as he gently wiped the dried blood away.

"Your ear's not so bad," John said after examining the damage Asnneth had done to it. "It bled a lot, but it should heal nicely." He looked around the room, then at the lock on her cage, and sighed. "If we get ever out of here, that is."

"Sherlock and Dagany won't stop until they find us."

"I know," John said. And he did know. Sherlock was tenacious when he was on a case and John had no doubts that his kidnapping would motivate Sherlock to levels of intensity that John could scarcely imagine. Sherlock would find them, but when? That was the question. How long would it take for Sherlock to realize he and Jorrun were missing? Would Sherlock be able to track them to Moriarty's warehouse? What would Moriarty have done to them before Sherlock could get here?

Jorrun nipped him lightly. "Stop that. Sherlock and Dagany will find us. They never failed once they've put their minds to something. You know that." John gave a noncommittal harrumph in response. "Besides, if anything happens to us, who will make him his tea at all hours of the day and night?"

John smiled at that. "Good point."

"We'll get through this."

"I hope you're right." John ran his hand along her flank, a gesture that always comforted them both. "What was it like for you? When they separated us, I mean."

A shiver ran through Jorrun and she hid her head under her paws. "It was terrible," she admitted quietly.

"I won't let him do that to you again."

"John," she looked up at him, worry in her eyes, "What are you saying?"

"I won't let him separate us."

"He's holding us hostage. He's the one with the guns and the key to this cage. Moriarty has all the power here. How do you plan on stopping him from doing whatever he wants?"

John looked down at his daemon and with a firm and steady voice said, "Whatever I have to."

"There are some lines we mustn't cross, no matter what the consequences. You know that. We will get through this." She sounded as wary as John felt.


The door swung open far too soon. "Well, doctor." Moriarty stood in the doorway, Asnneth at his side. "Ready? It's time to say goodbye to your daemon, for now." With a quick flick of his hand, Moriarty motioned two of his men into John's cell to grab the cage and wheel Jorrun out, but before they could do more than take a step inside John threw himself at them. With a sharp jab, he elbowed one of them in the diaphragm while simultaneously kicking the other on the inside of the knee, sending the man to the floor with a grunt. John had spun around, grabbing the first man in a stranglehold when a horrible, tearing pain tore at him from within.

That's when he realized that, while he had been distracted by fighting with Moriarty's men, Jorrun's cage had been pulled from the room. "No!" he cried, dropping his guard momentarily. The man he was grappling with took advantage of John's shift of attention and managed to get out of John's grasp, pivoted and threw his weight against John, pinning him face first on the ground, one arm twisted behind his back.

"Now, now, John," Moriarty tutted. "I am so disappointed in you. I thought we had an understanding."

John ignored the knee pressing into his back and the strain on his bad shoulder, all he could focus on was his daemon, Jorrun. Jorrun, who was being taken farther and farther from him. Jorrun, who hissing and snarling and throwing herself against the bars of her cage. Jorrun, who was scared and in pain. "Jorrun! No!"

"Actually" John twisted his head, looking up to see Asnneth looming over him, a hideous grin on her face. "Jorrun, yes. And there's nothing you can do about it."

Moriarty ambled in, gave Asnneth a slow stroke along her jaw and then turned to his men. "Secure him. And make sure he has no leeway whatsoever. Manacles should do the trick. Attach them to the O ring in the corner, use only enough chain so that he has to stay on his knees."

There was a flurry of movement and clinking of metal as the man not holding John rushed to obey Moriarty's orders.

"He reeks of fear and despair," Asnneth said as she settled on her haunches. "It smells wonderful."

"I imagine it does," Moriarty responded, but John barely heard.

"Please," John whimpered as Jorrun was taken even farther away than she had been last time. His nerve endings were on fire, and his gut clenched and lurched. It felt like he couldn't get enough air and that he was freezing and burning up, all at the same time. He was too sick, too discombobulated, to make any attempt to fight or escape as he was dragged up and the manacles fastened around his wrists. It seemed that one minute he was pinned to the floor and then the next he was on his knees, his hands tightly cinched behind his back, his fingers pressed up against the wall.

Moriarty grabbed his chin, pulling his head up so John was forced to look him in the eye. "I think I'll leave you like this for a while. It will be interesting to see what state you'll be in when I finally return. And what you'll be willing to do to remedy your situation. Come, Asnneth," he said, spinning around, "it's almost time for my stories. It wouldn't do to miss them, would it?" He strode out the door, his daemon by his side, and slammed it shut with a clang, Asnneth's laughter echoing behind him.


John wasn't sure how long he knelt there. It might have been a few minutes, or several hours. Hell, for all he knew it had been days! His brain refused to focus on moving, or testing his bonds, or anything other than Jorrun. Like a junkie needing a fix, he needed his daemon.

You didn't touch someone else's daemon. You didn't get between a person and their daemon. It wasn't done. Not by the police, not by the army, not by anyone. But Jorrun wasn't there with him. She had been taken away.

Moriarty.

Moriarty had her.

Jorrun. His Jorrun. Strong, kind, stalwart Jorrun. In a cage. Away from him.

Moriarty would bring her back. All John had to do was wait. He could wait. Moriarty would come, and he'd bring Jorrun, and then Jorrun would be here, and everything would be okay. Shaking and crying, he lost focus of everything but the mantra 'Jorrun was coming. Jorrun was coming.'

Then Jorrun was there.

Jorrun.

No, not Jorrun. A daemon stood in front of him, but it wasn't his daemon. She didn't feel right. And her eyes, they were cold and cruel. When she laughed he remembered.

Asnneth.

Not his daemon. Someone else's. Moriarty's.

"Jorrun?" he called out weakly, his voice hoarse and cracking.

Moriarty himself strode into the room. "Not such a big, tough soldier now, are you?" He ruffled Asnneth's fur. "Shall we do another experiment?"

"Absolutely. I love experimenting." Her eyes gleamed in the dim light and she leaned against Moriarty, just as Jorrun would sometimes lean into John, her presence warm and comforting. But Jorrun wasn't there. Not at his side. She was gone.

"Jorrun?" he begged. "Please?"

"Oh, yes, you'll have your precious Jorrun back in a moment. But first I need you to do something for me. Do you think you can do that, John? Can you do a favour for me?"

"Yes, anything." He nodded furiously. "Anything."

Moriarty pulled out a mobile. It looked... familiar. He soon realized why; it was his phone. "You've received quite a number of calls and texts over the last few days. Most of them are from Sherlock. And all have gone unanswered. I wonder why that is?" Moriarty gestured wildly with the phone. "Oh, right. Silly me, I forgot, you were otherwise engaged. But luckily, you've escaped from my clutches and you've managed to find your phone so you can ring him to ask for help. You want Sherlock's help, yes?" Moriarty bent down until he was at eye level with John and nodded slowly, grabbing John's chin and forcing him to nod as well. "Yes?"

"Yes." Sherlock would help. Sherlock could find him and free him and bring him to Jorrun. Sherlock could do anything.

"So, you'll call Sherlock? I'll tell you what to say, of course. I'm sure you want to be certain he has all the clues he needs to locate the warehouse I'm keeping you in. He can't come and rescue you if he can't find you, now can he?"

"No..." John thought there might something wrong with Moriarty's logic, something that nibbled at his gut and screamed in his head, but he just couldn't focus enough to figure out what it was trying to warn him against. "And Jorrun?"

"If you call Sherlock, I'll have Jorrun brought back into the room. You'd like that, wouldn't you?"

John nodded quickly. Call Sherlock, get Jorrun. He could do that.

"Good, good. Now listen carefully while I tell you what I would like you to say."

They had to go over what John was going to tell Sherlock numerous times; he just couldn't seem to get it right. Moriarty didn't seem to mind though, he praised John's attempts, no matter how fumbled and shaky they were.

"But," John shook his head, trying to focus, trying to make sense of the clues he was going to give Sherlock, "I don't hear any moving water."

"That's because you're here in this cell," Moriarty patiently explained. "If you were out by a window you'd hear it."

"Oh." That made sense. Water meant a river or waterway or something, information Sherlock could use. "Right. Okay." He started to reach for the phone before realizing he couldn't, his hands were still behind his back and chained to the wall.

"Oh, dear me, you seem to be a little indisposed for the moment. How about I just hold onto this for you? I'll slip it in your pocket after you finish the call. That way you won't be lying to Sherlock when you tell him you managed to retrieve your mobile."

Pursing his lips, John tried to puzzle through what Moriarty was saying. "And Jorrun?" he asked, because when it came down to it, he really didn't care about the phone. All he wanted was his daemon back.

"After you ring Sherlock, remember?"

John nodded. Call Sherlock, get Jorrun. Moriarty had promised.

"Now, I'll just hold this up for you. Ready?"

Before John could respond, Moriarty had punched in the number and pressed the mobile up against his ear. It only rang once before it was answered with a quick, "John?"

"Sherlock. It's me." John struggled, trying to remember what else he was supposed to say.

"Who has you? Did you manage to get away? Why am I asking that, of course you did, you're calling me. Tell me where you are? I'm running the trace on your phone's GPS, but while it's working I need data. Are you all right? What-"

Brain finally kicking in to gear, John interrupted Sherlock's endless stream of question. "It's Moriarty. I managed to get my mobile, but there's too many of them, I can't-"

"Where are you, John? Do you have any clues as to where he's taken you?"

"Water," John blurted out. "There was water. And. I don't know. A smoke stack?" Moriarty made a go on motion. "Made of bricks. You have to come find me, Sherlock. "

"John, are you all right? You sound unusually discombobulated."

"Find me," John repeated, as per Moriarty's script. "I have to go. They're coming," he added, giving the last of his lines just before Moriarty snapped the phone closed.

"Excellent job, doctor." Moriarty patted John on the head before slipping the mobile into John's pocket with a grin. "Just like we rehearsed. Good boy."

John swallowed heavily. Moriarty seemed happy with him. That was good, wasn't it? "Jorrun?"

"As soon as Sherlock arrives, I promise."

"B-B-but..." No, that didn't seem right.

"As soon as he comes, and not one moment sooner." Moriarty gave John another pat before turning to his daemon. "Come, Asnneth," he said as the two of them headed out of the room. "There is much to prepare for. Think of all the fun we'll have with Sherlock and his little fox."

"No!" John threw himself at Moriarty's retreating form, fighting uselessly against the chain and the manacles. But neither Moriarty nor Asnneth paid him any attention and the door clanged shut, leaving him alone in the darkness.


John found himself retreating. Not physically, other than tearing his wrists to shreds he hadn't managed to do a thing to change his situation in any physical sense, but there was no reason he had to be there mentally any longer. He left himself drift, focusing on happier times, remembering Jorrun before she had settled, when she had favoured taking the form of animals with wings, birds and butterflies, anything that let her take to the sky. She had seemed so free, flittering about up above his head; sometimes he had climbed up trees and jumped off the lowest branches pretending he could fly as well.

He'd twisted his ankle doing that once. Shortly after they had met Sherlock had somehow deduced that John had sustained a hairline fracture to his fibula when he was six years old, and asked what had happened. Jorrun had snickered and John had pretended not to remember, but the two of them had to rush out of the flat on an emergency coffee run so they wouldn't burst into laughter at the disbelieving look Sherlock gave them in response.

Sherlock.

Who could have known that a last minute decision to take a walk in the park and an off-hand-comment about the difficulties of living in London on an army pension would lead to Sherlock? Sherlock and little Dagany. Dagany, who slept curled up in Sherlock's coat pocket or stared down at the world from her perch, draped over Sherlock's shoulders. A little fennec fox, all ears and tail, so inquisitive, always asking questions as she tried to deduce everything she could about the world around her. Just like Sherlock.

If only Sherlock were here. He'd be lecturing, "Have I not suggested you carry two sets of lock picks with you at all times, John? And why did you not rewire the camera and speakers when you first regained consciousness, John? John? Wake up, John!"

There was a warm hand tapping his face. Sherlock did that sometimes when he wanted tea and John had conveniently fallen asleep on the sofa instead of out of reach, upstairs in his room. "I'm not making tea, Sherlock, quit it," John mumbled, even though his protests never mattered. Sherlock always kept poking and prodding him until John would finally agree to make the damn tea just so he would be left alone.

"I've no desire for tea now, John; I want you to wake up. Come on, John, open your eyes. Look at me."

And what was the likelihood of that? Sherlock waking him up and not wanting tea? It'd never happen. Not unless they were out of tea. Or plasters. Or the fingers had fallen behind the toilet again.

"Hurry up with those bolt cutters! John? John, wake up."

Sherlock had done an experiment with chains and bolt cutters shortly after John moved into the flat. Various lengths and thicknesses of metal chains had cluttered the room for days as Sherlock painstakingly examined the marks that different cutters left behind. It had been worse than the experiment with the eyeballs, it was easy enough to avoid the microwave, but trying to avoid stubbing your toes when stepping around a sea of chains at three in the morning had been nearly impossible.

"John? Hold on, John. Jorrun is coming. They found her, she's fine."

The muddled fog lifted somewhat and the nausea resided as he fell forward and was enveloped by something soft and safe. And, even though his shoulders and knees screamed at him, protesting against the movement, when a warm furry body pressed against him everything was suddenly right and nothing else mattered.

"His breathing's worse, get the paramedics in here!"

"John? John!"


A constant beeping slowly invaded John's dreams, bringing with it that particularly unpleasant antiseptic stench that only hospitals could ever manage to create. Waking up, John sensed the starched sheets, the bandages around his wrists and the IV cannula in the back of his left hand. His right arm was stretched out so that his hand was hanging off the bed, and he realized his fingers were tangled in Jorrun's fur.

"He's waking up," Dagany said, her soft voice unusually atonal, almost harsh. John winced at the sound of it.

"Sherlock?" John called out, or tried to, it sounded more like a croak. He opened his eyes, but shut them immediately against the painful brightness.

"Here, let me get the blinds." There was a small isnick/i and then Sherlock, suddenly much closer- right next to John's bed- said, "It should be better now, open your eyes slowly though, let them adjust to the light."

John did as Sherlock suggested and was grateful there was only a mild discomfort at the light, now. He immediately turned to his right, needing to reassure himself Jorrun really was by his side.

"Do not worry, John," she said, her eyes meeting his. "I'm right here. I've been right next to you ever since they rescued us."

John looked up at Sherlock, standing over the bed with Dagany peering at John from her position, curled into the crook of Sherlock's arm. "Are you two all right?" he asked them.

"We're fine." Sherlock cleared his throat like he was going to say something more, but opted to examine John's heart monitor instead.

Sherlock's behaviour seemed off to John. Since when did Sherlock use two words when twenty could be used instead? There was a nervous restlessness to both Sherlock and Dagany that was quite unlike them. John's memories of the last few days were hazy and disjointed. The last thing he could remember was being Moriarty's prisoner, locked alone in that cell. "How'd you find us?" he eventually asked.

"Oh. Well. Your call, of course."

John gasped as he recalled how he had followed Moriarty's orders. He'd led Sherlock straight into a trap! "Oh, god, that call. I never should have... I didn't... You have to understand. I didn't-"

"John, please stop and gather your thoughts, you are making even less sense than usual," Sherlock interrupted, tutting at John's disjointedness.

John swallowed heavily and admitted, "I never escaped, Moriarty gave me the mobile and told me what to say."

Sherlock's brow furrowed. "Well, of course. I'm amazed he thought I could have been fooled by such a weak attempt at providing me with false information."

"What? You knew? How?"

"The angle of the phone was entirely incorrect. There is a significant difference between the manner in which a person holds a phone up to their own ear versus the manner it is held by someone else. Child's play. I'm almost disappointed in him."

"Still," John shifted, looking away, "I should have held out, refused to make the call. I'm sorry. I should have been stronger."

Dagany jumped out of Sherlock's arms, landing on the bed; she tilted her head and stared at John, looking utterly confused and almost guilty. "We wanted to be certain," she began, "before we brought in others to take down Moriarty's men. We knew we couldn't do it by ourselves, but there were so many details and the data wasn't as clear as we would have liked it to be."

Sherlock reached over, stroking Dagany slowly, soothing her. "We should have acted sooner. It is not only our fault that Moriarty had the opportunity to escape, but also that you were in the state you were by the time rescue arrived."

John couldn't help it, he laughed.

"John, I fail to see what you find so humorous in this situation."

"What a pair, we are. Me blaming myself, you blaming yourself. What do you say we split the difference and blame Moriarty?"

Sherlock snorted while Dagany and Jorrun laughed. "That is only fair, I suppose."

"Good. Now, I want you to tell me everything you've on him. I think it's high time we stop letting him make the first move and we go after him for a change."

Sherlock scooped up Dagany and plunked himself down on John's bed. "Brilliant idea. Now, let's get to work."