Once the sun rose over tors and crags; the hero in profile against the light, animal skin about his shoulders, shield on his arm, spear in hand. The dawn proclaimed that light had triumphed over darkness again. The sacrifices had been accepted and were found to be sufficient.
Today the sun rises over spires of glass and metal and evil can exist in sunlight as well as in dark.
Tors and crags. Even the words are raw and organic, torn by the hands of Gods. Glass and metal. The words are smooth edged, sculpted to artificial symmetry by the hand of man.
But offerings are still required to keep the lights on. A blood of money pulses around the world. Its health is tracked across scrolling marquees by non-heroic men, while heads and hearts are dashed to pieces on concrete steps.
Two men are outlined against the rose scrim of morning sky. They are both as clean-lined and angular as the building on which they stand. Their suits are modern and sharp edged. And their skin is made of marble. Aquamarine eyes look into onyx. Morning meets midnight.
“Don’t waste my time.”
“You are always so rude. And impatient. Johnny-boy is so much more polite. Is that why you keep him around? To smooth ruffled feathers?”
“I don’t keep him around…he chooses to stay.”
“The loyalty of a pet. How touching. Some dogs, you can kick them again and again and they never get the message. Just keep coming back time and again.”
“Hit a nerve? You think you’re so cool and controlled, don’t you. But you’re transparent.”
“Have you drawn me here for a reason? I’m not interested in a conversation. Conversation with small minds is boring.”
Aquamarine turns to walk away.
“I have something you want!”
“I have work. Isn’t that what you live for? Or die for. The work? Without it your brain rots. Isn’t that what you said? Just before I sent you my calling card? Dying to prove you're clever?”
“How do you know that?”
“You don’t think your brother is the only one with access to high tech equipment do you? After all, I do have money. It’s one of those perks of being a criminal mastermind. Exclusivity. That always drives the market prices up. Pity you never learned that. You might not be living in a dingy flat with a roommate who can’t keep up with the bills if you knew how to charge properly.
“But now I just need you to GO AWAY. You’re costing me money, you see. I know it seems so petty. But money makes the world go around, as they say. And generals have to feed their armies. Or they don’t have armies anymore. And then they’re not generals any more. And well, you can imagine what comes next.”
“You said you had a problem for me.”
Aquamarine turns away again.
“You DON’T turn your back on me.”
And there is a rushing, as bats gathering, as Moriarty lunges at Sherlock in fury. Anger is his weakness. Anger and obsession.
But Sherlock isn’t braced for Moriarty’s attack. He turns a second too late. Even though the smaller man is a good twenty-five pounds lighter than the other, his mass times his velocity sends them both stumbling and spinning towards the edge of the roof. For a moment they teeter there but Moriarty’s Berluti shoes are slipping on the metal edge. His enormous eyes go wider. If you have one second to live, what do you do? Who do you pray to when you believe you are your own God?
With a rictus grin, Moriarty grabs Sherlock’s head and pulls him into a bite-kiss that draws blood, so that they are as twined together as lovers as they fall.
But in that last spiraling fraction of a moment a voice cries, “SHERLOCK,” and a strong hand catches Sherlock under the arm. Sherlock shrieks as his shoulder dislocates. It seems that all three men will go over the edge together because John Watson, for all of his bravery, devotion and love, cannot hold the weight of two men against the pull of gravity. But the problem with perfectly cut suits crafted of fine fabric is that they are perfectly smooth, the threads refined to near flawlessness, as carefully processed as the glass tower from which they hang. Moriarty’s arms slide down Sherlock’s jacket and come free.
Sherlock scrambles to help John haul him up despite his screaming shoulder. And together they crawl back from the edge. Neither watch Moriarty’s fall.
Despite the agony in his own shoulder John turns to Sherlock and with just a look between them, a nod from Sherlock, pops the arm back into its socket. Sherlock cries out. It’s done. John rips what’s left of Sherlock’s jacket from him to create a makeshift sling.
The adrenalin has burned out of their systems and they slump together, bad shoulder to bad shoulder and listen to the approaching sirens.
There are still heroes, Sherlock thinks, heroes who perhaps do not cut as fine a figure as Heracles or Perseus, who are not as streamlined as the modern monsters they fight, but they fight the darkness and sometimes they win.
The sun has broken free of the horizon. It kisses the gleaming surfaces of London once again.