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21 April 2011 @ 04:21 am
 
Title: And fall apart, and start again.
Summary: A series of snapshots that come together to make Sebastian Moran the man he is.
Pairing: Jim Moriarty/Sebastian Moran
Rating: 18
Warnings: Language, scenes of violence, scenes of a sexual nature, character death.
Wordcount: 10,087

I started writing this after handing my dissertation in, just to have something fun to write. What I expected to be a short ficlet spiralled horribly out of control.

Title's taken from Placebo's English Summer Rain which, while it has no direct bearing on the fic, is a bloody good song.



The crowbar connecting with the man's skull sends tremors reverberating down Sebastian Moran's arms, humming through the muscle and bone like the clear peal of a bell. Rather than a sickening crack, the sound is dull and wet. He swings the bar until a bubble of blood blooms from the man's nose before popping, and he finally stops gurgling horribly. He straightens, wiping the wet smear of blood from his cheek with the back of his hand. Across the room, James Moriarty starts laughing. It's not an affected laugh, but a deep, bubbling laugh of genuine pleasure. He even claps his hands together in his delight. Sebastian stares at him, the crowbar hanging loose at his side. Eventually, Jim pulls himself together and saunters over to him, tiptoeing in an exaggerated, cartoonish way to avoid the thickly spreading pool of blood.

“Why, Sebastian,” he purrs, curling his fingers briefly around Sebastian's taut biceps. “I do believe you enjoyed that almost as much as I did.”

Jim pats his broad shoulder and leaves the room, chuckling to himself.

The worst part, the worst fucking part, Sebastian thinks, staring at the man's caved in skull, is that he's not wrong.

*


“My mum always told me that life--” A collective groan from the gathered men cuts off Private Morgan mid flow. “No, no, listen.”

“If you say 'is like a box of chocolates', Morgan, I swear to God this L8 is going up your arse,” barks Private Chase, and the men laugh raucously. Sitting in the passenger seat and gazing out of the window of the camouflaged Jeep, Colonel Sebastian Moran hides a smile.

“She used to say--”

“That she wished your dad had worn a johnny?”

The men laugh again, jeering playfully, and in the rear view mirror, Private Morgan scowls.

“Let him finish,” Sebastian says, craning round to look at the men in the back seat, “or we'll never hear the fucking end of it.”

After some minor grumbling, the men wait, falsely attentive. Morgan isn't at all deterred.

“She used to say,” he continues, “that life's a journey, and we're all just walking down the path. Fate's the cracks- you can try and avoid it, but you'll step on them eventually.”

There's a beat of silence, and the rowdy piss-taking begins in earnest. Sebastian tunes them out, watching the bland, beige desert rolling past. He doesn't have the time or the patience for twee life analogies- he makes his own luck.

*


Sebastian hears the metal door of a garage slam shut, and waits for the familiar light tread on the concrete steps outside. He's sitting in the room of an abandoned block of flats, condemned and overgrown. All of the lower level windows have been smashed by kids, but even they've grown bored of the place now. It's filthy, it reeks of damp, and it's cold. For the past 20 minutes, Sebastian has been waiting, staring at a patch of mould on the wall. The more he looks at it, the more the shape begins to resemble the outline of Oruzgan on a map. As the thin plywood door to the room creaks open, he looks up. Jim Moriarty shuts the door behind him and leans against it with his eyes closed, sighing.

“No dice?” Sebastian asks.

“Silent as the grave,” Jim replies, and slams his hands suddenly on the door behind him, frustrated. Sebastian, used to these outbursts, doesn't flinch. Instead, he looks out the window at the closed metal door.

“Why don't you let me talk to him?” he asks, and Jim opens his eyes and gives him a look, thin eyebrows lowered.

“Because I know what your talking looks like. If I send him back with several missing teeth, the deal's off entirely.”

Sebastian hums thoughtfully, and Jim swears, pulling a Blackberry mobile out of his immaculately tailored suit. Sebastian glances back at him.

“What are you doing?”

“I'm calling Hall, and telling him he needs to try other avenues. This isn't going to work.”

“He can't be visibly hurt, right?”

“What?” Jim snaps, looking up from his phone and scowling at him.

“The bloke in the garage.”

“No,” Jim replies, as though he's talking to someone stupid, “because he works for someone who I'm supposed to be playing nice with.”

Sebastian stands up from the stacked breeze blocks he's been sitting on, and stretches.

“Do you have a can of Coke or something?”

“Do I look like a fucking vending machine?”

“I can make him talk.”

“By giving him a nice cold beverage? Perfect.”

Sebastian says nothing, but looks at him levelly. Irritation is plain on Jim's face, and his normally large brown eyes are narrow, but after a moment, he sighs.

“There's a machine down in the foyer. I doubt it'll work, though.”

It doesn't. Neither of them have any cash on them, anyway, and so Sebastian kicks at the plexiglass front. When it doesn't break, he wraps his fingers around the edges of the machine, and, with no small amount of effort, begins to rock it. It's heavy, and he grunts with the exertion, while Jim stands to the side and watches with his arms folded, leaning against the wall.

“You could help, you know,” Sebastian grouses.

“Did you know that between 1978 and 1995, 37 people were killed in vending machine related incidents?”

Sebastian shoots him an exasperated look.

“Why do you even know that?”

Jim shrugs an angular shoulder. Eventually, the rocking momentum of the vending machine means that gravity takes its toll, and it falls on its side with a mighty crash, several cans rolling out of the slot at the bottom with a tinny clunk. Sebastian leaps backwards from it, grinning triumphantly. He gathers up several of the cans, and gestures to Jim to lead the way.

The door to the garage is old, and Jim reaches up to the handle and inserts a small key, turning it and twisting the handle round as he pushes the door inwards and upwards. There's a man bound to a chair in the middle of the otherwise empty room, dramatically lit by a long, flickering halogen light bulb set into the ceiling. He looks up as the door opens, noting the cans in Seb's arms and smiling, smug.

“Are we having a picnic now? You can't touch me and you know it, Moriarty.”

Jim casts Sebastian a look that clearly says 'if this doesn't work, you're leaving this room in several bags', before pulling the garage door closed behind them. It throws the whole room into darkness, the shadows swallowing everything aside from the bright pool of light surrounding the man in the middle. Sebastian puts all of the cans but one down on the floor. He circles the chair, casually shaking the can in his hand.

“I spent some time in Latin America,” he says to the bound man, who drops his head and starts to laugh quietly.

“I hope you're going to show me pictures.”

“Not quite,” Sebastian says, airily. He continues, “What I did learn, though, was something people call 'tehuacanazos'.

He pushes the edge of the cold can under the man's nose, and he tilts his chin up to escape it. Sebastian smiles darkly, and pushing harder, snaps the tab of the can open. The resulting spray of carbonated liquid floods up the man's nose and he gasps, breath and voice caught in his throat as he desperately tries to pull his face away. Sebastian's fingers knot tightly in his hair, keeping him in place, and he shouts, pained, his legs frantically pulling against their restraints as he tries to kick out. The torrent of Coke soon runs out, and Seb drops the can to the floor where it rolls away, spilling dark pop across the garage floor.

The man gasps for breath, making pained noises in his throat as he hangs his head.

“It's something that corrupt cops do to get people talking, seeing as it doesn't leave any marks. I've heard people say that it's similar to waterboarding,” Sebastian continues easily, as though nothing had just happened, “with the whole not being able to breathe and the feeling like you're drowning part.”

He walks back over to the cans, and picks up a second one, which he again begins to shake.

“I figure it's bound to be worse, though, what with it being carbonated. That'll fucking sting.”

“Fuck you,” the man in the chair gasps, and Sebastian sighs.

“Wrong answer.”

Forcing the can under the man's nose again, he repeats the action. He chokes loudly, struggling in vain against his bonds, slamming his back against the chair. The sticky liquid spills down his face, this time accompanied by a thin stream of blood. Fingers tight and vicious in his hair, Sebastian wrenches his head back.

“I'm in no rush here,” he growls, and the man lets out a pained sob.

“Fuck, okay, alright. He's not worth this. I'll tell you.”

Sebastian grins, and looks over at Jim. Jim's chin is tilted down as he watches him, eyes huge and black in the dim light. His features are softened by the shadows, full lips curved in a cruel smile, and the look he's giving Sebastian makes his stomach twist hotly, heat flashing through his limbs like electricity leaping along a wire.

“Good boy,” he says, voice low and lilting, and Sebastian isn't sure which one of them he's talking to.

*


When Sebastian first hears of James Moriarty, he's in a dingy pub in Islington. It's not his preferred sort of drinking hole at all, but he's meeting with an old army mate, and the place came recommended. The man's situation must be worst than he'd imagined, Sebastian thinks, as he sips his pint of lager. He taps his fingers on the table, which is wet and slightly tacky to the touch. He quickly stops, and discreetly wipes his hand off on his jeans.

“Fuckin' shame.” His friend, Alex Tribbin, shakes his head.

Sebastian swallows, shrugging.

“I mean,” Alex continues, “your dad's known Jacobs for years. You think he'd put in a word.”

Sebastian wouldn't admit that he was on the verge of asking under pain of torture.

“Nothing he can do, is there? It doesn't matter.”

It's a lie, that much is obvious to the both of them, but Alex understands, and doesn't call him out on it. In the background, a small group of men with shaved heads jump up from their seats, shouting furiously at a football match playing out on a wall mounted plasma TV. The sudden loud burst of noise doesn't startle Sebastian, but his head turns slightly, quickly, towards it.

“Are you going to any support groups?” Alex asks, after a pause.

“Nah,” Sebastian says. “Jacobs gave me some website, some fucking Support our Soldiers crap. Told me to sign up, meet people.”

“Have you?”

“No.” Sebastian scoffs at the idea; the only thing he feels about being sent home in disgrace is a burning sense of resentment. He doesn't need support.

“So,” Alex says, working his way through a packet of peanuts, “what's the plan now? 'Cause if you're looking for some work, me and a couple of old army pals are working freelance at a security agency--”

Sebastian interrupts, shaking his head before swallowing his mouthful of lager.

“No. No, I'd be bored shitless walking in circles all day, or sitting on my arse at a desk. My dad might be able to pull some strings, get me some sort of detail work over in Afghanistan. It's not ideal, but...”

Alex eyes him thoughtfully, swirling the frothy remnants of his pint around at the bottom of his glass.

“You know... if you're looking for something along the, uh, lines of your old work... I might know something.”

Sebastian looks up, surprised.

“Like what?”

“There's this bloke-- I heard of him through the grapevine, he's got a lot of people's backs up-- he's looking for a gun for hire. Not anyone, mind. There's a good few Privates, all good lads, who wouldn't mind the job, I'll tell you that. Good money. You'd think he's looking for a fuckin' wife though, with how picky he is. He won't take any of 'em.”

“What sort of work?”

“No idea. It's all very hush hush.”

“But you've met him?”

“Once, only brief, like. Weasely little bastard gives me the creeps. I wouldn't touch it for nothing myself. But you're fuckin' good, Moran; you always have been, and I think that's what he's looking for. You might be able to deal with him.”

Sebastian hums thoughtfully.

“Do you have a name for me?”

Alexander glances around the pub cautiously before he places his forearms on the table, leaning over to whisper to Sebastian.

“Moriarty.”

*


“Jeff Hope is dead.”

Sebastian drops a folded newspaper onto the marble kitchen side without any ceremony, and waits for Jim's inevitable explosive reaction. Jim looks up from his morning bowl of muesli, spoon paused half way to his mouth. He raises a questioning eyebrow.

“Who?”

Sebastian picks the newspaper back up and shakes it open. A photo of Jeff Hope with his family, their faces blurred out, is on the front page, along with the headline MET POLICE PUT BREAKS ON KILLING SPREE – Murderous Taxi Driver's Rampage Bought To A Halt.

“Oh,” Jim says, realisation hitting. “Bad Cabbie. Well, that's a shame. He was quite entertaining when he started bragging about his supposed genius.”

He seems thoroughly unconcerned, and Sebastian shakes the newspaper at him, irritated by Jim's relaxed attitude and often inappropriate sense of humour.

“Well?”

Jim frowns.

“Why are you reading the Daily Mail?”

Sebastian sets his jaw and tilts his chin down, unamused. Jim sighs and sets his spoon aside, folding his hands in his lap faux-attentively.

“They have nothing on me,” he says easily. “Hope wasn't a complete idiot, he knew where his bread was buttered.”

Sebastian says nothing. Jim sighs again and sips at a cooling cup of peppermint tea prissily. He takes his time, wrapping his fingers around the delicate china and absorbing the warmth.

“The sole thing that connects me to Jeff Hope is an occasional transferral of money from an account that cannot be traced back to me. He was only a pet project, anyway. A little indulgent fun.”

“He knew your name,” Sebastian reminds him shortly.

“And if Scotland Yard knew my name, I would have heard of it by now.” He sips his tea once more, thin eyebrows raised, long eyelashes lowered, relaxed. “They're not that competent, Sebastian.”

Sebastian wonders, exasperated, whether Jim's in shock. His calm, somewhat arrogant reaction is wholly unexpected. He's used to Jim screaming, lashing out, or throwing things- especially throwing things- in response to bad news, but this new, Zen approach is entirely unsettling.

“What are you going to do now?” he asks, and Jim gently puts down his tea, looking thoughtful.

“Well,” he says carefully, “I shall have to find myself someone new to play with, I suppose.”

He glances up from his tea directly at Sebastian, a shrewd, dark look that makes Sebastian's stomach contract. After a beat, he places the newspaper down on the counter, and walks away.

*


In an office at a British base camp in Helmand, General Richard Jacobs sits at a desk, a letter open in front of him. He rubs his hand across his face, tired, and digs his fingers into his temples to stave off a headache. There's a sharp rap at the door to the office, and he sighs.

“Come in,” he calls, and Sebastian enters the room.

General,” he greets, standing to attention, and Jacobs waves a hand.

“Sit down, Moran,” he says, and Sebastian obeys, scraping the plastic chair out across the floor.

“I shan't draw this out and make it any more painful than it needs to be,” Jacobs says flatly. “You're being discharged.”

He leans over the desk and hands Sebastian the letter. Sebastian stares at it before laughing once, disbelieving.

“What?”

Jacobs spreads his hands and leans back in his chair.

“It's out of my hands, Sebastian. God knows if I could do anything about it, I would.”

“My father--” Sebastian begins, and Jacobs cuts him off.

“Your father has no say in this matter, diplomat or not.”

Sebastian scoffs and drops the letter on the table before leaning back in his chair, arms folded, furious. He shakes his head, disgusted. A deafening, resonating throb fills the office as a Chinook HC2 passes briefly overhead.

“This is bullshit. I'm being used as a fucking scapegoat.”

“Watch your tone, Colonel,” Jacobs warns. “There's no blame being assigned here. This discharge is nothing to do with the incident. This is for health reasons--”

“Health reasons,” Sebastian interrupts, hissing. “There are no health reasons, Captain, and we both know it.”

“You've been through an experience that would traumatise anyone, Sebastian.”

“I'm not fucking traumatised,” Sebastian shouts. The two of them lapse into silence, and Jacobs looks at him shrewdly.

“I've known your family for a long time, Sebastian,” he says finally, flatly, “so let me say something off the record. Unofficially, you disobeyed a direct order. It wasn't the first time.”

“I saved a man's life,” Sebastian protests, and Jacobs silences him with a warning look.

“Regardless, you violated the direct orders of your superiors, and someone has to answer for that. You've been headstrong all your life, God knows you have.”

“So that's it,” Sebastian says brittlely. “I'm being written off, just like that.”

“As I said; officially, you're being discharged for your health.”

Sebastian shakes his head, gritting his teeth. He refuses to look at Jacobs.

“It's a shame. Within a year, you would have made Brigadier.”

Sebastian says nothing, and Jacobs sighs.

“Dismissed, Moran.”

Sebastian stands, chin held high, and without saying another word to his Captain, he leaves the office. He doesn't even try to resist the urge to slam the door on the way out. If his life is a path, it's in need of some serious repaving.

*


James Moriarty isn't the kind of man that wants to set the world aflame just to see it burn. It's not about anarchy with him, or uncontrollable chaos. Jim Moriarty, Sebastian thinks, is the kind of man who would set the world on fire and then smile nicely, telling you that, for the right price, he knows where he can get you a fire extinguisher.

This time, though, it's not Jim who has set the world alight; it was Sherlock Holmes. The poolside confrontation, while not planned, had been, Sebastian thinks, inevitable.

Sebastian had been waiting in the back of a white transit van parked a street away from 221b for two hours on the night that it happened, alert for any signal from the driver. Jim's been entirely distracted by Sherlock Holmes lately, and his obsession with these little games is beginning to grate on Sebastian. When the driver finally thumps on the metal dividing the cab from the spacious back, Sebastian slides the side door open and steps out, standing directly behind John Watson. Watson turns, alarmed, but Sebastian is faster, and immediately locks his arm around the other man's neck. They scuffle for a moment; Watson is a military man too and not easy to overpower, but Sebastian has the advantage of both height and surprise, and he squeezes down with his arm on his carotid artery. He pulls a syringe from his back pocket and bites the cap of off the hypodermic needle. In his other pocket, Sebastian's phone begins to vibrate. Watson swings an elbow back and catches Sebastian in the solar plexus, winding him, but Sebastian's hold stays firm, and he sinks the needle into the flesh of Watson's neck, pushing down on the plunger. The sedative is swift, and he soon sags in Sebastian's arms.

He's heavier than he looks, stocky and compact, and Sebastian drags him into the back of the van before leaning out to pick up the cap he'd spat out, and then slamming the door shut. The van immediately rumbles to life, and Sebastian grips the leather of his glove between his teeth and pulls it off, scrambling for his phone which is still insistently vibrating in his trousers.

“Moran,” he says sharply, still slightly winded.

“Change of plan!” Jim trills on the other end, voice high and excited.

Sebastian stares at the prostrate form of John Watson on the van floor in disbelief.

“What?”

“Sherlock and I have a date.”

“You-- what?

“I do hope you've bought me a present.” Conversation with Jim often veers wildly away from topic to topic, leaving Sebastian scrambling to keep up.

“If you view a chubby old army doctor as a present,” Sebastian sneers, “then yes.”

“You are a good boy, Sebastian,” Jim purrs, and then rattles off a change of address.

The rest of the evening passes in an adrenaline filled blur- barking orders at men stationed around the old pool, slapping John Watson awake and forcing him into a heavy, explosive lined coat, Jim's confrontation, the moment he had been waiting for, and finally, his sudden insistence that he must return to the pool to finish it once and for all.

And then Sherlock Holmes pulls the trigger.

The amount of Semtex and gelignite in the parka, while not huge, is enough to cause a reasonably large explosion, and Sebastian rushes in to pull Jim out of the whole mess before the entire London Met descend upon them. Though he managed to throw himself clear of the blast, his suit is covered in thick, grey dust, and bright crimson blood is spilling from the side of his head.

“The game's up now,” Sebastian hisses as he fair throws Jim into the back of a waiting car. As the driver quickly peels away from the scene of the crime, Sebastian struggles out of his suit jacket, pulling Jim close against him and pressing the expensive material to the side of his head to stem the blood flow. The iron tang scent of blood is strong so close, hot and sticky as his fingers slip through it. In the dim light of the back seat, Jim's eyes are huge and black, pupils blown. His breathing is short and shallow, chest rising and falling quickly with excitement. Sebastian can feel his rapid butterfly pulse beneath his fingers; Jim's trembling, and Sebastian's stomach knots coldly in fear before he realises that he's laughing. He stares at Jim in disbelief.

“You've gone mad.”

Jim grins, wolfish, the edges of his mouth stained with his own smeared blood.

“He knows who you are now,” Sebastian says, and he wants to shake his friend. “If you don't think the police--”

“Oh, no,” Jim interrupts, and he sounds detached and not altogether there, almost as though he's stoned. “He won't say anything. He's going to want me all for himself.”

“You're not making any sense,” Sebastian barks, and Jim's grin grows wider as his head lolls.

“Oh, he was so beautiful.”

“Yeah, well,” Seb mutters as he tries to assess the damage done in the dull light, “I'm sure the two of you will be very happy together.”

“You too,” Jim replies, which makes no sense, but his head is drooping and so Sebastian says nothing.

Jim's adrenaline high is short lived; by the time Sebastian gets him home, he's significantly quieter, pale and drawn. He helps him up his tightly curling staircase with a mind to put him in the shower, but Jim pushes past him and collapses on his knees in front of the toilet, pushing up the lid and slinging his left arm across the seat, resting his forehead on it. He's pulling in deep, steadying breaths that shake when he exhales. Sebastian picks up a thick, soft hand towel and runs it under the hot water tap briefly. He rolls his sleeves up and kneels on the floor next to Jim, fingers splayed between his narrow, angular shoulders, He presses the towel to the side of his head carefully, wiping away the drying and congealing blood.

“Are you dizzy?” he asks, voice low, and Jim murmurs in the affirmative, clearly concussed. His eyes are closed, long eyelashes dusted with powdered concrete, his lips parted, and Sebastian follows the line of his jaw with the damp towel before sweeping it gently along the pale curve of his neck. He's almost glad he's hurting. He wants nothing more than for Jim to forget this obsession with Sherlock Holmes and move on, possibly out of the country. Sebastian knows he has ample contacts in Russia, and Sebastian knows people in Afghanistan-- if they can get away from the detective and Jim's games, they can make it work. He slides his hand down to Jim's upper arm, and Jim flinches away, hissing.

Now that he's properly looking, Sebastian can see that Jim's holding his arm awkwardly, and Sebastian can tell by the angle that it's clearly dislocated. He grips it carefully above the bony elbow and extends it. Jim turns his head, pushing his face into the crook of the arm slung over the toilet, swearing faintly. Sebastian rotates the arm gently, raising it as he goes until at last the joint clicks back into place with a loud crack. Jim cries out as the resulting pain travels sharply up his already abused body in visible wave. It mixes with his dizziness and nausea and he heaves, emptying the contents of his stomach into the toilet. Sebastian carefully strokes a hand soothingly up and down Jim's narrow back, something he'd never be able to get away with were he not disorientated. As Jim coughs and heaves, Sebastian imagines the ways that he could get back at Sherlock Holmes- he thinks Jim would find him so much more beautiful after Sebastian had broken him.

*


They're in Jim's flat, or, as Sebastian privately calls it, the Lair, though it's hardly a fitting nickname- instead of being dark and intimidating, the place is light and airy with an entire wall of windows facing due west. Sebastian arrived early in the day with a package, the delivery of a kitchen knife with an expertly forged thumb print on the blade that Jim had been waiting for. He'd stayed after dropping it off, straightening Jim's flat and making him a cup of tea. Jim raises slim eyebrows at him as he offers him the cup, but he says nothing, quietly drinking it and returning back to his paperwork.

For the past two hours they've been sitting comfortably, a Planet Earth DVD playing quietly in the background. It's hardly the sort of thing Sebastian would go out of his way to watch, but Jim seems to find David Attenborough's voice soothing. The sun is setting now, throwing long, golden fingers of light across across the black oak flooring which Jim is sitting on, completely ignoring his perfectly comfortable sofa in order to spread a thick sheaf of papers around him. The papers are covered in charts and graphs, a lot of mathematical mumbo jumbo that Sebastian couldn't understand even with the aid of a Maths-Swot to English dictionary. Jim concentrates fiercely on it, however, squinting at the reams of numbers in the dying light. He needs his eyes testing, but Sebastian knows that he would never admit to it, and so instead of saying anything, he leans over to switch a table side lamp on.

The movement brings one of the sheets of paper momentarily into his line of sight, and he stares at the data printed on it in disbelief. Laying on his front on the settee, he brings the paper closer to his face to make sure he hasn't misread it.

“What is this?”

Jim glances up at him, and Sebastian tilts the paper towards him.

“Payroll.”

The amount of money listed seems arbitrary, and varies wildly. The largest sum by far left the bank two days ago, and is for £300,000.

“Someone's doing well for themselves,” Sebastian murmurs, and Jim doesn't even have to look at him to know what he's referring to.

“Forger,” he mutters, “New York. She's good.”

“Christ. For that much money, she better be.”

Jim hums absently, and rubs at his tired eyes with slim fingers. The purple watercolour smudges underneath his eyes are growing ever darker, and his long eyelashes lay flush against them as he closes his eyes and leans his head back against the settee. The movement puts him startlingly close to Sebastian, who is still leaning on his stomach. He takes the rare, quiet moment to fully study his employer's profile. This close, he can see a faint asterism of freckles at Jim's temple, revealed by his thinning hairline. Something about a widely feared criminal having freckles amuses him, and he snorts quietly. Jim rolls his head across the edge of the sofa to face him, large eyes questioning. It brings their faces unnervingly close together.

“You look tired, boss,” Sebastian says, quiet. “You should get some sleep.”

Jim's usual reaction to Sebastian's unsolicited advice is to snap at him, but this time he only hums, thoughtful, as though he's said something interesting. His often cold eyes look disarmingly warm so close up, lit from the side by the sunlight, and Sebastian pulls his face back, suddenly unsettled.

“I should go.”

Jim says nothing, but his eyes flick down to Sebastian's mouth momentarily, and Sebastian wets his lips reflexively. Jim's mouth curls, an edge of cruelty to his smile, as though he's just seen something that amuses him. The flat is hushed and still, both of them quiet, as though they're suspended in time. Jim raises his eyebrows slightly, a playful look on his face.

“So go,” he says, and Sebastian leaps to his feet as though Jim's word carry an electric charge. He's not a man who is used to feeling flustered; he much prefers to do the flustering for himself with women. To find himself suddenly on the receiving end for no discernible reason is unnerving. He pulls his jacket on quickly and crosses to the door, and pauses with his hand on the handle. He glances back at Jim, still sitting on the floor; he stretches, flexing his angular limbs, but doesn't look at Sebastian again.

“Don't forget you have to meet with Chalmers tomorrow,” he calls. Sebastian lets himself out.

*


In a sprawling country house in Totteridge, Whetstone, Sebastian sits in the living room of his family home with his father, Sir Augustus Moran. The sun is setting, swathing the room in shadows, but a large fire is burning in the grate, and neither of them move to turn on the lights. The familial resemblance between them is strong; though his father's facial features have softened with age, they share the same strong, angular jaw and blond hair, his father's slowly turning to an austere shade of grey. They sit in silence that should be comfortable, but there's an undercurrent of tension, as though he's waiting for something, that keeps Sebastian's muscles pulled taut and his back straight in his chair.

“I spoke to Dick Jacobs today,” his father says at length, and Sebastian looks up from the whisky he's been swirling around the bottom of a tumbler.

“Oh?”

“He's a Field Marshal now.”

Sebastian hums in reply, disinterested. Thinking of Jacobs makes something inside of him pull hotly, prickling, burning resentment rushing along his limbs. His father doesn't mention the rank that Sebastian could have been by now, but it's implied in the heavy silence. Sebastian swallows down the rest of his whisky in one large gulp.

“He was telling me that they're looking for more security for Hamid Karzai. He thought of you for the role. I would only have to have a word with him, and the job's yours.”

Sebastian glances at his father. Sitting in the dying light, his features are thrown into shadow, and it makes it hard to discern his expression.

“Since when has Jacobs been looking for security detail work for me?”

“Ever since I asked him to,” his father replies shortly. There's a beat of silence, only punctured by the popping of logs in the grate, and by his father's gun dog, an Irish Setter, yawning and stretching in front of the fire.

“What's this really about?” Sebastian asks quietly, and his father turns to face him, eyes inscrutable in the fire light.

“I've been hearing rumours about you, Sebastian,” he says frankly, “Unpleasant ones at that.”

Sebastian says nothing.

“I've not said anything to your mother, because she'd worry herself to death, God knows she would. But your name is beginning to crop up in connection with some unsavoury people.”

You'd know all about that, Sebastian thinks, but he keeps quiet. In spite of his diplomat status, or perhaps because of it, his father has hardly kept his own nose clean. From a very young age, Sebastian has been aware that his father is not above dealing with things in a capacity that is not strictly legal. He says none of this aloud.

I'm beginning to worry about you, Sebastian,” his father says quietly. “I think you've wandered off the path.”

Sebastian thinks of multi-million pound business deals; he thinks of the weight of an illegal firearm, heavy in his hands; of the scream of a man as he carefully angles the bit of a drill through his kneecap; of the sunny, butter yellow colour of Semtex; of Jim's slowly curling, sinful smile. A small answering smile creeps over his own face, and he turns away from his father.

“Actually,” he replies, “I think I've finally found it.”

*


As Sebastian regains consciousness, he's painfully aware of a sharp prick as a needle is withdrawn from his neck. His vision swims and his stomach rolls as he struggles to lift his head, nausea rapidly climbing in his throat. He's entirely disorientated and his head hangs down, chin against his breastbone as he pants to keep the nausea at bay. A figure, swimming in and out of focus, walks away from him and out of a door. He lifts his head drunkenly as his vision clears, attempting to familiarise himself with his surroundings. He's tied to a chair, ropes around his ankles and pulled tight against his middle and shoulders, hands tied behind him. He's in a brightly lit white warehouse, entirely empty except for him. For a horrible, confusing moment, he thinks he's back in Helmand, captured by the enemy.

My name is Sebastian Moran,” he shouts in Pashto after the retreating figure, voice cracking dryly, “son of an English diplomat, Sir Augustus Moran.

It's not a cowardly move, but a tactical one; he is very aware that having a father of such a rank makes him a valuable commodity to some people. The more time his captors have to mull over such a thing, the more time he has to regain his senses fully and get himself out of there. If nothing else, it may provide a distraction.

The other man pays him no attention, though, and leaves the room. Sebastian struggles to keep track of the passage of time, severely hindered by churning sickness he's experiencing. His mouth is completely dry, and it's as though someone's removed his brain and replaced it with cotton wool. He tries his luck at tugging against the bonds, but as he had feared they hold firm, chafing against his wrists. He doesn't even remember where he had been or what he'd been doing before he'd been captured. After a while, the door creaks open again, and a short, slight man springs into the room. He crosses over to Sebastian with a bounce in his step, whistling as he goes. He walks behind him and Sebastian twists against his restraints, attempting to watch him. He circles back around quickly, holding a file in his hand, which he flips open casually and begins reading from it in a friendly, lilting Irish accent.

“Colonel Sebastian Augustus Moran: sole heir to the right honourable Sir Augustus Moran, British diplomat to Iran, Companion of the Order of the Bath, very impressive. Educated at Eton and Oxford, served in Afghanistan- crack shot, author of two books, once crawled down a drain after a wounded man-eating tiger-- likes killing endangered animals, Piña Coladas, and getting caught in the rain.”

He clears his throat and peers at Sebastian before returning back to the file.

“Discharged from the military, but not dishonourably- though it does say here that you were warned for excessive cruelty, and an apparent problem with authority.”

Sebastian stares at him.

“Did I miss anything?”

“Who are you?”

The man sighs and drops the file. The papers scatter across the floor and he leans close to Sebastian, their faces inches apart. His dark eyes are large and disconcerting, and Sebastian turns his face to the side as far as he can without breaking eye contact.

“Oh dear,” he says flatly. “My associate must have been a little enthusiastic with the etorphine. He does that sometimes; forgets that you're only little people, and not great galloping racehorses.”

He pulls back from Sebastian and walks a few paces away from him before turning around again, spreading his arms before placing his hands flat on his lapels.

“Please allow me to introduce myself: Jim Moriarty. I believe you've been looking for me.”

“You're Moriarty?” Sebastian croaks, and Moriarty smiles brightly.

“That I am.”

The smile drops off of his face faster than it arrived, leaving him with a cold, dangerous expression.

“Now, you're going to tell me why you've been asking where to find me, or an etorphine hangover is going to be the least of your worries.”

“A friend of mine said you were looking for someone- a gun for hire.”

Moriarty raises his slim eyebrows.

“You're bringing me a CV?”

“I'm afraid I don't have one on me,” Sebastian says, and he doesn't quite sound as nonchalantly dry as he had hoped.

Moriarty gives him a fiercely calculating look before he relaxes into a smile.

“Well,” he murmurs thoughtfully, “your resume is certainly impressive. I warn you, though; the men who work for me have to learn to be very, very obedient.”

He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a syringe and Sebastian pulls back in his chair reflexively. Moriarty saunters over to him and circles behind him, leaning over Sebastian and whispering into his ear so that his lips brush against his skin, intimate.

“I'll be in touch.”

There's yet another sharp, painful scratch on his neck and then Sebastian sinks into darkness, waking up hours later, feeling violently ill, on the sofa of his own flat in Mayfair.

*


Jim soon finds someone new to play with, though she's not at all who Sebastian had expected. After calming down from the initial explosion that had occurred when first finding out about Sherlock Holmes, Jim instead focuses his energy into orchestrating a series of games to occupy the detective's time. Not content with this, Jim finds a way to infiltrate the man's life in other ways. He only needs to pull a few strings to land himself a job at the hospital that Holmes frequents. He's almost childishly excited when he gets his name tag and work pass, showing them off to Sebastian as though they're the best presents he's ever received. He has the gall to not even bother masking his identity, and revels in using his own name as he hides in plain sight.

“Slumming it with the proletariat,” he muses, tilting the plastic pass in his slim fingers. “I wonder if they'll expect me to pay taxes?”

He sounds gleeful at the thought. He throws himself into the role, complete with terrible, slumped posture, hideous clothes (Primark's best) and, most irritatingly, a vaguely Birmingham accent that grates horribly on Sebastian's nerves. He sounds slow and stupid when he speaks, mousy and shy, nothing like himself.

“You have a Ph.D in maths,” Sebastian says irritably, “and you're working in an IT department just to get the attention of this one man. Why would he even go to the IT department! He's always in the morgue!”

Jim waves a hand at him, nonchalant.

“I just need to find my way in,” he says, and find it he does.

Molly Hooper is like the female equivalent of Jim's IT persona. Jim begins spending more and more time with her, and Sebastian can't understand it at all. She makes the man watch Glee, for God's sake. Jim puts up with her, though, and she turns out to be an invaluable source of information regarding anything Sherlock Holmes. Jim begins to develop a strange fondness for her, almost like she's his dumb pet.

“It's a shame,” he muses, “she could be so great with a little encouragement.”

Sebastian looks up at him from where he's kneeling on the floor, carefully hammering nails into a large wooden crate that houses a priceless vase. He's come to meet him in the warehouse straight from the hospital, and Sebastian always finds it unnerving to see him dressed in low slung jeans and tight v-neck t-shirts. Even when dressed casually, Jim's usual style is nothing if not designer and expensive. His cheap costume has a disarming effect; he looks younger, softer.

“She knows a lot about human bodies,” he carries on, circling the crate, “especially dead ones.”

“I know a lot about dead bodies,” Sebastian complains around the cigarette in his mouth. He resumes hammering.

Jim hums in acknowledgement.

“She knows how they're put together, though; all those nerves and which to take advantage of. I bet she could make a man beg so easily.”

He sounds dreamy and contemplative. Sebastian imagines the two of them together- Molly growing confident with Jim's encouragement, blooming like a flower under his careful ministrations. The two of them are pale and diminutive, with slight builds and wide, limpid eyes- they'd make a pretty pair. He brings the hammer down on a protruding nail slightly harder than necessary. Jim turns to look at him, thin eyebrows raised.

“Why Sebastian,” he drawls, “I do believe your mind is in the gutter.”

Sebastian says nothing, concentrating stubbornly at the task in hand.

“It's a shame she's so shy,” Jim carries on, tone carefully light, “she might be a bit more interesting if I was fucking her.”

Sebastian glances up at him sharply, only to find Jim already watching him. The corner of his mouth curls, vicious, as though Sebastian has given him the exact reaction that he was looking for. Having been thoroughly played, Sebastian turns his attention back to the job at hand.

“Not that I'm interested,” Jim adds lightly. “I prefer someone with a little bite. Where's the fun otherwise?”

Sebastian pointedly does not answer him.

Jim stands at his side for a moment, silent, before his fingers land on his shoulder and he bends down.

“Mind you're careful with that crate,” he murmurs. “That vase is worth more than your life.”

He pats Sebastian on the head as though he's a human sized dog, fingers curling briefly in the short hair at the back of his neck before he walks away. Sebastian finishes sealing up the crate in silence. He doesn't break it, of course, but his shoulders relax somewhat once Jim has left the room.

*


In Bengali, the name Sundarban literally translates into 'beautiful jungle'- it's a fitting name for the place, over 10,000 kilometres of sprawling forest, swampland and bodies of water. It's home to about 500 Bengal tigers which kill anything up to 100 humans yearly. For three months, it's also been the home of Sebastian Moran. It wasn't easy to obtain the correct permits needed to stay in such a protected area, and so for a while he had stayed in a small village named Burigoalini, on the north western fringe of the jungle. It mostly consists of shrimp farms, and though his Bengali is very, very limited, he can tell that the locals think that he is insane for wanting to venture into the jungle alone for such a length of time. Before he leaves, he is approached by an old woman with skin like cured leather, her back curved and stooped with age. She takes a tin Trangia pot from him and strikes it repeatedly with an old ladle.

“Bagh,” she says softly at Sebastian's questioning look. “Bagh.”

He soon realises that 'bagh' is Bengali for tiger, and that she's teaching him a way of frightening the big cats off. He grasps her cold, knotted hands in insincere gratitude. He doesn't fear tigers.

Eventually, he leaves for the forest. It takes him a couple of nights to get used to the sheer amount of noise that can be heard in the jungle once the sun has set; not only is there the occasional deep, bone chilling growl from a tiger that sets his heart racing in anticipation, but also the high, incessant droning of insects and the chattering and rustling of other life that thrives in the dense forests. It's almost deafening at first, but eventually his sheer tiredness wins out over the noise, and after that it fails to be an issue.

He moves by daylight, and, at first, sticks to areas that are closer to the populated regions, lest any accidents happen. As time passes, he becomes more comfortable with his surroundings, and ventures deeper into the jungle and away from the reserves.

On this day, however, he has entirely lost his way. None of the trees he passes look familiar to him, instead appearing twisted and overgrown, warping the light that filters down through the dense foliage, throwing mottled patches of sunlight across the floor. The effect is somewhat like being under water. Sebastian's heart races slightly as he struggles to push through thick undergrowth, gnarled and thorny branches scratching and snagging in his clothes as he walks past them. The colours are brighter, enhanced in his panic. Although it is somewhat irrational, he can't shake the feeling that he is not alone.

Something cracks behind him and he whirls to face it, drawing his machete out from where it's strapped to the side of his backpack. He holds the blade at a cautious angle in front of him, his heartbeat pounding in his ears. A hulking, illusory shadow slips through the trees, and Sebastian's breath comes quickly and shallowly. The leaves behind him rustle and he whirls, blade held high, only to see Jim Moriarty stood in a clearing.

He stares at him, panting, and his arm wavers.

Jim?” he says, incredulous. “What are you doing here?”

Jim presses a finger to his mouth, wordlessly telling him to be silent. He extends his other hand, palm up. He's smiling, eyes crinkling at the corners. Behind Sebastian, something rumbles out a low growl. He turns his head towards the sound, but doesn't break eye contact with Jim.

“Do you trust me?” he asks, and he sounds amused.

“Yes,” Sebastian says at length, and Jim looks almost pitying as the tiger lunges, four inch claws ripping through flesh and sinew as she bowls Sebastian over.

The ringing of Sebastian's phone wakes him, vibrating lowly as it buzzes across his bedside table. He bolts upright in bed, heart pounding as though he'd just run a marathon, t-shirt soaked with cold sweat. He grasps the phone between his fingers and presses the backs of his wrists to his eyes, sucking in a deep, steadying breath before he answers the phone. The display shows that it's 4:20 in the morning, and he doesn't even have to glance at the name to know who would be calling him at such a time. It's as though the man has a direct line to his subconscious.

“Yep?”

“Brady's been on the phone,” Jim says, sounding irritable. “I need you down here.”

Jim's short, terse tones are familiar to Sebastian, enough so that he feels himself unwinding slightly.

“Give me thirty minutes,” he replies, yawning.

“Twenty,” Jim counters, and hangs up. Sebastian stretches and groans before reluctantly dragging himself out of bed.

It's enough that Jim controls virtually every aspect of his life; if he could just stop infiltrating Sebastian's dreams, too, he'd really appreciate it.

*


It's 2pm, and Sebastian is trudging wearily down a staircase that leads from the roof of a high rise building. Two sets of stairs down and he hears a door slamming open, banging off of the wall and echoing loudly around the stairwell. Jim surges up the steps to meet him, fury radiating from every line of his body. He grasps Sebastian by the lapels of his jacket and slams him against the wall. Sebastian drops his left foot down a step, bringing them to an equal height. He lets his rifle slip through his fingers carefully, resting the butt of it securely on the floor before he brings his hands up in supplication. In the four years that he's been working for Moriarty, Sebastian has never once not listened to him. Privately questioned an order, yes, and, as they'd grown used to each other, even vocally questioned him, but never ignored one. Jim pushes his forearm against Sebastian's throat, forcing his chin up.

“What was that?” Jim hisses, face pushed close to Sebastian's.

This close, Sebastian can see that as well as being pissed off, there's an edge of bewilderment to Jim's expression.

“She had a child with her,” he protests weakly, “I could hardly take the shot.”

“I don't care if it was the Virgin fucking Mary herself standing there!”

“I got her, didn't I?” Sebastian snaps. “I waited thirty seconds, just time enough to lose the kid. I still got her.”

Jim's mouth thins. He presses harder with his forearm, making it difficult for Sebastian to breathe.

“Do I look like the leader of the free world to you, Moran? I'm not running a democracy here.”

As he shouts, Jim moves closer to Sebastian until they're pushed together against the wall of the stairwell. Though Sebastian outweighs Jim and is easily several inches taller, he makes no effort to throw him off.

“I think we have a slight misunderstanding. If I tell you to jump, the only thing you should question is how high.”

“Is that right,” Sebastian grits out. Sebastian knows that his fucked up relationship with the other man makes him the closest thing Jim has to a friend, and God knows that sometimes the feeling's mutual. It hasn't been as simple as Jim is making it sound for a long time, not since Jim had started to trust him, letting him in on business deals and actually listening to him. Even, God forbid, enjoying his company on a social level.

“I told you when we first met that I won't accept anything less than total obedience,” Jim growls, voice quiet and intimate, and to his mortification, Sebastian can feel himself growing hard. It hardly means anything, he thinks wildly; the two of them have an intense relationship, always have. Jim's a very powerful man and Sebastian merely respects that--

Jim pushes harder on his throat and leans in close enough that their noses brush.

“If I tell you to,” he continues, “I expect you to drop to your knees and beg.”

His voice seems to drop an octave on the word 'beg', and, entirely unwillingly, Sebastian groans. Though he keeps his arm pressed firmly against Sebastian's windpipe, Jim draws back slightly, his dark eyes flicking quickly over his face as though he's assessing him. He unsnarls the fingers of his left hand from where they've been wound around Sebastian's lapel and slides his hand down. It slips down over Sebastian's rapidly rising and falling chest, fingers splaying briefly over his firm stomach before coming together and slipping between his legs, firmly following the curve of Sebastian's hard cock.

“I can hardly say I'm surprised,” he murmurs, and there's a horrible, smug tone to his voice. He relaxes his forearm slightly, just enough that Sebastian can swallow.

“Fuck off,” Sebastian grates out and Jim smiles oddly, eyelashes lowered. His nimble fingers flick back up to Sebastian's waist, undoing his belt buckle and pulling it apart, thumbing open the button to his trousers and pulling the zip down, hand sliding into Sebastian's boxers and firmly grasping his cock. He begins to stroke, showing no hesitation. Sebastian doesn't know if Jim's throwing himself wholeheartedly into the task as he does anything else, or if this is something he's done before. The thought sends heat flashing through him and he pushes his hips forwards. Jim's body is plastered along his side, solid and warm, and he nudges Sebastian's chin up with his forearm as he pushes down on his windpipe. It's uncomfortable and painful, but the lack of oxygen intensifies the feeling of Jim's hand on his cock. Sebastian's hands settle loosely on Jim's slim waist, fingers curling in the waistband of his tailored trousers.

Jim's expression is serious under the sterile lighting of the stairwell, as though he's concentrating on unravelling a troublesome equation, and Sebastian closes his eyes. His panting breaths and the rustle of clothing echoes off of the barren concrete walls, and Jim's body is hot and heavy against him, pinning him to the cold wall. In spite of himself, Sebastian makes breathy little whining sounds as he struggles to drag in air. Sebastian's hips buck as Jim twists his wrist in a particularly pleasurable way, thumb stroking across the tip of his cock, and Jim presses harder up against him, rising up on the tips of his toes to press his mouth by Sebastian's ear. He can feel the hard press of Jim's cock against his hip.

“Don't take liberties that I can't afford to give you, Seb,” he whispers. “When it comes down to it, you're just the same as anyone else, and I won't hesitate to put a bullet in your head.”

Sebastian swears breathlessly as he comes, head banging back against the cool wall. Jim slides his forearm away from his neck and pulls his hand out of his trousers, fisting his hands in Seb's jacket and dragging him down to him. He slides his mouth along Sebastian's sharp jaw before he reaches his mouth, and Sebastian groans as he is pulled into a biting kiss. Jim is ferocious, all teeth and hot, clever tongue, and before Sebastian has even collected himself he's pulling back and stepping away, yanking the folded handkerchief out from his breast pocket and using it to wipe his hand off. He places it back in his pocket and wipes his thumb across his lower lip, wet and swollen from the kiss. He sucks the pad of his thumb into his mouth briefly, eyes still on Sebastian, before he turns his back to him.

“This can't happen again, Sebastian,” he says. He walks out of the stairwell, and Sebastian's fingers curl against the cold wall behind him as he bangs his head back on the grey concrete.

It is the last time that his finger ever hesitates on the trigger.

*


On the 4th of May, Jim Moriarty dies.

Jim and Sebastian argue over his final confrontation with Sherlock Holmes for hours, the same, circular argument, until Sebastian is blue in the face. It's to no avail; no one is as stubborn as Jim, especially not when it comes to the detective. Though Sebastian knew such an encounter couldn't end well, when he watches his friend tumble over the edge of the falls it's like a punch to the gut. He's watching through the sight of his L115A3 long range rifle, situated up and away at a vantage point, and starts forwards in shock, fingers curling in the grass. His breath leaves him in a horrified exhalation, a frisson of cold shooting through his body as though he had been the one plunging over into the icy water.

He sees Sherlock Holmes' hand claw over the edge of the falls, long fingers digging into the dirt as he attempts to pull himself up. A fury he's never felt before takes over Sebastian, reaching down deep inside him and rattling his very bones, and with trembling fingers, he pulls the trigger. He misses by milimetres in his agitation, and the bullet sprays up clods of earth and grass next to the detective's hand. He looks startled, lifting his head and glancing around as he tries to drag himself up and over the edge. Sebastian fires again, and the shot connects with his shoulder. To Sebastian's distant satisfaction, he vanishes over the ledge. The feeling is short lived, though, and Sebastian pushes himself to his feet and races down to the falls as though the Devil himself were on his heels. The combination of the distance, the weight of the rifle and the treacherous path means that it takes him at least half an hour to get there, even when running full pelt. The trail is dangerous, closed off to the public, the old footpath eroded away with time leaving steep, perilous drops.

When he reaches the spot where Jim had toppled over he drops to his knees in the damp grass, fingers brushing over where his bullet has torn up the earth. Fingers splayed on the ground, he leans down over the edge of the precipice, the mist from the falls wetting his face.

“Jim!”

He can see nothing at the bottom of the falls but churning water. There's no sign of either Jim or the detective, and he leans over as far as he dares, frantic.

Jim!

The only answer he gets is the roar of the falls. He sits back on his heels and scrubs his fingers through his hair, chest heaving in his distress.

“Fuck. Fuck! James!

After a while, when it becomes evident that no matter how much he shouts, he's not going to get a reply, he pushes himself backwards from the ledge and rolls over, forearms flat to the ground, forehead pressed against the damp grass. He allows himself several gasping, raw breaths to try and conquer the terrible, clawing grief that's rising in his chest, blocking his throat and making his limbs shake uncontrollably. He tries to reassure himself that, if nothing else, at least he has avenged Jim by making sure the detective followed him to his watery death. It is of very little consolation.

He eventually leaves Switzerland and returns to London. The task of notifying all of Jim's associates of a change to the business is a daunting one.

“What happens now?” one asks Sebastian, who looks up at him from Jim's meticulously kept books, full of names and contact numbers and figures, all written in his cramped, spidery script.

“You do your job,” Sebastian replies shortly, and the man hesitates before nodding.

“Yes, sir.”

It's all Sebastian can do now, to take up where Jim left off, and to keep his empire running smoothly.

And slowly, brick by brick, he begins to reconstruct the only path that he has ever followed.

 
 
 
( 34 comments — Leave a comment )
Colonel Sebastian Moransebmoran on April 21st, 2011 02:34 pm (UTC)
I am severely put out by this. It's very dispiriting to find someone who writes what's almost your own character (because of the way you've written him, and talked about him, et cetera) much better than you can verbalise him outside of your head.

This was great! I enjoyed the fact that Seb isn't the kind of bragging badass who flaunts his strength and skill in people's faces - he Gets Shit Done very matter-of-factly and doesn't have moments of backslapping, self-congratulatory smugness. I think you brought that across very well, and I did enjoy the occasional smattering of YOU WAIT UNTIL MY FATHER HEARS ABOUT THIS - not in the interrogation scene, because it's not meant like that, as you explained (nor does it come across like that), but in the scene where he gets discharged.

All the Jim/Seb moments speak for themselves and serve as undeniable proof why they are the absolute best for each other, and I mean that with no sarcasm whatsoever, but my favourite has to be the scene in Jim's flat in the sunset, and this:

“I'm beginning to worry about you, Sebastian,” his father says quietly. “I think you've wandered off the path.”

Sebastian thinks of multi-million pound business deals; he thinks of the weight of an illegal firearm, heavy in his hands; of the scream of a man as he carefully angles the bit of a drill through his kneecap; of the sunny, butter yellow colour of Semtex; of Jim's slowly curling, sinful smile. A small answering smile creeps over his own face, and he turns away from his father.

“Actually,” he replies, “I think I've finally found it.”


It fills me with joy that you understand Seb as a character, or at least that we have the same understanding of him as a character, and whatever the Moff and Gatiss decide to write for series two will not come near to what you've crafted with this fic (and all your other fics), and what we've talked about, because this, as we've imagined it, holds a special place in my heart and well Sherlock can try, but they will not measure up.

The last scene is as brilliant as it is heartbreaking. And it makes me so, so angry that Holmes lives and Watson gets to have the relief and the big reunion and the happy retirement with bee keeping, while all Seb gets is prison and not even a chance to give his best friend a proper burial. Yeah, this fandom has made me want good endings for bad people, go figure.
slappersonlyslappersonly on April 21st, 2011 03:45 pm (UTC)
OH SHUSH, YOU.

I tried to base this out of RP territory to get a fresh perspective on Seb as a character, but I guess it's something we've discussed so much that the way you play/write him is recognisable in what I write.

I think Seb would have a slight YOU WAIT UNTIL MY FATHER HEARS ABOUT THIS-ism, as he comes from a pretty privileged background, really. I think he'd be willing to work hard for what he gets, but he'd also be aware that his dad is there to smooth things over for him if needs be.

I'm so glad you liked the Jim/Seb bits, though! I didn't want it to be horribly overt or anything, so I'm pleased it worked for you.

You flatter me far too much by saying you don't think Sherlock will measure up next series. My head will swell horribly and then I will never fit through any doors.

I, too, am irrationally angry/upset about the injustice of it all, haha! There's rooting for the underdog, and then there's feeling sad over the death of someone who is, without question, Not A Very Nice Man. I shake my head at myself.

Thank you for your comment! They are always lovely and thoughtful and you are too nice to me. <3
Colonel Sebastian Moransebmoran on April 21st, 2011 03:52 pm (UTC)
You did get a fresh perspective on him, I didn't mean to imply that you didn't - just saying that he's very much like I imagine him to be.

Yes, he would resort to Daddy sometimes, definitely.

I loved the Jim/Seb bits! It's just the right amount of overt for it to work and be believable, I felt.

Ha! Well, keep in mind that I don't think Sherlock is as well written as it could be, and when it comes to the Jim/Seb dynamic I'm not really certain that's the direction the writers want to take the show in (or is it), so as far as the dimension of Moran's character is concerned, I don't think we'll get that much from the show. It'll be more about Sherlock/John, I think.

OH GO AWAY
slappersonlyslappersonly on April 21st, 2011 04:02 pm (UTC)
Well, I just mean that you have helped ~sculpt the way I view him, that is all! IT IS A NICE THING.

Haha oh, I know you don't think it is! It certainly won't be the direction they take it, I know (unless Gatiss has his way), but still! YOU FLATTER ME, SIR.

NO YOU
You won't see penny one from me you slag!: Doctor Who; The Master; You're Insane!blacktofade on April 21st, 2011 03:41 pm (UTC)
MELLY. MELLY. I HAVEN'T READ YET, BUT THIS IS A PLACEHOLDER TO SAY ADFJHDSKJDFHSDJKF I AM EXCITE. WILL READ WHEN I GET HOME TONIGHT! ♥

PS: LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE TO ME >:(
slappersonlyslappersonly on April 21st, 2011 03:53 pm (UTC)
asdfghjkl that you are excited is the nicest thing ;_;

I'VE DONE A GOOD THING, JO. A WONDERFUL THING. I'VE CORRUPTED YOU.
You won't see penny one from me you slag!: Muse; Howard; PORN!blacktofade on April 28th, 2011 04:16 am (UTC)
LOOK MELLY, LOOK, LOOK. HERE IS YOUR COMMENT.
Okay, I'm going to write this as I read so I don't forget anything :3

Let's start off with a weird comment about how I really like the bit with Seb and Private Morgan because IDK it just reads really well and I love how easily the men banter. I don't even know them, but I love them ;__;

FFFF I love how messed up Seb is. He is the perfect partner in crime for Jim. The soda bit is amazing, I can't even. And Jim's comment about the vending machine accidents made me laugh.

Jim Moriarty, Sebastian thinks, is the kind of man who would set the world on fire and then smile nicely, telling you that, for the right price, he knows where he can get you a fire extinguisher. I want to have babies with this line. Or maybe just with you. It's. so. perfect.

Can I just say that I really like this outside look at Holmes? Even just the little references back to him.

“Yeah, well,” Seb mutters as he tries to assess the damage done in the dull light, “I'm sure the two of you will be very happy together.” Ack, this line ;__; sounds like someone's jelly! But no, seriously it's banter like this that kind of makes everything fit together so well. I think the scene with Seb putting Jim's arm back in place is surprisingly tender and it's gross, but I love that Jim's sick. It just makes him more human and this fic more realistic.

Oh god, Jim drugging Seb ♥__♥ Gurl, you know the way to my heart, don't you? I love the lengths Jim goes in order to talk to him and in my mind, he had his wicked way with Seb when he was still half-drugged on his sofa before Seb woke up completely. That should be your next fic. I am a master of good ideas /sob ;__;

um ummmm um that angry handjob. I am so okay with that. I love that Jim just does it, there's no messing around, he just gets straight to it and Seb just goes with it. You write the good porn, love, and I hope you're planning on doing something about this huge ladyboner I have right now.

omg the falls. omg. You beautiful thing. omg ;__; brb crying forever. HOW COULD YOU? HOW DARE YOU FOLLOW CANON. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME?

ffff I hope you know how angry I am with you. Stop writing indescribably amazing fics for this fandom. Come to the light and let us make sweet, sweet love. But in all seriousness, I really enjoyed reading this. I loved looking in at the little snapshots of Seb's life and then his reaction in the end scene; I also liked that things weren't in order. It kept things rolling and it made me want to keep reading (even though I've been interrupted a thousand times today so it's been impossible to :|) BUT NOT THE POINT. The point is that I've had a blast getting to know these characters in the way you've written them here and you are a fabulous writer ♥
slappersonly: Russian!Holmesslappersonly on July 24th, 2011 11:00 pm (UTC)
Re: LOOK MELLY, LOOK, LOOK. HERE IS YOUR COMMENT.
SORRY SLOW REPLY I AM SO RUDE : (

I'm really glad you liked that bit, actually, because I was so close to cutting that out. I'd said to Lyns it was one of the bits I was most unsure about, so it's nice that you said that!

I'M GLAD YOU LIKE THE POP THING TOO (thanks, Dexter!)

You can have my babies. What a wonderful way of saying how much you love me.

I wanted to write something with Jim being in a vulnerable, vommy position (I'm so gross I know) for a while, so that was a lot of fun to write, and I'm happy that it worked for you. :3

MAYBE I WILL WRITE DRUGGED FIC FOR YOU BECAUSE YOU'RE A HORRIBLE PERSON.

Thank you so much for this lovely comment, you're always very sweet and it really flatters me that you actually bother to read when you're not at all interested in the fandom. You're the best. <3
your face and my face should make face babies: moriartycj_ludd18 on April 21st, 2011 06:18 pm (UTC)
yes

so

i think i can't write another word of this pairing ever again because ALL THAT IS GOOD HAS BEEN SAID. Right here. Right here.

asdfjasdhgh i am touching my eyes and finding tears.

augh augh incoherency, maybe later i'll say something with caps and things and jfjfjadsfjafhs this. i love this.
slappersonlyslappersonly on April 21st, 2011 09:49 pm (UTC)
WELL NOW, IF YOU CAN NEVER WRITE THIS PAIRING AGAIN I HAVE DONE A TERRIBLE THING INDEED.

Really though asdfgjkl thank you so much! If I actually made your eyes leak I AM SO SORRY except not really. Your tears are delicious and I shall keep them forever.

No really though you are too lovely and kind thank you ;_;
weefreethingsweefreethings on April 22nd, 2011 02:24 am (UTC)
I love these guys' innovative approach to modern consumer tech: Seb and cans of coke, and the image of Jim as the world's most creative fire-extinguisher salesman. Just scary!

And then you go kill Jim!!! T_T You heartless fiend!
slappersonlyslappersonly on April 22nd, 2011 12:45 pm (UTC)
Haha, thank you, you are too kind!

I cannot be held accountable for Jim's death! I assure you, it pained me too. I blame Arthur Conan Doyle entirely!
bugeyedmonsterbugeyedmonster on April 22nd, 2011 05:21 am (UTC)
This was great to read. Sort of like watching some eps of Criminal Minds, you get to like the characters of the bad guys, even though you know killing people is a bit not good.
slappersonlyslappersonly on April 22nd, 2011 12:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I think it's a lot of fun to humanise the bad boys, and I am entirely too attached to this pair, haha.
(Deleted comment)
slappersonlyslappersonly on April 22nd, 2011 12:42 pm (UTC)
Aaaah 'Rene you are so sweet to me ;_; thank you so much for even reading!
sirfallsdownalotjooovinile on April 22nd, 2011 03:00 pm (UTC)
Okay, so I have been waiting for this for a while AS YOU KNOW and goddammmit, was it worth it.

I JUST
I CAN'T EVEN

I basically love everything about your writing style, the details and the little things you include leave me in a mess.

None of the trees he passes look familiar to him, instead appearing twisted and overgrown, warping the light that filters down through the dense foliage, throwing mottled patches of sunlight across the floor. The effect is somewhat like being under water.

Love it.

I agree that Sherlock will NEVER be able to recreate what you have created.
THIS.
This intense, complicated, messed-up, baffling and completely fucking fantastic relationship.

THIS. ALL OF THIS.

YOU FOREVER.

(Also SHOUT OUT TO BUTTERWORTH I nearly fainted)
slappersonly: MORIARTYslappersonly on July 24th, 2011 10:56 pm (UTC)
SLOWEST REPLY EVER BUT

YOU ARE TOO GOOD TO ME, BUNNY. That's very kind praise, thank you! :3

(I HAD TO how could I not. I was like OHOHO THIS IS NAUGHTY but did it anyway. Can't be tamed.)
Shannonlbmisscharlie on April 22nd, 2011 06:50 pm (UTC)
I love this! They way you've drawn on canon, updating and adding to the very little we know of the original Moran is fantastic. I love the tiny bits of morality that keep sneaking into Moran's actions, and Moriarty quashing them. And the sexual tension, yum. :D
slappersonlyslappersonly on April 23rd, 2011 12:12 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! That's very kind of you. I figure Moran had to be a bit special if he was close enough to Moriarty to continue the business after he died- Moriarty doesn't really strike me as the kind of bloke it's easy to get in good favour with.
Megamigothicdraco on April 22nd, 2011 11:39 pm (UTC)
Can I marry this and have it's babies?
So few Seb centred fics in this fandom. This is just perfection.
Thank you.
slappersonlyslappersonly on April 23rd, 2011 12:14 am (UTC)
Hahaha that is very high praise indeed, thank you!

I promise you that if there is ever a way to let this fic impregnate you, I will let you know.
message redactedmessageredacted on May 8th, 2011 11:38 pm (UTC)
You know, I just love your writing style. It's very spare, but it says everything that needs to be said, and I can picture everything vividly. Everything is gorgeously understated but you can see Seb so clearly in this. Very well done.

And maybe it makes me a bad person, but I was really rooting for Seb to kill Sherlock at the end there. I may have cheered when he shot him in the shoulder. Don't tell anyone.
slappersonlyslappersonly on July 24th, 2011 10:52 pm (UTC)
WOW am I slow replying to this (I was editing a pesky typo and felt I should stop being lazy and ungrateful haha) SORRY.

You're very kind to me, thank you! : )

If it makes you a bad person, then I am an AWFUL person. But I feel I have succeeded if you felt that way. Your secret is safe with me.
feyucafeyuca on August 16th, 2011 01:52 pm (UTC)
This is really (really really) beautiful! For some reason I was expecting Moran to be the one to die, but Jim dying hurts even more (with Sebastian continuing to follow Jim, even after his death).

I'm having trouble finding the words to describe how much I enjoyed this fic. So. I just...really enjoyed it. A lot. ;____;
slappersonlyslappersonly on August 16th, 2011 02:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! That's so lovely of you to say!

I blame ACD entirely for all this misery; it's so sad how Sebastian tries to get revenge for Jim but is fooled so easily, in the end, and then has to bear Holmes' taunting. Augh. I know I should root for the good men, here, but it's just not fair!

Anyway, this comment was a lovely surprise! : )
Percy: Sherlock- Nothing happensayamemishi on December 3rd, 2011 11:29 pm (UTC)
Hmm, how to tackle this...

First off, I love your characterisation of Moran. He's got one of my favorite character types going on, that guy who just does what needs to get done and keeps going no matter what, which is perfect for being Moriarty's second-in-command.

Of the individual snippets, I think my favorites are the one where Jim talks about Molly and makes Moran jealous, and how he acts like he's won, and the final one. That last line really had me choking up, and like some of the other readers have said, makes me sympathize with Moran. Actually, the whole story with Moran - from being Jim's right hand man to failing to avenge him - makes for such an interesting contrast with the whole Sherlock/John dynamic, and I like how you've done that, making this the sad one.

I'm not entirely sure I made a lot of sense there but seriously, this fic is great. :)
slappersonlyslappersonly on January 11th, 2012 10:10 pm (UTC)
This was another lovely surprise comment!

Thank you so much; I'm really glad you like the characterisation of Moran, because I see it exactly the way that you do- I imagine him to be the foil to Moriarty's somewhat (the way I imagine it, anyway) hysterical genius.

I'm glad the last line had you choking up! > :3 I am way too invested in this pair, not going to lie- they're very interesting to think about, in terms of dynamics, especially since Moran is described in canon as Moriarty's 'bosom friend'.

Thank you for such a lovely comment!

hell yeah, I'm the motherfuckin' princess: love is all aroundhavenstar on January 12th, 2012 08:00 am (UTC)
goddamn you are so rad and I want to say lots of things about this but it's like 3 and I have to work tomorrow but this was worth staying up for.

I'm all saaaad now though! I'm not ready to let go of Jim yet :(

I love Seb's backstory and every single aspect of their dynamic and Jim being just as much of a stupid asshole as Sherlock like OH MY GOD, YOU HAVE NO SENSE OF SELF-PRESERVATION. I wonder if he would've cared at all if Seb had been the one getting blown up and shit... probably not. but aw Seb aw srsly you gave me a sad with that ending :(

I really hope that if Moffat and Gatiss kill Jim off this season, they bring him back at some point anyway because a) clearly no one stays dead and b) he is great and bonus c) we really need some canon!Moran, though I don't know that he would be as great as yours.

don't mind me I will just be
creeping all up on your fic
lovingly
slappersonlyslappersonly on January 13th, 2012 12:45 am (UTC)
Aaah you are my new favourite person hahah THANK YOU FOR ALL THE LOVELY COMMENTS ;_; and especially for staying up, wow! HIGHEST PRAISE TBH.

You know what, I am going to be a WRECK come Sunday, I can't even tell you.

I'm really pleased you liked this! I am all about the dynamics and I'm really, really interested in exploring how these two work. I kind of think (the way I write it, anyway) that Jim WOULD care if Seb died, but not in the same sort of way that normal people would care? But I think he'd definitely feel it. I mean, in canon Moran is Moriarty's ~bosom friend, so!

Oh god I don't know WHAT I want in the finale tbh, but I've been planning a post-Reichenbach fic for so long now that whatever happens on Sunday, it will be rendered obsolete haha. Saying that you're not sure BBC!Moran would top mine is a huge huge comment, haha, thank you! ;_;

CREEP AWAY I JUST
WANT TO HOLD YOU
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on January 31st, 2012 12:24 pm (UTC)
I loved this, the way you constructed all that sexual tension between Jim and Sebastian, and of course the recurrent theme of following one's path. Absolutely lovely!
Marina: moriartymoeexyz on March 19th, 2012 01:14 am (UTC)
Oh man. Some one recommended I read this, and I'm not a huge MorMor shipper so I as kind of hesitant about it, but holy shit, I had no reason to be. This was utter perfection!

Your characterization of both Jim and Sebastian is amazing! And all the built up tension was so fantastic! And whenever Sebastian got jealous I started giggling.

I just. AGHSSDFGHJDFGHSDFGHGGHJILOVEITSOMUCH! You win all the internets.
slappersonlyslappersonly on March 19th, 2012 01:47 am (UTC)
Aaaah oh boy, this was such a lovely comment! Thank you so much! It means a lot that you gave it a go despite your apprehensions; I have to admit I am not a fan of a lot of the Jim/Seb that is out there solely because it's so FLUFFY, which is the opposite of how I see this ship.

Once again, thank you! This really made my night!
(Anonymous) on September 5th, 2012 10:43 am (UTC)
I loved it. One of the best things i've ever read. You are such a talented writer, your Sebastian was perfect and the only way i wouldn't be disappointed when(if) Sebastian is introduced in the series would be if they wrote him based on this fic. Words cannot tell how much i adored it. Thank you so much for this fic, i will rec it to everyone i know!

// Angelika
slappersonlyslappersonly on September 9th, 2012 09:58 am (UTC)
Aah gosh, wow, that is high praise! Thank you so much! : )
( 34 comments — Leave a comment )