Everything is going according to plan. Sebastian always knew that it was risky, but he can pull it off; he knows he can. He can do anything. He’s in a car going much faster than he should just outside of central London, and he’s got two other cars following. He has to drive them into the Thames. He can do that; he’s practiced this, these exact maneuvers on this exact stretch of road. He knows what he’s doing. Jim is on speaker and he’s holding his phone tight against the wheel.
“One minute,” he says, and Jim’s reply is immediate; “Good.” He doesn’t dwell on it, on what’s going on around at Jim’s end of the plan, because if he does he’ll lose his focus and he can’t, not at this speed. He hardly blinks for fear of fucking up the turns, and only moves his eyes off of the road to watch the rearview mirror. The Ukrainians are still there.
There is no reply.
Still no reply. Okay. Jim is busy and there’s nothing more to it. He can’t think about Jim now, he has to keep his focus on the road, on the car, on steering just right. He manages to do it, manages to get ahead. The moment is so close now. He can see it, see the water up ahead.
“5 seconds. Jim.”
There’s still no answer. There’s no answer and despite his very best attempts not to, he starts to worry. He still has to hold his end up the plan up and he’s going to; he takes a last look at his phone before he turns left at the very last moment, which means that the Ukrainians ought to go right by him and down into the river. He doesn’t check his left until that moment and by then it’s already too late. His entire line of sight is a parked lorry.
Sometimes, Sebastian realises, you’ve just got to close your eyes and wait for the bang.
He can tell from the smell and the sounds that he wakes up in a hospital. He doesn’t need to open his eyes, doesn’t want to open his eyes. He fucked up. He wonders what happens when someone like him fucks up.
“Didn’t think you’d ever wake up,” a voice says. It’s not Jim’s; of course it’s not Jim’s. Jim has got better things to do than hang out in hospitals all day. Sebastian’s eyes snap open and he stares at a man he faintly recognizes as one of Jim’s. Good. At least that means he’s safe. Moving on to priority two; “Did I get them?”
“He said you’d ask that,” the man smirks and Sebastian wants to bash his face in with a tire iron.
“Did. I. Get. Them.”
He gives the man the glare that gets him out of fights before they even happen, and the other hurries to pull his phone out. Good sign.
“Yeah, he says to tell you that you did. Everyone. The plan went smoothly. He says thank you.”
Sebastian nods. That doesn’t settle anything but at least he got the mission done. Maybe Jim will still punish him for getting himself hurt or for missing work for however long it’ll take him to get well, but at least he hasn’t fucked this up. He’s glad.
“Who are you, anyway?” the man says, still looking at his phone. “ Chief of Staff, what kind of bullshit is that?”
Sebastian stares at him. None of Jim’s men have ever spoken to him that way before and the original feeling of wanting to break his face returns.
“I’m supposed to be here and babysit you while you sleep, and Moriarty’s got personal messages for you, and now I’m told he’ll send his personal driver to come and get you. I don’t even know what he looks like, and he sends you his own fucking car?”
Jim doesn’t have a personal driver, and saying that, Sebastian thinks, is in direct violation with this guy’s contract. He doesn’t understand how someone this stupid has survived for this long, really. You’re not going to have a face anymore when I’m done with you, Jim Moriarty’s voice says gleefully in his head, and he feels like laughing suddenly. Jim is coming to pick him up.
“If you took one fucking second to think about how much higher ranking than you that makes me, I think you’d find it makes me someone you should treat with a little more respect.” Sebastian gives him the glare again. “Now piss off before I change my mind about being the bigger man and strangle you with me catheter.”
“You’ve got a lot of bruises and cuts, a few strained muscles and a concussion,” Jim says from the driver’s seat. He hadn’t even known Jim knew how to drive before now. “Lucky you’re in such good shape or your neck would’ve been broken.”
Sebastian is lying down in the backseat, strapped in place with all three seat belts, and he wonders how come he never noticed Jim was this possessive of him before. It doesn’t seem to be something the man bothers to make a point of too often; it only happens when someone else shows interest in him, or when he’s hurt. He’s never been this badly hurt during his time with Jim before, and he supposes that flirt-wise, it’s something akin to a snog. That hasn’t happened, either.
“It’s not luck,” he says, knowing full well Jim is hardly listening to him. “I stay in shape on purpose.”
Jim drives slowly and carefully. Sebastian is a reckless driver and he’s used to taking a certain amount of risks, but even taking that into consideration, this can hardly be normal behaviour. Especially not for the psychopath. Sebastian doesn’t comment on the fact though, because he doesn’t want to push things any further than they’ve already been pushed by this. He wonders just what happened in Jim’s head to have him strap Sebastian down like this.
“You’re going to have to stay in bed for a while,” Jim says and Sebastian doesn’t know whether it’s his own diagnosis or not because Jim spoke to the nurses on his behalf before they left the hospital. He also wonders how long a while is, and how long he’ll have to go without drinking. Drinking isn’t good for head trauma, but it is good for his mental state. He’ll go insane doing nothing all day long.
“What about my job?” Sebastian knows that he can’t be replaced, knows that there’s no acceptable substitute even, and wonders what Jim plans to do to work around that fact, because nothing has ever mattered more to Jim than his work.
“Your job can wait,” the madman says airily from the front seat as he slows the car down to 10 miles per hour to approach a cross road where it wouldn’t even be his place to make way. He accepts the honks from cars behind him with the calmness of a Hindu cow and Sebastian wonders why he even bothers to be surprised.
It would have been humiliating, if it hadn’t been so terrifying. Two days later Jim still has so many men buzzing about in his apartment, men that have no business waiting on him foot and hand. He’s not allowed to leave bed for anything but taking a piss, he’s not wearing proper clothes, and the man who cooked his lunch was hired by Sebastian personally for his arsonist abilities.
Jim has been sitting by his bedside most of the time, hasn’t even slept. He’s only left it when someone gave either of them a call and then explained very viciously that whatever they wanted simply didn’t matter and that they would receive a message one way or the other, oh, don’t they worry about that, and then went back to sit and hold his hand.
His dinner is chicken soup again, of course it’s chicken soup, and Jim’s feeding it to him spoon by spoon and the only reason he isn’t feeling mortally embarrassed is that the only man watching, wearing an apron and currently picking his dirty pants from the floor, is in the exact same position himself. At least Sebastian is being cared for and shown a modicum of respect rather than bullied.
That doesn’t make this any less scary, though. Being shown gratitude and what probably passes for affection in Jim’s strange way of thinking is quite different from being locked up into his own bedroom and guarded like all the world’s treasures.
“Jim,” he says carefully, then has the spoon showed into his mouth, chews and swallows. “Why are you--” Another spoonful. Okay. Maybe this is a sign that he should leave the subject alone. But this is completely insane, even by Jim’s standards. He swallows again. “--doing this?”
That stops him, finally, makes him sit back and just stare at Sebastian. The other man, who thought he had signed on to poison important people’s food, seems to notice this and to be frightened by it as he hurries to leave the room and close the door behind him. Sebastian isn’t scared. They’re all alone, now.
“You’re my best man, Moran,” Jim says simply, looking him in the eye. “I need you to get well as soon as possible.”
That isn’t it. If Jim wanted him well as soon as possible, he would already have been declared healthy, because frankly, he’s well enough to be up and about and if nothing else at least make his usual calls and plans together with Jim. He doesn’t say that though, doesn’t quite feel he’s in a position to argue; he just gives him a doubtful look. It seems to send the message.
“You can’t die on me, Sebastian,” Jim says after a beat, and shoves another spoonful of soup into his mouth, most likely to keep him silent. “You can’t, because I can never replace you. I’m not going to let you die.”
Sebastian chews and swallows and starts to feel more and more uncomfortable, even as this starts to make more and more sense. How is he ever supposed to be able to convince Jim to let him out, to let him be by himself, if this is what’s motivating him? There’s only one way really, and that is to convince Jim of the fact that he’s completely invincible despite how clearly he isn’t.
“I’m not going to die,” he says, doing his absolute best to make the words rock solid, to make them an impenetrable shield of certainty that not even Jim Moriarty’s quick mind is able to pick apart. “I promise you, if you let me get back to my job, I am not going to die. I can also promise you that unless you let me get out of bed and take charge again, those men you’ve got running my life right now will see me as weak and start disrespecting me, and we can’t have that. Okay?”
Jim seems to consider the words for a moment and Sebastian holds on to hope for dear life. The spoon is hovering in mid-air between them. Jim is a clever man, surely he’ll see what Sebastian is trying to tell him, surely he’ll be able to see that this is not what needs be done to keep him alive. There is still silence and Sebastian can’t risk being turned down, just can’t, needs to offer Jim more, so he just throws it out there, the best deal he can cut; “If you let me get back to work, I’ll move in with you.”
And Jim, like a miracle, agrees silently.