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Tied Up With Strings

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When John arrives home to find Moriarty’s body, he doesn’t faint or scream. He loses a space of time, standing and barely blinking, wondering if it’s all an elaborate trick.

It’s not the slashed throat that tips it off, but the moment he finally sees the envelope sticking out of the body’s jacket pocket. John moves at a glacial pace, then gingerly plucks it from the pocket. There’s a note inside.

Tell Holmes to back off. –SM

John had found himself, while as Moriarty’s captive, liking Moran. Moran had always called him “Doc” or “Captain Watson” without a hint of irony, and he took to distracting Moriarty away from amusing himself with John, though John had never been able to decipher why. Moran was a curiosity; while Moriarty had called the shots professionally, Moran had dominated Moriarty sexually. He was the most possessive man John had ever seen.

Now John wonders if it had all been a ruse on Moran’s part, or if something had just burned out.

The body lies on the floor, eyes open, in that unfeeling gaze that occupies a number of corpses. John itches for a scalpel. He wants to open Moriarty up, remove the brain, examine it. He wants the skeleton; wants to examine the bones for old injuries and breaks. The few glimpses he’d caught of Moriarty’s skin showed tell-tale scars of past abuse.

Perhaps Mycroft would give it to him, let him cut the body open. Mycroft has handled him with kid gloves since his return, after all.

John blinks, dismisses the entire thought. They’ll institutionalize me, he thinks. And just because he had come close to admitting himself a dozen times…

He takes his phone from his pocket and deliberates, then decides to send a text message. If it’s not proper protocol, he can be forgiven; they’ll chalk it up to shock or something.

He types out a text and sends it to Mycroft’s number.

Moriarty’s body is in 221b. –JW


John settles on spending the next three nights in a hotel instead of at Harry’s. She’s doing remarkably, sober for six months straight now, and they’re patching up their broken relationship. He’s afraid of disrupting the balance. He’ll tell her soon, just not now.

He doesn’t return to Baker Street until he receives a text from Sherlock, who has apparently finished his case in Lyon. When John returns Sherlock is smoking a cigarette, perched near an open window. John does not bother to ask if Mycroft has filled him in.

“I hope you intend to heed Moran’s warning. He’s smarter than Moriarty, and saner. He won’t be interested in playing games with you; he’ll kill you.” It’s the first time since John’s return that he’s said Moriarty’s name, and it sends a mild shock through him.

“I won’t go after him.” It’s said quietly, subdued. Sherlock makes eye contact for a moment before returning to his cigarette.

John goes upstairs, strips out of his hospital scrubs, and showers efficiently. He has the same nightmare for the fourth night in a row, the one in which Moriarty has him pinned down like a frog, opening him up. In the morning, if the sun’s up, he’ll wish it were raining.