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Imagined (Sherlock)

Title: Imagined
Author: Morgan Stuart
Fandom: Sherlock
Disclaimer: This universe does not belong to me; I'm just an appreciative visitor. I make no profit from this fan work.
Description: Sherlock looks into the mind of Moriarty.
Historian's Note: This can be read as a companion piece to "Enclosed" or as a standalone sketch. This takes place after (and indirectly refers to) the Sherlock episode "The Great Game."

It was a pitifully small bundle to hold such weight.

Three narrow strips of fabric lay entwined and knotted together: fine silk the colour of aged parchment; worn but clean white Oxford cloth; soft cotton in a cosy, earth-toned plaid. Each piece was stained a telltale crimson-brown at one corner.

Seated at the makeshift laboratory assembled on the kitchen table, Sherlock Holmes lowered himself into the mindset of his nemesis like a diver descending into dark waters. He needed to know what the monster planned for the three men whose blood decorated the cloth before him.

Sherlock could almost hear Moriarty's smooth voice, faint as a whisper in his ear.

"You watch over him, fund his so-called lifestyle, and he repays you by resenting your attention and generosity. But I ask myself: why destroy one Holmes when I can destroy two? You can be my personal project. I'd like to take you apart and see what makes you tick before I throw away the pieces. I'm sure you're aware that you're far too dangerous to be allowed to live. Even if he asked me to spare you, which we both know he won't."

"You're a joke to him, and you always have been, even when you were saving his life and getting him clean. You bend the rules to allow him to do the work he loves – he needs – and you're insulted for it. But I have use for you even if he doesn't. My associates would dearly love to have a play date with a copper. Think of yourself as a night's free entertainment: 'use once and destroy.' Great for group morale, don't you think?"

"I wonder: what would it do to your master, if I put his little pet down for good? Even if – no, especially if – he begs for your life? Would he come apart at those stylish seams? I think it would be great fun to find out. Then again, now that you've shown him the joy of adopting a homeless puppy, he might just discover how simple it would be to replace you. The streets are full of strays, after all. Whatever happens, it seems that you lose."

Shocking, how easily it came to him.

Sherlock's fingers roamed over the three scraps of fabric, brushing against each separate piece where gore thickened its fibres, and then curled the bundle into a tight fist.


Note: "Recorded" may be read as a companion piece or as a standalone story.

Vital Stats: Originally completed in May 2011.


( 49 comments — Leave a comment )
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May. 11th, 2011 05:50 pm (UTC)
How can you destroy me so utterly with so few words?! HOW?! Oh, it hurts how easily those thoughts come to Sherlock's mind, but I know he's spot-on as to Moriarty's threats. You, my dear, have a knack for cutting to the quick with very precise prose.
May. 12th, 2011 07:11 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much! *goes a bit flaily* This absolutely makes my day, that you found it to be moving and Moriarty's threats seem accurate. I don't know what fascinates me more: the idea that Moriarty does know all of them (and their histories with Sherlock) so well that he can put his finger on everyone's "weak spots" and Sherlock appreciates this, or the idea that this is just Sherlock's own conscience and fears speaking to him, using Moriarty's voice. Either way, I find the scenario chilling. I'm most grateful for your kind words!
May. 11th, 2011 06:01 pm (UTC)
Sherlock does have quite a view of Moriarty. Phew.

It's amazing how there are five clear, quite separate stories and emotions (granted, three of them different forms of angsty despair) in so few words.

And Sherlock's understated anger. Oh, it's wonderful.
May. 12th, 2011 07:14 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for your kind words! This was one of my early "exercises," as it were, and I'm so glad the different scenarios came through despite the brevity of the piece. The idea that Sherlock's imagined Moriarty might hit on a few guilty truths as he plays his mind games intrigued me. I'm so happy it worked for you - especially Sherlock's response at the end! Thanks again.
May. 11th, 2011 06:36 pm (UTC)
Short and succinct story -- I loved it. I have chills down my spine. "...curling the bundle into a tight fist." such an understated description of fierce anger ... fantastic.
May. 12th, 2011 07:16 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! It's incredibly gratifying to know you found this chilling (which was exactly what I was shooting for). I'm so glad the final description of Sherlock's anger worked. I really appreciate your kind feedback!
(Deleted comment)
May. 12th, 2011 04:19 am (UTC)
"despite the fact that I need to strangle you for not posting a sequel immediately."

Agreed. I may have to use threats...OF KITTENS.

"I somehow suspect the soldier won't be manipulated or destroyed by one psycho having survived the Taliban..."

Also agreed. I don't know if I can seeing him rolling his eyes or just glaring.
(no subject) - morganstuart - May. 12th, 2011 07:30 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - noirrosaleen - May. 12th, 2011 02:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - morganstuart - May. 12th, 2011 04:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - noirrosaleen - May. 13th, 2011 01:16 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - morganstuart - May. 14th, 2011 08:14 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - morganstuart - May. 12th, 2011 07:26 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 11th, 2011 08:56 pm (UTC)

Well done!
May. 12th, 2011 07:33 am (UTC)
Thanks so much!
May. 11th, 2011 09:32 pm (UTC)
Oh, wow! Chilling and masterly.
May. 12th, 2011 07:34 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you liked it. Thanks so much for your kind words!

(Your icon is brilliant, BTW.)
May. 12th, 2011 03:09 am (UTC)
Oh, yikes! Very well written, chilling how well Sherlock gets into Moriarty's mind.
May. 12th, 2011 07:35 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! "Chilling" was what I was aiming for, so this makes me very happy. I'm so glad it worked for you. I do think Sherlock will be troubled not only by what he imagines Moriarty's thinking, but also by how easy it was for him to see these men through Moriarty's eyes. I appreciate your reading and commenting!

Edited at 2011-05-12 11:37 am (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
May. 12th, 2011 07:57 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! It's one of my earliest pieces, a sort of "What if?" exercise, and I'm glad to have put it "out there" at last. I really appreciate your kind words. "Chilling" was my goal, so I'm glad it worked for you!

By the way, may I just say I'm still in pieces over "Ashes, Rubble, and the Debris You Left Behind"? I can't remember when a story took me apart as thoroughly as yours did. It's a remarkable accomplishment and a most insightful work.
May. 12th, 2011 08:39 am (UTC)
Dives down under covers with her fluffy ninja kitten.
All that and a bag of crisps.
May. 12th, 2011 09:24 am (UTC)
Re: Eek!
Don't worry: Moriarty is helpless against fluffy ninja kittens! :)

I was aiming for something a bit chilling, so I'm glad this worked for you. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!
May. 12th, 2011 10:00 am (UTC)
Oooh! Loved this. I'm a total sucker for the whole dynamic between the brains of those two--with or without a slash between them!
May. 12th, 2011 03:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm so glad you liked it. I do love the two of them squaring off against each other, so well matched. I appreciate your reading and your kind words.
May. 12th, 2011 03:59 pm (UTC)
I always love it when you twist my heart!

Moriarty's words are perfect in their double-edged venom - striking both Sherlock and each prey. Though I suspect that all three of them may have found the strength to resist the venom, if not the stroke, having trusted Sherlock this far.
May. 12th, 2011 04:13 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you so much! :) This is one of my earliest fics in this fandom, but I've only now found the nerve to share it. (It's the last one left languishing on my hard drive.) I'm so glad you liked it.

I'm especially pleased that his words came across as double-edged. That's just what I was trying to accomplish, hoping the attacks seemed well-aimed, each with enough truth in it to hurt. But I agree with you: all three of these men have trusted Sherlock so far and so long that it will take more than this to sway them.

Thanks for your lovely feedback! I appreciate it.

Edited at 2011-05-12 08:14 pm (UTC)
May. 12th, 2011 05:43 pm (UTC)

I want my mommy.
May. 12th, 2011 06:23 pm (UTC)
Aw! *hugs*

I don't have your mommy here, but I do have an extra virtual shock blanket. *holds it out for you*

Thanks so much for reading!
May. 12th, 2011 09:36 pm (UTC)
Very suspenseful!
Well, Sherlock knows what he's gotta do! Lovely descriptions, and I fear you have Moriarty down pat.
May. 13th, 2011 10:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Very suspenseful!
That's right, he does! Thanks for reading and for the lovely feedback. I'm so glad that Moriarty's voice sounds right to you.
May. 12th, 2011 10:23 pm (UTC)
Augh, this hurts. It always amazes me how you can convey so many emotions in so few words! And it's a little scary there, how easily Sherlock imagines what Moriarty would say to hurt people...
May. 13th, 2011 10:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm so happy to know it was moving. Thank you for your kind words. I do find it disturbing that Sherlock imagines this so easily... and that there's a kernel of truth in each of the taunts (as much aimed toward Sherlock as the captives).

As always, I really appreciate your reading and commenting. Thanks so much!
May. 16th, 2011 03:33 pm (UTC)
Oh, man. What a nightmare that Sherlock understands Moriarty so well... and that Moriarty understands who is closest to Sherlock's heart. *winces

Well done. Ouch.
May. 16th, 2011 05:49 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! I was rather fascinated by the idea that the taunts Sherlock imagined all seemed to rebound on him in some way or another, with just enough truth to make them wound. Sherlock's understanding of Moriarty (and vice-versa) is pretty scary!

Thanks a million for reading and leaving feedback. I really appreciate it.
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