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There was something about living in a video game that Jim was slowly starting to be sick of.


He didn’t know if it was the whole ‘ some places don’t exist ’ thing, because really, falling through the floor when you had just wanted to travel a bit wasn't fun, or the ‘ you’re forced to complete missions if you don’t want to get a game over and to be pulled back in time ’ one, but it was certainly… something.

This had been his life as far as he could remember, a clock on the right side of his vision, assignments on the left, and a black void every time he tried to ignore them. Most of the time he didn’t want to ignore them, simply because it seemed like they appeared the moment he thought of a plan and only asked him to do things that he would need to do anyway, but he had wanted to try, right?
He hadn’t exactly expected that ‘Game Over, mission failed ’ message floating in his own personal hell, but then he hadn’t expected much in the first place.


To be let free, maybe? But then how could he be free as a game character?

The whole thing was disturbing at best, and Jim usually tried to focus on completing his tasks and acting like his entire life wasn’t a weird simulation, which strangely enough took quite a lot of energy.

Sebastian probably knew that he wasn’t completely all right in the head, Jim hardly acted normal after all- he wouldn't want to bore his poor tiger- but as far as he was concerned, Jim thought that he was behaving in a relatively sane way-
Alright, maybe he did act a bit strange after some of the resets(?) but he felt like that it wasn't that bad to stay locked inside the bathroom for a while when one had just been stabbed to death, thrown into an empty abyss for two seconds and then forced back into reality, and maybe he had been forced to kill himself after he fucked up too bad and made Sebastian worry too much, but hey! This run was going well!

Which meant that he hadn’t died in the last few years, that he hadn’t tried to ignore assignments in even longer and that the Game Over screen was starting to sound like a bad dream, a faded over thing that always lurked in the back of his mind.

This was fine.
Just fine.

His last assignment was approaching more and more after all, the usual three bullet points were there in the corner of his vision, supposed by what he was ultimately bound to do, ruin Sherlock’s reputation, meet him on the rooftop of Saint Bartholomew’s hospital and kill himself.

 

Jim had done his best not to think too much about what that meant for him or, well, for the rest of the simulation- game?- he was in, if the thing would just continue to go on without him or if it would just end with his death, but right now, as he sat on the ledge waiting for Sherlock, his mind was running around the question, tiptoeing, twirling-

 

Was this the end? What would happen? Would he really be free?

 

Sherlock arrived, Jim did his best to act like he couldn’t see the task, his last task, and talked, joked, threatened…

He liked Sherlock, he really did, he hadn’t enjoyed destroying his reputation, his life, and now his relationships- he knew that Sherlock wouldn’t die, just like he had known that Mycroft would need to let him go at some point - but it wasn’t like he had much of a say in the matter. 

What good would have ignoring the assignments done? He would have just been pulled back in time, again and again and again until he got it right and stopped trying to do things his way, which usually wasn’t that bad because somehow, the game asked him to do things that he had been planning on doing, but when it had come to Sherlock? 

Jim didn’t know why the whole universe he lived in wanted him to hurt the detective so much, but it certainly hadn’t left him a single way to escape scot-free. 

 

Had he been supposed to be more upset about Sherlock choosing John at the pool? It wasn’t like Sherlock had known him in the first place, like they had been friends, Jim liked him, sure, and he loved his work like he knew Sherlock loved his pretty murders, but as much as he wished things were different, they had been on different sides of the laws, opposite in everything but mind…
Or maybe he should have been mad over the interrogation? He knew that Sherlock must have helped Mycroft catch him but he could have avoided it if he wanted to, he hadn’t exactly tried to remain anonymous, what’s with showing his face in front of the English government’s little brother and all, so he wasn’t that upset, disappointed? Yes, a bit angry? Certainly, but furious enough to destroy the man? No, not that much-

 

Okay, maybe, maybe, he had been a bit mad at the fact that all of the information Mycroft had agreed to share on his brother had been things that Jim had already managed to guess on his own, but that was hardly Sherlock’s fault.

 

Sherlock arrived and Jim saw his second assignment fade, turn into a lighter, fainter colour, until the only thing left here, the only thing left to do, was orchestrating his own death. 

 

Don't think about it, don't focus on Sherlock, on freedom, act like you always acted, act like the clock isn't ticking, act like the mission isn't there, act like it's just you and him at the end of the world. 

 

It wasn't that hard in the end, Jim had always wanted to play a bit more with the other… The conditions weren't ideal, he would have prefered to be free of his own actions like he was relatively free with his words, but he couldn't do much about it. 

 

Maybe Sherlock was the real protagonist of this game, the hero, the knight in shining armour, maybe Jim was just a few pieces of code strung up together to give the player a worthy opponent, wouldn't that be funny? 

A man made of ones and zeroes, forced to live his own life in a strange universe in order to be there to oppose someone else-

He hoped that the game had been worth their time.

 

Jim shook Sherlock’s hand, smiled at the warmth, at his own destruction.

“Well, good luck with that.”

Good luck with the rest of the game.

And Jim brought the gun to his lips, the muzzle to his palate, the bullet to his brain.


…….

………..

 

GAME OVER

Unknown error

 

 

What?

Jim was in the void, he hadn’t expected much of the afterlife, especially the afterlife of a video game villain, but for some reason, he had still thought that he would get one at least?
At this point, he hadn’t been very picky, a fiery pit would have done as well as anything...

 

Or maybe nothing at all, but then he wouldn’t have had to worry about it in the first place, the complete lack of perception or existence tended to make things like your environment slightly overrated.

 

Anyway, what the hell was he supposed to do with an error in the files? Was it even something that he could fix?

It would just go away if he did everything well again, right?

 

-------------

 

It didn’t.

 

Jim was brought back to that moment in the lab, when Sherlock had briefly looked up and said ‘gay- hey ’ to him, and after that everything had gone the same way when one looked at the big story.
Sure, he had barely talked to Sebastian and the man had seemed worried sick for months, trying to get him to say what was wrong, sure, he hadn’t even tried to make any of the interrogators quit this time and getting the information on Sherlock had taken a bit more time, sure, Sherlock had deviated from his first speech to cynically ask if he even wanted to be there with him on the rooftop- he hadn’t- but in the end, in everything that mattered for the game, he had done it again, done it right , and he had died.

Three, two, one, he had counted down the seconds to his own destruction, grinned widely around the gun and gone out with a bang-

O n l y   t O    w A k   U  p     I n      t h  E       v     O       i         D


GAME OVER
Unknown error

 

Whywhywhywhy why why why why why whywhywhy why ?

Where was the error? What had he done wrong? What had he done wrong?

He didn’t want to go back, he didn’t want to go back-

He did.

 

Jim was there again, standing in that fake lab with all of those fake people, with Sherlock, staring at him, with Watson, looking at him with curiosity, with Molly, acting like she wasn't too happy to show off her boyfriend to her crush, and with the whole fucking game too, watching him, taking him in fully, all of his actions, all of his little thoughts, all that should have made him human-

Did humans even exist? Did he? Did London, England, the whole fucking world? Or was it all code created by a being he couldn’t comprehend? He knew it was a game, but did that mean that someone played it? That someone played him ?

Somehow, he managed to leave the lab and to run inside the nearest bathroom before he started throwing up, the panic and horror needing a way to leave his body, and the air couldn't quite reach his lungs, it wasn't enough, never enough, and he couldn't breathe-

Maybe he was crying too, Jim couldn’t tell whether his eyes burned because of the bile or from actual tears.

 

What was he supposed to do at this point? What could a piece of code even do? Was he going to be stuck in a loop, imprisoned in that game for all eternity? Sometimes he had a bit more time between the different missions, but even then, where would he run to? 

 

Some places didn’t even exist! Locations that he needed for his tasks were there alright, but if he started to pick random places, buildings or cities that he wouldn’t have visited otherwise? Either everything was weird, as if randomly generated, or he just ended with a white void seemingly stretching into eternity.

 

Jim was choking, desperately trying to breathe while his brain was torn between showing him that damn game over screen and the white infinity, both trying to devour him, to consume-

“Jim? Is everything okay?” 

 

Molly, of course, it would have been too good if she had just stayed in the lab nicely.

She would leave if he didn’t answer, right? She wouldn’t just stay in the bathroom when someone was just trying to puke in peace, at least Jim thought that she was polite enough to leave him alone-

 

“I saw you run in there, are you fine? I'm not used to working with patients that actually are alive to feel unwell, but I did study medicine, so I could help?”

 

Just leave, please.

 

There were a few seconds of blissful silence where Jim thought that she had finally given up, but no, apparently Molly was as determined as Sebastian when it came to annoying him with his own well-being.

“Jim?”

 

Fuck.

 

Jim breathed in, out, wiped the corners of his mouth, and then forced his voice to be as steady as possible.

 

“I’m okay, I just ate something bad for lunch, I’ll feel better once it’s out,” once I’m out of here. “I don’t want to take you away from your work for too long, don’t worry, I’m fine.”

 

And thank god, she shuffled towards the door-

 

“Should we reschedule our date for tonight? It would be better if you’re not feeling well.”

 

Well, it wasn’t like he would ever get to this date anyway.

“Sure, tomorrow, eight at the Fox?”

 

“Alright!” Molly chirped, and finally, finally, left.

 

Now that he was alone, Jim came out of his stall and looked at his reflection in the mirror, at his pale, clammy skin, and the way he was slightly trembling-

 

He didn't look like a criminal mastermind right now, or like anyone that could oppose the Holmes brother, just a shadow of a man stuck inside an aquarium slowly filling up with water, amongst fishes, bones and algae.

 

Three, two, one, his vision faded, leaving place to that void he abhorred so much.

Jim wished he could say that the whole thing surprised him. 


GAME OVER
Mission failed

 

Great, he was still supposed to function enough to give Sherlock his number apparently.

Well fine, Jim would give it.

 

The world came back into focus, the lab, the microscope and Sherlock behind the thing, Watson at his side, Molly near Jim, everything where it always was and always would be, so Jim didn’t waste a second, he took the piece of paper with his number out of his pocket, tossed it unceremoniously at Sherlock, and didn’t wait for his reaction to run off.

Jim knew how the story went already, Sherlock would look at his number, out him to Molly, and then promptly forget him, Jim from IT just another figurant in the play that was his life, and maybe that one random guy wasn’t supposed to run off right afterwards, maybe he wasn’t supposed to hide into a room to which he shouldn’t have the key, but so what? So what?

 

So Sherlock fucking Holmes decided to follow him apparently, and if that wasn’t rude enough of him to interrupt his mental breakdown already, the man had the nerve, the audacity to lockpick the damn door.

 

“What are you running from?”

 

Can’t you see I’m a little busy here? 

 

“Why did you give me your number?”

 

Jim schooled his face into an expression that thankfully looked calmer than he felt- which really wasn’t hard- and turned to face Sherlock.

 

“What do you think?”

 

The nice thing about Sherlock Holmes was that he liked to show off and hated to be wrong, so Jim would just need to go along with whatever he thought and he would be good to go-

 

“I think- ” and usually Jim admired Sherlock’s too sharp eyes and the way they tried to dig inside his soul, but right now he would so love to claw them out. “-that you mingled with the wrong people and that now, they have enough on you to make you dance.” What? “Whatever Moriarty has on you, I’ll find a way to make him lose interest in you, so you can be at ease.”

 

Jim choked on his own saliva, coughed for a second too long, tried to swallow and then started coughing again.

 

Of all of the assumptions Sherlock could have made, he thought that Jim was being blackmailed by Moriarty to what? Give him his phone number? Really?

 

Of course, Jim had blackmailed for less, but he felt slightly offended, did Jim from IT look like he could be blackmailed? Did Moriarty sound like the type of man that wouldn't want to meet his nemesis himself? 

 

That was the perfect way to escape more questions, but still, he couldn’t help but ask:

 

“You’re only going to do it because you want to win, aren’t you?”

 

Sherlock smiled, too sharp, damningly beautiful and almost gently cruel.

 

“Well, of course, why else would I do it?”

 

Sherlock didn’t ask how Jim had gotten inside the locked storage room, Jim didn’t condemn him for his callousness.
He understood after all, and maybe Sherlock understood too.

 

“I’ll follow your progress with great interest then.”

 

It took a few seconds for the detective to answer again, a moment too long.

 

“I’ll keep you updated, maybe you should give me your actual number too…” He trailed off and looked away. He wasn’t smiling anymore, but that only made him look more sincere somehow. “And break up with Molly too, it’s obvious you’re gay.”

 

It’s obvious you are, Jim wanted to say, but he didn’t, instead, he rummaged around the room for a piece of paper, took a pen from his pocket and wrote down another of his number.

Sherlock took it, walked away and didn’t add anything. He didn’t need to.

 

Please, let this time be the right one, please, let it be that the error had simply been caused by some hidden requirement that he hadn’t fulfilled. 

 

Please, let him die.

 

Sherlock looked so betrayed when Jim revealed himself inside the pool, the shock of seeing John there had finally started to go down and he had expected to finally face a complete stranger and meet his nemesis, he hadn’t expected him.

 

The show had needed to go on however, the game asked him for that meeting and Jim had served it on a silver platter, again and again and again.

 

“I gave you two of my numbers-” this time “-I was a bit disappointed that you only chose to call one…”

 

And call he had, Jim had spaced out the different pips as much as the simulation would allow him to and Sherlock had texted at first, a few words to ask if he had broken it off with Molly, a few more to tell him about the advancement of the case, then the messages had become longer, nicer, until one day, Jim had seen Sherlock’s number flash across his screen and had answered.

 

“You like me and I’m bored,” He had said, sounding somehow disinterested even if he was the one calling. “I’ll text you the address, be there in ten.”

 

Of course, Jim had come, this time and the others, Sherlock certainly wasn’t the type of man he would ever throw out of his bed, and as the detective had remarked, Jim liked him.

 

Had Sherlock liked him too?

 

Well, that didn’t matter much, now did it? He certainly didn’t like him anymore now, seeing how the shock had turned into distrust and animosity so quickly, filling his eyes with something darker, something that didn’t quite catch the light-

 

This Sherlock didn’t like the flirting, maybe because he had thought that it had been genuine at some point- it had- which only made Jim fall back on it more, just to see him flinch, just to see his fingers start moving towards him and then stop. 

He wasn’t quite sure what Sherlock had told his brother, but Mycroft had made it hurt this time, and the information had been the same, dull and flavourless thing it always was, leaving him feeling not quite alive and so much more dead.

 

Jim got out, again, Sebastian was worried, again, Sherlock met him on the rooftop, again.

This time Jim kissed Sherlock, it was quick and Jim felt him answer before he recoiled.

 

“Well, good luck with that.”

 

After Sherlock’s lips, the gun tasted like salvation on his tongue.

 


…….

……….

 

GAME OVER

Unknown error

 

What now?

 

The world faded back into focus, Sherlock, Watson, Molly, that too white lab and Carl’s shoes on the counter.

Jim had always made sure not to look at them before, he had thought that he would give away his involvement if he looked a bit too gleeful so he had just made sure to completely avoid them, keeping his eyes trained on Sherlock, the doctor, the livings as a whole.

 

He didn’t care anymore.

 

This time, Jim didn’t bother introducing himself or saying hi, he dropped the mask, stood straighter, stepped out Jim from IT’s skin and mercilessly stamped the mask on his way to Sherlock.

“I need to talk to you,” he said, slapping his phone number on the counter near Sherlock.

 

Here game, he has it, happy now?

 

“I’m busy,” the detective answered, not even bothering to look up from his microscope.

 

“It’s about Moriarty.” 

 

Also the simulation we’re living in and the fact that I just can’t die.

 

“And it’s urgent,” he added after a moment.

 

It wasn’t, and Sherlock was already looking at him with those scalpel eyes of his at this point, but well, there was no point in delaying.

 

“Come with me.”

 

And just like that, Sherlock was pulling him along into the hallway, ignoring his friends and dragging him, of course, into the storage room Jim had chosen to hide into the last time around.

 

“Talk.”

 

Why not?

 

“My name is Jim Moriarty, this world is a game and I’m stuck inside it, this is the fourth time I meet you in that lab. Yes, I am gay, yes, you noticed it the first time around, more questions apart from the obvious ‘are you insane’? Because yes, I probably am at this point if I wasn’t before already, and no, it’s not helping.”

 

Sherlock blinked, once, twice, then finally spoke.

 

“You’re honestly telling me that you’re a mastermind criminal-”

 

The mastermind criminal,” Jim corrected him automatically, not that the other acted like he had heard him.

 

“And that you’re stuck in, what? A simulation? Is that it?”

 

“A game , and I could kill a random president if you want me to prove the Moriarty part, usually I would be worried about the economic repercussions but seeing as I’m either going to die or to go back in time, I don’t exactly care, you know?”

 

“That won’t be necessary,” Sherlock didn’t look happy about the existential crisis that had just been dumped on his head, but Jim honestly thought that he was coping quite well for a video game character. Was it written in his code? Freak-out = false? “Can you tell me how you’ve tried to escape this game until now?”

 

Jim did, he told him everything, he spoke about the missions and what happened when he refused to complete one, about the first time he had died, stabbed by a resentful client, and the game over had gotten then, he explained what had happened during his first iteration, how he had been caught and released by Mycroft, how he had followed the game’s instructions, how he had met Sherlock and shot a bullet right through his brain only to come back.

 

He talked about the game over screen, the error, and the tries that came after that, he didn’t mention the horror of finding out that his only possible escape turned out to be fake, but he was sure that the other could hear it anyway.

 

Did Sherlock believe him? Jim wasn’t quite sure, but at least the other acted like he did, and that was what he needed.

 

He did ask for a few proofs that he came from the future, but after that, he promised that he would help him find a way out- he promised - and spent as much time with him as he could.

The game was still going on of course, but Jim just sent him the case and the answer at the same time to satisfy the game’s requirements to quickly go back to Sherlock.

 

Sherlock was a scientist, Jim had always known that, he wasn’t as quite into maths and programming as Jim was, but seeing as they couldn’t reach this world’s code anyway, maybe Sherlock’s way of experimenting on the world surrounding him would be the solution? 

He could hope, at the very least.

 

In the end, Jim isn’t sure how much time he spent with Sherlock between the different game overs he got for not completing his tasks, nor does he know how many things they tried.

 

They really tried everything, didn’t they? Sherlock had done his best, had done as much as he possibly could-

Not that it had amounted to anything, of course.

 

They ended up on the rooftop- of course , Jim told him that he didn’t resent him- he lied, Sherlock kissed him and apologized.

 

“I’ll find a way to get you out, I promise,” he said, holding him close.

 

He was lying too.

 

“Well, good luck with that.”

 

Jim smiled, he felt like a smile was the least Sherlock deserved, he smiled around the muzzle like he had used to smile against his lips and caressed the trigger.

 

GAME OVER
Unknown error

 

The void was the same as always, taunting him with his familiarity, insulting him with his continuity, and god he was tired of it.

 

Jim started laughing, he choked on the amusement, on the poison seeping inside his throat, and before he was even in the lab, his giggling had turned into hysterical laughter and he couldn’t stop-

 

“Jim, are you okay?”

 

This time he didn’t bother to give his number to Sherlock, he didn’t even answer, he forced himself to run, practically leapt up the stairs, and stood alone on the rooftop.

 

Three, two, one, he approached the ledge, stepped on it, grinned.

He fell.

 

GAME OVER

You have died

 

As if he hadn’t noticed that.

 

The lab reappeared, Jim didn’t care.

 

“Hey, sorry, gotta go!” He exclaimed before leaving again

 

Three, two, one, he twirled off the rooftop.

 

GAME OVER

You have died

 

Three, two, one, this time he waited a bit and found himself alone with Sherlock Holmes once again, here, at the edge of his world, at the end of his universe.

 

The man opened his mouth and maybe he talked? Maybe he tried to talk him out of jumping? 

 

Jim didn’t bother listening to him, he smiled, waved, and stepped off the ledge.

 

GAME OVER

You have died

 

Three, two, one, Sherlock came again, so Jim kissed him and made him fall with him.

 

He wondered if the man hated him then.

 

GAME OVER

You have died

 

Things started blurring into each other at some point but they always ended here, on the rooftop, before the game had the time to realise that he hadn’t, in fact, given Sherlock his number, Jim died again and again, because surely, at some point , whoever was playing this game would get bored, right? Surely they could erase him from the code and finally let him free, right? 

 

Three, two , one-

 

“Mr Moriarty?”

 

Mycroft? What was Mycroft doing there? Jim wasn’t supposed to have met him yet and the game never changed, so just what was going on? Was he hallucinating now? Had he unknowingly inhaled some weird fumes? Or had he simply started going crazy once and for all?

Never mind, it didn’t matter, Jim would jump and things would go back to normal quickly enough.

 

“Please do not, ” the other hissed, tugging him back, and Mycroft’s hand holding his arm felt very real.

 

It took him a surprisingly long time to notice the fact that the clock in the corner of his vision had stopped, to see that the people that had been walking below in the streets had stilled, frozen in time, to understand that this wasn’t part of the game.

 

“Why are you here? You’re not supposed to be here yet,” Jim said, not even trying to hide his confusion.

 

He would normally, not like the Iceman ever managed to really surprise him, but right now, seeing as he was stuck inside a game and all, he was inclined not to.

 

“I am here because I’m real and not the fake version of me that your brain reconstructed.”

 

That his brain reconstructed?

 

“None of this is real, your surroundings, other people- apart from me- or even your actions following your liberation,” Mycroft started, not looking very pleased to have to explain all of this. “You are still in interrogation, at least your body is, we tested something on you to try and get more information since what we were doing was obviously useless and hooked your brain onto a few supercomputers where it would run simulations on its own.”

 

“Then this is all your fault,” Jim stated, head cocked to the side and eyes dead.

 

“Depending on what all means to you, yes.”

 

Jim wasn’t quite sure what he was supposed to say now, what he was supposed to do, he had figured out years ago that his universe was fake, but he had thought that he was as well- how could he be the only real thing in a constructed world after all?- and now he was told that he wasn’t? That he had an actual body in a reality that worked normally, where you really died when you were killed, where you didn’t have missions and assignments pushing you in specific directions? 

 

Still, if he was still in interrogation, that meant that Mycroft was the one who would decide whether or not he got out, and why should he? 

Jim wasn’t sure why he had been put in here in the first place, but what he knew was that the Iceman wouldn’t let me walk away this easily-

 

“I think I can guess what you’re thinking, and no, as much as I would like to permanently keep you away from my brother, your fail-safes are forcing my hands,” Mycroft said, still standing tall, straight, still holding his arm as if he knew that Jim needed the anchor not to lose himself. He probably did. “I would prefer if they were stopped as soon as possible.”

 

That meant he would be freed, didn’t it? That meant he would finally go past that error screen, past the void, past that stupid game.

 

He could have the world inside his hands, he could have Sherlock- Jim was pretty sure that a part of him still loved him, somewhere, somewhat- and the rest of the fucking universe, he could have everything and then more, he could finally do his own decisions again without the game pulling him back in time when he tried to go against it.

 

“I will, but I want all the files you have on what you did to me.”

 

Mycroft didn’t look happy but he hardly had a choice.

 

“Alright.”

 

-----------------



Waking up had been strange, to say the least, he had opened his eyes and found himself in a bed, hooked to an IV with his limbs weakened by his lack of movement.

It was hard to get used to the real world again, to have to rely on his biological clock to tell him how much time was passing and to be able to do his real choices, to have the world in front of him and no tasks forcing him in a specific direction-

 

They said it had been a week.

 

Jim wanted to laugh so he did, he threw his head back and let out a short, sharp thing, blades of amusement and bitterness.

 

A week, uh? It had been years for him, decades, his entire life forced into a mold, him forced to relive it with his hands tied in his back and no way to get out, Jim didn’t care about what else Mycroft had done to him, about the torture, the sleep deprivation, the drugs, but this he couldn’t forgive.

 

Jim read over the files they had on the experiment, they hadn’t given him any details about the programs they had created or the things they had shoved inside his brain, but he could pretty much recreate that himself with the information he had...

 

It hadn’t worked and they had still left him inside.

 

“I wasn’t the one directly overseeing this project-” Jim arched an eyebrow, Mycroft just looked more displeased and continued. “Supposedly they thought that it would convince you to talk.”

 

It probably would have worked if someone had actually come to talk to him and told him that the only reason to be free was to give up his network, Jim hadn’t cared after his first suicide on the rooftop, even less after the second, maybe one day he wouldn’t have even envisaged it but then he had been desperate enough-

 

Now, however? Jim just wanted to win, just wanted to make them pay.

 

“I was called back on your case because they kept getting error messages and they figured that you had understood your situation and were killing yourself to mess with the programs.” 

 

‘Were you?’ his eyes were obviously asking, and he knew, Jim knew he did, he wasn’t asking because he was very well aware of what Jim had thought, of what he had been doing.

 

It didn’t matter.

 

Jim was free, he had the world in the palm of his hand, the universe at his feet.

 

He knew exactly what to do with it, what he had always been meant to.

 

“The information.”

 

“I beg your pardon?” Mycroft asked, taken aback by his sudden demand. They were in his office, Mycroft was sitting behind his desk, protected by the wood, hidden by the ice of his eyes, and Jim was standing, rummaging through his trinkets to annoy the other.

 

“The information on Sherlock, don’t think that I forgot simply because you had my brain feed me back my own deductions at me. I want the truth.”

 

He did, strangely enough, even if he already knew what Mycroft would tell him.

 

“What would I get in exchange?”

 

“Not all of my fail-safes going off? You’re freeing me because the cascade started, I know, but if you let me free without what I want… Well, I have no reason to stop them, you know? Strangely enough, I find myself a lot less attached to this world, I wonder why, maybe it’s because someone made me believe that it was fake?

 

Mycroft bristled, seemed to hesitate- probably wondering whether or not the PM was more important than his little brother’s childhood- and ultimately sighed.

 

“I see, take a seat then, I trust that you won’t interrupt me?”

 

Jim simply smiled.

 

“Of course not, you don’t know how long I’ve waited for this little tale.”

 

Give it all to me Iceman, tell me, what makes a protagonist? What sends normal children in quests to kill dragons?

 

Mycroft did, and it was everything he had expected, everything he had guessed and so much less, god this was boring .

 

Finally getting out of the building felt strange, he had gotten out before of course, or at least he had thought he had, but this time it was for real.

It was exactly what he had imagined, he slid his sunglasses on and hid his purple eye bags beneath the tainted glass, Sebastian came to pick him up and fussed over how thin he was, he handed him a bottle of electrolytes and seemed even more worried when Jim only took two sips before giving it back.

 

Boring.

 

Jim had Sherlock’s number, he thought about what the man would say if Jim called, if Jim told him about the simulation and the way he lovedhated him, if Jim asked for a different ending to their fairy tale.

 

What would be the use though? He had the world laid out before him, an infinity of choice, a life to live, and he wanted nothing to do with it.

 

Jim was sitting on the ledge, waiting for Sherlock.

The sky was blue, the weather was good, if slightly chilly, and nothing in the air indicated what was about to happen on that rooftop, there wasn’t a few floating words asking for his death, there wasn’t the clock, telling him with a scary accuracy when the detective would arrive, it was just him, his phone and the opening door.

 

“Staying alive, so boring isn’t it?”

 

And Sherlock spoke, things that Jim’s brain had already been able to guess, he repeated himself word for word and didn’t even look like he thought anything was wrong.

 

Everything was going just as Jim had planned.

 

Ha, so boring, wasn’t it?

 

At least Jim already knew the ending.

 

“Well good luck with that.”

 

Good luck with the rest of your life.

 

Three, two, one, familiar movements, familiar sensations, the metal touching his palate, cold against his tongue yet burning on his skin, the smile stretching his lips, the horror in Sherlock’s eyes, the trigger and his finger.

 

GAME OVER