THE LOSING SIDE
WRITTEN BY ZARIUS
(Contains spoilers for “The Final Problem”)
It was a casket. That’s all it was, all it needed to be.
A simple wooden casket, inanimate distraction for the three lively souls inhabiting an otherwise cold and barren room.
But everyone stops looking after three.
“It’s funny how little God or whatever authors all our pain in life cares about death these days, recordings of Mary from beyond, recordings of me from beyond, you just wish someone would learn to lie still in one of these” emitted a composed, sophisticated yet slightly unhinged voice from behind Sherlock. The Detective looked around him, John and Mycroft both stood ridged, not moving, staring completely beyond him, like he didn’t matter.
Sherlock turned to his right and found James Moriarty standing beside him, carving out an apple with a jagged knife.
“What are you doing here?” Sherlock asked of his nemesis.
“I’m precious” he said.
“To me? Because I’ve obsessed myself with every move you’ve ever made in this game?”
“Oh you’re not done yet with that are you?” Moriarty asked, “Do learn to move on, we’re past caring about the moves I’ve made, they’ve never been mine to make to begin with”
Sherlock deduced they were in his mind palace, his rapid fire mind indulging in the precious moments spent in between two extreme expressions of his rarely seen emotional range. The former was still taking the time to process, the latter sat there simmering, waiting for release, a release that would only come with full acceptance of the former.
It was in these precious few moments that Moriarty had taken the opportunity to conjure up himself, or rather, that Sherlock had chosen Moriarty to symbolize an ever increasing array of reactions and responses.
“It’s all up there Sherlock” Moriarty continued “Your paranoia, you believe so highly in your aspirations of godhood, you think the most biblical of things can still find a way to manifest on this plane of existence”
“What are you to this situation? And I don’t just mean what’s going on there…I meant, this moment, what do you mean to THIS moment?”
“I’ve been so underlooked in this little triangle haven’t I?” Moriarty said in a sly, taunting manner, taking a bite out of the apple, several worms wriggling through its core, he took one out of the centre and gently slipped it into his mouth.
“You remember don’t you? The night we met, you summed me up in one agonizing word, and it dashed all her fantasies. I was precious alright, but not to you Sherlock, oh no…”
“Stop it” Sherlock said.
“I was precious to her. Three times we went out after you called me gay, three pleasant little dates, but no attempt was made at second base, she listened to you after that. You ruined her big chance, but she still followed your judgement. She thought you knew best. Mothers know best you know that?”
“If you have a point to make, do try to draw it out so I can keep it together” Sherlock replied.
“Oh, would you rather you give that order, or would you prefer the soldiers at your side to do so?” Moriarty asked, pointing to Mycroft and John as they headed towards the room’s freshly unlocked exit.
“What makes you think you can hold it together? You can’t, that’s why I’m here, to finally follow up on my promise all those years ago back at that pool”
Sherlock’s fist tightened as he stared at the casket. His temper began to rise, he had only seconds left, but the recesses of his mind palace stretched time out further. He had to maintain control of the web he was at the centre of.
He would not permit Moriarty to win.
“Remember that promise? That I would burn the heart out of you?”
“I made a promise too…a vow, and while I may have stumbled in attempting to honour it, I intend to further my commitment to it, so you see I have to maintain control, I cannot give into the losing side” Sherlock continued.
“Ah yes, changing the goalposts, trying to bring it all back around to the science of emotion, chemical defects, the works. Easy to see why you would, I mean, a man made of your kind of metal can’t possibly have a heart can he?” Moriarty continued, spitting part of the apple back into the detective’s face.
“Unless you strip away that armour, all that you were, all that you hid behind, and force yourself to hand all of your needs over to someone else, someone who’d seen you for all you were, and still wanted you to have all of her. There isn’t a single scientific deduction or evaluation that can dictate that course of action Sherlock, that can only come from the soul”
“Enough” Sherlock urged the grim spectre of his nemesis as he nudged him even further.
“And even when you went into hiding, even when you went deep underground, even as you buried yourself, she threw herself into the world trying to move forward, only to keep coming up short. She latched on to fiancés who she dropped at a moment’s notice because you were back in her life, you had taken her as an assistant, spent it on a couple of dates you usually reserve for John. Oh he must have been jealous, lord knows you thought about it enough times…”
“I picked her because I respect her, I appreciated what she did, I did it because she counted for something in the end…”
“Who knows where’d it’d have all led if you hadn’t noticed that ring on her finger, but then, you made your move on her anyway. A gentle brush against her cheek, enough to send her into so many thoughts of inadequacy and guilt, knowing she’d opted for someone so much less than you…”
“I didn’t realize…how could I? She gave no signals, there was no way of knowing if she felt…”
“..The same?” Moriarty continued.
Sherlock could sense John was trying to talk him into coming with him and Mycroft. He continued to hang around the coffin, carefully caressing it with one of his hands. His actions prior to this situation steadily flashing before him. His mannerisms, his expressions, his words, and, more importantly, his desire.
“She did everything for you” Moriarty continued, “Even gave up a whole life for herself, no matter how diminished and unfulfilled that life may have been, it was still hope that she held for the future, and just by being there, being who you are, you drove her away from that. You made her so vulnerable Sherlock, just like you make everyone. EVERYONE.”
“No…” Sherlock uttered as John called out his name.
The precious moments were almost up. He was on the verge of an emotional breakdown, all he needed was a most unkind command, a permission to act out his frustration.
“She is your heart, and you let her control your head. Look upon this box Sherlock, look upon your failure, your other vow , to honour your friendship, look at this box, and set yourself upon it. Your heart is exposed, it burns, my work is, at last, done. You said to Molly Hooper that you needed her words for a case, she gave all you’ve ever meant to her for the good of that case, now apply it to the world you’re committed to above all others.”
“No” Sherlock said, his calm demeanour fading, his armour steadily stripping away.
It was at this moment that he could hold back no longer.
The order finally came.
“Author her pain” Moriarty commanded.
His fists pounded into the casket with feverish and naked aggression, it fell apart in his raw hands almost like confetti, he tossed the remnants across the room, and emitted a primeval sorrowful scream at the top of his lungs.
He sunk to the floor of the cell, the casket lay in ruins, as did his heart.
Moriarty faded from sight, his work at last done, as the consulting detective came to terms with the most overbearing defect found in the losing side.
Love conquers all.
Even Sherlock Holmes.