I'll post the second chapter sometime tomorrow. I don't own anything.
It was a chilly morning outside the post office where John was standing next to the row of bright red street letter boxes. It was a fellow army kid named Kelly who'd told him about this, when a sister's friend of a friend had needed help hiding a baby from her parents and, according to Kelly, didn't care what happened to the baby. The implication drew a shudder from John, good John who thought he'd never consider anything so morally wrong. Until this day.
John shifted in the chill, bringing his collar up farther around his neck. He knew they were below his regular neckline, but the extra coverage made him less nervous about the hidden purple handprint on the back of his neck anyway.
He felt like crying just being here, and was grateful that the early hour granted him some privacy. John didn't even know if it would work, if he'd get the help he needed, if Kelly had been bull-shitting him or not. If John sent this letter folded carefully in his pocket-no address on the front just a name-would it really carry away from the post office? If it did, would the man, the entity, on the other end turn him in for planned murder?
Because that's what it was, in John's pocket. He wanted murder. He wished he didn't but there it was. If he dropped this letter off, no matter where it did end up, John was a killer. He could classify himself among those rapists, thieves, gangsters, and sickos he's seen on the telly. It always seemed like a whole other world full of terrible people that he was now a part of.
It was also freedom, in a way. His only way out. John knew it was getting worse, that he wouldn't live otherwise. Kill or be killed. If he sent this letter, he'd be a killer. Freedom. If he left the post office without sending it, he'd be dead, which offered its own sort of freedom. John preferred his freedom living, despite his terror at the potential consequences.
The letter slipped through the slot in the red box easily, white paper disappearing into darkness. John spent a moment catching himself, wiping his face, and walked away.
Jim got busy, after Carl Powers, Sherlock thought, flashlight clenched in his teeth. Six months after his faked suicide he'd finally hit some solid evidence against Moriarty. His entire career, documents scrapbooked neatly and with care, cut-out letters from newspapers and magazines forming aesthetically pleasing labels. Some pages had entire folders glued to them, details on details of gang-wars and drug dealings. Judging by the dates, Jim wasn't older than ten or twelve for some of these. Several books all sitting on a table in the storage locker he'd found them in, a card labelled 'For My Dear Sherlock' on top of them. The locker was empty otherwise except for several curiously empty safes.
Sherlock flicked absently through the first book, cover titled 'The Early Years' in baby letters. A shoelace artistically circled pictures of the Pool, with Carl's school picture and the chemical formula for the poison that killed him adorning the first page. Sherlock scoffed as he turned the pages. All this effort just to show off, and Moriarty had never done anything with it. Rotting in a storage locker in California.
A familiar face caught his eye and Sherlock froze. He flipped back a page and there, with 'My Favorite' written in pink glitter at the top of the page was a picture of Sherringford Holmes. Distant memories flashed in Sherlock's mind, instances of his eldest brother throughout his childhood, nine years Mycroft's senior and only twenty-five when he died.
Distracted, Sherlock pulled out the chair and sat to examine the page more closely. A click resonated as a string tied to the chair leg caught and almost immediately a voice started echoing around the darkened room.
"Hello, darling,"it began. Sherlock immediately noted the speaker hooked up to a disc-player, conveniently hidden under the table. Pulling the string triggered the play button through a neat little contraption. A message for whoever found this room, then.
"Now this is the final stage of my Solution, and the message is mainly meant for dear Sherlock. I give him, ohh, a year to find it before I'll give it up. Not that he'll need it, really Sherlock I'll be disappointed if it's been more than six months.
If you aren't Sherlock, hmm, well, that's disappointing. I will rather enjoy our final game, and a small part of me is really rooting for him, but if he's not here then that means he's dead. I murdered him. And I've finally gotten my dream of being on Storage Wars!"
Sherlock sent a mildly annoyed look at the stacks of safes behind him. He'd gone and picked every lock only to find them all empty. Bait for higher bids on an overrated television show. This is why Moriarty had picked California. And people thought Sherlock was eccentric.
"Now Sherlock, you and I both know you're not a fraud, and that I'm not Richard Brooke, but the rest of the world doesn't. If you're alive, then I suppose this is a handy reward. Everything you need to prove me a criminal mastermind is in my lovely scrapbook collection. As much as I hate to lose to you, you do deserve at least that much for your victory.
If you're dead, well, this is our little 'coming out' party, isn't it? Revealing to the world exactly how idiotic and boring they all are, for believing you a fraud. See? I can be a good person. Oooh, I hope it's Jarrod and Brandi hearing this, they are my favorite.
There is a twist, though. Our story together is almost over, but there is no happily ever after. Have you found it yet? In the first book, darling."
Sherlock looked again at the picture of his brother. Underneath it was a faded envelope and a home-burnt cd. They were held to the page by a paper-cut belt, which was positioned over Sherringford's neck. Little candles and lightning bolts were drawn around them colorfully. Dread settled in his stomach like lead, and he didn't know why.
There was a long pause before Jim's voice echoed again.
"That's right, I've been in the business of killing Holmeses for quite a while now. You haven't opened the envelope yet, waiting for me to finish, how polite of you! Don't open it until I'm done, it will spoil the surprise! I know you were never close, he always considered Mycroft his kid-brother, you weren't even on his radar. Ooh, imagine how devastated Mycroft will be when he finds out. How quickly do you think it will be before he decides to get his revenge?
You see, if you're dead, you won't be able to stop him. That's the beauty of it. You'll understand what I mean in a second, honey, just let me savour this. Hmm, I can't wait, actually, why don't you rip open that letter? I'll give you... three minutes."
The speaker went silent except for the expectant static noise. Sherlock grabbed the letter and noted the name Moriarty written on it in familiar handwriting. It almost looked like John's. The envelope was already open, and he pulled out the lined paper from within and read.
I heard from a friend that this was for real, and God I hope he wasn't just having a laugh. I really need your help for a very serious issue. If you can't help me then I ask that you keep this to yourself, there are lives at stake.
I need a man named Sherringford Holmes killed. He's a teacher at my school and he's-well, I don't want to say. I don't expect you to believe it either, I just want him dead. I'm prepared for any consequence, I'll go to prison for this if I have to. I don't have a lot of money, but you can have anything I can give. I just need a way to get to him.
My friend said I had to sign my name in order for you to find me so here it goes. Putting myself out there,
Sherlock leaned back, breathing heavily. John Watson had killed his brother. John had only been a teenager, and he'd wished death on someone strongly enough to go to Moriarty. Why?
It's not as if Sherlock had ever believed John incapable of murder. He'd shown no remorse for killing Jefferson Hope, only saying that 'he wasn't a very nice man'. For God's sake, John had been in a war. But this... there had to be something more, some reason for this. Sherlock's eyes flicked to the disc when Moriarty's voice rang out.
"Of course there's a reason he killed your brother, Sherlock, this is John we're talking about. This is really a poetic moment we find ourselves in! It all goes back, or forward for me, to that rooftop. Did you jump and splatter yourself all over the pavement to save him, Sherlock? Or did you let my sniper put a bullet through his brain? Maybe you found another way out, and you can really stop me.
Oh, and a bit of storytelling for all you simpletons out there. I'm going to tell Sherlock to jump off a roof or I'll break his favorite toys. And by toys I mean people. By the time you hear this, he'll be dead, and the toy he cared about the most, John Watson, is just as dead. Because the last Holmes in the set cared quite a bit for his elder brother Sherringford, and he'll kill Johnny for me.
If Sherlock lives, Johnny's dead. If he dies, Johnny's just as dead. If he wins, cheats death and truly beats me, well then you'll have to destroy all this evidence, won't you Sherlock? How much longer will it take to beat my network without it?
Because of course that isn't the original letter. I have a fail safe in place, so dear Mycroft can have his proof.
If the year runs out, and this locker and its contents aren't in flames, the original letter will be sent to the last brother. The Ice-man won't ask questions once he's proven it valid, he'll be so angry. Ooh, this part is so good. If this is being heard by anyone who isn't Sherlock, then John's already dead. You can prove Sherlock's innocence, you can prove that John was a justified killer, but none of it will bring John Watson back from the grave.
Sherlock died to save his best friend, and he died for nothing! The big bad Jim is defeated, but I took the heroes with me, so it's my victory.
Story's over. That's the end of Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, and James Moriarty. That's the solution to my Final Problem."
The disc-player gave a click signalling that it had turned itself off. Sherlock didn't need to listen to the second CD to make his decision. Mycroft could never know of this locker. A full gas can rested conveniently against the safes. Sherlock used it to douse the speaker, disc player, and scrapbooks and insure that nothing would survive the blaze. He grabbed the CD and the letter and slipped it into his coat for safe-keeping.
All of this, faking his death, destroying Moriarty's network, proving himself innocent, was for John. No matter John's reasoning for killing Sherringford, Sherlock was too devoted now to even consider allowing John to die. So he made a trail of gas to the open door of the locker and lit a match.
In regards to the CD, Sherlock would wait. Kitty Reilly had exposed information from Sherlock's entire life, but he knew from John's blog that John had never read a word. John would never allow himself to learn about his best friend from the writings of such a woman, even when it was all true. Sherlock would do the same. Destroying Moriarty's web would now take years, but he'd see John again, and ask permission to be part of this final secret. He'd let John have everything in return.
Next chapter pushes the T rating into an M, fair warning. Too tired right now to fix it up nice, so I'll see you in the morning. Please review!