They were right when they said we should never meet our heroes
When they bow at their feet, in the end it wasn't me”
"You did this." The words tumbled out of Joan's mouth. Gone was the ire, the annoyance that Moriarty had been so flippant with the truth. All that was left now was shock. She'd promised to kill William Roscoe in the same breath as saying it was all for the child. Joan did not know what to think anymore. "All for Kayden Fuller?"
The restaurant seemed to have fallen silent, a lull in the buzz of conversation. Joan hated herself for leaning forward, repulsed at her fear of eavesdropping. Her fingers were shaking in her lap.
Moriarty was going to kill William Roscoe. She'd said it with laughter and a smile, and then denied that she'd be the one to pull the trigger. Joan knew better. She saw Devon Gaspar's body when Moriarty was finished with it. The hole she'd carved in Gaspar's neck using an army-issued pen knife was enough to give Joan nightmares for weeks.
All that was for the girl too.
"Really, Joan, what are you going to do about it? I've admitted to nothing besides ire at his betrayal." Moriarty sat back, fingers twirling around the stem of her wine glass.
Sensing that she would get nowhere talking about the girl, Joan tried a different tactic. "Why rob the bank in the first place? That plan must have been months in the making."
"Years," Moriarty assured her. "I don't suppose it matters much now, the contents of those vaults are in my father's hands." She let out a quiet breath of air, a sigh on any other person and drained the contents of her wine glass.
Joan had no idea the truth required such liquid bravado.
"After London I came here." Moriarty left the implication of why to Joan's imagination. "I did not want to act on my initial impulse with Sherlock."
"Your initial impulse?"
"He mucked up my plans, some months in the making, and I--" Moriarty's expression twisted from nostalgic to something that Joan could not articulate. It stayed that way, thoughtful, until the blank mask of Moriarty fell into place. "I couldn't go back to London, or to New York, and I'd done business here in the past. I discovered that my father's bank of choice played host to a series of accounts owned by members of the Swiss government."
"What happened to her was such a tragedy."
"You had her killed."
Moriarty laughed. "You think so little of me, Joan. Any number of people could have killed her, especially given the secrets that she knew." She looked down at her wine glass, now empty save a thin ring of reside at the bottom.
Joan raised a skeptical eyebrow. "What did she know?"
"There was a time, during the Nineties, when people feared the Internet."
Joan glared. She was a decade or more older than this woman. She remembered hospitals scrambling to fix their computers after dire warnings of the Y2K bug were announced. She remembered the dot com boom and more cocaine overdoses than anyone should have to see in one Saturday night. She remembered how information that was once private, locked in vaults and stored, was not publicly available to fifteen year old kids who knew how to use the phone lines to hack into hospital networks.
"Clémence knew of this fear, and encouraged Laramie Straus to offer their vaults up as an alternative to the potential discovery of secrets though the movement to digitize all old records here." Moriarty sounded almost regretful. Joan reached for her wine. "She was rather brilliant at seeing a potential problem before it happened."
"She didn't see you."
"Darling, no one sees me."
The save you goes unsaid between them.
"So what, this was all for blackmail? Don't you have a book of that somewhere?" Joan sighed. It didn't matter now. Moriarty's father worked for Interpol, the secrets were in relatively safe and hopefully law-abiding hands.
Moriarty laughed bitterly. My freedom cost me everything I had."
"I doubt that."
"Well, everything they knew about." Moriarty's expression was predatory. Their server came back and, without a word, left the bottle of wine on the table. "I spilled a great many secrets that day, Joan."
"So this was what... to recoup that loss?"
"Before William came in and mucked it all up, yes. It was just that. A simple information grab, nothing more, nothing less." Moriarty blinked innocently at Joan, but Joan knew that at least two bodies were already attached to this crime, and that a third was all but inevitable.
Joan stood up. "I'm not helping you to rob people."
There was a moment, a table dividing them, where Joan felt for sure that Moriarty was going to let something slip. Her mask would fall away and Joan would left facing the hulking inhuman monster that Jamie Moriarty hid so neatly behind her polished, shiny exterior.
"I wasn't asking you to help me." Moriarty's tone was mild. "But I think you know what will happen if you do not."
"You'll go back to prison."
"The girl will die." Moriarty's lips curled, a sneer, threatening and full of malice falling onto her face. "Sit down, Joan."
Joan sat, hating herself.
The girl at the center of all this had brown hair and Moriarty's sharp blue eyes. Joan had never seen her in person. Moriarty had whisked mother and daughter away before any more misfortune could befall them. Joan had pressed everyone involved in the investigation after it was technically closed. She wasn't sure if she was looking for closure, or was simply curious about this, Moriarty's greatest act of narcissism.
Kayden Fuller had done well at school, and was well-liked by her classmates. She played soccer with a brutality that surprised her coaches, and held a school record for penalty minutes at eight years old. There was a concern about an anti-social streak that ran through her, but shyness at that age was to be expected. It was only if it persisted once the girl grew older that they'd worry there was something wrong.
"Where did you hide them?"
There was a pause, a weighing of the risk, and finally a quiet exhalation from Moriarty. "Lawrence, Kansas." Moriarty poured herself another glass of wine.
A little snort of laughter escaped Joan's lips. "How very Burroughs of you." She ran a hand through her hair. "How viable do you believe this threat is-" She exhaled, and then added, "-Jamie?"
If Moriarty noticed the casual address, her face did not betray it. Instead she looked away, her expression perfectly neutral.
Their food was taking a very long time.
Joan did not want to press. It was foolish to think that she could get Moriarty to speak the truth about something she so clearly did not wish to discuss. The girl was in grave danger, and Joan did not believe for a second that Moriarty would willingly volunteer the location of the girl.
Something was in Kansas. It wasn’t Kayden Fuller, but Joan was curious what it was.
"The inherent problem is that I do not know the why of it." Moriarty spoke slowly. "My father was a broken man last I saw him, plagued by what he'd done to my mother." She fell silent, fingers twisting around the napkin by her plate. "This vendetta against a child... it seems out of place."
Joan frowned. "It's been many years since you've seen him. Maybe he's changed?"
Moriarty's expression was grim. "Or maybe the mask he always wore has fallen away."
Their waiter came back just then, setting beautifully presented food in front of them.
The conversation died.
Later, Joan found herself alone in the hotel room again. Moriarty dropped her off with a charming smile that felt wine-bold to Joan and had promised to return in short order. "I have people looking at the rest of Roscoe's crew."
"Do you not know who they are?" Joan frowned, searching Moriarty's face for any sign of deception.
"I was out of my head at the time." Moriarty looked down at her wrist, at the raised angry scar there. "Blood loss?"
Joan did know. She knew Moriarty to be surprisingly lethal having lost close to a pint of blood between the time she'd left Agent Matoo half strangled on the floor of her prison and coming to dispatch of Devon Gaspar. She swallowed; thinking of the gaping hole Moriarty had carved in Gaspar's neck, and looked away.
"I would have thought that you'd want to pick the crew for something like this."
Moriarty laughed, and had brushed Joan's shoulder with warm, almost familiar fingers before backing away. She was smiling, the corners of her eyes crinkling with amusement that Sherlock's continued insistence that she study micro-expressions indicated to be genuine amusement. "You really don't understand how this organization works, do you Joan?"
She'd left then, sweeping off down the hallway, purse flapping against her side and dress seeming almost yellow in the dim glow of the hallway lights. Joan stood in the doorway, scowling after her.
Joan left the television on a local channel that seemed to be half in English. She sat, cross-legged, on her bed and spread out her notes from the day. She had wanted to go back through them to see if there was any potential evidence linking William Roscoe to the crime beyond Moriarty's word and the probably red herring of a clue that Sherlock had passed along. It was maddening, investigating and knowing that there was more to this puzzle than what Moriarty was saying.
This could not all be about Moriarty's soured relationship with her father. Joan refused to believe that. She was not sure that she could trust Moriarty to tell her the truth about what was really going on here.
The situation had changed. Moriarty had laid out her cards, after a fashion, and but Joan felt that she was holding back. There was a missing piece to the puzzle. It wasn't Roscoe, or her father, or even Andrew Malphurs at Interpol.
Joan chewed moodily on the back of her pen, staring down at her notes. This wasn't the full picture, and she wouldn't be able to protect that little girl without it.
She reached for her phone and dialed Sherlock's number. She hated running to him for help, but the web was getting twisted. She needed to ground herself, and to take stock of which way was up.
Sherlock's phone went straight to voicemail. Joan left him a brief message asking for him to call her back when he was sure that the line would be secure. "There's something that I'm missing here," Joan finished. She wished he had answered.
The television clicked into the eleven o'clock news broadcast, thankfully in English, and Joan set her phone aside to watch. After the first, human interest story about some local school she knew nothing about, the screen flashed red and the anchor took on a more somber, serious expression. Joan reached for the remote and unmuted the television.
A body had been found in Lake Geneva, a young woman of Spanish origin. The Cantonal police had released very little information other than the country of origin, but she had apparently died of a gunshot wound to the forehead at close range. Her body was then dumped in the lake in a poor attempt to conceal it.
Joan sat back, pulling off her glasses and pressing her thumb and forefinger into her eyes. She was hardened to death now, but she could not think of a worse way to go. A bullet between the eyes was a mafia style execution. The sort of killing that would be favored by certain parties who wished to gain control over the city by whatever means necessary. She hated to think of what would happen if they found out that Moriarty was making a bid for the same control through schemes and blackmail.
She was gone half of last night…
A cold feeling washed over Joan, realization more chilling than any other revelation.