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The team Mycroft sends out for body retrieval finally comes back. Agent Greening hesitates, as he comes to the end of his itemized list of what they recovered.

 

“And then there is this key,” he says, turning the page in the file so Mycroft can see an image of it. It strikes Mycroft as suspicious that this small key alone has been given such enlarged space in the report, but he supposes it is natural for people in the process of puzzling out a mystery to hone in on keys.

 

“Very well,” he says dismissively.

 

“We don’t know what it opens,” Greening presses on. Mycroft can see that it is not a house key, and in fact looks rather similar to a car key what with its bolded design. He suspects it opens a modernized personal safe. “But it may lead to information, evidence that could help bring down Moriarty’s network.”

 

Mycroft thinks otherwise, but he lets the agent speak.

 

“With your permission, I’d like to postpone dissolving the task force in order to locate the safe,” Greening says. Off Mycroft’s hesitation, he adds, assuming it is a matter of cost and resources, “we could work with a smaller team, of course. Just Kettering, Brown, Jacobs, and I.”

 

“Very well,” he says, still frowning. Mycroft will give it a month, and then he will shut it down. He’ll pass the information along to Sherlock anyhow, along with any progress the task force might make.

 

.

 

“Sir, I think you’ll want to see this,” Greening tells him when he reports they’ve found the safe, in his next update. “We have his safe in the evidence holding.”

 

Mycroft knows this; the evidence rooms are strictly monitored. He knows they’ve opened the safe and discovered a stack of documents, including a sealed envelope with his name written on the back in loopy script. He knows they’ve put it all back in one piece to show him.

 

Mycroft follows Greening down to evidence anyhow, assistant in tow. He knows they know he supersedes chain of command: If Mycroft should request to take this envelope and read it himself outside of evidence, he would be allowed.

 

Mycroft takes it in hand. He supposes if he were Sherlock he would be buzzing with excitement at the possibility of one last case, a posthumous game Moriarty had crafted to beguile him. But Mycroft isn’t so much curious as very mildly worried. This reeks of distraction.

 

He takes the envelope and leaves.

 

.

 

Later, at the club, Mycroft slices it open neatly with his letter opener. It is a big, legal-sized envelope, fat enough that it seems there are a good four standard contracts within.

 

He pulls it out-

 

-and nearly chokes on his whiskey.

 

This is Jim Moriarty’s last will and testament.

 

Mycroft sets down his drink and starts to flip through the pages. Standard legalese, so on and so forth, until it starts to list his possessions. It is his will that most of his assets are liquidated, except for a choice few for “sentimental reasons.” Mycroft’s face feels hot, as he recognizes more than a few of those listed locations.

 

These, he’s left to Mycroft. A final jab, he supposes. There is also an exorbitant amount of money that he is sure they will not be able to trace.

 

More surprising, however, is that he is left the “entirety of the deeds accessible through the following network:”

 

There is a string of numbers, an ip address, which should he enter them supposedly takes him somewhere where he can access all of these contracts. Dangerous. And then, for convenience’s sake, Jim has listed these out in summary, and they total what seems to be over 100 pages, single-sided.

 

Each summary point includes a corresponding number that supposedly matches the file on the server.

 

  1. Karunov owes me a free body disposal - details: 23998202
  2. Sandy Smith owes me a boat - details: 23881012
  3. Peter Trise is building islands. He owes me one - details: 23303099

 

The list goes on. He’s owed several pieces of property, someone’s firstborn, a lot of wetwork, fencing services, and transportation, but only for very specific things. For instance there is a Porter who will transport a Rembrandt to the States through Spain. There is a Russian contact who will move arms into the UK. There is Vincent Gremauld who is apparently willing to supply dead bodies and Mycroft makes a note to look into that.

 

It’s as if these detail an encyclopedia full of crimes yet committed. He feels invasive, for a moment, as if he’s stumbled into someone’s personal journal, before remembering this list was written up specifically for him to read.

 

Horror dawns, and Mycroft realizes that these “files” Jim is referring to must be a long list of his own crimes, in detail, with evidence, so as to prove he is owed a favor.

 

Mycroft downs the drink, and debates whether to power through the rest of the pages lest he be kept all night wondering what other incriminating evidence he has been gifted, or leave it in some personal safe of his until he can find a way to pass what helpful information there is in there to his brother.

 

.

 

His superiors offer him two weeks leave, supposedly to grieve.  

 

Mycroft wants to laugh, but he takes it, after an extended amount of protesting and staying another week to tie up loose ends.

 

He, to no one’s knowledge but his own secretary’s, makes a stop in the Swiss Alps, to a gorgeous resort he apparently could be the majority stakeholder of, should he want to cash in a favor.

 

Mycroft breathes in the wintry air and slathers on enough sunscreen that his face looks ridiculous, and even goes skiing for a bit.

 

He’s actually humming by the time he gets back into his toasty room, so distracted in his good mood he’s let his guard down.

 

Mycroft yelps, a truly embarrassing exclamation, as he looks up to see Jim Moriarty sitting on his bed. He’s changed into one of the cloud-like bathrobes, and is flipping through some of Mycroft’s things.

 

“Mycroft!” he says, broad smile on his face. “Did you manage to start on any of my accounts?”

 

Mycroft crosses the room toward the bed in a circling, defensive manner.

 

If Jim Moriarty is alive, then the body retrieval surely never happened - they had been compromised, and-

 

He picks up the phone to call Andrea, who confirms what he feared.

 

Greening has disappeared, taking along with him any and all records alluding to himself.

 

He had been working for Moriarty all along - he falsified evidence and manipulated circumstances so that officially the criminal was dead. And he was the one who led Mycroft to the will. This was it, this was what he had missed. Mycroft is still reeling from this, and not quite sure he has processed the fact that the dead Moriarty is right before him, very much alive.

 

Jim pouts, sitting back.

 

“I’m hurt, you didn’t want to identify my body yourself?”

 

“What are you doing here?” Mycroft hisses. He is glad, so very glad , that they have left London for this damning reunion.

 

Jim blinks with exaggerated slowness, making the best use of his dark doe eyes.

 

“I came to pick up my things,” he says guilelessly. Off Mycroft’s stunned silence, he goes on. “What’s mine is yours, yours is mine, in sickness and health and blah blah.”

 

Mycroft wonders if he’s truly lost his mind now. Surely it shows on his face.

 

Jim falters a bit.

 

“You didn’t… finish reading the file did you?” he asks slowly. “Didn’t skip to the end either?”

 

Jim hops off the bed and starts digging through Mycroft’s bags in earnest.

 

“What do you think you’re doing?” Mycroft asks, sounding offended, because that is an easy reaction to have, much easier than confusion.

 

“The envelope! Where is it!”

 

“Why would you assume I’d brought such incriminating papers with me?”

 

“Well where else would you have left them?!”

 

He’s right, though. Mycroft sighs and walks over, and helps Jim pluck the envelope from out between his socks. Jim scowls and practically rips it out of his hands, dumping the contents onto the bed before Mycroft has a chance to protest. He pushes papers aside until he gets to the very bottom of the stack and plucks the single sheet out.

 

“Aha!” Jim presents it to Mycroft.

 

It is…

 

“This is a marriage certificate,” Mycroft says in a hushed voice, stunned near silence. “Why on earth…”

 

“My things!” Jim says, tantrum-ready. “But you have to sign it for it to be legal!”

 

“Legal! Jim, might I remind you, legally , you are deceased,” Mycroft says, aghast. His head is still swimming.

 

“Yes, but-” He sighs, loud and dramatic, and flings himself onto the bed to avoid the rest of the conversation. Quite like him, if Mycroft’s being honest.

 

Mycroft stares at the sheet of paper, sure that his eye is twitching. Is this a marriage proposal? Is he being conned, out of his name and good fortune and standing? He feels like he is trapped in a period romance novel. After a moment, he realizes Jim is spying on him, turned ever so slightly so that he can see Mycroft out of the corner of his eye. Mycroft gives him a flat look, hands on his hips.

 

“Well?” Jim asks. “Are you going to sign it?”

 

Mycroft sets the certificate back down on the pile, and tucks them all back neatly into the envelope.

 

“If you want to propose, Jim,” he says. “You will have to attempt a more romantic way.”