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Sebastian adjusted the sights on the rifle, finally getting the crosshairs where he wanted, which at the moment were trained on some cheap-suited middle-aged fuck who, for some reason or another, needed to die.

The London night was feeling all of its stereotypes tonight; cold and misty, with a hint of fog. Quiet as well, except for the occasional crunch of Jim’s pacing behind him and the Irishman’s intermittent intake of breath against the cold.

He always worked well in the cold and the sleet. It forced his body to attention and all his senses to high alert. Heat only served to drug the mind, dripping sweat melting away focus and stealing the sharpness of his brain and reflexes. Jim’s presence was no longer a bother either, that had been done away with long ago at the beginning of their partnership, when it chuffed Jim to no end to keep Sebastian on his target while he had Sebastian’s cock in his mouth. He always made the shot. Always.

Bored with that little game, Jim now stood back at these moments, preferring to watch Sebastian with a calculated eye. He focused in again on the target, moving his lungs to breathing exercises designed to minimize failure. Now he waited. The moment would come.

In that interminable expanse of space and time, his mind did wander (not too far, mind you, as there was a job to be done) to other things. Things he never thought about otherwise, as this seemed to be the only place they crept into his brain.

He blinked once, keeping his vision trained on the target, and then, finally, the familiar sensation crawled over him. Guilt. This was the only time he felt the emotion, in the waiting seconds of before. Growing up Catholic had pounded it into him, and it was impossible to escape.

Hard to believe an assassin would have a crisis of conscience, but it was always now, and he had learned to embrace it. It wasn’t so much the guilt of outright murder, but the compilation of all the sins he had opened himself to since meeting Jim.

He had a way about him, the Irishman, dangerous and seductive, a combination so dark and alluring, Sebastian had found himself giving over completely in a matter of days, and without much protest. The sex was phenomenal, between the pain and the blood (as those seemed to be the anchoring point between the two of them), and yet, underneath his skin, Sebastian knew something deeper kept them bonded.

And so he killed for Jim, submitted for Jim, threw out religion and morality for Jim, and embraced every dark corner of his soul for Jim. God had left his house long ago, but there were moments, stolen and secret, when Jim fluttered those long, dark lashes and moved his hands and mouth over him with a sweet, aching fire and he was forsaken. All he could do was close his eyes and throw his head back and give God the glory, because fuck, what Jim did to him was glorious. Pleasure so rich and thick the origin had to be divine, because no earthly creature could ever elicit the kind of stark, raw emotion and blistering, damning sensations that Jim could. And Sebastian had to relish it, bask in it. Even if it came with a dark side.

It was wrong, all so wrong, he knew, down to his core. But he knew he couldn’t stop. Couldn’t stop the killing.  Wouldn’t stop the fucking. And though he knew he would never be absolved of the blood on his hands or the lust in his heart, he still went to confession, even if it was blasphemous to do so. Jim knew he went, but never said a word, only smiled when he returned and then did his best to make him sin again. Which he did.

So it was here, just before the shot, he allowed the guilt to play over him and dance across his skin like the cold night wind, chilling him to the bone. Jim’s footfalls grew heavier as he paced behind him, murmuring softly in Gaelic, something he only did when he was aroused, or in the long nights when the impossibilities of their relationship became reality, when he thought Sebastian slept, stroking his face and body, whispering words of endearment in his soft lilt.  Once, Sebastian mused, he had turned the tables on his lover, shouting “Come for me!” in the near-dead language, as Jim fucked him hard. He was pleased to note it was Jim’s undoing and they had both come harder than ever.

A heated flush crawled over his skin as Jim’s voice carried to his ears. It was time. He drew in a deep lungful of air, focused and sighted, squeezing the trigger on the exhale. The target crumpled to the concrete. Done.

As Sebastian moved away from the rifle, he knew what he would see when he turned. His gaze flicked over Jim and the Irishman batted those goddamn lashes and his heavy-lidded chocolate eyes narrowed as a snakelike smile born of original sin slid across his perfect lips.

“Bless me Father, for I have sinned.”