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End Game

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They get there in time to see the building explode. Lestrade feels his heart stop, and behind him, he can hear Donavan's breath catch. For one brief, awful second his world freezes, and then his adrenaline spikes, the horror of the situation flinging him into action. He darts from the partially opened car door towards the building, Donavan on his heels. For all she claims to hate Sherlock (and he has no doubt of that whatsoever), she doesn't want him dead.

He can only thank God that John isn't here. And then he's at the building (or what remains of it) and there's not time for thoughts outside of 'move that beam, don't step there, oh dear God is that an arm…?'

They search frantically for Sherlock—him, Donavan, and the few other Yarders who have been dragged into their boss's latest madness. Dimmock must have followed him to the scene, as he can vaguely here the DI shouting orders in the background. And suddenly the paramedics arrive on the heels of the fire brigade. They take over the situation with professional ease and then there's nothing left for Lestrade to do and he's just standing there, out of the way, waiting for any news of Sherlock and…

"Lestrade!" Dimmock shouts over the tumult, "Lestrade!" and he's racing over to the other DI, because maybe someone had found—

"The paramedics just pulled him out of the rubble," the DI explains hurriedly as they head towards the ambulance, "He's alive. Injured, but alive." And Lestrade thinks a series of heartfelt prayers that he's never believed in before and feels relief begin to seep into his body. Sherlock's done it again, and is he ever going to give that detective an earful for this stunt…!

Except that it isn't Sherlock the medics are loading into the ambulance. Lestrade feels the wind knocked out of him as he catches sight of the still form of John Watson. John, who he hadn't spared a thought for, mainly because the doctor would never let Sherlock pull something like this and so the detective must have been alone, and he's beginning to think that Sherlock cares about John, actually realizes the friend he has, and that Sherlock would never let the doctor accompany him on a stunt like this anymore and

"Lestrade!" he blinks blearily at the DI, who is staring at his partner's deathly white face with deepening concern, "Lestrade, he's alright!"

"Where's Sherlock?" Lestrade asks in a faint voice he barely recognizes as his own. Dimmock's eyes widen with understanding and he glances around in a futile attempt, as if the detective will walk out of the rubble and brush off the whole situation like he always does, criticizing the Yard's inefficiency and loudly complaining about the medics' response time. No such miracle occurs.

"Lestrade!" and he is beginning to get a little tired of his name being shouted, as every time his heart leaps into his throat because maybe someone found Sherlock and—"LESTRADE!"

Donavan comes running over, takes one look at his face, grabs his arm (in a highly unprofessional manner, he thinks idly), and races back the way she's come, dragging the DI behind her. He stumbles along numbly, his mind blanking and unable to think of anything else, so tired, so sick of this, because he's lost way too many people in his life, far too many teammates in the field, and he doesn't want to admit that this one will hit harder than most, and it's Sherlock for God's sake and he can't be dead!...

And then Donavan pulls him to a stop abruptly and his eyes land on a sprawled form, covered in blood (far, far too much blood for him to be comfortable about), eagle spread, and yet still capable of choking out snide commands of where to put pressure and "no, not there idiot, do you want to poke my rib through my lung!" , and it's just too much and he scrambling over the last pile of debris to get to them and it's all he can do not to shout, scream, weep, because Sherlock's alive and

And Donavan's beside him, alternating between explaining the detective's status to her boss and shouting for the paramedics. And then the medics are there, loading him onto a stretcher in a brace and heading towards the ambulance; and Lestrade would have just stood there—left behind again, as he can't move for the relief, because the little medical babble he knows has confirmed that Sherlock's very hurt but he's going to live—but just as the medics dart past, Sherlock's arm darts out and snags his coat, and he's dragged along for the ride again, because he doesn't think that Sherlock's arm should be bending at that angle, and it's probably a good idea to make sure he has a little slack.

And then they're at the ambulance and the medics are trying in vain to convince Sherlock to let go of him, but the detective is far more determined then they give him credit for, and Lestrade willingly leans down when Sherlock tugs. The first word out of his mouth, of course, is "John?" in a faint breathy voice that the DI hasn't heard from the man since he'd crashed at his place that one time when he was weaning himself off of a particularly bad addiction.

Lestrade is glad he is able to nod in affirmation that the doctor has made it out safely and is probably already on route to the hospital. The medics are doing their best to convince the detective to let go, but Sherlock ignores them, refusing to relax despite his greatest fear being alleviated.

"Moriarty," he croaks to Lestrade, "You've got…to find…" he chokes on the words, and the paramedics give up on convincing him and start to pry his hand off of Lestrade's jacket.

"Sherlock, what?" he begins, although he did get the idea that the bomber was behind this (obviously, the building exploding was a bit of a giveaway).

"Les-trade," the detective tries again, "You've got to…find…" Donavan taps the DI on the shoulder.

"Sir," she says in a sharp voice. He glances up in a daze and sees her eyes fixed on something. He looks over.

A man strides purposefully out of the smoke and gloom that have filled the London night, an umbrella swinging from his hand like an odd walking stick. He ignores Dimmock's attempts to halt him, slides around the fire fighters and paramedics as if they aren't there, and comes to a halt at Sherlock's stretcher. He drops to his knees beside it. Lestrade stares at him, at an honest loss as to what to do. He doesn't think that this is Moriarty, but…

Sherlock senses the man's presence (and how Lestrade has no idea, as he's well on his way to being drugged to kingdom come and should become unconscious from blood loss at any moment) and turns his eyes to him. His lips twitch, though in a grin or sneer Lestrade cannot tell.

"You," he croaks at the newcomer, "Moriarty…got away…need to…"

"Yes I imagine he did," the man says in a smooth, soft tone that should have made Lestrade feel reassured, but instead sends shivers down his spine. Who is this guy? "Any idea where, before you pass out on me completely?"

"Safe house in…Soho," Sherlock manages, "Three…others in London. Will try to…get out of the city. Name's Jim…Jim Moriarty…killed—" he chokes on something that sounds suspiciously like blood.

"Sir," the paramedic none too gently elbows the stranger out of the way, "We need to get him to—"

"The hospital, yes, my aid will be directing you to a private one. And Dr. John Watson will be moved there as well as soon as possible. And yes, Sherlock, I gather that he killed Carl Powers. You did mention it on that website of yours."

The detective seems to relax at last, his eyes starting to droop. "Molly…Hooper…potential…targe—"

"I'll see to it," the man assured. Sherlock, apparently satisfied with the information exchanged, allows his eyes to shut. The man rises and the paramedics, very annoyed, maneuver their patient into the ambulance. Before they can close the doors and take off, a young woman in business dress—barefoot and carrying her stilettos in the same hand that contained her blackberry—leaps lightly into the back. The paramedics make a bit of commotion, but she smiles pleasantly and closes the door behind her. The ambulance rushes off.

The man rises in one smooth move and turns around, facing the lightly burning rubble with a completely blank expression. Lestrade surges to his feet (oh, little too fast, almost blacks out) and Donavan's already approaching the stranger, demanding an explanation.

"Just who do you think you—". He ignores her, addressing the five men next to him with a rapid flurry of orders which Lestrade can't even pretend to process. And where did they come from in the first place? But then, he hadn't really been paying much attention to anything besides Sherlock for the last few minutes.

The men head off in different directions, and he decides that they are not his concern. This stranger, on the other hand, is—especially considering his apparent connection to Sherlock. He starts forward to address the man, but he's already turning back around, umbrella swinging lightly with the movement.

"DI Lestrade," the man states in a smooth, cold tone, "And Sergeant Donavan. You should probably get your boss to see someone about that case of shock he has going," he adds to the woman. Lestrade feels oddly off balance, which doesn't really help his coherency.

"How do you know about Moriarty?" he manages, because that is certainly confidential material, at least until the case is wrapped up and he has the man in custody.

"Oh don't worry about that Inspector. Moriarty is no longer any of your concern," the man says darkly. Lestrade's case of shivers returns with a vengeance.

"What?" Donavan demands.

"I don't approve of bombers in London any day," the man continues as if uninterrupted, "But this…" he glances over his should at the rubble that remains of the pool, "This is uncalled for. A step too far. It's time to play an end game that he certainly didn't see coming. No one," he adds icily, lips twitching as if into a snarl, gazing after the departed ambulance, "No one hurts my little brother like that." He gives the two an abrupt nod and storms off.

Lestrade's mouth drops open. Emotions are whirling around his mind and he's still in shock, but even he can piece together that puzzle.

"That's Sherlock's…there are two of them?" Donavan exclaims, mirroring his thoughts. They share a wide-eyed glance, before Dimmock's approach draws them back to the situation. Lestrade finds himself ushered over to the remaining ambulance, a shock blanket thrown over his shoulders. For once he doesn't mind sitting back and letting someone else deal with the mess, now that he knows Sherlock (and John) is safe.

He can vaguely hear Dimmock issuing orders to search for Moriarty among the remains of the pool, and the few other individuals (whom Lestrade doesn't want to think about) that are pulled out of the mess are being watched like criminals (which perhaps they are). He's too out of it to really care, and he idly sips the water someone thrust at him, wondering what on Earth the brother of Sherlock Holmes did for a living. Given the man's bearing and efficiency at directing people into places they shouldn't be, he finds himself shying away from the answer.


Five hours later, after everything has settled down, Moriarty's body is dumped on the doorstep of the Scotland Yard.