Sebastian asked Jim once why he bothered with Kitty Riley and the whole song and dance of being in love with her. Jim had said more than once that she was repulsively credulous and would believe anything that gave her career a boost. Her company wasn’t even pleasant, not the way it had been with Molly.
“Faith, my darling,” Jim said in reply, his head lolling over the back of his chair. “Faith and love are way more powerful than fear and financial gain. She’ll keep Richard Brook alive along after I’m dead. She’ll be tenacious, she’ll be unscrupulous, she’ll do whatever it takes.”
Sebastian’s fingers stilled over the tin of polish by his favourite Beretta. “You mean if you’re dead, right? That’s not a done deal.”
“Mm,” Jim hummed, without much conviction.
“Jim,” Sebastian turned around. “Tell me you’re still coming up with alternatives.”
Jim sighed, swinging his legs over the arm of his chair and sinking further into it.
“No worries, my love,” he said in an almost singsong voice. “I’ll be here for ages. We’ll be standing side by side as the world burns. We’ll dance, we’ll have dinner, or if anyone else is left we’ll have a nice fry up. We can serve fried shrimp. I love fried shrimp.”
Sebastian tuned him out, returning to his guns, and Jim stretched out in his chair, very much real, and very much guilty as charged.
Fried meaning exhausted. I’m sorry MJ, you said to tell you if it was a slang meaning, in the notes, and I feel silly putting a meaning in every submission of this, but nm only one more right?
Warning for kissing, because it comes out of left field? As does ham?
Kitty wrote the article with Richard’s head on her shoulder. He was completely fried, but he said he wanted to make sure the truth got out. Sometimes Richard would tremble, words ceasing to flow as some terrible memory took him. Then Kitty would hold his hand and stroke his hair and tell him he was safe now, safe with her.
It wasn’t even a lie.
Kitty, who would never had considered herself the most credulous of people, believed Richard wholeheartedly.
“Why come forward?” Kitty asked, finally, when the article was complete. The cursor blinked on the screen, but neither of them noticed it. “You could have kept quiet, kept the money, gone into hiding.”
Richard picked at his cuticles, head bowed. “You saw the newspapers. The satirical comics. Sherlock didn’t get the result he wanted. Everyone’s mocking him. The only way he can regain his dignity, the only way he can re-establish his credibility…”
“Moriarty has to go to jail.” Kitty felt her heart sink. Richard was so utterly unlike Moriarty. He’d never last a life sentence.
“I still have so much I want to do,” Richard said, voice cracking.
Kitty cupped the curve of his jaw, brushing away a tear. Richard glanced up, lips parted, completely vulnerable. The kiss was short, and unexpectedly sweet. Richard blushed and backed away, stumbling over his seat.
“I’m sorry, I don’t know what I was thinking. I shouldn’t have taken advantage of your kindness, I’m so sorry.” He grabbed his jacket and looked around for his phone. “I’ll go. You have everything you need. I’ll go.”
“Richard.” Kitty got to her feet and took his hands in hers. “I’ve told you, you’re safe here. Everything’s fine.”
They leaned in for another kiss, a mutual yearning for connection and protection. Then, Richard’s stomach grumbled.
“God, sorry,” he stammered, pressing a hand to his stomach.
“I guess the biscuits weren’t enough,” Kitty said, smiling.
“Sorry,” Richard said ruefully.
“Come on,” Kitty said, taking his hand and interlacing their fingers. “I think I have some ham in the fridge, I’ll make you a proper sandwich.”
Richard trailed after her, still tremulous and worried about over stepping his boundaries. Kitty chatted to him about complete and utter nonsense as she made the sandwich, and had him laughing by the time it was done.
He was so innocent, she thought, watching him tear ravenously at the sandwich, smiling toothily at her each time he caught her eye between bites. He needed a champion, someone who’d be his voice.
“Thank you,” Richard said, finishing the last of the sandwich.
Kitty nodded, tucking her hair behind her ears, her mind made up. She’d defend Richard, defend his truth and his freedom, and she’d tear down Sherlock Holmes and any other fraud that dared try to take him down with them.
“He texted me out of the blue,” Richard said, pulling out his phone. He had kept the text message. It read ‘Richard, it’s Sherlock. Can we meet? I have a preposition for you.’
Kitty almost screamed in delight when Richard passed her his phone. The only thing better than a juicy exposé was a juicy exposé with evidence. Sherlock was going to be absolutely fried, char grilled and flambéed when all this came to light. Even the most credulous peon would have to admit she was right.
“And? What did you discuss?” she asked, handing Richard back his phone.
Richard took a deep breath, and Kitty held hers.
“He wanted to take up our old game again, but on a much larger scale. He knew I’d been out of work for a while.” Richard ran his hands over his face. “He offered me so much money.”
“To do what?” Kitty asked hardly daring to breathe.
Fried is used here as the slang term for being intoxicated from drugs
Kitty was actually starting to feel sorry for Richard, watching him stumble over his words. He was still trying desperately to couch his words so that Sherlock seemed more like a victim of his circumstances than simply a delusional attention-whore. Kitty could read between the lines, though, and she bit down on the inside of her cheeks to keep herself from chuckling in gleeful spite at the revelation that Sherlock had spent the better part of his post-university years fried from drug abuse.
“I think it was just the pressure to be someone important, like his brother,” Richard said, palms flat on the curve of his knees, fingers splayed out.
“Everyone reacts differently,” Kitty nodded, pretending to empathise. Sweet, bambi-eyed, credulous Richard lapped it up, nodding in agreement.
Richard took a sip of his drink, wetting his parched lips. “We lost touch when he went to university. I suppose I lost my usefulness.”
“He went to Cambridge, didn’t he?” Kitty asked, recalling the research she had done on Sherlock when she’d first started looking into him.
Richard nodded. He swallowed thickly and picked at his cuticles. “There was talk that he got in because of his brother. I mean, I don’t believe it, but…”
“But you knew he wasn’t the brightest bulb in the box,” Kitty supplied.
Richard looked pained. “He was brilliant in his own way.”
Kitty reached out and covered Richard’s hand with her own. “It’s okay, you don’t have to keep defending him. You’re telling the truth, and people need to hear it. Sherlock’s fooled too many gullible people for too long.”
“We were friends.” Richard threaded his fingers through Kitty’s, seeking her comfort. “It’s so hard to— This will fry his reputation, his credibility.”
“Let’s just take it one step at a time, okay?” Kitty said, squeezing his hand.
“I knew him in school,” Richard said, cradling his mug in his lap, pausing nervously each time Kitty bent to scribble in her pad. “He was always sort of… A show off, I guess you could say. We all were, boys get like that when there are girls around, you know, but Sherlock always liked to people thinking that he was the smartest one around.”
“And was he?”
“Not always,” Richard chewed on his bottom lip. “His memory wasn’t much to speak of. The other lads used to fry him for it. I felt bad for him, so I’d ask him questions on things he knew, so he could give the correct answers and feel a bit better. He liked that, so he’d memorise answers and tell me what questions to ask. The more credulous kids started buying into it, so we just upped the ante. We spent hours in the library looking for trivia that would make him look cool.”
“So really this has been going on since you were in school.” Kitty was having trouble keeping a straight face. The bored, haughty Sherlock Holmes was just a petulant boy who hated being made fun of by his peers.
His name was Richard Brook, and he was a complete wreck. He had bags under his eyes the size of soup spoons, and he kept stammering and repeating himself, like he was desperate for someone, anyone, to hear his story.
“You look fried, you poor thing,” Kitty said soothingly. “You need a drink. Coffee, tea, or a shot of vodka?”
Richard cracked a weak smile. “Just water. I can’t hold my alcohol.”
Kitty took a moment in the kitchen to release some of her excitement out of Richard’s line of sight. God, if she got this right, she was going to be so fucking famous. There’d be editors instead of frightened actors waiting for her on her doorstep, frothing at the mouth to give her her own byline. She snuck a peek at Richard, and found him with his head in his hands, muttering to himself. The man was wound up so tight he’d uncoil at the slightest hint of sympathy. All Kitty had to do was play him like a well strung guitar, and she’d be set for life.
“Here,” she said gently, setting down a tray in front of him. “Got you some biscuits, too, you look like you haven’t had a proper meal in weeks.”
“Bless you,” Richard breathed, reaching for the biscuits. Kitty smiled, rubbing his back, and he leaned into her touch, gratitude and trust written all over his sweet face.
This is a story of how Jim Moriarty capitalised on the credulousness of a woman who wanted to believe Sherlock Holmes was a fraud.
Fried is used here as a slang term for using electricity to injure or kill an individual.
I haven’t worked out where I’m going with this but FML Moftiss, was a logical timeline too much to ask? Now IDEK how much time to leave between the trial and the fall. O Okay it’s “two months”. OKAY.
Kitty Riley found him practically on her doorstep, this shivering little man with the wild hair and nervous eyes. She didn’t recognise him at first, not without the permanent smirk etched on his face.
“Can I help you?” She asked, reaching into her bag for her taser gun. It wasn’t, strictly speaking, street legal, but Kitty figured she needed it for situations like these, where strange men showed up at her house and advanced upon her with grasping hands.
“Please, you have to help me,” said the man, trying to catch hold of her free hand. Kitty snatched it away from him and held up the taser as warning.
“You can say your piece from over there,” she said, nodding to the sidewalk. It wasn’t that she couldn’t fry him to within an inch of his life, it was just that she wanted to set strict boundaries from the get go.
The man ran his fingers through his hair as he walked, hunched over like a wounded dog.
“Please, I need protection,” he pleaded. “I’ve… I’ve got this secret, and I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where else to turn. I saw you, at the courthouse. Your face… You didn’t worship Sherlock Holmes, not like the others.”
Realisation hit Kitty like a bolt of lightning, and her taser clattered to the ground. “You’re Moriarty!”
The man wrung his hands, then pressed them to his face. “That’s my secret,” he cried out through his fingers. “I’m not. I’m just-” he paused, as if almost too afraid to spit out the words that followed. “I’m just an actor. I’m just an actor Sherlock Holmes hired. Please believe me, please, please believe me.”
Some people described it as a light bulb flashing over their heads. With Kitty it was a supernova, exploding in a blinding savagery of light.
“Come inside,” she said, hands shaking as she fitted her keys to her lock, wanting so hard to believe. “Come— God just come inside.”
“He had it all planned out,” Jim said, voice shaking. “He must have been planning it for months, years, even. All the crimes, all the horrible details.”
“He made you kill all those people?” Kitty asked, widening her eyes. This could fry her whole story. People were willing to believe a scared and penniless actor, but not even the most credulous of readers could root for someone who’d dipped their hands in blood.
“No!” Richard exclaimed, eyes wide and lips curling with revulsion. “I’d never! I could never. It was Sherlock, he—” Richard pressed his hand to his mouth, eyes filling with tears. “It was him, it was all him, I just had to be the one in court at the end. I just had to take the fall.”
Kitty pulled him into a hug, heart actually going out to this poor sod as Richard sobbed against her shoulder, completely limp.