Chapter 1: A Series of Unfortunate Events
Everything happened so fast. The sound of a muffled gunshot sounds somewhere behind Sherlock and in his peripheral he notices John slump against the tiled wall he was leaning against just moments ago. Without a second thought, sherlock fires a shot from the Browning he was wielding into the Semtex vest that was previously worn by John. Instead of the grand explosion that he is expecting, nothing happens. He looks up at Moriarty in disbelief, and is not surprised to see the criminal consultant grinning from ear to ear.
"Did you really expect me to put myself in the radius of an explosion just to see you Sherlock? Sure I wanted to meet you face to face, but I'm not an idiot." Moriarty said.
Sherlock glanced over at John, who was now laying unconscious on the floor. The lack of blood concerned him.
"He's not dead." Moriarty said, reading Sherlock's expression. "It's a sedative. I figured it would be easier to take him that way. It's a real bother when they struggle."
"You're not taking him anywhere." Sherlock said as he leveled his gun at Moriarty's head.
There was two more muffled gunshots and Sherlock felt a sharp pain in his right arm and shoulder. He could feel the drug begin to quickly course through his veins. Sherlock wavered slightly, but managed to keep the gun level.
Moriarty seeing how quickly the drug was taking effect, slowly made his way over to the consulting detective. "You're so protective of your pet Sherlock. I was rather hoping you would be, the game wouldn't be as fun if you weren't."
"What game?" Sherlock ground out. He'd have to talk as little as possible to save his energy.
"The new one I've been setting up of course. These previous games we've been playing have just been to test your abilities Sherlock. Though I must say, If you weren't so brilliant, John wouldn't have to go through this."
Sherlock flexed his fingers around the gun to try to get a better grip on it, he could feel it slipping. "And what will he be going through?"
"I don't want to spoil the surprise for you." Moriarty was in front of Sherlock now, the gun still pointed at him. He put his hand over the top of the gun and began lowering it so that it was pointing at the ground when he tugged it out of Sherlock's hand and threw it into the pool. "We wouldn't want to hurt anyone with that silly thing now would we."
Sherlock staggered from the tugging motion that Moriarty had made and almost lost his footing, when Moriarty caught him. "Careful my dear."
Sherlock pushed Moriarty away and in return sent himself sprawling across the floor, his consciousness waning. He knew it wasn't the smartest thing to do, but at the moment his fight or flight responses were telling him to get away from Moriarty.
"As adorable as you are like this Sherlock, daddy really must be going now. I've just been informed that you're brother is on his way and I don't want to deal with that thorn in my side right now." He bent down to Sherlock's level and caressed the side of his face in a gesture of mock tenderness. "Don't you fret about you pet while he's away, I'll make sure he's taken care of. I'll be sure to have him fed and washed. If I feel up to it, I may even teach him some new tricks while he is away."
Sherlock wanted to sling a warning at him, but it took all of his energy just to keep his eyes open and focused. Moriarty bent over him and pressed his lips to Sherlock's forehead. "Get some sleep my dear detective, you're going to need it for what I have planned for you."
The last thing Sherlock saw before he finally lost consciousness was Moriarty walking towards the doors followed by two of his henchmen who were carrying john.
Chapter 2: This Wicked Game We Play
As Sherlock began to regain consciousness, he heard beeping sound's around him. That added to the sterile air and the wires and tubes he felt strapped to him told him that he was in the hospital. There was a rustling of paper to his left that alerted him that he wasn't alone in the room. Concentrating on the smell of the room once again, and judging by the familiar musk in the direction of the other person, it could be no one else but his brother.
"How long are you going to continue to pretend that you're still asleep Sherlock?" Mycroft asked not even bothering to look up from his book.
"How long?" Sherlock asked in a raspy voice.
"From the time we found you it has been thirty six hours." Mycroft answered. "The doctors were afraid that you weren't going to wake up, that Moriarty fellow pumped you with enough sedatives to kill a small child."
"Two of his men fired at the same time." Sherlock rasped again. This time Mycroft slid him a bottle of water which Sherlock took reluctantly. After wetting his throat he spoke again. "He took John."
"Yes. We combed the area for traces of where he disappeared to, but he's clever. Perhaps even more clever than you Sherlock." Mycroft said. He smiled when Sherlock scoffed at the accusation. "He managed to hide all traces of himself. How he got past the surveillance I have on you two is a wonder in itself."
"Please, I slip past your surveillance on a weekly basis." Sherlock stated. "And don't think I don't know about that satellite that you have trained on Baker Street."
Mycroft didn't say anything more about the surveillance he has on his brother. He wished Sherlock wouldn't ditch them so often, it always put knots in his stomach when he couldn't locate him. Mostly because when his brother ditches the surveillance, its usually to do something dangerous, like meet up with James Moriarty.
Moriarty has always been on his radar, but never saw him as a threat to national security. That is until he started to play with Sherlock. He started showing off. He even went as far as using Sherlock to give him government missile plans. Which his men had found at the bottom of that swimming pool along with a gun belonging to Doctor John Watson. Which brought up another point.
"What does Moriarty want with John in the first place."
Sherlock let out a sigh. "It was all part of the game we were playing. John was supposed to be the fifth pip. But it seems that he decided that he was ready for a new game where John is the center piece."
"And what sort of game is this. I assume the last one had rules."
"He didn't say. But the way he taunted me with it. None of it can be good for John."
"But of all the people he could have taken, why did he take John Watson?" Mycroft knew the answer, and he knew that Sherlock knew that he knew. He wanted to hear it from Sherlock's lips though. He wanted Sherlock to see that this was no longer a game. That Moriarty wanted to break him. Sherlock showed Moriarty his hand and he decided it was time for a new game, and he wanted Sherlock to know why.
"He knows what I would do for him." Sherlock muttered. And there it was. Sherlock's eyes darkened and his fists clenched. "The moment I met him I saw something there that I had to have close to me. From there he grew on me, became a part of me, helped me feel again. He became my heart and now Moriarty wants to burn it out of me."
A single, genuine, tear rolled down Sherlock's cheek and Mycroft stared in wonder. He hadn't seen Sherlock shed a tear since mummy died. Something inside Mycroft roared angrily. Moriarty did this. Moriarty took away the only thing that made his brother happy besides solving puzzles. Mycroft didn't know the extent of his brother's relationship with John Watson, he was sure it was perfectly platonic, but no mater the case, he would search to the ends of the earth for that man. If it made Sherlock happy again, he would find John Watson at whatever the cost and bring him home.
After things went back to normal in the hospital room, Mycroft had his assistant bring Sherlock a set of spare clothes and he signed his brother out. Despite his efforts, Sherlock, remaining as stubborn as ever, went back to 221B Baker Street alone.
Sherlock burst into his flat and instantly began searching every inch of their shared living space for any clues that Moriarty may have left there. It took a while, but after a thorough search, he managed to come up with nothing. With a heavy sigh, he grabbed his laptop and plopped down on the couch. He then quickly and furiously typed a short message on his website that he was sure that Moriarty would see.
"Give him back."
It was several minutes later that he received a bing from his computer indicating that someone had posted a message. It was from Moriarty.
"No. :-) -JM"
Shortly after there was another bing, but this time it came from across the room, from the pink phone. Sherlock darted across the room and quickly checked the message.
"Its nice to know that you're awake, I was a bit worried there for a minute. -JM"
"BTW, You aren't getting him back anytime soon, but I'll let you see him. -JM"
Sherlock opened the link and his phone screen was filled with a live stream of John. The room he was kept in was small, there were only two things in the room. The first was a mattress that sat in the far right corner of the windowless room. The second was John himself. John was laying across the bed with his arms crossed behind his head. John's body language at first glance read as relaxed, but he could read from his expressions that he was alert. His army reflexes were kicking in. John was going to be on edge, and there was no telling what he would do like that. From what Sherlock could see, John had a split lip and bruising around his chin. He had tried to make at least one escape. Sherlock couldn't help but grin at this revelation.
Sherlock watched as John snapped to attention as the door opened and Moriarty stepped through. John's stance was defensive, ready to strike if he had to. His jaw was stiff and his eyes shone a look of pure loathing. Sherlock had never seen John like this, the sight sent a shiver down his spine.
"Now, now Doctor Watson, is that any way to greet your host?" Moriarty asked as he closed the door behind him.
"What am I doing here Moriarty?" John asked with venom in his voice.
"Isn't it obvious? You're the center piece of mine and Sherlock's little game. You really should be honored that I've decided to include you."
"Forgive me if I'm not thrilled by the idea of being held captive by a psychopath." John said sarcastically.
"It will grow on you." Moriarty said offhandedly.
"I doubt it."
"Oh, don't be like that. After all, I've come bearing good news." Moriarty said ruffling John's hair. John just stood there, stiff as a suit of armor as he did it. "Sherlock has finally woken up and returned to 221B." John noticeably perked at the news. "I've been thinking of going over to say hi. Maybe spend a little alone time with him. We could have so much fun together he and I."
"Don't you dare go near him." John growled.
"So defensive of your master!" Moriarty exclaimed, but then he lowered his voice into a serious tone. "How do you plan on stopping me from doing anything to him."
In one fluid motion, John grabbed Moriarty's arm and twisted it behind his back, then pressed him against one of the walls. "I could kill you now Mister Moriarty. That sure would stop you wouldn't it?" However instead of inflicting any injuries on Moriarty, John let him go and backed away from him. "I won't though. I know that the second I do, your men will kill me, and I don't fancy dying today."
It had been brief, but Sherlock saw a small glimmer of fear in Moriarty's eyes when John had pinned him against the wall. He knew John could at least sense a brief moment of victory, by the slight crook in his lips.
Moriarty dusted off his suit and made sure to keep an eye on John at all times.
"Why are you here anyway?" John suddenly asked. "Somehow I doubt that you wanted to make a special trip to this room just to tell me that Sherlock woke up."
"You caught me." Moriarty said. "Today we have and extra viewer in our guest audience. Wave hello to Sherlock, Johnny-boy." He said waving at the camera.
"In that case. Sherlock if you can hear me, I don't blame you for any of this." John said looking up at the camera, at Sherlock. Everything about his body language confirmed his statement. That still didn't help the nagging in Sherlock's stomach that told him otherwise.
"How sweet. I do love this pet of yours Sherlock, he's so loyal. I wonder if I can break him of it? It would be quite the experiment, wouldn't it? How much can Doctor Watson take before his will is shattered." As Moriarty said this he circled John with a predator's gaze. Sherlock watched as John shifted back into his defensive stance as if he expected Moriarty to pounce at any moment. He also didn't miss the worried expression on John's face as Moriarty talked of breaking his will.
"What do you think Sherlock? Wouldn't that be an interesting experiment? Breaking the will of another. Perhaps I can even condition him to behave differently towards me. Make him as loyal to me as he is to you. There are a multitude of things I can do to his psyche while I'm borrowing him."
There was a series of bings that came from Moriarty's pocket, that were all from Sherlock. They were all warnings. Moriarty didn't even have to look at the messages to know what they said. Every bing seemed to fuel his desire. Sherlock noticed that John's left hand began to tremble, that the doctor kept clenching his fist, willing it to stop.
John was so transfixed on his trembling hand that he hadn't noticed that Moriarty had stopped behind him until the man wrapped his arms around him in a possessive manner. "We're going to have so much fun together Doctor Watson. It will be just you and me, getting to know each other in the most intimate ways. Nothing brings two men closer then when one has the others life in his hands. Don't you get chills just thinking about it, I know I do."
There was no mistaking the look of fear in John's eyes. Sherlock knew that Moriarty was saying all of that to get back at John for what he did a moment ago, and it was working. Sherlock also knew from the look on Moriarty's face that the man was being completely serious.
"I wonder if Sherlock would get off on it? Can you imagine, him watching you screaming under me. Maybe I could even condition you to get off on it, wouldn't that just be delightful, my dear."
John couldn't handle how close Moriarty was to him. His arm wrapped around him possessively, a show for Sherlock no doubt. Those words whispered into his ear with a serpents tongue. What he couldn't stand the most was the way Moriarty's breath ghosted over the flesh of his neck. It was like he was treating him more like a lover than a prisoner, but the words were all wrong. He couldn't stand it any longer. He had to do something.
After a while John managed to unfreeze himself and squirm out of Moriarty's arms. He felt himself loosing control. More like a cornered animal than the composed solider that he was. He lashed out at Moriarty, a blow hitting him in the stomach and a second would have hit the man in the head if he wouldn't have blocked it.
It was at this point that three of Moriarty's men barged into the room. Two of them restrained John while the other made sure that Moriarty was alright.
"I'm fine Sebastian." Moriarty growled. His voice was dark and his expression screamed murder. You two, Doctor Watson lost himself yet another privilege. Strip him of his shirts, he doesn't deserve that comfort. And burn that hideous jumper, I'm sick of looking at it." With that Moriarty and the one he called Sebastian left the room.
The feed kept running. The two men took delight in stripping John down. One had even pulled out a knife to aid in the process, letting the blade nick John's skin, but never deep enough to cause real damage.
Once John was freed of his shirts and jumper, the man without the knife punched him in the gut and threw him to the ground, then preceded to kick him along his torso and ribs. When they left, John curled into a ball trying to hold back tears. Sherlock could see that this must have happened once before this as well judging by the bruises that already adorned his body.
Sherlock was so drawn in by the state of John's body that he barely noticed that John was speaking. "Srlock... don't blame... you." John said between drags of air. "I don't blame... you... Sherlock."
With that last message from John, the screen went black, the feed had been cut.
Almost immediately after the feed was cut, he received a message from Moriarty.
"The new game starts tomorrow, stay home and wait for my message. I promise not to start playing until you both know the new rules -JM"
Instead of replying to Moriarty's message, Sherlock texted Mycroft.
"If you find Moriarty, let me kill him! -SH"
At his estate, Mycroft just received Sherlock's text. The first thing that went through Mycroft's head was that Moriarty must have done something to John and just shown Sherlock.
"No promises. -Mycroft"
He texted his reply with the meaning that if he found Moriarty, he might not leave him alive for Sherlock to kill. He just may get his own hands dirty for his little brother.
Chapter 3: House Rules
Seventy four hours. That's how long John had been held captive by Moriarty. Keeping track of how long he had been gone was what was keeping John sane at the moment. It gave him something to focus on. Moriarty's men always showed up at the same time every day to give him his meals, he would keep track of time this way in case he fell asleep. It was nothing to take a peak at one of their watches while they weren't paying attention. Something he had picked up from Sherlock.
By his time it was around eleven thirty at night when his wardens showed up. It was strange for them to deviate from their schedule, so something had to be up. His wardens were always the same two, sometimes accompanied by a third, Sebastian, like they were now. The other two, who's names he learned were Fred and Jason, were carrying things with them. Jason had a a black bad, the sort that you put on someones head when you didn't want them to see where you were taking them. Fred, or Freddy as he liked to call him to the other man's dismay, was carrying a length of rope.
"Jim would like to meet with you in one of his playrooms." Sebastian said suggestively. By his tone, john knew it was going to be far from fun. For him at least. "Also he says that if you don't cooperate, then we have permission to take away your privilege to wear pants."
John let out a sigh. He didn't like the idea of walking willingly to something that was more than likely going to end bad for him. He knew however that he would end up leaving this room one way or another, and that he might as well do it willingly so that he could keep a little bit of his dignity in tact. He didn't much fancy loosing his pants over something so trivial. "What would you like me to do?"
"Hands behind your back while Fred secures them. And don't try anything funny."
"You flatter me. I didn't think I was that much of a threat to your safety." John said smugly. He had Moriarty's men concerned despite his position. Who knew striking the boss could get that much of a rise out of his minions.
"Shut it." Sebastian growled. "Jim may underestimate your abilities, but I do not."
John just grinned as Freddy tied his hands behind his back. From what he could tell, the man wasn't that skilled at tying knots in rope. With his training, it wouldn't take him long to get out of the bindings if he had to.
"Can I at least get some shoes for the walk over? If it's far I don't want to risk stepping on anything."
"Jim thought you might ask. He says you haven't earned the privilege to wear shoes again."
"I thought as much." John said offhandedly. He honestly didn't think he would either. After a fit of rage on the first day he had thrown his shoes a Moriarty, hitting him in the back of the head as he was leaving the room. His shoes were the first thing to be taken away. Well, no, he corrected himself, the bed frame was. After he had loosened one of the bed posts and preceded to knock one of the henchmen unconscious with it, Moriarty didn't want to risk it happening again. John smiled at the memory, then his smile was covered by the black bag covering his head.
John felt Sebastian push him forward and he began walking. Freddie and Jason were on either side of him, except for when going down stairwells. He counted four flights of stairs before they began walking down a cold stone corridor. Since the three floors above this one were linoleum tiled, it was only a logical assumption that they were in a basement.
They came to a sudden stop and John could hear one of his guards knocking on a door in front of him. When the door opened, Moriarty's voice followed. "The guest of honor has finally arrived."
"Can you take this bag off of my head now?" John asked. "The air in here is stale."
"All in due time Johnny-boy." Moriarty said. John felt an arm snake over his shoulder and he was led forward once again. "I want to properly see your reaction to my new toy."
"Sorry if I'm not thrilled about seeing it." John ground out. That was an understatement. John was absolutely dreading seeing what Moriarty had set up for him.
"Pity, I did go through so much trouble putting this together for you." Moriarty said. When they stopped walking, there was a rush of air as the bag was ripped off of his head.
As soon as John saw what was in front of him, his eyes widened in fear. He glanced over at Moriarty who looked like a child at Christmas, watching every reaction that John made. John looked back at the contraption. It was a chair with straps to keep the person sitting in it, John, in place. Attached to the chair was wires and nodes, all leading to the back of the chair where there seemed to be a generator of some sort. Also coming off of the generator were probes, which were probably designed to be stuck to the occupant of the chair, still John, their function was quite obvious.
"You don't actually plan on electrocuting me do you?" John asked, swallowing hard.
"Of course I do. I wouldn't have gone through all of this trouble for you to just looked at it." Moriarty said in a light hearted manner. "It won't be lethal of course, but it will be quite painful. At least thats what the test subjects thought while I was working on the kinks. Well, the last two at least."
"You're mad if you think I'm getting in that thing." John said as he began to fidget with his bindings.
"Now Doctor Watson, don't be unreasonable. Of course you're getting in the chair." Moriarty said mater of factly.
"Like hell I am." With that John managed to finally get out of his bindings. He punched Moriarty in the face with a nice loud smack of flesh against flesh, then tried to make a run for it. He was met at the door by Freddie, Jason, and Sebastian. He managed to make Jason topple over with a swift jab to the stomach and he skirted around Freddie fairly easily. It was Sebastian that caught him though. He clotheslined John as he made a final dash for the door and delivered a swift punch to the gut as he went down.
After that he was quickly restrained and brought back to his feet, still wheezing for air. He looked up from the ground to see a familiar murderous look plastered over Moriarty's face. He couldn't help but feel a little smug about the bleeding lip he gave the man.
Moriarty spat out a pool of blood before he spoke. "He's doing this naked. Once you strap him down I'll place the probes. He's going to wish he didn't strike me."
The men were only happy to comply with Moriarty's demands, violently ripping off the remainder of John's clothes. John struggled all the way to the chair, as they strapped him down, even after he was trapped. He did not want what was going to happen next. As a doctor he knew what could come of electrocution. Death of brain cells, nerve death, actual death. As he began breathing rapidly he was pretty sure he was having a panic attack.
"Calm down my dear, the fun hasn't even begun yet." Moriarty said with venom in his voice. The criminal consultant then began placing the electrically charged probes to the more sensitive regions of his body, from his feet to his neck, avoiding his face. He even maliciously put one on either side of his inner thighs, dangerously close to his groin.
"Now that the centerpiece has been set, lets contact the main player." Moriarty said and began to text Sherlock while simultaneously setting up a live feed to a computer console with a screen that almost filled the back wall of the room.
The second that the pink phone binged, Sherlock quickly snatched it up. It was twelve fifty when Sherlock checked the time. Of course Moriarty would make him wait until the last few minutes of the day. He didn't leave the house for a minute in case Moriarty tried to get a hold of him. Sarah called asking him what happened to John, that Lestrade had told her some things, but not enough. He kept it as short as he could and told her he was working on it, promising her that he would bring John back. Despite the fact that she was just another one of the bleating masses, she was a good match for John, she made him happy. Shaking those thoughts out of his head he quickly read the message.
"Turn on your computer's voice chat and pay attention to the video. -JM"
Without delay Sherlock did as he was instructed. The first thing Sherlock saw when the live feed began streaming on his computer was John. His dear friend was bruised, naked, and strapped down to a chair that looked like it was rigged to electrocute him. He was going to take his time murdering Moriarty for this.
As he thought it, Moriarty stepped into the camera. "It's good to see you again Sherlock."
"What sort of game are we playing here Moriarty." Sherlock said looking past Moriarty, at John.
"I see you disapprove of John's set up. I'm sure it will grow on the two of you."
"What are the rules?" Sherlock asked, ignoring Moriarty's comment. He just wanted to get this done and get John out of that chair.
"Ah, yes, the rules. In tonight's game you get to play the part of a cat burglar. I need a painting stolen and I want you to be the one that does it for me."
"You want me to steal for you." Sherlock deadpanned.
"No, I want you to steal for John. You see, while you are out I will be sending pulses of electricity through John's body. Short bursts to begin with, but the longer you take the longer he will be electrocuted. So I guess the time limit for tonights game is to finish before John passes out from the pain."
"And what is it that I am supposed to steal for you?" Sherlock growled.
"I'll text you the details and the location before you leave. And Sherlock I want to remind you not to leave any evidence. If you get arrested then things won't turn out very nice for John. That means no witnesses either. You will have to dispose of anyone that comes in contact with you at the museum."
"Where am I to drop off the painting when stolen?" Sherlock asked.
"I will text you that location as well." Moriarty said. "With all that said, your clock starts now." Moriarty pushed a button and the chair John was sitting in lit up and John began screaming.
Sherlock's hands clenched into fists. "Put a gag in his mouth at least. I don't want him to bite his tongue off."
"Of course my dear, whatever you say." Moriarty smirked, disappearing from sight.
Sherlock rummaged through his things, grabbing everything that he would need for the job, his lock picking kit, a few different blades, gloves he had stolen from the police station, and one of Lestrade's stolen badges, just in case.
Sherlock gave John one last glance before running out the door.