Post Skyfall & Reichenbach
And yes, that is binary code dividing the story.
First Breath After Coma - Explosions In the Sky
It’s grey. A non-intrusive, unremarkable, and cold shade of grey, and a pair of vividly green and intense eyes took comfort in it, reveling not in the beauty of the Ecuadorian city but in the knowledge of the sordid underworld of crime that boiled beneath it.
His hand tightened around the mobile in his hand, trying to will himself to drop it. To let it fall and shatter on the grey stone several feet below the balcony he stood on. But he couldn’t.
He laughed bitterly. Sentiment.
Sherlock pocketed the device after turning it off and swept back into his room. He had no doubt there were several snipers just perched outside his window trying to get a shot on him. But not yet. They needed a reason to kill him… And he would give it to them. Right after breakfast.
Breakfast was a misnomer for what he hastily shoved down his throat with no small degree of revulsion, eating only for the sake of keeping his body upright, his mind always running at breakneck speed ahead of his considerably athletic body.
Sherlock stood abruptly from the table, wiping his glass and the silverware so as to not leave any fingerprints. He caught his own eye in the mirror, it was so strange. He looked nothing like the blood-soaked fake corpse he had planted on the ground outside hospital, his hair now a light and unassuming brown and his glasz eyes disguised by brown contacts. Sherlock softened his lines, trying to relax and smile. Like the old Sherlock rarely did. Except when-
But no time for that.
The detective put on his simple green windbreaker and touristy sunglasses and slipped out the door with a quick grin at the pile of crushed and disassembled bugs he left on the table.
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John hated shopping. No, not the manic and impatient hate of shopping with a female but the insufferably tedious hate of doing groceries. He was unremarkable among the other weary-looking shoppers but his eyes burn with a mixture of restlessness and a good deal of repressed… sadness or anger or whatever his therapist said he needed to release in healthy ways!
Bother it all…
John mused quietly as his eyes roved over the brightly lit offerings in the milk section.
We need milk.
His eyes flicker close and he resists the urge to throw his cane on the ground, instead, he simply forces himself to pick up a jug of milk and walk on.
Oh, we- I need honey.
Teddy bear jar, beehive jar, jar with diagram of the dance of the bees…
John picks up the last one and moves on.
He stands atop a roof, poised gracefully, arms extended… There’s no way he’s getting out alive. Several men surround him, all armed. He turns to face them, hands slowly rising in a gesture of surrender but his eyes gleam in triumph. In his pocket is one of the few last pieces to the puzzle…
"¡Baja de ahi!" one man barks, gesturing to the ground with a semi-automatic.
All he gets is an amiable smile and then-
"As you wish."
And Sherlock, the great detective leaps off the building…
To land on a mattress stategically placed on a balcony directly beneath.
A grin spread on Sherlock’s face as he rolled off the mattress and dashed inside, barely avoiding the bullets of the cursing men.
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"No, I don’t think I’m ready to go back. Yes, I’ll be fine. Thank you. Goodbye. Yes… I miss him too."
John put his mobile in his pocket, and fished out his keys, balancing the bag of groceries with his foot. Now where are you?…
The bag of groceries fall, the glass jug of milk shattering and spilling onto the pavement outside John’s new flat.
He can’t believe it.
"No. I do not want to see him. Not now, not ever!” He says, his voice raising for what must be the first time since…
Anthea, or whatever her name is today, looks up with a slightly bemused look, most likely scoffing at the chance of Mycroft Holmes not getting his way.
"The car is waiting."
John doesn’t move.
The assistant sighs, her fingers moving imperceptibly faster than before, pounding out a series of texts to one of the most powerful men in England while the stubborn ex-soldier stood before her resolutely. She looks up at him.
"He says you’re about to lose your job and can’t cover for you anymore. He’s offering you a new one." She pauses and glances back down at her mobile,
"On the battlefield."
She smiles politely, almost congratulatory, and turns to get back in the car. She knows he will follow. He always does.
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A puff of smoke, stealing into the evening air, dancing almost mystically in the warm orange street light, and Sherlock Holmes watching secretly envious of the smoker across from him. The piece of the puzzle was in his pocket, and the decoder of the clue within a clue was favorably loosened up. Sherlock eyed the numerous bottles of wine next to his feet unconcernedly. As long as he wasn’t too drunk to do his job.
"Alright," his long tapered fingers running back and forth, tracing the twisted iron of the café table, trying to keep his hands off the cigarette pro-offered to him, "if you decipher this, I won’t tell your boss you are running around on an unauthorized ‘mission’ in South America."
The other man doesn’t answer, his head tilted back as he takes in another drag, his ice blue eyes unseeing.
Sherlock refuses to give into the shudder of fear (and admiration) that threatens to run up and down his spine at the suave and dangerous tones of Her Majesty’s 007.
"Can’t you do it yourself? Mycroft said you were unnaturally good with them.”
"Under normal circumstances, yes but this requires a very secret keycode that I can’t get without my brother instantly knowing."
"You’re supposed to be dead. How are you going to tell M without giving yourself away?"
A deep-throated chuckle. James threw down the remains of the cigarette and ground it beneath the sole of his perfectly polished shoes. He kicked back in his chair again and fixed the detective with a smile.
"M wouldn’t really give a -. He does-"
Sherlock’s eyes widened for a moment in genuine concern. Bond sighed, leaning forward with his elbows on the table.
"You didn’t know?"
The younger man shook his head.
"When was it?" Sherlock looked up at the sky, trying to pick out the stars that were almost invisible in city lights, and trying to hide the grief in his eyes.
Bond picked up a wine bottle. “Last year. More than a month after your ‘death’, not that that had anything to do with it. The man was an old ghost come back to haunt her. She died of injuries. I did everything I could.” He ended with a coldness that was not uncaring but one that suggested that he didn’t believe he did everything possible and still beat himself up about it.
Sherlock looked back down at the agent.
James smiled. He offered the bottle of wine and Sherlock took it gratefully, pouring the blood red liquid into two tall glasses.
"Salut?" He extended the glass in a sign of friendship and a deal struck.
Soon, after this was all over, he’d visit Mummy Holmes’ grave. Soon.
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"You can’t be serious." John laughed under his breath, stepping out of the car and taking in where he had been driven to. He paused, looking back at the cane he had left on the floor of the car and the beginning of a smile lit up his face.
"Sherlock knew… And so did Mycroft."
"That’s his job. To know things."
Anthea had come around from the other side and had joined him in front of the gleaming Babylon-esque MI6 HeadQuarters overlooking the great Thames.
"When I was a kid, I wanted to be a secret agent."
Head, heart, lungs, spine.
One, two, three, four.
Unload. Safety on.
The young pathologist put down the gun on the table beside her and pulled her gear off.
She turned almost hesitantly to face John and waved.
John thought that if he had his cane, he’d drop it in shock.
Little Molly Hooper from the hospital was gone and in her place was a pulled-together, powersuit-wearing woman.
"I thought I’d bring you to someone you knew first, to give you a guided tour before Mycroft arrives."
Anthea explained without moving her eyes away from her mobile screen.
"Hello, John. Good to see Mycroft finally brought you in."
Molly shook John’s hand warmly
"So," John gestured around the stark white and a little too well-lit practice room, "you work for the government?"
Molly pursed her lips.
"Molly is one of the few individuals the MI6 has made exceptions for."
John looked over his shoulder at the newcomer. It was a lanky young man, with glasses and dark curly hair not unlike…
"You have my brother to thank for that." The man kissed the cheek of Molly who had immediately gone over to him.
"Brother?" John asked, shaking the man’s hand.
The man laughed, a sort of self-conscious and quiet laugh.
"Half-brother. The illustrious Mycroft Holmes.”
John felt a good shot of whisky would not be amiss right then.
"Although it’s supposed to be a secret, thanks to 007 everyone knows now. Man can’t keep his mouth shut... Oh.”
The man suddenly realized he hadn’t introduced hinself yet, mistaking the bewilderment in John’s eyes.
"Sorry. I’m Q. The Quartermaster."
He smiled briefly.
"John. I’m err-"
"You were Sherlock’s friend." Q stated, with a hint of sadness… Or was it pity?
The group stood in awkward silence until Anthea pulled the door open sharply.
"We should go now. I’ll take you to Mycroft."
The others exchanged amused looks.
"Are you going too darling?" She asked Q, ignoring the weird look she got from John.
Q shook his head.
"007’s back. He stole some equiptment from my branch and I want it back. I’ll see you later."
Molly ahhed and gave Q a last kiss as she and John left the room.
"Slap 007 for me, won’t you?"
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Requiem for a Dream - Clint Mansell
Sherlock ran a hand through his newly dyed hair, smirking at his own reflection. Blonde suited him but gave him a decidedly rakish and “nouveau riche” air. The ridiculously expensive and foppish suit helped as well. He looked out the car window. The ordinary man would have taken pleasure in the variety of nightlife and in the… attractions displayed on posters covered in script, and the poetic in the rainbow of neon lights that caused a halcyon halo to frame Sherlock’s pale face. But the detective chose merely to swiftly map out his surroundings and take note of all possible hostiles. Six guards, a muscular bouncer, all armed… Ten cameras. Three escape routes, including one across the conveniently closely-built apartment roofs of the Japanese club district.
Sherlock dangled the cigar between his fingers, trying to decide whether or not to light up… He pursed his lips and flicked on the flame beneath the cigar. He’d just have to endure the pain of cold turkey when this was over.
The detective handed a crisp yen bill to the driver and slid out, being very deliberate in his movements and beyond undercover.
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First Class -Henry Jackman
"Is that a bad thing?
John looked quizzically at Molly who walked beside him slowly. She had slowly slumped back into the old Molly, her shoulders relaxing and her hands fidgeting in front of her.
"Depends on what you’re thinking."
John nodded. He mulled over his thoughts silently before speaking.
"You… Knew? About Jim Moriarty?"
"Of course." She answered in a manner-of-fact way but John could feel her gait slowing down a beat. "Are you angry? That I let him get near Sherlock?"
"I’m not angry." John stopped and faced her, "I’m just surprised you can act that well."
They both started walking down the long corridor again.
"So, you were watching Sherlock for Mycroft?" John asked, disbelief colouring his tone.
Molly shook her head, her eyes darting down to her shoes.
"I actually am a pathologist. I just… Well, I was offered a job."
"To spy on Sherlock?"
"To watch over him. And protect him.
I didn’t do a very good job, I’m afraid.”
Her jaw settled and gave her a very grim look.
John placed an arm around Molly and they drew closer to each other, comforting themselves and trying to remember only the good memories they had of Sherlock Holmes.
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A Watchful Guardian - Hans Zimmer
The club was underground, a cavernous structure of gilded debauchery and shining corruption. A stage crowned the farther end of the room and tables were set up around it, their occupants indulging in their favorite vices. Sherlock stood at the top of the stairs, taking in every single bit of information and data, discovering secrets and weaknesses, and all in a matter of moments.
He descended the stairs gracefully, lifting a flute of champagne off a passing hostess. The detective walked about with calculated abandon, his face the face of a man enjoying himself while he ran his fingers along the threads of conversation that spun and formed a seemingly unrelated cloud of noise. But people gossip, and soon Sherlock found himself going down a stream of rumors that centered around a particular man.
The filthy rich and self-professed genius who had taken it upon himself to pick up what left of Moriarty’s disintegrating empire.
Arrogant sod, Sherlock thought and took in a lungful of smoke.
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The two men stood at a distance, not bothering to shake hands and eyeing each other as if daring him to come closer. Mycroft was the first to speak, sitting down in the luxurious but uncomfortable chair beside him.
"I’ve brought you a new recruit."
"Really? What, another cousin or illegitimate brother? Nepotism is frowned upon, you know." M smiled disdainfully. Mycroft mirrored the smile but with an impossibly even haughtier air.
He strummed his fingers on his umbrella handle, just showing a hint of his annoyance.
"No. He’s a doctor. An ex-army doctor." Mycroft added seeing M’s look of disapproval. Oh, how he missed Mummy.
"Any other qualifications?"
"You didn’t read his dossier?"
"Why should I? It’s not as if I’m going to take him."
"I didn’t read his dossier because," Here he paused and fixed Mycroft with a grudging stare, "Your job is omniscience (well, as far as man can be) so your word should be good enough for me.” His hands spread out.
Mycroft nodded assent but understood well that that meant M was putting the liabilities all on the government official’s shoulders.
"Well! Shall we?" Both men stood up and M gestured to the door.
"He will start immediately?"
"After the evaluations. Protocol, you know, makes way for no one."
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Sherlock smirked. He looked around the “office” leisurely, although it was more of a “private room” than place of business. The floors were black marble and the walls gleamed in the light from the crystal chandelier.
He sipped his champagne slowly, being hyper-aware of the camera hidden behind an elephant carving and the gun stowed away in the desk.
The door opened slowly behind him, but the detective didn’t bother to look behind him even as a deep voice rasped out a question. The man walked around to in front of Sherlock. He was a strongly built but slight in stature African-American and his long dark hair fell in greasy strands onto his stark white suit.
The man asked his question again.
"Who. Are. You?"
Sherlock beamed in a naively enthusiastic way, holding out his hand for the other to shake.
"Will Carlton. Pleased to meet you."
The other man shook Sherlock’s hand in a careless manner but the detective’s eyes flicked over the hand in his own. Sherlock raised an eyebrow inquiringly…
"Yes… Although that isn’t your real name, is it?" Sherlock asked bluntly, all pretense gone now and deadly serious. Blakeney shrugged.
"How did you get in here? I can call security you know."
Sherlock pressed his lips into a thin line and ignored the question, his eyes wandering around the room.
"Now…" He started slowly. "Why wouldn’t you give me your real name? Why…" He snapped his fingers in fake realization,"Is it because you’re a smuggler of both drugs and blood diamonds, and hiding from Interpol? Or because you’re having an affair with a Japanese government official who also wants your head?"
Sherlock’s voice dropped very low at the end. The man tensed and his hand went slowly to the desk…
"Don’t even think about it. ‘Adelaide’ was very helpful." Sherlock smirked quickly, congratulating himself for convincing the young blonde to distract ‘Blakeney’ while she emptied his gun earlier that day.
White teeth showed as the man stood behind his chair defiantly.
Sherlock shrugged, mirroring the other man perfectly.
"Cocaine powder on your fingers, very specific type of lipstick on your neck, card in your back pocket, weathering on your desk, loads of African knick-knacks and furniture (upholstered with a fabric indigenous to a certain people on the Ivory Coast) acquired over visits, and… oh! I hacked your camera feed and bugged your room while you were out…” He sniffed the air, “having a smoke.”
Sherlock decided not to mention the entire squad of police parked outside the door.
"Do you want information?"
The other man asked, a hint of desperation to his voice.
"Oh, no… I have everything I need." Sherlock shook his head.
"I just wanted to tell you that no one will ever be able to outdo James Moriarty…” Here he swung his head back at the now cowering man and bore a hole through him, “Because I will burn them first.”
The detective stood abruptly, and swung the door open, whistling as he glided out into the nightlife of Japan again.
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"That… Is brilliant."
John looked over the gun in his hand, laughing as it lit up in his palm.
"The newest version from Q branch. It’s a modified Walther P99K."
Q grinned at the appreciative look on John’s face. “Why don’t you test it out? It’s your next test.”
John settled his jaw a bit and looked at the one-way mirror (the mirror side to him). He had already gone through a battery of tests, all quick but incredibly concisive. He hadn’t felt this alive… for quite a while.
Q handed John a pair of earplugs which he took grimly.
"Cheer up. From what I heard, you’re a crack shot. Even saved Sherlock."
John cracked a grin.
"Yes, well, they weren’t very nice men."
"Then we’ll be sure to send you after the very bad guys."
Q clapped his hands and a rather realistic “human” target rose out of the floor.
"Molly helped with these." He noted with pride. "I’ll leave you to it."
And John was alone.
With a gun.
And a target.
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The captain was not happy. Sherlock stood stiffly, with a look that seemed almost like embarrassed guilt while Captain Martin Crieff rummaged through his bags.
"I had better not find any body parts Sherlock! Customs are a pain enough with Douglas and his… Things!"
The ginger-haired man shoveled through the bag with alarming alacrity, past experiences providing him with enough motive not to let Sherlock’s eccentricities go by. Last time he flew on MJN Air, it took forever to get the smell of corpse out, he was almost killed by an assassin who thought he looked like the detective, and Carolyn had a frightening attack of heart palpitations. Martin knew the man was pretending to be dead but why did Sherlock have to choose his dear GERTI for when he went incognito, i.e., whenever someone was trying to kill him!
Still, he was paying them a very considerable sum to fly him to Africa.
If only it weren’t from Japan.
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"Great. Excellent. I think we may need a new target."
Q took the gun from John with no small amount of caution. He watched in admiration as John saluted to the mirror and walked out. Now the soldier had only to pass the Freudian word test.
How Q hated that one.
John sat at the table in a sterotypical interrogation room, bright lights and another of those annoying mirrors. John guessed that the government like to keep very close tabs on their workers.
He exhaled forcefully when someone came in. He was a stout, pudgy man, carrying an armful of papers. The man sat down and smiled cheerfully. John said hello and the man told him about the test.
The man thanked John and left.
The soldier wondered briefly if he had failed but then Molly came in…
And she smiled.
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Part Two coming soon to… oh. Well, it’s coming.