Credit goes to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Joss Whedon, Zack Whedon, Jed Whedon, and Maurissa Tancharoen.
No psychotic madmen or ex-British military BAMF doctors were truly harmed during the writing of this story.
It was so easy. Almost pathetically so.
Moriarty stood centered of the expansive two story conference room, devilish smile shining eerily on his face, as his audience began to register what shared the spotlight with him. He was giddy with delight at the gasps of shock that followed removing the red silk cloth with no small amount of showmanship and flourish. Even for their small minds, it was no great leap of logic to guess just who's coffin was resting on the table behind the world's one and only Consulting Criminal.
There followed a wave of hushed murmurs and nervous shifting movement from the twenty or so reporters and cameras, but that was just icing on the cake. No, Moriarty's main course was the silent, fuming anger and glares of outrage coming from the line of people that had placed themselves defensively and defiantly between Jim and the press. It was deliciously, fool heartedly brave. He lapped up like a thirsting man's first sip of water.
Nothing, to the average simpleton's first glance, would connect these five souls together. Nothing in common except one beautifully blood red laser sight resting over each of their rapidly beating hearts. Oh, and an unfortunate association with a madman's constant obsession. Perhaps in another lifetime they never even would have had anything to do with one another, and yet here they were. Drawn together by Moriarty's irresistible bait. All together for a common good, and all that.
Pathetic. But that's what made this so much fun...
A soft squeak escaped from behind Molly Hooper's delicate hand where it was clasped over her little pink lips as the situation began to sink in at last. Ah, Molly Hooper. He had had a grand time toying with her girlish emotions and hopeless romantic heart. All for the greater purpose of meeting his real match, of course, but who said he couldn't enjoy every step along the way?
Next to Molly Dearest stood the Ice-Man himself, customary umbrella grasped tightly in his meaty fist and all. Mycroft's mouth was drawn into a tight line as his focus was on the coffin alone, outward appearance as rigid and firm as his spine. But Moriarty could see. He could see the anger and uncertainty and... fear, all hiding behind his eyes. Good. Very good. Let the Ice-Man melt a little before the big reveal.
"What the hell is this?" growled Detective Inspector Lestrade, the sad little King of his sad little Yard. His Lap Dog, Donovan, looked absolutely ready to be let off her tether beside him. Ready to kill something, anything. It was a state Jim could respect, to a small degree, but for now it was best if Sally stayed put. His henchmen had a time of it already taking care of the police backup that had been waiting outside, there was no need for more bloodshed...
My, had gotten into him, thinking like that? There was always a need for bloodshed! But not yet, little Sally, not yet...
Last, and far from being the least of his audience, was John. John, whose quiet fury brought his fists tightly balled at his sides and brought out what was most military about him. From the way he stood to the way his expression clamped down with his cold, hard nerves of steel. Taught as a bowstring was John, and ready to spring at a notice.
Doctor John Watson... A man who didn't stay down and leave well enough alone even after having the metaphorical rug pulled out from under his life. Multiple times. This was a man who was stubborn and bull headed and self righteous and didn't know when to just die. For three years the ex-solider hounded after every trace and bread crumb Moriarty's vast network of criminal activity had left behind, destroying contact lines and killing operatives on some self entrusted mission. Not for revenge, oh no no no, Johnny-boy was well above that in his little mind. He did it to prove a point. To prove that his friend was not a fraud, was not a liar and a fake and everything else that tarnished the reputation of a dead man.
Well, in this case "dead" was a relative term, but splitting such insignificant hairs would take away from the grandeur of the show.
Moriarty, enjoyment making his eyes sparking in the harsh fluorescent light, met John's glare coolly, the intensity of it even being enough to temper his smile. He did have to note that the good doctor was looking every single minute of those past three years; dark, heavy patches under his bloodshot eyes, a week or two's worth of stubble gracing his normally boyish face. He looked old, looked tired... And yet ready for this moment. Ready to finish it, once and for all. A final confrontation to decide all of their fates.
It was enough to make Moriarty want to sing. A tune came to mind, and not even he knew where it came from but suddenly he was humming along to the music in his head, and the urge to give it words was too much to pass up...
"Look at these people,
Amazing how sheep'll show up for the slaughter..."
His voice started off low, gentle and soft, so only those he personally invited to the show could hear. Different levels of confusion flashed over all of their faces. Jim took it as a cue that his audience was enraptured and continued.
"No one condemning you,
Lined up like lemmings
You led to the water..."
Moriarty turned until his back was to John and the others and gave the silent coffin a loving look. With a gentle caress he made a visible effort to brush some stray dirt from the decorative carvings on its lid while addressing the intricate natural whorls in the wood.
"Why can't they see what I see?
Why can't they hear the lies...?
Maybe the fee's too pricey for them to realize..."
There was movement out of the corner of his eye; one of the five had tried to break the line. "Stop it." Of course it would be John breaking their silence first. "Stop this right now." Moriarty's only response was to raise his voice for the benefit of those in the back of his own personal theater.
"Your disguise is Slipping,
I think you're Slipping..."
With a sudden burst of movement, Jim spun on the heel of his nice dress shoe, leaving a nice black streak on the tile, and began to close the gap between him and the five. Almost as one they all took a defensive step back but didn't dare move further, not while Seb had them all trained within his scope.
Moriarty halted his movement not a foot away from John, who clenched his useless fists in fits and took long, deep breaths through his nose. The madman flashed the doctor a toothsome, hateful smile.
"Now that your saviour
Is still as the grave, you're
Beginning to fear me..."
Jim's eyes slid over to Donovan and Lestrade, both of whom's anger was less reserved than John.
"Like caveman fear thunder,
I still have to wonder,
Can you really hear me...?"
He cupped a hand around one ear and leaned in as if expecting an answer, and was rewarded with a string of curses from the DI. Jim gave a throaty chuckle and moved down the line until he was faced with Molly. Dear, sweet Molly... She tried to shrink away from her old boyfriend but he was too fast for her. Like a viper, his hand struck out and grabbed her, firmly, by the chin to keep her in her place.
"I bring you pain,
The kind you can't suffer quietly..."
Molly cried out under his grasp as he bared down against the soft skin of her cheek. Both John and Lestrade moved forward again, only to be stopped by Jim's hand halting them. He waggled a single warning finger in their direction. With a final scowl to cowl the timid woman, Moriarty released her and strode slowly to the last person in line.
Mycroft watched him with the air of only mild interest, but the way his knuckles whitened against his brolly told Jim all he needed to know.
"Fire up your brain,
Remind you inside,
Your rioting society is Slipping..."
He walked proudly around the brother, stalking, sizing him up. Satisfied that Mycroft was where he wanted him, Moriarty skipped back towards centre stage in time to music only he could hear.
"He's mad!" cried Donovan before her master Lestrade managed to shush her. Oh, only if she knew. Jim sighed as he raised his arms high at his sides and turned in slow circles on the balls of his feet.
"Everything's Slipping away, so..."
As he slowed mid revolution Moriarty slipped a hand inside his lapel, hefting a small but powerful handgun, aimed it at the lofting ceiling, and fired once.
Chaos ensued as the shot echoed through the space. The half forgotten reporters began to scream and cry out as they tried to make a mass exodus out any possible entrance to the press room. Oh, but what was that? The doors were not opening... Only because his men had welded them shut. This wouldn't be any fun without witnesses, after all!
The five in the front row held there ground, though shaken up. Molly looked on the verge of a mental break down, tears ran freely down her face. Jim meanwhile projected his song out until it rivaled the gunshot, his song increasing in tempo.
"Go ahead! Run away!
Say it was horrible!
Spread the word! Tell a friend!
Tell them the tale...!"
Moriarty swung the barrel of the gun around the room as he sung, took random aim at the press until he had them all collapsing into sobbing balls of fear. He felt his chest swell in rapturous glee as their cries became his chorus line!
This seemed to be a breaking point for John Watson, who finally broke the line and charged forward, to blindly enraged to realize his mistake. Jim swung the weapon back around like a conductor and caught John on the jaw with the butt of the gun. John went sprawling along the floor, coming to rest at the foot of the table holding the coffin.
"Get a pic, do a blog! Ha!
Heroes are over with!"
Moriarty laughed maliciously as he aimed the gun at John's heart, looming over the smaller man, smaller in every way. Just a pawn, only ever just a pawn. Jim's eyes sparkled as he watched crimson blood drip down to the pristine white linoleum.
"Look at him! Not a word!" He pointed an accusing finger at the coffin, then jabbed his own thumb into his chest.
"Hammer, meet nail!"
He neatly stepped over the doctor, who was still reeling from the blow, his arms wide as he prepared to give them all a finale they would never forget.
"Then I win – then I get
Everything I ever...
All the cash – all the fame!
And social change!
"Anarchy – that I run!
It's Moriarty's turn!
You people all have to learn,
This world is going to BURN!"
The gun went off again and again, punctuating each of his words.
More movement caught his eye. One of the reporters had broken away from the rest of the herd and was pounding with futile effort on a glass door to the side, a memo pad full of scribbles hanging uselessly from her hands. Even though it was locked just the same as the others, he gave credit where credit was due. Jim decided to give her a bone for her out of the box thinking.
"Its Moriarty, by the way, one "R." M-O-R-I- Oh, you have it? Right then." He leveled the gun and fired into her skull. "Burn!"
Silence fell as the echo died away. Jim took a deep calming breath and observed the room, numerous pale faces all shining up at him in grand horror. He had almost lost himself in the rush and excitement of his song, and forgot why they were all there in the first place. That had to be mended. He began to pet the top of the coffin fondly as the music picked back up, more intimate now.
"No sign of Sherlock.
Shame, I would give anything
Just to have him see..."
His hand stopped its movement and began to grasp at the edge of the wooden box...
"Its going to be bloody,
Head's up, Jimmy, buddy,
There's no time for mercy.
"Here goes no mercy...!"
With some strength, Moriarty pried at the coffin's lid and threw it wide open for everyone to see.