“It's different this time. You know it.”
Sherlock was quiet, eyes skimming quickly over all the scattered pieces.
“It's because it's her.”
“You need a break. When was the last time you ate? Slept? You've barely moved from that spot for the last ten hours!”
His eyes snapped up toward the man. They were void of emotion. “If I even waste a second, she will die, John. Do you want that?”
John's face fell before he dropped into his chair and buried his face into his hands. You were gone. Taken away by Moriarty. In order to get you back, they needed to complete the puzzle. A literal puzzle. At each crime scene, there was a piece or two. Those were the hints. Once all the pieces were in Sherlock's possession, you would die. The goal? They had to figure out the picture before that. John had his suspicions that the actual picture would reveal where you were being kept, but Sherlock never answered.
Of course, none of the pieces really connected. Some edges, some just random pieces. None of it made sense to John, but Sherlock's hands were always at work. Rearranging and moving the pieces every few minutes to get a new view. As his hand began to reach for another shift, his phone buzzed.
Without a moments hesitation, he answered and the phone was connected to his ear. “Hello?”
“(r/n)?” His brows furrowed, your voice shaky. This wasn't going to be a normal call, he already knew that. He also knew Moriarty was obviously hearing the exchange, watching your every move.
“Go ahead, darling. Tell your precious boyfriend how much you miss him.”
You wished with every fiber of your being you could kick him or smack him, but the bonds kept you still. Instead, you swallowed the lump that had formed, your (e/c) orbs looking down as you spoke into the device, “How's the puzzle going?”
“Fine,” he rolled his eyes, flicking one of the pieces in silent anger. John could only watch, eyes filled with concern and worry for the his friend. “How's the torture?”
There was a hint of smile playing on your lips, imagining the male in his robe. All the past happy memories of the three of you tolerating each others company. “Oh, you know, I was always one for things to get rough.. I like it hot and steamy..”
Moriarty flicked out his tongue, face disgusted. Before you could get a response from Sherlock, the consulting criminal snatched the phone back, holding it up to his ear. “Look, Mr Holmes, I must stress that these next few words are going to be very important. Your time is limited. Bye-bye!”
There were only so many pieces left. Even the genius was at a lost. The entire puzzle was black. Nothing. No shade. No faded image. His hands were tugging at his curls, a small pain in the pit of his stomach. He never lost. Losing was not an option.
Fingers twitching and pulling out of his hair, arms drooping to the floor as his stormy eyes glared a hole into the puzzle. The detective didn't even pay attention as John walked in with his tea, staring down at the sad sight.
After a few minutes of a thick hush, Sherlock hopped to his feet in excitement. The shorter male stuttered in response, taking a careful step back. “Sherlo-”
“THAT'S IT! Think about it, John. What was (r/n)'s favourite place to go?”
John stopped, lips pursing in thought before he answered, “That, uh, one place that no one really went to. Bad company, but it was always quiet there. She could think. She was often there with her parents, though it's no place for a kid. What was it called?”
“Right. And what does this have to do with anything?”
“Use your mind, John! It's the puzzle. Their symbol. Don't you see it. Look at where the missing pieces are. There's a very, very subtle red around it. And the shape left.. It has to be it. Let's go. Call Lestrade.”
It wasn't quiet long before they had arrived on scene. Sherlock was pacing, his mind muddled with different scenarios. Finally, his movement settled as he stared at the building before pulling out his phone. Before his fingers called the number, he turned to John, “Stay. Wait for Lestrade to show up.” Before the doctor could protest, the stubborn male was on the phone and heading inside.
He answered, “Oh hello~I see you found me. Bravo. Bravo. And now what? Do you expect me to just hand her back over?” Jim chuckled into the receiver.
“Oh no,” his voice was steady as he bounded his way through the winding halls, glancing in each room to find you. “I really expect a much bigger applause. Something like..explosions?”
“You know me too well, deary. I do love a good show. And apparently, so does your pretty little girlfriend.” You felt no need to correct him, keeping your recently bleeding lips shut.
Sherlock paused his steps, hearing the shuffling in the room. You were behind that door. “(r/n) was always the one to be extravagant, yes.”
Moriarty hung up and called out to the intruder. “Come on in. I'm sure Miss (l/n) is very excited to see you.” Not a few seconds had passed before the tall, handsome man stepped in, phone back in his pocket. Your eyes lit up, while his grew darker. Your (h/l) (h/c) locks stuck to your face with sweat and blood, lips cracked, and most of your lower body bound together with ropes and chains. The job seemed sloppily done. But then, his eyes caught sight of the flashing light. He's been in this situation before. Sherlock didn't like it last time, either.
“You're surrounded. Do you really think you're going to get out of here?” Start simple.
“Of course, I am. You're my ticket out. If I don't walk out of here, this trash of a place goes sky high. Along with her in it,” a smirk tugged at the corners of his mouth. “Don't worry. It won't be the last time we see each other. No, no, no. That would never happen. We need each other, Sherlock. As well as, (r/n). It seems we both have another weakness to add to our list.”
With that said, Jim Moriarty pressed a kiss to your temple knowing full well it would piss the detective off before exiting. Nothing was said. It felt like hours before the two remaining persons dared to even breathe.
“Sherlock,” you finally broke the quiet, chest aching. “I want to get out of here..please.” Reacting to the sound of your soft voice, the lanky man crossed the room and worked you out of the bonds before pulling you up by the waist.
You were a little shaky at first, knees wobbling. “Come. I'm sure John would love to make you tea. He has missed you terribly.”
There was a flicker of a smile as the Sherlock and you carefully walked out. 'But did you miss me?' you wondered, putting one foot in front of the other. When the pair of you had made it outside, paramedics buzzed about, one of them trying to escort you away from Sherlock. Shaking your head quickly, you stepped closer to the man who had saved you and mumbled out about how you were okay.
“(r/n)!” John called out, rushing over to you. His arms enveloped you in a tight hug and you were grateful. You were finally going to be able to go back home. “I was so worried. Look at you.. What did he do to you?” You chuckled softly, bringing your hand up to cover his mouth.
“Hush. No questions right now. I was promised tea,” your (e/c) eyes glanced back to Sherlock who was talking with Lestrade with a small grin before turning back to John. “And then bed.”
“Sorry,” he mumbled against your hand with a faint blush before you moved it away. “Tea. I can do that. You'll stay with us for a while. I'm sure Sherlock won't mind.”
“Why would I mind? Let's get home. Lestrade will call us later. For you, (r/n).” You nodded in response and John took you by the arm and lead you away with Sherlock trailing. You dared not look back, not wanting it to be obvious, but you were curious. What did Moriarty mean by that? A weakness for them both?
Unbeknownst to you, Sherlock was fighting himself over the same subject. Jim knew. Why wouldn't he? He was intelligent. They knew things about each other. It was their relationship. It was their job to know. But the real person in question was you. Was Jim admitting to having some kind of emotion toward you? And that Sherlock, himself, had that same emotion? Of course not! That's preposterous. Sherlock Holmes had not attachments. But he would never deny to himself that John was his friend. Same with you. No, but you were different.
Deciding that this could be thought about on other time, he hushed his racing mind and continued following the pair in front.
John offered up his bed for you, no matter your protests. You had eventually given in. The tea was soothing and you knew sleep would soon come. Walking back to where John and Sherlock were sitting, you gave a slight smile before bidding goodnight to them both.
With the moments courage, you kissed Sherlock's cheek, whispering a thanks in his ear before patting John's shoulder and going to bed.
John was the first one to speak up. “It's obvious that (r/n) likes you a little more than she should. I think she's crazy,” a teasing grin was worn on his features, eyes glistening with laughter. “But it's sweet.”
The other in the room narrowed his eyes at the floor, fingers tapping away at the arms of the chair. He lightly smacked his lips before his gaze switched back to his friend, just that flicker of a smile telling John exactly what he needed to know.
“She is a little crazy, yes.”