Sherlock fumed up the stairs and into his flat. He fumed loudly. Moriarty could hear him fuming.
“What are you doing here?”
The flat was so overflowing with Sherlock paraphernalia, it was impressive that he could spot Moriarty at all.
“Waiting for you.”
“You’re sitting in my chair.”
“It’s mine now. I’ve disinfected it and placed a puppy training pad on the seat.”
“Please remove yourself and your puppy training pad from my seat.”
Moriarty looked at the other sagging, stained armchair. The protruding bits of stuffing made the chair look like a piece of modern art.
“If that’s what you’d like, darling. Anything for the consulting detective recently arisen from the dead.”
Moriarty lay his puppy training pad on the seat of the other armchair, sat down, and said “Oooomph” when the sagging seat dropped a few inches. Sherlock sat in his own chair, which was nearly identical to the one Moriarty now occupied. But it was his chair, the saggy pillow fit his butt, the stains were from his food.
“Well?” he asked, looking like he’d sell his soul for a cigarette. He didn’t apply another nicotine patch. Pride prevented him from letting on that both chairs were equally uncomfortable. Plus he was annoyed that his apartment was being invaded by the enemy.
“Well what?” Moriarty kicked a take-out box full of mysterious mould out of the way. He smiled.
“What the hell are you doing in my flat?”
“Apparently occupying your visitors' chair, if this collection of filthy upholstery, protruding springs, broken wood and shedding pieces of what may well be asbestos is worthy of the term chair. ”
“Cut it out, Jim. Answer my question.”
“I’m merely fulfilling my part of our bargain.”
“Am I really that unimportant that you’ve deleted our post-suicide pact from your mind palace?”
“What, oh. Right. Ah, no, it merely slipped my mind for a moment.”
Moriarty’s smile broadened. “You’d forgotten. How delightful. I assume you remember now? I’d really like to get on with it.”
“It’s not my fault that I’ve been busy during the past two years. Which is probably more than can be said for you. Stop being so surly.”
“Surly? You think I’m being surly? You should see me when I’m really surly.”
“I have. And I’d appreciate it if you stop kicking my experiments. I was studying the growth rate of mould on a variety of take-out dinners. Now that you’ve kicked one, you’ve disturbed exactly how and when it receives sunlight, which is crucial to the experiment. I’ll need to discard that particular variable.”
“May I ask the origins of this particular variable?”
“I’ve already told you. Take-out food.”
“What kind of take-out food?”
“Bloody hell, you’ve grown stupid. The kind of take-out food which one takes out of a restaurant and eats elsewhere.”
“And exactly what kind of food did this container hold before it was taken out?”
Sherlock mumbled something unintelligible.
“Pardon? I didn’t quite catch that.”
“I don’t remember!”
“Then you’d have to remove it from your study whether I’d kicked it or not. It’s an unidentified variable.”
“Oh shut up. You’re making me surly.”
“So tell me, curly surly, what have you been doing during the last two years?”
“I’ve been doing the same consulting detective work I’ve always done, but in hiding. And you?”
“Wouldn’t you like to know?” Moriarty smirked.
“Yes. I don’t see how we can decide who’s made the best use of their post-suicide time if you won’t tell me what you’ve been doing.”
“I’ve been doing things of the utmost importance. You, on the other hand, have been doing what you always do. You’ve merely managed to do so undetected. I’d have thought Sir Boast-a-Lot couldn’t manage to restrain his need for recognition and praise for two days, let alone two years. You haven’t been secretly divulging your business and whereabouts to anyone, have you? You’re aware that would violate the conditions of our pact.”
“I spoke only to Mycroft, who certainly can be considered an exception, as he is family and I wouldn’t want him to worry about his family. And you? Have you spoken with your family?”
Moriarty stood up as gracefully as possible, and slowly approached Sherlock. His tone of voice rose proportionately with each step he took.
“As you very. Well. Know. I HAVE NO FAMILY!!!” The last was shouted several inches from Sherlock’s nose.
“Really,” Moriarty said, returning to his chair. "My having no family may be irrelevant to you, but it is extremely relevant to me.”
“I meant irrelevant to our pact, obviously.”
“Ah. I believe I misspoke. I did in fact speak with one member of your family. She was quite charming.”
“Irrelevant again. You spoke with her five years ago.”
“True, but I’ve spoken with her again after my suicide.”
“You recorded tapes for her to play after your suicide.”
“True, but I’ve also spoken with her several times in person. Would you like Eurus to confirm that? I’m sure Mycroft would be rather annoyed that he’s once again been bested by a superior intelligence. In truth, I absolutely adore the pleasure of Eurus’s company. But I value the original condition of my brain too highly to risk it very often. I do wish you were more like your sister. It’s so boring setting my brain to slow motion whenever I see you.”
Sherlock threw what might once have been a box of chips at Moriarty. Moriarty grimaced and removed a small sealed plastic packet from his jacket pocket. He used a wet wipe to thoroughly clean all exposed skin. Fortunately his suit was untouched. He would murder anyone who dared stain one of his Westwood suits.
“Is that a baby wipe?”
Moriarty glared at Sherlock.
“It’s a wet wipe designed for proper hygiene for adults. Although as a mysophobiac, I would expect you already knew that. I’ve often wondered how you can care so deeply about your personal cleanliness while living in what can only be defined as squalor. The diversity of mankind never ceases to amaze me.”
“Agreed. Though I would substitute stupidity for diversity.”
The two men sat in silence for more than several moments, waiting for the other to speak first. Moriarty won. Sherlock was not very good at keeping his opinions to himself.
“Then our pact has been invalidated.”
“I’d say it’s been reduced to irrelevant.”
“We need a new pact. I’m not going to forfeit, and I don’t expect you are, either.”
“I never forfeit.”
“I wouldn’t think so.”
“So, my dear Sherlock, how shall we handle this situation? I’d been sooo looking forward to tallying the results.”
“I believe we should start a new pact, as you have not only violated the terms, but also destroyed an experiment of mine.”
“Your experiment is immaterial, but I agree about the pact.”
“Well then,” Sherlock spat out.
“Well then,” Moriarty responded in a voice dripping with honey. “The rules of our previous pact involved determining which one of us made better use of our post-suicide time; winner kills loser. The outcome must have been affected by our altered states of mind at the time. We’d never agree on a winner or loser. Thus a new pact also would be doomed to fail."
Moriarty began unconsciously fraying the edges of a bit of unattached upholstery.
“I daresay either of us would be literally bored to death without the presence of the other. So rationally, if we make another pact, it would make more sense for it to be murder/suicide. But can we trust each other to finish the job? I think not. It would be best to make arrangements for both of us to be killed simultaneously, within sight of the other. Perhaps Eurus could be the executioner. The thought is intriguing.
“I’m nearly boring myself to death right now and don’t care to take the conversation further. Perhaps we should just leave it to that ineffable and ridiculous entity people call fate. What say you, love of my life and the one person on earth I hate the most?”
“I suggest we attempt to visit your sister Eurus. If we succeed, our pact is complete.”
Sherlock thought for a moment.
“Fascinating idea in theory, impossible to execute in fact. Mycroft long ago assumed the position of my personal guard and nanny. He’s unlikely to look favourably on another visit between his siblings. After your performance as a Christmas present, he would doubtless use his considerable power to prevent either of us from seeing her again.”
“Yet he allowed you to play violin with her. Perhaps Mycroft is becoming soft in his dotage. Now that your parents know their daughter is alive, they must be clamouring to see her. Your brother is torn between familial obligations and protecting the world from his sister while keeping her alive. Which is indeed a tricky tautology. And irrelevant, because she clearly ignores Mycroft whenever she pleases.
“You can’t imagine how much we enjoyed her Christmas present. You also can’t imagine the trouble she’s taken to see you and John in the past two years. We can’t know if she’d accept our offer. And, as we know, what Eurus wants, Eurus gets.”
“Always. Faith Smith was quite a surprise. In any case, you’ve suggested a conundrum. Which is unfair since you know how much I love conundrums. I’ll need time to think about it.”
Moriarty looked at his watch.
“How much time?"
“Now. I accept your challenge.”
“Then we have a new pact?”
“Indeed. As I have just told you. It seems Mycroft isn’t the only one whose skills are deteriorating in his dotage.”
“I’ll ignore that, sexy enemy mine, since it’s based on what you refer to as intuition, rather than fact. It hurts me to see you become so ordinary.”
Moriarty stood, brushed himself off, and walked toward the door.
“Please take your disgusting pad for canine urine with you.”
“It’s served its purpose. You may keep it as a memento.”
Moriarty politely shut the door quietly behind him. Sherlock threw a container of food at it, thereby completely invalidating his experiment. The new pact is worth the price of an experiment. The game is on!
~ __ ~
“What do you mean, you won’t let my borrow one of your private jets? I require only a very small jet for a very short duration of time.”
Sherlock leaned against one of the support poles in the parking lot his brother required for private conversations. Mycroft stood up straight. He was in his element.
Mycroft gave one of his little smiles, indicated by a very slight upturning of the ends of his lips. Sherlock wasn’t sure his brother was capable of truly smiling.
“Shall I spell it out for you, brother mine?
“One. I don’t own any private jets. They belong to the British government. I need to account for every time I require a jet, and why. In excruciating detail.
“Two. You are not a pilot. If you used one of the pilots I regularly employ, that would be the equivalent of announcing to the Secret Service that I have stolen a jet for private use.
“Three. Even the Secret Service doesn’t have an unlimited supply of jets. They need to be ready for legitimate purposes at a moment’s notice.
“Four. Four doesn’t occur to me at the moment, but I’m sure there are far more than four additional reasons to say no.”
Sherlock grinned mischievously.
“You didn’t spell out a single reason. You enumerated them.”
“If I’d listed them all in Chinese, they’d still be valid reasons for refusing to lend you a government jet.”
“You know full well that we are both fluent in many Chinese dialects. Your brilliance is slipping, referring to Chinese as a language.”
“Quite true. About Chinese, not my brilliance. I’m still not letting you use a government jet.”
“What if I hired my own pilot?”
“Sherlock! These jets are used for matters of urgency for the United Kingdom, as well as the rest of the world. Anyone who merely steps on board requires an extremely high level of clearance. I daresay the Secret Service would not consider you and a random pilot, even with my presence aboard, would constitute sufficient security clearance. And I am not about to waste my time babysitting you during one of your ridiculous quests.”
“How about a submarine?”
“If I can’t use a government jet, I could make do with a government submarine.”
Mycroft exhibited massive self-control to keep himself from throttling his little brother.
“No, you may not borrow a government submarine. Our supply of submarines, as you might expect, is significantly smaller than our supply of jets. Submarines are generally used by the military. The level of security clearance is even higher.”
“Can you suggest any other manner in which I might cross a large body of water?”
Mycroft indicated to his limousine driver that he was ready to leave.
“Fat lot of help you are as an older brother. And fat is what you’ll be again if you don’t stop eating sugar coated jam donuts for breakfast.”
Mycroft glanced at his clothes, which were immaculate as ever. He ran his tongue across his teeth. Nothing but enamel. He wiped his face, paying special attention to his lips, and checked his hands. Pristine.
“I’m not even going to ask how you know that. And my weight is not increasing. If I am forced to eat a high calorie breakfast, I compensate by eating a salad for lunch. I was late this morning and didn’t have time to prepare breakfast, so I was forced to eat one of the donuts in the conference room. My weight has not increased by an ounce.”
“Wrong. You’ve gained three point four ounces this week.”
Mycroft raised his eyebrows. The comment didn’t deserve a response. A limousine pulled up. Mycroft opened one of the passenger doors, and opened the window. He called out the window as the limo took off.
“Lovely to see you, as always, brother mine. If I can be of further assistance, I’m only a phone call away.”
“You know I prefer to text.”
The limousine merged into traffic.
~ __ ~
Sherlock used a network of homeless people for information retrieval. Moriarty was not nearly so limited. His network may have included the homeless, but it stretched from the infamous to the Queen. Moriarty took care to make sure his informants had no idea that they were working for him, or for anyone at all. Subterfuge, and bribery when necessary, served him well.
So it was that Moriarty gained access to the one of the best private helicopters in the country. It could easily fly to Sherrinford and back without stopping to refuel, and was more than fast enough for his purposes. Moriarty’s plethora of skills did not include piloting helicopters, but bribery found a competent pilot willing to take him where he wanted to go and back.
As soon as Moriarty left Sherlock’s flat, he returned to his penthouse to make the required phone calls on a very private mobile only he knew existed. He scheduled the trip for the following day so that he’d arrive during the change of shift of the guards who monitored ingress and egress to Sherrinford. The guards generally kept a lookout for ships. Helicopters were easy to spot.
Of course helicopters are very loud, and would doubtless attract the attention of the guards, no matter what they were looking for. More bribery paid for a particularly loud diesel powered ship to arrive and repeatedly honk its extremely loud horn at the same time the as helicopter’s arrival. The guards would naturally focus on the ship, and the near deafening horn would drown out the helicopter. Moriarty didn’t concern himself with the reason for the ship to arrive at Sherrinford. It would depart when instructed.
Moriarty had studied the prison’s architectural plans and located four towers on the roof. The sides pointing inward were well shielded from ground level view. Moriarty chose the least visible tower, which opened on a flight of stairs into the building. This provided a nearly fool-proof method of entering Sherrinford from the roof. Once inside, Moriarty planned on using a key card which would open just about any door, and decipher the numeric password if necessary.
All in all, Moriarty designed a rapid and unique way to get to and enter the prison. All that remained was for him to use it. Which he did. The plan worked perfectly. Moriarty removed his noise-cancelling headphones and put on his orderly outfit. He propped the door open with a brick, and headed downstairs.
The stairway ended in a little-used corridor on the first floor. Moriarty checked his architectural plans and found he was exactly where he expected to be. He’d hoped that Mycroft’s improved security had not included moving Eurus’ cell. He walked down the corridor and inserted his universal key card before opening the door in front of him. As he’d expected, no alarm was triggered. He didn't fancy taking a tour of the prison looking for her.
Moriarty folded the plans, stuck them in the back pocket of his trousers underneath the uniform, and continued toward Eurus’s cell. Only one orderly passed him, who looked up briefly, nodded, and continued on his way. The corridor was rarely used. It ended in a maintenance closet and a corridor to the right, and the stairway to the roof on the left. If anyone used that stairway, Moriarty was out of luck and would have to rely on one of his two Glocks. However, the roof didn’t require frequent maintenance. The orderly opened the closet, removed some cleaning supplies, and headed away from the stairs.
Moriarty traversed a labyrinth of corridors, using his key card when necessary. His memory didn’t let him down. After a few minutes, he found himself at Eurus’s cell. He breathed a sigh of relief. As he’d hoped, Mycroft had increased the security of the building, but he hadn’t moved Eurus’s cell. Perhaps he’d been afraid to move it. Eurus could have easily manipulated his brain to open the cell, call for a helicopter and fly herself out of the prison. But none of that had happened. Eurus was standing with her back to the presumably even more heavily reinforced glass wall of her cell.
Moriarty waited. He made no move to attract Eurus’s attention, knowing full well she was already aware of his presence. This was confirmed by her stopping the piece she’d been playing on her violin, and playing a solo violin movement of one of Moriarty’s favorite pieces, Bach’s Violin Concerto in A minor. Moriarty closed his eyes and revelled in Eurus’s extraordinary rendition. At the end of the movement, she stopped playing, turned to face Moriarty, and said “I wondered when you were coming.”
“Alas, the pretence of being dead precluded a visit to Sherrinford. Now that your brother is out of hiding, I’m able to appreciate your divine music. And presence.”
“I wish you were able to appreciate our kiss without a glass wall between us. That was one of the most satisfying parts of my Christmas present. Funny. I’d always thought you were gay.”
“Not particularly. I just don’t enjoy kissing very many people, and the ones I do are usually male. You’re quite the exception, my dear Eurus. I don’t expect you can make the glass disappear again?”
Eurus looked disappointed at such a ridiculous request.
“I wouldn’t want to spoil the moment,” she responded, and slammed the subject shut.
“Sherlock’s been in the public eye for three days now. I expected you earlier.”
“I’m flattered, but why did you assume I’d arrive first?”
“You’re far more intelligent than the younger of my brothers. Sherlock was bound to waste time talking to Mycroft. I was hoping to spend some time alone with you before killing you both.”
“How did you know your role in our pact? Has Mycroft been spying on Sherlock and me again?”
Eurus sighed. “It’s funny that you two consider each other the only non-boring people on earth. You are both so limited, so unimaginative, frankly, so boring. There are a thousand ways I could have known about your pact.”
Eurus looked Moriarty in the eyes, clearly disappointed again.
“And that’s why I wanted you to arrive first. Obviously.”
“I’ve brought a diamond. Shall we smash the glass now, and consummate our kiss?”
“We could, but I was saving that for something bigger.”
“Which I’m not?”
“I probably outweigh you by 25 kilos, Jim.”
“What’s so funny?” Sherlock appeared from around a corner and smiled at Eurus. “How long did you beat me by?”
“Several minutes, I’d say. Ready, Eurus?”
“Sherlock and you together certainly outweigh me.”
Moriarty laughed again.
“Am I missing something?”
“No. When did you want me to kill you? As soon as the glass is compromised, I’ll smash the rest and start a commotion. I’ll have maybe five seconds to shoot.”
“Clever,” Sherlock said to Moriarty.
“Ready?” Eurus asked.
Sherlock paused. “Did you know killing Redbeard would hurt me so much?”
“I don't know. Do you mean physical hurt or the hurt people are supposed to feel inside?”
Sherlock stared at his sister. Moriarty asked her a question.
“May I kiss you goodbye before you shoot me?”
“Only if you’re very fast.”
“Why would you assume my sister would want to kiss you?”
“Christmas present,” Moriarty answered. Sherlock looked confused.
“Shut up. We’re wasting time.”
Moriarty scratched a small hole in the glass. Eurus turned her back, then spun around with a gun in each hand. She kicked out enough shards of glass to allow for two clean shots. Alarms threatened to burst their eardrums.
“Any last words?”
Before either man could answer, Euros shot them both.
Chaos ensued. Armed guards suddenly appeared from every corner. Mycroft stood in a reinforced glass room behind them, watching. Moriarty and Sherlock lay on the floor, not moving. The guards looked up at Mycroft, who shook his head and left the viewing room to join them.
“Are you satisfied?”
Eurus sighed. “You always were so slow. It’s time.”
“I’m afraid so, sister mine.”
“I think it might be said that I love you all. It means nothing to me, but perhaps it will offer you some relief.”
“I don’t think so,” Mycroft replied. "It makes it worse. Goodbye, Eurus.”
Mycroft shot once through the broken glass, hitting his sister in the middle of her forehead. She smiled as the tiny hole sprouted red and she fell over backwards.
“Thank you,” Eurus whispered, just before she died.
Mycroft bent to look at Sherlock and Moriarty. Moriarty jumped up.
“Surprise!” he yelled, stretching the word into three syllables.
“Hardly,” Mycroft muttered.
Sherlock stood up and softly echoed his sister. “Thank you, Mycroft.”
The three men stared at each other. Mycroft waved the guards away. The Holmes brothers wept openly, for the first time in their lives. To each of their shock, they embraced. Moriarty appeared to remove a splinter of glass from his eye. “Glass splinter,” he said. No one heard or cared.
“My helicopter or yours?” he asked Mycroft, after a respectful wait of one second.
“You two go,” Mycroft answered. “I’ll take care of things here.”
Moriarty walked toward the stairway. Sherlock shared one last look with Mycroft, then followed his arch-enemy and best friend out of the prison.
Moriarty instructed the pilot to return the helicopter to its home base. He and Sherlock had been silent during the ride home. When they dismounted, a limousine was waiting for them, courtesy of Mycroft. Moriarty smiled to himself. When the driver asked “where to?” Sherlock responded “221B Baker Street.” Moriarty remained silent.
The limo stopped in front of Sherlock’s front door, which looked too beaten and unkempt to warrant a limousine. Before getting out, Sherlock very slightly raised his eyebrows at Moriarty. Moriarty nodded just as discreetly, and the limo took off.
Moriarty followed Sherlock up the flight of stairs and into the flat. Mercifully, Mrs. Hudson was nowhere to be seen. Or, more importantly, heard. Sherlock sat in his armchair and motioned for Moriarty to sit in the guest chair. They remained in uncomfortable silence for a few minutes. Then Moriarty got up, walked to Sherlock’s chair, and embraced the man awkwardly. Sherlock stood up, and the two of them hugged, tightly. Moriarty looked at Sherlock’s face, and kissed him full on the lips, as if the ravages of the day could be cured by the two men being as close to each other as possible.
Moriarty decided they weren’t close enough, and half pushed, half followed Sherlock into the bedroom. They fell onto the bed and held each other as gently as if they were first-time lovers. Which they were. Moriarty buried his fingers in Sherlock’s curls and kissed him deeply. He wanted the kiss to last forever, but unfortunately he had to breathe. They began to unbutton their shirts, and then, as if on cue, they ripped the offending items off each other. They were a bit more careful with their trousers, as the material was much heavier and not suitable for ripping. Not that Moriarty would consider ripping his under any circumstances. By the time they’d removed their pants, they were almost making love already.
Moriarty stopped the kiss for a moment, spit on his fingers, and then continued devouring Sherlock’s mouth, while inserting his fingers, one at a time, into Sherlock. The detective gasped louder with each finger. After the third, he took Moriarty in his hand and directed him where his fingers had been. They stopped for a moment, overwhelmed by a flurry of emotions. Sorrow for Eurus, regret for all the years they’d spent apart from each other, and worried anticipation, fearing they wouldn’t meet the other’s needs. The fear was unwarranted. As soon as Moriarty entered Sherlock, they both slipped into a parallel world, a world where only one thing mattered. Each other.
They seemed to continue forever, until Moriarty reached the point of no return. He thrust into Sherlock over and over until he was finally spent. Then, panting heavily, he took Sherlock in his mouth. He tried to draw out the process as long as possible, but Sherlock was so aroused that he came almost immediately. Moriarty swallowed and left his head resting on Sherlock for a minute, then he moved up so they could hold each other again. They held onto each other as if they would die if they let go. When Moriarty was certain that Sherlock was asleep, he whispered “I love you, arch-enemy mine.” He was surprised to hear Sherlock whisper “Ditto.”
Hours later, Mrs. Hudson walked downstairs, saw the open door to Sherlock's flat, and checked if he was home. She left the bedroom door open, closed the door to the flat behind her, and smiled as she walked back upstairs to make tea.