The senses came back slowly. Touch first, the feeling of cold concrete against his cheek. Lying on the ground, hands cuffed in front of him. His own breathing seemed so loud in his ears; he certainly couldn’t hear anything that could help him figure out where he was. There was a smell of damp in the air; that scent of a place people rarely visited. When he finally opened his eyes he was confronted with the sight of Molly Hooper lying unconscious by him. Even through the lingering haze of the sedative, he knew this was not a situation he wanted to be in. Though the sedative was a question that needed answering, how had they been drugged? After all, there’s only been the three of them. Three of them, where was John? Sherlock looked around from his awkward vantage point on the floor to find John sitting up against the wall nearby. It appeared his handcuffs had been fastened to a hook on the wall, meaning he couldn’t go anywhere.
Slowly, he managed to push himself up into a sitting position, his head spinning a little as his body continued to fight off the drug. Molly was lying in front of him and John was handcuffed to the wall to his left. There was one door behind Molly and another to the right of them. The room was larger than he’d expected with a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling. No windows, a concrete floor and breeze block walls. No clues, no hints, no sign of escape except those two doors. There had to be a reason to take all three of them.
A little groan to his left broke off his train of thought, his head whipping round to look at John as he opened his eyes.
“What the hell?” he asked as he first noticed Molly in front of him and then turned to see Sherlock. “What’s going on? Where are we?”
“This is a kidnapping John. As for where we are, I’m not sure of that right now.” Sherlock replied, rolling his eyes at the idiocy of the questions. The kidnapping part should have been fairly obvious, as well as the lack of clues as to their present location.
“Molly?” John tried to lean forward as he spoke, pulling against the hook on the wall. It didn’t give at all. He breathed a sigh of relief as Molly’s eyes fluttered a little before opening. She sat bolt upright and looked around, the panic clear on her face. “Molly, stay calm. It’s all right. We’re here.”
“You haven’t been handcuffed. Excellent.” Sherlock was actually smiling as he spoke, much to John’s annoyance. Molly looked down at her own hands before looking again at Sherlock and John. There was a look of sheer terror in her eyes that made John’s stomach turn. This wasn’t her world; she shouldn’t be part of these things. “I suggest for a start that you go and check those doors.”
“Okay,” she replied, her voice shaking. Pulling herself to her feet, she went first to the door opposite Sherlock. The door opened, much to Sherlock and John’s surprise, and she peered in. “There’s nothing but a bed in here.” Molly took a step back then before turning back to them, her face pale. “Oh god, why would there be a room with just a bed in it? Why are we here? Why am I not handcuffed?”
The answer now seemed quite obvious to both Sherlock and John, but for once in his life Sherlock chose to think before he spoke. Molly was starting to panic and that wasn’t going to help them. “Molly,” said John softly, smiling at her as she looked at him. “I need you to stay calm. As long as you’re calm, we will find a way out of here. Now, how about you check the other door?” Molly nodded and walked to the other door, but that one was locked. “Right, so we know that one must be an exit of some kind. Now Molly, Sherlock and I need to get out of these handcuffs. Do you happen to have any hairgrips right now?”
“Yes,” she replied, a shadow of a smile on her face. “Yes I do!” Reaching up, she quickly pulled a hairgrip out and held it up triumphantly. She looked at John, but he nodded towards Sherlock, so she handed it over to him. With that, he would be able to pick the lock on his handcuffs before doing the same for John. He never got started though as there was a sudden noise at the door. They all turned to stare as what sounded like a number of locks were undone. As the door swung open, Molly gasped and John swore under his breath as Moriarty strode in. The door slammed shut behind him, the locks being rapidly put back in place.
“Ooh, you’re all awake. Wonderful!” There was a grin on his face as he looked first at Sherlock, then at John before his eyes fell on Molly. “Lovely to see you again Molls, how have you been?”
“Leave her alone,” growled John from behind her, pulling angrily against his bonds.
“I don’t think I will. You know why you’re here, I’m sure you can imagine what’s going to happen next. I know hurting John is going to bring Sherlock so much pain, but I rather wonder what will happen when he hears her screaming.” When he’d finished speaking, he brought his hands round to the front of him to reveal what he’d been concealing behind his back. He now held a knife in his hand.
Molly took a step back, but it was no use. Sherlock wanted to step in, but it all happened so fast. Moriarty rushed forwards and grabbed Molly round the waist, spinning her so her back was against his front. He held the knife up to her throat which made her whimper. Sherlock started forwards, but Moriarty shook his head. “Don’t try it. You know I’d do it. Now if you don’t mind, Molly and I are going to get better acquainted.” There was a sickening glint in his eyes as he began to pull her towards the open door of the second room.
“Sherlock,” Molly cried out. “Sherlock help me. Please help me. Help me!” As soon as they reached the door, he turned and pushed Molly in first. With a wink, he dashed in after her and slammed the door. There was the sound of the door being locked. “No. No! Let me go! No!” Molly’s screams echoed around the room, before there was a sudden bang and then silence.
Sherlock stood staring at the door. This had never crossed his mind. Molly was never meant to get involved in these things. An image flashed across his mind of the terrified Molly being trapped in that room with him and it made his blood run cold. These things weren’t meant to affect him, but he found that he couldn’t control his feelings. She wasn’t meant to get hurt because of him.
“Sherlock, you need to snap out of it right now.” John’s voice was commanding, cutting through the dark thoughts in his mind. He turned to look at him and took note of the fear and fury on his face. John would kill Moriarty for this; he would kill him with his bare hands and never regret it. “Get your cuffs off.” With a nod, he went to work trying to unpick the cuffs with her hairgrip. Each second felt like an eternity with the silence coming from the other room. He kept waiting for the screams to start. Suddenly, he’d got the locks undone and the cuffs clattered to the floor. He dashed towards John, crouching next to him in order to pick the locks.
“Forget it,” John said with a shake of his head. “You’ve got to save Molly.” For a moment Sherlock hesitated, Moriarty had a knife and he much preferred the idea of having John as backup if he went charging in there. But John was right, Molly was in danger and he had to save her. Jumping to his feet, he rushed to the door and tried the door handle. Of course, it was locked.
“Moriarty,” he shouted, hammering on the door. “Let her go.” There was no reply, no sound from the little room. A rage was starting to burn through Sherlock. He began to rattle the door handle, pressing his weight against the door. He took a step back and rammed it hard with his shoulder. Nothing happened; the door was still shut tight. With only a door handle, he couldn’t be quite sure what the lock on the door was. If it was just a bolt, kicking it or ramming it with enough force might do it. Something with a padlock would be easy; the metal plates would come away from the door frame with very little effort. A bar across the door would be more difficult, as might a yale lock. It was going to take a great deal of force. He wished he had time to free John; he was better suited to these kinds of things.
Taking a deep breath, he wrapped a hand around the door handle and started to slam his body against the door. It didn’t seem to be budging at all. “For goodness sake, just a second Sherlock,” shouted Moriarty, which made Sherlock stop. Pressing an ear to the door he could definitely hear footsteps, but they didn’t sound quite right for a man’s footsteps. It sounded more like a pair of high heels crossing the room. He took a step back from the door as the lock was removed, risking a glance at a very confused John. When the door finally opened it was Sherlock’s turn to be confused.
As she stepped out of the room, Sherlock began to back away from her. This was not the Molly he knew. Gone were the little cardigans and ugly trousers, replaced by a tailored jacket and tight trouser, a white vest trimmed with lace cut low on her chest beneath the jacket. Her hair had been pulled back into a tight bun, her make-up now black eyeliner and blood red lipstick. With the high heels, she could look him in the eye rather than gazing up at him.
“Sherlock?” she asked in reply, her voice calm, her lips twisting into a smirk. “You seem surprised? Weren’t expecting that were you? No, you were expecting the poor, scared little mouse, weren’t you?” Her face changed, softened, and there was fear in her eyes. “Help me Sherlock. Save me Sherlock. Don’t let the bad man hurt me Sherlock.” His mind fought desperately for an answer, he needed to understand, but he couldn’t make sense of it. He looked her up and down trying to take it all in. Her innocent face had disappeared again, the smirk and knowing glint in her eyes had returned. Sherlock watched as Moriarty snaked up behind her, placing his hands on her hips and resting his chin on her shoulder.
“Look at him Molls, you really got him good. And here I thought I was the criminal mastermind.” He said it with a smile, revelling at Sherlock’s open mouthed shock.
“What the hell have you done to her Moriarty?” growled John, making the two turn to stare at him.
“Oh dear,” sighed Moriarty. “You’ve upset the loyal dog.” “Now Jim,” began Molly, extracting herself from his hands and walking towards John. She crouched down next to him and smiled softly. “This is just as much of a shock to him too. John dear, he hasn’t done anything to me, except help me realise my full potential. I’ve been this way for a long time, you just never noticed.” John stared at her as if he could see into her, as if he could see a truth that wasn’t there. Then he turned away to glare at Moriarty.
“You bastard,” he spat out. Molly grabbed his chin and forced his head round to look at her.
“Don’t do that John. Do not turn away from me. Do not blame him. He hasn’t brainwashed me, he hasn’t tricked me. I’ve never been the sweet little girl you seem to think I am, but you’ll learn all about that soon enough.” She let go of his face and leaned forwards to kiss him on the cheek. Her lipstick left a perfect red imprint. “You know, I actually liked you John, such a shame it’s come to this.”
Standing up, she walked back to stand in front of Sherlock, who was still just staring at her. “Got it figured out yet? Got some observation to make about me? Come on, I’m dying to know what you think of the real me.” “I don’t...I don’t...” He tried to speak, but words were failing him. He hadn’t seen it, he’d misread her from the day they’d met. She’d been playing him all along and he’d never figured it out.
“Molls, look what you’ve done! You’ve actually beaten him! Not like the Adler woman, you didn’t fall at the last hurdle.” He looked knowingly at Sherlock then. “Don’t worry, we know she’s alive and you helped her escape death yet again. We’ll find her eventually.”
Sherlock felt his shoulder slump. They knew about Irene, they knew she wasn’t dead. Molly knew so many things about him from his rants in her lab. They were right, she’d beaten him.
“Irene Adler is dead; you’re just saying whatever you can to get a rise out of him.” John was pulling against his cuffs again, almost shouting his accusations at them. Molly and Jim looked at one another, Jim rolling his eyes and Molly shrugging her shoulders. Jim walked towards him and kicked him hard in the face. He grunted in pain, blood starting to drip from his nose. Sherlock looked at him; the blood on his face seemed so much darker than the kiss on his cheek. There was that rage building again.
“You’ll never find her Moriarty; we’ve made sure of that. As for this little game of yours we’re playing at present, it is very intriguing what you’ve done to Molly. I’m very interested as to how you’ve achieved this.”
Sherlock wasn’t expecting Molly to fly at him, he was off balance and it didn’t take much for her to push him up against the wall. The knife Jim had brought in was now in her hand, she pressed the point of it just below his eye. He could see the anger and hatred in her eyes. It was true, this wasn’t some game. This was the real Molly.
“I suggest you get this into your head right now Sherlock Holmes, this isn’t a game anymore. I am going to make you regret every single hurtful comment and snide remark you’ve ever made. Jim and I have been doing this for a long time, but you see, I’ve decided we should make things a little more...personal.” A smile played on her lips as she drew the knife along his cheek and down the side of his face. Her eyes followed the path until she brought it to rest under his chin. She pushed it up, the point digging into his skin, forcing his head back. He winced as it broke the skin, blood rolling down the knife before she withdrew it. Looking at her again, there was now a very satisfied look on her face. “You are going to suffer Sherlock; you are going to suffer so much. I mean, John’s going to get the worst of it first of course; Jim has so being looking forward to that. But you Sherlock? You’re mine.” She held the knife up so he could see his own blood, though he could see now that it wouldn’t be the last sight of it. “And we are going to have so much fun together.”
When she laughed, it was some twisted version of her own sweet laugh. Then she turned away, walking back to Jim who now stood near the door. He snapped his fingers and two men walked into the room. They were big, burly looking men and as they advanced on Sherlock, he knew he wouldn’t be able to fight them both off. One of them was holding a length of chain with handcuffs on one end and a single cuff on the other. They worked quickly, grabbing Sherlock and forcing his hands into the cuffs behind his back. A swift kick forced him to his knees, the chain suddenly pulled up to force his arms into an extremely uncomfortable position. He heard the click as the other end of the chain was fastened into a hook in the ceiling. Sherlock was trapped now, forced to kneel with his arms pulled up behind him. There was a pain already starting to form in his shoulders, he was well aware any sudden movements would probably dislocate them and that would be much worse. Looking up, he found that the two men had now left the room, leaving just Jim and Molly by the door. They were stood smiling at him.
“Molls, I never should have doubted you, this is perfect,” Jim confessed, turning to kiss her lightly on the cheek.
“Just wait till later, it will be so interesting to see how the pain affects him. Even better will be how he’ll react if you start torturing John while he’s like that. Would he risk dislocating both shoulders to stop you?” Both John and Sherlock felt sick to hear her talk like that, to say it all with a little smile. “Well, we’ll be back soon boys. Have fun.” She raised her hand to wave them goodbye and then smirked, holding up the hairgrip in her hand. She’d taken it from Sherlock’s pocket while she’d been playing with the knife. Molly heard him swear under his breath and let out a little a giggle before walking out of the room. Jim followed without another word and then the door slammed shut. The sound of the locks being fastened seemed to echo in the room and then there was silence.
“Sherlock,” said John quietly, acutely aware that they could be listening in at the door. “What do we do?”
“I don’t know,” replied Sherlock, looking across at him with pain and defeat etched across his face. “I don’t know.”