Eurus stood in the middle of the well appointed living room of the house she had appropriated. She swayed to a brooding piece by Bartok as her mind operated on six different problems: organising a reception for her brothers at Sherrinford, meeting Sherlock again after so many years to perform a personal assessment of his abilities, evaluating Mycroft’s various vulnerabilities, pushing Culverton in the direction she wanted him to go, reprogramming John Watson and formulating her version of physics' grand unification theory.
Her mobile buzzed and she smiled to herself, but she continued swaying for a few moments, then she crossed to the coffee table and picked it up. She checked her messages and was pleased to see the simple “Hey" that appeared on her screen. It had been sent from John Watson’s mobile. She was delighted at how easy it had been to manipulate him into contacting her. She quickly typed out “Hey" and hit send, then she went back to her contemplations.
John had read the single word reply to his text and got an odd feeling in his stomach. He shouldn’t have sent that message. He deleted both the incoming and outgoing message and resolved to forget about it and go on with his life. That worked well enough for a few hours, but his phone buzzed whilst he was at work. A quick glance at his phone told him the message was from E. His thumb hovered over the delete button for several seconds, then he sighed and opened it.
Hope your day is going well. I looked for you on the bus, but I must have missed you. Did you wear the flower today?
John smiled despite himself and typed out a quick response.
I worked a different shift today. No, no flower this time.
The reply was instant.
Too bad. I liked the... Is the word... whimsy?
After that, their little exchanges continued for several days. They never said anything very serious and it never went beyond light flirting.
Still, John felt guilty because he knew Mary wouldn’t approve. It was just so nice to talk to a normal person, even if it was in such a limited fashion. E didn’t know anything about his past, she was just an innocent young woman he had bumped into on the bus. Hell, they hadn’t even exchanged names, but he couldn’t make himself break that tie to normality, not yet. He knew, though, he’d have to eventually.
Eurus waited until Sherlock and John's next case made the newspapers, it only took 12 days, then she sent her bother's friend another text.
I saw you in the newspaper, Doctor Watson. I recognised you instantly, even without the flower. I suppose it’s only fair you know my name as well. It’s Ealasaid Ignatov.
She tossed her phone aside and regarded herself in the mirror. Eurus didn’t recognise beauty for herself, but she could apply a simple formula to achieve a look that appealed to others. The woman looking back at her from the mirror would catch Culverton's attention long enough to ensnare him in her web. Satisfied, she left to put that part of her many plans in motion.
As she got into the car that had come with the house, she thought about her next move with Watson. He would surely be distressed that she knew who he was. She would play with that emotion, mentioning the blog. When the time came, she would open old wounds by mentioning her brother’s fall from Barts and his subsequent two years of lies. Yes, that would do nicely.
Eurus removed her blonde wig and shook her hair loose. Her little visit with Culverton had gone quite nicely. He had already been primed to kill, it being so long since he had last dispatched someone. It had taken her only a few minutes to aim his desire towards her brother and a few minutes more to reign him in and impose her own schedule on him.
As Eurus removed the makeup she so detested, she thought about Sherlock and his science of deduction. The paper Culverton had given her would be a perfect way to test her brother’s deductive skills. All she needed to do was add a few clues for him to find.
Whilst contemplating what clues to leave for her brother, Eurus, walked through to the living room and put on some music, then she pulled out her mobile. She shoved her search for an unknown prime to the back of her mind and let her violin composition continue without interruption as she sent a text to Doctor Watson.
Eurus found she enjoyed reprogramming him more than any other person she had worked with before. With her previous subjects, she had forged ahead with brute force, unconcerned with discovery. With her brother’s friend, she had to be more subtle lest Sherlock or even Mycroft suspect something untoward. It was an interesting challenge.
John, I’ve been reading your blog.
She sat down on the sofa and picked up her laptop and started hacking into MI5 security. She wanted see what her older brother was up to.
Her mobile pinged and she picked it up.
Oh, lord, don’t read that thing. It’s ridiculous.
John hit send, his fingers shaking. He didn’t want E (he still thought of her that way) reading his blog. Talking to her was freeing because she didn’t know the details about that part of his life. He didn’t have to hide his faults, mistakes or try to shield his mental scars. If she read his blog, that would all change.
His phone pinged and he read the message anxiously.
I don’t understand. It is quite... I think the word is interesting. You have had such adventures.
John typed out a reply and sent it.
Please. Don’t ask me to explain. Things got difficult. Sherlock... It was bad.
He stared at his phone hoping for a reply. It came immediately.
I’ll try, but it will be difficult.
If I do read it, I won’t mention it.
John squeezed his phone tight. He wanted to say more, but decided against it. He didn’t want to explain his real reasons for not wanting her to read his blog.
He’d never deleted his few blog entries from after Sherlock’s supposed death. It was too painful still to look at them even for the short time it would take to do it. He knew they sounded pathetic and he didn’t want to imagine E reading them.
“Well, fuck,” he said to no one in particular and shoved his phone in his pocket.
Eurus tossed her phone down on the table, pleased with her progress. Doctor Watson had obviously been agitated by her messages. It was fulfilling. So was her first level infiltration into the MI5 information system.
It was simple to access Mycroft’s personal information and everything he had access to. Interestingly, she found her eldest brother had constant surveillance on Sherlock. She opened up a link labelled ‘221B’ and was rewarded with a view of a living room in which Sherlock was pacing. Eurus leant back and watched it for hours.
John had just started his lunch break when his mobile pinged. He pulled it out and glanced at the screen to see the message was from E. Smiling, he opened it.
I know I said I wouldn’t mention it if I kept reading your blog, but how could he do that to you? To make you watch that. It was so cruel.
John’s hand gripped his phone tightly and he closed his eyes. That proved to be a mistake as he immediately saw Sherlock’s broken body laying on the pathway, surrounded by blood. Another ping from his phone made him gasp. He opened his eyes and read the message.
Tell me he apologised when he came back. No. Even if he did, it was unforgivable. I don’t understand how you did it. You must be a very good man to not still be angry.
For several long moments, John stared at the message. He knew he wasn’t that good a man, though a treacherous voice inside his head told him he was better than Sherlock Holmes. There were times he still got angry when he thought about the fall from Barts and those two long years full of guilt and grieving. He had forgiven Sherlock, yes, but that didn’t mean he could simply turn off his emotions. Then there was the fact that the only apology he had ever got had been on that carriage full of explosives. Somehow it hadn’t struck him as sincere. It had just been a clever bit of manipulation on the detective’s part. That still galled him when he let himself think about it.
The doctor took a deep breath, fighting back the anger that was threatening to rise up in him. He didn’t want to be angry with his friend. He wanted to let it go. The past should be just that, the past.
Quickly, John typed out a message.
He did what he thought was necessary. I’ve learned to live with that. At least most days I have.
E's reply was almost instant.
Like I said, you are a good man.
John shook his head and slipped his phone into his pocket without replying. The rest of the day, he struggled to put the whole thing out of his mind without success.
That night, John woke with a cry of “Sherlock!” He sat up, breathing hard and feeling nothing but terror.
Mary knew instantly that his nightmare had been about the fall and not the shooting because her husband didn’t turn away from her. She wrapped her arms around him. “It was a nightmare. Sherlock’s fine. He’s alive.” Mary kept repeating that until John’s breathing slowed and he grasped her arm.
“Sorry. Sorry. Jesus, but I hate that.” The doctor took a long steadying breath and let it out slowly. “Sorry I woke you.” The nightmare still had a grip on him, but at least the panic had subsided in the face of reality.
“It's not your fault.” Mary kissed his shoulder. “We should try to get some sleep before Rosie wakes up for her feeding.”
“Yeah.” John lay back down. “I’m surprised she slept through that.”
“Mm.” Mary lay down and snuggled up next to him, wrapping her arm around his waist. “Miracles do happen.” Soon, she drifted off to sleep.
The doctor lay awake the rest of the night, haunted by memories, no matter how hard he tried to shake them.
Eurus listened to dark and brooding music as she worked on one of the laptops that she had open. She found it stimulating to play on Mycroft’s secure system without him knowing it. It was just another way she could prove to herself that she was superior to him, not that she needed proof, she had known it since she was three years old.
Eurus slipped into and out of files, changing information just because she could. She wondered if anyone would ever notice. It was doubtful. As she worked, she the took time to watch her brother in his flat on the open laptop to her left. He seemed especially manic and restless. Couldn’t anyone see that he was high? She supposed it hadn’t become problematic yet and he was hiding it well from his friends and Mycroft. He was obviously bored now that John had gotten married. There was something else driving him to use, but it involved emotions and she knew she wasn’t equipped to understand those.
Turning to the open screen to her right, she watched the Watson's. She had only discovered it today as she hadn’t previously been looking for it. The couple were boring to watch. They didn’t do anything as interesting as Sherlock. Still, watching John interact with his wife Mary had made her curious about the woman. What did he see in her?
Eurus browsed through Mycroft’s files, breaking through layer after layer of security, and paused, the mouse hovering over a folder named the BlessedMother. It had a deeper level of encryption on it. Curious. Eurus smiled and set to work.
Thirty minutes later, she began to read, a pen in her hand. With each file she read, her grip on the pen tightened until, finally, it snapped.
She didn’t recognize the emotion, but what she felt was blind fury. If Mary had been in the room with her, she would have ripped her heart out with her bare hands, then she would have ripped her lying face off of her.
He and Uncle Rudy had locked her away for killing a useless child, a being that contributed nothing to society. It hadn’t been a crime. It had been a service. Now Mycroft let this woman go free after everything she had done: the assassinations, thefts, kidnappings, hostage taking and the worst of all, shooting Sherlock. Had Mycroft told their brother who she was? Not likely. Still, he should have had her killed. No one was allowed to touch her youngest brother! He was hers to play with and no one else’s.
Perhaps she should get John to kill
Mary Rosamund. No, she had other plans for him. She was too disciplined to simply throw those plans away.
Leaning forward, Eurus began a thorough search through the available files on Rosamund and followed every lead, filing the results away in her prodigious mind. The result was a tree that branched out in her mind. Rosamund was the trunk and the branches led to each of her enemies. There were so many people who wanted Rosamund dead and so many more who simply wanted to torture her. Either choice was appealing.
Watching Sherlock pace his flat, Eurus cross referenced the names of people and organisations that wished harm to Rosamund with the names of people and organisations that she herself could influence. Eurus found several matches. Choosing the top five, she set about making contact and providing said contacts with the information they would need to bring down Rosamund.
Eurus had put the last several days to good use. She had pushed John hard through her texts, making him feel guilty, hence adding more pressure to the mix of emotions that were threatening to make the man explode at any moment. When he had put an end to their texting, it had been right on schedule just as everything was that she sought to control.
The new house was ready with its former occupant out of the way permanently and said occupant's patients’ appointments had all been cancelled due to a serious illness. She was prepared to play therapist to John Watson using the information she had gathered on him. She had even deduced he would come to her when the crisis came, well, he would think he was seeing the therapist who had lived in this house, but it was all the same. All Eurus had been waiting on was for the death of Rosamund.
When Rosamund's death came, it surprised Eurus because it didn’t come from any of the entities she had contacted, but from an old woman who, by the account on Mycroft’s secure system, had been embittered and had worked for years from behind the scenes to scrape together money for her old age.
It was fascinating to have made an error. It was one of six she had made in her life, most of which had been made when she had been a child. She didn’t have time to dwell on her error, however, as John was due for his first appointment with her soon. She felt something she decided to call anticipation as she waited for him to arrive.
John’s anger had been palpable from the moment he entered the house. It radiated off of him from where he sat across from Eurus. It was something she knew she could shape with her words in much the same way a sculptor shaped clay.
At first, she simply used formulaic psychobabble to put John at ease, but soon enough she implemented the technique that never failed to make her targets vulnerable and exceedingly open to suggestion. That was where John was now, open and listening. She could say anything and he would believe it.
“It doesn’t make you a bad person to be angry, John. You lost your wife. Your daughter lost her mother. Anyone would be angry in those circumstances,” Eurus told John, prodding him.
“Most people's wives aren’t murdered because their best friend won’t shut up!” John's left hand formed a tight fist and his right leg ached.
Eurus nodded. “Sherlock, yes. You should avoid him for now. Keep him out of your life. Keep him away from Rosie. He can only hurt you more with his reckless behaviour.”
John nodded. “I don’t trust him. Not anymore. He promised to protect Mary.” He was angry and he meant it, but part of him knew it was a lie.
“You can’t trust him. He lies. You said he's promised to keep you and Rosie safe. That’s a lie as well.”
John felt torn apart. Some part of him still wanted to trust Sherlock, but what his therapist said made sense. He couldn’t trust him. He couldn’t. His anger flared higher.
“You may have to intervene some day, John. Only you have any hope of controlling Sherlock. Someday someone’s life may depend on it. Until then, stay home. Keep to yourself.”
John started to shake his head, but Eurus continued.
“You don’t have anyone, John. You’re all alone. There’s no one for you but the memories of your dead wife. Wallow alone with her in your grief.”
Tears started running down his cheeks and he didn’t bother to wipe them away. He was alone. Completely alone. That would never change.
Eurus brought him out of his suggestive state, knowing he would remember none of it, then resumed the familiar psychobabble.
“We are nearing the end of our session, John. I want you to work on two things: taking care of Rosie and taking care of yourself. That’s all.”
John nodded and didn’t say anything further. He felt wrung out. When the therapist handed him a card with his next appointment written on it, he took it and silently left.
Eurus watched him go. Just a few sessions and she could unleash Smith. In the meantime, she would watch Sherlock and see how her little experiment affected him.
Trigger warnings: Drug and alcohol abuse.
John swallowed the last of the whisky in his tumbler and staggered towards his sofa. He fell onto it in a sprawl, the tumbler slipping from his hand and rolling across the floor. Rosie was with Molly for the second night straight so he had had no reason to try to pull himself together and had let himself get completely drunk. It was the only way to silence the warring voices in his head, but it wasn’t enough to silence Mary.
“John, you need help,” Mary said, sitting on the coffee table near John’s head.
John rolled his head around drunkenly to look at his vision of her. Mary looked just like he remembered. “You're so beautiful.” He reached for her, but let his hand fall away. Even drunk, he knew she wasn’t there.. “Beautiful.”
“Call Sherlock. Tell him you need him. Let him take care of you,” Mary urged, her face full of concern.
John struggled to sit up and managed it, barely. “No, n- n- no. He killed you. He’s n- not my friend.” His face was screwed up in anger.
Mary cupped John’s cheek, undeterred. “You know that’s not true. Call him.”
“No!” John shouted.
Mary disappeared completely. In her wake, John was left looking at the empty space she had occupied. Slowly, he broke down into sobs and slid from the sofa onto his knees where he stayed until he passed out.
Eurus scanned through the footage the recording device she had planted in John Watson's living room had captured. It was so predictable. He had been disintegrating nicely. Suddenly something caught her eye. Something different. Eurus scanned back to the beginning of the curious bit and watched John's drunken ravings interspersed with movement and pauses.
“You're so beautiful. Beautiful.”
“No, n- n- no. He killed you. He’s n- not my friend.”
How interesting. He was talking to someone who wasn’t there. The question was, was it a drunken hallucination or a more fundamental, deep-seated hallucination. The phenomenon would bear watching.
Sherlock both loved and hated what he was doing as he plunged the needle into his arm. He loved the rush, the euphoria, the high. He hated the guilt that crawled through his veins along with it. Even though he knew what he was doing was for John, the guilt wouldn’t go entirely away.
When the flat was empty, he could hear John shouting at him that he was an idiot for doing this to himself. That’s why he had texted Billy. He couldn’t stand being alone with his thoughts anymore. Besides, Billy wasn’t an idiot. He might come in handy whilst he sought out a suitably dangerous case.
Sherlock discarded the syringe and stood, turning in circles. He needed a case. A case. A case. A dangerous case. He needed John to save him from the corpses that piled up in morgues in hospitals.
There was something about that. Something Sherlock couldn’t quite grasp.
Billy came bounding up the stairs and into the flat. “Shezza, you started without me.”
Sherlock waved him away. “Go get set up in the kitchen. You’re staying. I need you to substitute for John. The skull isn’t working.”
“I ain’t been no skull substitute before. Been lots o things, but not that.” He set his brown bag of ‘supplies' down on the table. “What's your old lady gonna say about me cookin?”
“Hudders. Not ‘old lady'. I’ve asked her to stay out. I’m performing a hazardous experiment. Now quiet!” Sherlock kept spinning, trying to deduce what he was missing.