The reek of human suffering is thick on the air. Great, billowing columns of smoke form stark black pillars against the blood-red sky, rising sluggishly from the hollowed-out shell of London. The location is purely incidental; similar scenes of devastation prevail in many more places than this; Paris, Tokyo, New York, Sydney - everywhere, only there is no 'everywhere' anymore; there is no anything.
"Beautiful, isn't it?" The appreciative murmur, unshakeably calm, carries a particular rolling lilt distinctive to what was once Ireland.
Jim Moriarty is more striking than ever in a patchwork blazer stitched expertly with various threads and bits of twine, a veritable Frankenstein's Monster of a garment comprised of the scraps of dozens of textiles. He turns a beatific grin, open and strangely innocent in its joyousness, on his constant companion, the only one who's left. "It's gone," he crows with unfettered delight, eyes aglow, "all of it!" He receives a peal of exhilarated laughter, manic and unrestrained, in response.
The apocalypse has treated Sebastian well. He's always been one of those people that you look at and know instinctively that they were born in the wrong era, were meant for an earlier, simpler time, more at home in a world of kill-or-be-killed dynamics, thriving on the uncomplicated struggle for survival than in one of words and economics and iPhones and air travel. He's found that world. There is no subterfuge here, no secrecy, no drive to mask his intent. All that remains is he, his boss, and the End of Days.
For a time they stand silently, side-by-side, at the crest of a dried brown hillock some distance from the ruin of the city, illuminated by the greyish half-light of predawn. Thick, choking clouds of ash, guided by an errant breeze, waft periodically in their direction before being swept away.
It's Sebastian, finally, who breaks the silence. "God damn," he swears quietly, a disbelieving sort of smile on his lips. "You really did it, you crazy son of a bitch."
There is no response for a long moment, then: "Mm." He turns to regard Jim and finds, to his surprise, that the smaller man is frowning. Jim makes another faintly dissatisfied noise, absently turning a gleaming steel knife end-over-end in his hand. The frown deepens as Sebastian watches, soon joined by a consternated furrow between his brows. The knife, pristine, free of rust or dulling to its flawless blade, revolves more quickly.
"It's not finished." His tone is laced with agitation, the cadence of his speech varying wildly. "I can't stop, it's not finished, it's not done, it's not good enough." he looks to Sebastian, freezes, and his eyes widen with realisation. "Oh. Nearly." His voice drops to a hoarse whisper, a curious sort of smile twisting his mouth. "Nearly, nearly."
"Dear," Jim replies, and the word is delivered with the weight of a revelation, almost lovingly.
Abruptly, Jim's grip on the knife shifts and he lunges.
The sun has risen properly now, a great, fiery ball of crimson that sets the ruined sky ablaze. It lights Jim, perched at the crest of the earthy rise, from behind, catching in his hair in a bizarre parody of a halo. Blood, fresh and still warm, blossoms in the dead grass at his feet, and he knows peace.
Jim Moriarty surveys his kingdom, and exults.