Dr and Mr Moriarty
"Mind if I get that?" Jim sighed.
Sherlock paused. "Please."
Sherlock blinked for several moments as Jim fished out the phone and simpered.
"John!" Jim greeted. Several heartbeats might have skipped there.
"Jim, you've managed to piss off the Secret Service now," John's voice was relatively steady. "You... and I... what the hell?!"
"I can explain," Jim stage-whispered. "It's a game."
"The little old lady?"
"Wanted to go out with a bang. Said so herself."
"And the twelve others?"
"Architectural fault. Not my fault the damned things were cheap."
"I am running from an, and I quote, minor government official with stalkerish control over CCTV and traffic lights, the Met is on my tail, and I need to confirm what the hell have you done. Now!"
Jim closed his eyes. "It's true. It's all true. I'm a secret criminal mastermind with a network more extensive than you'll ever imagine. I killed them. I paid the cabbie. I let the Black Lotus into London. The bully I told you about, that was Carl. I spirited Ian Monkford away. I planned the murder of Connie Prince. I arranged for the fake Vemeer. And I blew up that building opposite 221B Baker Street. Also, I disappeared your abusive sister-in-law and I've been paying for Harry's AA sessions. Will you forgive me if I said that?"
A long silence came over the airways. "Well... that's it, then."
"I love you," Jim blurted. "Will you come visit me in jail?"
"Don't be silly. I should be asking you that."
"...what?" Jim nearly let go of the phone.
"Sirens' approaching. I'm going to give them a run around London. Jim, take Seb- Seb's still working for you, right? Either way, run. Leave England, leave the bloody Continent if you have to."
"No, John." Jim pleaded. "No. Don't. I can get us through this. John, don't. They'll kill you."
"Jim..." a rush of static; John sighed. "Jim... I don't know how to condone this. I don't know what to say. It's not brilliant. It's not amazing. But it's you, you can't control it. Not even for me."
"It's not a theft or a heist or murder," Sherlock whispered. "It's a terrorism charge."
Jim ignored him. "They'll lock you away forever-"
"Better me than you!" another rush of static punctuated the words.
When John next spoke, it was with a bitter air of finality. "Jim... if I regretted something of us, it's that I wasn't around for most of our marriage."
"Don't be stupid, it's not you, it's us," Jim insisted. "We're wild and free and fey and fuck the world. Maybe we can take over Australia! Don't give yourself up."
"Yes." John sighed. "You're brilliant. That's why... where are you?"
"The community pool," Jim smiled. "You know, the Powers case? Holmes is here too. Do you want to say hi?"
"He is? Do I want to know? Never mind. Either way, promise me. If the Met comes to you, you don't know anything. At all. I've set fire to the flat-"
"You what?! John, that's our house-!"
"-and I'm surrounded," John finished. "Tell Sherlock... I don't hold a grudge. He was doing what he thought was logical. Correct. Tell him... he was amazing... but wrong anyway. Apparently... it's de rigour to snipe terrorists if they resist."
Jim opened his mouth, but the phone had been snatched away.
"You know," Sherlock drawled into the receiver, looking miffed. "This is very touching, but this means that if James Moriarty stands trial, you, Dr Watson, will be exonerated. You will be free. It is not worth your life to die for a criminal. I can rescind my statement, that... that I was wrong. I was wrong all along. That's why..."
"No, you didn't," John whispered. "You observed, as you said, Mr Holmes. The facts just led you differently."
"I was wrong," Sherlock repeated. "I was wrong. You seriously cannot think of protecting this psychopath, Dr Watson."
"I... It's been an honour."
The phone clattered to the pool's edge. Somehow, the speaker function had been set on, and the whine of sirens echoed distantly within.
"I," and here even Jim was caught off guard by the pain and ragged lethargy in that voice. "Am. Doctor. Moriarty."
"John- John!" Jim clutched at the phone, but it spiralled out to tip over into the edge. The glimmering depths swallowed it with barely a splash, the waves making ripples in a smooth, vaguely turbulent surface. Within a clear crystal sphere, bubbles spiralled about, into final depths.
You give me the wings to fly
You are the clear blue sky
I'm floating so free, so high
Falling with grace – for you and I
You give me the wings to fly...
The screen went dark.
On the rooftop of a hospital, Sherlock Holmes discovers that just because you have planned for something does not mean you would not be scared.
He is scared; in this moment, he is more terrified than he has ever been in his life. There are so many ways this could go wrong, some part of him is tempted to just call it all off…
Standing on the pavement below him is the person who taught Sherlock what it meant to have something to lose, and if he does not fall, John Watson is going to die. A world without John is the worst hell Sherlock can conceive of.
This is not that world.
"The Princess Bride?"
"You really haven't seen it? Looks like we're going to watch it next date."
"You're the one who called it that. Your exact phrasing was 'I, uh, just remembered that I have a date', was it not? A date on the roof of a hospital. Romantic."
"Not exactly," Sherlock huffed, staring at the other man.
Jim looked terrible. His suit was immaculate, but the man who wore it had clearly run himself into the ground with overwork and lack of nutrition. Then again, Sherlock was in no position to point it out, the same effects being so readily apparent on himself.
"It feels like there's something missing from the world now," Jim continued. "You know it."
"Of course." Sherlock stared out. "You left the apple."
"You stole his body from the morgue."
"I re-purposed it. It's useless, anyway. Unless John Watson could be cloned again?"
"It would not be John."
"Of course. How remiss of me."
A long, hanging silence, charged with barely leashed energy followed as the otter and the spider considered each other.
"Hello." A bare whisper. "My name is James Moriarty. You killed my husband, prepare to die."
A phone rang, and Sherlock extracted the pink phone that Jim had mailed to him months ago during the Great Game. Months had passed since then... so many months.
"Do you mind?" he asked.
"It's Mr Poppins."
"Hello, Mycroft," Sherlock put the phone on speaker.
"Sherlock," Mycroft Holmes acknowledged. "Mr Moriarty. I see your stint with us has not cured your manners presently."
"Offer me money." Jim mumbled.
"Power too. Promise me that."
"All I have and more."
"Offer me anything I ask for."
"I WANT JOHN WATSON, YOU SON OF A BITCH!"
The call ended. Two guns flashed.
Two screams echoed from the top of the roof.
"Cutting my heart out," Sherlock slumped down, grasping at his shirt. "Even now..."
"You took mine; I want yours now," Jim groaned, seizing at his own shirt.
When the police came, when the officers finally claimed the bodies, their faces were not petrified and ashen, neither did blood flow freely. Nor did eyes bulge wide, full of horror and pain. What need has the walking dead to feel pain?
It was like they were sleeping, Mycroft idly reflected. Interred and unmarked save for the necessary gravestones. Facing opposite ends. One faced the north-west, where Baker Street lay. The other faced Knightsbridge. Above them, the ministering angel of healing held a staff, bisecting the lines they faced.
Mycroft tutted. The sculptor had outdone himself. Granted; it was a simple matter to apply concrete over a body, but to shape it past rigor mortis... it was incredible art. Sadly, its story would never be told, and the man trapped within never revealed till long after decay had set and the identity of the man long forgotten.
"Burn the candle at both ends, would you?" Mycroft sadly echoed. "In any other world, maybe... just maybe, it would have been less painful."
Mycroft Holmes walked away at a sedate pace. From the staff of the statue, two snakes curled around a solid pillar, zirconium eyes glittering in the weakening dusk.