I see my reflection shining from the corners of your eyes.
Let’s remember something; somehow, somewhere, some when, Moriarty knows Sherlock, way before Sherlock is made aware of him and his network. Carl Powers made Sherlock, remember? He started there, as a kid who wouldn’t leave the police alone. Moriarty has pretty much confessed that he started there, too, that Carl was his first, that he stopped him, stopped his heart, too.
So, here is Jim Moriarty, a man — not a man, a spider — who has, if you play this out, been following Sherlock for, what, 20 years? He’s playing a long game that most of us, fuck, no one could understand. He’s built his network, made his acquisition, trained himself for this one moment. There is no one else on this Earth for whom he would have made the ultimate sacrifice.
“IOU,” was his message to Sherlock, intimating that Moriarty owes Sherlock something (“a fall”). It’s more than that, it’s deeper, it’s flipped — Sherlock owes Moriarty everything. Carl Powers was where Sherlock began, for fuck’s sake, all of the people Sherlock has saved through his work, all of the crimes he’s unwound, it’s because of that puzzle back there in the pool, because he couldn’t figure it out. Moriarty made Sherlock.
I go back to this: Can you fucking imagine the long game that Jim has been playing? Following, watching, waiting for the right moment. Sherlock, with his life actually kind of in order for once, with friends, and some modicum of success. With people who care about him, love him. And Jim is terrified, it’s not on, Sherlock is supposed to be like him, alone and detached from the world. So he helps build him up, uses the weaknesses, the good, the friends, the love, the heart, against Sherlock so he can break him down and remind him — remake him — that they are the same. But they’re not, but they are, at least he wants to believe they are, and Jim knows that in order for Sherlock to make the ultimate sacrifice, he does, too.
“I invented Moriarty,” Sherlock tells John, and it’s the other way around, really: Moriarty invented Sherlock. Sherlock owes everything to him.
And then you have John; poor, left out John, who doesn’t know, but trusts his instincts, and knows something is just not right. I think of the ways fandom analyzes what is shown to us in the show, and imagine in that universe that John does it, as well. He tracks down the people who were outside, he rails at Mycroft for the CCTV footage, he asks himself, “How, how could he have survived?” and remembers Irene and if anyone could do it, Sherlock could. I wonder if he asks himself why he didn’t follow the stretcher, why he didn’t run in afterward, why the crowd dispersed so quickly to leave him on the sidewalk, nearly alone, a tributary of blood at his feet. And that, that right there, the fact that John Watson, Captain John Watson, Doctor John Watson, doesn’t follow the stretcher, that right there tells me that John knows, that some part, some deep lizard part of himself, knows that Sherlock isn’t dead. And he trusts him, trusts him implicitly and knows that if he did this, if he had to fake his own death, it was for a fucking reason (“It better be for a good reason, Sherlock!”), and he has a part to play.
John owes Sherlock, for helping put him back together after Afghanistan. He owes him to play the part, to wait, to not understand, but accept.
Sherlock has saved John twice, now. Once, when he came home, and he dragged him into his crazy life. And now, by moving the target off his back. John has saved Sherlock, too, with the cabbie in ASiP, and I think now, by accepting this farce, this magic trick, as reality. It would have killed Sherlock to lose John, Lestrade, Mrs. Hudson — everyone who cared about him, everyone he cared about.
“Go on,” Moriarty tells him when he asks Sherlock to kill himself. “For me.”
I really love your pride. - x