"I will burn the heart out of you."


He tells himself it's the last time. Like the time before and the time before that.

A door at the end of familiar hallway stands ajar, the same as always. When Sherlock pushes it open, he sees Moriarty waiting, leaning against a door that leads to a bedroom.

"You're late." Drawn out, he's practically singing at the end.

Sherlock doesn't speak, but stalks over to Moriarty, crowding into his space. As if he could intimidate him with his height.

(Doesn't work on John either, but don't think about that. Not now.)

Long fingers close around Moriarty's arms, and Sherlock presses him against the door, pinning him with his body. Moriarty smiles at him, as if he's completely in control of the situation. And if Sherlock is being honest with himself, he probably is.

A study in contradictions, he thinks wildly. For Moriarty is a fragile, slim thing, and Sherlock could break him, he's sure he could.

(Not like John. Firm, substantial, solid John.)

Then, as soon as he remembers why he should pull himself away and leave, the power is stripped from Sherlock. Jim's kisses bite into Sherlock's mouth, and his hands close around Sherlock's wrists hard enough to bruise. Reminding him that he is dangerous. This isn't a game anymore, it's a war, and Sherlock fights a losing battle against Jim, his own body, and the dark part of his mind which whispers, "Not so different, are you?"

When they are through, Sherlock sprawls across the bed, a puppet with his strings cut, couldn't move if he wanted to. Jim hums softly, running his hands through Sherlock's curls.

As Sherlock begins to drift, sleep prowling at the edge of his mind, Jim's fingers drift lower, ghosting over his forehead. His thumbs come to rest over Sherlock's closed eyes, and as they press down ever so slightly, he whispers, "Stay."

That's all it takes to restore movement to Sherlock. He is up and out of the bed, grabbing clothing off the floor. Jim leans against the wall and smirks at him.

"One day you won't be able to go back," he states. "He might be a bit slow, but he'll work it out eventually, my dear.

Sherlock straightens and tenses. He avoids looking at Jim, eyes casting about for his shirt instead.

"He's not slow," Sherlock snaps.

He pads over to the window, as far away from Jim as he can get without leaving. Outside the sky is dark, a moonless night, clouds covering the stars.

"Hide your fires," he murmurs, crossing his arms around his chest and shivering.

"Let not light see my black and deep desires," Jim finishes. "The self-loathing is getting old, Sherlock. You're better than this."

"If I were better than this I wouldn't be here!"


Sherlock starts when Jim's hands brush his shoulders, but he stays still as they drift over his skin. Fingertips creep down his spine, while a hand catches his wrist. Jim dances around to stand in front of Sherlock, pulling the detective's hand with him. Twirling, Jim presses his back to Sherlock's chest, dragging Sherlock's hand so that his fingertips rest on Jim's hip, arm crossing the criminal's chest. Sighing, Jim tilts his head back and his hair brushes Sherlock's jaw.

"You keep stringing the doctor along because you're afraid of who you are without him," Moriarty says, his voice low. "But you keep coming back to me, because even though it frightens you, you still want to be that person. You want to throw away the moral compass, do what you like, never have to be bored again. And he's holding you back."

Sherlock shuts his eyes, shakes his head. "I need him."

"Then why are you here instead of back at home with Johnny-on-the-spot?"

Sherlock wrenches himself away, scopes his shirt off the floor, and storms to the door. "I won't be back," he says as he leaves.

"The usual time and place then," Moriarty says with a smile.