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A.N.:The dialogues in this chapter are all from the third episode of the second season. The rest consists of Sherlock's thoughts. Like all Sherlock centric chapters in this fic, this is a second-person narrative (I've edited chapter one which was originally written as a third-person narrative). The different narrative modes I'm going to use here do hold meaning and my choice depends on the main character of the chapter – although I may use different narrative modes for the same character if I want to highlight a different aspect of his mood, personality, etc. If anything shocks you in the characterisation please feel free to review or PM me so we may discuss it ^^
There are two paragraphs from the song I didn't quote here – from 'I'm gonna get up' to "You're gonna stand up'.

Edit: this chapter was kindly beta-ed by Sianco and BritChick101! Again, all my thanks :) All remaining oddities are mine.

Nutrisco et exstinguo means "I feed from it and extinguish it"

Ultima ratio means "last resort"

Warnings: Rating for this chapter is T



Illustration by Nero749


Chapter V: Ultima ratio

song: Do it now, by Ingrid Michaelson


xXx


Sitting in the back of the bus
Talking about nothing, oh, we're talking about us
Watching as the world goes hammering on, hammering on


"I don't want people thinking you're a fraud." John had said. And you had stared.

Then you realized it actually upset you. That John may doubt you, too. You started deducing him out loud just to prove you could still read his thoughts and you knew you sounded almost as mad as that time when you had just seen a gigantic hound and John just said you were tired and on edge – couldn't deal with the smoking cessation. Now you know that's what had troubled you the most. Because if John of all people didn't believe you, who would?

Then you remembered that was the whole point. It didn't really matter if you acted all upset and insecure now – the only problem was that you weren't. Acting, that is. It would be better if John truly thought you had played him – safer for him, for you, for everyone really. But admit it, don't you hope, deep down, that he won't fall for it? For any of it... But again, that's the problem: more of a final problem to you than whatever Moriarty construes in his own little crazy mind. The problem for you is that if John starts doubting not what you have been to him until now but all the appearances for the past few days since dear Jim broke into the Tower of London, the Bank of England and Pentonville Prison, then he might also doubt the most important part of this great trick: your death. Now that really wouldn't do.

Right now however you were just mad and couldn't help but feel betrayed that your flatmate, colleague, best friend, whatever nice little social label he was supposed to be wearing, doubted you. Because even if that wasn't your area, you could easily guess that all those labels implied trust between the two... associates. And again you were stupid – in fact it must be John who makes you lose all mental capacities – because you didn't think twice and didn't even bother controlling yourself. You made it obvious you were angry, and maybe he even heard the disappointment and the fear in your voice, although to you it just seemed louder and more precipitated than usual.

But then, he had chuckled and smiled.

"No one could act like such an annoying dick all the time," he'd said.

And you could only stare.

Amazed that you had been wrong. That he hadn't been doubting you, but was genuinely preoccupied with public opinion – he writes about you on his blog (only about you, adds a little voice somewhere in your head, one you definitely don't want to hear right now, or ever really, and that you throw back into a drawer you then set on fire) – so it's only natural he'd want to be taken seriously and believed as well. Because then he'd either be considered an idiot or a fraud too.

"I know you for real."

At this, you smile to him. He certainly does, indeed. And that's the problem – the final problem, for you any way. You'll have to play it perfectly until the very end – especially the end, in fact.

But for now, you just smile.


You say that you got nothing left
There's nothing left in you to find
You're gonna ride it out, gonna wait it out, living to die
You're living to die


And now you're doing something crazy again and inwardly grinning like a fool because you'll get to hold his hand in yours - you've never been so grateful for the police's stupidity, although you would never have guessed John could be so... short-tempered. He was living with you after all – and like all people who cared about you, he had to be somewhat long-suffering. The whole arrest fuss must have made him irritable even before the police superintendent thought it smart to open his podgy little mouth.

"What now?"

You hide a smirk as you idly answer John:

"Doing what Moriarty wants. Becoming a fugitive."

Well, that's as big a clue the doctor will ever get, isn't it?

And that thought is enough to wipe away the smile that was tugging at the corner of your lips.


No one's gonna wait for you
No one's gonna wait for you


"There's something I need to do."

"What? Can I help?"

"No, on my own."

You walk off without looking back, cursing under your breath. This has come sooner than expected.

Now you have to hurry to the morgue before Molly goes home – fortunately, she always stays in late. There's no one waiting for her, after all.

You know you'll probably meet John at Bart's afterwards too, but not for a while – he has yet to go and see Mycroft. Mycroft. Idiotic big brother. Well, he's in fact helping with John right now. But other than that, he really is useless. He'll probably tell John he's sorry. Well, he'd better be – this time he certainly is going to owe you one. It might come in handy later on, though, to take care of dear old Jim's web, of heaven and hell and everything in between. You wonder absent-mindedly if John has noticed the graffiti on the brick wall opposite the flat in Baker Street. Such bad taste, really – seriously, black wings? Could they make it any more obvious?

Anyway, so what if he had? You specifically avoided mentioning IOU to him. That was for the best. After all, tomorrow, at this time of the day, you'll be...

You close your eyes and swallow, hard. John.

How long? How long do we have left? This dreadful question you've always had on the tip of your tongue, burning, refusing to leave your mind in peace... You never thought you'd be the one to answer it.

Just a little over sixteen hours, John...

Your heart is clenching – you ignore it. But you can't help adding bitterly:

And we're already running opposite ways.

You hasten your pace. The countdown has begun.


So do it now, do it right now
Don't waste a minute on the darkness and the pity sitting in your mind
And do it right now, and do it right now


He's mad at you – and even worse, disappointed in you. You machine. That hit you like a slap to the face. You don't know why, it was to be expected after all – good, it's even good, it means John's falling for it. Yes, that's good.

"Alone is what I have, alone protects me."

"No, friends are what protect you," John replies in a cross voice. The disappointment is still there, though, like a reproach. It hurts.

Yes, indeed, John. Friends are what protect you.


Everything will stop on a dime
Everything will crash into itself in good time


You look down. Well. This is going to be quite the fall indeed. Upon hearing a car rushing at the corner of the street, you turn your gaze.

Ah. Here comes his cab already. You close your eyes for a second, preparing yourself for this. Then you dial his number. John, dear John, always rushing to your side... but not this time.

"Hello?"

"John."

"Hi Sherlock, are you ok?"

"Turn around and walk back the way you came."

"No I'm coming in."

"Just do as I ask! Please."

You wonder if that trembling in your voice was genuine or not. The begging definitely was.

"Where?"

Of course he listens. He always does.

"Stop there."

"Sherlock?"

"Ok, look up I'm on the rooftop."

"Oh God."

That look on his face, you're glad you're too far to see it properly.

"I... I... can't come down so we'll just have to do it like this."

"What's going on?"

"An apology."

And it is. You did tell him... the best way to hide a lie and make it believable is to coat it with the truth. Now as for the lie...

"It's all true."

"What?"

He sounds offended – perhaps he'll understand later? After the shock? Perhaps there's hope... for him. For you both.

"Everything they said about me. I invented Moriarty."

The silence on the other end of the line is all too telling of how angry and hurt he is about you daring give him such a blatant lie.

"Why are you saying this?"

You hear the accusation in his voice. The incomprehension too. It has been a while since you last confused him, and he's afraid – afraid of your intentions.

Tears are needed here – for added effect – and so is the shaking voice. You've never been so grateful for your acting skills in your life. Emotions aren't your forte, after all.

But it doesn't mean you don't feel like you're dying inside at the moment.


Do you wanna beat your own heart, beat your own heart
Or leave it behind, or leave it behind?


"I'm a fake."

"Sherlock..."

God, his voice. The tears are fake, but the pain in your chest threatening to rip your lungs apart is all too real. You must talk faster. End this. Before you do something stupid again and get him killed – oh, Lord, if he were to die under your very eyes and you couldn't do anything... But isn't this exactly what you're putting him through right now? Talk. You must talk to him. Give him some hint, just a little more...

"The newspapers were right all along. I want you to tell Lestrade, I want you to tell Mrs Hudson, and Molly, in fact tell anyone who will listen to you. That I created Moriarty for my own purposes..."

"Ok shut up, Sherlock, shut up. The first time we met, the first time we met, you knew all about my sister, right?"

Oh John, John, you're being clever, but not clever enough. Why would you ever mention Molly, and even Lestrade, in a suicide note? And 'anyone who will listen to you'? That's completely illogical. Just like you claiming to be a fake is preposterous. If only John could read between the lines... only he knows you enough. Only he knows you "for real". You hear a broken chuckle – yours.

"Nobody could be that clever."

"You could."

And so could you... Please, John...

"I researched you. Before we met I discovered everything that I could to impress you. It's a trick. Just a magic trick."

There. You can't risk saying any more.

"No. All right stop it now."

"No, stay exactly where you are! Don't move."

"All right."

He raises his hand towards you. His hand. You'd give anything right now to be able to hold it. Well... not anything, obviously. Not John. You should've taken his hand a lot more when you still could've. You probably won't have the chance ever again. It's highly ironic to think that before this whole ordeal your main concern was to keep the doctor by your side as long as you could – and now, you're leaving him.


No one's gonna wait for you
No one's gonna wait for you

So do it now, do it right now


"Keep your eyes fixed on me."

You wish you could see them – his eyes. Oh how you'll miss them...

Unwittingly, you reach towards him as well. This is cruel, terribly cruel, and you know it. But John must believe that you're dead for now, as long as he's being watched. He must react accordingly. He must not give anything away, and he must not try to go after you. You know all that, you're very well aware, thank you, and yet...

"Please would you do this for me?"

"Do what?"

Understand... please understand... Not now, because you're on edge and you can't think... Then you'll be in shock, but...

"This phone call it's, uh... It's my note. That's what people do, don't they? Leave a note."

You cannot bear seeing his distressed gesture, as if about to drop his phone and run to you. You realize you've never craved his touch so much. You also realize you must let go – for real. No more hints. You shouldn't have given any in the first place. John must move on.


Don't waste a minute on the darkness and the pity sitting in your mind
And do it right now, and do it right now


You've done this completely wrong... incoherent and wavering. Only John can make you so... illogical.

"Leave a note when?"

His voice is desperate – and you can hear the implied plea. Please, please, please not that, please...

Pain. This hurts so much. You thought it would, but you had no idea.

"Goodbye, John."

"No. Don't..."


So do it now, do it right now
Don't waste a minute on the darkness and the pity sitting in your mind
And do it right now, and do it right now
Do it right now


You jump.

"SHERLOCK!"

.

.

.

tbc

My Johnlock Stories:
NUTRISCO ET EXSTINGUO
{character study, romance, angst, hurt/comfort, humour}
I Like to Watch You Dance
{angst, romance ; non-con}
Let Me Dance for You
{angst, romance, hurt/comfort}
Dance is Chemistry
{angst, romance, hurt/comfort, humour}
Sherlock Holmes's 7 Paw stories
{fluff, humour}
221B PAW STORIES
{fluff, humour, romance}
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Sherlock's (and John's) 21st century Adventures (investigations)