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Red in Tooth and Claw

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There were truths about Sebastian Moran that the journey into the heart of the deep dark woods had revealed and brought to the surface (which Sebastian himself was just beginning to acknowledge). Others which had always been there had surely been noticed by a certain little voyeur with pitch-black eyes while stalking him…

 

An obvious exhibitionist streak for instance, and the fact that there wasn't much Sebastian felt self-conscious about, certainly not anything sexual.

So, had Jim expected him to feel humiliated or awkward or even just uneasy about this?

Lustful exhilaration shone in Sebastian's eyes as they flashed up, seeing that indescribable expression on Jim's face: rapture, surprise... shock? Whatever it was, it was covered up with the half-bored (yet sweetly impatient) order to carry on.

 

Sebastian smiled, his gaze trailing along Jim's body - supine and decadently decorated with the remnants of a creamy desert.

“This seems to me –“ his voice dropped to a purr as well, “...not the most suitable position to make demands...”

Preparation accomplished, as good as it would get, he leaned forward on his arm some more, shifting his knees, positioning himself. Guiding Jim's cock, sliding its head over his slick entrance...

“But you know...” He let himself down gradually, eyes half closed, concentrating, feeling the pressure. His breath caught in his throat and then, with a low sound, he exhaled, his fingers digging into the carpet...

There...

He felt his muscles give... fuck... still a tight fit...

The first bit - the worst part, the best...

there was some pain – but it was good, glorious... the kind that... God... he groaned softly, paused, pushed down some more. Halfway there. No helping hand necessary any more, he placed it on Jim's other side, trying to find that thought again where he'd left off...

 

“Maybe... " there was a catch in his voice as he sank down yet a bit further “- that's just your way of admitting how much you want to be underneath me.”

 

 

~

Jim was about to snap at the comment about a suitable position for demands... but suddenly Sebastian was looming over him - and that was a sight he never expected to see (so soon at least, if he were honest with himself). And no, Sebastian might not be penetrating him, but there was some serious jostling for dominance happening. He needed to do something to show - to show -

But ohhh, too late, he felt his cock skimming over slickness, and then breaching Sebastian's body.

 

And Sebastian was still talking, still in that low seductive voice... fuck... Jim bit his lip as he felt Sebastian's body close over him like hot, tight fist. He suppressed a gasp as he felt Sebastian sliding down, down... slowly... adjusting and then moving further... ... Sebastian groaned, and this time a small gasp did escape his lips...

downdowndown he continued, and then spoke again. Jim listened to his words as though through a haze as Sebastian's descent continued. What did he- ? he thought, dazedly. What?

It was perhaps unfortunate timing that Sebastian reached the end and pushed down firmly against his cock at that moment, because Jim's response was to squeeze his eyes shut and moan loudly as it if were being dragged from him.

 

Then his eyes flew open, and Jim glared up at him. "Honey," he panted. "What do think all this is about? Show me what you've got, and I'll consider it," he said in a dangerous, purring voice. "Because trust me... you do not want to go any further with this little flirtation if you don't have serious game."

His eyes glinted and he laughed low in his throat. "Fancy yourself a predator, Tiger? Do you want to hunt me? Do you want to hurt me?" His hands grasped Sebastian's hips, and he thrust up into him, making him groan.

 

 

~

God, what a sight: Jim underneath him, his eyes losing focus at that moment... that moment, which had them both groaning... Jim, clearly about to say something and then just gasping, his eyes closing, as Sebastian ground down... Who was penetrating who was suddenly a petty detail, dwindling into insignificance, not the defining point in this exquisite little power play…

 

Then the dark eyes opened again, something not to be fucked with stirring in their black depths. The dangerous drop, the deceptive purr in Jim's voice made Sebastian very aware of how thin the ice was he was skating on here. (Scanning the vicinity for potential weapons he might need to quickly chuck out of Jim's reach, he clocked a dessert spoon.) But something not to be fucked with was still just simmering for now… and Sebastian could not stop his little flirtation any more than he could stop breathing...

 

Did he fancy himself a predator?

"Oh, but I am...” He leaned closer. Jim might have made him his predator, he might have made him roll over, and he might well be the only man on earth who could, but – “Tigers and their stripes... remember?” he whispered hoarsely, answering the thrust of Jim's hips with one of his own, and then answering the string of further question with a hard kiss.

Oh yes, there were a lot of things he wanted, but also, he could do so many things that maybe Jim wanted deep down...

 

A dark, low sound from his throat vibrated into the kiss at the next thrust from Jim and a bruisingly hard grip on his hips. Sebastian pushed back, again.

He focused intently on every reaction from Jim… every delicious sound... every sign of what did it for him. He could do things that would have Jim shaking and delirious with pleasure. Or...? He might just focus on his own… As he did now, breaking the kiss and pushing himself back up. Readjusting his position, closing one hand around his cock, hot and hard between them. Then he leaned back a bit more, so with a slow roll of his hips the pressure inside him slightly shifted, brushing against the spot that was …...fuck... so good ... just right. His muscles tightened around Jim's cock. With a groan his head fell back a little, his half-closed eyes still intently fixed on Jim's.

 

 

~

Jim's breath caught in his throat as Sebastian, leaned over him, whispering.

Well, it was settled... this was a terrible idea, and would need to be rectified.

 

(After...) the little voice purred.

 

After, Jim conceded, his eyes on Sebastian's as he leaned down and kissed him.

 

He quickly took control of the kiss, his tongue pushing past Sebastian's lips, at the same as he thrust up into him. Sebastian groaned into his mouth, and pushed back.

 

Oh, it's like that, is it... Jim thought, smugly.

And then he thought nothing at all as Sebastian's muscles squeezed around his cock, and it took all the focus he had to not moan loudly at the sensation.

And then the kissing stopped, and Jim's eyes fluttered open in surprise.

 

He stared up at Sebastian who rose up, and slowly moved his hand to his cock. As he stroked, he pushed against Jim's pelvis. God... the sight of him...

his head falling back, his eyes gazing at Jim as he pleasured himself.

Should I stop this? he thought in a daze. I didn't give permission for this...

But then he realized... this was the first time something sexual was happening to him that he wasn't directing or controlling... it was just... happening...

and it was rather intoxicating.

 

Jim wasn't fucking Sebastian.

 

They were fucking each other. And it was blindingly, achingly good.

 

Interesting, Jim thought, his hands slowly moving from Sebastian's hips to his arse.

Very... interesting...

 

His hands gripped his soldier's arse, and pulled him hard against his cock. They groaned in unison, and Jim's eyes blazed up at Sebastian.

Ohhh... he thought. So... good...

 

"Fuck... Tiger..." he growled, and thrust up again.

 

 

~

Even if his life had depended on it, Sebastian could not have torn his eyes away from Jim, glorious, beautiful, dishevelled Jim – that face, which never revealed any emotion other than that which Jim Moriarty chose to let you see, or chose to gleefully display- but god, to see it now...

Even at that moment Sebastian knew it was impossible to clearly read it. But the fleeting wisps of emotions that his eyes and foggy mind did catch made him feel downright dizzy...

calculation – consternation - conflict – amazement – fuckit – just - pure mindless pleasure - a shot of delicious aggression -

And then, Jim growling his name - his new name – sent an even more acute, breathtaking streak of heat straight to Sebastian's groin, same as the possessive grip on his arse and the cock thrusting up inside him. His eyelids fluttered, but never closed... And with increasingly ragged breaths he gave back as good as he got, his movements growing more forceful. Not faster. Pacing himself... pacing Jim... with Jim reciprocating.

 

And somehow, before this turned into a serious struggle for dominance, it had tipped over into something more like a game. One that was not really about who was in charge…

Neither of them was. And both of them were.

Moving against each other. Moving with each other.

They were in this together, and - the thought flitted through Sebastian's mind and lit up a feral glint in his eyes – he'd have carpet burns on his knees after this, but Jim would certainly have them on his arse. That beautiful, tight, firm...

'Fuuuck...' Sebastian groaned, and his free hand moved from the carpet to Jim's hip, and up, through the mess of lube and cream, slowly, across his abdomen to his chest. There his fingers curled, his nails digging slightly into smooth skin and firm muscle. Then harder. And... still... a... bit... more.

Breaking some of the Rules.

While honouring the imperative one.

His hand slid down to the base of his cock, giving himself a short, hard squeeze, closing his eyes briefly. Panting.

He would Not. Come. First.

Then he lifted himself up a bit, feeling the delicious drag of Jim's cock, then ground down again.

 

“Told me to imagine how it would be...” he murmured, leaning down, closer to Jim's face. Another move, a sharp inhale... “Fucking God, I do...”

'In and out' Jim had said, hadn't he? Hmmm… Another thrust, controlled, powerful, the muscles of his abdomen tense... like urging a horse forward – 'ride my cock' had been the order if he remembered correctly… and Jesus bloody Christ he fucking did, ramping up the pace, and his beautiful mount seemed to fly towards the final furlong...

 

 

~

Jim panted as he thrust into Sebastian and felt responsive thrusting back. Soon there was a rhythm established, and not one Jim was controlling. For the very first time, it felt like his body had taken over... his and his partner's...

Sebastian groaned and it was the hottest fucking thing. He felt a reciprocal groan building in his throat, and clenched his jaw. Keep it together, Moriarty... just until you come, and then you can re-establish - fuckfuckFUCK... Sebastian was digging his nails into his chest, and the sudden flash of pain was SoGoodTooGood...

Jim groaned loudly.

Sebastian slid up and down on his cock, and Jim's eyelids fluttered shut briefly. He bit his lip at his words. Oh God, so do I, FuckIWantIt...

And then suddenly Sebastian was riding his cock hard and fast, and Jim finally lost control. He arched, threw his head back, and continued to thrust his cock into the tight, slick heat of Sebastian's arse.

 

"Bloody fucking - Christ," he howled, and then as if a switch was flicked, he felt his body lose control Jim shivered and shook violently, moaning like a shameless tramp, he thought to himself, but he didn't care, he didn't care, oh god so good so good so good....

 

 

~

Sebastian saw it, ... saw Jim hanging on to some semblance of control by the skin of his teeth, saw it slipping and then... it was gone, with a howl of rage - rapture - pleasure – then he was swept along by a roaring tidal wave of WantNowNeedYouFuckingGodComeHere. And. It. Was. Fucking. Divine.

- nothing left to hold on to any more but each other -

... pushing, panting, clawing...

The sounds escaping from Jim's throat surged through Sebastian as physically as the trembling of his muscles and finally - Jim bucking up against him, into him, heat spilling inside him…

And for a pinpoint moment in time he saw, really saw… Jim's face, entirely without a mask – open, raw, naked, and beautiful.

Making a helpless sound, Sebastian leaned forward even more, still riding Jim through the delicious aftershocks of his orgasm. Two perfunctory strokes to Sebastian’s cock were more than enough to send him off into an epic orgasm of his own –

For a while there was only their ragged breathing, gradually slowing, calming down.

Slumped down over Jim, luckily Sebastian found himself still lucid enough to keep at least part of his weight on one elbow, and one hand. Even to slightly turn his head took some effort. Hair tickled his cheek.

 

“So, did you imagine it as well?” His mouth was close to Jim's ear, his voice low, still slightly breathy. “Like that,” he murmured, “Just... like that...”

 

He considered briefly cleaning up the mess he’d left when he came… but ah well, in the face of the glorious almighty mess they were lying in, it seemed absurd to worry about that.

He dipped his head and licked a smear of cream off Jim's shoulder.

 

 

~

Jim found himself floating in a daze before he realized where he actually was - on the floor, his back feeling scraped by the expensive carpet... now sticky with cream, as was he… along with sweat and semen, compliments of Sebastian... who was leaning over him, gasping and panting. Jim had a dim recollection of the sound of their orgasms piercing the air like animals... not sweet domestic fluffy ones, but the dangerous kind... wild things, in a frenzy of fucking. Jim’s eyes closed as he processed everything that just. Happened.

None of it according to plan...

What the fuck was he supposed to -

The thought was interrupted by a question from a Tiger who seemed awfully pleased with himself.

He suppressed a shiver at the seductive-predator voice purring in his ear. If they hadn’t just fucked, he would have expected teeth at his throat. Instead he felt his tongue gliding along his shoulder, and this time the shiver broke free.

 

Jim’s eyes opened slowly and locked with Sebastian’s. “Not even a little afraid of the territory, are you? I’m not sure if that’s stupidly brave or bloody reckless...” he said in a soft purring voice. They stared at each other for a long, hushed moment. Then Jim arched an eyebrow. “Huh. To be determined...” He didn’t bother to specify if that was regarding being fucked by Sebastian... or determining if he was brave or reckless for taunting him with the prospect.

 

Jim breathed in deeply. The room was thick with pheromones, musky-sweet masculine scents... and strawberries. Jim turned his head and saw a strawberry crushed into the carpet next to his head. He picked it up with a mildly irritated expression and flicked it at Sebastian’s head. The quick bastard ducked, of course, and Jim sighed.

 

“Honestly, though… can you enter any room without leaving evidence of your presence?” he grumbled. “Get off. I need yet another shower, thanks to you...”

 

 

~

Sebastian sensed the slight shiver running over Jim's skin, but he didn't see it. Head bowed, eyes still closed, he drank in Jim's scent… their scent, like imprinting on something that had been missing all his life, without him even knowing.

Jim's eyes opened. The deceptively soft voice didn't fool him for a second, as Jim mused about Sebastian rambling into minefields – again, and seemingly without fear.

 

“I'm not stupid,” Sebastian replied. Because, to be entirely without fear in general (and around Jim Moriarty in particular), you had to be exactly that: either blissfully ignorant or blatantly stupid.

Bloody reckless he'd been labeled before, but it wasn't quite that simple...

What was he, then?

Definitely hardwired to turn fear and danger into something like the fix of a powerful drug, but with enough sense and instinct attached, to (so far) come out of everything alive. And now... obviously so smitten with a lethal despotic psychopath that maybe, for once, he had stopped caring if he did survive the high.

 

The corner of his mouth twitched as Jim conceded the matters in question had yet to be determined.

Yes, maybe the verdict would be 'plain stupidity' but that didn't particularly faze Sebastian (since from Jim's point of view, 99.9% of the world's population was the intellectual equivalent of a vegetable).

He ducked quick enough for a mangled strawberry to pass over his head (and defile the carpet further afield). Wryly he noted it had been thrown by the man who asked him if he was capable of not leaving evidence of his presence…

 

“Hm –“ Sebastian briefly pondered the question. “I usually don't when I kill people?” he offered.

When ordered to 'get off' he complied with a grin - not objecting but also not displaying undue haste. He surveyed the battlefield. God – everyone and everything needed a serious hosing down – but it had been worth it, hadn't it? He didn't say that out loud, as the big smile on his face spoke for itself. He extended a hand to help Jim up and onto his feet.

 

 

~

Jim eyed the hand that was offered to him, then took it. Rising gracefully, he shook it off - then stepping around bits of cream and a stray strawberry with a pointed glare, he made his way across the living room carpet.

Walking naked and sticky and dishevelled to the shower was unusual enough - somehow he had always managed to stay somewhat tidy even during sex - but to be escorted by someone else... this was a whole other level of rare. Jim stopped himself from glancing at Sebastian, who had caught up to him and was walking with him instead of behind.

 

It was a good thing they were working apart tomorrow, he told himself. This had already gotten far too cozy. Well, it was already evening... after their shower (their?), he would do some more work, and then make it an early night. Then in the morning, Tiger would be off a-killing, and things would go back to normal.

As they climbed the stairs, Jim pictured pushing Sebastian out the door in the morning. It felt strangely empty. He then pictured pushing him off the platform of a tube station... into the path of an oncoming lorry... off a cliff... into a volcano... and none of his fun, frisky fantasies gave him any pleasure. Well, a tiny bit - he wasn't dead inside.

 

What the fuck, Moran, he thought in annoyance, as Sebastian opened the bathroom door for him, and made an 'after you' gesture. Are you trying to be so charming I can't do without you?? Fat fecking chance of that, darling...

He slipped into the bathroom, blasted hot water, and stepped under the spray. He watched as white and red water swirled off him, and then felt Sebastian get in behind him. It felt thrilling and familiar at once...

 

This won't do, he told himself firmly. Take care of it.

 

 

~

The smudges of strawberries and cream washed off under the blast of hot water, but not the slightly reddish marks on the beautiful arse in front of him... and, standing close behind Jim in the shower, Sebastian found it hard to pry his eyes away from them.

There was beauty in their symmetry, and a glow of satisfaction in the thought of how they'd gotten there. Sebastian realised he was about to touch them, as if that would keep away the sting the hot water was bound to cause, but something made him stop himself from getting carried away. Why, when just minutes ago he'd had no qualms about laying hands on the man... and had done so with relish?

Just a subtle shift, but somewhere between there and here the atmosphere had changed.

Sebastian, only slowly coming out of the glow and back to his senses, couldn't quite put his finger on what exactly felt ... off, but now he did: Jim was silent. And that was a first, post-fuck.

Not that he'd assume to know what went on inside Jim’s mind, but there was an air of... not so much contentedness, but withdrawal. And Sebastian had seen that before – Jim on his laptop, or pondering a problem in the car, or, for the blink of an eye even in the middle of meetings. Jim's mind would briefly step aside, out-side, as if to view a problem from a different angle.

And you did well to hope the matter in question had nothing to do with you.

Better to err on the side of caution, though...

So, taking care to only use whatever part of the spray he could catch without blocking it, Sebastian cleaned himself up, mindful to keep the bandage on his back dry. He was already towelled off, and counting out another dose of Keflex and Ibuprofen, when Jim finished his shower.

Sebastian handed him a towel, filled a glass of water and leaned against the counter, watching Jim.

He reminded himself that, for all he knew, he was just here on a whim. On a Jim-whim to let a few proclivities out and run free and play to their heart's content, until they were sated. Now, with the prey hunted down, fucked and devoured it might well be the point where the novelty wore off and they were starting to get distracted or irritated. Or worse: bored.

He shoved a hand through his hair. Fuck's sake Moran, don't make a big thing out of this!

 

“I better be off then, I guess,” he suggested casually. Well, he hoped it sounded casual enough, and not as bleak as his own suggestion made him feel.

The vigorous towelling of messy dark hair stopped for a second and Sebastian couldn't quite place the look that was shot at him. He gave a slight shrug, and despite himself, the corners of his mouth quirked up slightly.

 

"Just my Scheherezade instincts..." he murmured. And they were quite good. The king clearly needed a bit of me-time…

Sebastian popped the pills from his hand into his mouth and washed them down, watching Jim over the rim of the glass.

 

 

~

At Sebastian's words, Jim stopped short, looked up quickly at Sebastian, then continued drying himself off.

What the fuck-?

Scheherazade?

You think you get to choose? he though furiously, then tamped down on his anger.

 

"Well, Sebastian... you're hardly chained up here... at the moment," he said coolly, and dried his face. "If you want to leave..."

 

Then he threw the towel across the room, and stepped towards him. He plucked the glass out of his hand and threw it into the sink. Ignoring the smashing of glass and water splashing, he stepped even closer and looked up at him.

 

"Just a question, first... did Scheherazade say, 'oh hey, your Royal Fucking Majesty... I think I'll take off... you're getting quiet' he said in an injured feminine voice. "Funny, I don't remember that part of the story... sometimes Kings get quiet, darling... there's a lot on their shoulders, after all. And the psychopathic ones, well, they have their little moods..."

 

He glanced at the large shards of glass in the sink, and raised his eyebrows. "Mustn't make the mistake of thinking it's all about you. The moods were here a long time before you arrived on the scene..."

He swiped up a jagged piece of glass from the sink. Sebastian made a sound in his throat.

"It's all right," Jim said in a soothing voice. "Give me your hand..."

 

Sebastian hesitated only for a moment before he stretched out his hand. Jim took it gently and held it palm up. He pressed the tip of glass shard to the mound at the base of his thumb, then pushed down. He watched with interest as Sebastian winced, and then stared at the blood that welled up.

"I carved my mark into your back. Did you forget that? Maybe you need something you can look at more easily..."

 

Jim pressed harder, and more blood pooled. He removed the glass and threw it against the other shards with a clink. He held the hand up to his face, and licked the blood slowly.

 

He closed his eyes and exhaled. "You're mine. I made you mine. Get used to the moods, darling..." he opened his eyes and stared at him intently.

 

Then he picked up another piece of glass, this one smaller. And he stared at Sebastian for a beat longer before bringing the shard to the same spot on his own palm. and digging the glass into it deeply. He tossed the glass into the sink, and held his bleeding hand out to Sebastian.

 

"I wasn't at risk of forgetting, Tiger. Here. I'm right here. Taste it. And remember it well..." he murmured.

 

 

~

Jim doing voices was hilarious and profoundly creepy at the same time – especially while advancing on Sebastian, taking the glass from his hand and smashing it into the sink... nothing for feeble nerves to be witnessed here...

Sebastian blinked, but stood his ground - the countertop at his back might have had something to do with it as well – and bracing himself against the surge of adrenaline and a lick of annoyance, he let it dissipate without moving a muscle. No, of course, Jim was right - that particular king's playmate had been in no position to take her leave.

 

“True, but at least she knew she was supposed to stay,” he pointed out, wisely not adding, 'because they were married.' “But how the fuck am I supposed to know?”

 

Last night it had just been a pretext of purely practical considerations that had allowed him to stay.

Because this was not a fucking honeymoon.

Nothing to get ideas about.

Oh yes, Jim could rest assured, the information on what this was not had been very clear.

 

Sebastian stared into his eyes, with the sudden realisation that he was hoping for this incident to not be something else, as well: a one-off. And to outstay one's welcome usually didn't promote the chances to be invited back. After all: he was quite aware of the moods of the regal little psychopath, which were now being pointed out to him with a good deal of irritation.

 

“I’m just trying to pick my way through...” he said softly. “Through... this.”

Without bloody knowing what this was.

Fucking hell, without even asking what it was.

 

And it was just now that he got some sort of answer.

 

At the sight of a jagged piece of glass in Jim's hand, everything ground into slow motion.

Soothing words and then... firm ones. Decisive.

But he couldn't process them for a moment, didn't dare to... because they might just be a feverish, breathless hallucination of what he wished to hear. Craved to hear, and if he believed them...

 

A jab of pain jolted through him and jerked him back into surreal clarity.

His eyes, which had briefly flickered down to his hand and the first well of blood, found Jim's again, and after that never left.

Not while his pupils dilated as the shard cut open the heel of his thumb.

Not while Jim reminded him.

Not while his breathing got quicker and shallower as the glass pressed deeper into the wound.

And not while it ceased to matter completely, whether it was his hand Jim slashed open, or his wrist…

 

Mine

I made you mine.

 

Forget pinching yourself as a reality check… God, he'd go for a knife or a shard of glass pressed into his flesh in a heartbeat, if it were done by this beautiful fucking psychopath…

Sebastian couldn't stifle a moan when suddenly Jim's lips and tongue where on the wound and at the sight of them coming away bloody. He stared in a daze when Jim cut open his own hand and then held it out to him.

Blood welled up, seeping along the sliver of glass, pooling in the palm of his hand. Then slowly running down one finger… And before the first drop could fall, Sebastian, dipping his head, caught it with his tongue. What followed was inevitable... like what was set in motion a few hours ago by the little marble ball tipping over.

Sebastian had taken hold of Jim's hand and his tongue traced the thin trail of blood back towards its source, just as slowly as he was lowering himself towards the floor.

When finally his teeth grazed against the cut, and the tip of his tongue dipped into it, tasting it, he was down on his knees.

 

I wasn't at risk of forgetting either, sir.

Here.

I'm right here.

 

 

~

Jim watched silently, his face not betraying his feelings.

His feelings... as if he were a mere ordinary human with their endless ordinary emotions...

only... there was nothing ordinary about what was happening.

 

God... from the moment Jim pulled out the broken glass, Sebastian had been staring at him like one would gaze at their king or their god. As if he were falling deeper and deeper into a trance, like the victim falling under the thrall of a serpent or a vampire...

Vampire... fitting, with Jim's propensity for drinking blood... whatever had possessed him to give his own to Sebastian?

He stopped his eyes from closing as he felt Sebastian's tongue and then teeth on his bleeding palm.

Now it was Jim falling into a trance...

as he watched Sebastian falling to his knees as though in slow-motion.

An eternal moment of a subject swearing fealty to his king...

falling in adoration of his god...

offering himself completely to the predator before him...

Jim inhaled sharply, and stared down at Sebastian gazing up at him...

those bright blue eyes...

swearing loyalty and devotion and surrender...

without a single word uttered.

 

Jim took his face in his hands, and stared at him for a long moment, then leaned down and kissed him long and hard.

 

"Don't be an idiot... you're not going anywhere," he said firmly.

He gestured at Sebastian to stand, then grinned at him, breaking the spell. "Now you know you're supposed to stay, Scheherazade... all better?"

He rolled his eyes.

 

"Jesus... if I had known what a pain in the arse Tigers are, I would have whipped you harder... something to keep in mind for next time..."

He arched an eyebrow. "Now... if we're done with all the Romeo and Juliet madness, get something to entertain yourself then get your arse into the bedroom... I'm doing some more work and then making it an early night."

As he left the room, he called back sarcastically, "Did you hear that, Tiger? I said next time..."

 

 

~

Sebastian didn't think. Jim's blood on his tongue - the sweet, smoky taste of hot metal and crimson darkness - not drawn in a fight, not spilled in a frenzied bout of biting, kissing, fucking, but solemnly given, like a kingly favour – where else would you receive it but on your knees?

Books of kingly tales had depicted the king leaning down, taking the face of the man swearing fealty, and kissing him...

admittedly not

like

that...

And he wouldn't be kissed back as fiercely as Sebastian was doing now.

He assumed that the swearing of fealty didn't end with an offhand wave to get the fuck up and the ceremonial uttering 'Don't be an idiot.'

Jim grinned and amusement sparked in Sebastian's eyes.

 

“Yes... better,” he replied, smiling.

 

Especially because of the king's musings about what he should do... next time.

Barely taking note of Jim's orders regarding the further course of the evening, something inside him just kept happily humming... next time…

When Jim had already left the bathroom, Sebastian still had that half-dazed, half-pleased little grin on his face.

Oh yes, he'd heard.

Next time…

 

He turned the tap, cleaned his hand and bandaged the cut. Picking up pieces of glass and throwing them away, he looked more closely. The impact of the glass had chipped a small slab of porcelain off the inside of the luxurious wash basin. Ah well - time to tick off another room now sporting a permanent mark of his presence…

 

 

~

As Jim wandered down the stairs to retrieve his laptop, he considered the events that just transpired, feeling strangely flushed.

 

Idiot, he chided himself. Why are you being so... demonstrative?

 

(Because he's so sweet...) the little voice chirped.

 

Exactly what I need... a sweet bodyguard... Jim rolled his eyes, as he reached the bottom of the stairs and headed for the living room.

 

(And he likes you...) the voice cooed.

 

Jim felt himself growing agitated. My sweet bodyguard likes me... fuck's sake... he thought, then froze as he entered the living room.

It looked as if a hurricane had torn through the apartment and blown food in from the kitchen. There were open food containers and used plates all over the table, but the bigger issue was the dessert decorating the carpet.

Jim groaned. He opened his mouth to yell Sebastian's name, then sighed and started cleaning up. He needed a moment to himself to think anyway, and Sebastian would likely be coming through in a few minutes to throw rare books into a messy heap on the library floor.

Gingerly, he stepped around the smears of cream and the flattened strawberry. He started carrying containers to the kitchen, and stacking them in the fridge. Image sprang unbidden to his mind... Sebastian riding him on the carpet, whispering to him... Sebastian on his knees in the bathroom, eyes shining...

 

(And you like him, too...) the little voice taunted him.

 

Jesus... he snapped. Enough with the smitten schoolgirl antics!

 

(Sssssay it...)

 

Piss off, or his invitation to return gets revoked! Jim closed the fridge door emphatically, and returned for the plates.

As he returned to the kitchen in silence, he felt himself begin to relax.

 

(Saaaaay it!) the voice sang abruptly.

 

"Jesus! I. Fucking. Like. Him." he said through gritted teeth. Now drop it!

 

Jim threw the plates into the sink, grabbed a tea towel, and ran it under hot water for a moment. The carpet would obviously need to be thrown out tomorrow, but if he left it with food on it all night, he'd be too furious to sleep.

He hesitated for a moment with a wet towel in his hand, dripping onto the kitchen floor. He thought again of Sebastian's face growing lighter after he kissed him. Smiling after he told him he wasn't going anywhere...

He exhaled slowly. It was a dangerous game he was playing now... the rules had shifted partway, and he had somehow lost control of the board and the players... but he was the one calling the shots, and it would not happen again.

 

You hear that? he demanded of the smug little voice, lurking in the background. I'M the one who controls the game... NOT. YOU. He stormed into the living room, and furiously started wiping down the carpet.

 

(You think what you like, honey...) the voice purred, as he cleaned. (But there's a beautiful Tiger in bed, thanks to me. And I plan to enjoy him...)

 

No. I'm doing some work and having an early night, Jim informed the voice loftily. Ignoring the silky laughter, he threw the tea towel on the table. Then he snatched up his laptop and headed back upstairs.

 

 

~

Cleaning the wash basin until it was spotless again, Sebastian paused and gazed at the man in the big mirror, covering the wall. The guy was clearly a bloody lunatic. Looking like he'd just come out of a war - scratches and welts, sodden bandages around his wrists and a fresh one on his hand, the distinct shadow of a bruise on his jaw and one over his hip bone... old scars, and cuts that would turn into new ones… and yet – in his eyes of tumultuous blue a vibrant light shone. And on his lips there was not only a smear of blood but a fucking smile.

 

His finger traced the grainy spot chipped by the glass and he pictured the holy mess the living room must be in. The idea of joining Jim there was taken under review though, when nearing the kitchen – the fridge was being shut with a thump, then there was the harsh clatter of plates being thrown into the sink - from what, a mile away? - water running and muttering. Sebastian's ears perked up as his limbs froze from slow motion into stillness, before he opted for a smooth retreat – to the library. After all – there was no shortage of messes to apply himself to…

But righting books on their shelves and picking them up from the floor, his concentration left much to be desired because of what he'd heard on his way in... misheard surely?

Oh, get a grip on yourself! No reason to feel so elated, he chided himself, picking up a tome that had landed face down - Ptolemy's Geographia. He shoved a few continents that had come loose back where they belonged. Yes, that must be it: one of Jim's funny little jokes (who no one found funnier than the little bastard himself). Because, seriously: who the fuck talked to themselves sounding like an aside on stage, unless they expected an audience?!

And yet, it didn't help - he kept smiling while restoring some sort of order in the library and then heading back upstairs, and then after a cigarette on the balcony - into bed. Following orders. Although strictly speaking they did not include using more than half the bed to sprawl out comfortably, or swapping the pillows to secretly be closer to Jim’s scent.

Before he’d as much as opened the book he'd brought with him, he was fast asleep, the faint scent of luxurious hair wash and Jim against his cheek.

 

 

~

As Jim clomped upstairs with his laptop, he considered what to complain about first... the state of the living room? The fact that Sebastian didn't help clean it up? How little Jim had accomplished today? He was raring to go by the time he reached the bedroom, and threw open the door. When he stepped through, he stared at the sight before him.

 

Sebastian was sleeping - sprawled on his side across the bed, his long limbs spread out, his arm around Jim's pillows. His face was peaceful... content, even.

Jim's mouth snapped shut. Well, he could wake him up for a firm talking to... but as he moved towards the bed, he let go of his resolve. Fuck it - there'd be plenty of time to berate him whenever he returned next. Strange to think he'd be leaving tomorrow...

 

Jim sat in bed and opened up his laptop. But the thought of doing any more work felt dull - which should have been disconcerting, but he couldn't muster up enough energy to give a flying fuck. He turned his laptop off with a sigh, and slid it onto his bedside table. Then he settled into bed against the pillows. The problem was Sebastian was taking up most of the bed - so he either had to sleep crammed against the edge of the bed, which was not going to happen... or wake him up to tell him to sod off and move over.

He pushed at Sebastian's shoulder - it was like pushing a tree. Jesus. He shook his arm, and said loudly,

"Move over, Sebastian... or I'll have a nice tiger-skin rug in front of the fireplace..."

 

Sebastian muttered something that sounded like "OK, beautiful..." and moved an inch back. Jim stared at him in shock. Did he even know who he was talking to??

Was Jim beautiful?

Obviously..

Did he get to call Jim 'Beautiful'?

Definitely not.

 

(I like it...) the voice protested.

 

"Piss off," Jim hissed, and began to push Sebastian back again.

 

To which his soldier responded with a chuckle, before easing back further.

 

"Fuck's sake, Sebastian..." Jim muttered, then lay down next to him. He stared at him in irritated fascination, then sighed and turned to face the other direction.

 

Tomorrow Sebastian was leaving... and things would go back to normal. About time, he thought and had the distinct sensation that his little voice was sulking and refusing to speak to him. He ignored the twingey feeling in his stomach, and closed his eyes.

 

 

~

God, he loved Jim manhandling him, and he was too sleepy to even pretend otherwise. A feeling of amusement permeated through the haze and the corners of Sebastian's mouth twitched. More than half asleep, he inched back a tiny bit, but it wasn't more than token compliance.

Juuust barely enough to avoid getting turned into a rug for the fireplace.

 

Of course Jim was beautiful – he was the most fucking beautiful thing he'd ever seen.

What, he didn't like that? Well... tough - sleepy tigers (not in full possession of their faculties) were very prone to tell the truth. The bed dipped beside him and, ceding another inch, Sebastian exhaled with a soft rumbling noise. His eyes never opened...

 

"I know you like me", he mumbled, with a sleepy-content smile on his face.

 

 

~

Jim's heart pounded in his chest. He thought about what Sebastian had mumbled at him... it wasn't snarky, which would have been the kiss of death for his darling soldier. Instead he sounded chuffed as hell.

 

Fecking wonderful, he thought, disgruntled. He heard me... what was he doing sneaking around so quietly??

 

Something. Had. To be. Done.

 

He'd been telling himself this all day, and his tarty side had bollixed everything up. Even gave Sebastian his blood and referred to them as fecking Romeo and Juliet! Now Sebastian was ignoring orders and calling him 'beautiful'!

 

(I like being called Beautiful...) the little voice called out sulkily.

 

Jim ignored this. Tomorrow. Deal with it tomorrow. Even if it means telling Steve to assign him elsewhere. Or transfer him to work out of the fecking country. If he wanted to, he need never see Sebastian Moran ever again. He huffed, and ignored the feeling of darkness radiating from his stomach, the agitated feeling in his chest. He tried to get comfortable and punched his pillow.

Then a large arm snaked around his waist. His eyes flew open.

What-?

He pushed back against it, but it stayed where it was.

 

"Sleep, Jim..." Sebastian mumbled drowsily.

Jim blinked in response, then sighed heavily. The annoying bloody Tiger had a point. He could figure all this out in the morning.

For now, he clearly needed sleep...

Jim's eyelids started sagging. The arm around his waist was strangely comforting.

 

Stupid Tiger, he grumbled to himself, and nestled against the strong, wonderful arm.

Darkness surrounded him, and he surrendered.

 

 

~

Sebastian's eyelids fluttered, as part of his mind tried to drag itself back from drowsiness - but the more insistent part demanded lights out, now. His left hand slowly moved and his arm slid around Jim's waist, like a big paw gently immobilising a fidgety kitten.

 

A wave of shocked indignation radiated up from underneath it... but, after a fruitless push, it gradually eased off. Breathing slowed down. Sebastian's sleep-addled mind was quite certain Jim snuggled into the touch, and, drifting into oblivion, he took that lovely thought into the darkness with him...

 

It was still there in the grey half-light of the morning seeping through the blinds. With eyes still closed and a tiny smile, Sebastian allowed himself to soak it up shamelessly. Recalling Jim's reaction waking up yesterday morning, caution crept back in too, but he'd happily risk a black eye or a scratch across his face, to just... savour it a bit longer. Along with the memories of everything that had happened in the space of a day and two nights. Looking at the Sebastian Moran who'd stepped through these doors on Friday night, was like gazing at a former version of himself across a lifetime spanning thirty-six hours. He opened his eyes and looked at the sleeping man who had left more marks on him, inside and out, than the last thirty-six years.

And nothing had ever felt this... right.

 

However, enough of his common sense was still intact to know he'd not been hired, and wouldn't be kept around just because he was a good lay and fitted Jim Moriarty's sexual preferences like a glove.

He had a man to kill today, and no matter how easy or difficult a hit was supposed to be, he never set about it half-arsed.

Today, though – he didn't even know more than the vague outlines yet. No recce the day before, no detailed planning, no tuning into the task and the target. So - no matter how bullet-proof (hah) the information and instructions were that he was used to getting from Steve, it was more than high time to get going.

 

He briefly contemplated waking Jim up, but then... he had no idea how to take his leave. 'Bye now, honey, see you tonight' (except, no, he wouldn't). So instead of getting a pitying glance as the gormless idiot who started to get ideas, or an indifferent send-off wave to sod off already, he much preferred to take this final moment with him: Jim's relaxed, sleeping body under his arm (it seemed they both hadn't moved an inch during the night), breathing peacefully, the shadow of dark lashes on pale cheeks ...

Oh fuck off Tiger – he could literally hear it - enough with the Romeo-and-Juliet madness, go do your job.

And so he would…

 

Slowly, quietly, he eased his arm back, and moved to the side, out from under the duvet and even more quietly out of the bed. He retrieved his phone from his jacket on the chair and opened the email drafts folder where he duly found yesterday's entry from Steve.

 

Then he looked over his shoulder - the sleeping form in the bed still didn't stir, so, clothes in one hand, phone in the other, Sebastian tiptoed out of the room. After a quick trip to the bathroom he went down to the kitchen and dressed while the machine gurgled out a coffee. Gingerly he inched into his T-Shirt, his back hurting like a bitch at every movement, and fucking hell - due to no wearable underpants anywhere in sight the denim of his jeans chafed against all parts sensitive – which was about everything they came in contact with. That too would be staying with him all day - with a tingle of heat coursing through him at the thought, he grinned, sipping his coffee.

 

His eyes fell on a notepad with pen, attached to the side of the fridge.

Should he write a note?

'Back for dinner. With strawberry trifle'

Good heavens. He felt a tickle of insane laughter in his throat, realising he was already holding the pen and had started a little doodle - two ears, a few stripes, whiskers.

 

He finished his coffee, and, good tiger that he was, rinsed the mug, and also put a fresh one out. Then he quietly left, pulling the front door shut behind him with a gentle click.

 

 

~

Jim woke up, murmuring. He had no idea what he'd been saying, but in his dream there was a magpie hiding something - a treasure?- and squawking at him when he got too close.

Whatever. Dream nonsense. Now where was Sebastian?

He looked behind him at the empty bed, and remembered - the sound of a Tiger getting up, gathering his things, and heading downstairs. Jim had considered opening his eyes, but what was he going to say to him? Thanks for the amazing sex, get out?

Only - Jim didn't say thank you as a rule... or give compliments... Which left nothing to say other than Get. Out.

Jim laughed at the thought of wandering downstairs in his dressing gown, to say only that before turning around and heading back to bed.

Jim was also a fan of an Irish exit, and did so regularly. Goodbyes, like all social niceties, were superfluous, sentimental drivel.

And it was a relief to be on his own again. As much as he had enjoyed Sebastian's company (!!!), it also chafed to be in the same space with someone. He'd been looking forward to having his space to himself again...

 

But there was also something about waking up in an empty flat that felt... strange.

Almost like... that apparently common experience of going to bed with someone and having them pull a disappearing act in the morning. Only, it was not common to Jim, and he dismissed this with a roll of his eyes. Preposterous. He'd been calling the shots all along, and he didn't intend to stop now. Given how Sebastian had been staring at him all day, it was hardly likely.

And then - there was the arm...

The arm that had held him all night.

It was partly why he had been able to sleep in so late... he hadn't had such a good night's sleep as far back as he could remember. Any time he woke up agitated from a dream... the arm was there, protecting him... comforting him.

Jim stretched out, yawning, and rolled out of bed. Anyway. It was done. Time for things to get back to normal...

He would consult the bodyguard schedule and make sure he wasn't seeing too much of Mr. Moran, and that would be that.

 

There was a strange feeling in his stomach that he ignored. HIs little voice was strangely silent, too. It had been in hyperdrive ever since this ridiculous fascination with Sebastian had started.

Jim pulled on a dressing gown, and grabbed his laptop. Yawning, he headed downstairs. He found the coffeemaker all set up and ready to go, with a clean cup waiting for him on the counter. He pressed a button and heard the initial sounds of coffee brewing. Then he sat down with his laptop and got to work.

When the coffee was ready, he got up and poured himself a cup, with milk and a lot of sugar. It felt so strange to do anything for himself...

 

(I like Sebastian being here to do things...) the little voice pouted.

 

Jim covered his face with his hands. There it was.

Don't start up again... just don't...

 

(So sweet of him to set up the coffee maker for me...)

 

Yes, he's an excellent employee.... Jim thought crisply, and poured himself another cup.

 

(But why didn't he leave a note??)

 

Because we're not heart-eyed schoolgirls, he snapped.

He had the strangest sensation of whining and moping, then suddenly -

 

(Tiger! A tiger!!)

 

A doodle of a tiger stared back at him from the notepad on the fridge.

 

"Fuck's sake, Sebastian..." he muttered. He eyed the little drawing on the notepad suspiciously as he took his coffee cup back to the laptop, and got to work.

 

 

~

Stepping back into the world was strange. Like after... being at the cinema in the middle of the day. Like waking up from a lucid dream that had felt more real than any waking moment.

Or leaving a deep dark wood and feeling compelled to turn around because suddenly it was being outside that made you feel lost.

 

Well, it most certainly hadn't been a dream – even the smallest movement testified to that. He felt light- headed, like riding a high after bingeing on a mindblowing drug, yet already feeling the first hollow, slightly nauseating twinge of withdrawal.

He realised he had shifted on the bike and moved his shoulder to... no, not to alleviate the pressure of the heavy leather jacket against his back, but to feel it. To savour all the physical reminders surging back, converging into a rush of pain-pleasure-thrill...

 

Oh fucking hell! Sebastian wrenched his mind back to the task as he spotted the expected silver Merc with driver (poor sod never got Sundays off) as it appeared, half past twelve on the dot, as scheduled.

 

The front door of the house in question opened, as Sebastian opened the throttle. He pulled off the kerb as the car pulled into the driveway (which was covered by a security camera, whereas that stretch of road was not). The driver got out and opened the boot – what the fuck, according to all observations he never did that! And then, instead of the target walking into a brief but certain window for a leisurely drive-by shooting, the car was swarmed by seemingly everybody living in the house – wifey, brats and fucking dog

 

Muttering a curse so vicious it literally threatened to fog up the visor of his helmet, Sebastian kept going, past the house and family piling luggage into the car for what seemed to be a trip into the green English countryside, without hubby.

In the mirror Sebastian caught a glimpse of another car, a flashy BMW convertible pulling out of the basement garage... Fuckfuckfuck...

 

'Nothing too strenuous' - he could still hear Jim's voice... '... as long as he doesn't make it to his meeting, it's your call how you do it.'

Alright. That left fifty-two minutes...

 

'Have fun with it, Tiger.'

It really looked like he would…

 

 

~

Jim was consumed by work to such an extent that he was not aware of how much time had passed until he felt a strange sensation in his stomach. What was that? Oh... hunger.

He looked down at his stomach, accusingly. This didn't normally happen... certainly not mid-day. He looked at the time on his laptop. One thirty. Should he... eat something? Seemed so indulgent...

He thought back to all the meals and snacks that had magically appeared with Sebastian in the house, and the next thing he knew he was padding to the kitchen and staring at the contents of the fridge. He poked at a container of leftover Thai food. He had meant to remind Sebastian to take it with him... but then, why not just pack a lunch for him? he thought, sneering. Or just appear wherever he was with a picnic basket??

 

He rubbed his eyes and sighed. Well, he had made it through several hours without thinking of him.

How did the hit go, he wondered idly. He went to send a message to Steve, and then realised he'd forgotten to get something to eat. He stood halfway between the kitchen and the living room, exasperated. As soon as you started remembering you were human, things just got far too complicated...

 

Fuck it. If there was something wrong, Steve would have notified him.

He headed back towards the kitchen, then stopped.

 

But what if... something happened to Sebastian? He hurried back to his phone, cursing. Tersely, he sent a text to Steve.

Within a moment, there was a response - he hadn't heard a confirmation from Sebastian yet. But there was a news report about a traffic incident on the potential route...

 

What. Incident.

 

He could see Steve writing more, but Jim was already sending a text to Sebastian:

Incident??

 

He started to pace, staring at his screen.