14 February, Evening
In an empty building across the street from Victor Trevor’s boarded up teashop, Sebastian Moran quietly packs away his equipment. Through the window he can hear voices, too far away to be understood or even distinguished. It doesn’t matter. He slips out the back of the building twice: the first time, to put one rifle in the trunk; the second, to stow the other, lighter rifle and the equipment he’d been using to listen in on Trevor and his companions. He’s gone just before the police arrive, rumbling away in a dark, thoroughly unremarkable car. One of Jim’s.
He can’t bring the rifles back to the safe house, so he stops at one of their warehouses first, stores them there. It’s a welcome delay. After all, Jim doesn’t know he took the car. Jim doesn’t know he was trailing Trevor in the first place. This is all what Jim would call an “extracurricular assignment,” off the record. However, as too much of Sebastian’s usual work had been delegated to Trevor lately, Sebastian found himself with a great deal of free time on his hands. What did Jim expect him to do with it?
He’s past the point of caring about what Jim expects, though. He was right all along. He’d told Jim that Trevor was a traitor, and he was right. And if he’s guilty of taking care of the issue on his own, without authorization—well, so be it. The problem is resolved now. Jim will be pleased… eventually.
The drive to the safe house is long and dark and quiet. No flashing lights or echoing sirens escort Sebastian on his way there. All well and good, but he thinks he could use a car chase. His grip on the wheel of the car is tight; he always gets a bit overexcited when he kills someone. Strictly speaking, he didn’t stick around to verify that Trevor died, but he knows. He just knows Trevor did. Sebastian Moran doesn’t miss.
The Past Three Days
I can’t even begin to describe the past three days.
I don’t need to tell you what happened – I know you all can read. We’ve had reporters from every paper you’ve ever heard of on our tails since the trial. Can’t go outside without stepping on one. They all want a statement from Sherlock.
It was worst right after the verdict. Not because of the reporters, but because I had to take the Tube back and when I got there, he was pulling away from the curb. Moriarty. Just like that, casual as anything. Blew me a kiss as he drove by, I thought for sure I’d go upstairs and find Sherlock lying dead on the floor.
But he wasn’t dead. I’m sure you knew that. A murder would really make the headlines. No, we’ve been keeping our heads down and plan to for a little while longer. At least, I do. Sherlock’s already getting restless.
Tuesday was also the anniversary of the day we met, Sherlock and me. He remembered. I didn’t. I suppose that’s just how it goes.
Note: Corresponds to this transcript.
Victor’s work phone rings as he’s closing a deal. He sits back, pulls it out of his pocket, and frowns at the display. Then, he silences it with a charming, apologetic smile, and opens his mouth to get back to business but gets cut off before he can.
“Who was that?”
Shrugging, Victor says, “No one important.”
Jim Moriarty leans back on the sofa. “If it’s no one important,” he says, somehow both irritable and amused, “then why did you stop when I hadn’t said to? Tut tut.”
Far from fazed, Victor just grins. “I don’t know, sir. It won’t happen again.” And from the look on Moriarty’s face, that’s just what he wants to hear.
The Falls of Reichenbach
It was a dark and stormy night.
… is how you all would like this story to begin, I’m sure. I know what you’re after, all of you new readers and members of the press. Phone’s been ringing off the hook since that article ran on Thursday.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy you’re here. Sherlock’s been in a mood, but he’s Sherlock. The reason this is all a bit strange to me is because I think this is one of the least interesting cases we’ve had in a while – it only concerns a stolen painting, and the last one I wrote up involved giant glowing hellhounds. Either way, welcome everyone. My hit counter is telling me there have certainly been a lot of you…
Jim is too thin when Mycroft Holmes hands him back over. Mycroft doesn’t see to it personally, of course. Too much of a lazy bastard to leave his office for something like this. He delegates instead. (Jim delegates, too. Sebastian doesn’t view that as laziness, but efficiency.)
The men who meet Sebastian in the empty warehouse are both tall, both wearing suits, both sporting sunglasses. If this is an attempt at intimidation, Sebastian is not impressed. He pays the men, and they nod at him, understanding—they will not disclose his identity to their boss. They get back into their vehicle, and Sebastian escorts Jim to the other car, taking note of his shaking hands, his limp. They climb into the back seat, and Sebastian tells the driver to go.
Jim stares out the window, preoccupied by something that Sebastian can’t see. Sebastian squares his shoulders and waits for Jim to speak. When he does, he says, “Why did you buy them off?”
The office had been empty yesterday, before the movers came.
Silent as the grave, they crept up back staircases to the fourth floor, hauling chairs and desks and conference tables, computers and telephones. Once everything was in place, they set about making the suite look “natural:” a coffee stain here, a couple of scratches on that table there. One of the movers even brought a picture of a man in a suit to set on the secretary’s desk and stand as her husband. They didn’t stop until the place looked clean, chic, and well-established.
Sebastian Moran arrives to inspect their handiwork around six in the morning, and, finding it to his liking, he dismisses them. Then he waits for the others.
The secretary is a down-on-her-luck actress approaching middle age who’s adopted bright red press-on nails for her role. Sebastian is paying her to sit around in a suit and look busy for a few hours. The other player is a freelance security guard—while unnecessary, it seemed prudent to hire extra security for show. Both of these people have only spoken with Moran, will quietly accept their payments at the end of the day, and will never be contacted again once out of sight.
Sebastian paces to the window and surveys the street, smoking a cigarette. In theory he shouldn’t be smoking indoors, but he’s going to smoke where he damn well pleases and anyone who doesn’t like it can take it up with the wrong end of his rifle. The secretary and security guard are mum on the subject, as silent as the scene below. At nine on a gray, dreary Saturday morning, London isn’t quite awake yet, but one more cigarette later a cab pulls up in front of the office building. Already knowing who will emerge, Sebastian stalks away from the window to wait by the door of the lift, hands at his sides.
He knows Victor Trevor from the photographs.
Notes: Warnings for this include allusions to torture, starvation, and discussion of sexual assault. Also available here on LJ for easier reading.
She knows she is alive because of the pain. It’s her constant companion. An ache in her empty stomach, soreness in her scalp from having her hair pulled, rawness from the bruises that bloom overnight on her arms and legs and torso. Torture leaves her skin fresh and tingling; it’s only when she awakens that she notices the marks on her body. She had scars, a couple; she’ll have a few more after she gets out.
Irene prefers to think of her escape in terms of “when” and not “if.” She’s tried to run three times already, only to be thrown back into her cell. Of course, no one’s making it easy for her. She’s come to realize that she’ll need outside help, someone with a keen mind and an impeccable sense of timing…
Maybe not an impeccable sense of timing. By her calendar, he’s already late.
Anyway, she’s lost the physical strength she needs to force a breakout, and her jailers have proven immune to seduction, so all Irene Adler can do now is wait, and wait she does. She waits, and she dreams impossible things, and she rots.