Disclaimer: I do not own Sherlock Holmes or any of its reincarnations, including the Guy Ritchie and Robert Downey Junior version or the BBC version or… well, you get the picture. All of the reincarnations and the original belong of course, to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and all of the other powers that be.
So, after seeing A Game of Shadows twice now (and hopefully once more next week and then maybe a couple of more times illegally on the internet) and rewatching the first, I have finally decided to put pen to paper (or keys to word documents, as it were) and write down the reunion scene between John Watson and Sherlock Holmes. I know, not exactly original here… but whatever.
One of my favorite characters in the Guy Ritchie version of Sherlock Holmes is by far and large Irene Adler, so needless to say, I was pretty upset when they killed her off. So, I decided to do something about that.
This picks up where A Game of Shadows left off and continues on. Currently a one-shot, but may turn into something more. Major spoilers for the movie and a lot of references to the first movie. Also, an undercover Harry Potter reference and a few other references that I probably didn't even realize I was putting in there.
I may or may not continue this. I haven't quite decided yet. You all should review and tell me what you think.
The Game Is Afoot
It seemed as though no one in London ever died anymore. First, it had been Lord Blackwood, rising from beyond the grave to wreck unthinkable havoc on the rest of the city. Then, it had been Gladstone, though the dog had always been rising from the dead, or supposed dead, as a result of Holmes' many experiments. Next, it was Irene Adler, though Watson wouldn't find that out until much later.
Now, it was Sherlock Holmes himself who had risen from the dead. When Watson first opened that unmarked box, his first emotion hadn't been surprise. It had been a sense of I'manidiot.
"Suicide's not in his repertoire. He's far too fond of himself for that."
Watson should have known that Holmes had a way out. There was no way the detective would have just let himself die.
And here was the proof, in John Watson's hand, that Sherlock Holmes was still among the living. The oxygen device that Mycroft had stated had gone missing sometime between Sherlock's interest in the device and his untimely fall over that bloody balcony.
Damn you, Holmes, Watson thought in disbelief as he called out to Mary. You really are a selfish bastard.
He couldn't bring himself to be angry, though, as he rose from his chair and went in search of his wife in order to question her about the postman. He, better than almost anyone, knew how unselfish Sherlock could be.
Unfortunately, questioning Mary proved fruitless, but Watson returned to his study with a sense of hope and adventure that he hadn't felt since before Switzerland. He was suddenly looking forward to going to Brighton, if only for the hope that Sherlock would turn up somewhere along the way with some outlandish case he needed a companion on.
He almost missed the addition to his friend's eulogy as Watson carefully packed the typewriter. The innocent question mark after the words TheEnd made Watson grin and shake his head.
"Holmes, you dog," he whispered to the machine.
Watson glanced around, half expecting Sherlock to be leaning causally against the doorway, pipe in one hand and a ridiculous looking hat in the other. He was disappointed, however, to find the window behind his desk hanging open and the office otherwise empty.
With a sigh, Watson went to close the window, brought up short by an innocent piece of parchment hanging from the latch.
One week from today. The Royale. Eight o'clock sharp. Wear a jacket.
The words made Watson grin all the more.
Watson's honeymoon passed in a whirl of bliss and happiness that ended both far too soon and not quickly enough. One week from the day he received the note and the oxygen device, Watson found himself at the Royale without Mary. She had elected not to come, in favor of going out to dinner with a few of her friends instead.
The doctor had arrived a few minutes early, expecting to find Holmes lounging in one of the chairs and studying the world around him with his intent gaze. Watson was once more disappointed as he took a seat at what used to be their usual table. Holmes was not there in any way, shape, or form.
He wound up waiting close to half an hour before Sherlock finally showed up, out of breath and face heavily bruised, but alive. Watson raised an eyebrow, resisting the urge to jump up and greet the shorter man, mainly because he couldn't decide between punching Holmes or hugging him.
"You're late," Watson said instead.
"Fashionably," Holmes returned with a devious smile. He took a seat across from Watson and sighed heavily. "It's good to see you, old boy."
"You as well," Watson replied, toying with his wine glass. He longed to ask the questions that were at the tip of his lips—what happened, where the hell have you been, and why are you covered in bruises—but the look of pure exhaustion on Sherlock's face stopped the questions and invited the doctor to employ his skills of deduction.
Outside of the obvious miracle that the man was alive, Sherlock was favoring his left side, evidence that his shoulder wound had yet to heal. His breathing was shallower than usual, whether from exertion of possibility of broken ribs was hard to determine at that point. Dried blood underneath his nose pointed toward a recent fist fight, as did the rounded, darkening bruises underneath his left eye. A pronounced ring of dark blue was underneath his right, showing days, if not weeks of little sleep.
"How's the case going?" Watson asked.
Sherlock smiled, an actual joyous expression. Such were rare on the detective's face and it brought a smile to Watson's own face.
"Your powers of deduction have grown, I see," Holmes said, pouring himself a glass of wine.
"It's hardly a deduction when you show up to dinner half an hour late," Watson said with a shrug, leaning back against the cushions of his chair. "You're never late."
"And you're rarely on time," Sherlock returned. "I guess we're both breaking our normal habits. As for the case, it's going splendid."
"I can tell that by your face," John said sarcastically.
Sherlock offered a one shouldered shrug. "It's all apart of the job, my dear Watson. But completely unimportant, at the moment."
"Oh, the case is unimportant, is it?"
"At the moment," Sherlock reiterated. "What's more important now are the questions you surely have about my return from the dead."
"Yes, how did you manage that?" Watson asked, praying that his voice didn't betray the whirlpool of emotion he felt every time he considered the possibility that Sherlock was dead and then not dead all at the same time.
"It is an engaging tale, full of ingenuity and sheer luck," Holmes said.
"You don't believe in luck."
"As it so happens, I do believe in luck. If you'd allow me to explain."
"I wish you would."
They stared at each other for a moment, smiles playing on both of their faces.
"Right," Sherlock broke the silence. "Well, if you recall, I slipped out of the rather boring dance to play a game of blitz chess with Moriarty."
Only too vividly, Watson didn't say.
"It was a highly enthralling and dangerous game," Holmes continued with a faraway look in his eye. "One wrong move and the whole thing would have blown up in my face. Luckily for me, and for you, dear Watson, I am quite apt at playing chess. If I hadn't been, then Moriarty would have beaten me in a matter of seconds and returned to the ball. Your opportunity to find Rene would have been lost forever and Moriarty would have won."
It was funny, Watson thought, how Holmes conveniently left out the fact that if he hadn't won the chess game, then he probably would have 'died' that much sooner.
"We engaged in a verbal sparring match as well," Holmes added. "Like the game of chess, it was another highly dangerous encounter, which I will admit, was the cause of Moriarty's anger with me."
Watson resisted the urge to roll his eyes.
"I doubt that," he said.
Sherlock took a sip of wine and ignored the comment.
"Both the game of chess and the game of words ended with me as victor," he said, a smirk gracing his face. "Unfortunately, it also brought us to the inevitable end."
"Your falling over a balcony into a raging waterfall was inevitable?" Watson demanded, forgoing all pretenses of mild curiosity. His raised voice brought the stares of the other diners in the restaurant.
"I took him with me," Sherlock said mildly, with a stern look. "In the end, that was all that mattered. We both knew that I would be unable to defend myself against a physical assault and we both knew that neither could allow the other to live."
Watson closed his eyes. It made sense, in a twisted way, why Holmes did it. Moriarty wasn't a force that could be allowed to continue—he had almost started a world war, a fact only hindered by the very man who sat in front of Watson at that moment. But it didn't explain why Sherlock just didn't wait another minute for John to appear, like they both knew he would.
It was that question Watson asked next.
"'When two cosmic forces collide, there will be damage on an equally cosmic scale,'" Sherlock stated. "Moriarty told me that once."
Watson raised an eyebrow, momentarily confused. Did that seriously mean what he thought it meant?
Holmes continued. "From the start, Moriarty was after you, not me. He told me often that he respected me too much to let me live," he said. "Had I allowed him to beat me in that chess game or had I not pushed us both over that balcony, he would have surely killed me and then gone back for you. Had I waited another minute for you to appear, he would have killed you and not me. For the sake of your wife and for my own sanity, I did what I had to do."
Watson stared, slack jawed. Out of all of the things he had expected, this level of loyalty and friendship from Holmes had not been one of them. Yes, Sherlock was the best friend Watson ever had, but it often seemed that it was a one sided relationship, that Sherlock was more focused on finding answers than he was on being a friend.
John realized now how wrong he had their relationship painted and he felt intensely guilty in that one moment for that.
"How did you survive the fall?" Watson asked in a small voice that betrayed every single last one of his emotions.
It had been commonly accepted that no one would survive the fall off the balcony over Reichenbach Falls. It was why Sherlock had been declared dead, why the search for the bodies had only lasted a day.
"Mycroft's oxygen device, some creative twisting, and sheer luck," Holmes replied, obviously deciding to ignore the emotional bomb Watson had suddenly become. "Really, I will never doubt the idea of luck again. It has its uses. I landed clear of all of the rocks in a deep part of the river and managed to drift ashore. After that, I blacked out for some considerable amount of time. Upon my awakening, I found myself in a small Swiss village hut with a doctor attending to me with somewhat rudimentary skills that are no match for your own, Watson, I assure you."
John recognized the compliment and smiled slightly, still in shock at how everything happened and why it happened at all.
"How did you get back to London?" he asked.
A guilty look crossed Holmes' face so quickly that Watson thought he was mistaken.
"With help of the Swiss villagers, I was able to send a telegraph to my brother," Sherlock said, looking anywhere but at John. "He was able to procure a set of train and boat tickets for my return to 221 B Baker Street. Unfortunately, by the time I arrived in London, I was in such ill health once more, that I was forced to remain in the flat until I had sufficiently recovered, which was precisely one week ago today."
Anger overtook everything else Watson had been feeling, including that nagging sense of guilt that he was the reason why Sherlock had been ill in the first place.
"Mycroft knew that you were alive?" he demanded, his voice quiet with anger.
"Of course he did," Sherlock said with a shrug. "He's my brother. A rather rich, influential brother at that."
"And you didn't think to tell me?" Watson all but growled.
"At the time, the villagers only had enough electricity for one telegraph," Sherlock stated. "Mycroft was the obvious choice to get me out of Switzerland due to his connections in the government."
Watson glared. "How long did he know that you were alive?"
"I awoke three days after my dip into the river," Sherlock said, making John inwardly flinch with his flippant attitude. "It took another day for the Swiss to figure out how to make their telegraph work properly—I was of no use at all, for I could barely string two sentences together coherently until the next day. So I'd wager Mycroft received the telegram about five days after the ball."
Well before the funeral ever took place, Watson added silently, fuming about the elder Holmes' silence.
"And he never told anyone?" John hissed.
"I asked him not to," Sherlock said.
"Moriarty," Sherlock said simply.
"And what of Moriarty?" Watson asked, his anger disappearing as he deduced Sherlock's reasoning. He was still upset with Mycroft, but Watson resolved to deal with that later.
Sherlock shrugged, the far away look returning in his eyes.
"I don't know," he said at last. "It is highly unlikely that both of us survived that fall, however, it is also highly unlikely that only I survived. Moriarty is just as brilliant as I am and while I am certain he didn't have an oxygen device, there are ways he could have survived."
Watson closed his eyes, feeling as though he had just been socked in the stomach. The feeling of you'reanidiotcrashed over him once more, only this time, combined with an overwhelming sense of dread. Of course Moriarty had survived. It was only logical and it was the most unfair thing the world could throw at them.
But at least, Watson decided as he opened his eyes once more, at least the world hadn't been so cruel as to let Moriarty survive and kill Sherlock Holmes.
Their food came at that moment, allowing the prime opportunity for a change in subject.
"And your case?" Watson prompted as he picked up his fork and knife.
Sherlock grinned. "Delightfully complicated," he said.
"And what, may I ask, is it about?" Watson asked.
"It is the curious case of Irene Adler," Sherlock said simply, causing Watson to choke on his food.
"What?" was his intelligent question.
"Moriarty made a mistake when he went after you to get to me," Sherlock said, a dark look entering his eyes. Watson inwardly shivered at the expression. "But he made a grave error in underestimating Irene Adler."
"She's dead, though, isn't she?"
It was insensitive, John knew, but he had thought from the handkerchief on the boat and the depression that had fallen over his friend for most of their last case together that the lovely criminal Irene Adler had died.
"When does anyone in this town ever stay dead, John?" Sherlock asked with a devious grin.
John's eyes widened. "You mean to say that she's alive?"
"Indeed," Sherlock said. "And now, I am in the process of locating her. I may need your help, by the way, my dear Watson. If it's not too inconvenient."
Watson smiled. "If it is, I'll come all the same," he said.