Original Story Title: Not Danger, But Inevitable Destruction
Original Story Link: http://archiveofourown.org/works/145153
Original Story Pairings: n/a
Original Story Rating: mature
Original Story Warnings: none
Remix Story Title: The Organ-Grinder and His Monkey
Remix Author: AJHall
Remix Beta: caulkhead
Remix Britpicker: N/A
Remix Story Pairings: none
Remix Story Rating: mature
Remix Story Warnings: none
Summary: John Watson lives with an insane genius. The man who kidnaps him and takes him to a deserted swimming pool, wrapped in enough Semtex to destroy half the London Borough of Hackney is assuredly insane, but, in John's decidedly expert opinion, equally assuredly no genius. Who stands behind Moriarty?
"The Organ-Grinder and His Monkey"
"Ah, such a sad little puppy. Shouldn't have wandered so far, should you? London is such a big place."
The sing-song voice in John's ear-piece grated on his nerves. Only rigid discipline kept him utterly still against the wall of the changing cubicle, checked the urge to give vent to the exasperated fury which surged inside him.
John Watson, aged 39, ex-RAMC and Northumberland Fusiliers. Survived the IRA; survived the Taliban. Blown up in a swimming pool by a fucking Graham Norton impersonator.
What an epitaph. What a joke.
Sherlock, if I get through this alive, I'm going to kill you. And, if you did buy that tin of beans, I'm going to shove it up your –
"Oh John, John, Johnny-boy. Your master should learn to be more careful with his pets."
Still that sing-song voice, droning away in the ear-piece.
While the thugs who had snatched him were dressing him in the bomb-jacket John had glimpsed the face of the man directing them.
Black, dead eyes. Windows onto emptiness.
John would have known that man for a killer even if he'd never heard of Carl Powers, a kid who'd cherished his trainers, won swimming races, fought and giggled with his mates. Carl Powers, who for some imagined slight against this camp nutter had choked out his life in this pool twenty years ago.
Now John stood feet away from the site of that old crime, clothed in enough explosive to destroy half of Hackney. The pear-drop reek of Semtex mingled with the chlorine fumes rising from the water. He could hardly breathe, let alone think straight.
Even so –
I live with an insane genius. A man whose acquaintances suspect him of being a psychopath. This man here – is not a genius. But he is a psychopath.
The day I believe this posturing idiot is Sherlock's darker twin is the day the judges award Satan the men's figure-skating gold in the Hades Winter Olympics.
Sherlock's not here. Your call, Major Watson.
"You're mad." He tried to give it a calm, professional tone; a doctor delivering a considered diagnosis.
Go on, contradict me. Try to prove you're sane. Tell me what's going through your head. Give me something to go on.
The other's voice became petulant.
"Oh, hardly. What I am, Major, is bored. Your renowned 'consulting detective' is supposed to be here for our tête-à-tête. I would have expected him to arrive early. And here I thought he was enjoying our little game."
He was. Bitterness rose in John's throat.
"I won't help you hurt him."
The falter in his voice must have been audible; the other man's tone changed.
"Oh but you will! Because I have spent so much time scripting this scene, and if I don't get to see it played to completion – " The hesitation was, to John's ear, a conscious effect, like a bad actor striving a little too hard for dramatic tension.
Or a good actor producing an illusion of artificiality. Plays within plays. Bluff and counter-bluff. Smoke and mirrors.
"If?" John prompted.
"Well, there's little reason for me not to have your flatmate killed the moment he gets in range. Imagine, such a bright light snuffed out all at once. Such a senseless tragedy."
"What do you want?" John closed his eyes and took a deep breath.
"Oh, so many things. Quite the most delicious of which will be seeing the expression on your flatmate's face when he arrives – my people tell me he's in a cab, not quite ten minutes away, held up by roadworks. Does it ever occur to you to wonder why we pay congestion charges in London when they never seem to do anything about the congestion? Perhaps I should ask the Mayor. I'm sure I could get to see BoJo if I wanted. After all, as we both know, I'm very good at getting what I want."
John kept his mouth resolutely shut.
"Oh, that's good, Johnny. That's very good. That's exactly what I want from you. Until I tell you to talk. And once I give that word – I expect to see Sherlock Holmes dance."
Ten minutes, Moriarty had said. Every second crawled. Especially once John had been ordered into one of the cubicles to await Sherlock's arrival and realised exactly how the puppet-master intended the final scene to be played.
"Brought you a little getting to know you present. That's what it's all been for, hasn't it?"
Sherlock's voice echoed around the space; self-assured and unexpectedly loud.
Moriarty's voice commanded him to move, to repeat the dialogue exactly as he'd be given it, don't for fuck's sake try any Special Forces cleverness, Johnny. Cleverness is my job, isn't it, Johnny boy. And Sherlock's. If you put so much as an eyelash out of place I'll take Sherlock apart before your very eyes, inch by inch. And you'll kiss me from sheer gratitude when the time comes for me to kill you so you don't have to watch any more.
He stepped out into the open. The words he had to say sounded in his earpiece; he made them sound as natural as he could.
"Evening. This is a turn up, isn't it, Sherlock? I bet you never saw this coming."
Sherlock's face changed; recognition, disbelief, shock and then – worst of all – a kind of sick, self-loathing acceptance, as if he should have known that anyone to whom he dared open up, even by the smallest fraction, must inevitably turn on him.
"John? What the hell – "
The break in Sherlock's voice made John's soul twist within him for the sheer pity of things. He took a step forward, willing Sherlock to look at him properly, to take his own advice for once.
Sherlock. Stop seeing. Start observing.
He caught a flicker of understanding in Sherlock's face an instant before the voice in his earpiece flooded in again.
"Oh, he's good, isn't he? No flies on the great consulting detective, are there? Right, Johnny-boy. Here's what I want you to say now."
Time stretched out once more. First threat – relief as the crushing weight of the bomb-jacket was torn from his shoulders – the inevitable slump as the adrenaline of combat drained from his system – renewed threat as the red dots of the hidden snipers' scopes danced across their bodies -
The snipers fired. For a moment John almost felt the fiery pain of a bullet ripping into his own body – imagined Sherlock blown apart – turned to see Moriarty lying, crumpled, on the pool-edge, blood dripping slowly into the water from what remained of his chest.
From up in the gallery came the sound of three sets of footsteps departing down the stairs; then the distant slam of a door. They were left with silence, apart from the gentle lapping of the water against the tiled rim of the pool.
John exhaled. "What happened there?"
"Someone went off script." Sherlock dropped to his knees beside the corpse, and gave a little "ha!" of pleased recognition. "Seems you weren't the only person playing the role of ventriloquist's dummy this evening." He extended a clenched fist to John and opened it.
John reached up to the side of his own head. "Snap."
He dropped the now-silent ear-piece next to its twin on Sherlock's palm.
Sherlock rose to his feet in a swirl of coat. "Call Lestrade – tell him to remove that." He gestured to the body. "Not that he'll learn anything from it." He bent over the ear-pieces. "You may have shot your monkey, but don't think that will stop me. The game, Mr Organ-Grinder, has only just begun."
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