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.
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.
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 include reference to torture, discussion of sexual assault, and brief sexual content. Can also be found on LJ.
”Is this all of it?” Sherlock asks.
Victor nods, wiping away sweat with a bandana. (31°C and falling, mostly cloudy. 62% humidity. 10% chance of precipitation. Wind at 37.1 kph WSW.) Between the two of them, Victor has done all the heavy lifting. Sherlock thinks, Victor kills and cleans up. It works: it’s efficient. Sherlock doesn’t want any more blood on his hands if he can help it. Hence the utility of Victor’s incredible long-range accuracy with a gun.
Not for the first time, he wonders if John could shoot Victor first.
“What are we doing?” Victor peers into one of the cardboard boxes.
Sherlock elbows him out of the way. “I’m going to study the evidence,” he replies, sorting through the contents. A stack of laptops, USB flash drives, DVDs, stained folders, and other tidbits. Should contain plenty of information about Moriarty’s latest outfit. Insight into how he functions. Might be nothing—or it might be everything.
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.
Warnings: Dubcon sex and mentions of sexual assault. Also available on LJ.
Thursday 22 March 1300
Rita’s found herself a new man. Irene Adler notices as much immediately when they meet for lunch. Love is easy to read in a woman’s cheeks, in the shade of her lipstick, in the newly washed clothes which flatter her curves, in the way she’s spritzed her curls so that they sprawl across her shoulders with a little more shine than usual. Unlike certain people, Irene doesn’t feel the need to boost her ego by rattling off the tiny details that clued her in: the blush spreading across Rita’s cheeks when Irene asks about the boyfriend is gratification enough.
“M-miss Adler,” she stammers.
Dear girl. A bit slow, but very sweet. “I’m not offended,” Irene says, offering her a tight, knowing smile, and Rita relaxes visibly. Irene sleeps with some of the girls who do her favors—the ones who are interested, at least—but she doesn’t demand monogamy from them. Anyway, her relationship with Rita has been mostly professional lately; Irene hasn’t even called her in a number of months. So, she’s ideal for this errand. “I think that’s lovely, actually. I want you to call in this afternoon and book a pair of tickets for you and your boyfriend. Here are the flight details. You’ll be reimbursed in full.”
Irene scrawls the information down on a napkin, which she hands to Rita, who scans it and frowns. “Matt and I are taking a trip?”
“Well, someone is,” Irene replies.
Note: Trigger warning for suicidal thoughts and violence.
The great thing about killing people for a living is that you know all the best places to dispose of bodies. Abandoned buildings, car parks, landfills, rivers, whatever. Part of the art in murder is making sure the corpse isn’t found until you want it found.
That’s how Sebastian knows the perfect spot for his suicide. Nice, empty house right in the middle of London. Garage door closed, no one else around—just him and his sweaty palms glued to the wheel of his car, the throaty purr of its engine temporarily silenced.
He hears carbon monoxide poisoning’s a good way to go. Like falling asleep.
Honestly, Sebastian would have preferred a more violent death, something dramatic. Death at the height of life, a sudden snipping of the thread before its time. Death like in a Hemingway novel, maybe, at the mercy of a bomb—his head flying one way, his torso another, his left leg yet another. Death like three bullets to the chest, bang bang bang in rapid succession. Sebastian Moran would like to die the way he’s lived: recklessly, carelessly, messily, violently, and without remorse.
The following evening, John picks Penny up at seven just as he said he would. They take a cab to the gala together, and he can’t stop looking at her. She’s utterly gorgeous. Not that she wasn’t gorgeous the day before, but tonight she’s done something to her eyes—the dark shadow above them brings out their color even more, somehow—and her hair pours over her shoulders in loose auburn waves. The city lights glancing off of it make it shine all the more.
“I’m so excited,” she says to him as they pull up to the venue. “Thank you agreeing to go with me, John, really. It’s so much better than staying home alone.”
John peers up at the hotel building, at all of the well-dressed people milling around just inside, laughing and talking and enjoying champagne, and says, “Well, I’m glad you’re excited, because it looks like they’re all having a terrible time and we’ll probably be miserable.” She laughs. Nice to be able to make someone laugh. He didn’t realize how much he needed this night out until now. “No, I’m joking, of course. Let’s go inside.”
They go inside. John brushes against someone in the atrium, but instantly forgets about it when he sees the party laid out before him. The gala is as glittery and glitzy as it looked from outside, and the theme of Valentine’s Day romance is so prominent that it practically smacks you in the face, from the pink and red décor to the hors d’oeuvres, quiches in the shapes of tiny hearts. Penny was right, it probably would be miserable to attend this gathering without a partner. Luckily, John doesn’t have that problem; what would ordinarily be complete overkill to him seems appropriate for the occasion, probably because of Penny.