A/n Here it is, the end. Please let me know what you thought, and if there is any way I can improve for future stories. Thank you for reading!
Chapter 4: Volti Subito
By: Sophie Quinn
Within the taxi, his mobile chimed, and the sound was jarring in comparison to the dull static hissing through the speaker of the radio and the droning of the vehicles engine. Sherlock gave it a glance, sliding his thumb over the screen to answer the call.
"Well done, you." Moriarty crooned and Sherlock could almost feel him leering over the line. The uncomfortable desire to roll his eyes welling up as he dropped his gaze from the quickly passing scenery and listened. "All figured out, rushing in on your white stead, wearing your shiny woolen armor and kitschy little scarf. Dull!"
"Locking him away in the recording studio in the subbasement of the theater, Moriarty? Sending me off on a wayward hunt? For what?" He gestured to the cabbie, resting the phone against his shoulder to muffle his directions back to the concert hall. It had been 128 minutes since John first disappeared, approximately 105 since he was certain that his friend had been gravely injured.
Just over an hour and a half; he had to move quickly.
"Oh Sherlock. I told you that you would be disappointed if it were that easy. Why would I go through all this trouble just to watch you run around? Not that I don't like watching you run around. I do, Sherlock. I really do."
There was a jolt of the taxi as it slowed to a stop, a gathered crowd at the steps to the concert hall spilling into the street impeding further progression forward. Delightful little couples lost in their happy little worlds, no clue that a man was dying only a few stair cases and doorways away. Sherlock tossed the contents of his wallet through the open window as he fled the back seat, muttering to keep the change. He lightly pressed the phone back to his ear, glancing down at the radio that only continued to whisper the stomach sinking silence.
"What was the point to it? There is no point! I will save him, nothing will be different."
"Won't it? This is only the beginning, Sherlock. A testing of the water. A little dip of your toes into the pool. Can you feel your heartbeat? Can you feel it thrumming deep in your chest? The excitement. The enjoyment of it, vibrating. If you liked this.. wait until you see what I have planned for next time."
None of the men and women gathered outside paid him any attention as he brushed by their expensively clad shoulders, nudging couples apart as he made a direct line towards the entry. They simply parted, and then gravitated back together as if he was merely a strong wind that had gusted past.
"There won't be a next time."
"Yes there will, Sherlock. And you're looking forward to it."
Any further protest to Moriarty's threats were cut into nothingness as the line fell dead and he dropped the mobile effortlessly into the pocket of his coat. The weight of it bounced against his thigh as he ran a little faster, letting himself in through a side entrance that led to the recording studios beneath. He held the radio up to his ear, listening for anything to break the monotonous droning of interference, anything that would tell him that he still had time.
Rarely one to panic, he took the stairs three at a time and paused only for seconds to toss aside closed doors. A singular glance inside to confirm they were empty before he moved onto the next and the next. Only when he tried a door handle and found it locked and resisting his rather firm grip, did he give another glance to the radio.
"John?" He couldn't hear anything through the door, he wouldn't with the way these rooms were insulated for sound. Taking a step back he gave a firm kick to the surface and the static broke only slightly. It was the right room, and john was only a few solid blows to the locked door away from being saved. Abandoning the radio to the floor of the hallway and sliding out his mobile to send a rapid text to Lestrade, Sherlock took a slow breath and threw himself against the barrier between him and his friend.
What thoughts he had in his mind of bruises forming at his shoulder, or strained muscles deep beneath the skin, dissipated almost as quickly as they arrived the second the door gave way. It slammed open into the room, bits of wood flying out against the silver knobs and switches of the soundboard. The only source of light came from the small room just beyond a thick window of double paned glass and the image beneath the sickly yellow glow stopped Sherlock's breath in his chest.
A support beam stood to the side of the room, and bound to it by thin wire, was the only real friend Sherlock had ever had. His skin was sickly pale, his lips twinged a shade of blue that Holmes had only ever seen on cadavers. Red, so much red, painted from shoulder to shoe along Watson's left side, and seeping easily from the gaping wound. He wasn't moving.
Reality crashed in and Sherlock threw himself at the next door, not knowing if he had started yelling John's name aloud or if the screaming was only in his head. There were several solid bolts that had been recently installed on the door, and each one of them had been locked firmly with a deluxe model padlock. They merely jingled at the detective as he tried to force them into pieces, taunting him. A sound, that Sherlock could not define, fell from his lips as he gave one last valiant effort in breaking through the wooden surface. The choked noise ending in a bit of a growl as he nearly tore his hands through his hair, trying not to stare through the window at his dying companion.
Beside him, a chair offered it's silent assistance. Looking up to him with a hopeful smile and a kind gesture of existence that only said, 'use me, idiot.' Sherlock stared at it for a moment before hefting it off the floor, turning his head away from Watson at the last second before metal pronged feet of the kind chair smashed through the glass of the window that separated them.
He felt a small shard dig its way into his palm as he clamored through, but he ignored the sudden pain and bleeding as his long fingers working quickly to unwind the wire from around John's throat. It had begun to cut through the skin, leaving a deep red gash around his neck that stood out all the more against his pale skin. Sherlock knelt to unbind his feet and then his wrists, struggling to catch the limp form of his friend as he began to slump and fall to the floor. He ended up with John's head in his lap and his own legs bent awkwardly beneath them both.
"John! John.." Sherlock bent slightly to listen for a breath, his index finger pressing firmly into the undamaged skin of Watson's wrist. He tried to ignore the blue of his skin, and he tried not to look at the emptiness whenever his eyes would loll back into his head. He tried not to focus on the massive blood loss and the fact that they were currently sitting it in. He instead tried to focus on the faint sound of sirens echoing through the broken window, and the distant pounding of footfalls rushing down flights of stairs. He instead focused on the very faint, thready rhythm beneath his fingertips and the small gasp of air that sounded an awful lot like his name being whispered.
Seven days, thirteen hours and six minutes since the last time he heard John say his name and Sherlock could still hear the gasped whisper as clear as it was then. Every thing was just as vivid as time continued to tick past him, his mental hard drive refusing to erase the images burned into his mind. The shades of blue, the brilliance of the red that covered both of them. He would close his eyes, and he would be back within that room, holding him as he slowly finished bleeding to death.
Even Mycroft couldn't stop him from buying the pack of cigarettes, and no one bothered to tell the shady man in the long coat that he was breaking laws by standing so close to a building, smoking them. The most he got from passing strangers were questioning glances as to why he would be out in the rain, soaked from head to toe, and still insisting on smoking. He curled his palm around it, keeping it as dry as possible as he brought it to his lips and took in a slow drag. For a moment, his hands stopped shaking.
Hesitant, uneven footsteps made their way to his side and suddenly the rain was shielded away by an umbrella being held over his head. He glanced to the side, giving a disapproving twitch of his brow as he flicked the ash from the burning tip and let the filter rest at his lips.
"You should be resting." He muttered.
"I'm alright." John shifted on his feet a little, resting the majority of his weight on his left leg as he fought to hold the umbrella with one hand. The other arm rested firmly at his chest, held in place by, what felt like, an entire case of bandages, gauze, antibiotics, and a sling. There was a thin bandage still wrapped around his neck, creasing slightly as he turned and winced to regard Sherlock with a glance. "You alright?"
"Mhm. Why wouldn't I be?"
"Best friend gets kidnapped, tied to a pole, left for dead..." He frowned a little, glancing at the curl of blue smoke as he crept out from the taller man's hand, whipping up around his arm before disappearing into the falling rain. It only took a moment longer before Sherlock flicked the cigarette out into the gutter, shifting to take the umbrella away from John. "You're smoking again."
John smiled a little, nodding as he shoved his unburdened hand within his jacket pocket to warm it. "Well... yes. I am, aren't I?"
"I don't know. I've never had one."
"Never?" Doubtfully, John raised a brow and let his gaze drift around to watch those rushing about to get out of the gale. It struck him as amusing, just for a moment, that he and Sherlock seemed to be the only two people in all of London content to stand in it. "Not even as a kid?"
"So, no then."
Sherlock laughed quietly, the sound pulling a similarly happy noise from deep in Watson's chest. The grin on the taller man's face enough to chase away the chill of the weather, and make standing in the rain seem not so ludicrous. Neither thought of the threat that Moriarty still posed, neither allowing it to drive them into an ever present state of fear. They would beat him, and at the end, Holmes and Watson will be standing side by side, laughing.