“Look, Holmes, you don't have to do this. You've done quite enough already. The inspector and I can
handle it from here.”
A tall, well dressed man reached up to the mask he had just finished adjusting properly on his face and
pulled it to one side so he could look at his companion with mild annoyance. “Watson, how many times
must I tell you that I am perfectly fine before you believe me?”
“It isn't an issue of how many times you say anything! You just woke up from the coma you've been in
for months! It's a miracle you are even walking right now!”
The great detective merely gave a small, secretive smile as he replaced his mask. “I suppose it is, isn't
it? But after all, 'tis the season for miracles, isn't it, Watson?”
“Stop doing that.”
“Doing what?” The two continued their banter as they moved down the hallway towards the double
doors, through which a few faint strains of music wafted.
“Acting all mysterious, like you have some huge secret. You know how annoying that is.”
“Even when I do have a secret?”
There was silence for a moment as the two men paused in front of the door. “Watson, have I ever
mentioned how glad I am to be back?”
The doctor looked slightly taken aback at his best friend's totally unexpected comment. After opening
his mouth for a moment, then closing it again, he finally said the only thing that came to mind. “Well...
no I don't believe you have.”
“Ah, all is well then. Now, if you will excuse me, I have a case to close.” With a grin and a wink from
underneath his mask, Sherlock Holmes whirled and swung open the doors, vanishing seamlessly into
the similarly masked crowd with practiced ease, leaving his friend and partner standing in the doorway.
“Wait, H-” Watson silenced himself with a long suffering sigh, but he utterly failed to hide the amused
grin twitching across the corners of his mouth. “What am I going to do with him? One of these days...”
Slipping smoothly between the chatting masses of people who had put aside their identities to
celebrate this night, the form of Sherlock Holmes moved with purpose towards his goal. He slipped
from the main hall and into the corridors, moving smoothly and quickly past various small groups of
people admiring the many priceless works of art that adorned the walls of the ornate building. As he
approached a turn in the passage before him, he glanced at a particularly well polished metal sculpture,
and in its gleaming surface, he saw two uniformed figures standing at the base of the stairs. Those
aren't police outfits. Must be the museum's private guards. Talking with them will only slow me down.
Time to improvise.
Without missing a step, he reached into his pocket, withdrew his handkerchief, and slipped a small
pastry not much bigger than a marble off of a passing waiter's tray as the man passed, handing out the
tiny delicacies. Another glance at the sculpture showed him no one behind him was looking directly at
him, so cloaking the movement with his body as he rounded the bend, he deftly slipped the treat into
the small white cloth and with a flick of his wrist sent it flying high into the air. As the two obviously
bored guards stood speaking in low voices to one another, the tiny shape flew unnoticed above their
heads, hidden from their line of sight by the chandelier Holmes had arced it over. The projectile flew
with Holmes' usual accuracy, and in a moment it had grazed the arm of a sculpture further down the
hall, causing a noise that was just enough to draw the attention of the guards, as he had planned. As
their heads turned, he slid silently past them and up the flight of stairs behind them, seeming to float
easily across the ground.
“Hey, wait! Where do you think you are going!?”
Swearing under his breath, the detective picked up his pace. Apparently, the guards had turned back
quicker than expected and caught sight of him as he rounded the corner above them. His considerable
mind whirling as fast as ever, Holmes leaped up the stairs two at a time, ignoring the protest from his
legs, which, despite his insistence to the contrary moments before, were actually placing him in quite a
lot of discomfort. As he reached the top of the last flight with his pursuers hot on his tracks, he dashed
down the hall before him and dived into a set of double doors leading to a fancy dining room. Grabbing
a large, branching candelabra from the table, he jammed the doors shut.
“Watson is never going to let me here the end of this...” Without pausing even as he spoke, and totally
disregarding the enraged shouts and banging from outside, he quickly strode to the large window that
grace one wall of the room. With lightning speed, he detached the thick drapes from the metal bar on
which they hung and began work. Within thirty seconds he had transformed the huge, unwieldy mass
of fabric into a functional rope.
Tying one end of it to the second candelabra, he slipped out onto the second story balcony, not even
sparing a glance for the vista of twinkling city lights spread out before him or their reflection in the
river below. Instead, he took a moment to consult his mental map of the gallery, then glanced up at the
balcony a level above him and a few feet to the side.
Nodding to himself absently, he tossed the candelabra towards the night sky, and watched as it
gracefully arced upward through a field of stars, then slid perfectly between the iron bars of the
balcony railing above him. A twist of his wrist and the ornate metal candle holder became a functional
grappling hook, locking in place, then refusing to budge another inch even as Holmes tugged hard on
his end of the rope.
Satisfied with his makeshift means of transport, Holmes hopped up on the railing beside him, then
began swinging himself up the rough brick of the outer walls towards his destination.
“Well, well, well, here you are, right where I expected to find you.” Before him, in the dark room, a
figure cloaked in shadows jumped at the sound of Holmes' voice, whirling from the glass case that he
stood next to and bringing up the long shape of his ornate cane.
“Yes me, Professor. Looks like my hunch was right after all.” Holmes, removing his mask and tossing
it aside, wandered leisurely into the room, continuing to talk in the same amicable voice as before.
However, this time there was an undercurrent of danger subtly slipping in and out of his tone. “So
tell me, why are you suddenly interested in an ancient stone tablet from the sixth century, and why is
it said to have been found five months ago, just before my little 'accident', when I really can't recall
hearing a thing about it. Quite odd, wouldn't you say? Speaking of my accident, I hear tell you have
just recovered from one of your own. What a coincidence, hmm?”
“You insolent detective.” The figure sneered, trying to contain the building rage within him. “You don't
have a clue what went on there, do you!? You just keep playing the part of the all knowing, all seeing
Sherlock Holmes, and life just hands you all the answers! You act superior to everyone, even though
you know you are just a puppet dancing for the amusement of the masses! And yet knowing all that
you trapped us here again! Are you completely incapable of independent thought? Do you rely on these
false laws so much that you cannot bear to be away from them?”
Holmes' mouth turned down into a frown. “Whatever are you talking about, Professor? Did your
injury hurt your brain? No matter, I believe you are under arrest now. The police have surrounded the
building. You have no escape. I suggest giving up peacefully.”
That was the last straw for Holmes' adversary, and with a shout of rage and desperation the figure
leaped into the moonlight seeping from the balcony door, raising his cane to strike even as Holmes
ripped a revolver from under his coat. However, even as he brought his gun to bear, his assailant
changed the angle of his strike and batted the weapon aside, sending it skidding across the ground
towards the balcony, where is slid to a halt.
Not slowed down in the slightest, the detective dodged a followup strike and retaliated with a punch
to the stomach. His attacker was not inexperienced himself, however, and he twisted with the blow,
attempting to strike and Holmes' temple. That, unfortunately, was just what the detective wanted, as the
figure soon realized when Holmes ducked under the strike and yanked the drapes of the window behind
him outward, tangling his assailant's weapon in their thick folds. As the professor tried to disengage
himself from the curtains, Holmes dived sideways, reaching for his gun. But the attacker was faster
than expected, and quickly came leaping after him, walking stick raised to bash in the detective's skull.
Bending his knees low, Holmes lunged forward and caught his opponent's elbow before he could bring
the cane down. Both men struggled for a moment as the finely dressed attacker pushed Holmes back,
first one step, then another, and the detective was forced to lean against the iron railing. Then, there
was a loud creak of metal, and both men froze, eyes widening in surprise. Holmes reacted first, his free
arm shooting up to grab the lapel of the professor’s suit. Then the railing bent and gave way, dropping
both men into the frigid December waters below.
A few miles down the bank, the figure of the professor lay, soaked and gasping for breath. Lifting
himself up on his elbows, he began to feel around for his cane in the dark, finally grasping its familiar
wooden handle. It was at that moment that a dripping boot slammed down next to his outstretched arm,
trapping his only weapon. The audible click of a revolver being cocked broke the silence.
“James Moriarty, scum of the earth, Napoleon of Crime, and my nemesis. It's over. Your crimes have
finally caught up with you, those dead by your hand shall be appeased this night.”
Months ago, the professor would have reacted differently, perhaps. However, now he only raised his
eyes to look into the barrel of the gun aimed at his forehead and spat out a reply in a bitter, world-
weary voice. “Get it over with, Holmes.”
“With pleasure.” Then, as the bells of Big Ben rang out midnight, a single gunshot sounded from the
river bank. Holmes turned quietly away from the prostrate form of his mortal enemy and sat down on a
rock, removing a pipe from his jacket pocket and looking at it with displeasure. “Soaked. I should have
kept it in the waterproof bag instead of my revolver...”
“What are you doing?” The confused voice emerged from the figure nearby, who sat up, looking
between Holmes and the bullet hole in the dirt a foot from where his head had been.
“You want to know why I keep going, even when I know truth, Professor? Because I want to. Look
around you, at this city. All those lights, all those people. Out there are criminals like you, who would
prey on the weak, the defenseless, and right here, right now, I have the power to stop them. I'm not
perfect, I'm not infallible, but this is my world, this is my home. This is where I belong, and there is no
other place I would rather be. What do I care if my life is a book somewhere else? I am me here and
now. The same man I've always been and the same man I will always be. What do I care if I am on
display for the masses to watch? Perhaps they shall learn a thing or two in the process.”
“Then if you are so obsessed with justice and all that, why didn't you kill me? You said it yourself, I'm
the scum of the earth, right?”
“Sometimes, Moriarty, a little mercy can go a long way. Now, you and I both know this isn't just a
little mercy, but, after all, it's Christmas. A minute ago, every single bit of me wanted to keep that
barrel right where it was, and a while back I probably would have. But back there I met a very odd
man. Completely out of his mind, of course, but that didn't seem to slow him down at all. Right before I
pulled that trigger, I remembered that old man's face. Now, I will be the first to admit that I'm no hero.
This is probably just a passing fancy and I will go right back to being my normal 'donkeyhole' self in a
few days,” The detective smirked. “but for now, consider this your second chance.”
He stood from his rocky chair, slid his pipe back into his pocket, and picked up his gun. As he did so,
a small white square of paper fluttered from his pocket and landed on the ground, but he ignored it.
“James Moriarty died at midnight, on Christmas day, drowning after falling out of a third story window
while in an altercation with Sherlock Holmes.” Holmes began to walk away, then paused. “I will be
watching you, however. This is your second chance, but it is also your last. If we meet again, I won't be
missing that shot.”
Then, the detective vanished into the city streets, leaving the 'dead' man sitting on the bank, trying
to wrap his mind around what had just occurred. His eyes crossed the small object the detective had
dropped a moment before, and acting with a strangely detached curiosity, he reached out and picked
it up, unfolding the paper. Then he nearly chocked in shock, for a moment after his eyes crossed the
word 'translation' adorning the top of the paper, they found the final two lines.
Scarab wrote:Loved this the first time I read it, loved it more now.
Sicon112 wrote:Scarab wrote:Loved this the first time I read it, loved it more now.
That would be because I actually proofread this version.
Qara-Xuan Zenith wrote:So... because LJS hates me, he joined the Cabal and became the Spanner in the Works to my Plan. So now I hate HIM.
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