All these people he involves in his adventures… They're not safe. We're not safe. There are forces out there and they're coming for Sherlock Holmes.

John titled the post "The Blind Banker," and hit "publish."

And he wondered: Certainly there were people coming for Sherlock Holmes. Any number of people who wanted to avenge themselves or their relatives… Criminals who had been prevented from committing their crimes…

But a psychopath who targeted geniuses? That was a frightening thought—and a thought that had occurred to him more than once since the case started. He pushed it aside again…

He was just paranoid. If Ella knew, she'd have a thing or two to say about it, and he might actually agree with her for once.

"Why won't you go?"

"Did you see the email from this… Bewick, John? It makes your blog look like Shakespeare. He's an idiot, and he has anger management issues. I'm sure he did whatever he's accused of."

"Sherlock, every single lead in the Moriarty case is dead. You said so yourself. Lestrade has nothing for you to do. Just go! He says he'll pay."

"I don't care."

"Well, I do. I have a job now so I can pay my part of the rent. Where is yours?"

"A bit hypocritical coming from the man who asked me to lend him money… ten days ago?"

"Didn't even know you heard that."

"Well, I did. And I refuse to follow up on someone's petty case just because they might pay me."

John started to pick up the breakfast dishes with bad grace, and grabbed Sherlock's unfinished mug of coffee, for good measure. He dumped them in the sink, and then went to brush his teeth.

"I'm going to the surgery," he called over his shoulder.

"No you're not; you're going into the bathroom."

John rolled his eyes. He tried again as he put on his coat.

"Going to the surgery, and if you find you're bored enough to blow up my beer again… or to blow up anything, really… just go to Minsk."


It didn't sound terribly promising.

Absolute Pin

John should have known that getting Sherlock to follow his advice would be more trouble than it was worth. Sherlock had gone to Minsk. So John had had an evening to himself, to blog, and watch telly, and generally live a normal life without the imminent fear of explosion, or poisoning, or any other uniquely Sherlockian danger. Not that the normal life was his cup of tea, but it was a nice holiday.

But to come home from the surgery the next day to find an even more bored Sherlock shooting holes in the wall, and to wake up the next morning to find that his flat (and flatmate) might have been blown up, and then to help Sherlock solve four cases four days in a row to prevent innocent people from being blown up, all the while fearing that Sherlock was being turned into a monster… or at least something less than a man. That was more excitement that he had ever wanted.

And to find himself standing outside a pool strapped to a bomb, listening as Moriarty confirmed his suspicions—confirmed that Sherlock was to be the crown jewel in his collection of geniuses; confirmed that John was the final pawn in a complex game that Moriarty had been playing for months?

He could hear someone talking on the other side of the door. He couldn't make out the words, but he recognized the voice. Idiot!

And then in his ear: "Remember. Only what I tell you to say, or my snipers shoot. Now go!"

For a moment he closed his eyes and breathed deeply. He had faced death before without a tremor, but now—now his left hand shook. And he knew why. This wasn't about his own life. This was about Sherlock's soul. He wanted to believe that his friend could be a good man. And the not knowing… He clenched his hand into a tight fist where it quivered in his coat pocket.

One of Moriarty's men opened the door for him, and he stepped out, and Sherlock's face at that moment said everything that Sherlock might never be humble enough to say in words. John's hand stilled and he looked directly at Sherlock. He could see the battlefield.

And the voice came again.