Haven't updated in forever.

I'm on fall break so I had like 4 days to write. Not much to show for it.

Thank you to UrieNanashi who reviewed out of the blue and convinced me not to just let this story quietly fade away (as if it hasn't already lol).

And hank you to all those who have ever reviewed, and those who've kept in touch even when I'm not updating.

This:

post/32604162294/reichenbach-explanation-richard-brook-was-real

(google it, it will be the first search response)

has shaken my faith in the existence of both Jim and my own intelligence.

That being said, it's really interesting and probably completely correct.

Luckily, we still have about a year until it's technically cannon.

I'll try to make the best of it.

I'll try to finish this story.

Probably nine more chapters after this one.

If anybody reviews.

If not, I'll move on.

I have some new ideas formulating anyway (as well as, you know, school work)...

Hope this chapter's okay!


Black towncars screeched to the curb in front of the gray office building, releasing twenty-four black-suited men (and one black-skirtsuited woman).

"Search the building and surrounding area." Anthea ordered.

The men in black suits nodded, but just as soon as they started to move twenty-three men in gray uniforms emerged from the building to block them.

And so then, of course, the guns were drawn.

"You can't go in there." Samantha declared, "I don't care if you're from the government, you don't have the right to search us."

"Your boss, Mr. Porlock, called the government." Anthea countered, "He asked my boss to send people here to get Jim Moriarty."

"Jim Moriarty is no longer here because Mr. Porlock made him leave." Samantha disagreed, "Go look for him somewhere else, we don't have him."

"I'd like to verify that for myself." Anthea stated, heading again for the front doors of the office building.

Pantsuit moved to stand in skirtsuit's way and the confrontation continued.

Meanwhile, three more cars slammed to a stop in front of the office building.

Out jumped Moran, Lestrade and John (out of their respective vehicles), all also holding guns.

"Where is he?!" the three demanded, scanning the crowd outside for that painstakingly familiar face.

Instead, John saw Moran and Moran saw John.

For a moment everyone just stared.


(hours earlier...)


The office building was just an office building.

It had a floor for files of former, current and prospective employees, it had a floor for former, current and prospective clients, and it had a floor for former (eliminated), current (in the process of being eliminated) and prospective (to be eliminated) target.

It also had a waiting-room on the bottom floor, underground parking floors, a gym of exercise equipment, and multiple floors for offices of current employees (well, the ones that actually used offices) including the top floor for the (regional) boss and his personal staff.

(There was also a secret weapons storage room on a floor that did not exist on the official building plans.)

What it did not have was a jail, a prison, a dungeon or any sort of structure that could properly confine a (determined) person who others wanted (for whatever reason) to be confined.

Luckily, tonight Jim Moriarty was not a determined person.

"Lock him in a room and don't let him out of your sight." Samantha ordered the two gray-uniformed employees that she was in charge of.

They stood stiffly (rigid, uncomfortable—even a bit nervous), grasping one arm of Jim each, as if they were metal restraints instead of human beings.

"Yes, ma'am." They nodded, in a practiced unison they no doubt learned in the military.

"Follow me." Samantha added, then starting down hall from the waiting room towards the doors to the stairs, by passing the elevators (they wanted to lock Jim in a room, not be locked in a room with him).

Jim said nothing as the two men escorted him through the corridor, then the doors, and then up the seemingly never-ending flights of stairs.

Speak when spoken to.

It was the polite thing to do, wasn't it?

And Jim was sure he'd be spoken to, eventually.

Just like his name that 'spoke for itself', his silence was as frightening as his words. Just like the dark (the unknown) itself was as frightening as the monsters that lurked in the shadows.

Of course, huffing and puffing (like the big bad wolf) because he'd gotten tired climbing up all those stairs (because he was about to blow the house down) didn't count as talking.

Jim had long lost count of the flights and the floors when he 'accidentally' tripped on a step, falling forward but immediately being pulled back upwards by the two employees, causing a whiplash that made him even more out of breath.

"Careful, 'Mr.' Moriarty." Samantha warned, measuredly, indicating both the concrete steps beneath their feet and the metal gun in her pantsuit pocket.

Ahead of the men, she turned around on the stair above to glare down at Jim suspiciously.

The employees halted, holding Jim still.

"I haven't been on stair-climber in a while and so I'm a little out of shape." Jim explained, apologetically, "Do you mind if we stop and rest for a while?"

Samantha rolled her eyes.

"Keep moving." She said, returning forwards and continuing up the flights of stairs.

The men in gray marched after her, now having to drag Jim along.

But the talking had begun. Jim just had to keep the mystery and Samantha would investigate.

After only a few more footsteps, she spoke again.

"You want us to think you're tired and weak so we let our guard down." She inferred, "But you tried to break in here for a reason. What do you want?"

"'Tried'?" Jim repeated, snorting, "'Tried' to break in? I'm inside right now."

"You're also in our custody." Samantha reminded.

Her employees tightened their grips of Jim to further remind him as they all walked.

"Oh. Right. Almost forgot about that." Jim acknowledged, "Which reminds me…You don't have the legal authority to detain me here. This is false imprisonment and I could get you all arrested for this."

"And yourself arrested for breaking in." Samantha returned, "And why did you come here, anyway? To steal something? Information?"

"I came for a visit." Jim shrugged (or as tried to, at least), "I want to see your boss. Is he in?"

"No, he's not; it's the middle of the night!"

"Then why are you here?"

"Nice try. I'm not going to tell you the details of my job."

"Aw, that's too bad, it'd probably be an interesting story. No military experience, but experienced with a gun. The only woman working in the entire building, but outranks almost all the men. That means you have money. A lot of money. Now, don't tell me you're in the process of buying up this whole company…"

Samantha said nothing to this, not even glancing at Jim (or the gray-uniformed men) and so everyone walked in silence, staring straight ahead at walls and backs or down at stairs and feet.

Finally, after what felt like hours (ten minutes (—still, ten minutes of stairs)) they reached the doors to their destination, which Samantha unlocked with a cardkey and then held open.

"Thank you, ma'am." The employees thanked, as they pulled Jim (who winked at her on his way in) through.

Oppressive-and-depressively gray, Jim was underwhelmed despite having the honor of being imprisoned on the top floor (where there were no weapons or sensitive files for him to steal).

"Why bring me all the way up here?" he asked, gazing around at the darkened waiting-room with its empty front desk, "Because it's good exercise?"

"So I can watch you while I decide whether we're going to kill you or just turn you over to someone else who will." Samantha explained, gesturing to the glass walls of the currently unoccupied offices—one of which she pointed at, "Put him in mine." She told the men under her command.

"Yes, ma'am." They accepted and began their task.

"How generous of you, sacrificing your secrets to me to protect your fellow employees'." Jim commented, looking back Samantha who was now following him (and the gray-uniformed employees), "So what do the glass walls represent here? Transparency? Having nothing to hide? Or are they purposefully ironic?"

"We see everything." Samantha stated, matter-of-factly, "And we trust no one—not even each other."

"My kind of work environment." Jim chuckled, "You hiring?"

"Quiet down." was Samantha's hushed and only response.

Jim raised an eyebrow at the abrupt end of the conversation. He was being pushed past rows of transparent rooms, each with names on their doors, all the way to the one marked 'Samantha'.

" Just 'Samantha'?" He read aloud, "How degrading. And here I thought you were 'one of the boys'. Guess you're more like the pretty little token—unless, of course, you're embarrassed by your last name and whatever associations it has. You wouldn't be the first."

But Samantha didn't retort or say anything at all, instead hurriedly ushering the uniformed men to lock Jim inside the office more quickly.

Before they could, however, the lights burst on and brightened the entire hallway into squinting.

"What are you all doing here? What's going on?"

Jim, Samantha and the two other nameless men adjusted their eyes to see Porlock walking towards them from his opaque office at the end of the hall.

"Mr. Porlock…" Samantha greeted awkwardly, in surprise, "I didn't think you would be here…"

"That's Jim Moriarty." Porlock identified, "Why is he here and why didn't anyone alert me to this?"

Sensing the impending argument, Jim turned to both men holding his arms and grinning at each of their (nervous, attempting to be blank and impartial) faces in turn before turning back to watch.

"He broke in here, we don't know why." Samantha recounted, "I was waiting until the situation had been resolved to bother you with this."

"'Resolved'?" Porlock repeated, "…How so?"

"Although we have no legal authority to execute him, a criminal like Moriarty is too dangerous to let live. We could kill him here or find other criminal, enemies of his, who will do it for us and keep our hands clean. "

Porlock sighed, shaking his head.

"Oh, Sam, what have I told you about just killing all your problems? Killing is a waste. Each person is more useful to us alive than dead, even people like him."

"Sir, I disagree. Having him here would hurt us far more it could ever help—"

"So why is he still here? If he broke in here, that means he wants to be in the building. You should have kicked him out immediately upon finding him."

"You're saying I should've let him go? Just like that?"

"Yes. He's not our problem and I don't want him to become one. Get him out of here right now."

The gray-uniformed employees started to move Jim back towards the stairs.

"Stop!" Samantha called after them, then addressing Porlock again, "We can't allow back on the streets."

The gray-uniformed employees stopped.

"Then call authorities." Porlock suggested, "They can deal with him. I just don't want him here."

"The authorities can't be trusted to 'deal' with him." Samantha disagreed, "The police arrested him, the courts tried him and he still went free. Mycroft Holmes had him in custody just last month and now he's already escaped."

"Then that's government business and it's not our job to get into government business—unless we're hired to, that is." Porlock decided, "Let's not upset that status-quo."

Jim laughed, purposefully loud enough that everybody else stopped speaking and turned to look at him.

"Ignore him." Porlock warned, instantly, "He's trying to unnerve us with his laughter, make us fear that his has the upperhand so that he can gain it. Next he'll say things to that will cause us to question eachother and argue amongst ourselves, so that we'll be too distracted to prevent him from getting what he wants."

Jim laughed again.

"I don't even need to do that." He dismissed, facing Porlock and then Samantha, "You two are already doing it for me, with your stern daddy, rebellious daughter spat—if nurture really is the nature of your relationship. What would the general say… In fact, what would the colonel say. Big brother Sebastian had to have wondered why circumspect Mr. Porlock agreed to hire a trigger-happy tiger like him."

"See what I mean?" Porlock demonstrated, gesturing to Jim in example.

"The only way Moriarty could have known all that was from reading government files." Samantha replied, "The reason he's not dead or in prison right now is probably because Holmes sent him here to mess with us."

"All the more reason to make him leave." Porlock accepted, then turning to his other employees, "Take him back downstairs and kick him out. Put guards at all the doors to make sure he doesn't come back. Then check the building to make sure nobody else got in while we were all talking up here."

"Yes sir." The men in gray agreed.

"Why don't you just them to take him outside and shoot him?" Samantha proposed, "Then we won't have to worry about him ever getting back in."

"If he is indeed working for the government like you suspect, we can't have him killed." Porlock explained, "Don't shoot him, don't injure him in any way. I don't want this company to be an enemy of the state."

"It's a tad late for that, wouldn't you think?" Jim snorted, "You did interfere with a government operation by stealing my mobile phone—which, by the way, I want back."

"Why? The keycode is useless now that anybody can get it." Samantha stated, taken aback, "That was why Mr. Porlock had the website made."

"The phone still works, though…" Jim shrugged "Unless somebody broke it. But what really bothers me, 'Mr.' Porlock, is that you don't 'waste' people by killing them but you waste a code, which combined with your resources, you could've used to take over the world."

"Why would I want to take over the world?" Porlock chuckled dismissively, "There's enough war already and I've got a comfortable life the way things are. Why add unnecessary stress to my life?"

"For fun?" Jim suggested.

Porlock rolled his eyes.

"Get him out of here right now." He commanded, gesturing towards the exit doors at the end of the hall but already turning and starting back towards his office where his landline was located.

His employees nodded, then shoving Jim in the other direction towards the stairs. They took one last glance at Samantha who was glaring at her boss's back, shaking her head in frustration but not defeat.

As soon as Porlock had returned to his office and Jim and the gray-uniformed employees had gone down the stairs, Samantha pulled out her cellphone.


Sitting in the back of the towncar that picked Mycroft Holmes up from the maximum security prison he'd spent all afternoon at, Anthea had of questions.

None were answered.

Instead, she received orders.

Go to Scotland Yard's evidence archives, pick up the decades old bloodsamples of six peoples, get them analyzed secretly, tell no one.

Oh, and by the way, Jim Moriarty must be captured alive.

"Why?" Anthea had asked.

"Because I still need him, for one more thing." Mycroft had answered.

—Except it wasn't really an answer.

Still, Anthea had orders to follow and (hours later) it was with great confusion, suspicion and dissatisfaction that she relayed these orders to Moran (who she knew was not going to take this well).

She exited the hospital with drugtests (which Molly had done for her) to meet Moran on dimly-lit street outside.

"I'd find Jim a lot quicker if I didn't have to check in with you every four hours." He grumbled, "I'm not going to try to escape. I've wanted to kill Jim for a long time and now I finally have an employer who wants me to."

"…Well, actually…" Anthea began, twiddling her thumbs against the paperbag full of bloodsamples and their readings because she wasn't holding her smartphone to text, "…Mr. Holmes wants him captured alive now..."

"Why." Moran questioned.

—Except it wasn't really a question.

It was more an exclamatory tone-of-voice disguised in an interrogative word.

"He didn't tell me why." Anthea sighed, folding her arms to keep from throwing them up in frustration, "…don't you hate it when they do that?"

"Yeah..." Moran agreed, nodding. He then noticed the bag in her hand and narrowed his eyes suspiciously, "What's that?"

Anthea just shrugged and shook her head hopelessly.

Moran stared up at the dark sky, almost rolling his eyes and hiding the fact that he was clenching his fist by shoving them into his jacket pockets.

Anthea looked up too, but there was nothing to see. Just darkness.

It was almost always too cloudy to see the stars…but every once in a while the moon would peer out. White against the black from behind the gray.

"…You know…my boss never asked me why I did what I did, with you, that day on the island…" Anthea mused, "…Did yours?"

"He's not my employer anymore." Moran stated, steady and careful, "…and no. He didn't."

He knew he still wasn't trusted and so even seemingly friendly and casual conversation could always be a test.

Was always a test because, just like his guard was always up, so was Anthea's.

"I'm sure they both had their suspicions, though, of course." Anthea added, "But less of their own employee's motives and more of the other side's. And yet they never asked why—they never thought to ask why."

"Why would they care?" Moran asked, with a short and emotionless shrug.

"They don't." Anthea answered.

—Except it wasn't really an answer.

…at least not to the (mostly) rhetorical question posed, using a definitive because although the question was speculative the answer was definitely definite.

"Then why do you?" Moran provoked, "Because I don't. A job is a job. An employer is an employer. Orders are orders."

"Yes, and that's why you do care." Anthea returned, "We give up everything, just to be interchangeable pawns, doing whatever we're told and never knowing why. And when we don't know why we're doing something, we just have to trust the one we're doing it for—but they don't trust us, they don't even care about us. That doesn't bother you?"

"No." Moran said, "…and I don't think it bothers you, either. You wouldn't do the job if it did."

Anthea smiled.

"You're right, it doesn't really bother me, I don't care." She admitted, laughing, "It's just a way of life; not good or bad…And you understand, right? You know what it's like…Just like me."

"Yes." Moran said.

"And that's the why." Anthea interpreted, "The answer to the question our employers never asked. Why we did what we did. Because we're the only ones who understand eachother."

Finally, Moran allowed his stoic face to smirk with an accompanying snort.

"You women always have to make everything so complicated." He replied.

"We're also always right." Anthea reminded.

"Yes, ma'am." Moran accepted, with a nod and even a smile.

Mostly, his job required him never to act on or display emotion…but sometimes, some rare times, it didn't.

(The question, of course, was which face was the mask and that question, of course, had no answer.)

Before Anthea and Moran could continue their seemingly friendly and casual conversation, both felt their phones vibrate.

Neither made any indication to the other that this had happened, just in case the text received was something that they didn't want the other to know about.

"We have work to do." Anthea decided, "Contact me if you find Jim. Remember, Mr. Holmes needs him alive, Mr. Moran. Alive."

"Alive?" Moran 'checked', "Well, ma'am, I'll try my best…"

Anthea just gave him a look, before rushing away to check her smartphone inside the towncar conveniently idling around outside the hospital.

Once it had driven away, Moran pulled out his phone to read the text he'd just received from his sister.


Only the sound of footsteps hurrying down the stairs broke the suspenseful and uncomfortable silence between Jim and the two gray-uniformed guards stationed at his sides.

—Well it was suspenseful and uncomfortable for the guards, at least. Jim already knew what was going to happen.

Samantha would call her brother to come kill Jim, knowing that Jim wasn't working for the government because she knew that Moran was and would have told her and knowing that Porlock would never suspect Moran of doing the killing.

But having Moran come to the office building was not enough. The puzzle needed its other piece, the 'yang' needed its 'yin'.

John Watson.

"…So…" Jim began, "Who're you two gonna side with when the civil war finally breaks out between the bosslady and the bossman?"

The employees said nothing.

They were good at that.

They were also good at holding on very tightly to their prisoners—too good.

Jim 'tripped', falling forwards down the stairs and pulling the men grabbing his arms down with him.

Reflexively their hands let go of Jim so their arms could flail in an attempt to regain their balance. Taller and more muscular (and so heavier) than Jim, their balance was regrettably much more difficult to regain.

But Jim had only pretended to fall.

Quickly, he was back standing upright and free.

This plan would have never worked on an elevator.

Now the gray-uniformed employees were facedown at the bottom of this flight of concrete stairs. Facedown…but not knocked out.

Jim ran back up the steps the way they'd come and had already climbed to the next floor by the time his pursuers were up and perusing him.

Using one of the two stolen cardkeys…

(Being held by the arms on both sides gave Jim's hands the ability to reach into the pockets of both the men holding him. As (what they thought was a brilliant) precaution, the men had moved their guns to the sides not in reach of Jim's hand—and so their keycards into the reachable pockets.)

…Jim opened the door to the nearest floor (where some sensitive files were kept or something—they'd have saved so much space and money had they just stored their files digitally) from where he leisurely took the elevator all the way downstairs to the lobby, then exiting the office building out the front door.

Meanwhile, without their keycards, the uniformed employees were unable to leave of the staircase and so were forced to call for backup (to find Jim in case he was stealing files or weapons from the building—and to get them out).

Who did they call?

(Not Ghostbusters.)

All the available employees of the security and defense contracting company currently in London via a mass-text.

And one of these employees just happened to be Gregory Lestrade (seen by Irene Adler in gray uniform outside the courthouse) who also just happened to be friends with John Watson.


John woke up upon hearing the loud and grating sound of a cellphone vibrating against wood. If someone was texting him in the middle of the night, it had to be important.

Literally, John 'slept like a log' at night; legs together and arms at his sides. He was used to the small, uncomfortable barrack beds of the army and his sister's couch was about the same.

(Metaphorically, though, John slept like a log being tossed around against the rocks in the rapids of a river. He had bad dreams. What made them bad was that they were real.)

He reached down, grabbed the phone from the floor and sat up to read the message from Lestrade on the glowing screen in the darkness of the living room.

Out of habit (training), John always kept his shoes by his bed (which currently was a couch).

In seconds, they were tied and on his feet.

Although his sister had been the one to sneak out of the house late at night (or back in, early in the morning) when they were teenagers, John was able to cross the room and get out the front door in complete silence (after quietly borrowing her car keys).

And as shocked and angry as he was, John couldn't help but laugh bitterly to himself as he drove (just barely on the speed limit).

At 1:30 AM it was now Saturday, July 14th.

Today was the day that Mycroft had promised to show him and Lestrade proof that Moriarty was dead.

Well, maybe they'd still get to see that, after all…


Molly's nightshift ended at five in the morning.

…but she left at one.

On her way back from getting coffee and a snack from the cafeteria, Molly saw that the men in black suits normally shadowing her were go no longer 'guarding' (watching) her.

They were gone.

She didn't know why and she had nobody she could trust to ask.

What happened?

Why did they leave?

Had Jim finally been caught?

Instead of going returning to her work, Molly walked right past the lab. She hurried through the white halls and out the front doors of the hospital to find the usual black towncars were gone from the front parkinglot.

Alone and unfollowed, Molly worried (heart pounding, whole body shaking) the entire train ride home (that seemed hours long).

Just before two, she entered her flat and flipped on the lights.

"Hello...?" She called out, not even expecting an echo.

But an echo was what she got.

"Hello." Jim's voice responded, smugly (proudly, even for he'd successfully kept his word).

She followed the sound into her bed room where she saw Jim sitting on her bed, waiting for her.

(She would've sighed in relief, rushed to him and embraced him…but he would've just laughed her for being so unnecessarily distraught.)

His suit and hair were slightly disheveled, liked he'd recently been running (away from someone?) and maybe even been in some sort of physical struggle.

Next to him also sat her two suitcases, full of the clothing she'd brought back from her sister's house. They, too, seemed to be waiting for her.

"They're not following me anymore, the people from the government..." Molly told him, attempting to gage the situation "I didn't see them anywhere. They just left."

"Yes, I'm sure they're a bit busy at the moment." Jim agreed, standing and smirking, "…And they'll be that way just long enough for us to go."

"Go?" Molly repeated, questioningly, "Go where?"

"Business trip." Jim answered, matter-of-factly, "I'll tell you the details on the way…of course, you don't have to go if you don't want to. I kinda like having a 'girl back home' to come back to, so it's really up you if you wanna come along or not."

"Is this for Sherlock? Part of whatever his plan is?"

"Naturally. Although, I don't know what the grand scheme actually is. I just have to trust in the divine will of my all-knowing 'employer'."

"Sherlock won't like it if I go with you. He doesn't want anyone else involved—especially not me."

"I don't care, do you?"

Jim eyed Molly.

The answer was supposed to be a simple 'no' and then they would go.

But answers were never simple, no they were rarely even answers. More often they were just more questions.

"You really want me to go with you, Jim?" Molly inquired, doubtful and hopeful, "You don't think I'd just…slow you down?"

The poor thing always needed Jim's reassurance and approval. She needed to be wanted, she needed to be needed.

(And this needed to be his idea. So that he thought he was the god rewarding his loyal believer. So that he thought he was in control.)

"I like to take things slow, savor them." Jim shrugged, "And I don't like to work alone. I suppose I could find somebody else but I've already got you and that's much more convenient—for me that is. Not for you."

"…what do you mean 'not for' me?" Molly asked, raising an eyebrow.

Jim laughed, throwing his head back in almost a cackle. Then he looked forward, directly into Molly's eyes.

"If you go with me now, it changes everything. Sure, the spooks are busy now but once they're done being distracted, they'll figure out you've gone with me. That means you won't be another one of my 'innocent' victims, you'll be helping me and they'll know. Everyone will know. Mycroft'll know, all his employees'll know, even your 'friends' John and Greg'll know. But none of them will know that we're working for Sherlock. They'll just think I corrupted you. They'll think you're big bad criminal, like me and there'll be nothing you can do to prove otherwise. So if you go with me now, you can't go back."

And she looked back at him, directly into his eyes.

"I don't care, do you?"


(...and back to the present.)


There was no longer any rubble to trip over nor broken glass to reflect the streetlights lighting the street in front of the office building at night.

Towering above like all the others on the street, the company's headquarters was completely repaired (both physically and reputation-wise from the 'MORIARTY' attack)—and it wanted to stay that way.

But…

Samantha had texted Moran, and Porlock had called Mycroft, who'd called Anthea, who'd called all the black-suited employees and one of the gray-uniformed employees had sent a mass message asking for back-up to all the other employees, one of whom was Lestrade who'd texted John.

…and so, at roughly two in the morning, around fifty people stood on the sidewalk in front of this office building.

Pointing guns at each other.

((Where an ex-military doctor and an ex-Detective Inspector (both civilians possessing no legal means or source) had gotten guns from, Anthea did not know (or how they'd even known to come here) but there John and Lestrade were, aiming their weapons at Sebastian Moran…

..and how a man who'd been convicted of (and confessed to) blowing up three London buildings and who'd been seen marched away to prison was able to walk around freely with a gun, John and Lestrade did not know but there he was, as well.))

"…You?" John exclaimed in shock, confusion and anger.

Moran stopped when he heard John's voice.

"Not now…" he complained, instantly realizing why Jim had 'randomly' chosen to visit this particular office, "I don't have time for this. I have to go find my target."

He tried to walk past John, but John and Lestrade raised their guns towards him (which 'forced' him to do the same to them).

"You're not going anywhere." John declared, narrowing his eyes, "Why are you here? Who is your 'target'?"

"Same as yours." Moran stated.

"Moriarty?" John asked, disbelievingly, "I thought you were working for him. That's why you were arrested, isn't it?"

"It's a long story…" Moran dismissed.

"Tell it." John requested, gesturing for him to speak with a wave of the gun.

"The longer we talk here, the more time we waste." Moran replied, "Jim's escaping right now. He was here less than thirty minutes ago and he can't have gone far. If you'd just get that gun out of my face—"

"And do what? Let you go? I don't think so." John scoffed, "If Moriarty's alive and really was here, he could've sent youto stop me and Greg from getting to him."

"He didn't—"

"And even if you're not working for him, you still killed ten people in Afghanistan and shot me—"

"That was never proven—"

"So I'm not letting a murderer like you out of my sight."

"Then whatever Jim does from now on is your fault. He got away from all of us because of you. You're doing exactly what he knew you would."

Shaking his head and sighing defeated, Moran just put his gun back into his jacket pocket.

He wasn't allowed to kill Jim anymore, and he knew that if he shot John it would be the last thing he ever did so there was no point in even having the weapon out.

John could threaten him all morning and Moran didn't blame him.

However, resolving this situation was Anthea's problem.

Finally, she was striding over to the street where they stood (followed by her employees in black suits) having just finished whatever discussion (argument) she'd had with Samantha who was now going back inside the office building (followed by her employees in gray uniforms).

Moran, John and Lestrade watched Anthea approach.

None of them (not even Moran) had expected her to be here, too.

As John was busy with Moran, Lestrade turned to Anthea. Giving her the 'benefit of the doubt', he didn't point his gun at her.

"And what are you doing here?" he asked, still accusingly, "Looking for Moriarty when you and your boss were the ones to tell me and John he was dead?"

"I'm really very sorry about this." Anthea apologized (but didn't answer the questions), "I want you and Doctor Watson to understand that none of this was supposed to happen."

Lestrade took a breath.

"…so he really is alive, then." He interpreted, disappointedly, "Moriarty's been alive and you and Mr. Holmes knew about it but didn't tell us."

"We were taking care of it." Anthea attempted.

"Some job you've done of that since he's still alive." Lestrade snorted. "And how were you 'taking care' of it, anyway? By using him, Sebastian Moran, 'terrorist bomber'?" he motioned to Moran, "I saw you and your people take him away after the trail. Don't tell me you were the one to let him out."

"Moran is, in fact, working for the British government." Anthea confirmed, now addressing both Lestrade and John, "So I'd appreciate if you lowered your weapons."

"Not a chance." John refused, "You know who he is, you know what he's done. Why the hell would you let him out of prison?"

"He was right for the job." Anthea shrugged.

"You really trust him?" Lestrade questioned, in disbelief, "This man admitted to working for Moriarty."

"I said it was a long story." Moran repeated, almost chuckling bitterly.

"He can be trusted." Anthea ensured, "Now lower your weapons."

In demonstration, the many black-suited employees surrounding them pointed their guns at the outnumbered John and Lestrade.

Lestrade lowered his gun.

John did not.

Instead, he laughed.

It was the sound of a twig snapping after being bent too far.

"If you're going to shoot me just shoot me! What are you waiting for?! I've got a gun, so you've got an excuse—not that you'd need one. You know you can get away it. You're the government, you can do whatever you want! So just do it! Shoot me!"

Deliberately out-of-character (formulated specifically with the right amount of desperation and seriousness to balance its defeated nonchalance), the outburst had unnerved all those who'd heard it.

Anthea opened her mouth to speak, but John continued now even aiming his gun at her for full effect.

"Mycroft avoids us, lies to us and then hires a criminal who worked for Moriarty. Well, I'm not stupid and I don't think Mycroft was stupid enough to 'accidentally' tell Moriarty all the information he used to set Sherlock up, either. After all the lies he's told, how do I know he wasn't helping Moriarty the whole time? How do I know he isn't helping Moriarty now?"

"He's not!" Anthea exclaimed, "He's been trying to catch him!"

"Why should I believe that?" John demanded, still pointing his gun at her (and having all the black-suited men point their guns at him in return), "Why should I believe anything you say?"

"John, stop—"Lestrade attempted, going over to John and trying to get the gun away from him.

"You know they're going to shoot you too." John responded by directing the gun towards Lestrade (but only so he would back away—and he did).

Once Lestrade was out of the way, John returned his aim towards Moran. Moran raised his arms in unenthusiastic surrender and shot an annoyed glance over at Anthea.

She signaled to employees in suits to lower their weapons, then stepped between Moran and John.

"We're not going to kill anyone." She promised, "As I said before, none of this was supposed to happen and I'm sorry. My employer and I did our best to keep you and Mr. Lestrade out of this—"

"That's your problem." Lestrade interrupted, "You trust people like him" (he pointed at Moran who rolled his eyes) "and leave me and John in dark when we were just trying to help."

"It was for your own protection…" Anthea tried, her words as futile as her effort and her voice sighing that defeat.

"Some job you've done of that, as I said before." Lestrade returned, also sighing sadly, then gesturing to John, "Look at him. Don't you think he's been through enough?"

But when Anthea and Lestrade looked at John (who had just been acting as if he's suffered a mental breakdown) he was now coldly calm as he released the safety of his gun.

"Okay." John said, matter-of-factly "Now I believe that you don't want to hurt us…But Sebastian Moran is still murdered at least ten innocent people and he's right in front of me, unlike Moriarty. I will kill him for what he's done and accept whatever consequences for what I'vedone—unless you tell me the truth."

John stared at Anthea and Anthea stared at John.

(And everyone else stared at them staring at eachother.)

It was silent for a moment until Moran spoke up, "Well, either you tell him or I will. I don't get paid for this job so you don't get to bargain with my life."

Anthea sighed.

"…Fine." She said, then turning back to John, "I'll tell you and Mr. Lestrade what you want to know…but my employer can not know about this."


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