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No Matter the Cost

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My John was shot by a sniper whilst I stood looking down at him from the roof of St. Bart's.

I've spent the last three years burning every strand in Moriarty's web. I've lied, stolen, and killed. Rained down vengeance on anyone who ever shook hands with the man. Paid the price in my own flesh and blood.

I was investigating a gang in Serbia who sub-contracted with Moriarty some eight years ago when I was finally captured. It was a relief, really. I was exhausted. A wind-up toy running down; out of luck, out of money, out of ideas, out of the rage that had driven me across four continents with that gunshot ringing in my ears.

So there was nothing left but that echoing gunshot and my infernal brain, churning out pointless deductions about the medical history and marital troubles of my torturers, as if it mattered, as if I cared. I talked, and I laughed. I screamed, and I whimpered. I hurt. And then I heard a familiar voice.

"You've served your penance, brother dear. I've come to take you home."

I don't know what happened next. I remember I was captured in Serbia, in November. But I recognize the feel and scent of the air around me now - London in late spring. I am standing in a graveyard. I am wearing my coat. There is a man in front of me, standing before a gravestone. I know his stance, his haircut, the slant of his shoulders, the black shooting jacket he wears as he salutes.

If this is madness, I will be mad.
If this is death, I will be dead.
And if this is Mycroft's doing, somehow, no matter the cost … I will be grateful.

I step forward and call out his name.

"John."