They apprehend James Moriarty [actual name unknown, no record ‘Moriarty, James’ located, finger prints unregistered. Name expunged? Additional information needed] at Kings Cross Station [22:03, minimal struggle, no fatalities, witnesses removed] of all places. He holds no ticket or luggage, just a mobile phone full of dead end numbers, as though he’d been waiting.
Four men bring him in while Mycroft watches the entire extraction through CCTV and erases the tapes afterward [private record encoded, James Moriarty, connection - 36 known unsolved crimes]. Moriarty rocks on his heels as MI6 agents surround him, shakes his wrists in a mockery of surrender at the shouts of ‘hands where we can see them!’ The only sign of any ‘resistance’ would be when he reaches into his pocket without permission to retrieve his phone [HTC Incredible S].
“Imagine you’ll want this, no need to be jumpy.”
Moriarty hands off his mobile willingly and Mycroft can’t help but feel annoyed at the blasé nature, the complete lack of fear. Mycroft enjoys being feared, it’s what he does, and this is not how he plays the game.
As the company men push Moriarty into the black car, he pauses for one moment, looks up at just the right angle and smiles for the camera.
When they place Moriarty in his cell, large two way mirror across one wall, he turns slowly from the door as it closes and walks across the empty space to stand mere centimeters from the glass. His lips pull back into a smile of bared teeth which appears to only know how to bite. He cocks his head to the side and touches the finger tips of one hand to the glass. He taps out an indefinable rhythm with his finger nails and says one thing.
“A pleasure to meet you in person, Mycroft Holmes.”
He does not speak again for three weeks.
Day one is the usual round of questions without violence.
Starter questions: ‘what is your real name,’ ‘what is your involvement in this crime,’ ‘can you account for your whereabouts on this date?’
Starter offers of safety and leniency and deals: ‘If you aid us of your own free will…’ ‘The courts will look kindly on…’ ‘If you give us all you know now…’
They feed him properly; even allow him five hours of sleep during the first twenty-four hour period of his incarceration.
Moriarty stares at every interviewer, stares through them. He stares at the walls, stares at the mirror – he never looks down and does not actually look away, not in the normal sense. He looks into each person who questions him as if they are only pieces of tissue paper, something he could blow away if he only puffed out his cheeks.
His lips never move.
They keep up the questions for a five more days [cell lights on 24 hours a day, scheduled change of light intensity and color to defuse acclimation], losing all pretense of dealing for Moriarty’s benefit.
“You will tell us what you know, Mr. Moriarty, one way or another.”
The interrogators throw their clipboards across the room, invade Moriarty’s personal space, shout and yell and bark and use every trick in the book prior to level two. [Light strobes every four hours, noise disruptions every 30 minutes].
“Provide us with the names of those directly involved with your network, Mr. Moriarty.”
They do not supply Moriarty with a bed or rest of any kind. They do not bring him three meals a day, only two, moving down to one. Mycroft plays this game like a pro and Moriarty will not beat him at his own game.
“Tell us about the key!”
Except that he does. Moriarty keeps staring and staring, blank as the walls around him. Mycroft would believe he had gone catatonic were it not for the casual pacing back and forth when ever Mycroft’s interrogators leave the room. Moriarty slips back and forth –face impassive – as if this is just another waiting room until he moves on; completely unconcerned.
Mycroft picks up the receiver of the phone on the wall, no need to dial. “Level two, authorized.”
Mycroft keeps to the firm belief that a man of his status should not get his hands dirty. His position is administrative; the one who gives orders, not carries them out. So, he hands Moriarty, gift wrapped in pretension, to his most short tempered interrogators.
“Do try not to kill him, however.” Mycroft inspects his nails on his left hand as he signs the paper work [Top classified, deniable, destroy upon any exposure]. “Especially if you wish to keep your job.”
[Day one – electrocution, lowest voltage, chest electrodes combined with water]
Mycroft watches behind the glass. He could wait for the reports but his length of trust only extends so far which is to say not far at all. Any small word could mean something and lackeys can be so unreliable when it comes to precision beyond inflicting pain. Mycroft will not lose this game.
[Day four – headphones with continuous loop of female screams every ten seconds followed by infant wailing every twenty seconds]
If there is a key – a key to open any door – then Mycroft needs that key locked up, safe away within British intelligence. A man like Jim Moriarty could knock the world to its knees with such a weapon; banks, government files, social security, weapons, nothing would be beyond reach. Mycroft despises vulnerability in government and this is a naked, open wound waiting to happen.
[Day seven – finger nails combined with physical abuse]
But Moriarty says absolutely nothing day after day, not one single sound.
Mycroft’s patience wears thinner each day. He knows methods of torture take time but usually the efforts at least produce screams. Moriarty mirrors stone with each new stab or jolt or recorded pitch of horror. The boys start hitting harder and strain their limits of creativity as they grow angrier over the futility. A few even forget to ask the questions, just punching over and over again into Moriarty’s slight stomach.
Mycroft replays the records at home. He hopes maybe there is a chink in the armor they over looked. Did Moriarty flinch from a certain method? Did he pull away just slightly from punches? Surely the finger nails? [Two removed from the left hand, one from the right, six from the feet combined] All this time and energy cannot be for naught, for no response, for nothing.
“You are a human being, Jim Moriarty,” Mycroft stares through the glass ever standing vigil over his most important enemy. “I have seen you bleed.”
Mycroft even sends A---- in for a day to work her magic, his secret weapon. [Former MI6, assassin level training, privately employed ‘freelance’ asset answerable only to M. Holmes, top access, real name classified] She spends the first three hours seated, on her blackberry while Moriarty stands shackled to the ceiling in complete silence. Then she rises, places her mobile down on the chair and cracks her knuckles.
“Shall we get down to it?”
Unlike the heavy suits of before, A---- at least earns a slight quirk of the lips from Moriarty before she punches him in the jaw and fractures his wrists.
“You have to break sometime,” Mycroft breathes out as blood drips from Moriarty’s noise, “you cannot stay silent forever.”
Mycroft will learn what this key is, what the code is, what this thing is that could unravel everything he safe guards. This little, insane man will not undo Mycroft’s work or endanger the crown he holds dear.
Three weeks on the dot, almost to the exact time they first locked Moriarty in his cell, Moriarty leans ever so slightly away from his interrogator. The agent’s fist stops mid air in surprise. He stares, blood dripping off his knuckles, and Moriarty smiles up at him through one swollen eye.
The agent frowns and raises his fist higher then Moriarty’s face flips to serious and his voice finally cracks to life. “I would like to speak to Mr. Mycroft Holmes.”
He grins again with blood on his teeth.
Mycroft sits in a chair across from Moriarty. [Ankle shackles, hand cuffs for wrists, chair bolted to floor – three bolts each leg, tested secure against force of 250 kilos] Mycroft crosses his legs and lets the silence stretch for a moment. He wants to see if Moriarty will speak first, after all Moriarty asked for him. Moriarty only smiles, head tilted to the side, and watches Mycroft. Mycroft clasps his hands together because two can play this game and Mycroft will not stoop.
Finally, Moriarty leans back in his chair, as casual a man in restraints can appear. “How is your dear brother?”
Mycroft does not smile. “We’re here to talk about you.”
“Little old me?”
Mycroft unclasps his hands and places them carefully on the arms of his chair. “Your key.”
“I have a lot of keys.”
“One in particular.”
Moriarty shrugs lazily. “I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.”
“Oh, I am sure you do.”
“Such presumption to assume what I know, Mr. Holmes!” He smiles wide. “Can you really be so sure? Maybe I’m the wrong man.”
Mycroft only raises his eyebrows. Moriarty smirks cheekily back.
Mycroft sighs and runs a hand down his tie, just as casual as Moriarty but still in control. “You know how this works, tell me what I need to know and all of this will stop.”
“Hmm, in case you hadn’t noticed, Mr. Holmes, it hasn’t been working so well for you thus far. You should step up to the big guns. Nipple clamps perhaps? Maybe a nice head swim?”
Mycroft purses his lips and does not reply. Moriarty grins and cocks his head, pouting his lips in a mockery of Mycroft. Then his face flat lines into hard and serious.
“How about a trade? One for me and then one for you. Tit for tat. Quid pro Quo like old Tony Hopkins.”
“Ah, but it’s the only way you’ll get in here,” Moriarty strains his fingers upward against the cuffs indicating his head.
“And what exactly would I tell you? Government secrets?”
Moriarty scoffs. “Oh, boring. No, Mr. Holmes, I want to know about him.”
“Now who’s playing the ‘I don’t know what you mean’ game?”
“This is what you want?” Mycroft frowns.
James stares at him, smile pulled tight in no way cheerful or pleasant. “Sherlock’s life for mine, that is the story I want.”
Mycroft stands behind the glass watching Moriarty in his chair. [Health checks normal, heart rate normal, no biological signs of nerves, unease, wear] Moriarty still faces the door, locked in his chair. His head tilts to one side as if listening for noise from behind the glass.
Mycroft frowns and crosses his arms. Interrogations do not run this way. Questions are asked, the subject resists, force is used and sooner or later – usually sooner – the subject cracks and Mycroft gains everything he desires, every scrap of information.
Prisoners do not win bargains. Prisoners do not make bargains with such boldness, such gall, such… ease.
Mycroft does not entertain the thought that James Moriarty is not really a prisoner.
“Sir, we need a decision.”
Mycroft stares through the glass, Moriarty slowly pacing back and forth around his cell. Mycroft counted fifty rounds back and forth then decided it was an activity far too akin to Sherlock and stopped.
“Sir, we have to have some sort of advancement on the prisoner, either through deeper interrogation or…”
“I am aware of the situation.”
“It has been two days since his proposal –”
“Ultimatum I believe you mean.”
The agent behind Mycroft does not respond for a beat. “There are projects which –”
“Do not presume to lecture me on our projects and the need for action; I am well aware of our position as I am of his and I do not need you to confirm this!”
“Yes, sir,” the man replies with a touch of chastisement in his tone.
“Stick to your pay grade,” Mycroft points to the door, “and get out.”
Mycroft continues to stare at the glass until he hears the door click closed behind him. Mycroft’s shoulders ease down slightly and he lets his arms fall. In the cell, Moriarty suddenly stops pacing. He turns around in the center of the room and faces the glass. Clasping his hands behind his back, Moriarty rises to his toes and rocks back and forth. He smiles.
Mycroft breathes in once; “Fine,” then flips open his mobile.
“Good to see you again, Mr. Holmes.” Moriarty waves one cuffed hand and grins. “Or do you have a better title? Minister? Puppet Master? Commandant?”
Mycroft folds his hands together and waits for Moriarty’s cheek to dissipate.
Jim grins once more then lets his lips slip slowly into a neutral straight line. “Business then?”
“I am certainly not here for the company.”
“Shame.” Moriarty cracks his neck and chews the edge of his tongue. “I hear I can be quite killer at entertainment.”
Mycroft sighs. “Questions?”
“Oh, well, all right. Guests first?” Moriarty sits up straight and leans forward. “Where did Sherlock attend university?”
“Cambridge. Surely you already know that.”
Moriarty grins. “I did. Just wanted to make sure you were going to be honest with me.”
Mycroft smiles, expression cold. “Then I trust you will be honest with me.”
“Well, after such a long time in each other’s company, why wouldn’t I?” Moriarty nods his head at the viewing window behind him. “Even if it was mostly through glass.”
“Marvelous.” Mycroft taps the arms of his chair once. “What is your name?”
“No, it isn’t.”
“It is now.”
Mycroft clicks his teeth. “I thought we were being honest.”
“Oh, I will be but I never said I would answer all of your questions.” Moriarty chuckles once. “Have no fear, Mr. Holmes, the whole world knows me as Jim Moriarty so it’s your best bet any way.”
Mycroft glances at the glass behind Moriarty and shakes his head. Then he looks back to Moriarty.
Moriarty shakes his head, mimicking Mycroft. “Oh dear, considering more rounds of torture instead of chatting already?”
“Who was Sherlock’s first real client?” Moriarty asks.
“Victor Trevor, classmate of Sherlock’s, case involving blackmail of the boy’s father; paid accordingly.” Moriarty makes an ‘O’ shape with his mouth. “Does this ‘key’ actually exist?”
“Not physically,” Moriarty flutters the fingers of one hand as he speaks. “What recreational drugs did Sherlock use in his past excluding cigarettes?”
Mycroft frowns. “It varied. What countries or organizations have you given access to this key?”
“It varies!” Moriarty practically chirps with glee. “Did Sherlock actually finish at Cambridge?”
Mycroft forces out a smile. “Yes.”
Moriarty gives him an incredulous look. “With a little help from brother dear?”
“Oh, well that’s a yes.”
“Do you have contacts in North Korea?” Mycroft asks, forcing them back on track.
“Of course, dozens.” Moriarty tilts his head to the opposite side. “What was Sherlock’s favorite drug?”
“I would pick another line of questions.”
Moriarty slowly whistles the first line of Beethoven’s 5th. “But this is the line I like.”
“Who are your contacts in North Korea?”
Moriarty ‘tut tuts’ and shakes his head. “You haven’t answered my question yet.”
“Well, you are the one in chains right now, Mr. Moriarty, so it is at my disposal how much information I give, not how much I get.”
Moriarty huffs. “These aren’t exactly chains, hand cuffs actually, but I understand your dramatization.” Moriarty leans lazily back against his metal chair. “And how much information you get actually is entirely up to me, isn’t it?”
“As how long you stay incarcerated is entirely up to me.”
“Oh, do please say forever!”
Mycroft blinks and stares at Moriarty. Moriarty smiles, ridiculous and farcical and some strange fabrication of a person strung over the devil of a man underneath. Mycroft cannot quite crack how his brain really works. No wonder he intrigues Sherlock so much.
“Your Korean contacts?”
“Your brother’s drugs?”
Mycroft stands and slides his chair back. “Perhaps this is enough for now. I imagine you’d like some time alone to remember all the names I need.”
Mycroft turns and steps around the chair toward the door.
“Oh come, Mr. Holmes, just one little answer about your brother’s preferences.” Moriarty drums his remaining finger nails on the metal of his chair. “What was it? Heroin perhaps? Big fan of the needle?”
“No,” Mycroft finds himself saying as he raps on the door and it opens toward him, “it was cocaine.”
Mycroft stands on the viewing side of the glass, hand against the wall holding up half his weight.
Mycroft’s head spins no matter how he tries to still it: Sherlock expelled from prep school; Sherlock shattering Mycroft’s whole butterfly collection in revenge over a snide comment; Sherlock informing the family of their uncle’s marital infidelities over breakfast; Sherlock’s boxing lessons and Mycroft’s suffering for it; Sherlock always alone in his room and his shelves of books growing fuller and fuller; Sherlock’s collection of chemicals and microscopes and preserved dead things in jars.
Mycroft remembers payoffs in rolls of cash; he remembers carrying Sherlock from that halfway house away from his newest dealer; he remembers mother’s death and Sherlock nearly following, passed out and drooling on Mycroft’s bedroom floor; Mycroft remembers failing again and again to stop it.
Mycroft breathes in and out focusing only on the action.
This should not be hard, this should be an easy trade, this should be going according to plan not this farce of the criminal playing the puppeteer. Mycroft should not be feeling so abruptly at sea.
On the other side of the glass Moriarty sits still and calm. So very calm.
“Fine, fine.” Mycroft stands up straight, breathes sharply through his nose, and folds his hands together. “All in then.”
So they play.
They fire question back and forth, answers constrained as much as possible on both sides, cheap shots and sore points. Mycroft keeps thinking of his dramatic assertion to John about Sherlock long ago, ‘…you see the battle field.’ But this battle means blood and Mycroft fights for the crown.
“The key isn’t physical; what is it?”
“An idea!” Moriarty leans forward as he speaks. “Has Sherlock actually had sex?”
“Interested, are you?”
Mycroft frowns. “No.”
“No, he hasn’t or ‘No, Jim, you shant taint my virgin brother.’” Moriarty bounces slightly in his chair, gleeful with his own cheek.
Mycroft raises his eyebrows. “Both.”
Moriarty chuckles. “As far you know.”
“I know.” Mycroft clicks his pen. “Is this code a computer virus, something which could destroy or infect any mainframe?”
Moriarty shakes his head. “Oh no, no, Mr. Holmes, you must think more creatively!”
“Similar then? A hacking program?”
“My question!” Moriarty tut tuts. “Was Sherlock ever put on drugs as a child?”
“Just later then?”
“A hacking program?”
Moriarty giggles. “I don’t think so, Matrix. Did Sherlock ever attempt a PHD?”
Mycroft scoffs. “Surely you could guess the answer to that.”
Moriarty grins. “No, Dr. Holmes doesn’t really ring.”
The conversation feels like tennis, throw, hit, return over an invisible net. Moriarty never seems surprised by any volley from Mycroft. Moriarty, however, shoots bullet questions sometimes so ordinary Mycroft cannot stop a wholly truthful reply.
“When did Sherlock learn the violin?”
Mycroft blinks. “Well, started at seven, mother thought both of her boys should try a hand at music. Sherlock was the one who really took to it.”
“Kept it up well.” Moriarty grins. “I’ll have to try and gain a private performance.”
“He did have a private tutor for a while but by secondary school he only played as a means to an ends – thinking of course. Also started to be how he let out emotion. Once after his only friend during primary school left for –” Mycroft abruptly cuts himself off as Moriarty starts to grin too much. Mycroft clears his throat, “I believe it is your turn.”
Moriarty’s casual confidence creeps around Mycroft’s defenses and pulls out things Mycroft had no intention of saying. He knows the rules, knows who is the interrogator and who is the prisoner. Yet, Mycroft also knows which side somehow gains more each time.
But Mycroft will not back down. He took the deal and the race only requires time.
“Your middle eastern contacts, tell me about them.”
Moriarty shrugs. “I’d rather not. Tell me about Sherlock’s relationships.”
Mycroft sighs. “What relationships?”
“Those poor souls who got in the car but didn’t get a ride,” Moriarty replies with a slight rise of his hips.
Mycroft lets his eyes slide off Moriarty to the wall behind him. He smiles faintly. “He did have a brief relationship with Samantha Hall, both of them fifteen. She was quite brilliant at chemistry and, of course, this intrigued Sherlock; someone who could reach his level of intellect in at least one area. They melted a number of pots in the kitchen together.” Mycroft eyes slip back onto Moriarty. “However, she only retained Sherlock’s interest for two months, quite a feat I must admit.”
Moriarty frowns dramatically and nods. “That all? Before our dear doctor, of course.”
Mycroft raises an eyebrow, “There was another but I rather think it’s your turn.”
“Oh, yes, of course,” Moriarty sighs, “my oh so secret Middle East contacts. Give a man a pencil and perhaps I’ll write some down.”
Mycroft unlocks one wrist, passing over a pad and pen so Moriarty can write. Moriarty writes slowly and peeks up from the paper.
“So who was lucky number two?”
“Taylor Reed,” Mycroft eyes the paper to ensure Moriarty writes real names and not nonsense, “at university. The boy asked Sherlock on a date and Sherlock decided to enact a social experiment.” Moriarty’s eyebrows wiggle and Mycroft frowns for the hundredth time. “It only went so far.”
“Couldn’t see the experiment through?” Moriarty tilts his head and looks back down at his paper. “Not very scientific of him.”
“I believe that was out of Sherlock’s control as Taylor broke off with Sherlock. I think Sherlock actually felt…” Mycroft pauses, purses his lips and glances down at his nails. “Well, to Taylor’s credit mother found him a delight.”
Moriarty’s eyes slowly draw up from the pad. “Dear John would be so jealous to know someone else was taken home to the folks first.”
Mycroft holds out his hand. “Finished?”
Mycroft learns a little each time. Somehow Moriarty already knows what intel they’ve discovered because he gives that information back to them perfectly as if it were ‘new,’ playing ignorant so Mycroft has to play the same back. Sometimes Moriarty includes one extra name or admits to one new crime but the new knowledge trickles slow and thin.
“Let’s hear about the good stuff,” Moriarty licks his lips and nods cheerfully. “Time for some drug talk and then,” Moriarty continues emphatically before Mycroft can speak, “then you can hear all about my fun with North Korea.”
“Go then, Mr. Moriarty.”
“What drug did Sherlock start with?”
“Uppers, couldn’t you have guessed that?”
Moriarty chuckles. “Did he ever try ecstasy? Party drug!”
“Didn’t take to it?”
“He nearly over dosed due to it once. I brought him to the hospital myself and used several favors to remove any citations from university administration. Sherlock dubbed the drug too unstable in its effect for his continued use.”
“How about a classic then, bit of Mary Jane?”
“Only experimentally and very sporadically; it slows brain function, not heightens.”
Moriarty nods. “Obviously. LSD then? Meth?”
“Both. Another overdose with the LSD and the brief foray into meth ruined his body for several months negating the high.”
“So cocaine won the favorite spot?”
Mycroft clicks his teeth. “Though I don’t dare contemplate the many layers of my brother’s thought process on choosing a preferred drug I believe cocaine gave him the best form of a high to allow him to work long and hard and happy.”
“I thought you said he hadn’t had sex.”
“I am,” he smiles. “And did he ever attempt rehab after his various overdoses and ill effects to his health?”
Mycroft hesitates for a fraction [Fact: discussion of rehab between Holmes relatives; consensuses of ‘yes’ from most family. Mycroft recommendation ‘no’ as Sherlock would unlikely react well to controlled environment, better to keep it within the family. Addiction lasted three more years] then drums his hand once on the arm of the chair. “No, he did not.”
“Oh,” Moriarty grins very slowly. “I see, Mr. Holmes.”
Mycroft frowns. “South Korea then.”
Somehow, though Mycroft feels battles won – names learned to investigate then detain and small facts about plans obtained which Mycroft now has the ability to stop – somehow Mycroft knows the war leans the other way.
Mycroft rubs his forehead, pushes back the feeling of fatigue and slums slightly in his chair. [Three weeks, two days of traded information] He shakes his head at this man, this alien man who makes absolutely no sense in Mycroft’s terms of the world. James Moriarty, the most dangerous criminal mind the world has ever known, and yet what does he ever gain but the pleasure of watching?
“So, Mr. Moriarty,” Mycroft asks, seeing the hands on his watch reading 11 PM, “just how many crimes have you committed.”
He smiles, this time small and almost normal. “With my own hands?”
Mycroft sits up straight, surprised at the simple, frank response. “Five?”
“I have killed five people without any sort of intermediary, all on my own, but you won’t get any of their names from me. A man must keep some secrets for himself.”
“Carl Powers?” Mycroft asks softly.
Moriarty only smiles back then asks, “What was Sherlock like as a child?”
“What was he like?” Moriarty stares hard at Mycroft, all his dominant farce gone leaving just the bare, frightening man beneath; one whom genuinely, earnestly wants to know. “All that intelligence, all the brain power rolling around uncontained – new and unfocused and unmanageable; was he difficult, was he unruly, was he sad, was he in pain? What was he like?”
Mycroft stares back at Moriarty, almost forgetting the shackles on the man’s ankles and wrists because no one who knows Sherlock now has ever fathomed, never wondered, or asked about this before.
“He was…” Mycroft swallows then smiles to counteract how he feels. “He was very hard. It was slow at first, he asked questions almost as soon as he could speak. What is the name of that bird? How do trees grow? What does death mean? But as he grew older and the answers to his questions became more complex he grew frustrated with everyone around him being ‘too slow’ to keep up with everything he wanted to know, to figure out.
Mother had his IQ tested, sent him to a special advanced school but school was never exactly what Sherlock needed. He wanted to only answer the questions he thought were important. He didn’t care about memorizing the Royal lineage or taking tests. He was sent to every principal he ever had because of correcting his teachers, editing subpar textbooks. He ended up in so many fights because he couldn’t keep his mouth shut. I have no idea how he learned sarcasm so quickly. When he was ten a fellow student fractured his nose because Sherlock informed him that janitorial work would be right up his alley.
I tried to connect with him but I am… well, I only wanted the best for Sherlock and he often disagreed with my recommendations. He was always frustrating and I never could… I could never really get in because it wasn’t always just intelligence, it was focus. When he was very young sometimes he would just hide in corners, in his closet holding his head between his hands.
I remember him asking me more than once, ‘please make it stop.’” Mycroft pauses and looks down once at his hands before meeting Moriarty’s intent eyes again. “But how could I make his brain stop running? So he was lonely and angry until somehow he learned to be brilliant and disdainful instead.”
Mycroft breathes in then out with palpable finality, “That is how he was, Mr. Moriarty.”
Silence slips down like a curtain over the play, suddenly louder than either of their voices before. Tension slowly recedes from Mycroft’s shoulders after the surprise rush of such a confession. Mycroft stays completely still because he realizes like a slap he’s given too much. Moriarty stares at Mycroft, head slightly tilted and long fingers curled around the arms of the chair. Then he smiles slowly and leans fully back against his chair.
“Thank you, Mr. Holmes, thank you very much.”
Mycroft and Carl [status: all access, projects top secret] sit on opposite sides of the plain metal desk with Moriarty’s file of blackouts between them.
“We would perhaps,” Carl taps the ends of his fingers together, “obtain better results if we release him.”
Mycroft frowns at the wall behind Carl’s head. “Send him out into the wind? I do not recommend it.”
“Better to leave his network leaderless so it fractures into a worse chaos?”
Mycroft smooths his tie and shifts his chair so he is mostly facing away from Carl, “I doubt his underlings could do worse things should they go without his maniacal intellect to inspire such creative and well concealed crimes.”
“You doubt.” Carl’s voice edges with professional disquiet. [Holmes classified files: colleague of personal contention Carl Shaft, under special observation].
“We will get results,” Mycroft carefully enunciates each word.
“You’ve gained little so far.” Carl tilts his head out of the corner of Mycroft’s eye. “Spent more time talking perhaps than listening?”
Mycroft turns his head sharply and resists grinding his teeth. “I simply require more time.”
“You don’t have it.” Carl knocks the edge of the file so it sides across the desk and stops just at the end of the table in front of Mycroft. “This isn’t the cold war.”
“Terrorism not enough to wet your palette?”
“Not enough to become the next exposure case of excessive torture and unlawful imprisonment.”
Mycroft frowns further. “Planning an ‘accidental exposure,’ are you? Professional rivalry need not be so sloppy as that, Carl.”
Carl gazes coolly at Mycroft. “Cut him loose.”
In the three days during which Mycroft attempted to ensure continued detention of his prisoner [official decision, status final: prisoner to be released with continued surveillance] Moriarty’s cell became something of an ‘art project.’ Mycroft does not know where Moriarty obtained the broken piece of plastic or metal or whatever it may have been to etch into the walls and glass of his cell but he is trying to think of the most horrible assignment to send whomever was responsible on for such a slip. It perhaps comes as no surprise what the focus of Jim Moriarty’s graffiti was, as the very thing he carved into his surroundings was all he'd wanted to talk about in the preceding weeks. Mycroft calculates cost and time to bring the cell back to proper operating standards in his head. Blood takes far less time to clean and only requires a mop.
“Find me someone to fire,” Mycroft says to A---- standing beside him in front of the glass. “And organize the fix up.”
“Yes, sir.” She clicks a few buttons on her blackberry then drops her hands. “The release?”
Mycroft stares at the letters all over the small cell, Moriarty seated in the middle with his eyes closed. Mycroft feels a weight in his stomach like water slowly freezing into a solid. He sees Moriarty’s eyes moving and a timeline of a life forming into a full fledged being with details and events and facts that Mycroft thinks should be meaningless. [[Should be…. should be…. have to be…]]
“All right,” Mycroft answers, “let him go.”
A---- disappears and five minutes later the door to the cell opens. Moriarty opens his eyes and smiles thin and long at the mirror in front of him. Then James Moriarty turns and walks out leaving only ‘Sherlock, Sherlock, Sherlock, Sherlock, Sherlock, Sherlock,’ decorating the room in his wake.
As the door closes, the sharp sound of clashing metal stabs straight into Mycroft’s brain. Mycroft realizes he just sold his own brother for his country and failed.