Title: The Fall
Characters: Sherlock Holmes and James Moriarty.
Summary: "You've tried so hard to follow the path of the angels that you've forgotten you don't have wings." If Moriarty had tried a different approach. - Sherlock Holmes, James Moriaty and the fall. Character-death.
Notes: Well. Sherlock Fandom. Hi! I'm incredibly new here, and I'm still working my way round anything that isn't Johnlock, but hey - we can all learn something! I've always wondered about this - how it might've played out if dear old Jim had done things just a little differently. It's kind of unrequited (though I like to think requited) Johnlock, and you can decide for yourself if more than one person dies. I really, really hope you enjoy, and forgive the format! Thank you!
"But don't worry; falling's just like flying, except there's a more permanent destination." - James Moriarty.
"Oh, Sherlock. You forgot, my dear: I'm just like you."
"I am nothing like you!" Sherlock growls, and he takes a step closer, because it's Moriarty or the edge of the building, and they're one in the same, but he's afraid of heights.
"Tsk tsk." Moriarty frowns. "You're becoming boring! Boring, boring, boring! You're predictable, Sherly. I thought you were different from the others, but you broke just as easily as all my other little toys who couldn't handle being played with!"
"But there's nothing to break," he replies, emptily, and it's true. He's lost.
"Oh ho ho, yes! Finally, a little spark. I thought you'd gone and lost your genius, but you've already figured out that there are three escape routes, haven't you? And none of them will work. Why?"
"They all lead back here. To this rooftop. And the game begins again."
"Oh, you're so brilliant. You're like a little puppet who plays his own strings like a violin. You're different. I'm different too, darling!"
"I'm different. You're insane," Sherlock counters, but his fingers loosen around his phone, and it falls. The screen cracks - the battery's failed, the call button has been pressed in too far, and the owner cared too little about his possessions - and renders it useless.
"Dear," Moriarty says warningly, and he takes a step forward, forcing Sherlock closer to the edge. He gulps. John. "Did you think you were sane?"
"I promised you, Sherlock, that I would burn the heart out of you. Do you remember?"
He is stalling. Anyone can see that, but for what?
"Of course I do," he replies coolly, looking out over the London streets, at the taxi cabs and midday shoppers. The edge seems higher, now. Ah. "It was the first time someone told me I had a heart."
"You're just too cute!" Moriarty screams. "I will burn every single piece of you until only your metal, man-made heart is left, and then I'll burn that too. I will burn you, Sherlock."
"Suicide," Sherlock says smartly, brushing down his suit. "My suicide."
"Oh no, sweetheart!" He laughs and pulls the trigger of the gun he was pointing at his own head. It makes a click, and falls to the floor. Moriarty raises an eyebrow. "Did you really think I'd be so pedestrian?"
Sherlock is wrong.
He blinks rapidly, and wonders. He wonders if this is what John feels like, when the whole world is laughing and knowing and he is stuck in the middle of the crowd, blinking and tired and lonely, wondering how he could've missed all those clues.
Just for that moment, Sherlock envies John.
"Do you think this could've ended a different way? Do you think you could've been the martyr, Sherlock, sacrificing your good name and all those darling people for the sake of John Watson and the safety of London? Is it not tragic that the only way to save them is to let them go? To let him go?" Moriarty giggles.
"I will not join you," Sherlock whispers, and he takes a step closer to the edge.
"Oh, but darling," he purrs, "You already have."
"I am not your pet; I am not your toy," Sherlock snarls, looking out over at the busy London streets. Unimportant, boring, ordinary people flit like ants on the pavements, and Sherlock resents them. He doesn't quite know why.
"No, you're much too fun," Moriarty muses, and he leans forward, his breath warm against Sherlock's cheek. He can feel his lips brush his ear. "But I'll tell you a secret. You. Are. Mine."
He misses John. He doesn't quite know why.
"I thought of sending snipers out, you know. Tell them to shoot if you're not dead by the time you hit the ground. But it was a bit unoriginal, don't you think? Hostages, bribery, and two brilliant men dying on the roof of a hospital. A bit clichéd, if you ask me. Which you didn't. But don't worry; I'll forgive you."
Moriarty cackles and Sherlock wonders just when the tables turned.
"After all, we have so much time to work out our differences."
"Will you torture me, then? Strap me to a table or a wall or maybe a bed, and hit me, hurt me, burn me?" Sherlock asks, almost interested. He doesn't fear the pain; waits for it, knowing it will come in time. But he still feels fear.
He speculates why.
"No, no, no, you've got it all wrong!" Moriarty shouts, and he kicks a flower pot over. It shatters and the copper clay fans out on the ground, discarded and broken. The flower looks lonely in the scattered soil. It rolls across the ground, and falls.
"You want to, though," Sherlock states. It isn't a question, or a guess. He knows. He always knows. "You want to torture me until I beg."
"That's not part of the game, honey!" He sings. "And we must play the game."
A black car pulls up just outside of Bart's, down below them, over the edge - Sherlock watches it stop, and wait. He has already put the pieces together into a jigsaw puzzle that spells out SHERLOCK WILL BURN.
"I believe we have an appointment to catch, Sherlock. Let's not be late, hmm?"
Sherlock is bound at his wrists and ankles, and is restless throughout the car journey. He didn't fall. He didn't fly. He is caught in limbo; the in between. Moriarty taps a rhythm on his knee and hums under his breath and acts like he hasn't got a care in the world.
Sherlock curls up in the corner and hugs his knees to his chest. He hopes Mrs Hudson will remember to make John tea.
"Here we are, darling!" Moriarty spreads his arms. Warehouse- Surrey - abandoned - top floor - four men on every exit - at least twenty on the roof - seventeen snipers surrounding - quadruple lock on the door - Moriarty - alone. "Once upon a time... well. I suppose you can fill in the gaps."
"... And they lived happily ever after," Sherlock mutters, rubbing his sore wrists and wondering if he's the hero or the villain or just the damsel in distress.
"Guess what, my dear?"
Moriarty leans back in his chair; Sherlock crouches on the ground, fingers pointing towards the ceiling even as he bleeds. He looks up at Moriarty. The torture has begun.
"John is your next target."
"Oh, very good, very good. But not quite. You will always be my target, but John - John's just the bow for my arrow," Moriarty tells him, swinging back on two legs. "Isn't that exciting?"
"Do you miss him, Sherlock? Do you miss the lack of challenge when you read him like an empty but gripping book?"
Sherlock thinks of his unknown future; he cannot read Moriarty. He does not know what torture will come next by the scuffs on his shoes, or how long he will keep him prisoner by the creases in his collar. He doesn't know if, when he jumps, he'll fly or just fall quicker.
Moriarty is an unknown variable in Sherlock's experiment, and he doesn't like it one bit.
"Oh, oh, oh!" Sherlock turns slowly to look at Moriarty. He hasn't eaten in days; even he can feel that his cheeks are hollow. He is at the edge, now; close to the end. "Oh, this is just fantastic!"
"What?" He asks in a monotone. He does not care.
John isn't coming to save him. John is safe.
"The man who made the machine feel... he was the one who broke you. He was the one who tore you limb from limb, and enjoyed it. He didn't even know it, did he? Just how wrapped up you were in him. You fell for him. Oh, and look how he broke you, Sherlock."
"Well, darling, I can't say that I'm surprised. After all, you've tried so hard to follow the path of the angels that you've forgotten you don't have wings," Moriarty hums, kicking Sherlock in the ribs. "And yet they're all staring at the empty place between your shoulder blades, waiting for them to appear."
"But you are just like me."
Sherlock shakes his head. He is the hero John believes him to be; he is magnificent and a mastermind and a machine and maybe not-so-sociopathic. He is on the side of the angels.
"And I'll tell you another little secret, honey," Moriarty whispers smoothly, pushing Sherlock's hair away from his eyes. His imaginary wings twitch. "He knows."
Sherlock's eyes widen.
"John," Sherlock whispers. "John."
"Yes, yes, yes! Finally you've caught on. And if I told you John was here, Sherlock? Would you cry?" Sherlock stays silent. "Too bad. I would've liked to see you lose control. But then again, losing the game is all about losing control, isn't it, dear?" Moriarty grins, and grabs his collar, bringing him closer. "Chin up. The show's only just begun."
Sherlock looks at the door of the warehouse. There is a muffled thump (John dropping his gun) and a shout (John telling him to stop) and a scream (John).
"Come on; say it for Daddy: You won. Two little words, Sherlock. Two itsy bitsy words between John breathing and his heart... burning."
"You don't have John," Sherlock says confidently, but he can't read Moriarty. He can't know. Moriarty's tie is perfect and his hands are dirty, covered in grime and blood - Sherlock's blood. There are so many variables and so little time and he wonders how he'll escape this time. "You don't."
The fall from grace is the hardest part, did you know?
"Oops," Moriarty giggles, and it's too high-pitched to be normal, too free to be sane. "Wrong words."
"What happened to us, Jim?" Sherlock asks over the sound of a nearby gunshot. He hears a body fall to the floor just outside the door - male, 1.69m tall, 64kg, John - and he starts to shake.
"Well, that's easy, dear. We went wrong."
"John," Sherlock whimpers. He slumps against the wall. "John." His breathing is shallow, and he knows he doesn't have long. Severe brain damage. Cardiovascular problems. Multiple broken bones. The bleeding will kill him, if nothing else does.
"Your pet isn't here any more, darling!" Moriarty shouts in delight. His smile falls. "Game over."
And John is not safe.
In his own little mind palace, where his windows are boarded up and the doors are all locked, Sherlock looks over the edge in curiosity. John stands, alive and well, at the bottom, and waves. Sherlock jumps.
His heart stutters to a stop. Moriarty leans over him and watches him die; watches Sherlock as his heart burns.
He didn't have wings after all.