The invite to his funeral turned up on crisp white paper. Embossed. The sort usually used for wedding invitations. The weight felt similar to the handmade paper from the craft shop less than three miles from Baker Street (2.8, to be exact) and the jump to deduce that at its origin was there wasn't particularly large when he considered the source. Crudely made by inexpert hands: the 'you are cordially invited' sticker was bent at the corner where it had been peeled away from the golden sheet, the world 'Funeral' pieced together by separate gold letters in a precise straight line. Straighter than a ruler. 'Sherlock' was written in that usual manic way of his. A thumb print.
Probably on purpose, because if he had his equipment at Baker Street or the lab he'd be able to analyse the dust and, knowing Morarity, would be able to work out exactly where he was. And that was the point, really, to tease him. To say not so clever now. To say look how close I am to your friends. To stop him from just going home. No, apparently the game wasn't finished just yet.
The first thing to fade away was the schedule. He tried to hold onto it for as long as he could, but without John to regulate himself against time blurred according to his mood. Before John he'd never bothered, really, to try and keep up with the normal hours – nicotine and caffeine weren't as strong as his brain's relentless thinking, but the two usually went hand in hand. He'd tried, for John, to at least be relatively quite during the night. Sometimes, of course, when they were in the middle of the case there was no way he could stop for something as mundane as sleeping. He tried.
The second invitation had been much the same as the last. Less of the cheep gold lettering, more of Moriarty's scrawl across the parchment: Join DR. JOHN WATSON and MRS. HUDSON in VISITING YOUR GRAVE. They both arrived sealed in plastic without a sender. The homeless network, Sherlock supposed – Jim Moriarty knew enough about him to pick up some of his tricks.
When he gave in again, it was to the cigarettes.
Sherlock had responded to the invites just as Moriarty had expected him too, turning up to watch the show being acutely aware that it actually called him a degree of physical pain. Objectively, the idea of attending his own funeral was relatively entertaining but, watching how, well, cruel human emotions were made his stomach clench slightly. To care that much.
Anything to slow down the crippling weight of boredom. Anything would do. Anything.
Mycroft was as unflappable as ever: the usual expression of mild distaste, the straight back stance, standing slightly away from the others. Attending mostly to keep up the appearance. Sherlock very much suspected that this was the last time he'd visit, not least because John was sure to be angry on his behalf. A degree of blame, perhaps. Worsened by the fact that Mycroft had the power to prove Moriarty existed at his fingertips, but would do nothing.
Lestrade, hands in his pockets and a serious expression. Hadn't been sleeping much. Suspension at work. Marital problems. Taken up smoking again.
(Bags under the eyes, poorly ironed trousers, watch stopped, hand drifting subconsciously to his jacket pocket).
Molly. Mrs Hudson. John.
He'd always liked knowing. The knowing made him comfortable, secure. He never thought he would like to distance himself and not see everything. He didn't want to see the slight tremor in John's left hand, nor anything else in that matter. Then when it came to John, he knew him so well that knowing almost came before the noticing. Hasn't shaved, washed hair without shampoo, Mrs Hudson did the ironing, slept on someone's sofa, pretended to eat toast for breakfast, become uncomfortable wearing smart clothes, late night phone call (Harry?).
Head spinning; heart beating; veins pumping; adrenaline; lungs, in out in out; thinking; seeing; observing. Pressure.
Sherlock didn't think he'd ever felt so human as he did upon hearing John declare him to be so.
If you were dying, if you were murdered, in the very last seconds, what would you say?
The metal of Jim Morarity's gun pressed into his chin.
Even now the beginning of the game almost felt like relief.
"Not done yet?" Sherlock asked, not moving and barely audible as he watched John retreat back, away from the gravestone. He pushed the muzzle further into his skin and Sherlock resisted the urge to roll his eyes.
"Tell me when I'm boring you." Jim said, his finger on the trigger, much to close. He could feel his breath on the back of his neck – the uncomfortable breathing of a mad man.
"Likewise," The cool metal pressed into the back of his neck now. Sherlock didn't turn around, "when do we start?"
"When you're ready, Sherlock." The gun was at an angle, poised for another round of the game; Jim Moriarty flirting with the trigger, maybe still deciding whether to pull it – enjoying the irony of Sherlock dying meters from his own grave, no doubt. He wouldn't pull it. Not yet.
"No," Jim Moriarty muttered, retracting the gun and pressing his lips against it for a split second, "another promise, ordinary Sherlock."
"I'll be waiting." Sherlock returned.
"I'll be doing the waiting, this time," Jim Moriarty said, returning the gun to his pocket and raising a challenging eyebrow. He'd regained something of his composure since last time they'd been face to face, but the madness in the glint of his eyes was still there, "I'll give you a minute," he continued, nodding towards the gravestone, "to mourn for yourself."
Sherlock didn't move until Jim Moriarty turned, spitting on the floor by Sherlock's feet and disappearing back through the graveyard. It wasn't until he heard the slam of a car door, the engine start up and the noise disappear into the distance that he allowed himself a moment of weakness.
He stepped forward towards the grave. They'd always been jokes about his arrogance, his love of himself and for a second Sherlock entertained the idea of what they'd say if they saw him here, stood before the black stone of his own grave.
He reached out and touched it for a second, just as John had done (he missed being able to take queues from John sometimes), then he pulled his coat around him, turned up his collar and walked away.
Caring is not an advantage. Sentiment is a chemical defect found in the losing side.
I was just playing the game.
And this is just loosing.
Again, several lines that you probably recognise that aren't mine because they're from the show. Still enjoying this far more than I should. I think Lestrade gets to hold the floor in the next chapters. Maybe. Please review :)