Life settled into a routine soon enough, one that didn’t involve waking up every four hours, and within a short time of Abigail’s arrival Sherlock’s life was more or less the same as it had been before, with the addition of a young girl who had managed to steal his heart away. He was completely enthralled with his daughter, to the point that he had found a way to spend as little time away from her as possible. She accompanied him to the morgue (much to Molly’s delight), to Scotland Yard (much to Lestrade’s grief) and occasionally to crime scenes, but that was only when the three people he trusted to watch her were unavailable.
The press had picked up on the news, linking him and his daughter to The Woman, and he found himself fending them off. He had the feeling that when it came time to explain why such a big deal was made his daughter might not be too happy with her mother. He hoped that day was a long time in coming. As it stood, he got one note from Irene with an apology. He kept it, for that day when his daughter asked about her birth mother. He kept all the things she sent. He hadn’t believed in sentiment before, but he knew damn well his daughter might not be like him and he wanted to be prepared.
He was careful, though, and wary. Moriarty had not made a move in some time in this game he placed them in, and now there was an added pawn, one whom would cause Sherlock to go to great lengths should she ever be put in danger. Most days he didn’t worry, but any time someone was watching Abigail he made it a point to check in often, just to be sure.
It had been six months since her birth and she was thriving. She was a happy, good-natured child who liked being the center of attention, but also didn’t mind entertaining herself when needed. She hadn’t started smiling yet, but she cried rarely except when hungry or wet. The flat had been baby-proofed as she liked to crawl now, and Sherlock was waiting somewhat impatiently for the walking to begin. But on this night he was not at home. He was at a crime scene with Lestrade in the rain, wishing he was at home. Molly was watching her, and she had told him she’d put her to bed a half hour ago.
“The damn rain’s washing away the evidence,” Lestrade grumbled as they got to the crime scene tape.
“It will make the case harder, but not impossible,” he replied. John was slightly behind them as they got there. “Have you determined cause of death?”
“Stabbing. His whole chest is full of stab wounds,” Lestrade said. “Question is, how did he end up here? No one’s allowed back here.”
Sherlock was about to respond when he felt his phone vibrate, then ring. He pulled it out and saw it was Molly. He held up a hand an answered it. “Molly?”
“She’s gone,” Molly said. “Oh my God, someone took her.”
He froze as ice filled his veins. “Tell me what happened.”
“Two men came into the flat. One hit me with a lead pipe or something like that in the arm and then in the head. I just came to and ran to the room and she’s gone.”
“I’ll be there shortly,” he said.
“Something wrong?” Lestrade asked.
“My daughter’s been kidnapped,” he said quietly.
“Oh God,” Lestrade said, his eyes wide. “Let me get a uniform to drive you home, full sirens. Do you need forensics there?”
Sherlock shook his head. “No.”
“You think Moriarty did this?” he asked.
“It would be my best guess,” he replied.
“Find him,” Lestrade said. “Find him and if you have to kill him, kill him.”
Sherlock looked at him. For him to say that meant he was taking this personally as well. He nodded once, then Lestrade called over a uniform and told him to drive them home, sirens on. John and Sherlock hurried to the patrol car and got in, and shortly afterwards it was speeding to their home. They got there in twenty minutes and Sherlock opened the door. He spotted Mrs. Hudson near the base of the stairs. “John, make sure she’s all right,” he said.
“Got it,” he said.
He bounded up and found Molly sitting on the couch. She was shaking, and she had a nasty gash on the side of her face. She was holding her arm as if it was hurt badly. “Molly,” he said.
She stood up and went over to him. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” she said.
“It wasn’t your fault,” he replied, taking a close look at the wound. She was going to need stitches. “Did they leave anything? Was there a note or anything like that?”
She nodded. “In the crib, in your room.”
He went to his room quickly, and found the note. It was typewritten except for the signature. He read it and felt rage boil through him.
I have your daughter. I won’t hesitate to kill her. We have unfinished business. The pool, midnight. Come alone and unarmed this time.
It was signed by Jim Moriarty. He crushed the paper and went back to Molly. “Molly. Can you remember anything else?”
“No,” she said.
She glanced over at the sound of Mrs. Hudson and John coming up the stairs, and he followed her gaze. “Taser,” John replied.
“I was on my way out when they burst in,” she said.
“I think Molly’s arm might be broken,” Sherlock said. “And she’s going to need stitches.” He glanced at his watch. It was 10:13. He had some time to plan, but not much. “John, where did you put the throwing knives?”
“Shelf above the stove,” he said. “Why?”
“I’m going to get my daughter back,” he said.
“Well, I’m coming with you.”
“You can’t,” he said. “Stay here, make sure they’re okay.” He went into the kitchen and threw open the cabinet above the stove. He saw the throwing knifes, and thankfully his ankle sheath had been put up there as well. It had been a while since he had practiced with them, and he hoped he was still accurate. He pulled down two of them and went back to the other room, lifting up his pants leg and putting the sheath on his ankle, then putting a knife on either side.
“Kill the bastard,” Mrs. Hudson said.
“I intend to,” Sherlock replied.
Molly got up and went over to him. She used her good arm and touched his face. “Be careful.”
“I will,” he said.
She leaned up and kissed him softly on the lips. He shut his eyes while she did, and just slightly kissed her back. If he did end up dead tonight, there were worse ways to part with her. She moved away and John went over to her, looking at her arm. He gave them all one last glance, and then went to hail a cab. He gave the address of the pool. If he arrived early, he might catch them by surprise. He felt anxious as the cab made its way there, and it seemed as though an eternity had passed when it finally pulled p, but it was only 10:49. He pulled his lock pick out of his pocket and set to work breaking in as quietly as he could.
He made his way quietly down to the pool. He could hear two men talking, and neither of them sounded like Moriarty. He was appalled at how stupid they were. And then he heard a baby crying. That would be his daughter, voicing her displeasure at the situation. He paused, crouching down as he looked at the pool, his hand on the sheath. The idiots had their back to him, and they had put Abigail on the floor and weren’t paying much attention to her. He didn’t need the knives to take them down. He crept up behind them, and within moments had them taken out. He went to his daughter and picked her up. She was unharmed, and as soon as she saw him she stopped crying. “I need to hide you,” he told her quietly. He looked around, and saw a locker. He opened it up, then placed her inside, shutting the door. Thankfully she did not start crying again.
He stood up and moved back out to the pool area, reaching down to his sheath and palming one of the knives. The other door opened, and Moriarty walked in, immersed in his phone call. It took him a moment to see Sherlock standing there. “Where are those idiots?” Moriarty asked.
“Indisposed,” he said.
“And I suppose you have your daughter tucked away somewhere safe?” he asked. Sherlock nodded. “You may get her back tonight, but I’ll come again. I may even kill her next time, leave her body there for you to find.”
“You are not going to lay a hand on my daughter,” he said calmly.
“She’s your heart. I take her life, snuff it out, and that will devastate you. You’ll be a shell of yourself, consumed with grief.”
“I think not,” he said. He was nearly in range. Sherlock looked at him intently. “You seem to be forgetting that I have a very good reason for wanting you dead.”
“And I doubt you came unarmed,” Moriarty said. He reached into his suit jacket and pulled out a gun as Sherlock let the hilt of one of his knives slip down to his hand. He took a step toward Moriarty and threw the knife as Moriarty squeezed off a shot. The knife had already left his hand when he felt the bullet impact with his shoulder, and he spun to the side, but not before he heard the knife thud into Moriarty’s throat. He’d been aiming for his chest, but this would do.
He moved to Moriarty as he heard Abigail begin to cry again. Moriarty had sunk to his knees. When he was standing in front of him, he reached and pulled the knife out. Blood gushed out, and Moriarty put his hands over it but the blood did not stop running. “If this was some great game, I regret to inform you that you’re on the losing side,” he said. Moriarty tried to reply but there was only gurgling and wheezing. He realized he had severed the carotid artery. There was nothing else he needed to do.
He felt fire burning in his shoulder, and it ached terribly, but he had been shot before and knew this was a minor wound. When he was certain Moriarty was dead, he dropped the knife on the ground and went back to Abigail. He tried to use his right arm but it didn’t want to cooperate, and he was afraid to pick her up with just his left. He was able to open the locker, though, and she stopped crying when she saw him. He slumped down onto the ground and dug his phone out of his pocket, dialing Lestrade as Abigail crawled out of the locker and onto her father’s lap. “Did you find her?”
“Yes. Abigail’s fine, Moriarty’s dead, I’ve been shot in the shoulder, and the two kidnappers are knocked out. I’m at ---.”
“I’m on my way,” he said. “I’ll send an ambulance first, though.”
“Thank you,” he said, leaning against the locker. He hung up his phone and put his good hand on the top of Abigail’s head, ruffling her curly hair. “You’re safe now, Abigail.” She gurgled a laugh and smiled at him, and he smiled back at her before thinking for a moment. “That’s your first real smile and laugh,” he said, leaning his head against the locker. She crawled up a little more and he put his good arm around her and held her close.
She was safe and sound, Moriarty was no longer among the living, and even though he’d been shot and Molly had been seriously injured as well, in the end it was not a bad turn of events. He’d gotten his daughter back, and that was what mattered most.