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The Touch of a Flame

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Darkness was one thing that James Moriarty had always been familiar with. Even as a child, when most of his mates trembled at the mere thought of pitch black, he welcomed it. Now, it enveloped him like a thick, wooly blanket. He couldn't see anything except for the small red dot of a camera, watching him, recording his every movement. Without his sight, his other senses were sharp.

He could hear the sound of the chains that held him, clinking as he shifted. He was aware of the ragged, shallow breaths he took, and the sound of his blood as it gushed through his veins. He welcomed the pain, the torture, the feeling of hot, wet blood trickling down his face. He felt swollen and battered and bruised, and he loved it. He hung there, arms held above his head by the cold, metal chains, feet close but not quite able to touch the ground. He wanted more. He needed more.

He shivered expectantly at the thought of a hard, leather whip cracking against his skin. The thought of these various methods of torture plagued his mind, and he wanted more. A small, maniacal laugh bubbled up out of his throat, turning into a sick and hearty gurgling as he remembered the collar around his neck, constricting his air. He closed his eyes, attempting to let the darkness swallow him whole. His moment was ruined by the sound of footsteps outside the door, then the handle jiggling, and finally, light, corrupting his beautiful black prison.

"We've done enough," the smooth, rich, familiar voice of a man with power and dignity echoed through the room, "It's time." A bright light flicked on and Moriarty turned his head ever so slightly to see the face of his captor. A delighted grin twisted on his face as he saw Mycroft Holmes standing in the doorway, mobile in one hand, the other resting at his side. That strangled laugh escaped him again, saliva pooling in the corners of his mouth and spilling out. Mycroft simply stared at him, expression blank and uncaring. Moriarty tried to speak, but quickly realized it was futile. He strained against his bonds and Mycroft moved to untie the thick rope around his neck. Once freed from the obstruction, Moriarty spoke quickly, his words pouring out of him.

"Oh, dear Mycroft, have you had enough of this game? I was quite enjoying it." He licked his lips and upon tasting the blood that had dried there, he hummed happily. Mycroft circled back around to stand in front of the grotesque sight that was James Moriarty. His expression was unchanged.

"Anthea will be in to escort you out shortly. Now, if you'll excuse me." He turned on his heel to walk away as Moriarty spat in his general direction. He could hear the chains rattling furiously.

"Oh, Mycroft," he hissed darkly, his lips curling into an evil grin, "The dear elder Holmes brother. What will you do without me, your little prisoner? Who will you take out your sadistic fantasies on now?" At those words, Mycroft stopped and turned to Moriarty. His face had changed slightly, a small grimace now playing on his lips as he looked upon the man before him in disgust. He started to speak, his words like daggers, eyes narrowed.

"Unlike you, I have some dignity. You should be ashamed of your actions. You are cretin, a feral animal awaiting its prey. You are unsophisticated and disgusting. Now please, get out of my sight." He continued to walk, his shoes clicking against the tile. The sound was piercing in the room. When he reached the door, Moriarty let out a low growl and began his jabbing again.

"No, Mycroft Holmes, you are so very similar to me. You are so powerful. You hold the fate of many people in your hands. You want more. Just like Sherlock gets off on solving mysteries, you get off on having that control over others. I'd like to watch you try and control me. Yes, I would… quite enjoy that." The eldest Holmes brother stood in the door, not bothering to look at the man hanging behind him, for he knew his face showed an emotion that could easily be read.

"You're right," Mycroft managed after a moment, "Power…" He trailed off, turning to Moriarty again and frowning. He pulled his mobile from his pocket, quickly punched in a number and waited for a few seconds before someone picked up on the other line.

"Anthea? Yes, could you tell security to turn off the camera in cell 43? I have some… private questions I'd like to ask Mr. James Moriarty." He hung up quickly, avoiding any potential questions Anthea may have had. It was unlikely that she would, but the precaution was necessary.

"Good boy, Holmes. You are just like your brother, catering to my every whim. It feels so good to have that power over you." A laugh erupted from Moriarty as he said the words. Mycroft looked up at the camera. The red light signifying recording switched off. They were alone now.

"I don't like to play games, Moriarty. I believe I somewhat understand your fascination with my brother, though I don't quite understand your fascination with me." He gave Moriarty a disdainful look before clearing his throat and continuing. "This is your last chance. In the next hour, I will set you free. Tell me what you're after." There was deafening silence for a moment. Moriarty's shrill laugh clipped it short, nearly startling Mycroft.

"What will I get in return, Holmes?" he sneered, baring his teeth.

"What do you want? If it's reasonable, I will honour your request." Moriarty took a moment to think before grinning lopsidedly.

"I want information. I'd like to have you too, if it's not too much to ask." Mycroft was crossing the room before he even finished listening to his demands, hands reaching up to unchain the consulting criminal. He backed away as Moriarty dropped to the floor, landing gracefully on his feet.

"Mycroft…" he whispered seductively, closing the short distance between the two. "I'll make a deal with you. You won't be able to resist it." He leaned into Mycroft and inhaled sharply, taking in his scent. Mycroft flinched at the action.

"What is it, then?" Mycroft's mobile began to ring in his pocket and he reached down, extracting it. "Please excuse me for a moment." He pressed the phone to his ear.

"Hello? Yes, Sherlock, what is it? I'm in the middle of something. No, of course you can't." A pause and then, "Fine. Fine! I've got to go." He hung up, shoving the phone back into his pocket. Moriarty grinned wildly and pressed himself against the man before him, his lips parted slightly, his eyes hungry.

"You will give me what I want, or your brother falls," Moriarty breathed, his lips now on Mycroft's neck. "Understood?" Mycroft bristled, wanting to move away from Moriarty's touch.

"Yes," Mycroft panted slightly, attempting to push Moriarty away gently. He simply wrapped his arms around Mycroft's neck, pulling them closer together.

"Don't resist. I will make you regret it, you power hungry pig," he growled, biting into his neck. Mycroft gave a yelp and stepped back, but Moriarty was there again, holding him tightly against his will.

"Don't act so innocent. I bet you're like a Catholic schoolgirl in that head of yours." He bit into his neck again, prompting another scream of pain. "I can just see it now. You're fucking anything with legs in your head, but in reality, you're scared. You're scared of what people will think of you. My, it would destroy your image if you were caught doing something so scandalous." He yanked at the tie around Mycroft's neck, quickly loosening it and tossing it to the floor.

"That pretty little assistant of yours… Anthea, is it? I bet you think about doing the dirtiest things to her. You want to know what it's like inside of her, don't you?" His fingers slid to the buttons on Mycroft's suit, quickly and efficiently undoing them and letting the jacket fall to the floor. Mycroft stood completely still, terrified, his heart thudding in his chest.

"What are you going to do with me?" he finally managed after a moment, peering down at Moriarty with unmistakable fear in his eyes. Moriarty hadn't been wrong. What went on in his head was out of control. No one could ever know or he would be condemned.

"I'm going to do anything and everything you could possibly want. And you're going to like it." Moriarty undid the first button on Mycroft's shirt. He grew impatient immediately, tearing open the shirt with so much force that all of the buttons popped off.

"I hope you're going to pay for that," Mycroft muttered under his breath as Moriarty peeled his shirt off of him. He merely chuckled and ran a long finger down Mycroft's chest. He quickly pulled off the dirty T-shirt he had been forced to wear for days and threw it rather violently over his shoulder. He lunged for Mycroft's chest, biting it roughly. Mycroft cried out in pain, digging his fingers into Moriarty's shoulders.

"Why are you doing this?" Mycroft huffed, stifling moans. Moriarty had found his nipple and sucked hard, pinching the other one between his fingers. Mycroft groaned, his hands quickly moving to the button on Moriarty's trousers.

"Getting carried away, Mycroft. You should be ashamed." He grabbed Mycroft's face and shoved him against the wall, grinding against him.

"I will fuck you until you can't walk straight, Holmes. I will ruin you. I will take all of your dignity and pride and throw it out of the window." He yanked Mycroft's trousers and shorts off, taking his cock in his hands and rubbing the head roughly with his thumb. Mycroft let out a strangled moan and threw his head back, his fingers gripping Moriarty's face.

"No… stop it…" The simple three words he uttered made Moriarty grin maliciously, taking his cock into his mouth and sucking hard. Then, abruptly, he stood and shoved Mycroft down to the ground.

"Don't tell me to stop, indignant bastard!" He dropped his shorts and straddled Mycroft, exposing a toothy grin. Mycroft cringed, watching in horror.

"Please…" Mycroft begged, his voice shaking, "Please, don't do this." But Moriarty was already on his warpath and he wouldn't take orders from anyone.

"Now, now, Mycroft. We had a deal, remember?" He ran his fingers across Mycroft's cheek, and then slapped him, hard. He grabbed Mycroft's shoulders and held him down. It was useless anyway, because at this point, Mycroft wouldn't struggle. He just lay there, staring up at Moriarty, his heart pounding and his head swimming. He gave Moriarty what he wanted, for the sake of Sherlock, for the sake of John. Mycroft knew better than anyone else that they needed Sherlock Holmes.

Afterwards, Mycroft had quickly dressed and run off to find Anthea. Moriarty had been allowed to shower, put on fresh clothes and was set free. Mycroft watched the whole scene from his window, clutching a cup of tea in his hand. Something about this whole situation made him uneasy, but it was too late. He had let Moriarty take advantage of his momentary vulnerability and it made him sick to his stomach. He didn't want to ponder on the implications of his actions any further. He just hoped, from the very bottom of what little heart he had left, that his brother would be safe.

Chapter Text

The din in the Cross Keys Pub was fading as the sun began to peek over the horizon. John had found a seat at the bar and laid his head down on the cool wood. After being wholly unsuccessful at extracting information from Louise Mortimer (with no help from Bob Frankland, that bastard), he wanted to sleep but he quickly realised he was far too restless. Sherlock's reaction to seeing the hound earlier in the night had been jarring to him, to say the least. He was a little more concerned than he probably should be and he found that extremely annoying.

He felt a light tap on his shoulder and looked up to see the bartender peering down at him curiously. It was the small, mousy man from earlier. Billy, maybe? John smiled weakly at him and looked down at his arms folded on the bar top.

"You all right, mate?" Billy asked carefully, noticing the bags under John's eyes, "Have a row with your man, then?"

John sighed and rolled his eyes, pressing his lips together.. "He's not my… we're not… oh, whatever." He was too tired for this. He knew he wouldn't be able to form a coherent thought at this rate. His eyes were closing by themselves now and he craved the warmth of his bed.

"Could've fooled me, mate. The pair of ya just look right together. But if you insist that you're not, I'll take your word." Billy smiled and leaned against the back wall. John felt a little guilty for being so rude before. Billy was only trying to be kind to him and he was being a prick.

"Sorry," John mumbled drowsily, rubbing his eyes, "I think I'll be heading up to bed now but thanks for talking with me." He gave Billy a genuine smile before pushing back on the barstool and making his way to the bottom of the stairs.

"Hey, mate?" Billy called after him. John spun on his heel and quirked an eyebrow.

"Yeah?"

"Just a word of advice but… if he really is important to you, you should tell him. I see the way you look at him. You're worried about him. You should tell him." John frowned slightly at Billy's words, slightly peeved by how a complete stranger had seen right through him. Billy was right, though, and John couldn't help but smile at him.

"Yeah, you're right…" John said quietly, sighing and looking down at his shoes, "Thanks." He turned again and ascended the stairs, running through things he could say to Sherlock in his head. He didn't even know where to begin.

 

 

 

Sherlock laid in the darkness of his room, one arm over his face and the other dangling off the edge of the bed. He flexed his fingers, trying to think of what could have happened at Dewer's Hollow. There was absolutely no way that the hound could have been real. Sherlock had never been one to believe in the supernatural and he hardly thought that Baskerville could pull off something like a large, genetically mutated dog. He sat up quickly, white dots flashing across his vision as the blood rushed back to his head. For once, he felt a little groggy and a bit shaky, at that. He needed to go somewhere to think, somewhere he wouldn't be bothered. Hound Tor. Perfect.

He grabbed his coat off the floor, where he had carelessly dropped it only an hour before. He heard footsteps on the stairs and wondered who could even be up at this hour. It was nearly 5:30 AM, judging by the bluish light filtering in through the tattered blinds. Sherlock poked his head out of the door, squinting, the orange glow of the hallway much brighter than the pitch blackness of his room. He could make out the shape of a figure coming down the hallway and he instantly recognised who it was.

"John?" Sherlock called, stepping out of his room and shutting the door behind him. He adjusted the collar on his coat and looked up to see that John had stopped at the door of the room next to his.

"Oh, Sherlock, hey. You're up early." John rubbed his eyes and Sherlock had to hold in a laugh. John really had not learned anything about Sherlock if he was surprised at the fact he was up so early.

"I never slept actually," Sherlock commented as pushed the small silver key into the lock and turned it. This earned him a very nasty glare from John. Sherlock merely rolled his eyes and slipped the small key back into his coat pocket. John was silent for an uncomfortably long time before Sherlock finally started to make his way down the hall. "I'll be out at Hound Tor. You can text if you need me."

John stopped Sherlock in his tracks, moving to block his way. "Wait. I… can we talk?" Sherlock wasn't sure he wanted to know, but John looked serious. Perhaps he had managed to get information out of Henry's therapist after all.

"Sure," Sherlock said as John moved back to the door, unlocking it.

"In here, if you don't mind. I don't want anyone listening in." John swallowed audibly and Sherlock noticed. John was nervous. Why was he nervous? This wasn't about Mortimer after all, then. He followed John into the tiny hotel room and shut the door behind him.

 

 

 

"I'm worried about you," John started, his voice steady despite his shaky hands and racing thoughts. He hadn't even gotten to the most nerve-wracking part of this confession, but his body was already starting to betray him. His voice would go next. "What I'm trying to say is… oh, Christ." John propped his elbows on his knees and buried his face into his hands. This was a lot harder than he thought it would be. He could feel Sherlock's eyes on him, but he couldn't say anything else. The words were stuck in his throat.

"What are you trying to say?" Sherlock asked, his baritone voice ringing in the silence of the room. John sighed and lifted his head to look at him. This confession could change the entire dynamic of their relationship. There was a 98% chance that John would be rejected. He didn't like that idea at all.

"Forget it, Sherlock. It's really not important." But it is, John kept thinking, his mind going a thousand miles a minute now. Sherlock wasn't buying that.

"No, it's obviously important or you wouldn't have pulled me aside to tell me," Sherlock pointed out. John just groaned and rubbed his eyes.

"I'm just tired, is all. I don't know what I'm saying," John tried, shaking his head. There was an excruciatingly long moment of silence before Sherlock cleared his throat and looked at John.

"Well, if it's nothing, I should get going." Sherlock turned on his heel and walked to the door. John panicked.

"Wait, Sherlock. It's… just, be careful, okay? I really… care about you and I don't want you to get hurt." John blushed scarlet. He couldn't see Sherlock's face and it was unnerving. His hands were sweating. The long silence was not helping, either.

"I will," Sherlock barely whispered after five minutes of deafening silence. With that, he slipped out of the door quietly, leaving John to his own devices. He groaned and stood, stretching his legs. He was more worried now that he had upset Sherlock. He walked to the window and peered out to see Sherlock striding across the lot towards Hound Tor. John knew he shouldn't follow, but there was no way he could sleep now. Adrenaline was pumping through his veins. He spotted the little church across the way and decided it was the perfect spot to sit and think.

As he descended the stairs and rounded the corner, he noticed Billy had now been replaced by a very sleepy Gary. He waved, his other hand stifling a yawn, and John waved back as he made his way out of the pub.

 

 

 

Several hours later, Sherlock found himself phoning his brother. They had to get back into Baskerville. "Brother dearest, how are you?" Sherlock drawled, his mouth turning up into a devilish smile. John lagged behind, still unable to look at Sherlock properly. That was to be expected.

Mycroft spoke quickly, which made Sherlock a little suspicious as to what he was up to. "Yes, Sherlock, what is it? I'm in the middle of something." Sherlock started to lay it on thick.

"You see, I need access into Baskerville. Please, brother, just this once. I promise it's for a good reason. Can I please use your ID? Please?" Sherlock's voice was almost pleading. It made John realise how good of an actor he could be.

"No, of course you can't," Mycroft replied sharply, then the line was quiet for a minute. Sherlock didn't even need to say anything else. "Fine, fine! I've got to go."

He heard the click of Mycroft hanging up and smiled, turning to John. He shoved the phone back into his pocket. "We're in. Let's go." John held up a hand in protest, shaking his head.

"I have to get something first. I'll be right back," John muttered, jogging up to the front doors of the inn and slipping inside. Sherlock was a little relieved, honestly. He wanted time to think about the phone call he'd just had with his brother. His voice had sounded tired, strained. As far as he knew, things were going fairly well for him. He had also been rushed, so much so that he'd very easily granted Sherlock the access he desired. That was unusual. Very unusual. Before John came out, Sherlock quickly thumbed a text to Anthea.

What's wrong with Mycroft? -SH

He didn't wait for a reply and, as he expected, he didn't get one.