Sherlock isn’t the only one who likes to watch from the shadows.
Moriarty keeps his distance. He’s aware that Sherlock is out there somewhere: neither one of them is lax enough to allow a little confrontation like the one on the roof to be their final end. Moriarty would have been highly disappointed if it had ended like that.
Nobody has appeared to have told John that, however. He’s still moping about and sulking in his therapist’s office once a week. Such a shame - such a waste.
It seems natural to put him out of his misery.
And it’s so easy to let himself into John’s new flat. Hardly any security at all, and it isn’t as if a bolt or a chain has been invented that could keep him out. He spends his time while he’s waiting going through John’s things: so many pointless and dull belongings, yet none of it feels real to him. Moriarty feels as if he’s standing in the middle of a manufactured room. This isn’t where John Watson belongs, not the real one. Not the one who had held himself together while there was a bomb laced around his chest, or the one who had met his gaze in court with nothing short of stern disapproval.
The John that lives in this flat is an empty shell. Moriarty thinks that it’s long past time he was brought back to life.
When he hears the sound of John’s approach he settles down in the armchair and grins. The grin only widens when John steps in the door.
His shopping bags fall to the ground immediately. Smashed eggs and crushed bread. It’s all rather dramatic.
And then, most delightfully, John pulls out his faithful gun. “You’re dead,” John states, blank and certain. “What’s going on?”
Moriarty hasn’t had this much fun in years.
“The whole ‘being dead’ thing isn’t nearly as entertaining as you’d think,” Moriarty drawls. “I thought it was time to crawl out of the woodwork.”
“Crawl back,” John says. “Haven’t you done enough damage already?”
He really doesn’t know, Moriarty concludes. Sherlock really has kept him in the dark all this time. So much for friendship. So much for love.
John stares at him, his aim with his gun steady and true; right at the heart. Moriarty takes a breath, grins, and relishes the moment as he says, “Sherlock isn’t dead.”
John swallows and continues to stare at him, breathing heavily through his nose. Moriarty can practically see the wheels turning in his little mind, as he tries to put everything together. It’s like watching someone fall in slow motion. Nearly as funny too.
“Why don’t you and I join forces and smoke him out?” Moriarty suggests.
John’s eyes narrow. “Why would you want to do that?”
“Maybe I feel like joining the side of the angels for once,” Moriarty says. He breaks into a grin. “Or maybe I’ve decided that the world is a little more interesting with him in it.”
Maybe he feels like having the sidekick for once and going on adventures; maybe he wants to have what Sherlock had, someone to look up at him and admire his genius. What is life without an audience? Sometimes ordinary people could have their uses, and John was so very perfectly ordinary.
Moriarty has played a lot of roles in his life. He doubts that any of them will be quite as fun as playing at being Sherlock.
John’s not ordinary.
That’s the first mistake James Moriarty makes and Mycroft watches his brother’s greatest enemy in his brother’s flat taunting his brother’s friend.
He can see the thought on Moriarty’s face, the “this will be so much fun- he’ll be so easy to yank about and marionette and if the game ends and I’ve won him- well, wouldn’t that just be swell?” But Moriarty’s wrong on two counts, because it won’t be easy. John’s spent nearly two years with Sherlock Holmes and his own peculiarities make him interesting enough before adding Sherlock’s influence.
He may be ordinary, but part of what makes him amazing is how he’s really not.
John is loyal. John is loyal to a fault, to murder, to leaping off tall things and into darkness simply on his brother’s word. John will never betray Sherlock.
It’s what he and Sherlock were counting on.
He and Sherlock were counting on it, and now four months after his brother gave up everything important to him, he’s sitting in a very posh office watching his brother’s “murderer” get close enough to touch John, get close enough to bait him and he’ll have someone’s head for not paying closer attention to the feed.
Moriarty should never have gotten this close. Nowhere near this close.
He’ll have someone’s dick.
'Sorry, what?' John's voice comes through small and flat from the desktop speakers, but Mycroft makes no move to adjust them.
His eyes are focused on John’s hand as it slides under the edge of his jacket.
He leans forward, eyes intent on Moriarty’s face as the doctor slides the gun free, kicks the door shut behind him and locks it one-handed.
He stares and watches the expression Moriarty puts on and then deeper, past it, unblinking when John steps to the desk, gun still on the Consulting Criminal, opens the drawer and-
Mycroft draws in a breath.
Someone’s getting skinned.
John delicately sets the bomb on top of the desk.
Mycroft sits, watching a live feed of his brother’s flat where his brother’s greatest enemy sits with a gun at his head while a bomb blinks a cheerful red light at the man Sherlock had made him swear to protect.
John doesn’t turn his head from Moriarty when he reaches into his trousers and draws free a knife. He flips it open one-handed, glances quickly down at the bomb before locking eyes with Moriarty again. He reaches down and cuts a single wire.
The red light goes out.
'Well,' Moriarty smiles, loose and pleasant, 'That was-’
But John doesn’t pay any attention, simply turns the bomb over with the flat of the blade and cuts another two wires.
Mycroft doesn’t realise he still is watching Moriarty’s face until the emotions snap off it. The skin at the corners of his eyes is tighter.
Mycroft spares a small, grim smile.
'The Yarders let me look over the bombings case,' John's reply seems obvious, but then he was no genius. Not ordinary, but still felt the need to spell things out.
It is one of the things that fascinate Sherlock so.
The smile is back on Moriarty’s face.
'Just a little insurance,' he smiles, then tilts his head back and forth, as if vacillating between two possibilities, 'Didn't know if you were going to shoot me when you first saw me or not.'
'I'd've gone with “yes”,' John says and takes a step toward the kitchen.
Moriarty smiles and John makes a quick look about, ‘No more ‘insurance’ hanging about?’
'No,' Moriarty drawls, 'I really do want you and your bloggee in one piece, you know.'
'I doubt that,' the microphones barely pick up John's murmur but Moriarty's smile flashes wider.
'Well, you are right about that, John.’ The smile flashes predatory for a moment. ‘The game will have to end some time.’
'But for now you'll play the part of the muzzled dog so you can trick me into- What? What exactly are you after?' John shakes his head, forehead creasing in confusion and frustration.
'I told you,' Moriarty says it slowly, as if doubting John's ability to translate, 'Sherlock. Holmes. I want him back to his old tricks.'
'Yes, no, I heard you.' John glances suspiciously over his shoulder and into the kitchen before settling his eyes back on Moriarty. 'I'm just wondering when the sense is going to come back to the conversation? Sherlock Holmes i-’ Mycroft hears the hitch, notes the pause, even as he watches Moriarty note the same thing, ‘- is dead.’
'Aaand, maybe you're just not paying atteeention,' Moriarty sing-songs back, 'Sherlock Holmes is alive.'
'Stop- would you just- stop it,' John barks. 'Stop saying that.’
'Why? It's true,' Moriarty shrugs, eyes widening and glancing down as if he really wanted to say “oops, my mistake”.
'Just-,' John runs a hand over his brow and Mycroft tenses. Stupid mistake, he thinks. But Moriarty shifts slightly, and the gun still tracks the movement.
'Just figuring, for a second- just one second- that you're right, why should I help you?' John drops his hand and Mycroft's heart sinks. The look of dejection he finds there is not heartening at all.
'Why, John,' Moriarty purrs, 'supposing I’m right?’
John opens his mouth, anger furrowing his brow, but Moriarty continues before he can get a word out.
‘Supposing I’m right,’ he pauses with a meaningful glance at John, ‘well, we’re going to play a little game.’
Moriarty drops finger tips to the arm of the chair, walking them over the surface before stroking swirls in patterns.
'I'll tell you when and where, and you'll show up,' Moriarty glances up at John and Mycroft tenses again, 'with that.’ He nods to the pistol in John’s hands.
John glances down at the gun. He pauses for a long moment.
'And if I don't?' He raises his head, stares at Moriarty.
'Well.' Moriarty smiles, serene and threatening and slightly mad at the edges, 'Then I suppose the game is over and I can proceed hunt down our favourite Consulting Detective.'
Moriarty rises from the chair in one graceful move and heads toward the door. John backs away, keeping at least three steps between himself and the mastermind, gun never wavering.
Moriarty pauses when he reaches the threshold, one hand on the open door’s knob. He turns back around and- continuing his previous thought- says ‘And gut him one organ at a time’ with that same chilly smile.
The door clicks quietly behind him.
John pauses, eerily still for a moment before he lets out a shaky breath and sinks heavily into his chair.
Mycroft blinks again, startled.
John’s staring intently right at the camera.
Slowly and with an affected air of weariness he says ‘God, I need help. I feel like I’m falling.’
A chuckle that doesn’t reach his expression, ‘Again.’
He’s still staring at the camera and Mycroft spares a moment to wonder again at this man.
'Message received, Dr. Watson,' Mycroft murmurs, already reaching for the button to page his assistant.
While he watches, John rises from his seat, casts a wary glance at the diffused bomb and heads down the stairs.
While he’s making his first phone call, John convinces Mrs. Hudson to go out for the day, smoothly talking her into a coat and asking her, as long as she was going shopping for her own, if she wouldn’t mind stopping by the grocery for milk and eggs for him as well.
Two hours later, Mycroft Holmes walks up to Dr John Watson on the top of St Bart’s.
'You're late,' John greets him, eyes strangely cool.
'I believe there was something that needing taking care of at your flat,' Mycroft replies.
John gives him a loaded look, mouth crimping slightly at the corners, ‘I didn’t think it would take Mycroft Holmes two hours to get a bomb disposal unit in London.’
Mycroft nods in acknowledgement of even the backhanded compliment, ‘I’m sure you’ll agree that discretion really is the best form of valor, particularly in these circumstances.’
John’s mouth tightens further as he turns to look out at the city. ‘I would just like to point out that this world you Holmes’ live in is completely bat shit.’
Mycroft smiles slightly, ‘So noted, doctor.’
They both stare across the skyline for a time, John obviously lost in thought beside him, as Mycroft fights the urge to tell him everything. It didn’t use to be so hard to lie, and suddenly he wonders if that, too, is another thing that fascinates Sherlock about John Watson.
'He's coming back. Right?'
Mycroft spares a fleeting moment of sadness, because he knows that if Sherlock never returns, John will still be faithful.
John keeps staring out at the skyline, even as the silence stretches.
Eventually he sighs, glances down at the rooftop and scuffs grit with his shoe.
'I'm going to tell him yes, you kno- what'm I saying, of course you know,' John sighs and rubs a hand through his hair roughly before dragging the palm over his face. 'Anyway, might be nice if you found a way to keep a closer eye on me. I doubt I can fool him for long, even if I had a choice, but I can, maybe, keep him a little distracted?'
He raises eyes to Mycroft’s own, ‘Give you two time to do…’ he waves a hand, ‘-whatever the hell it is you do.’
Mycroft turns back out to the city. ‘Yes, Dr. Watson, that would be more than sufficient on your part.’
Because he could forbid John to help, or participate. He could have Moriarty quietly disposed of, but the point of the entire exercise is to get Moriarty to keep pulling on strings so they can find him. If the lines don’t get tugged upon, they can’t be entirely sure they’ve gotten them all.
Sherlock may never forgive him for this, but Moriarty’s survival was rated at less than 1 per-cent in their second outline and nearly 34 in their first. As much as it pains him to say it, Mycroft hadn’t seen this particular set of events unfolding.
'Good,' John nods, glancing back towards the stairs. 'I'd… I'd appreciate any literature you might have on bombs? Or IEDs- my skill set in that area ends at removing already-detonated pieces from bodies.'
Well. Mycroft smiles morbidly. ‘It’ll be in the post within the day,’ he says. At least John’s trying to prepare. He doesn’t think it would be a comfort to tell him there’s no point- Moriarty won’t make such a route explosive again.
But, he supposes on further reflection, at least it will give John something else to think about.
John nods, turns to leave, but Mycroft reaches out, pulls gently at his arm. John turns back around slowly, question forming on his lips.
Mycroft kisses him
A small, innocent press of lips against his right cheek.
As John blinks up at him in confusion, Mycroft smiles. He knows it’s slightly sad, because he made it that way, but the pleasure at seeing John so flummoxed is completely natural.
'Thank you,' he says, firmly. 'I know you don't have to do this. But thank you nonetheless, John.'
'I, yes, I,' John stops and squints at him. 'You're not-'
Mycroft fights off a furiously amused smile, ‘Rest assured, Dr Watson, you are far too male for my tastes.’
'But still,' he darts in and presses another kiss to John's cheek as fast as he can before releasing John and stepping back, 'thank you.’
[Round Robbin, anyone?]
(Source: howevermanywords, via toesohnoes)