"I'm going to burn the heart out of you," the wizard Moriarty says, and Sherlock nearly laughs in his face.
"I've been reliably informed that I don't have one," he says instead, which is sort of true. Who would be more reliable in divulging any information about Sherlock than Sherlock himself?
"But we both know that's not quite true." Moriarty smiles, and for a moment, Sherlock feels something like fear stir in his chest. Does he know? Mycroft figured it out, after all, but then Mycroft is his brother. Moriarty is just an insane, power-hungry wizard who doesn't know when to stop smirking and to start running.
Sherlock almost feels sorry for him.
"Not quite," he agrees placidly. He nods at John, just to see the flicker of surprise across Moriarty's face. What must it be like, to feel so many different things? He forgot a long time ago.
John clenches his jaw, the binding spell holding him safely – or not so safely – at Moriarty's side.
"Don't," he says. The order is as sharp as it is resigned; John knows Sherlock better than anyone else. They've been living together for so long, it would be strange if John hadn't picked up on Sherlock's idiosyncrasies.
"I would apologise," Sherlock offers, "but you know I wouldn't mean it."
He means so few of the things he says. So tedious, all this pretending to be close to normal simply to get the cases he wants. The attention he craves.
John's mouth twists into an unhappy line as he looks down at his scuffed shoes. Sherlock almost empathises. He's become used to John preparing the morning tea. Moriarty looks between them, his features morphing into a look of shocked outrage. He was right about one thing. Sherlock does relish the expression.
"You wouldn't!" Moriarty snaps, voice climbing into the upper register. "Not with your pet standing right next to me. I know you!"
"Alas," Sherlock says. He's fast growing bored, and looking at John's pale face is… unpleasant. He raises his hand in a simple gesture.
The fire is so hot it turns the earth beneath Moriarty to glass. John doesn't leave a trace.
There's a house that some call a castle, some call a nightmare. The urchins running through the bakers' street of Upper Thames call it a mansion. The constables forced to knock on its door to ask for help call it a mess. Mrs. Hudson, the owner, calls it a tad run down, dear, not quite as nice as it used to be, but that's the state of the world these days, isn't it.
Sherlock calls it home.
The rooms aren't grand, but they're spacious enough for his clutter. The view isn't great, but the next house is close enough that Sherlock can jump on its roof from his bathroom window. The fireplace isn't anything special, but it's just large enough to allow for a comfortable blaze.
Today, however, the blaze looks anything but comfortable. Judging from the amount of soot blackening the mantle, there had been at least one angry flare so far.
"You're a comprehensive prick," the flames sizzle as soon as Sherlock steps into the living room. "I honestly don't know why I bother sometimes."
"You don't have much choice," Sherlock points out. Something in his chest warms as he looks for and finds the face in the fire. Blue eyes glare at him.
"I liked that body," John says. A tendril of fire reaches out and stops just short of Sherlock's hand, the little hairs on the back of it prickling under the heat. The flame falls away.
"I know," Sherlock says.
"You're going to make me a new one."
The flames sputter and dance with John's sigh. A long moment of silence stretches between them. Sherlock likes their silences. They're calming.
"I could give it back, you know," John says finally.
"No," Sherlock snaps, almost before John has finished speaking.
"No." Sherlock crouches before the fireplace, reaches into the flames. The star feels small in his cupped palms as he pulls it out, warm and fragile, just like it did all those years ago. "It's my heart, so I get to decide what to do with it, and I want you to keep it. I don't want it back. I'd just as soon throw it away."
Fire curls around his wrists, heat without burning. It pulses a little, like the star in his hands. Ba-dump. Ba-dump. Ba-dump. A bit like living.
A bit like being in love.
"Alright," John says, like Sherlock had known he would. They know everything about each other. Sherlock likes it that way. "Alright."
His fingers curl around John, tingling from the contact. He smiles.