"We're a different sort of thing," John's Gran said, her accent soft and musical, lilting. "But you must never go down that path. You can never go back once you make that choice."

He smiled up at her, a trusting child, looking into her eyes that are all dark, like old blood. Eyes that aren't human at all. She smoothed John's hair down over and over. She pressed a kiss to the side of his Grandda's head tenderly. It made him happy, it seemed like all the other kids at school had parents that are getting divorced; it was comforting to see married couples so much in love. He was terrified of his parent's getting a divorce and tried to be extra good.

John's Grandda appeared 43 and would until John's Gran died and stopped being able to feed him. She would not stop otherwise. Grandda Watson shivered a little and looked at John with such a sad expression.

He didn't understand, he's too young, but he will later.

All his life it's not even a threat, the possibility of unnatural life that his family could offer. It's not that he doesn't love anyone; he loved lots of people, on three continents. A couple girls he might have married if things had worked out, but none of them provided him temptation, it wasn't even a thought.

Now he thought it was because none of them understood him, none of them could really comfort him. All his life there was a part of his heart, an old and inherited something with dark eyes like old blood. Something nearly prehistoric that needed to hunt. It was hungry and aching for companionship and understanding. Wanting danger, wanting indulgence.

Sherlock was more than a flatmate he was a friend in a way that no one else had ever been. He allowed John to be ruthless, to be frightening, and later Sherlock would allow him a full peace. Tea on one side and death on the other, everything perfectly balanced. Who wouldn't do horrific things for a friend like that?

"If you could come back from the dead would you want to?" John had asked Sherlock one lazy Saturday afternoon.

"Oh no," Sherlock said, hardly paying any attention. "I'll die young. Certainly before forty. That's the way I prefer it, I'd hate to be old."

"But if you could be young, would you want to?"

"Pointless supposition," Sherlock had ended the conversation, so John had left it at that.

Before anyone could get there, John was at the base of the Falls, he had Cheated a little to get there. It was hard to explain Cheating; John had tried once in Med School when he was very, very drunk. He had said it like sliding between the spaces between shadows. It was hard to slide through, as narrow as a strand of hair, you always left something behind. John hadn't Cheated since Afghanistan, but it was worth it. So much with Sherlock was worth it.

There was no time to mourn; there would be no need to mourn really. He hauled Sherlock's body up and held it close for a moment before hiding behind a tangled bit of greenery. He would have to Cheat again to get Sherlock somewhere safe, but he would have to rest first. There was something inside him that had split, something was broken and banging around somewhere in his chest. His body was empty, empty, empty, empty-

He had always belonged with Sherlock; he wasn't going to be alone again.

He refused to be alone again.

Moriarty's head popped out of the water; struggling, teeth bared. His head disappeared for a moment and then was back again. In his mind, John imagined wading into the water and holding Moriarty's head down until he stopped struggling. But he was going to need Moriarty. Everything suddenly made sense, laid out in his mind like a corpse on the table, this cut here and that crack this, this is meant to pin that flap of skin and in the end you have an autopsy. Beautiful as bones.

Moriarty's eyes were huge with confusion, pain and fear, heavy with a concussion. Stumbling on the bank and throwing up water, shivering. When he dragged himself away John watched him go.

He'd be seeing him in his dreams.

John struck quickly, that night tumbling awkwardly into Moriarty's dream. When Moriarty was still weak and injured, less likely to be able to fight back. John took a warm bath, laid down on the hotel bed still dripping and closed his eyes, saying over and over to himself, James Moriarty,
James Moriarty. He floated into the dream carefully, the man's mind was sharp and twisted, he had a feeling if he was cut by anything in here he would catch some sort of soul deep infection.

He was in a school, he was guessing Moriarty's, and sure enough as John opened a door (it didn't matter which one, this was a dream, all doors lead where he needed them to lead), there he was. Little Jimmy was in the middle of a classroom with all the desks overturned. He was sobbing like only a child could. There was a sound in the air, something like the mixture of a waterfall and loud laughter. John knelt, trying to make himself look as nonthreatening as possible.

"Oh, Jimmy," he said gently. "What's wrong?" He opened his arms woodenly and Jimmy ran to him burying his head in the curve of John's neck. John pushed down the urge to gag. "It's alright," he said gently, wrapping his arms around the little dream boy.

"I'm all alone!" the boy howled. "No one understands me anymore!"

"It's okay," John said in his best doctor's voice. "You know. I bet you have lots of friends, I bet you have lots of names of people you know all over the world. Why don't you tell me their names and I'll go and get them for you?"

The next day Antonia and Leo Merino were found dead of heart failure in their hotel room. They were young and fit and it didn't appear to be drugs, but when the local police looked into their personal affairs there was pressure from above to leave it be. It wasn't the first time the coroner had been paid under the table, so he put the couple down for a cocaine overdose and went to have lunch with his friend from toxicology.