happy birthday
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baileyhix
happy birthday, hope you have many more and they are just as happy!

Bart

The Strange Case of Doctor Waston and Mister Ives Part 08
Watson/Ives
baileyhix


The Strange Case of Doctor Watson and Mister Ives

Part Eight: Watson, Meet Ives

                Sherlock was not sure where he would be taken, but a neutral location was his assumption, he doubted Moriarty ever conducted business in his lair, the man was far too careful for that.

            It turned out to be a deserted government office building in Wapping, rented using a shipping concern as a cover by Sherlock’s guess.

            Irene was treated with familiarity by the underlings, she always could charm anyone who crossed her path, if she could penetrate Sherlock’s defences then anyone would be vulnerable to her grace.

            He expected to be tied up or restrained in some manner, but he was taken to the same office as Irene seated in a chair beside her and given a cuppa the same time as her, since it was poured from the same source he joined her after her first proprietary sips.

            So how did you meet the man known as Moriarty?” Sherlock inquired.

            Irene sighed, “Really? This is the tact you are taking?”

            “I’m just curious as to how someone as careful as you are would allow yourself to be placed in this much danger,” he returned with equanimity.

            “Just lucky I guess,” she replied with the same inscrutability that always intrigued him. He could never read Irene like he could other persons, until John Watson she was the only person he had met who surprised him.

            “It was that Argentinean painter as I recall, love, Mrs. Wenceslas wasn’t the only person who used his skills, you almost had that Cezanne in the Louvre before I caught on,” replied a high pitched, cultured and immanently bored voice behind them in the room.

            Moriarty bent and gave her a kiss on the cheek before settling behind the desk, he blithely put his feet up on the surface.

            “So, Sherlock, how’s kicks?” he inquired with that same empty smile that he used by the pool a few weeks back.

            Sherlock stared into those cold dark eyes and managed to smile. “Oh I imagine we’ll both be finding out shortly, since I am evidently bait for the trap.”

            “So you never expected Scotland Yard to save you,” Moriarty mused, “you intended to come all along, I wonder what you are up to?”

            “Wouldn’t you like to know?” Sherlock responded with a smile of his own.

            “Well it’s rather irrelevant, wouldn’t you say?” Moriarty responded pulling his legs off the desk top and spinning to regard Sherlock with a playful menace, “because Johnny-Boy just entered the building and he’ll be here shortly, as soon as he’s restrained, I plan on him going with me on my hiatus…I want to take my time with him.”

            “If Mycroft’s people can’t restrain him, what makes you think you can?” Sherlock asked.

            Moriarty gave him an incredulous look and pointed to himself. “You really haven’t been paying attention, have you?”

            “Boys will be boys,” Irene stated with amusement, “you two think you are higher life forms but it all comes down to “mine is bigger than yours.”

            “You would be in position to know,” Sherlock rejoined, tone dripping with acid.

            “What can I say,” Irene said with a smirk, “I’ve always liked men with big…well brains at least.”

            Moriarty laughed. “Ouch.”

            Irene leaned back languidly as she continued, “besides, to answer your unspoken question about whose bigger…he is.” She indicated the door with a jerk of her well manicured thumb.

            Howard Ives stood there smoking a cigarette, Turkish blend from the scent, Sherlock mused.

            “Looks like I finally caught up to you Jimmy my boy,” Ives stated in a dry tone, his dark predator eyes glinting with a dangerous light.

            “It’s alive!” Moriarty intoned with no indication of intimidation.

            “Two psychopaths and one high functioning sociopath, all whom I’ve slept with,” Irene itemized playfully; “now we have a party.”

            “Irene, Lovely, you might want to come over to this side of the room, blood and brains are difficult to get out of silk chiffon,” Ives replied pulling a government issue side arm out of his inner coat holster with a smooth grace.

            Sherlock stood and purposefully got in the path of his gun. “I can’t let you do this, John.”

            Ives cocked his head to the side, as if he was hearing a voice not in the room. “Sherlock, John is trying to protect you, that’s why he didn’t get help sooner, if I don’t kill that little Irish bastard now, then there will come a day when he’ll see you dead.”

            “Little Irish bastard?” Moriarty called his voice tinged with offense, “I’ll have you know I know exactly who my father was, I killed him myself after all.”

            He seemed to think for a moment. “Well my mum and father weren’t married so I guess that technically makes me a bastard…Oh well, carry on…loving the drama.”

             “This is not you, John, Ives is someone you became to protect yourself, when you had to become tougher than you thought you could be, he’s a part of you but he is not you,” Sherlock said as he moved towards Ives.

            Ives’s gun wavered, he shook his head as to clear some cobwebs. “This has to be done, Sherlock, rabid dogs have to be put down, monsters have to be tied in knots, molesters need to be punished…this world needs cleansing, I’ll be doing more good than John could have possibly done as himself by putting this cock roach in the ground…”

            “He will be, but he’s my responsibility, he’ll never kill me indirectly, he can’t whether he acknowledges it or not, I keep him interested, he’s as afflicted with boredom as I, he needs me as much as I need him, if it ever comes to it, the final battle will be face to face, you’ve already done more good as John then you could ever do as Ives,” Sherlock stated as he moved within arms reach.

            He made sure those alien eyes were meeting his own as he said, “Being my friend, letting me know where the boundaries are, making sure I never become him, being my moral compass…those are things that Ives could never do. You are stronger as John than either of us. The fact that it took a serum for Ives to come out to play shows me you have greater self control than anyone I have ever known.”

            The struggle within the man who was called Howard Ives was tremendous, he lowered his gun and Sherlock had never seen inner turmoil like that in his life, but in the end, the outcome was inevitable. John Watson swam back up to the surface.

            “Sherlock…” he managed to say, face drawn and pale from the effort.

            Suddenly a metal dart appeared in his chest and John immediately collapsed to the floor in convulsions.           

            As Sherlock bent to help his friend he heard a clapping noise behind him. “Bravo…that was the most heart felt speech I have ever seen with my own eyes,” Morarty stated, his tone mocking, “but I think that’s enough EastEnders for now…don’t you?”

            Irene reached past Sherlock and checked John’s mouth. “Give me a wallet, Sherlock, he’ll break his teeth or bite his tongue if he has nothing to bite down on.”

            Sherlock handed his folio over to her and she carefully placed it in John’s mouth as he thrashed around on the floor. “I’ve seen seizures before,” she explained as she did her best to hold John’s head still.

            “So, you show your true affiliation,” Moriarty stated, “I have to say if I had actual feelings they would be hurt right now. If you two would step away from the man on the floor, I would be obliged.” The sound of a pistol being cocked was loud in the room.

            They both stood and turned to the man now standing behind the desk.

            There was an airgun on the blotter, used to deliver the dart. “The antidote is somewhat tougher on the body than the serum was initially; even if he survives the physical damage, I doubt his mind will survive the integration process,” Moriarty said in a pedantic tone, “oh well can’t make an omelette without a few broken eggs.”

            Moriarty smiled as he levelled the revolver at Sherlock’s head. “I don’t normally get my hands dirty, but with your brother gone, my pledge to leave you alive is looking problematic, you are right about me being bored without you, but you might have overestimated your own importance a bit..”

            “You'll want to lower that weapon,” informed a voice from the door way.

            They all turned and saw Lestrade in a tactical suit assault rifle at the ready, with a smiling Donovan and a grim faced Dimmock, standing with a group of men in full riot gear; they had nasty looking automatic rifles aimed at Moriarty.

            “Besides, “Lestrade said with a smile, “I think mine is a bit bigger than yours. So, be a lad, because you’re under arrest.”

            “See what I mean,” Irene returned with a smirk.

            “What we have here is a Mexican stand off,” Moriarty replied in a bored tone, “well I say Mexican, that is a little racially insensitive, but I digress, not my phrase. If you kill me, however, the antidote to the nice little nerve toxin they ingested earlier that was in the tea, dies with me.”

            He gave Irene a wink. “I was going to give you the antidote on the plane if you proved your loyalty, muffin, you have my word.”

            “Is this true?” Lestrade inquired releasing his hold on the rifle.

            “We drank tea,” Sherlock admitted with a sheepish grin.

            “Besides, “Moriarty continued, “I am not a citizen of the British Empire, I am a vassal of Herzegovina, I have the paper work, so a little functionary such as your self has no ability to charge me with anything.”

~0~

            On the floor Watson was suffering a feverish vision as his body fought to reverse changes that occurred over weeks in a matter of minutes.

~0~

            He was seated, this room but empty, the light over the desk illuminating the darkness.

            “Hullo, John,” said a voice from the darkness, there was a spark of a lit cigarette as Ives walked into the light.

            He sat across the desk and crossed his legs utterly insouciant about the situation. “I thought we should have one last chat before I go.”

            “We have nothing to say to one another,” John replied.

            “That’s not entirely true, “Ives replied blowing a smoke ring across the desk it floated until it dissipated while John sat in silence.

            Finally he could take it no longer. “Who are you really?”

            Ives shrugged. “In some ways I’m you…and yet…I’m someone you wish you could be.”

            “I’ve never wanted to be a psychopathic monster!” John shot back with an offended sniff.

            “You did want to be strong enough to never be a victim again,” Ives reminded, ”remember all the times that our Dad was heading for Harry or Mum and you deliberately wound him up so he would take it out on you? Harry always thought it was a male testosterone thing, but what you couldn’t do with strength of arm you did with your body.”

            John shook his head adamantly as Ives continued…

            “Harold Ives liked youth…period…Harry was a pretty fresh ginger girl, but you made sure that Ives stayed interested in you…otherwise Harry would have been the one getting late night visits…and he was nice to Mum and made her smile…”

            “And Harry went and became an alcoholic, verbally abusive shrew anyway,” Johns stated with tired bitterness.

            Ives placed both feet on the floor and leaned on the desk for emphasis. “I’m the person you became to take those blows, to absorb the damage when you had to be the man of the house with your body; I’m who you become now when you have to kill to defend yourself or others. And I’m the anger and the rage that allows you to not be intimidated, that makes you steadier in a fire fight then when safe, which makes you the perfect compliment to Sherlock’s callous disregard.”

            “I created you?” Watson inquired terrified at the answer.

            “They did, John, have you not figured it out yet?” Ives replied with a sense of urgency, “Our father was called Howie by his drinking buddies, not sure where they got that from, it doesn’t match his middle or first, it was just his nick, you heard it when you fetched him from the pub…Ives you know. Mum and our Father made you, but old Howie Watson, and grab-you-in-the-night Ives created me. I look like our Dad, and I dress like Ives, who is a bit of the clothes horse and smoked…”

            Ives developed a sinister cant to usual insouciant smile as his eyes went distant, “At least Harold Ives did…”

            “What will I do without you,” John mused.

            Ives met his stare with an odd intensity. “You won’t have to worry about that, Johnny my Lovely, because I am you.”

            A well manicured hand reached across the desk offering a shake. “You can do something I never could, I can kill and harm but I can’t live and love and be a friend…that makes you the stronger…that’s why you’ll always be the one in charge, but I’ll be there when you need me.”

            “God help anyone in our path when I do,” John stated adamantly as he grasped the hand.

            Ives nodded agreement. “God help ‘em, because they’ll be meeting him shortly.”

~0~

            “As a matter of fact,” Moriarty crowed, “If I decided to plug Sherlock right now, declaring self defence, you’d never get extradition rights…”

            Suddenly a shot rang out and Moriarty dropped the gun and fell clutching his right leg, upper thigh, the wound began turning the cloth red immediately.

            “I just nicked your femoral, Jim, my boy, if you don’t get immediate medical attention by someone who knows how to stanch the bleeding then you are going to bleed out in seconds,” the voice was strained and came from the floor where Watson was lying with the gun he had dropped earlier. But it was John there, his lips were a grim line from the effort of holding the weapon steady but the eyes were cold and determined. “I’m the only one here with battlefield triage expertise; I’ll trade it for the antidote.”

            His dark eyes filled with pain and hate, Moriarty pulled out a vial and slid it across to Sherlock, who dosed first himself and then Irene who gave him a knowing smile at his priorities.

            Instead of moving to help Moriarty, John holstered the gun and reached a hand up to Sherlock, his friend helped him off the floor with Lestrade’s assistance.

            “You said you would stop the bleeding,” Moriarty called through gritted teeth.

            John turned, leaning on Sherlock, there was still something of Howard Ives in his face as he responded, “I took a gash out of your leg, but on the opposite side of the femoral, It’s a dangerous wound, and bloody painful, but you have hours yet before you bleed out, trust me, I’m a doctor and a damned good shot…oh and I have been known to lie from time to time.”

            “Arrest that man; he shot me right in front of you!” Moriarty demanded of Lestrade.

            “I believe you’re not in our jurisdiction, right sir?” Sally answered with a grin.

            “Absolutely,” Lestrade responded with a wink.

            “We still have two open cases, and blood that connects them both to Howard Ives, and through him, John Watson,” Dimmock reminded.

            The younger man walked over to Moriarty and knelt down, pulling a handkerchief out of a pocket in his tactical vest. Moriarty allowed him access thinking he was going to bandage the wound but instead Dimmock pressed it against the wound enough to soak the cloth then placed it in an evidence baggy from another pocket. He held it up triumphantly.

“Sorted.”

“You are now a suspect in two murders, Mister-whoever-you-are-in-Herzegovina, so I’ll have to turn you over to the proper authorities, someone more appropriate to your diplomatic status,” Lestrade informed as he helped Sherlock get Watson out of the door, followed by Donovan and Dimmock who he gave a congratulatory slap on the back.

Irene walked over and bent down to give Moriarty a kiss on the forehead. “By the way, all of your art collection are fakes now, including the unofficial Nazi art you kept in your vault, it took nearly a year but you made me a very wealthy girl, see ya around Jimbo.” She sashayed out causing him to give a painful chuckle,

Damn, I would have married that girl! You know before strangling her on our wedding night.

The tact team stood at attention and suddenly Moriarty realized they were not Met soldiers, but MI-5.

There was the click of carefully placed dress shoes on tile and the smaller clack of a cane…but Moriarty knew it was an umbrella tip.

Mycroft Holmes came into sight, he leaned against his umbrella and crossed one ankle behind his leg and posed. “Hello there, James, it looks as if I survived after all, I know you must have been concerned.”

He crossed the room and waited, one of the tactical team members grabbed a chair and moved it over for him to pull out the legs of his trouser and sit beside the wounded man.

Mycroft leaned down his chin resting on the bumbershoot. “Now, see we have a prickly situation here, with your diplomatic immunity, also with your status as a suspect in two murders, one of which was a Czech and the other a British subject.”

Moriarty sputtered to offer explanation but Mycroft’s eyes went cold. “Did you think I could not find you? I know all of your hideouts, all of your bolt holes, I know that jet, hidden under an alias you have ready on the tarmac as we speak, no worries it has been confiscated.

As soon as Lestrade called me, I checked the CCTV footage, including those that the public does not know about and found one of your little operations had higher security than usual which was a clue. Sherlock knew I would be the one to find you, and he knew that Lestrade would think of me when their first scheme failed, the Chief Inspector is far more adequate than Sherlock lets him know, which is why Sherlock handed him his phone with my number in the book.”

“You need my connections…” Moriarty replied his face pale but eyes smug.

“Yes…yes you are correct,” Mycroft replied wincing at the bother of it all.

He sighed, leaning back in the chair, umbrella across his knees. “I suppose that we’ll have to get you sorted.”

Moriarty grinned; it was an expression of triumphant evil.

“However,” Mycroft added, “the pace in which we do it, is entirely up to our discretion, I have an employee that I want you to meet first, he thinks that the Nazi SS were amateurs and that the Dominican tortures of the Spanish Inquisition were just a place to begin.”

His eyes found a suddenly sombre Moriarty’s. “You are a thoroughbred, Jim, a very useful horse in my stable, but it is my stable, and first a horse needs to be broken, when and if I let you leave, you will be a broken man, “ he leaned down and the anger sparked in his eyes as he emphasised, “and you have my word on that.”

Mycroft stood and strolled to the door. “Bring him.”

Two large MI-5 goons plucked Moriarty off the blood soaked floor like he weighed nothing and he was swept away in Mycroft’s wake.

It would be some time before his underlings saw him again, the ones left alive after the silent assault on the building that is.

~o0o~

Sherlock and Lestrade walked down the hallways of the opulent retreat where John was recovering, to his own expressed exasperation.

Mycroft had pulled some strings, as a small atonement for his deplorable behaviour…Sherlock made a call to mummy to assure it.

“So, Irene…” Lestrade began.

“Gone...Subject closed,” Sherlock replied with a tone that bespoke finality.

“I found Harold Ives,” Lestrade commented as they strolled down a window lined corridor.

“Oh?” Sherlock encouraged.

“He was the Headmaster at an all Boys school in Worchester,” Lestrade said with an anger tinged voice.

“You said was,” Sherlock reminded.

Lestrade smiled. “Two weeks ago, someone broke into his cottage where he lived alone and…well… the crime scene photos and the coroner report was certainly entertaining.”

“I’ll bet,” Sherlock replied, “any suspects?”

“I’m thinking that is one case that shall remained unsolved, the Worchester coppers are dragging their heels after someone called them and suggested they canvas the school and any previous post for information concerning improprieties with the pupils past and present, from the amount of testimonies of those that have come forward I wish whomever caught up with him had done it years ago.”

“We won’t be mentioning that to John,” Sherlock stated.

“Do you think I’m an idiot?” Lestrade demanded.

To Sherlock’s smirk he quickly added, “Never mind.”

They saw John out in the garden, he was under an Elm tree looking far from himself but much improved in a bathrobe Mrs. Hudson bought him, chatting with a ginger haired ghost who was nervously smoking, the conversation was intense but heartfelt.

Sherlock paused at the door.

“Let’s give him a minute,” Lestrade suggested.

“As many as they need,” Sherlock responded as they settled into a couple of opulent chairs nearby.

“How did you know you could stop Ives from killing Moriarty, that was one scary bloke,” Lestrade inquired rubbing the place on his arm were his nicotine patch was taped.

“Because, when it comes to John Watson’s will,” Sherlock replied, “even I can’t fathom his limits, I’ve learned not to assume there are any.”

“Good answer,” Lestrade stated.

Sherlock rolled his eyes before replying, “Of course it was.”

They settled in to watch their mutual friend, recovering bodily, as he attempted to heal wounds deeper still.

END


How All Scotland Yard Inspectors Were Banned From Mrs. Hudson's Kitchen
Jumper
baileyhix
 
 

The Rant By Which All Others Pale

 

          There are legends among the lads at Scotland Yard, my flatmate is considered one of them.

            However, there is another occupant of 221 Baker Street, who has carved herself a place in Yard lore,

…or shall I say infamy.

            This organization reaches from the lowest hovel in Bethnal Green all the way up to Buckingham itself, and yet there is one place in the whole of the English Isle to which its members cannot go

…or shall I more accurately say…dare not go!

It all started innocuously enough…and in the end we all agreed that it was the fault of Sherlock Holmes…

~o0o~

“Are you certain this is not a bother?” Lestrade inquired.

They were to conduct the raid in less than an hour, but Holmes, noting the effect of the cold on the men, suggested his landlady’s abode as a temporary shelter from the winter chill.

Watson reluctantly agreed, seeing several of the constables sniffling and not wanting to spend an interminable time making house calls as one of the Police Surgeons.

In his later defence he did inquire as to the Landlady’s thoughts on the matter.

“She’ll be delighted!” Holmes responded, he gave Watson that old don’t-be-a-nelly glance that had goaded Watson into more than one maw of peril.

Of course this time he took Lestrade, two of his sergeants and twelve of his constables into a den far more perilous than the one in which they had intended.

“If you say that it is all right by her, then let’s get out of this damnable night air!” Lestrade grumbled, his throat already picking up a tell-tale rasp.

They moved all operations to the agreed upon locale where things deteriorated apace.

“Holmes, are you certain that your landlady would not object us eating these freshly baked pies?”

            Of course not, Lestrade, the old girl enjoys puttering around in here, she’ll be grateful that you enjoyed yourself.”

            “They are tracking mud and dropping ashes from their smokes, should we clean the floor before we leave?”

            “Nonsense, Lestrade, she’ll be insulted that you tried.”

           Watson must have sensed the impending doom, seeing all the disarray that was accumulating with Holmes’ permission, because he excused himself to go up to their apartments just before the massacre began.

In hindsight it was one of his better manoeuvres, included in that number, a narrow escape from Maiwand with Jezail bullets in his shoulder and hip!

He listened to the shouting from his perch upstairs, feet up on the ottoman, smiling in self congratulation, until he heard an ever-so-polite voice from the stairwell.

            “Doctor? I require your presence in the kitchen.”

            He cursed his luck and descended to help Holmes, now on his knees along with the Chief Inspector of Scotland Yard, ears still red, as they scrubbed the floors on their knees under her baleful stare.

            A glance outside confirmed that the bevy of full grown Yarders under Lestrade’s command were now huddled against the cold in a corner of the mews that was the greatest distance from the door.

            She was rolling out the shell for a new pie as she studied their efforts.

            “Put some back into it, Chief Inspector, yer barely making a dent,” she called.

            “Dear lady, I simply must protest this…” Lestrade began.

            She turned with the rolling pin in her hands. It looked like it was partially made of stone and she showed competence in her handling of it. She cocked one eyebrow at the functionary and he bent back to the task without further protest, shooting venomous looks at Holmes.

            “They’ll be talking about this at the Yard for years,” Lestrade grumbled.

            “Less talk, more scrub, Chief Inspector,” Mrs. Hudson informed with a warning note.

            Watson bent back to the task trying to hide his smile.

He saw a familiar tension in Holmes’s jaw line which meant the man was struggling not to laugh.

            Watson was sure there would be cold dinners in the days ahead, but the memory he and Holmes would have about this for years to come almost made the punishment worth the impending frigid victuals.

~o0o~

            Two things transpired from that day to this.

The name Mrs. Hudson was added to the list of persons with whom negotiation must be conducted with the utmost solemnity and respect

         and might I add wariness!

Secondly, all Inspectors of Scotland Yard were permanently banned from the Kitchen of 221 Baker Street.

However, if you were to ask Lestrade and the Yarders who were there, they got off easy.

                                                                                                               Doctor John H. Watson


The Strange Case of Doctor Watson and Mister Ives Part 07
Jumper
baileyhix


The Strange Case of Doctor Watson and Mister Ives

Part Seven: Come On Irene

           

            Plans were proceeding apace when Sherlock received the phone call he had been anticipating.

            He did not even bother to check the number as he stepped out into the hallway to answer it.

            “So...you failed to capture Ives like you planned.”

            Mycroft sighed. “He eluded me; unfortunately, he is headed directly toward Moriarty as we speak.”

            Sherlock did not bother to disguise his venom as he replied, “John needed your help, and all you could see was that all that money sunk into finding a super soldier was finally coming to fruition. He’s not one of your damned pawns, Mycroft!”

            “All of the Jekyll subjects were uncontrollable, they followed whatever whim crossed their mind, and yet Ives is controlled, targeted and while brutal has not caused collateral damage to anyone not involved with Moriarty or me in some manner. If we could but find out what separates the chemistry of Ives from the rest, we could have an amazing potential resource. You cannot blame me for being intrigued,” Mycroft informed in a bored tone.

            “A good man was victimized and shot up with a drug that one of your black bag ops formulated, and you can only see it as an opportunity, that I do blame you for, Mycroft,” Sherlock shot back with an angry hiss.

            “If you must you must. Nonetheless, he is out there and he is active and he must be nullified before he reaches independence from the John Watson persona. If he does that we will have a blood bath on our hands,” Mycroft stated in a dry tone.

            Sherlock grinned. He finally knew something before his brother. “That won’t happen.”

            “It is inevitable, you saw the same data I have,” Mycroft patiently explained.

            “John Watson won’t allow it,” Sherlock replied.

            Mycroft sighed, the first sound of weariness that Sherlock had heard from the beginning of this entire affair. “He won’t have a choice, Sherlock. The Jekyll persona will take over, it is inevitable. Not one of the subjects ever maintained control for even this long. Ives will become permanent, that is a fact you should acquaint yourself with now, dear brother. All I am trying to do is salvage something from this tragedy.”

            “They were not John Watson,” Sherlock stated with a self assurance that Mycroft had never heard from Sherlock before.

            “Moriarty said that he was a Jekyll subject, and that he was given an antidote for the physical symptoms but his mind was permanently affected. He claims that he is going to use the antidote on Ives then kill Watson slowly, you might be able to save your friend if you get there before the torture begins,” Mycroft informed. His voice held a tint of regret, for what Sherlock was not sure.

            “Moriarty was not a test subject, Mycroft, he was always a psychopath and has been since he was young, remember Carl Powers? If Moriarty was able to synthesize Botulinum toxin that young, then he is most likely a master chemist of some stripe. I'll bet the reason no one can find a clue to his identity is because he was erased by your people when he joined the Jekyll project. That is how he got the formula and was able to create an antidote. He manipulated you into thinking that the Jekyll serum is still viable so you would interfere with my plans and possibly take Ives away for further study.”

            “That slick little bastard!” Mycroft spat.

            Sherlock suddenly felt a small glimmer of admiration for Moriarty, it lasted but a moment...just long enough for him to feel nauseous.

            “If I can get to John in time, and get him to reassert his persona over Ives, then there is a chance the schism will heal itself and the two identities will repair back into one,” Sherlock mused, “however, the existence of a possible antidote could work better.”

            “He said that only one subject survived the antidote, if he was lying about being that subject then that claim might have been false.”

            Sherlock nodded to himself. “Right. I think I know what I need to do, if you had told me this earlier John could have been home right now. As it happens, I now see a chance we can succeed.”

            “I hope you are correct, Sherlock, however, you should know, the signal he is following is attached to someone you’re already acquainted with. Irene Adler. If you need me call.”

            The phone hung up in Sherlock’s numb fingers.

            Lestrade wandered out into the hall and caught the end of the conversation. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost, old man.”

            Sherlock tapped the phone against his chin. “Not yet, but evidently I will soon. We need to get back to work.”

~-o0o-~

By the time the car pulled up in front of New Scotland Yard, a nondescript black sedan with tinted windows, Sherlock and the Yarders were ready.

            A large suit clad black man slipped out of the passenger side with a wand like instrument.

            He confirmed Sherlock’s theory that he would not be able to carry a transmitter on his person with this thoroughness, and Holmes did not bother carrying a phone as it would have been confiscated, it was now safely in Lestrade’s pocket.

            After a nod of satisfaction the back door to the sedan was opened and Sherlock gave the man a simper before he settled into the interior.

            “Hello, Sherlock.”

            The smoky feminine purr made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up and a sensation shot through his body all the way to this groin.

            His eyes found his fellow travelling companion; the flawless skin and merry dark eyes gave him a recollection that was almost crippling. “Hello, Irene,” he managed to say without a stammer which was an accomplishment.

            His mind flooded his perceptions with nearly six months of intense images, his entire history with this lovely creature flashed through his mind in moments, including the ignominious ending.

            Her delicate fingers with their perfectly manicured nails caressed her chin as she gave Sherlock a once over.

            “I like what you’ve done with the hair, and your coat is fabulous.”

            He smirked. “You should know, you bought it for me.”

            “One of my better purchases,” she replied with a satisfied smile.

            “As it happens,” Sherlock remarked, “it was one of your only purchases.”

            She shrugged unconcerned.

            He turned to give her his full attention. “Did it please you, that here you were, one of the world’s foremost thieves, dating the greatest detective mankind has produced? Did it make you feel validation that you had me fooled so completely?”

            She rolled her eyes. “Oh yes, you were the bleeding victim weren’t you? You began dating me because I was a suspect, and if I was not the thief, I most likely knew who it was, and was associated with them. You thought there was no way a woman could be the Jade Peregrine. You created your own blind spot. You never cared for me...you’re incapable.”

            Sherlock’s eyes showed no emotion, but they narrowed for an almost imperceptive extent. “I cared for you in my own manner.”

            “You found me curious, a mystery for you to solve, but I was little more than another puzzle for your intellect,” Irene replied waving off his statement.

            “So you’ve graduated from high functioning sociopaths to psychopaths?” Sherlock needled.

            She laughed, the throaty genuinely unselfconscious way that Sherlock always found alluring in spite of his expressed nature. “I know that Jim will try to kill me someday, but until then, he is far more fun to be with than you ever were.”

            Sherlock turned back to the window he was silent for a few moments. “Everything you’ve said was true, we both know the score, but Moriarty will kill you, you’re nowhere near as clever as he is, and he might even be smarter than me.”

            At that admission Sherlock was pleased to see a tiny bit of apprehension in her eyes. The first dawning of a realization that she might be in over her head; at least he hoped that was what it was.

            Suddenly there was a back up in traffic.

            They both looked past the driver to see the problem.

            There were two cars across the roadway, and an argument was breaking out between an obviously inebriated silver haired gentleman and an thinner man holding a makeshift bandage to his forehead gesturing angrily, there was a policeman trying to sort the argument and keep them apart while a dark skinned lady PC with white gloves expertly directed traffic around, there was a young man with a hood up on a light jacket weaving in and out of cars tapping on windows with a ragged fingerless glove asking for a hand out and being rebuffed by every car as he passed, he crossed behind their car and continued on after a tap on their window as well. He stepped up on the curb as they were waved through and the traffic snarl found some momentum.

            They turned onto the bridge and continued on their way.

~-o0o-~

            Behind them as they faded from sight the two motorists suddenly ended their argument and soon the traffic snarl was flowing again as both cars were moved. Lestrade rubbed the pencilled-in scruff off his chin with a wet wipe and finger combed his hair back into some semblance of order while Anderson wiped the fake blood off, Donovan came over in her uniform after she waved the last car through.

            “Did we get it planted?”

            Lestrade nodded toward the young man in the hoody, he sauntered up and pulled it back revealing Dimmock uncharacteristically dishevelled. He nodded with a smile.

            “Back to the Yard then, we’ll suit up with a tact team as soon as we have a destination,” Lestrade informed.

            They were so engrossed with their impromptu meeting that they failed to see the car that passed driven by Howard Ives, following the signal on his handheld, his dark eyes intense and knuckles white with anticipation.

~-o0o-~

            Less than an hour later, they found the car that Sherlock was taken away in abandoned in yet another carpark with the  transmitter still attached to the inside of the rear bumper.

            Lestrade leaned back against the car wearily while Donovan cursed under her breath.

            Dimmock was next to Lestrade all of them in bullet proof vests with guns drawn.

            The tact commander was quietly informing the team to stand down.

            Lestrade chewed his lip as he tried to think. “Sherlock is never going to let me live this down.”

            Dimmock stared at his superior with silent expectation, clenching his jaw in that old familiar way that he had since Lestrade met him fresh from the academy. “Someone like Sherlock is bound to have high government connections, any favours we can call in?”

            Lestrade perked up and fished in his pocket pulling out Sherlock’s cell phone. He scrolled through the contact list and found a promising entry under:

            Bastard!

            What are you doing?” Dimmock inquired his eyes curious.

            “Making a deal with the devil himself,” Lestrade replied as he hit send.

            Soon the phone was answered by a familiar pedantic voice.

            “Hello Mycroft.”

Part 08 This way--->


The Strange Case of Doctor Watson and Mister Ives Part 06
Jumper
baileyhix


The Strange Case of Doctor Watson and Mister Ives

Part Six: Closing the Snare

 

                Mycroft had been waiting for this.

                Ives had brought him back to a penthouse apartment, probably rented under an alias, he had no doubt the man covered his tracks too well for Mycroft’s people to find him in time, but somehow he had no fear of what the monster would do to him.

                Sure his shoulder throbbed under the bandage, but the cut was clean and precise and the stitches Ives used to close the wound were tight and professional, John Watson was still leaking through which was astonishing, the underlying personality never was able to survive and imprint itself in the previous subjects. However, except when he was killing Moriarty’s men, Ives had shown a modicum of restraint, the other Jekyll’s would have left a string of bloody bodies in their wake, there would have been no way possible for them to hide like this, but Ives had remained hidden and set up this alternate life without Mycroft’s knowledge and that was some feat!

                He remembered the strange calmness that he had noted in Watson upon that first meeting...that complete and utter lack of intimidation, the strange almost clinical way he had stared Mycroft down when most would have been reduced to quivering pools of terror.

                Maybe he was seeing what eventually turned in to Ives even then, this was a man who infiltrated Mycroft’s organization and managed to be underestimated even with all the precautions, Mycroft had gone with him because he saw a plan at work and he wanted to play his part if just to see where this would lead.

                He watched as Howard Ives clicked away at an expensive laptop, suddenly the man reached up and rubbed his eyes, sat the computer to the side and rested his head on his hands.

                The change came nearly instantaneously.

                John Watson rose up and studied the room, his tired eyes widened when he saw Mycroft seated there comfortably with a zip tie around his hands and a gag in his mouth looking patient. Mycroft gave him a small companionable wave.

                “Dear God what has he done now?” John lamented.

                Watson picked up the laptop and sure enough there was a message typed out for him.

                He read for a minute and his shoulders slumped.

                “He wants you to set up a meet with Moriarty, and he has a message for you to send, he says that if you refuse or make a move to attract attention or try to escape when he comes back he’s going to peel you like a grape then have fun until you die of shock with a salt shaker and a lemon wedge.”

                Watson gave Mycroft tired eyes. “I think you know he means it.”

                Mycroft nodded with the upmost solemnity.

                Watson reached for his gag.

                He worked his jaw while Watson worked on releasing him from the zip tie with a pair of scissors. “You are going along with his plans? Why is that?” Mycroft inquired.

                “What part of “he’ll kill you slow in the most painful way possible for his own amusement” did you not comprehend?” Watson inquired with an eye roll.

                Mycroft studied the man as he finished his ministrations and brought the computer over so Mycroft could send his email. He saw the truth written in John’s eyes.

                “You don’t think you’re coming back from this do you?” he inquired.

                Watson sighed. “Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde isn’t exactly a happy ending is it?” he replied, “but at least Sherlock will be safe, now, just type in the email and copy and paste the document.”

                Mycroft bent to the task but his mind was not on what his hands were doing, multi-tasking was a Holmesian strength after all. “We might be able to reverse the process; you’ve shown a remarkable control over Ives so far.”

                “He brutally killed two men,” John reminded.

                “One was a monster who had murdered dozens of innocent and not so innocent people in cold blood, I’ve seen his file, and the other, besides counterfeiting, had a sideline in child pornography wherein he was more than a mere distributor,” Mycroft informed as he hit send on the email.

                Watson sighed and ran a hand over his tired features; the change was remarkably fast in that by the time his face reappeared from behind the hand it was Ives who regarded Mycroft with eyes devoid of humanity.

                The monster smiled. “You don’t seem frightened.”

                Mycroft had to chuckle. ‘You don’t seem very frightening.”

                “That can change,” Ives reminded him.

                Mycroft remembering the wording of the email leaned back and sighed. “Yes, I am sure it can.”

~o0o~

                Moriarty leaned back in his expensive Swedish built chair and hit send on the final prospectus for that assassination job in Belgium, he had already planned a kidnapping in Argentina and drug smuggling ring channelling opium from China through a monastery in Tibet, he sighed wearily. Even with this Ives business he was dreadfully bored.

                His cell buzzed and he glanced over to see a number that he thought defunct was sending him a text.

                He clicked on it.

                Ives has Mycroft, he took him from a heavily guarded facility with all guns pointed in his direction, with my brother’s knowledge of your affairs, how long do you think it will be until Ives finds you and kills you in the most spectacularly gruesome way possible? I want my brother safe, John Watson cured, you need Ives gone and my brother back in his office, our desires in this matter at least coincide, I am proposing a meeting...it would be in your best interest to take it.

                                                                SH

                Huzzah! The boredom was gone! Moriarty had to smile. If that Ives bastard wasn’t gunning for him he would give the killer a kiss on the lips just for distracting him for a few hours. He should turn super powered monsters with a grudge against him loose in London more often!

                Moriarty chuckled as he turned and clicked off the Kosovo massacre photos he had as a screen saver to see that he did indeed have an email in his inbox, the last time he felt a surge of enjoyment was when he blew up that blind lady for describing his voice.

                “My, my, I am a popular fellow today,” he said in a sing song voice as he clicked on Mycroft’s email.

                I am being held by Howard Ives, he is threatening to kill me if I don’t set up a meeting with you today. Please respond as soon as possible since I am in mortal peril here, don’t forget you and I have a generous arrangement that my successor might not make with you, so I would seriously entertain his request.

                                                                Mycroft

                Moriarty giggled in a way he had not since he saw Carl Powers struggling in the deep end of the pool they recently blew up.

                Enjoy hell darling, tell Snuffles Jimmy says hello.

                                                                Jimbo

                He pressed send and picked up his cell and made a call to a luxurious apartment down town.

                “Hello, Jim.” the phone was answered by that familiar sexy smoky voice.

                “Irene, my pet, I’m afraid I need to go underground for a few weeks, but I just cannot be without my Addie, so what about it love, you wanna come with?”

                “Send a car,” she replied with a sigh, and then she had the nerve to hang up on him.

                He kissed the phone. “That’s my girl!”

                He settled back into the chair. He had been run out of his usual operations, lost two valuable hard to replace assets, and now the one person who had curtailed his operations and had any sway over him whatsoever, the one person he still feared, was somewhere in the city dying horribly.

Now Sherlock Holmes was stepping into his grasp allowing him to take both Holmes brothers out of the equation. It all seemed to be coming up roses all of a sudden.

Sherlock, darling, I think a meeting would be a splendid idea! I will send a car for you in an hour, be out in front of New Scotland Yard, since that is where you are at present, no tricks or trackers, I’ve been at this a few years, my dear, you won’t like what happens if you disobey.

See you soon!

                                Jimbo

                He sighed happily. With Sherlock’s help Ives would be in his clutches in a couple of hours, and then he would have them both. He wondered if Irene would enjoy Trinidad and Tobago this time of year.

~o0o~

Sherlock read the text message on the pink phone then looked up at an expectant Lestrade and his team.

“He agreed to the meeting, he’s sending a car for me.”

Lestrade nodded as if he had suspected such.

“We can’t let Mister Holmes just go with Moriarty’s men,” Dimmock stated with a fret.

Lestrade nodded. “We have no intention of doing so, do we, Sherlock?

“That’s not in the plan,” Sherlock replied, with a nod.

Donovan walked up. “Harry’s here, got her in interview three, she’s in a bad way, half down a bottle of Scotch by the time I knocked on the door, I wouldn’t suggest Freak here be the one to question her.”

“As usual, Sally, you are wrong, at least you are consistent in one thing,” Sherlock replied as he swept by smirking at her affronted sniff.

He swirled into the room and sat across from the well dressed sallow woman with stringy ginger hair and reddened cheeks from alcoholic rosacea.

“What’s this all about? I doubt a dandy like you works for the Yard.” She grumbled.

Without a word Sherlock slipped his phone out of his pocket and queued up the footage from the room where Ives had been restrained.

As he suspected Harry’s face went white. “That looks like my father, but that sods been dead for going on a decade!” Harry stated in an awed tone of voice just above a whisper.

“That’s John, it’s a long story but I need to know where he got these mannerisms from,” Sherlock responded.

She trembled as she stared at the screen at the dark look in the man’s eyes apparent even from the small image.

“Was your father violent?” Sherlock inquired trying to get information out of her before her defences came back up.

“Beat Mum and me and John like stepchildren when he had too much to drink, which was everyday, if Mum hadn’t’ve escaped he would’ve put lil Johnny in the ground.”

“Have you ever heard the name Howard Ives?” Sherlock pressed.

He was rewarded by a look of utter and complete revulsion.

“Mum was still a bit vulnerable after dad, and she met this man not even a year after, he was well dressed, called everyone, Lovely, not Love, it annoyed me to no end. He took a liking to John, and John to him at first, as it happened, too much of a liking, by the time I realized something was going on, and told mum, he’d been at John for over a year. Whatever dad left of Johnny’s innocence was gone after that bastard. I would have found out sooner but John always kept himself to himself, you know, and by then I’d already found the liquor cabinet pretty regular. Mum threatened to go to the coppers if Ives didn’t leave, we never saw him again, he probably found another family somewhere.”

She studied her hands as if wishing there was a bottle there. “His name wasn’t Howard though, it was Harold.”

She looked up into Sherlock’s face, her eyes dark and haunted, in some ways similar to Ives himself. “Is that all? Can I go now?”

Sherlock nodded. “Sally will find you a ride home.”

“Tell John to call me, don’t appreciate being drug out like this,” she murmured as she passed by, all inquires lost in the need to find a bottle and crawl in.

She was too pitiful to hate, and Sherlock did not bother.

His mind made connections at a rapid pace, his neurons firing in complicated synaptic patterns as his basal ganglia fired up and the brain that was Sherlock Holmes began sifting through the information it just received and applied it to the information already acquired and a plan began to emerge.

Lestrade stepped in. He had obviously been listening to the interview. “I don’t know where that Harold Ives is, but you have my word I’ll find him by the end of the day!” he growled.

Holmes nodded. “Later...besides the statute has run out by now, at the moment we need make some plans for after I reach Moriarty.”

“You think you can get to him before Ives?” Lestrade asked as he settled in to the chair recently vacated.

Sherlock shook his head. “I need to get there at the same time or everything is lost. According to the information that Mycroft’s people gave me, when Ives kills Moriarty, then his purpose will be done and he will have no need for further self control, he’ll have to be put down like a rabid animal or we will be following a trail of bodies. If my hunch is correct, John knows this and he won’t allow that to happen.”

Lestrade looked grim. “You think he’ll eat a gun?”

Sherlock nodded his eyes haunted. “John still has some measure of control over Ives, as long as he has that, there is a chance I can talk him out of killing Moriarty, and there’s still a chance that the two parts of himself can be reintegrated.”

“So to save Watson, you have to save Moriarty?” Lestrade concluded his eyes incredulous.

Sherlock sighed in a distinctively bitter manner. “Unfortunately.”

“What about Mycroft?” Lestrade inquired.

“My brother can take care of himself,” Sherlock answered with a smirk.

~o0o~

Mycroft watched as Ives stayed glued to the laptop, the man made him some tea earlier and Mycroft was sipping as he watched.

“You are being very civilized about this,” he commented, “I was under the impression that I was to be murdered by now.”

Ives barely gave him a glance. “I have no reason to kill you at the moment, except for my own amusement. Moriarty knows that if you are taken out of the picture that your organization will lay the blame at his door and as such he needs to go to ground until a successor is appointed, as such he will be taking the closest thing he has to a girlfriend with him. Her name is Irene Adler and she has a tracer implanted in her body, I put it there just last night, she will lead me straight to Moriarty.”

“What am I to do now, since I am “dead” Mycroft inquired crossing his legs.

“As long as your whereabouts are a mystery then your organization cannot interfere, so you’ll have to stay here for the time being, alive or dead, you are on the sidelines for the remainder of this drama.”

Mycroft nodded. “I prefer to be alive if I am being consulted.”

“You weren’t being consulted, however killing you won’t be as amusing if I have to do it quickly, and at the moment, dearest Addie is on the move so I don’t have the time to torture you as you most certainly deserve.”

“I certainly can sympathise with having too much to do and too little time,” Mycroft confirmed with a sigh of bother.  “There are two things you should know, by the way, Moriarty is a survivor of the Jekyll project, and he claims to have an antidote. He plans on using it on you to weaken you for the kill.”

“I assume I will find out soon enough...and unless I miss my guess, you sir, are stalling,” Ives stated in a flat tone flicking open a nasty looking knife.

Mycroft nodded. “Very well.”

Suddenly the windows burst in with the kicks of several well armoured and armed men with weapons at the ready, and the front door was kicked open, in the cacophony of noise and debris Mycroft covered his eyes, he looked up and saw that his men were now covering an empty chair.

“Find him!” Mycroft ordered.

They spread out and began to kick open doors elsewhere in the penthouse while one guarded the door, Mycroft walked over to the computer and looked for the tracker program, to his annoyance he saw from the logs it was downloaded to a cell phone.

He glanced up and saw that the man that was covering the splintered door was missing. He rushed over to see where the man got off to, suddenly he saw a small trail of blood droplets leading to a closet by the door, he checked inside to see one of the soldiers missing his gear unconscious in the floor.

“Check every soldier,” he said lifting the transmitter he kept secreted in his shoe, “Ives stole a uni.”

“He got away, sir.” Was the reply a few minutes later.

Mycroft rubbed his temples. “He’s on his way to Moriarty and certain death, what am I going to say to Sherlock?”

He watched as the soldier at his feet began to come around and said to himself.

At the very least Howard Ives would have made an amazing operative!


The Strange Case of Doctor Watson and Mister Ives 05
Watson/Ives
baileyhix

The Strange Case of Doctor Watson and Mister Ives

Part Five: Mycroft Explains

            Lestrade followed the directions that Sherlock gave him after a few minutes of a rapid fire argument into his cell.

            He had never heard the two brothers bicker before but he had to smile that it sounded so...normal.

            “Of course you know why I’m cross, don’t hand me that, leave Mummy out of this!”

            Finally, Sherlock gave Lestrade an address, as he turned on the next street he thought he saw a taxi make the same manoeuvre to get into the correct lane, but he decided that it was London, cabs do what cabs do.

            Sherlock was fuming. “I can’t believe that Mycroft knew what was going on and said nothing.”

            Lestrade glanced over to see if this was a monologue or did it demand his participation, deciding that he needed to say something he settled on, “I believe you’ve mentioned that your brother is a secretive sot before.”

            Sherlock let out a derisive chuckle. “Saying Mycroft is secretive is like saying that America is fiscally responsible.”

            They both had a chuckle at that.

            The directions that Sherlock gave him led them to a rundown business district in the East End, he pulled into a sparsely populated car park and followed the directions down into the lower deck.

            Mycroft was standing there with his umbrella, he looked posed and poised, a dark car was parked nearby and Lestrade felt the prickle of extra eyes in the dark.

            Sherlock exploded out of the car and strolled toward his brother in swift long legged strides, oblivious to the danger.

            “You stood there with John and me in the examination room, knowing that something was wrong with John and you said nothing!”

            Mycroft’s face showed no trace of emotion. “I was not sure at that time.”

            “Are you sure now?” Sherlock demanded.

            “Completely,” Mycroft replied nodding toward the ramp leading to the floors above, there was a dark figure strolling toward them; Sherlock recognized the silhouette and began to call out to his friend when the man came into the light.

            He was casually smoking a cigarette and his dark eyes were amused, hair carelessly parted in a modern style and his walk was purposeful and determined without a trace of the limp that John Watson still kept to this day.

            “Hullo there, Mycroft, you are a very difficult man to nail down,” he stated with an accent that Sherlock had never heard out of John Watson.

            “Not as difficult as you have been, Mister Ives,” Mycroft responded.

            Suddenly there were red dots on Ives’s chest. He stopped and chuckled. “Why Mycroft, is this any way to treat your brother’s only friend?”

            Sherlock had not moved a muscle, so Lestrade stepped in. “Who are you, and what have you done to John Watson?”

            The look he got was empty but amused the look one might expect from a Serengeti lion that has spotted potential prey within easy reach. “John is as safe as I am at the moment, you have my word, since Mycroft is probably going to subdue me any moment now and take me to a secure facility,” he finished with a cold empty smile obviously meant to be charming.

            “That’s not John Watson, then again it is, his mannerisms, stance, personality and even his accent has changed, the eye colour has darkened and the hair seems to as well, and the bone structure under the face is the same but the musculature has shifted subtly,” Sherlock stated his voice cold with shock.

            He turned to Mycroft. “How is this possible?”

            “That is not a question for this environ, I’m afraid, if you will but follow me, Mister Ives is indeed correct, we are going to take him to a secure location,” Mycroft replied making a small elegant motion with his umbrella tip as men melted out of the shadows surrounding the well dressed interloper with deadly purpose, all armed with assault weaponry. Suddenly Howard Ives’s chest sprouted several tranquilizer darts.

            “Couldn’t you at least let me finish my fag?” Ives complained flicking the cigarette away and casually pulling out the darts and blithely tossing them to the side. “Oh...very well, since you insist,” he remarked before pitching forward to land insentient.

            While they watched his hair colour changed with subtlety and his face shifted and became more familiar.

            “God in heaven,” Lestrade exclaimed.

            “Believe me, God had nothing to do with this,” Mycroft informed with a weary sigh.

            Sherlock crossed the distance to go to his friend but he was stopped by an armoured guard. “He might be faking it, sir.”

            “Sherlock,” Mycroft called, “he will be in good hands, but we need to get him there immediately.

            Sherlock managed to nod, he turned to Lestrade, ”will you take care of the Yard involvement until we can get this sorted?”

            Lestrade gave him an impatient look. “I’m in this up to my eyeballs, Sherlock, I need to know what’s going on more than you do at this point with two bodies in the morgue. I will make some calls but I am coming with you, it’s not open for debate.”

            Sherlock turned to his brother. “Very well, I suggest we get on with it?”

            Mycroft nodded as a black panel van pulled out of the shadows and the guards began to shackle the unconscious John Watson, like he was the most dangerous creature alive.

            Sherlock had to grimace at the two crime scene images that flashed in his head.

Who knows...right now he might be.

~-o0o-~

            They watched the man in the room through a thick pane of glass.

            His expensive clothing was loose and there were monitors attached to his body, a cap of sensors on his head, he was on a reclining table and held down with metal bars that conformed to his body as technicians and doctors roamed around attaching more apparatus.

            Sherlock’s hands were white knuckled as they pressed against the glass like he wanted to claw through to reach his friend.

            “If you don’t explain yourself to me right now, Mycroft, and completely with no secrets kept, I will kill you now, I kid you not!”

            He turned to his brother as the elder man impassively stared through the glass. “You couldn’t leave him alone, the one friend I’ve managed to make, well the one man who wanted to be my friend, you just had to get involved didn’t you?” he growled.

            Lestrade stepped between them to intervene.

            Mycroft turned to his brother, regret etched in his features. “I had nothing to do with this, Sherlock, the program that created this was not under my purview until it had already concluded, and had been sanitized.”

            “You mean erased and all subjects murdered,” Sherlock spat back.

            “Yes, that’s what I meant,” Mycroft replied, “stop being tedious.”

            Lestrade stared at Mycroft with open astonishment, the man had just admitted to the death of an unknown quantity of persons with the same causality as a lady checking her manicure.

            “The program was based on a document that was found in the old Diogenes Archives, it was the personal notes of a brilliant biochemist in the Victorian Era, he was trying to extract his baser nature from his elemental make up, postulating that if that could be accomplished then the world could be made into a peaceful utopia by chemical means, a castration of the id as it were,” Mycroft informed.

            “He experimented upon himself, all he accomplished was to create a dangerous alter-ego which was animalistic, cunning, had an almost unlimited supply of adrenaline which caused him to be extraordinarily strong and agile, but criminally insane. At first he changed voluntarily finding the freedom the fiend experienced to be an addiction of sorts. Eventually, the changes began taking place without the formula, and to save humanity from the monster he had become, this biochemist killed himself in one of his last moments of lucidity.”

            “Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde?” Lestrade inquired, “Robert Louis Stevenson, I read it as a lad, are you trying to tell me it was true?”

            Mycroft smiled. “Stevenson was a Diogenes member, he used our archives on several occasions, however, the man who Jekyll was based on was a personal friend, and he brought that man’s work to our attention posthumously so we could cover up his activities and save the man’s reputation. Stevenson wrote that book as a cautionary tale using those notes. We acquired the man’s work and his formulas, but the problems with the result kept us from experimenting on it in depth, until microbiology had advanced enough that someone in this organization felt that it was time for an attempt.”

            Mycroft’s eyes flashed with anger. “I was not informed.”

            Sherlock absorbed all this in silence; Lestrade wondered how he was taking such a fantastic tale considering his stance on anything remotely metaphysical.

            “Why was it not a success?” Sherlock inquired, “With modern technology, advances in bio-chemistry, what happened that a serum could not be distilled?”

            Obviously, Holmes was looking at it from an intellectual standpoint, but Lestrade saw that his hands were still clenched in anger.

            Mycroft studied his brother a moment before answering. “The problems were many, but primarily, the human psyche is a system of checks and balances, the good and the bad, if you remove one then insanity is inevitable. The man we know as Jekyll was a madman even after he separated his good and bad sides from each other, his first desire to make himself of purer intent was what unleashed that creature upon the world, some of the worst things humanity has ever done to itself was done with altruism at its heart.”

            “What does the serum do?” Sherlock inquired his tone flat and emotionless.

            Mycroft nodded to a white lab coat clad man nearby, the man rolled a monitor over showing a colour gradated schematic of Watson’s body.

            Mycroft pointed to the brain scan. “So much of what the body is capable of is regulated by the brain, the serum alters the brain chemistry so that it makes changes to the body, muscles are tightened, the limbic system is sped up, there is enough adrenaline produced to make a Rhinoceros hyperactive, but most importantly the moral centre of the brain is completely subjugated leaving the subject instinctual, primordial and cunning, most of the test units wound up criminally insane, with enhanced strength and speed and reflexes, the mind literally tells the body that it has no limits, it is truly fascinating to realize that we are capable of so much more than we think simply by removing the governing entity from the front of our consciousness and leaving the body and mind in its most primitive state.”

            “Fascinating?” Sherlock growled, “THAT’S JOHN IN THAT ROOM!”

            Lestrade had to stop the tall detective from lunging at his aristocratic brother.

            “That’s enough Sherlock!” he ordered giving the man a shove until he stopped moving forward, he turned to Mycroft. “How did it get in John? How can we cure him?”

            “How very practical of you Inspector,” Mycroft replied shooting his glowering brother a simper.

            These two need family counselling like MAD! Lestrade grumbled to himself.

            Mycroft pointed at one of the scientists with the tip of his umbrella. “You sir, inform them of Watson’s current predicament.”

            “Learning the science too much like legwork for you?” Sherlock hissed.

            Mycroft shrugged, “Indubitably.”

            The scientist in question, a balding white haired man with blue eyes, turned one of the monitors around to Sherlock and Lestrade.

            “This is a detailed brain scan, as you can see there are two overlapping patterns, the brighter red one is the newly created persona, pieced together from parts of his psyche, most likely deeply buried tendencies or personality traits picked up from relative’s or persons he was acquainted with...as the secondary persona is activated it over laps and will eventually overwrite the original, essentially John Watson will become Howard Ives permanently.”

            “Who is Howard Ives?” Lestrade interrupted.

            The man exchanged a glace with Mycroft. “He is John Watson, at least John Watson with no restraints or moral compass, reduced to baser elements with some personality quirks added by the new identity. They would be completely independent of one another, so the Watson persona is not necessarily complicit with the underlying personality.”

            There was a sudden change to the screen causing a warning beep to sound as the red on the monitor got brighter.

            In the room the features shifted and soon cold dark eyes were staring out into the room. The hands tried the restraints but instead of anger there was curiosity.

            “Since I am completely restrained, can we have that chat, Mycroft?” Ives called out to the glass.

            “I want to talk to him,” Sherlock insisted.

            “You can do that here,” Mycroft replied pointing to a microphone.

            Sherlock crossed his arms and gave his brother an adamant look. “He won’t hurt me, all his behaviour so far seems to indicate that he is trying to protect me.”

            Mycroft sighed. “He has attacked men I have assigned to keep watch over you, how is that protecting you?”

            Sherlock tilted his head and stared at his brother. “You tell me.”

            Mycroft rolled his eyes. “Very well, but I want guards in that room with tranquilizer guns at the ready.

            “Fair enough,” Sherlock replied before turning in a swirl of his black overcoat and swept out of the room, soon they saw him enter the room on the other side of the glass, bracketed by the two armoured guards with tranq guns.

            Ives studied the other man. “You’re not Mycroft.”

            “Astute observation,” Sherlock replied.

            The two men stared at each other, neither giving an inch.

            “Who are you? Why are you here, you allowed yourself to be captured for a purpose,” Sherlock inquired breaking the silence.

            “I’m Howard, pleased to meet you Mister Holmes, but I really wanted to talk to your brother, man-to-bureaucratic scum, so how about you putter off and go get the old bastard?” Ives replied with the toothy smile of a man at a cocktail party instead of someone strapped to an inclined bed with sensors all over his body.

            “Who was Howard Ives, John?” Sherlock insisted.

            The other man sighed. “For a genius you can be dense, Mister Holmes, John isn’t here right now, he’s curled up in a ball letting me handle things as usual.”

            “How long have you been handling things, Howard?”

            “Since we were young,” Ives growled, “little Johnny was too weak to do what needed to be done, I had to take over and do what he wouldn’t, how do you think we survived Afghanistan?”

            “You are who John becomes when he has to be dangerous?” Sherlock asked sliding a chair over to the restrained man, turning it backwards and straddling it.

            Ives gave him a condescending glare. “You can fumble around like a lad with his first girl in a broom closet, or you can ask what you really want to know.”

            “Why are you here?” Sherlock repeated.

            “Because John isn’t strong enough to keep you alive, Mister Holmes, he always seems to wind up tied to a chair, or strapped to a bomb, and you keep putting yourself in harm’s way, now you’ve gone and ran afoul of the second most dangerous man in all of England and John can’t protect you, can he?”

            Ives spat on the floor. “He’s too weak.”

            “But you’re not,” Sherlock encouraged.

            Ives gave him those dead shark eyes. “No, I’m not.”

            “Who’s the most dangerous man in all of England?” Sherlock inquired.

            Ives smiled. “Me.”

o0o

They had to slow down the digital feed later to see what Ives did in the next few seconds later, in the aftermath.

            With a snap of the linkages, Ives broke the bolts holding the straps that held him to the table, in the next moment, he threw with amazing accuracy a tranq dart he had secreted in the parking garage into the guard on the left’s neck dropping the man instantly, he grabbed Sherlock tossed him to the side as he moved on the next guard before the man could raise his rifle and fire, that man was tossed nearly the length of the chamber through the thick glass into the control room, Ives followed the flying body past a stunned Sherlock through the shattered viewing panels and jumped into the next room, the flying guard had taken out the scientist and a bank of monitors, Ives bent down and pulled a pistol out of a stunned Inspector Lestrade’s holster and grabbed a very surprised Mycroft.

            “There you are, if you hadn’t sent your little brother in while you cowered in here I wouldn’t have had to break the glass, any injuries or deaths I just caused are your fault, now if you will come with me like a good little hostage we have some things to be about,” Ives growled as he tugged Mycroft toward the door.

            “John! Stop!” Sherlock called from the other room, he had a streak of blood down his cheek from a scratch of flying glass.

            Ives turned to him. “I told you, John is not in residence at the moment, I’ll tell him you called.”

            “You can’t find Moriarty this way!” Sherlock insisted.

            “Why do you think Mycroft had you under observation, Sherlock?” Ives informed with a pointed tug on Mycroft’s collar as the fastidious man’s eyes turned frantic. Ives bent close and brushed Mycroft’s cheek with his beard stubble. “Did you think it was just to keep you safe, or so you wouldn’t run into his most vital domestic intelligence asset who he’s been covering for?”

            Sherlock met his brother’s eyes and saw the guilt there. “Mycroft...no.”

            “There are things you just cannot understand...” he began, but it was choked off by Ives yanking his tie tight.

            “I think we’ve heard enough from you, Mister Holmes.”

            The door burst open and guards began to file in, but Ives had Mycroft perfectly placed.

            “You gentlemen need to escort us out of this facility, or we’ll see just how much of Mycroft Holmes is hot air,” He informed with an empty smile placing the pistol against Mycroft’s chin.

            Mycroft nodded to the men to allow them to pass, he dropped his umbrella onto the floor as Ives pulled him out of the room.

            Sherlock vaulted the barrier and started to follow but Mycroft shook his head and gave him a pointed look.

            An hour later, Mycroft and Howard Ives were lost on the streets of London by their pursuers and the car Ives stole was found abandoned in yet another car park, with Lestrade's pistol and an apologetic note to the inspector for borrowing it, and one bloody subcutaneous transceiver which was somehow removed from Mycroft's body.

             Holmes and Lestrade stood in the remains of the room watching the replay as the injured were being checked over, Holmes with a bit of sticking plaster on his cheek.

            “I’ve never seen anything...,” Lestrade mused, “If I hadn’t seen it with me own eyes, I’d never believed someone could move like that.”

            Sherlock sighed. “Mycroft let himself be taken.”

            Lestrade shot him a look. “What makes you say that?”

            Sherlock’s eyes were distant and haunted. “It’s common knowledge in intelligence circles that a hostage out of sight is a dead man, however, my brother dropped on the floor a weapon he could have used to get free, he knows I know it. He’s playing his own game with Ives.”

            Lestrade shook his head. “Moriarty’s playing a game; Ives is playing a game, and now you say that Mycroft has something planned?”

            Sherlock nodded. “And John Watson is playing his own game, he knew about the message, the black outs, the strange places he has awakened and he said nothing, he could have blown the whistle on Ives the moment these things started happening but he did not.”

            “This is all bloody insane!” Lestrade blurted out running a hand through his silvering hair.

            Sherlock rubbed his chin, his eyes calculating. “At the heart of all this is Moriarty. The only way that serum could have gotten into John is through him. Ives was created by John’s subconscious to remove Moriarty as a threat, Mycroft had to have made the connection between the Jekyll program and Moriarty, and Ives made the connection between Mycroft and Moriarty playing them off of one another. In the end it all leads back to Moriarty.”

            “So what do we do now?” Lestrade inquired.

            “We?” Sherlock inquired in a cold tone.

            Lestrade got two inches from Sherlock’s nose, “Bloody John Watson is the only damned hope I have that someday I won’t be hunting you down, he’s a capital bloke, and someone I consider a friend, and honorary Yarder. Moriarty knows about Ives and Mycroft and you, but he got the bloody New Scotland Yard involved when he messed with one of our own, and you are going to use our resources Sherlock, so help me God...I’m not asking you, I’m bloody telling you!”

            Sherlock smiled. “Very well, I think it’s time we moved our own game piece onto the board.”

            “Good, what do we do first?” Lestrade asked pulling out a pad and pencil.

            Sherlock got a distant look on his face then he grinned that creepy way he had when he had caught a prey’s scent. “First thing we need to do is determine where Howard Ives came from, John created him from something buried deep down, if we can figure out what happened back then we can better understand what’s happening now, and somehow reach him before he becomes Ives permanently.”

            Lestrade agreed with a nod as he jotted that down. “So we talk to Harriet Watson, she'll know something if anyone will. I’ll send Sally to pick her up and bring her to the Yard. What’s next?”

            “There’s a pink phone in Scotland Yard evidence storage...” Sherlock ventured.

            Lestrade grinned. “Yeah...Moriarty’s been messing with us, maybe it's time we started messing with Moriarty.”

            “Chief Inspector, you might not be a total waste of Met training,” Holmes stated holding out a hand.

            Lestrade shook it in a silent pact, adding, “That’s by far the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me, Sherlock.”

Part 06--->This Way


The Strange Case of Doctor Watson and Mister Ives 04
Watson/Ives
baileyhix


 

The Strange Case of Doctor Watson and Mister Ives

Part Four: Meet Mr. Ives

 

                John sat in the corner back at the Yard while Lestrade and his team offered ideas for Sherlock to shoot down with as much disdain as an HMRMC sniper on a skeet range.

            He felt the weight of the extra phone in his pocket. The dead counterfeiter’s phone was missing, Sherlock had pointed that out, and Watson had a hunch it was closer by than they thought.

            He pulled it out and stared at the message light. He had no idea why he could not bring himself to mention it to Holmes. He tried several times but the mercurial man was in his full glory occupying centre stage and absorbing the spotlight.

            Oh by the by, Holmes, your flatmate woke up with a pretty bird this morning with expensive clothes strewn about he has never seen but that fit him like a glove, a dead man’s phone in his pocket, idents that the man probably made before his horrible demise, and a message from the killer, you think that might help your investigation a bit?

            He did not realize he let out a little bit of a snort of amusement until he realized everyone had stopped talking and were now staring at him.

            “Do you have something to add, John?” Sherlock inquired his eyes curious.

            “Oh no,” John replied, “I think they are feeding your enormous ego well enough, no point in adding to the carnage.” He was surprised at the acid in his tone, and he could feel the tension in the room ratchet up a notch as people turned back to Sherlock to see his reaction.

            Sherlock just shrugged. “As you were saying Donovan?”

            Sally gave John a worried glance and launched back into her explanation, glowering at Sherlock’s pre-emptive amused sniff.

            John felt a slight flush of shame. He had been one of the few to give Sherlock cheek in the past, but here lately his retorts had been vicious and pointed and devoid of the affection he normally felt for the fashionable scarecrow.

            He saw Lestrade eyeing him with speculation.

            “Is the lab results back on that blood we found on the Golem?” Sherlock inquired.

            Lestrade still staring at John shook his head, “something’s wonky about the sample, it’s giving them fits.”

            “Maybe I should go down and take a look,” Sherlock replied with an impatient sigh.

            Lestrade shook his head empathically, “Scotland Yard has some of the best lab rats in the world, you’re not going to go down there and find something they haven’t, you can insult us, we’re used to it, but that’s a sensitive lot down there and I’ll not have you upsetting ‘em.”

            Sherlock acted appalled. “You just assume that I’m going to offend someone, I can be charming if the situation calls for it...”

            “Just ask Molly at the morgue in St. Bart’s, she actually thinks Sherlock likes her, moons over him like a school girl over a pop star, it’s pretty disgusting really,” John blurted out before he could stop himself.

            There was that same pregnant silence as everyone forgot to breathe.

            Sherlock actually blinked in surprise, what John said was true, but for the normally laid back man to be so openly nasty to his flatmate was out of character on a very obvious level.

            “I’m sorry,” John replied, “I think I need to go home and get some rest,” he stood up and the change in elevation immediately went to his head, and suddenly he knew he was going to black out. “If you don’t mind, I think I’ll take a nap right here,” he murmured with a small chuckle then he felt himself falling forward, strong arms caught him and he smelled a familiar cologne before he completely passed out. “G’night,” he whispered before the dark took him.

            Sherlock looked down at the man limp in his arms; he finally was noticing the signs of severe exhaustion.

            “The man has to fall unconscious before you pay attention, don’t he, freak,” Sally called out as she crossed to a landline to call for help.

            Lestrade bent down and checked John’s wrist, Sherlock looked strangely paralysed.  He met Sherlock’s eyes, his face was calm as he said, “He seems to be alright, but I think we need to get him to a trauma to make sure.”

            “He’s lost a lot of weight, and looks like he hasn’t slept in a month, what’s going on with him, Mister Holmes?” Dimmock inquired fidgeting, “I noticed earlier but we all got a bit distracted.”

            Sherlock shifted John to a more comfortable position. “I’m really not sure, I...I never noticed...he’s a doctor, I figured he can look after his own health.”

            “You’re also supposed to be his friend,” Sally replied slamming down the receiver, “he lives under the same roof as you and we all could see something was wrong, and you never had a clue...”

            “Sally,” Lestrade growled.

She cut off what she was going to say abruptly but she bent down and gently brushed John’s hair from his forehead, it was still a little damp.

Dimmock left to escort the paramedics and it was not long before they were gently lifting John out of Sherlock’s hands and settling him on a gurney, checking the smaller man’s vitals and placing an oxygen mask over his face.

Sherlock looked lost standing there as they wheeled his only friend out; Lestrade gently guided the man to sit down.

“I never noticed, Sally’s right, I observed the changes but I thought he would right himself, he’s always so adamant that nothing’s wrong, I never pried...never investigated...I...” he stopped as his voice cracked.

“We can handle this investigation for a bit, go and make sure he’s alright,” Lestrade encouraged.

Sherlock nodded and he swept out.

“Right,” Lestrade stated as he stood up, “let’s look at the commonalities,”

Sally gave him a surprised look, but Lestrade gave her a short shake of his head to drop the subject, she reluctantly obliged, and soon they were back investigating the two cases.

While he they bandied about theories a man dropped a lab report on Lestrade’s desk, the blood found on the Golem was finally traced to a veteran’s database...Doctor John H. Watson formerly of the Royal Army Medical Corps.

~-o0o-~

The patient was stable so Alfred leaned back and settled in for the drive to the A&E at St. Tom’s, he saw a variation in the heart rate, he leaned over the body to check the machine and suddenly a very strong hand had him by the neck.

“Hullo there, Lovely, if you don’t mind undoing these here straps, I have a busy schedule and I’ll be on my way, otherwise I might try to see if I can discover a new use for the defib you got over there, now wouldn’t that be the bugger all?”

Alfred with shaking hands reached down and loosened the straps.

~-o0o-~

            Lestrade honked his horn trying to get over the bridge, his bubble was flashing on but no one seemed inclined to move their arses over. “Donovan, write down some bloody tags, I’ll make sure these slow-coach blighters never drive again!” he commanded in a growl.

            “I may never drive again,” lamented Dimmock from the rear compartment.

            Truth be known, he wanted to give Donovan something to do; she was so pale he was not sure she would not pass out on him. “It can’t be John Watson,” she informed him in a small voice, “it just can’t be Chief Inspector.”

            “It has to be a mistake,” Dimmock inserted as he flinched at the manoeuvre Lestrade pulled off to get past a saloon filled with rambunctious teenagers that should have been in class somewhere that time of day.

            “Of course it’s not,” Lestrade replied through gritted teeth as he barely missed an Arctic and nearly rear ended a slow crawling lorry, “which means that the killer is tagging him for some reason, and if he’s being tied to the scenes...”

            Donovan’s eyes grew large as she followed his line of thought. “Then he’s a loose end...Put yer foot in it, sir!”

            Dimmock grumbled. “Oh bugger.”

            “What do you think I’m doing here?” Lestrade complained, he finally slipped in between two other cars near enough to scrape paint and found some room to speed up, he immediately had to slam his brakes and pull into a space because up ahead he saw and ambulance pulled up on the walk, he saw a cab pulled in behind it with the door open and an irate cabby staring at Sherlock Holmes as he flittered about the Ambulance like a carrion crow on hot pavement.

            Lestrade and Donovan got out and ran up as Dimmock opened the door and bent over double trying to stop hyperventilating.

            “He’s gone!” Sherlock stated ruffling his hair.

            “That wasn’t the man that we checked at the Yard!” the paramedic yelled back. “What the bloody hell is going on here?”

            Sherlock was about to launch another barrage when Lestrade forcibly grabbed his arm and tugged him to the side.  “What happened?” he demanded.

            “They said he woke up, but he was someone else and he forced them to pull over and let him off, John’s jumper was in that rubbish bin over there, of all the incompetence...”

            “The blood on the Golem was John’s,” Lestrade remarked trying to head off the unproductive tirade.

            “That’s preposterous,” Sherlock yelled.

            “Where was he that night?” Lestrade inquired, “We know he’s been exhausted.”

            “John Watson is not a suspect!” Sherlock stated adamantly.

            “Sir?" Dimmock, who had finally joined them interrupted. He was holding the discarded jumper in his hands, wrapped inside was a new smart phone. “I think he meant for us to find this.”

            Lestrade gave the younger man a smile. “I knew there was a reason I had you promoted from my bagman.”

            “Ah nepotism, that explains how he made inspector,” Sherlock added acidly.

            Donovan had had enough of Holmes. “Just shut it, Freak, while you’re having hysterics we’ve still got a job to do, who do you think the next target is going to be if this man has implicated John, as you always say to us...THINK!”

            Sherlock looked taken aback, but his brilliant mind made the leap. “We’ve got to find him.”

            Lestrade had been studying the Smartphone using the jumper so he kept the fingerprints intact. “This might tell us, there’s a message waiting to be played and it looks like it’s for John.”

            Sherlock went into that calm, cold collected mode that he showed at crime scenes. “That phone belonged to the counterfeiter, I’m sure of it.”

            Dimmock sighed wearily. “Then John was with us the entire time with the dead man’s phone in his pocket, I saw him toying with it earlier, but I thought it was his.”

            “It just can’t be him, he was nowhere near strong enough to do that much damage, especially here lately,” Sally said with a worried look.

            Sherlock used his gloved finger to press play on the message.

             Hello, John, my name is Howard; I think it’s time we met...

            The face look similar to John’s but it was thicker and more rugged somehow, and the eyes were dark and cold.

            I’m sure you waking up beside some random bird upsetting, but let’s face it mon frer, you needed to get laid like mad!”

            The chuckle was devoid of any true humour which made it chilling to hear.

            I know your first impulse is to inform someone in authority of what’s happening to you, Sherlock first of all, but let me put it to you this way, who would believe you? Your flatmate especially.

            I can see this conversation. “Hey, Sherlock, you know that super strong man with the reflexes, who can charm females and tie men into fisherman’s? He’s living right up the stairs from you!

            I’ll make you this proposal, if you leave me be, let me operate for one more week, I can guarantee that your flatmate will never have anything more to fear from Moriarty, or his brother’s interference, just one week John and I go away permanently and you never have to worry about a red sniper dot painting your flatmate’s head red, or the wall behind it, I know you’ve been up nights worrying about it.

            So, keep this under your hat, and all will be well, mention it to anyone and we wind up in an institution somewhere being poked and prodded...by the time you get out, Sherlock will be long dead.

            Think about it...see you in the mirror.

<CLICK>

            They all stared at the phone in silence with the cacophony of the city swirling around them.

            Lestrade shook out of his revelry. “Dimmock, catch that cabby and have him drive you back to the Yard, put out an all points on a Howard matching this description, and process this phone,” he said as he handed it over to the younger man still swaddled in the discarded jumper, “Donovan sort this scene here, get the ambulance out of the way and take down their statements.”

            The other two left on their assignments leaving Sherlock and Lestrade standing there.

            “You know something...gimmie,” Lestrade demanded in a low tone.

            Sherlock’s pensive expression faded back into the insouciant arrogance. “I know someone. I think it’s time we paid my brother a visit.”

~o0o~

            Newly dressed from an upscale clothing shop he knew had his sizes from previous patronage, Howard leaned against the alleyway a block down and across, he watched as Sherlock and Lestrade argued about riding in the Police car, then watched as Sherlock acquiesced and they began to pull out into traffic.

            Howard smiled and flagged down a cab, sliding into the back.

            “You see those coppers down there? I want you to follow them.”

            The older cabby turned in his seat. “Follow cops, are you serious?”

            The man in the compartment gave him cold, dark, shark eyes. “If you lose them, things will definitely get serious.” He flashed a fifty pound note and the cabby stifled a shudder and did as he was bid.

            A death threat and a scary dangerous man in my backseat telling me to follow some coppers...yep...one of THOSE days!

Part 05 --->


The Strange Case of Doctor Watson and Mister Ives 03
Watson/Ives
baileyhix


The Strange Case of Doctor Watson and Mister Ives

Part Three: Strange Bedfellows

            John slowly swam back to consciousness; his entire body throbbed like a bruise.

            He was lying on his stomach and he felt the sheet was pooled just above his waist leaving his back bare to the room.

            To his consternation, someone was idly running nails up his back tracing the grove of his spine, gently playing with the scar tissue at his shoulder.

            “Good morning,” said a feminine voice.

            At least I hope it’s female; there was that time in Kabul. Never drinking that much again!

            The problem...when he went to bed early the night before all done in, he was alone wearing his jim-jams and on cotton sheets, now he was lying on silk sheets with an astronomical thread count, with a woman in his bed, and he was starkers!

            Before his association with Holmes he would just assume that he was living the results of a VERY good night at the pub. However, since he met Sherlock, he had learned to be paranoid.

            He turned slowly to see who it was he was sharing the sheets with.

            She had flawless cocoa skin and large brown eyes, it was the face that could grace pages and advertisements, if you were going to wind up in the altogether with a stranger, this was not a bad choice, and she was wearing just a red satin chemise and doing a grand job of it.

            She looked confused at his face for a moment. “I must have been a little into the sauce last night, I could have sworn you looked different,” she commented as she traced the lines of his face. “Still cute though.”

            He tried not to show his concern as he inquired, “Who are you? I failed to catch a name.”

            She laughed; it was deep rich and throaty. “Oh that’s alright, handsome, we skipped a few steps.”

            She held out a hand in a ridiculous show of propriety, “My name is Irene, but my friends call me Addie, I think after last night, you can call me whatever you like.”

            He took her hand and gave her his most pleasant smile, “Addie it is.”

            She tilted her head letting a lock of ebon hair fall over one cheek, “No need to introduce yourself, Howard, I went ahead and checked your wallet.”

            “Oh, how very enterprising of you,” he replied carefully keeping the confusion out of his voice.

            She traced his cheek. “Well at least the dimples are the same, I would love to have another go, but I have a meeting to get to, do you need to use the shower first?”

            He shook his head. “Oh no, you go first, I insist.”

            She smiled. “I have to say, you are not the man I thought you were last night, definitely more of a gentleman.”

            She kissed him on the lips, he responded in kind, she touched his lips afterwards with a wistful smile, “If you choose to leave before I get out, I will not only understand, but I think it would be for the best,” she said with a sigh.

            She pulled a pink robe to her and made a show of putting it on, revealing enough long perfect thigh to make John wish he remembered what happened in those lost hours, then without a backward glance she swept across the large bedroom and slipped into her bathroom.

            John slid his legs over to the side, with a quick glance under the covers to confirm, yep, not a stitch.

            He found an expensive pair of silk boxers dangling from the slowly circulating art deco ceiling fan, they looked his size but he could not remember ever wearing them, they slipped on perfectly, the rest of the clothing was easy to find as there was a trail leading through the expensive loft from the bedroom to the door. He followed and donned the items, even though he could not recollect ever wearing them before they fit like custom made, and far from his usual shirts, jumpers and trousers, these were designer labels with names even his fashion phobic mind could remember hearing. Instead of trainers, there were leather shoes that fit his feet without an millimeter of leeway.

            He did not want to jump to conclusions, but there was a spot on the left one, it had a deep burgundy tint that reminded him of blood.

            He felt a weight in his pocket, and he pulled out an expensive wallet.

            The face on the idents was fuller and more rugged, the eyes were dark and the smile had an emptiness to it that chilled him on a level he could not express. The names were all the same.

            Howard H. Ives

            He patted the pockets down looking for his cell.

            He pulled out a newer smartphone out of one pocket, and his own out of the inner coat.

            The new smartphone was blinking, it had a recorded message, and it was listed under...

            Press play, John.

            He secreted it in a pocket and looked at his own, predictably there were forty-nine new text messages, and while he was watching it passed fifty.

            The latest one:

            Where R U, John? If U were going to step out for a shag U should have said something! New crime scene already sent the address. I need U! Tell her goodbye and get here!

            Sherlock

            John leaned against the door wearily.

            What the bloody hell is happening to me?

            He checked the folio for cash enough for a cab, and a chill went up his spine when he realized there were varied currencies in the stack, up to a 500 pound note and it had another suspicious red drip on the queen’s face!

            He heard the shower stop, and he made his decision. He left the apartment and made his way down an tasteful space age elevator to the front door, he tried the trick he learned from Sherlock by walking towards the door like you are going to make the doorman’s life misery if he dare say anything, he swept by through the door held open and gave the man a curt nod at the good morning.

            Maybe it was the air he put on or the clothing but he had never gotten a cab so effortlessly before, it was waiting at the curb before he even had to wave.

            The sun was too bright for his suddenly expressed pounding hangover; another pat down of his coat pockets produced a pair of shades more expensive than his pension check for a year!

            He slipped them on without comment and fished around for the new phone.

            He pressed play.

            Hello, John, my name is Howard; I think it’s time we met...

~-o0o-~

            Sherlock received a text:

            Sorry. Just woke up, need a shower will be along shortly.

                                                            John

            “What is so important about that particular biological imperative, I will never understand!” Holmes grumbled.

            DI Dimmock was about to answer when Lestrade reached out and tapped his elbow shaking his head to let the moment pass.

            They were in a high rent apartment in the Mayfair district, the victim’s lodgings were opulent but tasteful, and he was found with some of the most advanced high-tech gizmos Lestrade had ever laid eyes on, the purpose of it was to make fake idents, and from the quality of the work, the dead man must have been beyond good at his craft. He was even able to fake embedded holographs.

            “Anyway, Mister Holmes, the neighbours said they heard a real pleasant conversation going on in the hallway, then around 10:25 last evening, there were several uncharacteristic power surges that lasted until near midnight, and then the neighbour heard someone leaving, they were whistling”, he checked his notes, “I want to break free” by Queen,” Dimmock informed looking up with a hopeful expression.

            Lestrade watched the two interacting, it was technically Dimmock’s case but yet another message written in blood tied it to his killer’s MO. He was perfectly fine with someone else taking Sherlock’s abuse today, especially since John Watson suddenly decided to have an actual social life.

            He knew that other Yarders had noticed changes in the smaller man, and he saw some symptoms that he found alarming himself, but until help was asked for...Sometimes women were easier to deal with.

            He watched as Holmes whirled around the flat making terse comments about the intelligence of everyone in range. Anderson had taken the brunt until he began staring at Lestrade’s sidearm too longingly for the elder Inspector’s liking, so he sent the man out of range.

            Right now Holmes was ruminating about Dimmock’s choice of career while the younger man swallowed his anger and wrote down salient details. Lestrade admired the younger man’s determination, Lestrade had suffered his own trial by fire with Sherlock, but the help to his career was dramatic, and Dimmock had ambition. He would need it.

            Holmes squatted to look at the victim, and then backed away across the room, then he walked over four steps, then two more...suddenly he leapt up on the couch to Dimmock’s shock, and held out a hand to the two men, snapping his fingers impatiently.

            “What do you want, Sherlock, just say it,” Lestrade called his voice tinted by bother.

            Holmes sighed. “John always knows.”

            Dimmock got that fish out of water look that he seemed to only have around the detective as Holmes kept holding out his hand, suddenly someone reached by and handed Sherlock a Swiss Army knife with the Phillips screwdriver extended.

            There stood John Watson, hair still damp looking worse for wear.

            Holmes gave the other two men a triumphant look as he began to unscrew the grate.

            They both nodded to John in their relief, but Dimmock did a double take at the man’s pallor and lost weight.

            “Aha!” Sherlock crowed, heading off any inquiries.

            He pulled a web cam out of the open grate; it had a cord leading off.

            “I thought the way this was staged was deliberate,” Holmes exclaimed, “the way the chair was adjusted and the message on the wall. There was a live feed leaving this apartment, and the show was for them.”

            Sherlock spun and dropped to the floor announcing to the room. “This was one of Moriarty’s operations, the man likes to watch but stay insulated from the fray...”

            “Oh really, Holmes,” Watson remarked, “and the message in blood on the wall, “Tell Jimmy I’m coming for him,” wasn’t our first clue?”

            While Sherlock shot him a withering glare, Watson turned around and got his first glance of the victim.

            He winced. “Is that his meat and two veg?”

            Dimmock nodded while Lestrade studiously looked elsewhere trying not to smile at the irritated Holmes.

            “Well,” John commented with a grimace, “whoever this killer is, you’ve got to admit he knows how to make a statement.”

~-o0o-~

            The rooftop doorway opened and Moriarty strolled out fashionably late as usual.

            He was alone as was the agreement.

            He took his time sashaying over to the tastefully appointed table with the gentleman standing beside it leaning on an umbrella looking put out.

            Without another word they sat down, it may have been civilized but these two men were not friends.

            “Soooo...ask.” Moriarty opened flippantly.

            “How did you get it?” Mycroft demanded, cradling the end of his umbrella his knuckles white.

            Moriarty smiled and poured himself some tea, Earl Grey...how pedestrian.

“Now, now, Mycroft, it wouldn’t be polite of me to rat out my sources, I’m like a reporter that way.”

            “A reporter does not kill people for a living, and inject dangerous experimental serums into innocent men,” Mycroft spat.

            “No, but a politician does, you getting so indignant at my behaviour is really rather hypocritical of you, wouldn’t you say?” Moriarty replied stirring in some milk and sugar. “Besides,” he continued in an offhanded manner, “if John Watson was truly innocent we would not be having this chat and I wouldn’t have two men in the morgue as we speak, one tied into a rather elaborate knot and the other...well let’s just say the man is inventive.”

            Moriarty helped himself to a pastry. Then he pulled out an astronomically expensive smartphone out and initiated a video turning it toward Mycroft and hit play, he watched as the bureaucrat examined the image enjoying the wince at his personal favourite part.

            “I think I’m going to need a new counterfeiter,” Moriarty remarked flippantly in a sing song voice, “that man was the best I ever had, was with me for years, and this crumpet is exquisite!”

            He smiled at Mycroft as he chewed. “The diet is coming along splendidly by the way.”

            Mycroft wrapped his cool demeanour back around himself like armour. “We are not here to discuss semantics,” he stated.

“And the fact that two of your men who were keeping an eye on your brother and his pet have turned up hanging upside down by their heels still alive but only just, with surveillance devices that will need surgery to remove?” Moriarty replied. He nibbled and sipped while Mycroft studied him across the table.

“You really are very well informed, Jim, you only exist because I allow it, as you well know,” he stated after a few moments of scrutiny.

“I’m the only reason someone hasn’t flown a jumbo into Big Ben,” Moriarty replied with a wave, “I have eyes and ears where your organization cannot reach, we’ve had this discussion and it’s getting rather boring to be honest.”

Mycroft leaned forward, his chin resting on his umbrella. “You are aware since your recent threats on my brother’s life that I am very close to deciding security be damned you are too arrogant to live, so why are you being so flippant? What do you have that you feel will back me down?”

Moriarty dabbled at his lips and smiled. “Because I have the one thing that your “file” did not include, an antidote, and as soon as Watson’s alter ego makes his move on me, Jekyll formula or no, he will die in a way that would give Josef Mengela nightmares.”

“Preposterous,” Mycroft replied, “there is no such thing as an antidote, the program never advanced to that point, the subjects we were using were expendable.”

Moriarty grinned like a shark. “There was a concern that one of your “expendable’s” would get loose, and wreak all sorts of havoc, so they created an antidote but kept it out of the notes, there were some in that facility with conscious despite your careful screening who used it to try to reverse the results in some of the patients. However, the formula only worked halfway, the mental damage was permanent, and only one survived the withdrawals.”

Mycroft suddenly developed a chill. “You were a subject?”

Moriarty stood and placed his folded napkin on the table. “Thanks for the lovely chat, old bean, but I really must dash.”

He took the time to glance back over his shoulder just before he slipped out the door.

Mycroft sat staring off into space, a man who looked broken in spirit. Probably contemplating how he was going to relate to his brother that he might be responsible for the creation of his most dangerous enemy.

Moriarty chuckled as he began his decent. Poor man, looks simply dreadful...Splendid!

Part 04--->


The Strange Case of Doctor Watson and Mister Ives 02
Watson/Ives
baileyhix

 
 

The Strange Case of Doctor Watson and Mister Ives

Part Two: Project: Jekyll

 

            They were taken to an infirmary beneath a large unadorned building in White Hall.

            The journey was uncomfortable as Mycroft and Sherlock had decided to enter into a staring contest. Mycroft had information he wanted to share but he required Sherlock to ask, and the younger brother was studiously showing insouciance even though no one in the back of the car believed it.

            As soon as they entered the small medical facility, John forgot the other two men and only had eyes for the patient.

            Her makeup was scrubbed clean but she was no less beautiful for the lack of it, her long black hair held up in an uncharacteristically matronly bun.

            She was staring ahead stoically, there was no sign she had noticed anyone entering.

            “Has a doctor seen her?” John inquired, but Mycroft and Sherlock seemed enthralled by each other and he did not respond.

            John spun on his heel and strolled over to the taller elder Holmes and backed him up a step. “Has...a...doctor...been...to...see...her!” he growled, “In case you haven’t noticed, which I doubt since you are a Holmes, you’ve got an assault victim in your care over there! She is our priority not your immature feud!”

            Mycroft blinked. His face betraying bother that someone would dare address him such, but he straightened his shoulders and reacquired his aloof bearing. “Yes her injuries have been seen to, but I wanted a second opinion about her back, she has been given medication for the pain, but I wanted someone discreet, and since Sherlock needs to see this as well, I felt you were an ideal candidate for the consultation, your files indicate that you were a medic of some note overseas.”

            John turned and walked to his patient without another word.

            “Is he normally that on edge?” Mycroft murmured.

            Sherlock did not want to acknowledge that his brother noticed something that he was only now realizing. “It is...uncharacteristic of him.”

            Mycroft made a hrmmm noise as if he was reading more into John’s state than he was letting on, and oh how Sherlock hated that sound!

            John took her hands gently. She looked up as if she was trying to focus.

            “What is your name today?” he asked with a gentle smile.

            She had to think for a moment. “Cassiopeia, you can call me Cassie though, all my friends do.”

            “At least for today?” John finished with a wink.

            “At least for today,” she confirmed with a tired smile.

            John moved around to the back of the smock she was wearing. “May I take a look?”

            She nodded. “Just don’t get any ideas.”

            John chuckled; he was too busy staring at her back to notice that she suddenly tensed.

            “Sherlock, you need to see this,” he called out.

            Sherlock glanced at his brother to see that unscrutible look was back into place.

            He made his way over to John, his eyes passing over Cassie like she was not even there; she was merely a clue at the moment in his mind.

            This was what had Mycroft so upset.

            Carved into her skin with painstaking care to make clean lines was the words.

            BACK OFF BAKER STREET!

                “He was charming and I thought he might be dangerous, but I’m pretty dangerous myself,” Cassie informed in a monotone showing that she was still in shock. “I’m MI-6, I’ve been taught to handle men twice his size and yet...once he turned on me I...couldn’t stop him from doing whatever he wanted.” Her voice caught as she tried to gather herself. “He told me, “I’m not going to rape you, Lovely, I just need to leave your boss a message, and a post-it just won’t do.”

            John examined her wounds. “The lines are clean, almost surgical; he knew his way around a scalpel. With some stitches and some surgery she probably won’t even scar that much.”

            Sherlock was not even listening, but he gave John and absent nod.

            “What’s that about the scarring?” Cassie asked in a quiet voice.

            “I think those new sutures that don’t require stitches, will help close the wounds clean, with some plastic surgery and a well applied skin graft or two from other parts of your body, you’ll be good as new,” John informed her with a smile.

            She raised a perfectly formed eyebrow. “What other parts of my body?”

            “Just places where the skin is soft, do you have such places?” he inquired with a randy leer.

            “Wouldn’t you like to know,” she replied with her first smile in hours.

            “I would, actually,” John replied with a wide grin.

            Her own smile faltered imperceptivity, but then it was back in force.

            “This is the same man that killed Golem,” Sherlock announced. “He used the same hand to write both messages, but I detect it was opposite from his dominate hand, so it is someone trying to disguise a distinguishing characteristic.”

            “But what do Mycroft, and Moriarty have in common? Why does he want Mycroft to back off?” John inquired leaning against a supply closet.

            “Those are two very important questions,” Sherlock replied. His eyes grew cold as they took in his brother still standing at the door to the dispensary. “Moriarty and my brother have more in common then he would have us believe. Maybe he should decide just what he can share with us before more messages are sent?”

            Mycroft’s face was sphinx like when he replied. “Not today.”

            Sherlock crossed the room, “Fine, come along, John, you look famished, I know a place that serves an excellent brunch.

            John stared at the two brothers, and then deciding that he was out of his depth once again just followed his flatmate out after giving Cassie’s shoulder a gentle squeeze. “It will be alright, no worries.”

            After they left, Mycroft strolled over. “You remembered something,” he stated with the complete assurance he always showed when he made deductions.

            “You are going to believe I am insane,” she mumbled her eyes flashing fear.

            “Try me, dear,” Mycroft encouraged.

            She sighed. “For a moment, when John Watson chuckled and when he grinned at me...I could have sworn...well never mind it wasn’t him, he’s a good, kind man, the man from last night was definitely not.” She shuddered remembering those dark eyes.

            If she was looking at her boss she would have seen a flicker of shock cross his features.

            “You take as much time off as you need, my dear, we will spare no expense fixing your back until it is as flawless as ever,” he gave her a fatherly pat on uninjured shoulder.

            “Thank you sir,” she replied her voice thick with gratitude.

            He left her in the care of the dispensary doctor and made his way to his office above ignoring all calls for his patronage with an absent wave of his umbrella.

            Once there he settled into his chair and sighed wearily.

            He pulled out a digital key with one of the most complicated encryptions known to man and inserted it into his laptop’s flashdrive port and raised the lid.

            The screen switched on and immediately a security protocol came up. This computer was not on the system and very few persons knew of its existence and of those, only he had the device to unlock it and yet...

            He scrolled through files so classified they would cause riots worldwide if their contents were ever made public, and he reached an item at the bottom which was even further encrypted with a code of his own device.

            A new file came up.

            PROJECT: JEKYLL

            There were several clips of the experiments that were implemented in the upmost secrecy in government run facilities that had no names, on prisoners who were non persons that were disappeared for various reasons. He watched as person after person was subjected to different strains of the serum with results both dramatic and disturbing.

            He had thought the entire program was shut down and all batches of the serum destroyed. The conclusion being that all patients eventually descended into madness or became so criminally psychotic as to be no further use.

            It was one of the darkest attempts that he knew about to produce a super soldier, and was even more frightening...it was the closest they had ever come.

            There was a note written in the dossier that had been transcribed to digital file.

            “The subjects that we found had the most success were those who already had duel conflicting natures at the start. That natural schism became deepened by the serum and given its own manifestation in a personality that sublimated the primary one, the more altruistic the primary persona, the more dangerous the secondary one.”

            Mycroft’s mind went back to the assessment he had drawn up on John Watson. There was a line that came to mind.

            “Doctor John Watson is a man deeply devoted to saving lives, and yet to defend life he will kill with no hesitation or second thought. He is indeed a study in contrasts, part medical saviour, and part courageous unflinching soldier.”

            Mycroft leaned back in his seat.

            “Jim Moriarty, what have you done?”

~-o0o-~

            Across town in a lavishly appointed penthouse, a man sat in front of his own computer asking himself the same thing.

            He was staring at digital stills of what remained of one of his best physical assets. It was hard to believe that someone could do that to the shambling giant, but the evidence was there in front of him.

He shrugged and noshed on the beluga caviar and brioche on the silver tray in front of him, spreading on a Blini and nibbling as he leaned back in deep thought.

            He had been waiting for the news that Sherlock Holmes was murdered by his own best friend...At least that was the hoped for result.

            When he kidnapped John Watson and strapped him to the explosive vest, it was just a ruse to deliver the real package into the man’s veins, the serum that was now causing him all sorts of bother.

            He told John the injection was just to calm the good doctor's nerves because he did not want the man to panic and set the bomb off too soon before he had his fun.

            The surprisingly resourceful man had told him to sod off.

            He had seen the flash of murderous rage in those eyes then, but he had convinced himself that level of anger was in his best interest.

            However, it appeared that he had a super strong, extremely agile and swift killer coming for him, one created by his own hand. And that same creature had thumbed the nose of the one man that Moriarty really did not want to cross.

            There was an email waited for him in his inbox, he clicked on it. It was heavily encrypted to prevent trace back but the message was simple.

            “We need to talk, this is not a request!”

                                                            M

            Moriarty smiled. “I don’t think he’s going to be happy that I injected one of his governments darkest secrets into a man living under the same roof as his brother...yes this conversation is going to be rather pleasant!”

            He chuckled and leaned back in his chair rubbing his chin.

            “How do I turn this to my advantage?” he mused in a sing song voice.

            Soon there was a crocodile smile on his face. “Oh yes, that is delicious!”

            He sent a return mail to Mycroft’s inbox on his most private account, all the better to annoy the man, it read:

            “See you at the usual spot, you bring the crumpets,”

                                                            Toodles til then,

                                                                        Jimbo



The Strange Case of Doctor Watson and Mister Ives
Jumper
baileyhix



The Strange Case of
Doctor Watson and Mister Ives

Part One: Messages in Blood

            The extraordinarily tall man shambled through the shadows. Upon occasion he would come upon a hapless street person and they would flinch and fade into the shadows in terror.

            He did not mind, for he was Golem and fear was his stock in trade.

            One maintained the reputation he enjoyed by instilling terror in those he was sent to kill, as well as anyone else who got in the way. However, his latest endeavour had created more attention than he was comfortable with and now he was attempting to slip out of London on a freighter provided by his employer’s people.

            “Hello there, Lovely,” said an insouciant voice from the alleyway to his left.

            He turned to see a well dressed gentleman, who had no business being in this part of town, leaning against the clotted black brick fascia; he was smoking a cigarette which he flicked away with the same casualness that marked the rest of his mannerisms.

            The face was rugged and rough hewn but still somehow handsome and the hair was gelled in a fashionably mussed manner, but the dark eyes were empty of any real emotion or restraint.

            The eyes of a predator, like the ones he saw in the mirror whenever he bothered to use one.

            Golem tensed as the other man strolled toward him with effortless ease, and with a huge sledge hammer blow the larger man swung a tree trunk arm down to his combatant expecting the other man to crumble as had so many in the past.

            His arm was caught and he had only a moment to register his shock when it was brutally broken at the elbow, and his near leg was kicked so hard his knee snapped sideways causing him to go down on one knee left, his aborted cry of pain was caught by a powerful hand over his lower face.

            He stared into those dark eyes with no shred of humanity and the man spoke. “I have to say I prefer your method of murder, it does muffle the screams, and before I’m done, dear boy, you’re going to be doing a lot of screaming.”

            What followed was a long interminable time, and he was begging for death in his native tongue long before it found him.

~-o0o-~

            She sat in the opulent salon waiting for her table clicking away at her Blackberry.

            She knew she was garnering attention from the men and looks of hatred from the women but she paid them all no mind.

            The texts she was sending were all classified and with a send she was changing governments and altering the courses of thousands but it was all in a day’s work for her.

            “Hello there, Lovely.”

            She gave the owner of the voice an irritated glare ready to send him on his way, but something about the man intrigued her upon first glance.

            He blithely lit a cigarette with a flip of expensive silver. “What are you drinking, Sweetness?” He inquired nodding toward her cocktail.

            “Glenlivet on the rocks, and there is no smoking here,” she informed with an arched eyebrow.

            He grinned, and it was a mixture of imp, shy boy, and mischievousness, and he tilted his head to show the most dimple which set off the rugged planes of his face creating a sense of good will, she was around enough politicians to know it was a very good smile indeed. “Well since I have no intention of putting out my fag, want to keep me company while I smoke the remainder?”

            With those words he began to walk away, he paused and offered an arm to her.

            She had no idea why she accepted but soon she was strolling out by his side feeling the muscles under his coat. Besides if push came to shove she was VERY well qualified to come out on top.

~-o0o-~

            They approached the crime scene tape; Donovan was the first to see them as usual.

            “Freaks here!” she called out.

            Sherlock gave her the arrogant simper she was expecting as he ducked under the tape holding it up for his flatmate and colleague.

            She had her usual smile for Doctor Watson.

            “Hullo John, still haven’t acquired a hobby, eh?” she called out as he straightened back up, he gave her a tired smile.

            “Hi, Sally, no time for hobbies, I’m afraid,” he replied.

            She could see rings under his eyes and he looked as if he had lost weight, after the near miss at the swimming pool she had no doubt that he probably was dealing with flashbacks and other side effects from his brush with death. Freak did not have the emotional depth to realize his mortality but John did, she reached out and gently grasped his arm before he could get too far by.

            “You look like ten miles of bad pavement, John, you sure you shouldn’t see someone?” she inquired just loud enough for his ears.

            “No, thank you, Sally, but I’m alright,” he quietly insisted patting her hand.

            “You coming, John?” Sherlock called out impatiently.

            “Yes, keep your prissy lil’ scarf on,” John called out in irritation as he gave her one last fleeting glance and carried on his way.

            “It’s not my fault the Hoi Polloi has no concept of personal fashion,” Sherlock replied with an offended sniff, “Wearing a scarf is not prissy.”

            John exchanged a wry grin with Sally silently asking for back up.

“Yes it is,” she confirmed with a wink.

She was awarded with one of those genuine John Watson smiles; the man did have devastating dimples.

As John followed his now stiffly offended partner toward the alley mouth and the waiting Chief Inspector, but she noticed that he missed a footfall, it was just barely a shuffle but it was there.

            She tried to relax; if he was feeling well enough to bicker with Freak then he must not be too bad off.

            However, she had seen the haunted eyes, and the bone tired weariness he was disguising with good will and she made a note to watch him in the near future. John was more than just Freak’s keeper to the Yarders, they had all become quite fond of the man, he was one of most likeable persons that Sally had ever encountered, and he definitely had the patience of a saint to put up with the tall irritating idiot he was keeping company.

            However, judging by the company he kept and the shenanigans they got up to, John Watson obviously did not have a sense of self-preservation, so those who cared about him needed to call him on it.

            She sighed turning back to the approach. Lestrade knew how much she hated cordon duty, but anything was better than dealing with Freak.

~o0o~

            John followed Sherlock past a grim faced Lestrade. As always Lestrade had told them very little about what he already knew, so they had fresh eyes once they arrived.

            He did not realize that Sherlock had stopped until he ran into the back of the man.

            “Sherlock, what the bloody hell?” he grumbled rubbing the spot on his forehead that had collided with a bony shoulder blade.

            “John...Look!” Sherlock replied in a solemn tone that caused John to hurry around.

            There, lying like a crumpled doll was a large hideous man; it looked as though someone had broken his limbs and tied him into a knot, using the ends of his coat to complete the bow as his head was slipped through his own legs.

            “Sherlock, what tha...,” Watson mumbled, “That’s the Golem.”

            “Or what remains of him,” Sherlock responded. His voice taking on that peculiar machine like tone as his hard drive mind booted up.

            “Who could do something like this?” Lestrade inquired. He was rubbing his forearm probably trying to get an extra jolt out of the nicotine patch there, much healthier in John’s opinion than the four that he knew Sherlock had adhered to his person.

            “That’s what I would like to know, Sherlock and I tussled with this monster, and we barely made it out with our lives,” John replied, because he knew Sherlock was not even listening.

            “So, that was the bloke that Sherlock wrote about in the report. I don’t understand, he was supposed to be massively strong, and deceptively fast. Somebody’s manhandled him into a pretzel,” Lestrade commented crossing his arms and rubbing his chin in a familiar gesture.

            “Well, more like a Granny knot,” Sherlock corrected as he stood.

            “Whatever...So...gimme.” Lestrade replied.

            Sherlock’s eyes swept the alley. “This was a message killing, and he has been bled for some purpose, I can see the droplets trailing away.”

            John’s gaze swept the immediate side of the building, he felt like he was in a haze. “Sherlock,” he said in a quiet tone quit unlike any his flatmate had ever heard him use before.

            Holmes followed his line of sight. “Yes definitely a message, but not for us.”

            On the wall, was written these words.

Say hello to Jimmy for me!

            “Could it be for Moriarty?” John inquired before he caught himself, wincing at the expected reply.

            “A known associate of Moriarty’s is tied into a bow, with a message for a Jim written in the man’s blood, whom else could it be for, John?” Sherlock replied in a pedantic tone.

            To Sherlock and Lestrade’s surprise the usually mild mannered man exploded. “Why don’t you shove it up yer arrogant arse, Sherlock!” He snapped.

            He walked away heading toward the street.

            Sherlock watched him go with narrowing eyes. “That was not like him.”

            Lestrade smirked. “Really? Because I never get tired of being patronized, Sherlock, I personally find it invigorating to be told what an idiot I am forty different ways before tea.”

            Sherlock gave him the glare he deserved. “There’s blood on the body that doesn’t belong to the Golem, it was dripped on purpose, and do you think Anderson can collect the sample without degrading it? It would be a shame for someone to leave us a calling card only to have it wasted. Oh and Interpol might want to be informed that one of their most wanted has been gift wrapped for them. You might want to check the wire and see if this is another killer’s M.O. could be someone wanting to cut down on the competition. This would be a distinctive style that would show up in the files if he has ever done this before.”

            “Who am I looking for?” Lestrade inquired with his pad at the ready.

            Sherlock’s eyes swept over the body once again. “Someone inordinately strong, of course, but still flexible with quick reflexes, as a matter of fact I think they would be on the high end, he was also shorter than you or I, he broke Golem’s leg first to bring the man down to his level, and he moved that crate over there to write in the blood, then slid it back to disguise his height, even after covering his tracks he forgot the clean patch behind the crate that is barely exposed now, he had to go back several times to complete his message, so the message was the point not the killing. This was an extremely vicious attack by someone who enjoys inflicting pain; Golem was alive nearly till the end when his neck was snapped to fit his head through the eye of the knot.”

            “Someone is after Moriarty?” Lestrade finished. “Maybe we should just let the bloke be, he could do our job for us.”

            Sherlock gave him a wry smile and swept off in the direction of his angry colleague.

            Lestrade finished his notes. “Alright, maybe not, Anderson, stop lurking and get your bum over here! Sherlock’s gone now.”

~-o0o-~

            John was waiting at the curb; he had not even attempted to flag a cab yet. His posture and body language told Sherlock that he was upset, whether it was with Sherlock or with himself had yet to be determined.

            “These outbursts are increasing in frequency, you’re useless to me like this, are you sure you don’t need to call your therapist?” Sherlock asked conversationally, trying to avoid another argument by using a less aggressive tone.

            “Sorry, Sherlock, just caught me the wrong way this morning, is all,” John murmured his voice tinged with embarrassment.

            “I take it my Sarcasm was not appropriate?” Sherlock inquired in a way of making peace, he had noticed an increase of temper in his otherwise easy going flatmate as of late.

            John gave him a tired smile. “Oh no, you’re right it was a ridiculous thing to say, I guess I was just caught up in the moment of actually finding a clue before you.”

            Sherlock had to sigh.

            “You already saw it,” John concluded with a clenched jaw.

            “As soon as we walked into the alleyway I had the entire scene catalogued, however your instincts are getting better, you are already far beyond everyone on the other side of that tape and have been from the first day.”

            John rewarded him with a dubious glance but his lips had a hint of a smile and his ears turned the tiniest bit red at the offhanded compliment.

            “I think our ride has arrived,” Sherlock responded with a sudden growl of irritation.

            The unmarked black sedan purred up to the curb and the window slid down showing a familiar face.

            “Get in,” Mycroft ordered. There was a flush to his cheeks and his eyes were cold.

            “And if I refuse,” Sherlock replied with his usual snotty tone.

            Mycroft nodded toward the man standing with Sherlock, “John, I need you more than I need his pretentious posturing, would you mind accompanying me?”

            John rolled his eyes at the familiar silent battle of wills between the brothers.

            “What do you need me for that Sherlock can’t do better?”

            Mycroft’s eyes turned solemn. “My assistant was attacked late last night, as a message to me, I was told to back off, of what I am not entirely sure, but she is in need of first rate medical advice, and since you are never far from Sherlock, who I felt needed to be consulted if he can stop being petulant long enough, I opined to take care of two needs with one move.”

            Sherlock was intrigued in spite of himself.

            John stepped by Sherlock and leaned in. “Is she alright?”

            Mycroft’s face was grim. “She is as fine as anyone can be expected to be with a message carved into her flesh.”


PART 02----->


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