Sherlock was rather disappointed in Moriarty.

When he said he was going to burn the heart out of Sherlock, Sherlock assumed it would be in a figurative way, kidnapping and torturing John, brutally murdering all his friends, even torturing him until all humanity was gone.

This was far less elegant.

And frankly, Sherlock was furious.

Sherlock had been in the kitchen, examining chemical reactions under his microscope when John asked, seemingly out of nowhere, if Sherlock was burning something.

"Sherlock, are you doing an experiment with fire, because I told you that..."

John trailed off as he looked over to Sherlock sitting in the kitchen at his microscope, no burning to be seen.

"Nope. Perhaps Mrs Hudson has been baking and forgotten?"

John rolled his eyes. "Mrs Hudson left, remember? Some sort of emergency with her sister's cat."

Flicking his microscope off, Sherlock swivelled to look at John. "All the more reason for something to be burning. Mrs Hudson was baking, and in her rush to get to her sister's forgot about it. When did she leave?"

"Over three hours ago. If she was cooking something it would have burned already."

Sherlock rolled his eyes. "Fine. And your explanation is?..."

"I'm still not entirely sure it's not you."

Sherlock sighed and threw up his arms. "Examine the kitchen if you'd like. There's nothing here."

John did another once over the kitchen, and finally seemed to agree with Sherlock.

"Don't you smell that?" he demanded. "Normally your sense of smell is way better than mine."

"Hmm," Sherlock hummed.

"Let me guess, another one of your experiments."

Sherlock shrugged. "It should be gone by the end of the week. But now that you mention it, I do smell burning." He wrinkled his nose in discontentment.

John sighed, heading for the door out of their flat, which was, for once, closed.

"You and your stupid-" he stopped abruptly, placing his hand on the door handle and drawing it back like it burned him. Like it burned him...

"John?" Sherlock called, concerned.

"It's hot," John said quietly. "Very hot." He placed his hands on the surface of the door. "The whole door is hot." He stepped away from the door. "The fire's out there, downstairs, upstairs, whatever. We can't go out that way.

Glancing at Sherlock, he took off for his room. He placed his hand more cautiously on the handle this time, recoiling just as quickly. "Damn," he hissed, shaking his hand.

John looked at Sherlock. "What do we do?" he asked, a hint of panic in his voice.

"Call Lestrade," Sherlock ordered John.

"I can't, phone's in my room."

Sherlock rolled his eyes and sighed. Of all the times...

"Where's yours?" John asked, looking almost panicked. But not quite.

"I'm thinking alright!?"

John groaned.

"The table! The kitchen table. I had it doing my experiment."

Sherlock began throwing papers everywhere.

"Got it!" he declared.

Dialling, he held his phone to his ear.

"Lestrade. Fire at 221b. Now." He hung up and dialled again.

"221b Baker street. Fire." With that he slipped his phone back into his pocket.

"Who'd you call?"

"Lestrade and emergency services. Just in case Lestrade forgot about that."


Sherlock snorted. "Mycroft will already know. Probably," he added as an afterthought.

John didn't even want to know what that meant.

"Reaction time is seven minutes, give or take," Sherlock muttered to himself.

"I don't think we have seven minutes," John told him, noting that the room was visibly more... hazy than it should have been. "So what do we do?"

Sherlock didn't seem to have an answer to that. This coming from the man who would outlive god just to have the last word. Sherlock's absence of usual derogatory comments worried John more than the growing cloud in the room.

"Thinking," Sherlock declared, placing his hands under his chin.

Obviously Moriarty's doing. No one else would take the care to plan something out like this. Any other criminal would just shoot or stab or poison me. So. What would Moriarty do? Ensure there was no chance of escape. Meaning, back bedroom, downstairs, and upstairs are off limits, as they have exits, more or less. No accelerants, but perhaps some toxic chemicals thrown in for fun. Doesn't want us to burn to death right away, he wants us to succumb to smoke inhalation first, then burn while we lay unconscious. Right. Great.

Sherlock ran through the floor plan of 221b. Exits. His room, which had a suitable window for escaping out of, as demonstrated multiple times by one Irene Adler, was not available. They could not go up or down. They had the kitchen and living room. Essentially, nothing.

"I..." Sherlock began, completely at a loss for what to follow that up with. He just stood there, staring blankly at the door as if it had personally wronged him.

Why not when Mrs Hudson was here?Oh, of course. Change of plans. Recent development. Bordering on emergency in fact. Perhaps Moriarty didn't know about this change of plans (in which case, someone would be getting punished...), didn't have time to alter his own, or simply didn't care.

But that was something for Sherlock to ponder some other time, provided he and John got out of their flat alive.

"Get down here," John demanded, crouching on the floor and tugging Sherlock down to join him. "You're ridiculously tall. Didn't you ever learn about fire safety."

Sherlock shrugged, feeling decidedly uncomfortable on the floor. "May have deleted it."

John groaned. "But what do we do? This has to be a chemistry thing, or a physics thing. How do we get out?"

They could feel the heat now. The fire must have been growing beneath them.

"I don't think we do," Sherlock said quietly. "I think all we can do is wait."

"I hate waiting to be rescued."

Sherlock nodded.

He'd had his minions do it in such a way that the exits were blocked, but they were in no immediate danger. No, because that would be no fun. In fact, his statement was entirely wrong, because they'd both succumb to smoke inhalation before burning.

Sherlock would have sighed at the tedium of it all was he not busy trying to not breathe smoke filled air.