A Message for Sherlock Holmes

"John!" Sherlock moved as fast as he could, reaching the doctor at what felt like a snail's pace. John's arms were chained above his head, tape over his mouth, his undershirt drenched in sweat and blood, naked from the waist down, trembling. "John, open your eyes. Look at me, John." He carefully peeled the gag away, stomach sinking. "Wake up!" He demanded.

The instant the soldier's eyes opened he fought to get away, eyes closed, whimpering and shaking his head. "No, no, please! No more! SHERLOCK, HELP ME!"

"John! JOHN!" He bellowed, commanding his attention, fear and desperation in his all-knowing eyes. "It's me. I'm here. You're safe now." John relaxed, opening his wounded eyes, which overflowed with tears almost instantly.

"Sh-Sherlock?" He chattered, breath visible in the freezing air.

"Shh, I'm here, John," he cradled his cheek, standing close to him to cover him in case Lestrade was closer than he thought. John leaned into his caress, sobbing, still shaking from head-to-toe.

"Sherlock…" He moaned. "Don't let him hurt me, please."

"I won't. You're safe now. He won't hurt you, I swear." The detective looked up at the chains binding him, chains that left him standing on his toes, his wrists bleeding from the weight. "God, John." He yanked the coat from his shoulders, wrapping it strategically around John's waist, twisting it so the buttons would fasten and hold it in place before wrapping an arm around him and hoisting him up. The doctor sobbed in relief, tremors wracking his small frame. "Shh, shh, I've got you. I'll get you down, just hang on."

"Thank you," he breathed. Sherlock felt the knot that was his heart twist even tighter.

"Don't thank me, John. Not for this. Shh…" He cupped his cheek again, grounding him. "I'm here, I'm here." Footsteps echoed from the hall; Lestrade finally deciding to show up. "IN HERE!" Sherlock bellowed, an edge of desperation in his voice. John shrunk away from the noise, hiding his face in his arm and Sherlock's shoulder. "Shh, almost over. It's almost over."

John whimpered when he felt foreign hands graze against his own as they picked the locks holding him there. He cried out when the fell away, going limp in Sherlock's arms, who caught him and held him gracefully.

"We called an ambulance," Lestrade said.

"No." Sherlock shook his head, holding John close. "No, if I do that he'll find him again. He wants me to take him home and see what he's done. If I don't I risk losing him again. Any of those doctors could work for him. I won't take that chance." John whimpered again, pain coursing through him like fire in a high wind. "I need a blanket and a car home," he said.

His legs were shaking, the adrenaline taking advantage of him, causing his grip to shift on the doctor. He gently lowered him to the floor, gently resting his head in his lap and holding his hand.

"Home," John begged, looking so young with his naked eyes and vulnerable expression. Sherlock nodded, swallowing a large lump in his throat.

"That's where we're going. We're going home, John. I'll take care of you there. It's alright. Shh…" He soothed, stroking his hair. He didn't know who held the blanket out to him, he simply snatched it away, wrapping it around him and cautiously moving the coat to his shoulders, being sure that no one saw him.

"Car's out front," Lestrade said. Once again, he gave no response. He stood, scooping John up with him, the adrenaline aiding him again as he darted outside, whispering comforts in his doctor's ear, telling him over and over that he'd be alright.

He didn't have time to explain what happened to Mrs. Hudson. He barely had the sanity to nod when she told him to call for her if they needed anything.

What he needed was to get John clean and warm and safe. He lied him down on his bed, combing his fingers through his hair, shushing him softly.

"It's alright. You're home now, shh. I've got you, John. I'm here." He closed his eyes, leaning into his hand again. "Let's get the blood off of you, alright? Close your eyes." He obliged, shaking softly.

Sherlock slipped away, still talking to him so he wouldn't be afraid, running the bath, making sure the water was warm. If it was too hot it'd burn his cold skin.

He came back in the room, touching his face again. "Come on, John. Shh…" He peeled the blanket away from him, wincing. The blood and wounds were so much worse in the light. He tugged it around his waist, leaving him with dignity, not wanting to deny him this comfort yet. He lifted him out of his coat, edging him out of it. He tried taking the shirt away, finding it stuck to his skin, causing him to whimper at the tiniest movements. "Alright, alright, I'm sorry. I'm sorry, John. Hush…I'm sorry. I know, I'll fix it."

He wasn't sure if he could.

He lifted John into a standing position, cradling his head in his chest, supporting him completely as he half-dragged him to the bathroom.

He eased the blanket off of him, wincing when he sobbed, hating himself for this. "Shh, I won't hurt you. I won't hurt you, John. Shh…" He looked down, trying to find his footing before getting him into the tub.

He slowly eased him into the water, watching as it turned pinker and pinker as more of him was submerged. John hissed, his wounds searing as the water touched them, like acid.

"No, no," he moaned, shaking his head, eyes still closed.

"Shh, I know. I know, it's almost over. Hush."

He let the water soften and loosen the fabric of the undershirt before he carefully took it away.

It was like a curtain being lifted, another twisted part of Moriarty's game. This was beyond personal. This was a show, a display of what he'd done and what he could do in the future. The shirt had been put back on after all of this was done.

Words. They were carved into John's torso, deep and bright with infection. His stomach rolled.

The first word was right where his sternum met his diaphragm, stretching across his ribs.


The next was on his lower belly, easily hidden if he'd been wearing underwear.


He swallowed the bile that rose to his throat, tears stinging his eyes. His John, his sweet, beautiful John so patient and gentle. His loyal friend that would go to the ends of the earth for him, kill and die for him.

And it was those reasons that Moriarty put those words there.

"Oh John…" He almost moaned, kissing his forehead, holding him close for a moment. He clung back, face in his neck. "I'm so sorry, John. This is my fault, I'm so sorry." He didn't answer, only cried quietly. "I'll fix this. There has got to be someone that can make sure this doesn't scar. I won't make you live with this, John." Still no answer. He did respond, however. He touched his thigh with trembling fingers, shaking, fresh sobs in his throat.

More words slightly distorted by the water. One on the inside each of his legs, far too close to something too private for Sherlock's liking. His knot of a heart clenched again.



"John," he sniffed, voice cracking. He kissed his temple, so hurt, so afraid for him.

John kept his eyes closed, leaning into Sherlock's touches as they came, tears seeping from his eyes when the pain or memory was too much.

Sherlock carefully examined the raw and blistered skin on his wrists, the burns on his fingertips; signs of electrocution.

A particularly violent patch of blistered, oozing skin just below his clavicle caught his attention. He looked closer, at the shape and the visible words in the seared flesh.

"Dog tags," he breathed. "He branded you with your dog tags." John nodded, whimpering, crying harder. Sherlock reached into the water, hugging him close, placing a tender kiss on his lips. "Does he still have them?" He shrugged. Sherlock kissed his hair, setting him back down and continued washing the blood away.

At least half an hour later it was all gone, his body and hair clean. The pain was still there, unable to be washed away.

"Come on, John," Sherlock whispered, sickened by what had been done to him. He reached up in an almost child-like manner, wrapping his arms around Sherlock's neck, shivering as the cool air caused his skin to twinge with gooseflesh. He whimpered, unable to stop the sound. Sherlock quickly retrieved a towel, covering him, kissing him again. "I'm here. It'll be alright."

He still wasn't so sure.

He got him dry, leaving the towel around him and draping his robe over him as well before resting him on the bed. The disinfecting and bandages came now.

It was agonizing for both of them. Sherlock kept his own sobs locked in his chest, listening to John moan and cry, petting his damp hair as he worked, his heart breaking when he covered himself with trembling hands.

"Shh, shh, I know, I know," he whispered, hastily draping the robe over him. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry John." He carefully rolled him over, knowing there was more damage on his back.

Another word had been carved into his left shoulder.


A choked sound escaped his throat, the impulse to smooth John's hair consuming him, though the gesture would never be enough to make up for this. Not this.


It blazed from his lower back.



The words were clawed into the back of his legs, separating the word.

Sherlock's pet. Sherlock's slave. Sherlock's whore. Sherlock's weakness. Sherlock's bitch. Sherlock's downfall, he ticked them off in his head, crying now without being able to help it. "Forgive me," he pleaded, knowing he didn't deserve it.

He got him dressed, warm, comfortable and fully clothed for the first time in eight days. He changed the sheets, wanting to burn them after looking at all the blood, and tucked him in, gently kissing his forehead.

"Lay with me?" He whispered, begging. He cradled him close, gingerly placing his lips on his bruised cheek, mindful of the split in his lip. "I-I forgive you, Sherlock."

"You shouldn't," he said immediately.

"But I do," he whispered. He shook his head, burying his face in the soft gold of his hair. "Don't let me go, Sherlock," he begged. "Please."

"I'll stay as long as you need me," he promised. "Sleep, John."

"That's right, SCREAM!" The cackling filled his ears, the shrieks of pain stifled by the tape, tears of agony streaming down his cheeks. "He can't hear you," he laughed, taking a fistful of his hair. "He cannot hear you. You're mine right now, do you understand me? MINE!"

He touched the soaking sponge to his arm again, causing him to convulse, screaming and writhing as it burned his body. He trembled uncontrollably when it stopped, whimpering and turning away from him.

"Aw, is little John afraid of me?" He didn't move, too terrified to even try. He laughed. "Now isn't that adorable?"

He set the device down, shutting off the battery and plucking a knife off the table. "Alright, doctor," he grinned, skipping over to him and forcing his head back. "I think we need to send your lover a message in all this, don't we?" He nodded. John trembled. "I thought you'd agree."

He fell to the ground with a wet thud, shaking, too weak to fight or move.

The villain kicked him onto his back, straddling him between his legs. John shook his head, eyes pleading so desperately for the pain to stop, his body so battered, humming painfully with the anguish he was catching his breath from. He writhed weakly when his undershirt was taken and tossed across the room. "Oh, don't be pathetic."

He screamed into the gag when the knife bit into the fabric of his shorts, tearing easily when Moriarty tugged, taking them away.

"No, no, nohoh!" John begged, shaking his head. Moriarty nodded, eyes dripping with malice, wanting to inflict as much pain as physically possible.

"Yes, yes, yehes!" he mocked. He hauled him up by his hair, slamming him against the concrete wall by his throat as a faceless, nameless man locked him back into place. "So vulnerable," he grinned, the tip of the knife grazing his skin, nicking here and there as he gasped for breath. John whimpered, tears pouring down his face.

Jim eyed lower, cocking a brow. "No wonder Sherlock wants you, eh?" He giggled, giggles that slowly turned into loud, barking laughter. "Or has he still not plucked up the nerve to fuck you yet?" John shut his eyes. "Oh, so he has, has he?" He chortled. "Wonderful. That just makes this all the more easy."

Sherlock woke to John screaming, sweat pouring down his face, words lost in the guttural sounds ripping from his throat.


He gasped as if doused by cold water, clinging to him instantly, sobbing into his neck. "Sher-Sherlock," he hiccupped. "God, Sherlock, no more! No more!"

"Shh, hush, hush. It's alright, darling. You're safe. You're safe now," he soothed, rocking him, the lump in his throat harder to swallow now. "Shh…" His voice was starting to break, the sobs breaking through. "Shh, it's alright," he stammered. "I've got you."

He started crying with him, wanting to take all of the pain from him, hating himself for letting this happen.

Hours passed before he calmed and John slept again, vowing to make sure another nightmare didn't take him away again.

He jolted awake from a very short doze, another presence bringing him on edge, his grip tightening on his lover possessively, reaching for the gun in the side table all in the blink of an eye.

"Sherlock!" Mrs. Hudson gasped, her hands up. "It's me, it's alright," she said. He relaxed, breathing hard.

"Sorry," he muttered. "Little paranoid." He looked at her, frowning.

Chewing inside of lip; holding something back. Fighting tears, worried, scared. "Mrs. Hudson, what is it?"

"I think you need to see for yourself, dear," she breathed.

His heart started to pound again.

He carefully lied John onto the pillows, tucking the blanket around his shoulders, pecking his cheek before standing and following the landlady to the sitting room.

A knife was stuck into the wall right beside the smiley face, still caked in blood…with John's dog tags dangling off the blade. Beneath it, a word.