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I Shall Not Be Thy Refuge Once More, chapter 11/12

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Thursday, April 18th, 2013 | 6:28 pm
music: "Prithee" -- the Monkees
posted by: rose_of_pollux in 30_losses

Title: I Shall Not Be Thy Refuge Once More, chapter 11: I Prithee
Author/Artist: Crystal Rose of Pollux (rose_of_pollux)
Rating: PG13
Fandom: Sherlock
Claim: Sherlock Holmes and John Watson (friendship)
Theme: 27A; Outsider
Genre/s: Drama/Friendship
Warnings: Some violence
Words: ~1500
Summary: The final phase of the late Moriarty's plan is put into action.
Disclaimer/Claimer: The characters are not mine (except for the OCs) and the story is
A/N: crossposted to FFN


Sherlock silently cursed himself for not realizing that Aranea had been hiding here all along. He had allowed sentiment to cloud his observational skills, and yet…

His thoughts trailed off, unfinished, as he saw John’s expression—shock, anger, betrayal…

“Ari…” John said, shaking his head. “Ari, why?”

She turned sharply to him, aiming the gun.

“I’m sorry, John,” she said. “But there’s much about me that you don’t know. Jim Moriarty has done more for me than you could ever understand. I was facing utter ruin for something I had done. That was when a very dear gentleman friend recommended the Consulting Criminal to me.”

“A very dear gentleman friend?” Sherlock repeated. “Obviously the one whom you were planning to see last night.”

“You knew, then?” she asked. “Well, of course you would. The great Sherlock Holmes—the genius who faked his suicide. Why wouldn’t you have known?” She looked to John. “And you, John. You didn’t believe him, did you? You believed me.

“I did believe him,” John said. “He’s always right. I just didn’t want to admit it. But I couldn’t have guessed that you were working for Moriarty all this time.” He refrained from asking whether or not the entire charade had been an act on her part.

“Well,” she said, casually shrugging. “Jim helped me out of that legal jam; I was soon out of prison—the entire affair labeled a whole misunderstanding, and my honor was restored. So, when Sebastian Moran asked me to pay back an IOU—”

Sherlock let out an involuntary hiss, prompting Aranea to smirk.

“It was the least I could do for the late Jim Moriarty,” she said. “Speaking of which, I have a message for you from him.”

Keeping the gun trained on Sherlock now, she pulled a small tablet PC from her bag and switched it on. A video clip of Moriarty appeared on the screen; Sherlock froze as John quietly cursed.

“Well, hello there, Sherlock,” Moriarty said, smirking. “And you, too, Johnny-boy; I know you’re there. I really do regret ruining what was to be a joyous reunion, but… Sherlock and have a problem that we need to solve. You just got caught in the crossfire. I expect that he’s doing his best to keep you in the dark, so I don’t see any reason to tell you anything. But let me just say one thing—thank you.”

John frowned, angry and confused.

“What…?”

“Thank you for giving Sherlock Holmes the one weakness that I could exploit,” Moriarty continued. “You made things so easy for me. And that was why I just couldn’t resist having you be the one to do my work for me. Oh, I do wish I could’ve been able to see the look on Sherlock’s face when you attacked him. Not to worry, though; I’m sure I got a great view from the other side.”

“This isn’t possible,” Sherlock said. “How could he have planned this so well in advance?”

“I’m about to meet Sherlock on the roof of St. Bart’s,” Moriarty went on. “And the plan is to have both of us meet our ends there. But, knowing Sherlock, he’s going to weasel his way out of it. So, I’m coming up with this backup plan; I know I won’t be there to see it through, so I’m leaving it in the capable hands of my successor, Sebastian. I don’t know how long it’s taken, but I’m sure it’s worked.”

Sherlock clenched a fist, prompting Aranea to point the gun at him again.

“I suggest you keep listening, Mr. Holmes,” she said.

“How long did it take you, Sherlock?” Moriarty asked. “How long did you believe that Johnny-Boy had it in for you? Well, I suppose I’ll be able to hear it from you soon enough; it’s my intent to finish our final problem here, if my first plan fails.

“You know by now, don’t you? Miss Vulsor here was able to get close to your little sidekick—I’m sure you were in hiding for a while, which made it awfully easy to do. You really should’ve taken Johnny-Boy into your confidence, Sherlock; it’s a fortunate thing for me that you’re so predictable.”

Sherlock’s gaze shifted to John, who still had a hurt look on his face.

I am sorry, John, he silently transmitted. Honestly.

“But, despite being predictable, you are intelligent,” Moriarty added. “You found out—the sound of the bell activating the suggestion induced by the drug, courtesy of Miss Vulsor’s wine. And John was, undoubtedly, self-sacrificing enough to distance himself and come back here, to your old haunt.

“So, Sherlock, you can relax knowing that your little friend here doesn’t really hate you. He couldn’t help himself when he attacked you. But I’m afraid you’re not going to be able to enjoy it for much longer.”

“John, get away,” Sherlock quietly ordered, sounding calmer than he felt. “Get out of here while you still can.”

“Don’t move,” Aranea warned, switching her aim back and forth to the both of them. “Both of you stay put.”

“I had no intention of going, anyway,” John retorted, glaring at her.

“Miss Vulsor, if she has fulfilled her end of the bargain—which I don’t doubt, as I’m assuming you two are hearing this—currently has the both of you within point-blank range,” Moriarty continued. “One word to her, and our final problem ends here. But, really, where’s the fun in that?”

The Moriarty in the clip now raised a small bell into view, and all the color drained from John’s face.

“No…”

“Now this,” Moriarty said. “This is much more entertaining. Are you listening, Johnny-Boy? The bell tolls for thee.”

John clamped his hands over his ears, trembling as Moriarty rang the bell. It was no use, however; John’s expression went slack, his shoulders rigid as the sound still reached him. He shut his eyes, trying to resist.

“Sher… Sherlock…”

“John…” the detective said, calmly. “John, it’s fine. It’s all right.” Never mind yourself right now. Make sure John gets out of here alive.

The fact that Aranea still had the gun trained on them was the one thing preventing him from going over to John.

“Can’t… control…” John said, wincing.

“Then you are not to blame for whatever happens here,” Sherlock insisted. He knew his chances of leaving the flat were next to nothing, but he had to ensure John’s safety—and somehow keep him from being eaten away by guilt if the worst should happen. “Mycroft knows about the drug; you will not be held responsible—”

John doubled over, hissing.

“Not… okay,” he said.

“John,” Aranea said. “John, I’d rather not see anything happen to you. You do grow on a person, you know? I can see why you even managed to make Sherlock Holmes semi-sociable.”

“Shut up,” Sherlock ordered. “You have absolutely no right to address him in such a manner.”

“And you do?” she asked. “You were the one who abandoned him; you made it easy for me to get close. What gives you the right to address him?”

John shuddered again, and Sherlock quickly realized that Aranea was deliberately trying to make him more susceptible to the suggestion by feeding him negative thoughts about Sherlock.

“John,” she said. “Just stop resisting. It’ll all be over soon if you just stop fighting. You’ll be able to leave. And you won’t remember a thing.”

“John isn’t as simple-minded as you and Moriarty seem to think,” Sherlock retorted. “If Moriarty’s goal is to ensure that I die here, then you may as well do it now rather than force John to—”

John now threw a punch at Sherlock, his fist connecting with his jaw. Sherlock stumbled backwards from the blow, stars blinking in his vision.

“What was that you were saying, Mr. Holmes?” Aranea mused.

Sherlock didn’t have a chance for a retort; John had thrown another punch in his direction, and the detective quickly dove aside. John swore loudly as his fist connected with the wall, and Sherlock cringed in spite of himself.

“John!” he called. “John, you’re only hurting yourself; remain calm! The drug has to wear off eventually; if you can hold out until then—”

John wasn’t listening now; the influence of the drug was too much. Aranea’s eyes suddenly widened in fear as he ran at her next instead of the detective. She tried to aim her gun at him, but in one quick movement, he had twisted her wrist and disarmed her, picking up the weapon.

For a moment, Aranea feared for her life, but this moment soon passed as he turned around to point the gun at Sherlock.

“Wait…!” the detective exclaimed, slowly raising a hand to try to make himself look as non-threatening as possible. “John, think about what you’re doing!”

But John did not answer, aiming the gun at Sherlock’s forehead.

The video clip of Moriarty, which had been silent all this time, now spoke again.

“Well, I’m assuming that’s enough time for you to have given enough of a beating to Sherlock,” he said. “You know what to do now, Johnny-Boy.”

The doctor’s brow furrowed, part of him still trying to resist.

“Finish him.”

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