Chapter 1: Prologue
Mycroft Holmes sighed softly pinching the bridge of his nose before placing the newspaper he'd been reading on the table.
The press had changed their tune now, it had started with his little brother being a fraud and committing suicide when the truth had been found out.
Harriet Watson had then released a statement saying that everyone had seen Sherlock live in the Hunger Games, they'd all seen what a genius he was in there.
Now the blame had changed to the Hunger Games, saying that being forced to compete in them had driven Sherlock to suicide. Mycroft knew that wasn't the truth, he didn't know why his brother had deemed death necessary but he had a feeling that it had something to do with John Watson.
Mycroft got to his feet and brushed his hands down his jacket brushing away non-existent dust. He strode to the far side of the room flicking a light on, today had been one of those beautiful days when the sun sat in the sky offering its light to everyone, even Sherlock.
Mycroft had gone to the grave stone, he hadn't spoken a word while he was there. Just watched the dark marble glitter in the sunlight, reflecting his image back at him. But his life was too busy to remain with his little brother all day, he'd quickly come back to the office working by the window in the sunlight.
For a brief moment he'd been reminded of his teenage years, sat by the window doing school work while tiny Sherlock Holmes ran around the garden being a pirate he black curls bobbing as he ran around with a plastic sword.
Mycroft quickly moved his mind back to the work at hand. Sherlock was dead, being sentimental helped no one.
Sherlock's death had caused a relatively small uprising. The uprising was against the Hunger Games but the Hunger Games were pretty much run by the government so were getting the blame. Mycroft was having to maintain his countries reputation to prevent a full blown rebellion. Sherlock and his fall appeared to have been the spark that was close to becoming a fire. Mycroft's phone bleeped informing that John Watson had visited Sherlock's grave.
"I haven't come for a few weeks so I thought I should just come and say hi" John shifted his weight on to his good leg. He wasn't limping again thank god, but his leg did feel a little stiffer than it should.
"I saw Lestrade the other day. He's still got his job. Just. Said that he needed you on a case the other day." John fell into silence
"You've started an uprising you know. Everybody hates the government. Bet you've pissed Mycroft off…Haven't seen him for ages. Not that I want to after what he did."
John looked away for a moment. Then back at the glistening marble.
"Just talk back. Tell me I'm stupid for believing you're dead. Please?"
Silence fell around him. A crow squawked loudly causing John to jump slightly, with a soft sigh he gave Sherlock a small nod before leaving the stone in peace.
Harriet Watson snorted loudly at the headline printed on her partner's newspaper
'CHAMPION SUICIDE BLAMED ON HUNGER GAMES'
Not the catchiest headline she had to admit. If there was one thing the press were good at it was blowing stuff out of proportion.
"Why are you reading that crap?" Harry asked Clara who in reply lowered the paper playfully raising an eyebrow.
"Sherlock was a good man, and the press are making him out as some nutter"
"He could be a nutter, maybe he just acted sort of normal while he was in the Hunger Games killing people"
"Don't say that"
"Jesus Harry, you are so easy to tease!" Clara stuck her tongue out "Don't worry I'm on your side. Anyway rumours are saying this year's games are going to be cancelled. Apparently the uprising would cause too many problems at the open event and the reaping an' all"
"Why couldn't they have cancelled them last year?"
"Because there was a pile of wood but no one had set it alight. Sherlock's death was the match. Now we need to fan the flame"
"Aren't we metaphorical today?"
"Just saying honey. Anyway I need to go to work."
"Just quit. I've won enough money to keep us going for years"
"Yes well I enjoy my job. See you later" Clara grinned at Harry before heading out the door. Harry gave a snort at the sight of the newspaper.
Poor Sherlock. He'd hate all this publicity.
In New York it was night time. No stars were visible in the sky except the occasional helicopter that mimicked there light.
A man strode down the street, every item he wore was designer, from sunglasses to trainers. He'd recently come into a new business for a man named Moriarty. His new boss refused to have a face to face meeting, but the money offered certainly made up for this. He took his phone from his pocket to check his facebook. He was a social man, just because he was a hired assassin didn't mean he couldn't indulge in social networking.
The man was too busy typing on the touchscreen to see something melt out of the shadows behind him, the shadow formed the shape of a man in a long dark coat which flowed out behind him as he strode towards the facebooking assassin. Plenty of other people were walking down the street yet none of them were observant enough to see the shadow pull a gun from his pocket.
Some would say that it was the Hunger Games that had caused this man to hunt down all people in the Moriarty empire. But Sherlock Holmes, a shadow of his former self, knew that it was his friends lives being put on the line that had driven him to such an arduous task.
Chapter 2: Notes and Letter
The gun was reassurance. Sherlock wasn't a murderer. Not in the sense that he went out intent on ending the lives of other humans anyway.
Sherlock honestly couldn't believe the man a few steps in front of him had the nerve to call himself an assassin. The man has flicking through social networking sites on his top of the range phone oblivious to the man who had been following him for almost 7 minutes. Sherlock silently rolled his eyes. The street was empty now. Sherlock took this moment to advance.
"Mr. Simons?" he asked politely. The man turned around
"No" his eyes widened "But you're-"
"The late Sherlock Holmes. Yes"
The assassin reached under his jacket but Sherlock was quicker
"Hands where I can see them" Sherlock commanded his gun aimed at Simons' head. The man paused before obeying.
"How did you do it?" Simons hissed
"That is none of your concern" Sherlock told him before stepping forward and whacking the man with the butt of the gun, knocking the assassin out cold. Sherlock pulled a pair of handcuffs from one pocket of his coat attaching the man to a lamp post, and planting papers in Simons top pocket that would insure his immediate arrest on being found.
Sherlock straightened up. Another job done. His next target was a Thomas Blakley who had recently moved to London. Too close to DI Lestrade for Sherlock's liking. It looked like Sherlock would be returning to London, even if only briefly.
DI Lestrade was stood in front of a desk. Papers spread out into front him. He reached back to itch the back of his neck a groan of annoyance escaping his lips. There was nothing. The victims all suffered the same cause of death, cyanide poisoning. Approximately an hour after death each had received a bullet through the head and been left for the police.
It was days like this he needed a consulting Detective.
Both Sally and Anderson had offered their thoughts on the case but both knew what Lestrade was thinking. They had eventually retreated from the room. Leaving Lestrade with the case.
He glanced at his watch. 5:35pm. He could go home now. He grabbed his coat draping it over his arm. With weather like this he didn't know why he'd brought it with him in the first place. He reached his home quickly he struggled with his coat to find the keys and slid them into the lock of his flat. That when he saw it. Pinned to his door. The handwriting was large and in capitals.
THEY ALL HAD THE SAME CLEANER. ISN'T IT OBVIOUS?
What was that supposed to mean?
Lestrade was in his office rooting through the papers and evidence. Again.
"Greg?" Sally stood in the door way. He had taken a disliking towards her since Sherlock's…absence.
"What?" his tone wasn't to harsh
"Just some more information. We already knew they were all neighbours, but turns out they used the same laundrette and cleaner" she handed some papers his eyes scanned them quickly, then he remembered the scrap of paper. He searched his trouser pockets and fished it out.
THEY ALL HAD THE SAME CLEANER. ISN'T IT OBVIOUS?
Lestrade read 6 times, It seemed like such a Sherlock thing didn't it. He supressed a small laugh
"Donovan I want to question the cleaner"
"Yes. The cleaner. Can you have it organised?"
"Ok…I can get it sorted within the hour" Sally left the room. Greg looked down at the note again. Shaking his head slightly, he scrunched it up in his hand and was about to through it in the bin but changed his mind. He straightened it out and placed it in one of his desk drawers. He wasn't sure why.
John had rented a new flat for 6 months after Sherlock's passing. It was on London's outskirts but he couldn't really afford it without a good job. Apparently Sherlock had paid a 18 month advance on Baker Street.
At first John had an aversion to 221b but now, with money running low and him feeling lonely he had moved back in. This had pleased Mrs Hudson greatly she was constantly making him mugs of tea and fussing over him.
John had packed all of Sherlock's belongings in boxes and moved them into Sherlock's old room. He couldn't bring himself to bin them but he couldn't look at them everyday so it seemed like a good compromise.
John had had a job interview today. He was going to be an A&E doctor at the Royal Hope hospital, it offered a lot more variety than the small surgery he'd worked at with Sarah. But she was gone now and so was that John. He had changed after the war and he had changed after Sherlock's death.
His new job started next month. That gave him about 27 days of lounging around all day. In the corner of his eye he noticed a small pile of post. Mrs Hudson must've brought it up. He stood up and headed towards it, flicking through it;
The last letter caught his attention though. He placed the others down. The address was hand written and the envelope made of thick expensive paper with a creamy tinge. He flipped it over and opened it, pulling out a letter, also hand written on the same paper.
Dear Dr. John Watson,
I am writing to inform you that you have been invited to this years Hunger Games.
John gave a disgusted snort.
"What the hell?" he muttered throwing the letter over his shoulder. The Hunger Games, it all seemed so long ago now. They'd been cancelled now. To many counter movements. John walked away from the letter deciding he needed another cup of tea.
After a half an hour it was concluded that the cleaner was the killer. His team had been ecstatic, a case hadn't been solved this quickly since Sherlock. But Lestrade kept going back to the note. Where had it come from. Was it a prank? Someone pretending to be like Sherlock? Or just a witness to scared to come to the police themselves?
Either way it was case closed.
With no more cases waiting Lestrade headed home at 5:00pm for once. When he reached his door there was another note.
TOOK YOU LONG ENOUGH
Lestrade shoved it in his pocket and went inside.
So he had a stalker now then?
Chapter 3: Big Brother's Always Watching
Sherlock had known his presence in London would be found out by Mycroft sooner rather than later. Mycroft had supposedly thought him dead but would still see him on the CCTV. To be honest Sherlock couldn't be bothered to go to the extent of hiding from CCTV. He'd got a haircut, his hair was now a length between consulting detective Sherlock's and arena Sherlock's, he'd also dyed it a lighter brown colour instead of his normal black. He was currently dressed in jeans, converses, a charcoal t-shirt and a leather jacket on top; he also wore sunglasses, hopefully this would be enough to not be recognised as the deceased Hunger Games champion.
He had been in London for 36 hours when a black car had pulled up beside him. The door had swung open.
"Not dead then?" it was Anthea sat inside; head angled towards him, her eyes looked up at him for a moment before returning to the Blackberry in her hand. Of course Mycroft wouldn't lower himself to coming to fetch his brother himself that would make it look like he cared.
Sherlock watched her for a moment before climbing into the car; once the door had shut he removed his sunglasses.
"Where are we going then? I doubt it'll be Diogenes, I'm sure he'll want to lecture me on how socially unacceptable it is for one to fake ones death"
Anthea ignored him
"Well it's won't be his office, as there are others there, again he wouldn't want to embarrass himself by being heard yelling at me. So his house then. Middle of nowhere, nice and big and then he has the upper hand as well."
Still he received no answer. But he was satisfied that he was right.
It was a Friday which meant John was going shopping. He loathed Tesco's, partly due to the chip and pin machines partly just because it was Tesco's. He was walking down the street, a black car sped past him pulling up by someone about 15 metres down the street.
John could swear it was Mycroft's kidnapping car. After a moment a stranger reluctantly stepped into the vehicle. John couldn't stop a small smile crossing his face.
Mycroft's house was ridiculous. Sherlock had told his older brother that the second the man had bought it. It was huge in every dimension and seeing that Mycroft was always at work it was completely unnecessary.
On stepping out of the car Sherlock placed his sunglasses back on his nose and strode over to the house. He opened the door, Mycroft had brought him hear so pleasantries such as knocking weren't necessary in Sherlock's mind.
"This way" Anthea stalked in behind him and started walking down a corridor
Sherlock followed her. After two right turns and one left they reached a huge mahogany door, it's surface polished to perfection, very recently. Sherlock could smell the trace of a citrus wood polish in the air.
The door was opened by Anthea soundlessly.
"Got him sir" she called in before giving Sherlock a look that told him he should enter the room. He raised an eyebrow at her; it arched over the darkened lense of his sunglasses then crossed the threshold into his brother's territory.
Sherlock felt the corner of his mouth quirk up at the sight of Mycroft Holmes. He was sat at his desk in a three piece suit, the jacket of which was hung on the wall. He had his fingers interlocked, resting on his desk out in front of him. His eyes were like steel. Watching Sherlock's every move. Like a lion watching its prey.
Sherlock's swiftly removed his sunglasses again, hooking them over the neck of his t-shirt.
"So you believed my act then?" Sherlock decided to break the ice
Mycroft took a deep breath in. Eyes remaining on his scrawny little brother. Scrawny really was the best word. Sherlock had lost weight without John forcing him to eat every day or so. His jeans were frayed around the heel of his shoes, this was an often used disguise then. Sherlock's hair was scruffy and unbrushed, he hadn't shaved for a few days and there were faint grey shadows beneath Sherlock's stormy blue eyes.
"Do you know what your death did to Doctor Watson?"
Sherlock sighed moving his gaze to the window for a moment before back at Mycroft
"It was a necessary precaution"
"Necessary?" Mycroft's tone was flat
"What was it you once told me? People act better when they don't know they are being watched"
"Sherlock that very line implies that you are manipulating John"
Sherlock raised his eyebrows at his brother.
"Why are you back in London then? If you went as far as faking your death I doubt this is a social call" Mycroft knew he would get no more from Sherlock on the subject of John Watson
"Someone who used to be part of the Moriarty Empire has moved in very close to DI Lestrade I'm just here to take him down"
"I assume it was you that helped him on that case the other day. And Sherlock we both know I am perfectly capable of removing an assassin"
"Don't over glorify yourself Mycroft. Blakely has been there for 9 days now. If you planned to remove him he'd be gone by now"
"If that's all I need to go now. I have business to attend to Mycroft"
"Of course. One last thing brother dear. Do you plan to reveal yourself to John?"
"If I did don't you think I would've gone to him before you?" with that Sherlock left the room.
He reluctantly accepted the car ride from Anthea purely because Mycroft lived in the middle of nowhere and Sherlock had no intentions of wasting his time by walking such a journey.
Sherlock knew exactly where he planned to go but told Anthea to drop him at a location far enough away that his choice wouldn't be deducible.
When the car disappeared around the corner Sherlock was about to head off when he noticed a strip of fluttering police tape out the corner of his eye. He turned to face the crime scene, he quickly pulled on his sunglasses protecting his identity before walking over to stand barely a metre away from the tape that told him to move away.
His eyes found the Forensics team dressed in pale blue. Anderson was obviously in charge, he went back and forth missing all important details. Sally stood at the other side of the crime scene guarding the tape at that side. DI Lestrade was there in charge of it all. He looked tired, fed up and clueless.
Lestrade watched Anderson wonder back and forth, like everyone else he was clueless. Lestrade gave a loud sigh dragging his hands down his face. Why were so many crime scenes impossible to gleam information from since Sherlock's passing?
Lestrade looked up, there was a surprising lack of public on lookers today. On Donovan's side about 5 people stood on their toes trying to catch glimpses of what was happening. On Jones' side there was just one man. He was tall, wore jeans and a leather jacket and had short-ish brown hair with sunglasses hiding his a portion of his face. Despite the dark sunglasses, Lestrade could swear the man was looking right at him. Then a thought crossed his mind, was that his secret helper from the other day?
No. That was ridiculous, just a journalist or curious member of the public. Lestrade broke his gaze turning away to walk back over to the bodies.
Sherlock lingered at the crime scene longer than he should've. He was typing into his phone and failed to see Lestrade leaving the crime scene, he looked up to see the grey haired detective walking along the pavement on the opposite side of the road.
"Anything interesting?" Sherlock called across to him, masking his voice but moving his tone up an octave and using a slight American accent. Lestrade looked surprised to see him talking to him. Sherlock mentally cursed himself that was too risky.
"Sorry mate that's classified information. There'll be a press conference tomorrow"
"No worries mate" Sherlock called back "Just curious. I'm with the NYPD over in America. Just on my holiday seems like i can never escape death though."
Screw it Sherlock thought It'll be a long time before I get a chance to annoy him again
"Yup. I saw the paramedics taking one of the bodies, by the dried mud on her boots I'd say she's been camping recently, and there's a missing person's report about two hours from her. Find the campsite find the real crime scene. They obvious weren't killed here. Good evening, Detective inspector"
With that Sherlock turned off walking down the first corner he came tom of course he could've identified the correct camp site but that would be going a little bit too far, he couldn't repress a smirk as he walked away, dare he admit it? Yes, he had missed Lestrade.
Chapter 4: The Grim Reapers
John made his way up the stairs slowly, wincing as his leg gave a painful twinge. He went straight to the kitchen ditching the Tesco bags on the table and flicking the kettle on. He walked through into the living room while scanning his phone screen.
"Evening Doctor Watson"
"What the hell are you doing here?" He didn't have any urge to be polite to Mycroft.
"Social visit, in a way John"
"You? Social visit? Why is it I don't believe that?"
Mycroft gave his 'I know more than you' smile.
"You look tired" John told him.
"I've had an eventful day. Something arose that I thought to be long gone. But any way, I'm here about this,"
In his hand Mycroft held the letter that he'd received in the post. The one that spoke about the Hunger Games.
"What about it?"
"You, DI Lestrade and myself have all received one at some point in the last three days, all of them identical, except from the names of course"
"And? It's just spam. Wait a second, you go through my mail"
"Sherlock wants…would've wanted me to keep an eye on you all."
John didn't reply.
"Anyway John, I have my people watching you and DI Lestrade in case this is not just 'spam' as you said"
Mycroft stood up, moving his hand to grip the handle of his umbrella.
"I should be going John. Business to attend to"
"Bye" John said frowning at the door as it closed behind the government official.
Molly Hooper had had a surprisingly busy day. There had been a multiple homicide today and she had been given the bodies to sort out. Molly tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and started sorting the paper work
"The killer was the uncle not the father"
Molly gave a yelp of surprise at the sound of the deep baritone of Sherlock Holmes
Molly raised her eyebrows in shock at his appearance. Leather jacket and jeans.
"How've you been?" she asked him
"Why are you here?"
"Assassin after Lestrade"
"And you're here to save him, that's nice of you"
Sherlock ignored choosing instead to pick up her clipboard "It's not the father" he muttered again
"Don't look at that" she muttered pulling it from his fingers
His grey eyes watched her hand as she took it and placed back on the work top
"Why are you here?"
"Have you had a Mr.Robinson's body?"
"No. No Robinson's today. Is that a problem?"
"No, that means I have more time. Goodbye Molly" with a quick nod he was gone
"Bye" Molly murmured, the shutting door caused her paper work to rustle but she slapped a hand on them before they escaped her. She gave a soft sigh, back to work.
Sherlock left the hospital quickly.
Molly Hooper was the only old acquaintance he wanted to see here. He was outside in good time and off down the street. He couldn't risk using a hotel in London. Not right now. He would have to spend his night as his homeless network did. He zipped his jacket up to his chin and dug his fingers deep into his pockets as protection against the chill of the evening air.
The walk to the Vauxhall arches shouldn't take too long.
The doorbell rang shrilly, with his current head ache, it was not what John Watson needed. After it had rang three times he decided Mrs Hudson wasn't in and he would have to answer the door himself. He made his way downstairs.
"I'm sorry Mrs Hudson isn't -" The door was barely open but a man threw it open, he threw a punch at John throwing the soldier against the wall, John was quick to react getting to his feet but was met with another punch that sent him into unconsciousness.
At the same moment Lestrade opened his front door and was met with the same response except his first hit knocked him out. He body remained on the cold tiles for a moment before two men hauled him up and dragged his limp form outside.
Mycroft Holmes was sorting through paper work, trying to decide what to do with his younger brother. He would have to resurrect Sherlock legally, make the death certificate void, not yet of course, but preparation was always necessary.
The unmistakable sound of shattering glass caused him to glance up, his door was thrown open and two thugs walked in
"Good evening" Mycroft returned to his paper work as they advanced on him.
Two gun shots sounded.
Two bodies fell to the floor
"Good aim Anthea" Mycroft told his assistant. She pocketed her weapon before texting the appropriate people to come and remove the dead people from her employer's floor.
"I am going to need a new carpet" Mycroft sighed "Blood stains are practically impossible to remove"
Chapter 5: Chemical Defects
Sherlock was curled up against a brick wall. Night had fallen a long time ago. He didn't even try to sleep. There was no point. Luckily none of his Homeless Network recognised him. He was just another man with nowhere to go.
He wasn't even asked what his name was; despite the cold nibbling at his bones he liked it here.
He was fairly sure it was nearing 3am, but he drew his phone from his pocket to check anyway.
It was a basic flip up phone, calling, texting, camera. That was about it. He was constantly changing phones and SIM cards to avoid detection, and without access to his bank account he could waste money on high tech gadgets. He stared at the dull light of the screen. 3:07am.
The phone vibrated in his palm. A frown creased his forehead. No one knew his number.
He opened the text:
DI Gregory Lestrade and Dr. John Watson have been abducted in. There is a car waiting for you to you left on the main road. More information will be given on your arrival.- MH
Sherlock was on his feet and running down towards the road within seconds. His presence in London was to protect Lestrade. Not to endanger everyone.
John supressed a groan as his body came back online. His head throbbed painfully. He sucked in a mouthful air, a slight stinging on his lips told him his bottom lip had been split and he probably had a nice bruise on his cheek to match it. A groan broke through the darkness somewhere on John's right.
"Anybody else here?" the voice asked
"John? What happened?"
"I got punched and woke up here. You?"
"Same story. Where is here?"
"I don't know. Are you badly injured?"
"Just bruised I think."
"You ladies awake then?" a new voice joined the conversation. A click brought a light bulb to life. A huge man stood looking down at the two men. He had dragon tattoo wrapped around his muscular arms, his head was shaved and a cigarette sat in his mouth. The man made Phil Mitchell look like Tinkerbelle.
"The boss wants to see you, now"
Neither John or Lestrade paused, they jumped to their feet and followed obediently. They were lead through what was obviously on old abandoned warehouse, as cliché as it was still enough to start John's blood stream filling with adrenaline.
"Finally. I was wondering when you two were going to wake up!"
John knew that voice
"No." John whispered "Please God no"
Lestrade didn't speak he just threw John a glance.
There was a creak as someone moved across the room towards them. Each step echoing back and forth through the room.
It was James Moriarty. He flashed a predatory grin.
"You're dead" John voice held no emotion
"I saw your corpse" Lestrade shook his head
"Faking my death was easy" Moriarty gave a short laugh "Poor Sherly was too stressed about my snipers shooting you two and your precious Landlady that he missed the obvious and jumped any way. I'm sure he was the one that said sentiment was, I think his words were, 'a chemical defect found in the losing side'. Ironic isn't it, he died for one of the things he never truly understood."
John's breathing was ragged
"You two still think he committed suicide because of the press. Don't you?" Moriarty gave another laugh, one fuelled by insanity "He died because otherwise you two and Mrs Hudson were going to die. His only three friends in the world. He valued you three above himself, if that isn't a chemical defect I don't know what it"
"Why are we here?" John straightened his back, holding back the tears stinging his eyes, Sherlock had sacrificed himself not committed suicide
"Because I have suspicions. I won't share them with you, and what I plan to do will clear up my doubts. Also I'm bored, I need a new game. Quite literally. Did you get the invites? The 30th Hunger Games. Not gunna be televised I'm afraid, just me watching"
"The invites were from you?"
"Obviously! I just said that" Moriarty calmed himself "I have an arena prepared, same rules as normal apply, kill or be killed. I have other's in the arena to keep you entertained. And if you both survived remember I'm not soft like the gamemakers. If you're the last two and you decide to not kill each other. I'll let you die slowly by starvation."
"Someone'll notice our absence" Lestrade spoke confidently "I'm expected to be at the Scotland Yard first thing tomorrow"
"Don't worry, your sick note is all sorted. My friend'll take you downstairs, I have outfits and weapons all sorted. In two hours' time you two will be in my arena, it's all very exciting. Isn't it?"
"You can't do this"
"Oh Johnny. I think we know without Sherlock Holmes stopping me, I can do whatever I want. Good luck. Or should I say 'May the odds be ever in your favour" he gave a manic giggle before the henchman reappeared
"This way" he rumbled "now"
A quick journey downstairs and they were both deposited in to separate rooms. John's was dark and had only one light bulb; he sighed at the sight of the Arena outfits, they'd been given. The trousers were obviously somehow obtained from the army, they were exactly the same as the ones John had worn while at war, while he was shot. There was luckily no matching top, just a plain black t-shirt and a black weather proof jacket, like what Harry and Sherlock had had to wear.
John noticed that his given weapons were two guns, both identical to his one sat at home in a draw.
He pocketed them both.
Two minutes later Moriarty's henchmen were back. John was reunited with Lestrade and they were both lead back upstairs. They both stood waiting expectantly.
John heard a creak behind him. He turned just in time to see a hand coming towards his face and pressing a cloth over his mouth and nose. Chloroform. The next second he was on the floor his mind slipping away.
When John Watson started to become conscious again he was somewhere new.
John forced his eyes open, his head was resting on a soft but damp floor, he looked up, he was lead on mud. A bird squawked in the distance. He looked upwards to see a roof of foliage above him. They were in a rainforest
"Hello tributes" Moriarty's voice reverberated around the jungle his tone like an excited five year old who'd got a new toy "All I really need to say is have fun and don't forget to kill each other. Ciao"
John pushed himself on to his knees. Lestrade sat beside him also on his knees.
"What the hell are we supposed to do now?" the DI demanded, to the rain forest more than John. Which was lucky as John didn't have an answer.
Chapter 6: All the King's Horses and All the King's Men
A few hours ago…
Sherlock looked up and down the road. Where the hell was Mycroft's car?!
He gave a growl of annoyance.
A car drew up beside him, 'Anthea' was within
"In" she didn't even look up at him
"What data do we have?"
"Both got a strange invite, both got kidnapped within ten minutes of each other. Someone came to try and get your brother as well but I detained them"
"Who were the invites from?"
"They weren't signed but I'm sure you can make an educated guess"
John looked up trying to find the sky but the masses of green foliage blocked his view.
"How many other Tributes do you think there are then?" John turned to Lestrade as he spoke
"If he's re-enacting the normal games normal number I suppose"
"He's a psychopath" John muttered
"Yeah, one that only Sherlock could deal with." Lestrade's tone was bitter
"Not even Sherlock could deal with him in the end" John said his voice very quiet but Lestrade heard him
"Well I suppose we should find a water supply or something. It's boiling here, and I'd rather not die of dehydration" Lestrade clapped his hands together, trying to seem prepared. John gave a nod of agreement. Being in the army meant that John was good at adapting to such heats but they still needed water. Both men got to their feet.
"Which direction should he take?"
"We should go right, water flows downhill so would should have more luck down there" John decided
Lestrade nodded, he lacked survival knowledge, he'd never been a boy scout so he couldn't question the ex-soldier's judgement.
The second the car stopped Sherlock was out, they were at his brother's office this time, the building would be near empty at this time in the morning. He knew the layout of this building and where Mycroft would be. He didn't bother waiting for Anthea, she hadn't offered anything helpful so far and he doubted that would change.
He strode through the building, which looked a lot less impressive when he didn't have his coat billowing out behind him. He really did despise his current outfit.
He shoved Mycroft's door open and walked in, his brother didn't even look up at his entrance.
"Back so soon?" Mycroft asked
"What happened? You said you were watching them! How did this happen?"
"Calm down Sherlock and I'll explain"
Sherlock's emotions drained away instantly, his face becoming a blank mask. He lowered himself into the chair opposite his older brother. Mycroft handed him a folder filled with images from CCTV, a photocopy of the invites and other various pieces of paper.
"How did this happen in such populated areas" Sherlock spoke to himself more than his brother, he flicked through the papers before standing up
"What was it you and John said to that man back in 'A study in pink' Welcome to London?" Mycroft asked
"You've been away to long Sherlock, you've forgotten what it's like here?"
"I haven't forgotten anything" Sherlock replied coolly
Mycroft smiled at Sherlock further annoying the younger man. Sherlock scooped the papers up and headed back outside. He didn't need to ask to know that Mycroft would have a car and 'Anthea' waiting down the street for him. He wasn't sure if that was good or not. He ran his fingers through his short hair and stepped out onto the pavement. Sure enough ten metres down the road sat a black car.
"Mr Holmes?" the voice came from behind him, Sherlock ignored him "Mr Sherlock Holmes?"
"I'm sorry I think you're mistaken-" Sherlock was cut off by a fist connecting with his jaw, he stumbled sideways catching himself on the wall
"You're coming with me Mr Holmes"
"I'm afraid I have other plans" Sherlock spat a mouthful of blood on the floor
"The boss requested your presence"
"Moriarty. James Moriarty."
Sherlock straightened up
"Tell him I'm on my way"
Sherlock found once he'd agreed to go with Moriarty's men that he no longer got punched. He was now being driven to an unknown location in a rather expensive car. He kept his eyes fixed on the passing landscape, the car turned off around a corner, the road was bleached a pale grey from years of sunlight but was reasonably smooth suggesting it wasn't used often, he scanned the surrounding area, the further they got from central London the more worn and tired the buildings looked, Sherlock knew exactly where he was, he knew there was a old abandoned factory out here, about two miles away. Two lefts and a right would take them there. After a few more minutes of silence the car drew to a halt confirming Sherlock's suspicions.
The building was most defiantly on its last legs, it wouldn't take much to bring the structure crashing down. Sherlock clasped his hands behind his back and strode towards the door without need of an invitation. His stormy eyes panned across the room for anything resembling a clue.
"Sorry for the wait. I was just making sure Johnny and his friend were nice and unconscious. I have big plans for them. Anyway down to business."
"Still alive then?" Sherlock asked moving his gaze from his ceiling to the Consulting Criminal
"Obviously." Moriarty rolled his eyes playfully "Can't believe you fell for it, your phone call to John was adorable though. I have to admit I did have a quick peak at your phone after your little 'accident' your texts to John were just so cute, so domestic…" The last word was said with disgust
"Is there a point to this?"
"Yes actually. You're not dead. But my Sebby is, and I'm afraid that I've sunk to the level of revenge. I'm glad you're not dead. Killing you was a quick and easy solution, this way I can keep my promise, burn the heart out of you properly."
"An eye for an eye I suppose? I killed Moran you kill John"
"No. That would be easy. Easy and boring. My new game it's genius really."
"Care to enlighten me?"
"The Hunger Games. Where this all started, perfect way to finish it all don't you think? I'll let you work out the rest by yourself. I'll sure it'll be obvious then"
Sherlock's lips remained sealed for a moment as he considered what Moriarty was planning but then a cloth was clamped over his mouth, the smell of chloroform made Sherlock's eyes water and his body started to go limp until he fell to the floor. The last thing he saw was Moriarty smiling down at him, waving.
"You were supposed to knock him out after he had got changed" Moriarty looked at his new pet henchman with mock disapproval. "Doesn't matter pack his outift in a bag and leave them with him in the arena"
"What weapon are you giving him?"
"Isn't it obvious?"
The henchman remained silent
"A bow and arrow"
Chapter 7: Not Alone
Sherlock repressed a groan as he woke up.
Before opening his eyes he assessed his surroundings. The air had a chemical tinge to it mixed with fresh tar, he was led on a hard surface, which was slightly warm meaning he'd been here in his state of unconsciousness for a while.
He snapped his eyes open and he got to his feet, a frown creasing his forehead. He was surrounded by chunks of concrete and ruined buildings, skyscrapers sat here and there half torn down. Sherlock looked up the sky's colour matched his eyes.
He appeared to be a long abandoned, ruined city. Well, that's what it would look like to the average person.
Sherlock had earlier noticed the hint of fresh tar suggesting this place was recently constructed, there was graffiti scrawled across a far wall, closer inspection showed it to be recently painted to look old and faded. He span on his heel taking in the entirety of his surroundings
"A new arena" he realised, he looked down at himself, he was still dressed in jeans and a leather jacket. A large rucksack was sat in the middle of the road, he opened it to reveal that it contained a change of clothes, similar to what he had previously worn in the arena. Beside the bag sat his old Arena bow and a sheaf of arrows
"A new game" Sherlock murmured, but he was alone. The Hunger Games had more than one contestant, so where was everyone? Surely if they'd seen an unconscious man they'd kill him without a second thought?
Sherlock lifted the bag hooking it over his shoulder and heading north, it did make sense to change into the provided outfit, just not in the middle of the street.
That was today planned out then; get changed and get to know his surroundings.
Lestrade was surprisingly clumsy in the rainforest, he kept tripping on roots or getting whacked in the face by branches, John tripped occasionally but was a lot better in the rainforest environment. Now the two were sat on some lumpy grey rocks that seemed to grow out of the jungle floor.
A small river crawled past them, both of them had full water bottles now, but the two still had to wait for the small pills to decontaminate the liquid.
"Do you think he expects us to kill each other?" Lestrade turned to John as he spoke
"That wouldn't be much fun for him though would it" John's tone was bitter "I know I only met him a few times but each time he was obsessed with playing games. Dumping us into a jungle to murder each other isn't complex enough"
"So there are going to be other Tributes and some interesting twist. Great."
"There's got to be a way out of here"
"Is he that careless?"
John remained silent. There was a crack from the distance.
"Did you hear that?" John hissed at Lestrade who nodded, they both grabbed their guns neither knowing what they were going to do.
John instinctively raised the gun pointing the muzzle at the source of the noise. Lestrade followed his lead. There was a full minute of silence, then the sound of a twig snapping caused both men to flinch. A man appeared from the trees, he grinned at the sight of John and Lestrade.
"Well" he shrugged his huge shoulders rising and falling "This was supposed to be a challenge. But I've found you both on the first day"
John's fingers tightened around the gun making his knuckles white, the gun felt strangely comfortable in his hand, the same way it had when he'd chased criminals around London with Sher-
'Don't think about that John' he mentally scolded himself and fixed his mind on what was happening here and now.
The muscled man drew a large gun from over his shoulder.
"Which of you wants to go first then?"
He was going to shoot.
John waited a moment longer.
The man took aim.
He tightened his finger around the trigger.
He smiled down at Lestrade.
Sherlock was fairly sure he had about seventy five percent of the 'abandoned city' mapped out in his head now. Not that that helped much.
About twenty minutes ago he'd spotted a splodge of green on the horizon. He was now about thirty metres away from it, but that was near enough to see what it was.
A rainforest growing out of the edges of a city, it was a strange sight, as Sherlock got closer he could feel the temperature increasing along with the humidity.
He was now stood at the line that lead from thin cracked concrete into rich brown soil. Sherlock craned his neck back, watching the deep green foliage reach into the sky, the finger like branches getting tangled within the clouds.
The detective looked back at the city and then stepped over the threshold entering the next part of the Arena.
Neither John or Lestrade moved for a moment. The other Tribute was lead out motionless on the floor.
"Thanks" Lestrade said his voice slow and cautious.
John lowered his gun "No problem"
Both men took a step backwards
"We should go" John decided "If there are more Tributes out there looking for us they would've hear the gun"
"We need somewhere to hide" Lestrade added
Both men turned around and started running, one death was enough for one day.
Sherlock did not like the rainforest. He was tempted to go back to the city but he was sure that if wanted more answers they were this way. He was too tall for this environment, the tree branches reached out snagging on his clothes and hair.
Luckily he'd found water in the city and had a large water bottle full of it.
Sherlock's head snapped to the left, he'd heard something, the distant crunch of leaves, more like a squelch because of the soggy ground but it was still enough to get his attention. He scanned the tree's and found an out of place shadow.
He grabbed his bow and started lining the arrow up. Then the shadow pounced forward and Sherlock spotted the gun held in its hand. He leapt backwards narrowly avoiding getting squashed. He needed to get further away if he wanted to shoot using his bow and arrow. He leapt to his feet and started running, heavy thudding from behind told him he was being followed.
He span around drawing the arrow back so the string touched his lips. He took another step back to get a better footing.
There was a tree root snaking out of the ground behind him, his heel caught it and he lost his footing slipping over backwards. The other Tribute was standing over him now gun aimed at the detective head.
John and Lestrade both stopped running both choosing to lean against a tree and catch their breath. They just stayed there for a moment listening to rainforest sounds.
They both heard a rustling and then multiple branches snapping. They turned to look into the trees expecting to see someone coming for them but instead they saw two shadow covered figures. One running franticly trying escape with his life while the one behind obviously held a gun. John pushed himself off the tree and grabbed his gun.
"Is this a good idea?" Lestrade hissed "What if you save him and he tries to kill you?"
There was a thud, the fleeing figure could no longer be seen he must've fallen. John just shrugged at Lestrade and ran through the trees. Lestrade followed.
"Drop the gun" John said to the Tribute who held a gun
"Have you read the rules?" the man smirked
"I've only giving you one chance. Drop the gun"
The man just smirked
"If you knew how much money I'm getting paid for being in here you'd be strangling the scrawny git yourself"
John's eyes flicked to Lestrade, who wore a grim expression but nodded slightly.
John let his finger curl around the trigger and then flinched at the resounding bomb. John watched the Tribute fall to the floor.
Lestrade turned to the Tribute they'd just saved. He went to offer him a hand to help him to his feet but when his eyes found the man's face. Every muscle in his body froze and his mouth dropped open.
Chapter 8: It's What We Leave Behind
Mycroft was sat behind his desk hands clasped together resting on the desk in front of him.
"He never came to the car sir"
"You've said that three times now Anthea. I don't appreciate repetition. I've seen the CCTV he got in the car with some stranger. I need to know who those people are and why my brother deemed it necessary to go with them. Now"
Mycroft could appear quite threatening when he wanted to. Anthea left the room, leaving Mycroft with a bunch of CCTV printouts showing his brother. The car the younger Holmes brother had climbed into disappeared completely within five minutes of the event. Mycroft leaned back in his chair. Most of the stress in his life was caused by his troublesome little brother.
Sherlock's ice blue eyes were fixed on Lestrade. Moriarty had obviously kidnapped Lestrade and John but Sherlock hadn't realised that he'd place them in the Arena with him.
Lestrade's mouth opened and shut again, his brain failing to provide him with the right words. Sherlock pushed himself off the floor, getting to his feet simultaneously grabbing his bow.
Lestrade's eyes never left him.
"You look like you've seen a ghost" Sherlock remarked drily. Lestrade still didn't say anything. Evidently an attempt at humour was not a good idea.
"You can lower you gun now John" Sherlock said moving his gaze to his ex-flatmate. In response John span around, obviously recognising Sherlock's voice, he didn't lower the weapon though, he just pointed it at Sherlock
"Really John?" Sherlock took a step towards him
"As was Moriarty but after this it's fairly obvious that he's alive"
"You can't be you."
"Who am I then?"
"Baskerville! You could be a clone or…"
"A clone?" Sherlock scoffed
"You died Sherlock!" John managed to say the name without choking on it
"I faked my death"
"We went to your funeral. I visited your grave. I went back to my bloody therapist"
"You heard me" Sherlock plucked an arrow from the ground beside him, trying to maintain an air of disinterest
"Why?" Lestrade found his voice
"Why what?" Sherlock frowned at him
"Why let us think your dead?"
"I'm sure Moriarty told you" Sherlock said his tone told them he had no more to say on the subject.
John walked over to him, he'd pocketed the gun now. Sherlock tensed slightly expecting a punch at the least. John reached out placing his hand on Sherlock's shoulder, checking if the man was real and not a figment of his imagination. Then he wrapped his arms around the lanky detective hugging him tightly.
"You bloody idiot"
Sherlock looked over to Lestrade for help, who just shrugged.
"If you ever try anything like that again I'll kill you myself"
"I'll try to remember that"
John let him go
"I hate you" his voice betrayed him though "We need to keep going."
"Indeed." Sherlock nodded.
"Onwards." Lestrade still had a small smile on his lips, he was obviously pleased the Sherlock and John had sort of made up, he was fairly sure John would have a proper go at Sherlock once they'd exited the Arena but until then they should be ok…ish.
John took a step in the way he and Lestrade had earlier been running.
"I've been that way" Sherlock told them turning and starting to walk in the opposite direction "Nothing interesting, just a fake abandoned city"
"And that's not interesting?"
Sherlock just rolled his eyes and walked through the trees. John and Lestrade exchanged glances before following Sherlock.
"Typical" Lestrade muttered to John "He's back for two minutes and we're already chasing after him."
Sherlock tended to remain at least ten metres in front of Lestrade and John at all times. John assumed this was to avoid conversation. Ten metres wasn't enough to stop John from noticing how awful Sherlock looked. He'd lost weight without having John around to force him to eat and the same could probably be said about sleeping as Sherlock skin was a bit paler and there were faint grey shadows beneath his ice blue eyes. John also decided Sherlock's hair suited him better longer, he decided against voicing these comments for now, Sherlock didn't appear to be in a listening mood anyway.
"Sherlock" Lestrade voice broke John's train of thought "I know you're above us mortals but we could do with a ten minute break."
Sherlock nodded before walking another five metres and perching on a rock.
John went to join Sherlock choosing to settle on a half rotten piece of tree trunk, Lestrade sat beside him.
"Aren't you even going to have something to drink?" John asked Sherlock.
"I drank earlier, I'm fine"
John raised an eyebrow "If you say so" He noticed Sherlock smirk slightly.
"Why's Moriarty doing all this then?" Lestrade asked
"I've given it a lot of thought" Sherlock admitted, he shifted on his rock to face John and Lestrade more "Originally it was boredom, the pool and bombs that was him being bored, but recently I was speaking to someone and they mentioned legacy"
"Legacy?" Lestrade raised an eyebrow
"Yes legacy. What you leave behind when you're gone, what you're remembered for. When you apply that idea to what Moriarty's done it makes sense"
"Making you a fraud" John said slowly "Destroying your legacy?"
"Giving me a bad legacy, unless I can prove he was real I will always be remembered as a fruad. I worked out Moriarty was still alive because of this, he died as Richard Brook, his legacy was being a children's TV presenter. He wouldn't want to die with people thinking that. He would want to be remembered as a consulting criminal, he'd want to be remembered for something big."
"Which is this" John summarised
"This isn't big, three people dying isn't big. That wouldn't be big enough. He just wants us out of the picture. There aren't many people who know about Moriarty who want to stop him, even fewer that understand him, me being able understand him is a threat to him, I have the ability to work out what he's planning to some extent, I have the ability to prevent his big finale. Also, you two might be able to offer people valuable information to bring him down, so again he needs you two out of the way and I'm fairly sure when we're gone he'll go after Mycroft"
"And you got all this out of a conversation with a stranger about legacy?" John asked giving a small laugh
"And the fact that we're all trapped in a Hunger Games re-enactment" Sherlock added "It's fairly late, here seems like a suitable place for you two to get some sleep."
"You're not going to sleep?" Lestrade raised an eyebrow at him
"I need to think of a way out of here"
"Can you do that?"
Sherlock looked up from his hands "I've got to"
Chapter 9: Stepping Over The Mark
John glanced over at Lestrade, who was now fast asleep, John wanted to remain awake so he could grill Sherlock about where he'd been since his 'death' but after a day's worth of trekking through a rainforest and ending a couple of lives it wasn't too long before he to succumbed to sleep.
Sherlock hadn't moved from his rock since they'd stopped for a break a few hours ago. He was tempted to run away now while they were asleep. He was Moriarty's main target, they'd be safer with him gone and they might even believe they'd imagined his presence today.
But then again Moriarty had them here for a reason; maybe they'd be safer with him.
Either way their lives were in danger.
Sherlock interlocked his fingers beneath his chin, he accessed his Mind Palace not very deeply, just to recall information and memories about his previous time in the Arena, obviously Moriarty had planned for Sherlock to die then but that hadn't worked it out, and the same could be said for his jump off of St. Bart's. He doubted Moriarty would leave anything to chance this time. He wanted Sherlock gone.
Sherlock pinched the bridge of his nose, his brow creasing in concentration. He heard the squawk of a nocturnal bird off somewhere to his left as it leapt from its branch flapping its wings.
Despite the early hour it wasn't pitch black, the moonlight filtered through the leaves reflecting off there damp surfaces. Sherlock's eyes followed the beams of light watching them fade or disappear behind the massive tree trunks that occupied the forest. He closed his eyes focusing more on the forest sounds, there were a large variety of insects surrounding him, he could here John's deep quiet breathing and Lestrade's louder breathing that was verging on snoring. He couldn't hear any cameras, in the previous Arena they'd given off a faint whirring noise, but him not hearing that meant nothing though. Moriarty could've just a newer model of camera.
Sherlock remained in the same position just thinking for, he wasn't sure how long, just that he couldn't come up with anything helpful. Sherlock looked to the sky again, sunlight had now chosen to start to replace the moonlight in shining down through the tree's but with its light it bought heat. A groan grabbed Sherlock attention, Lestrade appeared to be waking up, after a minute he was sat up stretching his arms in front of him.
"Sleep well?" Sherlock asked his tone held no interest though
"Wouldn't be in my top ten ways to sleep" Lestrade muttered, moving his eyes to look up at Sherlock, who was still perched on his rock, almost unmoving like some bizarre statue. "Have you had any sleep? Actually have you moved at all in the last few hours?"
"I was thinking."
"Well you won't be any help if you knock yourself out from sleep deprivation."
Sherlock snorted "I can go a few days without sleep."
"You're only human Sherlock."
Sherlock rolled his eyes so many people said that to him, he watched Lestrade for a moment before speaking.
"You shouldn't have blamed yourself" his stormy eyes fixed on Lestrade's
"What makes you think I-"
"I told John I was a fake, that Moriarty was my invention yet both of you didn't believe it"
"That's what being a friend is, Sherlock. Believing in someone and knowing when they're lying"
"Why did you blame yourself? I committed 'suicide' that was my choice."
"Because Sherlock from the rest of us' point of view it looked like you'd cracked, like everything the Press had been saying had finally got to you. I should've tried to help, not try to arrest you!"
Sherlock didn't reply for a moment
"You honestly didn't expect us to believe in you?" Lestrade asked
"I know a lot of things Lestrade, but friends and friendship is something I lack experience in. We should get moving, we need to wake John up and then keep going in yesterday's direction."
Lestrade sighed "Yeah" He knew that he wasn't going to get anything else from Sherlock for now.
After half an hour John was also awake and they were off walking again.
"So" John decided he was fed up of the awkward silence "Are we allowed to talk to you today?"
Sherlock didn't break his stride "I didn't say you couldn't speak to me yesterday"
"Yeah but you remained about ten metres ahead of us at all times, today you're only five metres ahead"
"There's something you want to speak about?"
"No but I just don't like the awkward silence. How about we talk about where you've been for the last year and a bit?"
"It's nothing interesting John"
"But I want to know."
"I've been to a lot of places"
"Are you going to elaborate on that?"
"I've spent most of my time in large cities around the world, trying to take out large chunks of Moriarty's network. Mostly in America."
"How do you 'take down' his network?"
"I didn't go around killing people if that's what you're implying. I would just find them and plant evidence on them and leave them unconscious somewhere for the police to find and arrest."
"Have you been in London much?" Lestrade spoke this time
"Only the last few days."
"Get anyone arrested?"
"Actually I was trying to find an assassin hired to kill you Lestrade, but had no such luck and am now stuck in here"
"So you've just been after Moriarty's lot for a year?" John summarised
"Solved a few other crimes along the way"
"Of course" John smirked
"Did you find the campsite Lestrade?"
"The other day? They were camping, obviously, so did you find the campsite?"
"Jesus! That was you?"
"But you were American"
Sherlock smirked still keeping his five metre distance between himself and the other two though.
"This looks interesting" he said just loud enough for them to here.
Sherlock ignored them ducking under a large branch and pulling some leaves away to reveal sand. Lots of sand. Golden yellow sand stretching out in front of them and in the distance there was a band a deep blue that joined the sand and sky together.
"A beach" Lestrade barely contained his surprise
"What the hell's a beach doing here?"
"The same could be said about the rainforest and abandoned city but it's fairly obvious that Moriarty wanted a varied Arena, much more fun I suppose."
"Should we go back into the forest?" John asked
"No" Sherlock decided "We should take a look around here"
Sherlock didn't wait for any further comments from them. He just started walking again, veering off to the left towards a slight hill hoping to get a better look of his surroundings. Within ten minutes he reached his destination and was scanning the horizon.
"Do you think there's a way out of here?" John came to stand beside him
"Apart from killing each other?"
"Actually I do have plans of killing you while you're sleeping John"
"Sarcasm's the lowest form of wit you know"
"That explains why you use it so much John"
John just rolled his eyes, Lestrade came up beside him.
"Anything interesting?" he offered Sherlock a curious glance.
"Only the sea and sand are visible."
"Won't we be safer sleeping in the forest?"
"But then he are going backwards, it makes more sense to keep going and sleep here"
"The logical choice?" John asked earning a smirk from Lestrade
They didn't stop walking until the sun settled just above the horizon, yet the sea didn't appear any closer.
"Right" John folded his arms and turned his gaze to Sherlock
"You need sleep. No arguments, just sleep"
Sherlock raised an eyebrow
"I'm not challenging you Sherlock Holmes. I'm telling you"
Sherlock held his glare for a moment
"Only a few hours" he decided
"Thank-you" John smiled.
All three of them had to use their jackets as a make-shift blanket as the open sandy environment quickly became a lot chillier than the rainforest. After about ten minutes all three of them were fast asleep.
Sherlock awoke early, he refused to admit it but he felt a lot better after some sleep. He snapped his eyes open, Lestrade was still lead across the sand breathing deeply. John was… where was John?
Sherlock jumped to his feet, there a dip in the sand where John had been, Sherlock touched the spot, it was cold, John had been gone a while.
Sherlock would love to believe that John had gone for an early morning walk or to find food but he'd already spotted the multiple foot prints marking a path towards John and then a way again. The ones moving away were joined by two deep lines in the sand, whoever had formed the two marks had been struggling.
Chapter 10: Burning His Heart
Spoilers for those of you reading/planning to read Mockingjay (3rd Hunger Games book) I would highly recommend finishing Mockingjay before you read this, if you don't care about spoilers or have already read Mockingjay or have no plans to read Mockingjay enjoy xx
Sherlock growled under his breath, the one night he actually slept and John was kidnapped. This was part of Moriarty's game, up to now he'd only been fiddling with the pawns. Now he'd moved onto the bigger pieces but Sherlock doubted that the King or Queen had been moved yet. He followed the footprints with no avail. John had obviously been taken by a helicopter, a sky route, no way for a man on foot with a bow and arrow to follow. He decided he should go back and wake Lestrade, there wasn't anything he could do for John without getting out of the Arena.
He gave Lestrade a kick to wake him, not one that would hurt but he used enough force to wake the Detective Inspector.
"Not a morning person then?" Lestrade asked Sherlock
"He's taken John"
"Didn't you hear me?! Moriarty. He took John while we were sleeping"
"There are footprints-"
"They go on for half a mile that way and then stop. They took him in a helicopter. All we can too is get out of the Arena"
John's eyes weakly fluttered open. He could tell he'd been drugged, his mind felt sluggish and dull. He vaguely remembered being woken in the night and dragged off the beach so where was he now?
"Good to see you up Johnny"
He knew that voice.
Jim Moriarty stepped out of the shadows, Cheshire cat grin on his features.
"I was getting bored so I took a leaf out of the Gamemaker's book, thought I'd shake things up a bit.
"How?" John managed to get the one word from his brain to his lips
"You'll soon see, sadly you won't notice the effects, and it'll probably be alright with Detective Inspector Lestrade as well. But poor little Sherlie, let's just say it'll prove how much he cares but then it'll be too late. Well I should be off. I leave you here with my friends. I would say that it's ok and it won't hurt much but that would be a lie. But if it's any consolation you probably won't remember afterwards anyway. Bye!"
Moriarty left the room. John felt his throat constrict, what the hell was going to happen to him?
The door reopened, John expected to see the huge Henchmen again but instead to smaller men came in both dressed rather casually, both wore cruel smirks. John tugged at the leather keeping his wrist pinned to the arm of his chair, but wasn't strong enough. One of the men was filling a needle with a clear yellow tinted substance that was obviously going to end up in John's blood. He pressed his eyes shut, he had no problem with injections, he felt the needle break his skin, he felt the sting of pain as the men pushed the mystery substance into his blood to fast. He felt his arm start to burn, and sweat start to form on his brow.
What the hell was happening to him?
After three days Lestrade had finally given up on trying to speak to Sherlock. When Lestrade spoke to him he only got one word answers snapped at him. Basically Sherlock was worried about what Moriarty might do to John.
'Burning the heart' out of Sherlock using John could imply a number of things.
Sherlock was currently walking back towards the jungle, Lestrade decided against commenting on how they were being counterproductive. Once they reached the edge of the forest, instead of walking back into it Sherlock walked along the tree line, remaining on the sand.
"Where are we going?"
"I'm trying to see if there's another section to this Arena, if not we will go through the forest back to the city and find a way out from there."
Sherlock didn't reply just carried on striding, suddenly he froze, head snapping around to face the forest, Lestrade followed his gaze seeing nothing. Then he heard it a snap, a twig being stood on? There was more twigs snapping, then the leaves were thrown out the way and John Watson fell through panting.
"John!" Lestrade grinned, catching the ex-soldier as he fell forwards. John was pale and had dark rings around his eyes, his shoes and shins were smeared with mud and his breathing was very heavy
"Are you alright John?" Sherlock had a frown on his face as he stepped forward
"Shit" John yelped at the sight of Sherlock, taking a step back "Don't you come anywhere near me!"
"John it's only Sherlock" Lestrade tried to calm him
"Are you an idiot?! What do you mean 'only Sherlock'? He's a psychopath! He wants to kill us! He's going to kill us!"
Sherlock felt his heart drop.
"John" he softened his tone reaching forward to place a hand on John's shoulder, John jumped back slapping the hand away his eyes wide with fear.
"I will break your neck before I let you anywhere near me" John snarled, every inch a soldier.
Chapter 11: Memories
Lestrade frowned at John while Sherlock stepped backwards. Lestrade could tell instantly that Sherlock knew what had happened.
“Ok,” Lestrade had a hand on John’s shoulder “Why don’t you sit here? I’ll keep an eye on Sherlock.” Lestrade could see that John was terrified of Sherlock.
Sherlock didn't seem upset about it, well he didn't to anyone that didn’t know him, Lestrade noticed an abnormal blankness and silence settling on the man’s features.
They were at the edge of the jungle; John kept glancing around obviously working out ways to escape from Sherlock if necessary. Lestrade gave John a worried glance before walking over to sit by Sherlock.
“What’s happened?” he murmured not wanting to be over heard by John.
“I think he’s been Hijacked.” Sherlock said the words slowly like he was still trying to comprehend the enormity of what the word meant.
“Drugged. Basically, they use a type of poison or venom that causes large amounts of pain and strong hallucinations. I’d say he’s been dosed up then shown images and videos of me, for example the other day, I said I was plotting to kill him, when he was rational he knew I was being sarcastic but after being dosed up and shown the same clip he would believe that I want to kill him and from there the venom would cause his mind to build up a series of hallucinations based on that, he probably doesn’t remember living with me or any of that, unless that memory could be seen as me being threatening.”
“Why are you talking to him?” John spoke loudly looking quizzically at Lestrade “He’s not even human you know, he doesn’t feel anything he won’t feel guilty about killing us, freaks have no problem with killing good people do they?” He turned his gaze to Sherlock for the last few words which he practically spat.
Lestrade could see Sherlock raise his defences at the word ‘Freak’, his emotions now completely hidden; Lestrade guessed, no knew, that John had never been this harsh towards Sherlock.
“I assure you Doctor Watson, if I wanted you dead you would already be long gone. I’m trying to think but you seem to lack the ability to shut up. If it’s all right with you Detective Inspector I’ll see if I can find anything to eat, the supplies we were provided on our arrival are now running low.”
Lestrade found Sherlock’s formal tone almost disturbing.
Sherlock was acting like he used to before John, not completely sociopathic, but enough to lock his more human attributes in the cupboard at the back of his mind.
“See you in a minute” Lestrade gave Sherlock a glance before turning to John
“Do you actually care about it?” John asked incredulously
“Him” Lestrade said calmly “And yes I do care about him”
“He’s going to kill us” John seemed almost like his normal self, except how he was speaking about Sherlock “He doesn’t care, I remember him telling me, he doesn’t care about people, just getting rid of boredom.”
“He did, until he met a brilliant man. A man that was patient with him, sort of understood him and couldn’t have had a more positive effect on him.”
“Who was this man?”
“Doesn’t matter, but I think Sherlock thinks he’s lost him.”
“Probably pushed him away or killed him!”
“He didn’t kill him, someone else seems to have done something worse” Lestrade muttered “What do you remember about Sherlock?”
“That he wants to kill me and he’s an insane psychopath who doesn’t understand what it means to be human”
“Where did you find that out?”
“Can you stop speaking to me like I’m being an irrational child?”
“When you start being rational, yes.”
“I just know that that’s what Sherlock’s like” John shrugged; Lestrade gave a small smile when he saw a flash of uncertainty in John’s eyes.
“Do you remember Baker Street? 221b?”
“Of course I do I live there. What’s wrong Greg? You look worried”
“I am.” Lestrade admitted, turning to gaze down the path Sherlock had taken only minutes ago
Sherlock strode quickly towards the beach, of course there was nothing that resembled food there, but it was away from John which was what he needed right now. He ignored the feelings of guilt and sadness gnawing at his insides, he had to get out of the Arena, he was beginning to feel restless, like a caged animal and Moriarty was a five year old poking him through the bars.
Sherlock had heard of Hijacking before, there were some organisations that used it as a form of torture because it left no lasting physical damage. Hijacking was better for spying though, get someone with a reasonably high position in your chosen organisation, kidnap them, Hijack them the right way and they would be servile to you, get any file you needed, give you access to where ever you needed to go.
The problem with Hijacking was that it’s a very delicate process, if one thing went wrong the subject could go insane, die or be left soulless.
Part of Sherlock was thankful that John’s Hijacking had only left him terrified of Sherlock; things could’ve gone a lot worse. At least John was still John.
Sherlock sank down to sit cross legged on the floor, he needed to think properly, without John telling him how inhuman and psychopathic he was.
Then he saw it, a square of lavender sat on a bone coloured rock. He was on his feet and holding it within seconds.
‘Having fun? – JM’
Sherlock flipped the paper over, nothing of any use then, just childish taunting. Sherlock knew he was being watched, he gave his head a slight shake as if indicating to his audience that a piece of paper wasn’t going to shake him.
He decided to go back into the rainforest; there was a bit more privacy there.
“This is like the Hunger Games” John said breaking the silence that had formed between him and Lestrade
“You’ve only just got that?”
“If this is like the Hunger Games it makes sense for Sherlock to want to kill us.”
“It also makes sense for me to kill you but that doesn’t mean I’m going to kill you”
Lestrade could see the conflict inside of John, did part of John still trust Sherlock?
A thud brought Lestrade back to reality. A large bunch of green tinted bananas sat by his feet. Sherlock strode over to sit on the floor about five metres away.
John was looking down cautiously at the bananas.
“Bananas?” Lestrade raised an eyebrow
“Problem?” Sherlock asked
“I assumed neither of you would want to eat an ape, bananas are all I could find that I was sure wasn’t poisonous.”
“You could’ve poisoned them.” John added unhelpfully “We’re in a jungle it’s full of poisons”
Sherlock didn’t even flinch at the accusation “I wasn’t gone long enough to poison them.”
John thinned his eyes, doubt very present.
Sherlock held his bow in one hand and plucked the string absentmindedly with the other. John continued to watch him, it wasn’t apparent whether it was curiosity or suspicion, Sherlock ignored him either way.
After awhile Sherlock stopped plucking the bow, now it was sat by his head, he had now steepled his fingers beneath his chin his eyes distant in thought.
John couldn’t help but not trust him, earlier he had debated whether to kill the man, it would increase both his and Lestrade’s chances of survival, but when John watched the man, closely for a couple of hours he couldn’t see an immediate threat. Sherlock Holmes appeared to be distant and sad and lacked interest in killing him, which was wrong; he wanted to kill John didn’t he?
John gave his head a sharp shake; he couldn’t feel sorry for a murdering psychopath!
Lestrade had fallen asleep leaning against a bit of tree, Sherlock was sat thinking and John was sat here doing next to nothing.
“What makes you think I’m going to kill you?” the deep voice broke through John’s thoughts. Sherlock was looking at him, stormy grey eyes curious.
“You are convinced that I want to kill you, there’s no point in my trying to convince you otherwise because you won’t believe a word I say. I can’t directly deduce what specific thought or memory causes your fear of me, I can guess but that’s not accurate enough, and some of your memories aren’t memoires they are induced hallucinations, therefore I need you to tell me.”
“I’m hallucinating. That’s your explanation is it? If we’re asking questions why don’t you tell me how many people you’ve killed?”
“In the last year one it was an accident but if I hadn’t killed him he would’ve detonated a bomb that would’ve killed a lot of people including Mrs Hudson”
“How do you know Mrs Hudson?”
“She was landlady”
“Before I lived at 221b?”
“At the same time, but of course you won’t remember that.”
“No because I’ve been busy hallucinating” John’s voice dripped with sarcasm, Sherlock gave a half smile
“Can I try something?” Sherlock asked
“You want to experiment on me? Like you did at Baskerville?” annoyance has sneaking back into John
“You remember Baskerville? Good. How did you get into Baskerville and why were you there?”
“I was in Baskerville because you locked me in a room and tested some bloody theory on me!”
“Why were we in Dartmoor though?”
“I wouldn’t go on holiday with you”
“No you wouldn’t. So why were you there?”
“I…I don’t know” John blinked, he didn’t have a clue. He remembered the lab, and the HOUND drug in the fog in the forest but he didn’t remember driving there or there being a reason “You knew that I was going to say that.”
“I was fairly sure yes.”
“Are you going to tell me what I was doing there?”
“No. You need to get there yourself. I have one more question do you remember what happened at St. Barts just over a year ago?”
“Something bad” John said slowly
Sherlock made no move to reply
“Someone died. Someone important, but I can’t remember who…”
“That’s fine” Sherlock said “You should get some sleep”
“What was that all about? If I didn’t know better I would say you were trying to help me. But I do know better so are you trying to plant memories in my head, trying to lower my defences so i’m easier to kill?”
“You should get some sleep”
“You’re not going to sleep though”
“Well that didn’t work out to well last time. And I can think better if both you and Lestrade are being quiet”
John shifted to curl up against a tree trunk
“Lestrade said you lost someone important very recently.”
“Did he? I suppose he would see it like that”
“Who were they to you?”
“I’ve not lost anybody. I’m not giving up on them that easily”
John gave him a sleepy frown. He wanted to remain awake, his mind told him Sherlock would kill him the second he closed his eyes, but a deeper part of his mind told him he was being ridiculously stupid, he needed sleep and Sherlock never slept when on a case so he wouldn’t start now. Wait what case had he done with Sherlock? Before he could question himself further he was asleep.
Chapter 12: Smoke and Mirrors
John was sat in a cold metal room. His whole body ached. They'd be back soon.
He needed to escape and get back to Sherlock; he remembered that Sherlock wanted to kill him. Why though? Sherlock was his friend. He wouldn't want to kill John.
Then the men came back.
"Extra strong dose this time" one said "We want you to forget his little stunt on St Bart's then you can't connect his 'sacrifice', that's one less good memory of him.
John had wanted to forget seeing Sherlock jump since the day it happened, so why was it that the way they said chilled him to the bone.
Another needle plunged into his arm. The pain started bubbling through his veins; John bit his bottom lip to prevent a scream of pain escaping him. A light flicked on in front of him, he lifted his eyes to it. It was a screen showing CCTV footage. It showed Sherlock on top of a building, spreading his arms then leaning forward then falling. The pain peaked the scream escaped this time. He wasn't going to forget Sherlock! The drug caused his mind to jump backwards to the time of the jump; he could see Sherlock on the top of St.Barts. He heard his voice in his ear.
Then he was falling, plummeting towards the earth.
John gasped and threw himself forward. He was still in the jungle. His mind desperately tried to cling on to his dream but it was fading fast. Something about the dream was important…
His breathing remained heavy for a moment.
"Everything alright?" a voice cut through the silence, the same that was on the phone his mind whispered.
"I don't know" John admitted, instantly regretting showing weakness to the man who might want to kill him.
"You said my name" confusion was evident in Sherlock's voice.
"You were on the phone…" John muttered "I don't know it was a dream and it's gone now"
"Obviously" it sounded like Sherlock was losing interest
"You were saying goodbye to me. I want to think that you were going to kill me but it didn't sound like that, you sounded defeated?"
"It was your dream, not mine" Sherlock's tone was dry
"Yeah. Sorry. I'll try and get more sleep or something"
There was no reply. John felt like he should roll his eyes at that but why? His mind was seriously confusing him right now. He pulled his knees closer to his body. He was soon asleep again.
When John woke for a second time the rainforest was lit by sunlight and both Sherlock and Lestrade were awake. At the sound of him moving they both turned to look at him.
"Breakfast" Lestrade threw a banana at him. John nodded gratefully, the banana was hopefully not poisoned, Lestrade had given it to him so unless Lestrade and Sherlock had teamed up to kill him he was safe. Would Lestrade team up with Sherlock? He was certainly good friends with him….
John quickly threw that thought aside.
"We're heading to the city today" Lestrade told him "Sherlock thinks as it was recently constructed it might hold more answers."
"Makes sense" John agreed "I was thinking that we haven't seen any other Tributes for a while."
"I doubt that they've teamed up. They're being paid to kill us, they get more money if they're the last man standing" Sherlock said while putting his bow and arrows on his back. He appeared ready for the long day ahead of them. John quickly got to his feet, checking he had both guns before slinging his rucksack over his shoulders.
"Which way we going then?"
Sherlock remained at the front of their small group at all times. Partly because he knew the way partly because John was probably convinced he would stab his in the back if he had the opportunity to walk behind him.
Sherlock was currently thinking about John's comment about other Tributes, it had been too long since they last seen one. Maybe the idea was for John to kill Sherlock and then the Tributes would come and get Lestrade and John.
They'd had a break half an hour ago, Sherlock had drank some water as they'd found a river to refill the bottles at, he'd refused to eat though, he was busy thinking, food would only slow him down.
Something caught the corner of his eye, he glanced left, there was a wall of yellow smoke barrelling towards them. Sherlock's eyes widened.
"Run!" he yelled at the other two before sprinting right, Lestrade and John on his tail. Then he tripped the other's didn't notice and kept running. He jumped to his feet, the smoke brushed against his arm instantly burning it, the skin lit up red. Sherlock started sprinting again; the smoke caught his ankle and gave him a few burns on his back. Then he burst through the tree's there was sand everywhere again but this time the sea was only ten metres away. Sherlock placed his hands on his knees and starting gasping for breath, his burns were throbbing painfully and his arm and ankle were now speckled with tiny blisters. The smoke didn't leave the forest, it hovered at the edges.
"Are you alright?" Lestrade asked
"Fine" Sherlock gave a false smile which turned into a grimace as he touched his arm. Where the smoke had come into contact with his ankle and back it had burned through his clothes before reaching his flesh. What the hell was that stuff?
John was hovering behind Lestrade obviously debating whether to offer medical help to Sherlock or not.
"You should wash the wounds" John muttered
Sherlock turned his gaze to the turquoise water stretched out before them, he nodded in agreement and strode over the water's edge, bathing his arm turned out to be painful and drew a hiss of pain from his lips, once he removed his arm from the salty water he had to admit the relief was amazing though, his arm still itched a bit but it no longer throbbed. There were many burns on his back, he couldn't bath them easily so he jumped to his feet and walked out until the water reached his thighs then he dove beneath the surface, giving it access to all his wounds. He wasn't under for long; he stood up again giving his head a shake to dispel the water from his hair
"What the hell was that stuff?" Lestrade asked the soaked detective
"I have no idea" Sherlock admitted, using his long fingers to get his fringe out of his eyes, the water had caused it to lengthen to the point where it annoyed Sherlock.
"How do we get to the city then?" John asked
"We have to take the long way" Sherlock told him "We might find an entrance to the forest that isn't blocked by the smoke, but it seems unlikely. We should only be about an hour or so way now"
"Can you walk on your ankle?" John asked
Sherlock smirked "I've had worse" when John didn't return the smile or offer a sarcastic comment Sherlock returned to his neutral state and started to walk down the beach only just managing to not limp.
Sherlock had been right, in just over an hour they reached the city. John watched as the Detective pressed his back against the wall to try and look at the city, he drew himself back to look at John and Lestrade.
"I was right" Sherlock told them
"About what?" John raised his eyebrows
"There is a way out through the city"
"What makes you so sure?" Lestrade looked pleased
"The number of other Tributes in it"
John walked around Sherlock to look at the city, it was sat in ruins, crumbling down everywhere, nothing looked stable.
It was also crawling with other Tributes, there were about ten insight, but that was just one street.
John looked back at Sherlock "What the hell do we do now?"
Chapter 13: Not Such A Good Idea
Italics are flashbacks :)
Sherlock didn't reply. He pressed his palms together into a mock prayer position pressing his index fingers against his lips, ignoring both Lestrade and John. Lestrade leaned against the wall looking defeated.
"Did you see how many guns they had?" John rubbed his eyes
No one reply.
"Huge big guns?"
Still no reply.
"Bloody top of the market equipment."
"John" Lestrade's voice was soft but had a warning edge to it
"No. I want to know what Robin Hood here has planned! He can't exactly have a faceoff with the guys holding a machine guns, when all he has is a bow and a few arrows."
"Yes I can." Sherlock did turn to look at them, his brow just creased slightly as he thought out how that plan could work.
"What?" Lestrade and John spoke in unison.
"They won't kill me."
"Yes, they will."
"No. Moriarty wants John to kill me." he said, "He's Hijacked John to fear me, he sees me as a threat, being an ex-soldier his reaction is to delete such a threat, protect the good people. Moriarty is betting on him killing me."
"John's not going to kill you though."
"He wants to."
"Don't be ridiculous" Lestrade gave a short laugh turning to look at John who was holding a gun in his hand.
"Does this all end? If I kill you, me and Lestrade go free?" John's voice was emotionless.
"I doubt it, I think Lestrade would be killed by other Tributes and then your Hijacking would be reversed, if possible, and you'd be left with the guilt."
John looked doubtful.
"If you kill me the only thing you change is the number of people you've killed. As far as the world's concerned I'm already dead, there won't be a funeral, no one will morn my death. I'll just be forgotten by everyone except the man that pulled the trigger"
Sherlock kept his eyes on John while he spoke, John didn't appear to react. Sherlock wasn't being emotional, he was just stating the facts, showing that he knew John.
"That was brilliant"
"That's not what people normally say"
"What do people normally say?"
John blinked a few times, he could remember being in a cab with Sherlock, no he couldn't. He didn't know Sherlock, he wasn't friends with him!
John just watched Sherlock, the ice blue orbs didn't falter, didn't look away, Sherlock didn't even blink.
"Why do I think you want to kill me? I've heard of Hijacking, but to completely change my opinion of you would take months."
Sherlock shrugged "I have annoyed or upset you of a few times by not acting conventionally. That's what the Hijacking is based on, things I have done that would upset or annoy you. " Sherlock straightened up to look down on John.
"You could be making all this up..." John tried to look away.
"Fine, this will work without your trust, in fact, you probably won't mind me doing this anyway" Sherlock glanced down the alley way.
"I'll find you later. Go and wait on the beach and whatever you do don't leave it." with that Sherlock ran out into the street. John could hear guns clicked and men preparing to fire.
Was Sherlock going to try and get himself killed?
Mycroft was sat at his desk, he had a coffee sat on a coaster nearby but it was now cold. He had more important matters to attend to namely a photo, just one. The photo was of three people on a beach standing, one of them being his brother. Sherlock tired, skinny and wounded. His arm was red and he was favouring his left leg. Lestrade and John also didn't look like they were in a great condition, but both had a greater sense of self-preservation than Sherlock.
Mycroft checked his e-mails again; he was waiting for an update from one of his top undercover operatives who he'd got into the Arena, they were to do what Moriarty ordered up to a certain extent, the operative knew the way out of the Arena. He just had to find Sherlock without being discovered or killed.
Mycroft leaned back in his chair; he brought up a CCTV feed showing the Arena exit from the outside, there was no movement so he closed the window and left the room flicking the light switch as he went sending the room into darkness the only light coming from the computer screen.
"It's me" John realised. Lestrade frowned. "You said Sherlock lost a friend, and he said he wasn't giving up on them. It's me isn't it?"
"I think I can remember bits but it all seems so wrong."
"Well you've been reprogrammed to hate him. It's going to take time for you to rebuild everything, sort out what's real and not real"
John nodded letting them fall into silence, then he looked away from his hands to find Lestrade.
"Sherlock Holmes jumped off a multi-storey building and died right in front of me. Real or not real?"
Sherlock had about ten guns trained on him within seconds. He could see that some men were itching to kill him. The others knew the deal well enough to know if they wanted money Sherlock wasn't to be killed.
That confirmed it then, John was supposed to kill Sherlock.
"Afternoon" Sherlock smiled at them.
"What do you want?" one said gruffly
Sherlock made no move to reply. He watched as the men whispered to each other.
"You're coming with us." One told him "Watson and the police man can't be killed 'til you're dead, you can be bait."
"Doctor Watson has been Hijacked, my disappearance won't upset him, it will please him more than anything."
More muttering between the men.
"You're still coming with us"
Sherlock nodded, how predictable.
Chapter 14: Exit Strategies
Sherlock was led by the men through the streets; none of them spoke to him so he didn't speak back. He just scanned his surroundings increasing his mental map of the city. Luckily John and Lestrade had obeyed his command to remain out of the way.
He was suddenly yanked left through a door into what mimicked an old unused warehouse. At the back was a gleaming mahogany door that couldn't have looked more out of place.
"That's the exit," a gruff voice told him "Don't try and get smart on us though. You won't escape."
"Of course not" Sherlock nodded solemnly, ignoring the glare he earned. He was taken over to a metal beam that climbed from the floor to the ceiling. Sherlock back was pressed against it and his hands yanked behind it to be tied together with a piece of rope. Sherlock quickly tested the rope, the knots were tied together well, he wouldn't be able to untie them to free himself. He noticed one of the Tributes watching him curiously; when Sherlock looked at him he turned away and continued polishing his gun like a couple of the others were. Sherlock leaned his head backwards to gaze through a hole in the ceiling.
Lestrade just stared at John for a moment "Real. Sort of. We all thought he was dead, he wasn't lying when he said he's already had a funeral."
"If I'm the friend he lost why did he let me think he killed himself? That doesn't make any sense, what you're saying is real doesn't make sense"
"That's Sherlock" Lestrade shrugged lightly "But from what Moriarty said Sherlock faked his death to save us. Do you remember Moriarty?"
"I don't know. My head is killing me." John dragged his hands down his face "What do you think Sherlock's doing?"
The other Tribute was looking at Sherlock again, Sherlock was pretending not to notice but he wanted to know why.
The man obviously wasn't surprised that Sherlock was alive, so what was it then.
The man held himself in a similar way to John, ex-military, he was good with gun but obviously not that particular model, Sherlock guessed he was better at using smaller hand guns, the man was intelligent and always watching the other Tributes. He was an outsider then, he didn't normally take jobs like this, spy maybe? The man in question walked over to stand behind Sherlock and he started loosening the knots slightly.
"I work for your brother" the man murmured "There's a plan in place, but your friends need to show up first"
The man yanked the ropes, then went back to his gun. Sherlock could only hope that John was still himself enough to disobey Sherlock's orders and soon.
"We should help him." Lestrade said evening was arriving now; the sun was sinking away beneath the horizon. "God knows what he got himself into."
"I thought he didn't want our help."
"He might want it now though. If we can get him back we're more likely to leave this Arena."
"We don't even know if he's still alive or not."
"Don't you think we should find out?" Lestrade put his rucksack over his shoulder. "You've got to admit that part of you wants to see if he's managed to not get killed."
"I'm pretty sure that part of me has been Hijacked out of me."
Sherlock had managed to shift his hands enough to sit on the floor, which was probably more uncomfortable than standing but his legs had started aching so sitting it was. He had taken to watching each Tribute in turn, glaring at them, partially to find out everything he could about them, partially to try and unnerve them.
He was bored now. He knew the way out all he needed was Lestrade and John and everything was sorted.
John and Lestrade had walked around the edges of the city trying to finding another entrance, which wasn't about to collapse on them. They hadn't spoken for a while wanting to avoid being overheard. They couldn't exactly sneak along the streets and kill the other Tributes; the gun shots would be like a huge light up arrows revealing their location.
The main problem was finding Sherlock though, Lestrade didn't have a clue where the consulting detective could have been taken, so for now they were following a patrol group of Tributes who were walking around the city and would hopefully return to their 'secret base' soon.
John tapped Lestrade's shoulder pointing at one of the patrol Tributes who'd dropped behind the other three.
The Tribute pulled a hand gun from his back pack and attached a silencer to the muzzle; he took aim and then shot the other Tributes. John and Lestrade pressed themselves into the shadows.
"I know you're there, I work for Mycroft Holmes, I'm here to aid your escape, if you could come with me, I know were Sherlock is, the four of us can easily take down the other Tributes and exit the Arena within the hour."
John threw Lestrade curious glance, both men silently agreed to step out of their hiding place.
"Thank-you." The agent nodded gratefully "My name is agent Johnson. You don't need to know more than that, if you could follow me."
Sherlock huffed loudly; he was bored and tied to a pole. The only thing that passed any interest was the fact that Mycroft's agent was ten minutes late, he should've come back from his patrol by now. Sherlock glanced at the door in time to see the man in question enter. He tried to avoid being seen by the others probably because he was here alone. He walked over to Sherlock and started untying the ropes.
"Get ready." he murmured. The ropes fell to the floor then the agent raised his gun and shot three Tributes with three successive shots.
Sherlock ducked out of the way, John and Lestrade appeared also with guns. Sherlock was unarmed, which was a huge disadvantage. There were fifteen other Tributes Sherlock had seen, three had been killed on patrol and another three by Mycroft's agent now, and another five had been taken down by John and Lestrade, that left four. Surprise had been a good advantage. Sherlock grabbed his bow which was sat in the corner of the room. He grabbed an arrow and prepared to fire, John was shooting at a Tribute in front of him, and failed to notice the one coming up behind him. Sherlock took aim, bringing the bow string back to touch his lips before releasing it, it sliced through the air hitting the Tribute behind John in the temple, the woman collapsed blood quickly started pool around her corpse.
John span around seeing the arrow in the woman his eyes flicked up to Sherlock, he frowned obviously trying to decide whether Sherlock had intentionally hit her or whether he'd accidentally missed John. Sherlock turned away from him, he could see Lestrade had been shot, not badly just a deep scratch on his arm, Johnson was working on the door. Sherlock lined another arrow up catching a Tribute in the back of their leg causing them to collapse; Sherlock went over and kicked the gun away from his hand. This wasn't meant to be a mass murder; they just didn't want to be shot at or caught while they escaped. John and Lestrade had both aimed to disarm the other Tributes, Johnson had been shooting to kill.
"The door's open" Johnson called from behind. Lestrade was the first one out, and then John they were following Johnson. Sherlock reached the door; he heard the resounding bang from a gunshot. The look of horror on shock on his companion's faces suggested someone had been shot.
There was sudden numbness in his shoulder, and he could feel a damp patch growing out from it down his back, Sherlock's balance disappeared and he collapsed on to the floor. He was vaguely aware of John yelling at him, begging him to stay awake but he really couldn't be bothered. He would just sleep for a bit.
Chapter 15: Get Back Up Again
John had heard before that panic often revealed people's priorities.
Old John couldn't come back yet but there was no way in hell that he was going to let Sherlock die, he just couldn't.
"Sherlock, I need you to look at me." He pressed his fingers against Sherlock wrist; he still had a pulse and was still breathing. "Come on Sherlock, you can't let an idiot with a gun beat you." John took his jacket off and handed it to Lestrade.
"Keep it on the wound, use a lot of pressure." He turned to Johnson "We need an ambulance."
"Mr. Holmes has access to the CCTV in this area. An ambulance is already on its way."
"He's not going to last much longer." John said quietly. Sherlock was already a ghostly white colour and his body temperature was low.
"He'll be fine." Lestrade told John
"Not real." John replied.
The next twelve hours pasted in a blur. The ambulance came quickly, Sherlock had needed surgery to remove the bullet, he'd crashed at one point but now appeared stable.
Mycroft stood outside Sherlock's private room. Sherlock was lying beneath the sheets inside drowned in a hospital gown and had a large variety of machine and tubes connected to him.
Mycroft gave a soft sigh. The soft sound of footsteps told him John Watson was approaching.
"How's he doing?"
"He appears stable. It would appear I have to thank you again for saving my brother's life again."
"Numerous times." Mycroft confirmed.
"Really? You haven't been told about the Hijacking have you?"
"I was aware of it, but due to you saving Sherlock's life I assumed you'd overridden it."
"Not yet. I just… I don't know. I know he wants to kill me."
"Well my brain's telling that he does but at the same time I know that he won't kill me. I just know that there was no way I could let him die again."
"How interesting." Mycroft mused "I must be off Doctor Watson. I still have to attend to the matter of finding Moriarty."
"Bye" John muttered as Mycroft left. After a moment's hesitation he entered the room. Sherlock looked like death warmed up.
John's mind kept offering him flicker's of Sherlock's bloodied broken corpse outside of St. Bart's with no pulse and those pale blue eyes staring sightlessly at the sky.
The sight of Sherlock injured or dead seemed to hurt him. Maybe his old self was coming back? Lestrade said he still acted the same apart from when it came to Sherlock.
At least he wasn't completely convinced that Sherlock was a psychotic nutter anymore.
He sighed softly and went to sit on the plastic chair sat a few metres away from Sherlock's bed. He would stay here until the man woke up and see if he still thought Sherlock wanted to kill him then.
Lestrade had also been admitted over night at the hospital, the bullet wound on his arm was worse than he thought. He'd seen John a few times; the man hadn't been admitted but was lingering at the hospital.
They'd spoken a bit, mainly about Sherlock; John seemed so conflicted on the subject. He appeared to believe that Sherlock wasn't going to kill him but he seemed unable to convince his whole mind of this.
Lestrade hoped he would be released tomorrow, he wanted to go and check on Sherlock, it sounded like he hadn't come around yet, but with Sherlock's lack of sleeping and eating this wasn't a surprise. Lestrade yawned shifting on to his good side. He had to admit it was nice to be able to sleep in a bed instead of the forest floor tonight.
Sherlock could hear a faint beeping. He didn't open his eyes yet, he let his other senses assess his surroundings, the beeping was from a heart monitor, he could feel a square of plastic tape attached to each hand, both holding a needle in place. The room smelt of disinfectant, a hospital then.
He listened past the consistent beeping; there was some breathing softly in their sleep.
Sherlock allowed himself to open his eyes. He flinched as white invaded his vision, after a moment his eyes adjusted. It would appear he wasn't allowed to leave an Arena without being wounded badly in the shoulder, the same shoulder as last time just from the back instead of the front. He tried to move the shoulder in question but was only rewarded with a twinge of pain going down his arm.
John yawned softly. He blinked looking around the room obviously recalling where he was. His eyes quickly fixed on Sherlock.
"You're awake then?" he yawned.
"Evidently" Sherlock replied, assessing John's every movement. "Do you still think I'm going to kill you?" there was a touch of sarcasm in his voice.
"I'm working on it. Just got to get my entire mind to listen." John smirked slightly. "I've got some memories back; it's just a slow process I suppose."
Sherlock nodded in agreement.
"Don't even think about trying to move yet." John said sternly.
Sherlock guessed in his tired state John guard was down or he really was over riding the Hijacking, Sherlock's brain was addled by the pain medication so he couldn't be sure which it was.
"How long have I been unconscious?"
"About nine hours. Lestrade's been admitted a few rooms down, his arm wound was pretty bad."
"You're alright though?"
"I'm fine. Been reading some of my blog, it's good at memory jogging."
"Good" Sherlock stifled a yawn.
"It was too easy wasn't it?" John voice was quiet. "We shouldn't have got out that quickly."
"I believe that that was part one of Moriarty's plan."
"So there's more to come?"
Moriarty sat on a chair at a desk, every now and again he would kick the desk causing himself to spin round.
He was vaguely annoyed that Sherlock and his little gang had escaped so easily but it didn't matter. Phase two was ready, it would be activated the second Sherlock left hospital.
Which he was sure would be soon. Sherlock shouldn't want to be in hospital when there were games to play.
Chapter 16: There and Back Again
Sherlock had long ago stopped being a good patient. He had taken to constantly moaning about everything he possibly could, mainly boredom.
"You wouldn't think it was possible to Hijack someone to want to kill you" John muttered "You're such a nice, polite and patient person."
"If you want me to stop wanting to kill you, being rude isn't going to help. Neither is sulking like a five year old."
"You're in a good mood today." Sherlock commented eyes thinned with suspicion.
"I told you I have phases now. I'm either John who wants to punch you or John who wants to kill you."
John ignored him just turning over the page of his newspaper again. "How are you going to resurrect yourself legally and press wise? You can't just start solving crimes again without telling the world you're alive."
"I need more proof that Moriarty was real before I start going public."
"So you're going to leave again?"
"As Moriarty is in the country I'll stay for now. I need to find him as part of my proof."
"Good. You do know you'll have to go and see Mrs Hudson?"
"If I have the time." Sherlock sniffed thoughtfully.
"I'm going to check on Lestrade."
Sherlock gave a hum of acknowledgement.
"Back so soon?" Lestrade asked at John's entrance.
"It's ridiculous! One second I fine with him, the next I want to kill him or think he's going to kill me"
"Hello to you to" Lestrade sat up more to look at John.
"Do you think it's always going to be like this? I can't live with him if this keeps happening."
"John, you need to give yourself time."
"He bloody died."
Lestrade raised an eyebrow at change in subject. "Yeah. I do remember. When I'm better, now we're not in the middle of some jungle, I'm going to make him explain that fully. I get that he did that to protect us but, why not secretly let us know he was safe."
"Exactly." John mumbled "You're being discharged today by the way."
"Finally" Lestrade grinned "I hate hospitals. When does Sherlock get out?"
"Hopefully soon, otherwise he'll escape through a window or something."
Lestrade laughed. John's phone gave a shrill bleep he glanced down at the screen.
'Sherlock is to be released within the next hour. I trust you are capable of tending his wounds at Baker Street? – MH'
'He'd be better at hospital, he's only had surgery yesterday.'
'If he's not released today he will escape during the late hours of the night, he would likely do some serious damage to his shoulder' – MH
John shook his head dropping his phone back in pocket.
"Problem?" Lestrade asked
"Mycroft, apparently I have to babysit Sherlock back at Baker Street."
"Good luck." Lestrade's amusement was painted across his features.
"Thanks" John smirked. "I'll see you later."
Lestrade nodded standing up as John left, inspecting his arm and flinching as any movement of it sent a spasm of pain through the whole limb. He glanced at his phone which was sat on his bedside table, Mycroft had bought both his and John's phone here earlier and presumably Sherlock's old iPhone.
Lestrade held his phone in his hand, he hadn't switched it on yet, he didn't want to know what 'sick note' Moriarty had designed for him. He clicked his phone on hoping he wasn't going to get a rush of upset, angry or any other sort of texts.
Sherlock's arm was being held in place by a sling. John and Lestrade were both watching him knowing that he would remove at the first opportunity, after a lot of complaining from Sherlock and phone calls from Mycroft, Sherlock had been released. The grumpy expression hadn't left his face though.
He was dressed in jeans and a black shirt, Mycroft had said until Moriarty was destroyed it wasn't safe for the world to know Sherlock still existed, Sherlock had told him that wearing a different colour shirt wasn't exactly hiding his identity.
"Leave it alone" Lestrade used the same tone he would with a five year old as Sherlock fiddled with his sling.
Sherlock threw him a glare but said nothing. He switched his gaze to look up the road at the oncoming taxis that had been organised by Mycroft; there was one to take Lestrade home and one to take John and Sherlock to Baker Street.
"I'll have to go to Tesco." John said randomly "After a week away I'm sure Mrs Hudson will have cleaned away most of mouldy stuff but we need to eat something."
Sherlock didn't reply he just through John a strange look after the shopping comment.
John had gone to Tesco leaving Sherlock home alone, hopefully being back in the flat for under two hours wouldn't lead to any experiments yet.
John came back into the flat with his arms laden with plastic bags. He couldn't hold in a groan of annoyance when he saw the wall above the sofa was plastered with CCTV printouts, newspaper clippings and other random pieces of paper. Some pieces of string were pinned to the wall and stretched to the other three walls which also held many pieces of paper.
"What the hell is this?"
"Research." Sherlock was lead out on the sofa, his sling nowhere to be seen, and his fingers resting beneath his chin as he gazed up at his work.
"I'm not going to ask." John muttered.
"You need to take your medicine otherwise you are going to be in a lot of pain later and that's not something a I want to deal with." John took a step towards the living room.
"Don't touch anything." Sherlock didn't even spare him a glance.
"You've not even been back for twenty four hours and you're dominating the flat."
"Controlling, filling, taking up a lot of space with your ego-"
"I know what dominating means John."
"Mrs Hudson will be back soon. Seeing you is going to give her a heart attack she doesn't need this mess as well."
That caught Sherlock's attention "It's not mess it my work, I've been working on this case for over a year. It is vital I have all my resources set out correctly."
"Where did you get all this stuff?"
"My hotel room, some of it's new but most of it I already had."
"You went outside!"
"I was disguised, I wore a hoody and jeans. No one recognised me."
John sighed walking off to the kitchen.
"Cup of tea?" John called
"Coffee." Sherlock replied, a frown crossed his face as his old iPhone bleeped. He grabbed it lazily unlocking the screen to see new text.
'Perfect time for a holiday, don't you think? x'
'I've spent the last year on 'holiday' I'm fine at home thank-you –SH'
'You call that a holiday? You should see Switzerland this time of year. Much more beautiful than London, but less people to play with. You should come meet me. x"
'Why don't you come to Baker Street? John's just making some tea? –SH'
'We've already done that. Boooring! Is that the postman? x'
Sherlock rolled his eyes, an almost silent thud from downstairs told him the post had just arrived. The door creaked open and he could hear Mrs Hudson speaking to the postman before coming upstairs.
"You back then John dear? I've just got your post."
Sherlock got to his feet and headed to the kitchen.
"Thank-you Mrs Hud-"
"I'll take that one." Sherlock snatched a thick holiday brochure from John.
Mrs Hudson stared at him.
"I was about to get to that, he's still alive Mrs Hudson."
"I would've thought that was obvious John." Sherlock said drily. Mrs Hudson wrapped her arms around him hugging him tightly
"You silly silly boy" she scolded "You let us all think you were dead. We had a funeral. John here was visiting your grave at least once a week. Why would you do such a cruel thing?"
"I assure you Mrs Hudson none of it was without good reason, but an explanation will have to wait until I have finished my current case otherwise you will be dead and the explanation would've been a waste of time."
With that Sherlock left the room, he heard Mrs Hudson talking to John but didn't listen he flicked the brochure open, the first picture showed a variety of photos of Italy, some pictures were circled or scribbled out with a thick red marker pen.
'Boring!' was scrawled on practically every page along with other sarcastic comments until Sherlock found Switzerland. All the pictures were scribbled over except one, a photo of water cascading down a waterfall and frothing up at the bottom.
'Rich Brook' was written beside it in the marker pen. Sherlock turned the page to see another shoot of the waterfall and a plane ticket.
Moriarty wanted to be found then, that was good. Sherlock threw the brochure on the table and took the ticket with him to his bedroom and started packing some stuff.
"What are you doing?"
Sherlock looked up to see John stood in his bedroom doorway holding two mugs, a frown on his face.
"Where are you going?"
"Switzerland? Why the hell are you going there?"
"Because I need to."
"Great. Thanks for telling me!"
"You're staying here."
"No Sherlock. I lost you once and had enough trouble blaming myself for your death then. I'm coming."
Sherlock stopped packing and turned to look at John "I already have a ticket and am leaving in five minutes there's no way you'll be ready in time."
"Sherlock" John snapped "You can't do this again."
"You know where I'm going. It will all be fine."
"When I though Mrs Hudson had been shot I thought you'd be fine left alone for half an hour and you ended up dead on the pavement."
"But I wasn't dead."
"I didn't know that then."
"I'll be back soon enough. I'm just chasing a lead."
"Why can't I come then?"
"It'll look suspicious if you suddenly leave and go abroad after you Arena related absence."
"You're just making up excuses."
"Maybe. But that doesn't change the fact that I'm going." Sherlock zipped his hoody up pulling the hood over his face and flinging his bag over his shoulder and walking past John.
Sherlock had never heard John sound so desperate. Sherlock turned and gave him a smile, hopefully John wouldn't realise how fake it was.
"I'll be back soon." He turned back around and walked downstairs and through the front door.
He had a plane to catch.
Chapter 17: Is The End Where I Begin
Sherlock got off the plane grimacing as he stretched his long legs, and his good arm, a few hours on a plane had not done him any good. He'd left his sling in England, so he would just have to be careful with his damaged shoulder. He walked out the aeroplane door flinching as he was met with an ice cold breeze.
There was a car waiting on the tarmac. Sherlock knew it was for him, he strode over and slid inside. The sooner this was over the better.
The car ride took an hour. Sherlock didn't speak a word during that time; neither did his driver until they pulled to a halt.
"Enjoy your walk sir." he said with a tone that sounded lifeless. Sherlock didn't spare the man a glance as he left and strode off towards the pathway, which was just a worn down patch in the middle of the winding route to the top. Sherlock could hear the water smashing down from here, eternally falling towards the ground. He pulled he coat collar up to protect himself from the cold.
He strode around the corner to see a figure stood near the edge of the cliff, looking down, the figure turned to give him a mad grin.
"You came then. And alone! Who's a good boy?" Moriarty's eyes glittered with insanity "I'm sure you've worked out what happens next. It's not difficult."
"I can't let you walk away from this." Sherlock told him.
"I would say the same, but with your shoulder it won't be hard to beat you. Almost boring but I'm done with games. I need you dead and gone Sherlock Holmes, I have bigger fish to fry."
"I doubt even you can 'burn' Mycroft."
"The Ice Man." The manic grin returned for a moment "Well, fire will melt him I assure you. You didn't see how he took your 'death'; you just assumed he'd just live on cold and uncaring. Did you know he visited your grave every month? And that was when you committed suicide, I'll break him more by letting him know if he'd paid more attention that he could've saved you this time" Moriarty grinned "The problem with Mycroft is he's so secret" Moriarty stage whispered the last word "He doesn't have a public reputation for me to play with, so I just have to try and melt his icy heart instead, which is in a way more fun."
Moriarty took a few steps backwards to let his heel's meet the edge of the cliff, he didn't seem afraid of the fact he could plunge a few thousand metres to his death. Sherlock decided Moriarty's mind probably didn't function in a way that would let him feel such fear.
Sherlock could hear the water barrelling towards the ground, he knew what ever happened today he would end up being dragged down with it. Moriarty pounced forwards throwing a punch at Sherlock's shoulder. Sherlock hissed in pain his hand flying up to hold the wound for a moment. Moriarty darted forward again but Sherlock leapt back, he could feel blood seeping from the wound now, crimson tears trickling down his spine.
This continued for a few moments, Sherlock managed to throw a punch as well catching Moriarty's chin but it did nothing but give him a grazed knuckle.
Sherlock took a few steps backwards.
He knew he couldn't win.
He would have to push him but then Moriarty would take him down with him. There wasn't another option though. Sherlock blinked once, taking his hand off his bleeding shoulder and straightening up to his full height, he took the first step forward.
"Sacrificing yourself? Really? I expected so much more of you."
"And I you." Sherlock's eyes scanned Moriarty he would have to throw his whole weight onto the man to push him off.
Sherlock took a final deep breath, he was about to leap forward when a bullet flew passed his ear and into Moriarty. The consulting criminal didn't stand a chance.
Moriarty was thrown off the cliff and down with the water.
Sherlock heard the soft crunch of grass from behind him.
Sherlock smiled to himself.
"Do you have a death wish?"
Sherlock turned around and walked away from the cliff edge towards John.
"How did you get here so quickly? Mycroft?"
"Mycroft and I found your travel brochure. Didn't take a Consulting Detective to work out where you were."
Sherlock nodded smirking slightly at the disbelieving smile John gave him.
"For someone so clever you can be so stupid." John sighed.
"Attempting to end the life of James Moriarty was stupid?"
"No, going to middle of nowhere to meet James Moriarty alone was stupid."
"I'll admit it wasn't ideal, not stupid though."
John eyed his shoulder.
"Let's go get that looked at."
"Please just shut up and come to a hospital, you've given me enough stress for one day."
Sherlock chuckled softly "Just this once."
"Thank-you." John started walking away from the cliff, Sherlock took a few steps towards the edge glancing down, all that he could see was the steep rock face.
"You coming?" John's voice pulled him away from the edge.
"Of course." Sherlock turned his back on the water fall, quickly walking away to catch up with John. After the hospital they were going home, properly this time, no hiding. He could finally be Sherlock Holmes again.
Three days later
"It's weird isn't it" John spoke from the kitchen; Sherlock was on the sofa, his huge three dimensional mind map now gone making the room more open and bright. "He's really gone. No more Moriarty and his mucked up games."
"Hmm" Sherlock made a non-commitment noise.
His phone bleeped. It was from Mycroft:
No body found – MH
"We're finally safe from him" John finalised walking in.
Sherlock gave him a false smile "Something like that." he murmured.