The Strange Case of Doctor Watson and Mister Ives
Part Eight: Watson, Meet Ives
Sherlock was not sure where he would be taken, but a neutral location was his assumption, he doubted Moriarty ever conducted business in his lair, the man was far too careful for that.
It turned out to be a deserted government office building in Wapping, rented using a shipping concern as a cover by Sherlock's guess.
Irene was treated with familiarity by the underlings, she always could charm anyone who crossed her path, if she could penetrate Sherlock's defences then anyone would be vulnerable to her grace.
He expected to be tied up or restrained in some manner, but he was taken to the same office as Irene seated in a chair beside her and given a cuppa the same time as her, since it was poured from the same source he joined her after her first proprietary sips.
So how did you meet the man known as Moriarty?" Sherlock inquired.
Irene sighed, "Really? This is the tact you are taking?"
"I'm just curious as to how someone as careful as you are would allow yourself to be placed in this much danger," he returned with equanimity.
"Just lucky I guess," she replied with the same inscrutability that always intrigued him. He could never read Irene like he could other persons, until John Watson she was the only person he had met who surprised him.
"It was that Argentinean painter as I recall, love, Mrs. Wenceslas wasn't the only person who used his skills, you almost had that Cezanne in the Louvre before I caught on," replied a high pitched, cultured and immanently bored voice behind them in the room.
Moriarty bent and gave her a kiss on the cheek before settling behind the desk, he blithely put his feet up on the surface.
"So, Sherlock, how's kicks?" he inquired with that same empty smile that he used by the pool a few weeks back.
Sherlock stared into those cold dark eyes and managed to smile. "Oh I imagine we'll both be finding out shortly, since I am evidently bait for the trap."
"So you never expected Scotland Yard to save you," Moriarty mused, "you intended to come all along, I wonder what you are up to?"
"Wouldn't you like to know?" Sherlock responded with a smile of his own.
"Well it's rather irrelevant, wouldn't you say?" Moriarty responded pulling his legs off the desk top and spinning to regard Sherlock with a playful menace, "because Johnny-Boy just entered the building and he'll be here shortly, as soon as he's restrained, I plan on him going with me on my hiatus…I want to take my time with him."
"If Mycroft's people can't restrain him, what makes you think you can?" Sherlock asked.
Moriarty gave him an incredulous look and pointed to himself. "You really haven't been paying attention, have you?"
"Boys will be boys," Irene stated with amusement, "you two think you are higher life forms but it all comes down to "mine is bigger than yours."
"You would be in position to know," Sherlock rejoined, tone dripping with acid.
"What can I say," Irene said with a smirk, "I've always liked men with big…well brains at least."
Moriarty laughed. "Ouch."
Irene leaned back languidly as she continued, "besides, to answer your unspoken question about whose bigger…he is." She indicated the door with a jerk of her well manicured thumb.
Howard Ives stood there smoking a cigarette, Turkish blend from the scent, Sherlock mused.
"Looks like I finally caught up to you Jimmy," Ives stated in a dry tone, his dark predator eyes glinting with a dangerous light.
"It's alive!" Moriarty intoned with no indication of intimidation.
"Two psychopaths and one high functioning sociopath, all whom I've slept with," Irene itemized playfully; "now we have a party."
"Irene, Lovely, you might want to come over to this side of the room, blood and brains are difficult to get out of silk chiffon," Ives replied pulling a government issue side arm out of his inner coat holster with a smooth grace.
Sherlock stood and purposefully got in the path of his gun. "I can't let you do this, John."
Ives cocked his head to the side, as if he was hearing a voice not in the room. "Sherlock, John is trying to protect you, that's why he didn't get help sooner, if I you don't let me kill that little Irish bastard for you now, then there'll come a day when he'll see you dead."
"Little Irish bastard?" Moriarty called his voice tinged with offense, "I'll have you know I know exactly who my father was, I killed him myself after all."
He seemed to think for a moment. "Well my mum and father weren't married so I guess that technically makes me a bastard…Oh well, carry on…loving the drama."
"This is not you, John, Ives is someone you became to protect yourself, when you had to become tougher than you thought you could be, he's a part of you but he is not you," Sherlock said as he moved towards Ives.
Ives's gun wavered, he shook his head as to clear some cobwebs. "This has to be done, Sherlock, rabid dogs have to be put down, monsters have to be tied in knots, molesters need to be punished…this world needs cleansing, I'll be doing more good than John could have possibly done as himself by putting this cock roach in the ground…"
"He will be, but he's my responsibility, he'll never kill me indirectly, he can't...whether he acknowledges it or not, I keep him interested, he's as afflicted with boredom as I, he needs me as much as I need him, if it ever comes to it, the final battle will be face to face. You've already done more good as John then you could ever do as Ives," Sherlock stated as he moved within arms reach.
He made sure those alien eyes were meeting his own as he said, "Being my friend, letting me know where the boundaries are, making sure I never become him, being my moral compass…those are things that Ives could never do. You are stronger as John than either of us. The fact that it took a serum for Ives to come out to play shows me you have greater self control than anyone I have ever known."
The struggle within the man who was called Howard Ives was tremendous, as he lowered his gun. Sherlock had never seen inner turmoil like that in his life, but in the end, the outcome was inevitable. John Watson swam back up to the surface.
"Sherlock…" he managed to say, face drawn and pale from the effort.
Suddenly a metal dart appeared in his chest and John immediately collapsed to the floor in convulsions.
As Sherlock bent to help his friend he heard a clapping noise behind him. "Bravo…that was the most heart felt speech I have ever seen with my own eyes," Morarty stated, his tone mocking, "but I think that's enough EastEnders for now…don't you?"
Irene reached past Sherlock and checked John's mouth. "Give me a wallet, Sherlock, he'll break his teeth or bite his tongue if he has nothing to bite down on."
Sherlock handed his folio over to her and she carefully placed it in John's mouth as he thrashed around on the floor. "I've seen seizures before," she explained as she did her best to hold John's head still.
"So, you show your true affiliation," Moriarty stated, "I have to say if I had actual feelings they would be hurt right now. If you two would step away from the man on the floor, I would be obliged." The sound of a pistol being cocked was loud in the room.
They both stood and turned to the man now standing behind the desk.
There was an airgun on the blotter, used to deliver the dart. "The antidote is somewhat tougher on the body than the serum was initially; even if he survives the physical damage, I doubt his mind will survive the integration process," Moriarty said in a pedantic tone, "oh well can't make an omelette without a few broken eggs."
Moriarty smiled as he levelled the revolver at Sherlock's head. "I don't normally get my hands dirty, but with your brother gone, my pledge to leave you alive is looking problematic, you are right about me being bored without you, but you might have overestimated your own importance a bit.."
"You'll want to lower that weapon," informed a voice from the door way.
They all turned and saw Lestrade in a tactical suit assault rifle at the ready, with a smiling Donovan and a grim faced Dimmock, standing with a group of men in full riot gear; they had nasty looking automatic rifles aimed at Moriarty.
"Besides, "Lestrade said with a smile, "I think mine is a bit bigger than yours. So, be a lad, because you're under arrest."
"See what I mean, whose is bigger," Irene returned with a smirk.
"What we have here is a Mexican stand off," Moriarty replied in a bored tone, "well I say Mexican, that is a little racially insensitive, but I digress, not my phrase. If you kill me, however, the antidote to the nice little nerve toxin they ingested earlier that was in the tea, dies with me."
He gave Irene a wink. "I was going to give you the antidote on the plane if you proved your loyalty, muffin, you have my word."
"Is this true?" Lestrade inquired releasing his hold on the rifle.
"We drank the tea," Sherlock admitted with a sheepish grin.
"Besides, "Moriarty continued, "I am not a citizen of the British Empire, I am a vassal of Herzegovina, I have the paper work, so a little functionary such as your self has no ability to charge me with anything."
On the floor Watson was suffering a feverish vision as his body fought to reverse changes that occurred over weeks in a matter of minutes.
He was seated, this room but empty, the light over the desk illuminating the darkness.
"Hullo, John," said a voice from the darkness, there was a spark of a lit cigarette as Ives walked into the light.
He sat across the desk and crossed his legs utterly insouciant about the situation. "I thought we should have one last chat before I go."
"We have nothing to say to one another," John replied.
"That's not entirely true, "Ives replied blowing a smoke ring across the desk it floated until it dissipated while John sat in silence.
Finally he could take it no longer. "Who are you really?"
Ives shrugged. "In some ways I'm you…and yet…someone you wish you could be."
"I've never wanted to be a psychopathic monster!" John shot back.
"You did want to be strong enough to never be a victim again," Ives reminded, "remember all the times that our Dad was heading for Harry or Mum and you deliberately wound him up so he would take it out on you? Harry always thought it was a male testosterone thing, but what you couldn't do with strength of arm you did with your body."
John shook his head adamantly as Ives continued…
"Harold Ives liked youth…period…Harry was a pretty fresh ginger girl, but you made sure that Ives stayed interested in you…otherwise Harry would have been the one getting late night visits…and he was nice to Mum and made her smile…"
"And Harry went and became an alcoholic, verbally abusive shrew anyway," Johns stated with tired bitterness.
Ives placed both feet on the floor and leaned on the desk for emphasis. "I'm the person you became to take those blows, to absorb the damage when you had to be the man of the house; I'm who you become now when you have to kill to defend yourself or others. And I'm the anger and the rage that allows you to not be intimidated, that makes you steadier in a fire fight then when safe, who makes you the perfect compliment to Sherlock's callous disregard for his own safety and that of those around him."
"I created you?" Watson inquired terrified at the answer.
"They did, John, have you not figured it out yet?" Ives replied with a sense of urgency, "Our father was called Howie by his drinking buddies, not sure where they got that from, it doesn't match his middle or first, it was just his nick, you heard it when you fetched him from the pub…Ives you know. Mum and our Father made you, but old Howie Watson, and grab-you-in-the-night Ives created me. I look like our Dad, and I dress like Ives, who is a bit of the clothes horse and smoked…"
Ives developed a sinister cant to usual insouciant smile as his eyes went distant, "At least Harold Ives did…"
"What will I do without you," John mused.
Ives met his stare with an odd intensity. "You won't have to worry about that, Johnny my Lovely, because I am still you."
A well manicured hand reached across the desk offering a shake. "You can do something I never could, I can kill and harm but I can't live and love and be a friend…that makes you the stronger…that's why you'll always be the one in charge, but I'll be there when you need me."
"God help anyone in our path when I do," John stated adamantly as he grasped the hand.
Ives nodded agreement. "God help 'em, because they'll be meeting him shortly."
"As a matter of fact," Moriarty crowed, "If I decided to plug Sherlock right now, declaring self defence, you'd never get extradition rights…"
Suddenly a shot rang out and Moriarty dropped the gun and fell clutching his right leg, upper thigh, the wound began turning the cloth red immediately.
"I just nicked your femoral, Jim, my boy, if you don't get immediate medical attention by someone who knows how to stanch the bleeding then you are going to bleed out in seconds," the voice was strained and came from the floor where Watson was lying with the gun he had dropped earlier. But it was John there, his lips were a grim line from the effort of holding the weapon steady but the eyes were cold and determined. "I'm the only one here with battlefield triage expertise; I'll trade it for the antidote."
His dark eyes filled with pain and hate, Moriarty pulled out a vial and slid it across to Sherlock, who dosed first himself and then Irene who gave him a knowing smile at his priorities.
Instead of moving to help Moriarty, John holstered the gun and reached a hand up to Sherlock, his friend helped him off the floor with Lestrade's assistance.
"You said you would stop the bleeding," Moriarty called through gritted teeth.
John turned, leaning on Sherlock, there was still something of Howard Ives in his face as he responded, "I took a gash out of your leg, but on the opposite side of the femoral, It's a dangerous wound, and bloody painful, but you have hours yet before you bleed out, trust me, I'm a doctor and a damned good shot…oh and I have been known to lie from time to time."
"Arrest that man; he shot me right in front of you!" Moriarty demanded of Lestrade.
"I believe you're not in our jurisdiction, right sir?" Sally answered with a grin.
"Absolutely," Lestrade responded with a wink.
"We still have two open cases, and blood that connects them both to Howard Ives, and through him, John Watson," Dimmock reminded.
The younger man walked over to Moriarty and knelt down, pulling a handkerchief out of a pocket in his tactical vest. Moriarty allowed him access thinking he was going to bandage the wound but instead Dimmock pressed it against the wound enough to soak the cloth then placed it in an evidence baggy from another pocket. He held it up triumphantly.
"You are now a suspect in two murders, Mister-whoever-you-are-in-Herzegovina, so I'll have to turn you over to the proper authorities, someone more appropriate to your diplomatic status," Lestrade informed as he helped Sherlock get Watson out of the door, followed by Donovan and Dimmock who he gave a congratulatory slap on the back.
Irene walked over and bent down to give Moriarty a kiss on the forehead. "By the way, all of your art collection are fakes now, including the unofficial Nazi art you kept in your vault, it took nearly a year but you made me a very wealthy girl, see ya around Jimbo." She sashayed out causing him to give a painful chuckle,
Damn, I would have married that girl! You know before strangling her on our wedding night.
The tact team stood at attention and suddenly Moriarty realized they were not Met soldiers, but MI-5.
There was the click of carefully placed dress shoes on tile and the smaller clack of a cane…but Moriarty knew it was an umbrella tip.
Mycroft Holmes came into sight, he leaned against his umbrella and crossed one ankle behind his leg and posed. "Hello there, James, it looks as if I survived after all, I know you must have been concerned."
He crossed the room and waited, one of the tactical team members grabbed a chair and moved it over for him to pull out the legs of his trouser and sit beside the wounded man.
Mycroft leaned down his chin resting on the bumbershoot. "Now, see we have a prickly situation here, with your diplomatic immunity, also with your status as a suspect in two murders, one of which was a Czech and the other a British subject."
Moriarty sputtered to offer explanation but Mycroft's eyes went cold. "Did you think I could not find you? I know all of your hideouts, all of your bolt holes, I know that jet, hidden under an alias you have ready on the tarmac as we speak, no worries it has been confiscated.
As soon as Lestrade called me, I checked the CCTV footage, including those that the public does not know about and found one of your little operations had higher security than usual which was a clue. Sherlock knew I would be the one to find you, and he knew that Lestrade would think of me when their first scheme failed, the Chief Inspector is far more adequate than Sherlock lets him know, which is why Sherlock handed him his phone with my number in the book."
"You need my connections…" Moriarty replied his face pale but eyes smug.
"Yes…yes you are correct," Mycroft replied wincing at the bother of it all.
He sighed, leaning back in the chair, umbrella across his knees. "I suppose that we'll have to get you sorted."
Moriarty grinned; it was an expression of triumphant evil.
"However," Mycroft added, "the pace in which we do it, is entirely up to our discretion, I have an employee that I want you to meet first, he thinks that the Nazi SS were amateurs and that the Dominican tortures of the Spanish Inquisition were just a place to begin."
His eyes found a suddenly sombre Moriarty's. "You are a thoroughbred, Jim, a very useful horse in my stable, but it is my stable, and first a horse needs to be broken, when and if I let you leave, you will be a broken man, " he leaned down and the anger sparked in his eyes as he emphasised, "and you have my word on that."
Mycroft stood and strolled to the door. "Bring him."
Two large MI-5 goons plucked Moriarty off the blood soaked floor like he weighed nothing and he was swept away in Mycroft's wake.
It would be some time before his underlings saw him again, the ones left alive after the silent assault on the building that is.
Sherlock and Lestrade walked down the hallways of the opulent retreat where John was recovering, to his own expressed exasperation.
Mycroft had pulled some strings, as a small atonement for his deplorable behaviour…Sherlock made a call to mummy to assure it.
"So, Irene…" Lestrade began.
"Gone...Subject closed," Sherlock replied with a tone that bespoke finality.
"I found Harold Ives," Lestrade commented as they strolled down a window lined corridor.
"Oh?" Sherlock encouraged.
"He was the Headmaster at an all Boys school in Worchester," Lestrade said with an anger tinged voice.
"You said was," Sherlock reminded.
Lestrade smiled. "Two weeks ago, someone broke into his cottage where he lived alone and…well… the crime scene photos and the coroner report was certainly entertaining."
"I'll bet," Sherlock replied, "any suspects?"
"I'm thinking that is one case that shall remained unsolved, the Worchester coppers are dragging their heels after someone called them and suggested they canvas the school and any previous post for information concerning improprieties with the pupils past and present, from the amount of testimonies of those that have come forward I wish whomever caught up with him had done it years ago."
"We won't be mentioning that to John," Sherlock stated.
"Do you think I'm an idiot?" Lestrade demanded.
To Sherlock's smirk he quickly added, "Never mind."
They saw John out in the garden, he was under an Elm tree looking far from himself but much improved in a bathrobe Mrs. Hudson bought him, chatting with a ginger haired ghost who was nervously smoking, the conversation was intense but heartfelt.
Sherlock paused at the door.
"Let's give him a minute," Lestrade suggested.
"As many as they need," Sherlock responded as they settled into a couple of opulent chairs nearby.
"How did you know you could stop Ives from killing Moriarty, that was one scary bloke," Lestrade inquired rubbing the place on his arm were his nicotine patch was taped.
"Because, when it comes to John Watson's will," Sherlock replied, "even I can't fathom his limits, I've learned not to assume there are any."
"Good answer," Lestrade stated.
Sherlock rolled his eyes before replying, "Of course it was."
They settled in to watch their mutual friend, recovering bodily, as he attempted to heal wounds deeper still.
Final Notes: Thanks for joining me on this journey. It was so freeing to finally complete something, I have done that so rarely as of late. I am hoping to finally finish Resurrected Flatmate finally (one year after first posting SIGH!) For those who are only just now reading this because of your fear for unfinished projects from me...I don't blame you! I blame my cigar chomping muse who is sleeping off a winter south in that land locked boat that sits in my drive way.
This story owes all credit to Moffit, Gatiss, Doyle and Stevenson who first created all the concepts that I have been playing with. I hope you have enjoyed the journey!