When John got back from the homeless shelter, he found Sherlock lying on the couch and staring at the ceiling. As it was very late, he went straight to bed.
The next morning he was finishing his tea and reading his paper when something caught his eye.
Sherlock, still on the couch as he had been when John went to bed, didn’t respond.
“Sherlock, this is important. What was the name of that Doctor—the one you knew who was on the list?”
“A Dr. Ian Garvie has been exposed for fabricating results in some chemistry something or other.”
“What? Let me see that.” Sherlock jumped off the couch and grabbed the paper out of his hands. He read it quickly and threw it down.
“Why? Why would he do that? Why…” John watched as he typed furiously into his phone, and then dialed a number. He held it to his ear for a long time before he spoke. “Dr. Garvie. Sherlock Holmes here. I need to speak to you. I’m coming up right now.” He shoved his phone back into his pocket. “I’m sure we’ll be there overnight, so you might as well pack a change of clothes, John.”
Sherlock did not speak to John at all for the first half of the train trip, but he kept muttering to himself.
John didn’t mind, as it gave him time to think about last night. He kept getting glimpses into Sherlock’s past and if he were as smart as Sherlock, he would have been able piece them together. Perhaps the Garvies would give him more of a clue. Or maybe…
“It’s not as if I’m intentionally keeping it a secret.”
“If you’re so interested in my sordid past you could ask.”
“Since you put it so nicely…”
“It’s better than your distracting thinking.”
“Okay. So who are the Garvies, and what happened there when we were talking to Olga?”
“What happened with Olga is precisely what you thought it was. She and I both share a chronic boredom with the world in general because we are too intelligent for most of the stupid people around us. We have even, as you seemed to find it so hard to believe the day after I met you, both gone to the same source for escape. There are two very important differences between Olga and me, however. Firstly, I have never cared what people think about me, and secondly, I was able to find something to do with my mind that was better than the cocaine. Besides, she didn’t stand a chance. It has been far too long since it happened, so we will never be able to prove it, but it is likely someone was orchestrating events—‘M,’ at a guess.”
“And why is he letting you know now? Taunting you maybe?”
“I’m filling you in, John. Don’t interrupt with your amateurish speculations. The Garvies are, as I said, a couple I knew in University. Dr. Ian Garvie was my tutor, and a great biochemist. Mrs. Garvie had no children, and like many women her age, she seemed to feel the need to treat every one of her husband’s students as her child. I was no exception to that rule. When I decided to leave Pembroke before completing my degree, the Garvies both strongly recommended that I not do so, and I have not spoken to them since.”
“And the leaving had nothing to do with drugs.”
“The drugs were part of the solution, not the problem. The problem was that there was nothing to challenge me anymore.”
“I see. And the reason that you haven’t spoken to them since then?”
“I haven’t been back to Cambridge.”
John raised his eyebrows. “And Dr. Garvie’s research?”
“I already told you—he is a biochemist.”
“The paper said his falsified research was in cancer treatment?”
“That’s not what he did when I studied under him, though his research was in pharmacology.”
“Odd that he should have changed so late in his career.”
“That’s where the money is,” Sherlock snapped. And he didn’t open his mouth again for the duration of the trip.
In the month since he had moved in with Sherlock, John had seen Sherlock angry, supercilious, bored, cheerful, relaxed, and once very punchy. He had never seen him positively uncomfortable.
Dr. Ian Garvie seemed like a pleasant man. Certainly stressed. But he seemed overjoyed to see Sherlock, and pleased to meet John.
“My dear boy! It’s been ten years! Helena was just talking about you… oh… last week. Your brother told us you were doing much better than when we last saw you, but she’ll be glad to see it with her own eyes. And John, you’re a detective as well?”
“He’s my doctor. What did you say about my brother?”
“Oh, he gives us information about you from time to time. First time I met him, he wanted me to provide the information… funny man. But after you disappeared, he was willing to let us know how you were doing whenever I contacted him. Anyway… Pleased to meet you, John.” Dr. Garvie laughed as he shook John’s hand. “He needs his own doctor now? I can believe that! But any real friend of Sherlock’s is a friend of mine. Please do come in.” He brought them into a little kitchen and he had almost finished boiling some water for tea before Sherlock worked himself up to say something.
“You know, you can call me Ian now. You’re not my student anymore.”
“Yes… well… Dr. Garvie, we’re not here for a social call… though of course it’s…”
“I know why you’re here, Sherlock. And I’m sorry it’s so… well, tables turned, eh?”
“Perhaps… But I need to know, Dr. Garvie. You received my email two days ago?”
“I have a huge backlog what with everything that has happened. I didn’t…”
“Your name was on a list. Every person on that list has died or been ruined somehow. And we need to know how. What’s going on? Why did you falsify your research?”
“Well, Sherlock. You see… it’s Helena.”
“You’d blame your wife!”
“No, Sherlock. Let me explain. I’ve been… well, you know my work. We’ve been experimenting for years, and there was always a chance that it would have some application in cancer research, but we never had the results with animals that we’d need to fund clinical tests. And then Helena… she… she has brain cancer, Sherlock! The doctor hasn’t given her even a year, and I thought… I don’t know what I thought. I was desperate. I still am desperate! So I modified the results of those experiments on rats. I thought I’d persuade the Medical Research Council to fund me. But it didn’t. I just lost my job, my reputation, everything. And in a few months I’ll lose my wife. I can’t…”
Sherlock looked, if possible, even more lost. So John tried to step in.
“When did you find out about your wife, Dr. Garvie?”
“About a year and a half ago. She was getting headaches and dizziness and finally she went to London to see Dr. Prinz and…”
“Dr. Prinz, a neurospecialist in London.”
“Dr. Ralph Prinz?”
“That’s it, John! The connection! This is brilliant!”
Garvie looked shocked, and John felt a bit disgusted.
Sherlock looked up from where he’d been typing furiously into his phone. “What? This is good news for Dr. Garvie, too!”
Garvie finally spoke. “Sherlock? What’s happening?”
“Prinz has recently been involved in a scandal himself. He misdiagnosed a brain aneurism, which, according to John, must have been done intentionally. And his patient was another man on the list. It all fits!”
“So you think that he intentionally misdiagnosed Helena.”
“We cannot be certain until we get a second opinion on Mrs. Garvie’s condition, but I strongly suspect that you will find nothing.”
“I… Helena should be home at any minute. I have to tell her. I have to…”
At that moment a car pulled up to the house, and Garvie hurried out to meet his wife.
“Are you sure? This could be unconnected…”
“There are too many connections for this to be coincidence. Both on Howard’s list; both ruined. If Mrs. Garvie doesn’t have a brain tumor, we’ll know for sure. Maybe not enough for Lestrade and his imbeciles. But I’ll know.”
“I wasn’t thinking about that, Sherlock. I mean for the Garvies. You’re getting their hopes up.”
“I’m sure that they’ll find she is perfectly healthy.”
John wasn’t particularly pleased, but he stopped talking, as the Garvies were coming back into the room.
Mrs. Garvie ran up to Sherlock, and hugged and kissed him. “Sherlock! I was beginning to think I’d never see you again. But look at you! So thin! You need to eat. Ian, why didn’t you give them anything to eat?”
“I made tea, dear. I haven’t had a chance to…”
“Well I’ll whip something up in a minute. And who is your friend, Sherlock?”
“John Watson, my flatmate. John, this is Mrs. Garvie.”
“So lovely to meet you, John. How is it living with Sherlock? He’s a dear boy, but I suppose he is just as rude and careless as ever?”
“Hello?… Yes… Yes! We’ll be there tomorrow morning.”
After Garvie had explained the situation to his wife, and they had scheduled another appointment with a different brain specialist, Mrs. Garvie had followed up on her promise, and provided them with a wonderful supper. But someone had called Sherlock just when Mrs. Garvie went into the kitchen for her bread and butter pudding—the one she said Sherlock loved.
John watched Sherlock until he hung up his phone.
“What was that?”
“Lestrade. A document was sent to Scotland Yard—very similar to the one we found on Howard’s hard drive, but more detailed. It was sent to the Yard as per his will. We’ll have to go back to London immediately.”
“Lestrade couldn’t just email it?”
“No, it’s a physical document. I need to see it to get as much information as possible.”
“But Sherlock!” Mrs. Garvie was just putting the pudding on the table, while her husband set out some plates and forks. “I thought you said you would stay the night!”
“I’m sorry, Mrs. Garvie, but this is important. We have to see it as soon as we possibly can. And we’ll just make the next train if we call for a car now.”
“Nonsense! Ian will drive you to the station, if you must go. And I’ll send this home with you.”
When she handed John the tin with the pudding, she kissed his cheek. “Do take care of him, John. And make sure he eats!”
“There wasn’t really any reason to leave.”
“Lestrade had new information.”
“It would have waited until the morning.”
“Time is of the essence.”
“The Garvies will phone me with the results of her new tests, John Staying there longer would have made no difference.”
John spent the rest of the ride trying to decide whether their strange interaction with the Garvies was proof that Sherlock really had managed to destroy every human feeling in himself… or proof that he was trying not to care. When he arrived at home, he was still completely undecided.
John and Sherlock were in the living room at Baker Street. It had been four days since they visited the Garvies, and (probably due to Mycroft, John thought, though Sherlock would never admit it) their suspicions had been confirmed—Mrs. Garvie did not have a brain tumor of any kind, much less a malignant brain cancer. In the interim, Sherlock had been restless and bored enough to accept an odd case for a (very rich) family friend who owned a pleasure cruiser.
Now Sherlock was lying on the sofa with his eyes closed, and John was sitting at the table, staring at the list that meant nothing to him.
That is to say, it didn’t mean nothing. But it didn’t show him where they were going, or what they were doing. And Sherlock was being as unhelpful as ever.
He had just pushed the list aside, and was starting to think of a clever title for a blog post about the boat case…”Terror on the Tilly Briggs” seemed melodramatic… Suddenly, Sherlock sat up.
“The doctors are the key! Get me the addresses of the three doctors who treated Mrs. Garvie—Prinz, RasGupta, and Darian. We need to talk to them.”
John was so relieved to be doing anything, that he only rolled his eyes at Sherlock’s arrogant tone of command. He stopped as he opened his laptop, though.
“Sherlock, what about Naomi Piers? Shouldn’t we be more worried about her?”
“I have that under control, you just look up those doctors.”
About thirty seconds later John looked up again.
“He’s… RasGupta—he’s dead.”
“Yesterday. He… looks like a car-jacking, actually. He was killed and his car was taken away.”
“Hah! And the others dead too, I suppose. If only I had interviewed them personally sooner!”
“No… well, yes, Darian died yesterday as well. Heart attack, they’re saying. But not Prinz.”
Sherlock had already dialed his mobile. “It’s me. Dr. Ralph Prinz. You have to bring him in now… No, I already told you we have additional evidence… You know I’m right… that won’t… nevermind.” He slammed the phone off and dialed another number. “Tell him if he doesn’t tell me the whereabouts of Prinz, I won’t be helping MI-5 ever again… No, he can’t make me… Good!”
John looked at him quizzically.
“Mycroft’s assistant.” His phone buzzed, and he looked at the incoming message. “Aha! Come on, John!” And they were off.
“So, where are we going now?”
“We have to find Prinz before he’s dead. Lestrade won’t bring him in, so we have to question him ourselves.”
“I have your gun. You might need it.”
John took the handgun from Sherlock, but before he concealed it, he stared at it. He’d carried it on several escapades with Sherlock over the past few weeks—he’d even taken it out and threatened someone during that bizarre case with the melting laptop. But he had not pulled the trigger since he’d killed Hope.
Killed Hope, and saved Sherlock from the serial killer and from himself.
That night the name “Moriarty” had been forgotten during an entertaining conversation over late-night Chinese. And John wished he could still forget it. But this case was… well, it was too easy: So many answers were falling into Sherlock’s lap! Sherlock had been practically handed two lists, and one of the people who showed up on both of them, Olga Kuznetsova, wasn’t even the victim of a crime… just a weird picture of what Sherlock could have become. Someone was behind it all, and that someone had to be the Moriarty who sponsored Hope—a person who would sponsor a serial killer.
He tucked the gun into his belt, and looked up to find that Sherlock was staring at him.
“Sherlock, I’ve been thinking, and…”
“John. I’m not an idiot. I know this is for my benefit.”
“And that you might be next on the list? That he might destroy you, too?”
“I’m sure he’ll try.” Then Sherlock grinned. “It should be fun!”
Sherlock had started typing something into his phone. He didn’t even seem to notice that John wasn’t smiling back.
About thirty minutes later, after a hurried argument in which John suggested that another housebreaking might not be their best option, and was quickly overruled, he and Sherlock were creeping through a back garden. Sherlock led the way in through the kitchen door to Prinz’s bedroom, pulled the curtains and shutters closed carefully, and then flipped the light on. Prinz jumped up and stared back and forth from John with the gun trained on his head, to Sherlock, lounging with his arms crossed in a corner of the room. John wondered for a moment if he was going to make a run for the door, when Sherlock drawled, “I wouldn’t run, Prinz. Not if I were you.”
“Wha-what? Who?” And John was almost impressed that a man just startled out of his sleep could pull himself together the way Prinz did. “Who are you? And what are you doing here? I’ll call the police!”
“I wouldn’t do that either, Prinz. We are the police. Detective Inspector Lestrade.” John rolled his eyes, as Sherlock produced a badge.
“And he is?”
“I’m his doctor.”
“A doctor? With a gun?”
“He’s also a crack shot, Prinz.”
“Detective Inspector to you, Prinz.”
“And you can call me Dr. Prinz, if you don’t mind.”
“Oh, but I do mind. I save honorifics for people I respect.”
“Well…” Prinz glanced at John’s gun, “…Detective Inspector, explain to me precisely what is going on.”
“We are bringing you in to Scotland Yard for malpractice in the cases of Jefferson Hope and Helena Garvie—false diagnoses. That’s a serious offense, and it’s led to death and ruin for quite a few people.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I want to speak to my solicitor.”
“I think you do know what I’m talking about, Prinz. As did RasGupta and Darian.”
“We are respected medical professionals! These accusations are outrageous!”
“Don’t lie to me. I think I mentioned that my colleague is a crack shot.”
“And furthermore, I’m afraid you used the wrong tense just a moment ago. RasGupta and Darian were respected medical professionals.”
“They both died yesterday. Doesn’t that strike you as strange?”
“Yes, they did. If I were you, I would think of police custody as police protection, and come quietly.”
Prinz sank back down onto the bed. John could see that he was shaking.
“Now if you’ll just sit there, Prinz, I am going to take a quick look through the house. Please do excuse me.”
Sherlock walked out of the room, and John could hear doors opening and closing. Prinz turned to him.
“You’re quite the ornament to the profession, aren’t you, Doctor? From medical doctor to hired thug?”
John just glared at him.
“Is this what the Hippocratic oath means to you young doctors now? In my day we had standards.”
“I wouldn’t say anything about standards if I were you, Dr. Prinz.”
“What are you… ?”
Sherlock appeared in the doorway holding a laptop. “Getting to know each other? Excellent. Well, I’ll be taking this computer, and then we’ll all be going down to New Scotland Yard. I hope we won’t have to handcuff you, Prinz? That would be a bit difficult to explain to the cabbie.”
John thought for a moment that they would have to handcuff Prinz… or wait for the proper police. But Sherlock spoke again.
“We could just leave you here without protection, Prinz.”
Prinz started to stalk towards the door, and Sherlock smiled and turned to John.
“I don’t think you’ll be needing that Browning, Dr. Watson. But keep a hold on it, just in case.”
“Sherlock, I really can’t…”
“I have unearthed a serious case of medical fraud. If it becomes a problem for the Yard, I have contacts who will be able to deal with it. Don’t complain.”
Lestrade rolled his eyes.
“Also, we saved his life, and he knows that the moment he is out of police custody, he is a dead man, so I don’t think you’ll get much trouble from him now. Just put him under police protection… but don’t let him go.”
“And that’s all? After all that, you just want us to babysit him?”
“Yes. John and I are going home.”
“Okay, Sherlock. I want to know everything that’s going on in that head of yours.”
Sherlock made the face John was growing all too familiar with—the face that said Sherlock was hiding something, but you needn’t ask. “What? You need to ask more politely if you want to know that. We have a taxi waiting and the meter’s running.”
About a day later John was doing the washing up, when Sherlock snapped the lid of Prinz’s laptop shut. “Idiot!”
“You didn’t find anything, then?”
“No. Prinz was a complete idiot He downloaded a virus to his computer.”
“I don’t think so. He probably received it in an email.”
“That happens all the time.”
“How could he have done it? Every scrap of information is gone.”
“Can’t you recover anything?”
“Even I cannot deduce the previous contents of a reformatted hard drive.”
“I could recover almost anything, otherwise. Why didn’t he pay attention?”
“Well… maybe he could tell you more himself? Why did he do this? What was his motivation?”
“There is only one possible motivation, and that is an outside source of money. There isn’t much glory to be had in diagnosing one more aneurism. He had nothing to gain from telling those people that they had aneurisms—any fees would have been far outweighed by the risk as well as the cost of fabricating X-rays and the like. These doctors must have been paid to make false diagnoses—paid very well—but I find no irregularities in his banking, and any information he might have had about other accounts on his computer is gone!”
“And you think they were paid by that-that Moriarty—the one who paid Hope.”
“They must have been.”
“So then question him!”
“No. He was dead this morning. I’ll…”
“Dead? Sherlock, how do you know?”
“Lestrade texted me. Preliminary coroner’s report is that it was heart failure, with no explicable cause. I convinced Lestrade to order extra toxicology screenings, but I wouldn’t be surprised if nothing came through. It’s Moriarty, though. I’m sure of it!”
“Still, I expected he wouldn’t last the week. He was clearly an idiot, and I doubt we could have learned anything more from him.”
John sighed. He couldn’t think of anything to say to that. “Well, what next?”
“Naomi Piers. I have to find out who she is. The name sounds familiar. Where have I heard it?”
“You’ve heard it because she’s all over the papers and the news and the radio. I assumed you knew. She sang that new cover of ‘MacArthur Park’ that they’ve been playing.”
“John, you know I don’t pay attention to the radio.”
“You can’t have missed it. This song… I have no idea why three people have released singles of it… ‘someone left the cake out in the rain…’ Almost embarrassing… But I could probably sing the whole thing, I’ve heard it so many times: ‘Spring was never… waiting… something about a striped pair of…’”
“Thank you, John. But I’m sure that we can dispense with the impromptu pop inanity. More to the point, there is no way that she is the next victim on the list. Moriarty is targeting exceptional minds, and she is… a model and a singer and…” Sherlock was typing furiously at his computer, “She has recently gone to a retreat in Switzerland along with 25 other fabulously wealthy idiots and Alphonse Mondial, one of these charlatans with their drugs… expanding your mind. Complete and utter nonsense… You need brains first.”
“You don’t know that Naomi Piers…”
“Naomi Piers?” Mrs. Hudson had just walked in through the opened door. “Was that a murder, then? I wish you were working for her about something else, I’d ask you to get her autograph for my niece but it’s too late now. No use crying over spilt milk I always say. But still, such a shame. “
“Mrs. Hudson, what are you on about?”
“You didn’t hear? Naomi Piers died just last night. They didn’t say what it was, so I thought maybe you were investigating it and it was a murder.”
“Yes we are, Mrs. Hudson, and it is. John, tea?”
“We’re out of milk.”
“Oh, don’t worry, dear. I’m so forgetful. I just came up to ask if you wanted the rest of my milk since I’m leaving in a few hours to visit my sister for a few days. “
“Yes, thank you, Mrs. Hudson. How long will you be gone?”
“Just three days. But the milk might spoil.”
“Where does your sis—“
“John! Tea!” John glared at Sherlock and remained seated, but when he saw that Mrs. Hudson was already on her way back down the stairs, he got up and started the electric kettle.
“Maybe someone else got to her before Moriarty did?”
“No. Who would have a motivation to kill her?”
“She’s quite popular right now. Maybe an insane fan?”
“John, fans do not kill their idols.”
“John Lennon, Sherlock? Strawberry Fields Forever? You don’t remember that?”
“Well, they do.”
“John, this wasn’t an insane fan. This was a carefully plotted and calculated murder. Insanity would not lead to twenty-seven people overdosing on an experimental drug by the precise amount necessary to kill them—no more and no less.”
“True.” John stared up at the ceiling for a few minutes. “Money!”
“Mondial wanted her money. And he’s dead as well.”
“Yes, but what if her estate stood to benefit from her death.”
“Killing the golden goose? She’s only had one hit single so far, and now that you’ve forced me to listen to it, I don’t think that there is any way it will make money for much longer. It’s the music video that makes it popular—or people are even more stupid than I used to think. But there will be other beautiful women to dance half naked and sell other songs. No one intelligent enough to do that would think there was something to gain from Naomi Piers before she’d at least cut a few more albums.”
About forty-five minutes later John looked up from the sports section of the morning paper at the sound of a loud complaint from Sherlock.
“It’s no use!”
“There are no leads. That Prinz was an idiot… we’ve gotten everything we could from Dr. Garvie, not to mention Miller and Howard… We’re back to where we started. He has to make the next move.”
“You’re saying he’s beat you, then?”
“What? No! Of course not. But I cannot work without evidence, and I need more evidence, and there’s none to be had right now.” Sherlock had been pacing back and forth for a while, but he flopped onto the sofa.
John watched him for a few minutes, and tried to think of something to say that would stop Sherlock pouting. He might look about twelve, but he sometimes he acted about six… “Has anyone else brought you a case recently? One of these, maybe?”
“No. One missing diamond, but it’s too boring.”
“Diamond? I bet they’re willing to pay.”
“No. It’s quite simple. I know exactly where it is, but I have no desire to get myself mixed up with one ring of jewel thieves who have stolen from another.”
At least Sherlock had some principles. “So you’ve told them ‘no’?”
“Not yet. I will eventually.”
“Good. Well, then…” John took his cup of tea into the kitchen, and when he put the leftover beans back in the refrigerator, he noticed that there wasn’t much left. “I think I’ll just get the shopping?”
Sherlock had got up, and was standing idly in front of the bookcase.
“Pick me up a thirty caplet box of vitamins and minerals for pregnancy.”
It took John about five seconds to decide absolutely that he was not going to ask…Endgame