The first time Rich feels like a stranger in his own body is when he examines his scars in the mirror after a shower. He has to wipe the mirror with a towel over and over to keep it from getting too fogged to see, but the moisture in the air still lends a surreal quality to what the mirror has to show him.
Maybe that's just as well; maybe that's the only reason he isn't sick everywhere. Some of the scars are old, older than he wants to think about. Some are new, too smooth and precise to have been picked up by accident. All of them are placed so as to be easily hidden by clothing.
He doesn't remember getting any of them.
Almost worse is when he thinks to check for scars he does remember - on his hand when he put it through a window at twelve, on his knee from falling off a bike when he was eight - and none of them are there.
Rich yanks his dressing gown on, wrapping it tightly around himself. He ties the sash in a knot even though it will be a pain to deal with later because he doesn't want it coming open, and he stumbles out of the bathroom toward the kitchen.
Sebastian is there, sat on a stool at the kitchen island and reading the paper. Sebastian has been around since Rich woke up in hospital, disoriented and scarcely able to remember his own name.
(They told him it was hospital, anyway, but the more he thinks about it the more certain he is that he never saw evidence of any other patients.)
He should be wary of Sebastian. The man exudes danger. He won't let Rich leave the flat alone. He doesn't believe Rich isn't Jim Moriarty. The first night in the flat, the first time they were entirely alone, he lost his temper explosively when Rich refused to admit to being Moriarty. That only happened once, and he's been careful since to use Rich's own name when they talk, but Rich can feel him watching and waiting for - for something. For something to click into place. For "Jim" to give up his game. For Rich to disappear. Rich shouldn't just be wary of Sebastian, he should be terrified of him and of what might happen when he realizes Rich is real, and he's
not going anywhere.
But he's not afraid. He can't explain it, but he's not. He knows he can trust Sebastian, knows it the same way he knows he's left-handed.
(The same way he knows there should be a scar on his knee.)
Sebastian won't hurt him. Would never. Couldn't. So instead of being further unsettled upon finding him in the kitchen, Rich calms down just a little, enough to pick up the kettle to fill without being afraid he might drop it.
"You all right?" Sebastian has looked up from his paper and is watching Rich.
"Fine." He turns on the water, sticks the kettle under the faucet.
Sebastian makes a scoffing sound. "You sure you're an actor? I've heard three-year-olds lie more convincingly than that."
Rich huffs out a similarly unconvincing laugh in answer. He turns off the water and goes to put the kettle in its base, only to find he can't quite seem to make it fit. After a few seconds' struggle, he starts in surprise when Sebastian leans in from behind him to take the kettle out of his hand and place it snugly in its base.
"Thanks," Rich says weakly.
"Are you all right," Sebastian says again, not a question this time. As he speaks, he puts his arm around Rich's waist, the hand that had been holding the kettle coming to rest on his hip. He's never touched Rich like this before, but it works almost like magic - Rich's skin stops crawling, and that feeling of wrongness starts to fade. He exhales and leans back against Sebastian without thinking about it.
There are all these scars, he thinks of saying.
They're not mine.
Are they his?
"Fine," he whispers. It sounds a lot closer to being true this time.
"Liar," Sebastian murmurs anyway, but he sounds more relaxed than Rich remembers having heard him sound before.
"Maybe," he concedes this time, then, "Don't want to talk about it." Talking about it might break the spell. He closes his eyes, leaning his head back against Sebastian's shoulder.
Sebastian doesn't answer. They stand in silence for a moment. Rich becomes aware of heat beginning to radiate from where Sebastian's hand rests on his hip. He wonders vaguely if he's into guys, if maybe he shouldn't be a little more sure one or the other by now.
Fuck it, he doesn't care. He's got more than enough of an identity crisis on his hands without getting himself wound up about his sexuality, too. Let it do what it wants.
Sebastian wraps his other arm around Rich, tugging him closer. The tension of a moment ago is draining away so fast Rich feels like he's melting. Why does he feel so safe with this man he barely knows? What is it -
Rich can feel something in the back of his mind trying to kick into overdrive, the way it does sometimes. He can get stuck for hours when that happens, unable to escape the endless loop of his thoughts, and right now is a bad time for it. There are too many unwanted thoughts crowding in, just waiting for the right moment to pounce. He can't let them.
He turns in Sebastian's arms and kisses him instead.
It takes them both by surprise. Sebastian responds, but his body goes still against Rich; uncertain, Rich leans back just enough to look up at him for a hint about how to proceed.
"You sure about this?" Sebastian asks. "No lies this time."
Quietly, without hesitating, Rich says,
An odd look, one he can't even begin to read, crosses Sebastian's face, then Sebastian is kissing him and Rich's mind goes blissfully quiet.
They end up snogging up against the refrigerator, after Sebastian has laughed (not unkindly) at how Rich can't seem to hold himself up otherwise. He briefly considers defending himself by pointing out that he is, after all, recovering from a head injury, but that might make Sebastian stop and reconsider the ethics of this situation and that is the last thing Rich wants.
Sebastian's hand slides down and tugs at the sash of Rich's dressing gown. He pauses.
"Did you tie a knot in this?"
Rich blinks at him, confused, then remembers why he's in his dressing gown, why he couldn't even go to his bedroom to dress properly, why he came out to the kitchen to make
(tea? why tea? he doesn't even drink tea)
He reaches down to push Sebastian's hand away, but finds himself grabbing on to it instead, hard enough that it must hurt, but Sebastian doesn't even flinch.
"Leave it," Rich says, voice tight with panic.
Sebastian looks at him, then exhales a slow sigh through his nose and leans his forehead gently against Rich's.
"If you are faking all this," he says, "I will fucking kill you." There's no anger in his tone; he just sounds tired. Tired, and a bit sad. Rich forces himself to loosen his grip on Sebastian's hand, trying to turn it into a reassuring squeeze instead. He doesn't think it works very well, but Sebastian gives him a half smile anyway.
"Go sit down if you think you can make it that far," Sebastian says. "I'll make the coffee."