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St Jimmy

Chapter Text

I walk through the empty church. My shoes are soft-soled, yet the footsteps still echo on the flagstones as I make my way around the stations of the cross.

I get to the little side chapel for Mary, my favourite spot. A statue looks down at me, its features delicate and serene. She often makes me feel calmer, held, supported, forgiven. Today her beautifully chiselled face seems too ethereal though, distant, pondering heavenly matters, unreachable to us mere mortals.

I stare at her for a bit, every feature familiar. A beautiful work of art, by an unnamed and forgotten artist, who gave his heart and soul to this statue, so she could provide succour to generations to come.

However, her peace appears to be forsaking me for now. I move on through the church. It’s lovely - no doubt about that. I’m so lucky to have got this parish. Catholicism is plummeting in the UK, mass attendance even more. Usually it’s me and a score of grey ladies, one or two younger kids dragged by their mums or having a bout of piety brought on by a crisis.

I kneel on the step in front of the altar, ask God to not forget me, to help me serve him, to inspire me...

I sit in silent meditation for a while.

 

- gunfire -

- blood -

- adrenaline -

 

I raise my hands to my ears, screwing up my eyes - please - please Lord, why do you send me these visions? Why do you plague me so?

I’ve seen violence, of course, I’ve lived through the Troubles, but never up close like in those sudden attacks that seem to come more and more frequently. And they frighten me - but also scarily, perversely, fascinate me in a way. I want to escape them, but part of me is excited, wants to engage with them, wants to drink in the violence...

I’m a man of peace, of turning the other cheek. I look up at Christ on the cross, a picture of persistence in the face of violence. Please, Lord... help me...

 

I hear a click - the door opening. I get up, set myself on a pew, facing half towards the aisle - not pouncing on the visitor like an eager salesman, but at the same time making sure to look approachable.

And serene. Don’t forget serene, James.

 

 

The door creaks and then echoes as I step into the church. I wince. The sound makes it that much more real... I'm in a fucking church. It's not a daydream. I came in, and there's a priest sitting right there...

He gives me a warm smile, and then continues his prayers or contemplation of divine glory or whatever he was up to when a killer entered his church.

Unsure of what to do, I sit in the pew that's the farthest back. Why am I here? Why am I here?

Other than the obvious, I mean - ducking in to get away from the man who was tailing me. But I could have shaken him a dozen different ways that did not involve sitting in the pew of a church.

So why here, Moran?

I don't have an answer. It's not like my upbringing was religious, and we most certainly weren't Catholic.

The answer has something to do with peace, but I don't want to think about that now. I'm feeling anything but peaceful as I sit here, alone in a church with a priest - I look at him. Is he going to talk to me? What if he doesn't? That's a weird thought... why would I want him to??

Because I need to talk to someone... or I'll take that final step I keep thinking about...having nightmares about... and why shouldn't I? I think angrily. I have nothing to live for now. I feel a prickle of tears in my eyes, and I swipe at them, fuming.

Not now, Moran... pull yourself together. You're a soldier... except I'm not, am I? Not any more. Not ever again...

 

 

The person who enters is not one of my regulars. In fact, he looks like one of the least likely people to enter my church - or any church, for that matter.

He sits down and looks ill at ease, like he was expecting something else behind these doors and now doesn’t know how to make his getaway. I don’t stare - people are welcome to come in and just quietly contemplate - but the poor chap looks just plainly lost.

Well, the church is a good place to end up if you’re lost, I suppose.

I wait a few minutes to see if he’ll settle down, but he just looks around, uncomfortable, but not looking like he’s going to leave.

I gently make my way over to the back of the church. He doesn’t avoid eye contact, so I sit down in the pew in front of his.

“I don’t think I’ve seen you here before, is that right?”

 

 

Oh god, oh god, he's coming over. What's he going to say? Is he going to try to save my soul?

I'm well beyond saving, Father...

When he asks his question, I laugh shortly, my eyes flicking away. My laugh sounds like splintered glass. "I've never been here before, no..."

I look back at him. I'm not much for socializing these days... at least, not the kind of socializing that doesn't take place drunk and with your pants down.

But his dark eyes are warm, and his smile seems genuine. And he seems concerned. I guess that's his job. Calling. Whatever. I don't need the kind of help he can give.

So what am I still doing here? Just go, Seb...

"I'm not the going to church type, to be honest..." I mutter. "Never saw the point. I'm not sure why I'm here now..."

He's staring at me intently, and I realize I'm looking at him almost - pleadingly.

Pathetic. You want a priest to help you now, Moran? To show you out of the fucking darkness?

No one can fix this...

Definitely not a nice, friendly priest who would probably back away in horror if he knew the things I was capable of... the things I'd done.

"I don't know - what I'm doing here," I stumble over my words, and my breath catches in my throat.

 

 

“Yes, I could kind of tell...” I smile. “You don’t look very much at ease.

It’s fine, you know - everyone is welcome here. Including those who don’t know why they’re here - maybe especially those who don’t know why they’re here...”

The poor guy looks like a deer in headlights. I feel a surge of sympathy, stronger than what I usually feel with people who come in here.

Maybe because he’s the first person who has come in here who looks like he’s even more lost than I am...

 

 

"And what do those people find here? Prescriptions for forgiveness? Homilies about the power of prayer?" I scoff, then look at you. "Sorry. I shouldn't take my feelings out on you - I'm clearly not fit for human company."

I look down at my bruised, scraped-up fists. Come on, Seb... did you really think this sweet man of God would be able to help you?

 

 

“People find all kinds of things here... some find strength in prayer; others find inspiration in contemplation or a talk. But maybe you don’t need to find anything here - maybe it’s enough that there is a place where you can just be.”

I think for a moment.

“Everyone is fit for human company. Christ made a point of choosing companions that others scorned. Prostitutes, thieves, murderers... he loved all. Shouldn’t the institution that is built in his name do the same?”

 

 

"It's a lovely thought, Father..." I said, raising an eyebrow. "Perhaps a banner welcoming prostitutes, thieves, and murderers...?"

I shake my head. "I'm sorry, I'm a sarcastic motherf-" I cover my mouth with my hand. "And also... I tend to be rude and uncouth. My mother would be horrified by my behaviour."

I grin, until I notice there's blood dripping slowly down my hand. I quickly lean on the prayer book holders hanging from the seat in front of me. I surreptitiously wipe my hand against the thick black book and try not to wince as a crimson stain blooms on the edges of the paper.

"But the idea of having a place you can just be, with no expectations or judgment... is a nice thought." I glance back at the doors. I think enough time has passed - I should be able to make it to my flat safely now. Where I can drink myself into oblivion and see if I make it to another day.

 

 

Blood? I look at your hands - they’re quite beaten up. Were you in a fight? Is that, in fact, why you came in here - were you outnumbered? You don’t look like the type to lose a fight one to one...

... and how would I know? It’s not like I’ve ever been in a fight, since I was a kid...

“Would you like to wash your hands? I’ve also got some disinfectant. Despite the Bible being a holy book, I’m not sure how effective it is against germs.”

 

 

“I’m so sorry, I -“

I look down at the drops of blood splattering on the stone floor. I look up at you, and you give me a wry but concerned smile.

“Oh God, I’m making such a mess. Please - let me clean that up - I’ve gone and spilled blood in your lovely church,” I ramble. “I’m fine, it’s nothing to worry about. But... yes, perhaps I could wash my hands? You’re very kind...”

Now I’m being the bloody picture of politesse, aren’t I ... Mum would be so fucking proud.

 

 

“You got blood on your face,” I smile.

“Come on, through here...” I lead you to the kitchen down the back, where you wash your hands in the sink. As the blood washes off I see that indeed you are not as hurt as you seemed at first glance, but you are definitely scraped up.

Well - different people need different approaches, and our task is surely to facilitate their spiritual succour in any way required...

Also – I don’t want to be alone -

“It’s getting late, I was just about to have a drink - would you like one?”

 

 

I blink at you. This is like no church I’ve ever heard of... You’re offering a drink to someone who just wandered in off the street? Someone probably up to no good, considering he just left blood all over your church floor and prayer books?

What’s your deal, Father? I’ve lost everything, and a drink is not going to change that.

“Yes. Please,” I say quietly.

I don’t know what it is about you. But strangely, I feel calmer in your presence. You must just have a way with lost souls...

You gesture at me to sit at the large wooden table, and I do.

I’m not quite sure how I ended up here - in the kitchen of a church, with a priest fetching me a drink... but I feel safer than I have in a very long time. I feel my muscles begin to loosen and I sigh.

 

 

I open the fridge, get out two beers. I do need to drink in the evenings, or I get so incredibly tense - daytime has things that keep me occupied, but nights - are so long and dark and empty.

I long for the time before I came here, the time in the seminary, when I was so full of faith and conviction...

It’s natural as we grow older we grow more... nuanced, I suppose... but I long for the serenity I’ve seen in other priests, that calm certainty... whereas I’ve got to drinking more and more every night just to get to sleep.

Is that why I feel a kinship with this man who’s just walked in? He looks bewildered, lost, longing for guidance but unwilling to take it.

Is it kinship I feel, or a kind of hubris, thinking that at least I’m not as messed up as this man, that here at last is someone I can feel - superior to? Unlike my usual parishioners, who all treat me with a deference that feels so wrong, so misplaced, because their faith is so much stronger than mine, and they should be counselling me; but I could never say that, because it would shatter them, because their faith in God is so closely linked to their faith in me, and so I continue, struggling to keep my head above water, day after day after day...

Lord, please, help me. Help me relieve this lost soul.

Just this one. It would make me feel so much better to just be able to help this one person...

Oh God, here I go again - would make *me* feel so much better. I’m so selfish...

Concentrate on the guy. See what he’s doing, what he’s feeling, what he needs, and help him. Just - be a priest and help him.

“Cheers,” I say as we’ve both opened our beers, raise my can, take a deep gulp, as do you. You still look very wary - as can be expected, I suppose. You don’t expect the priest to take you for a drink when you enter a church. On the other hand, this guy doesn’t seem to know what to expect in a church, so who knows. I know I find it easier to relax with a beer in my hand, and he looks like the type that would find that easier than sitting down in the confessional.

The lights are low, only the under-unit ones shining onto the work surface. Squint and you could be in a bar. Squint very hard, maybe.

“That’s better...” I say. “I’m sorry, I haven’t introduced myself. Father James.” I hold out my hand.

 

 

I'm delighted to see you bring out a couple of beers. I don't know what I was expecting - wine, I guess.

After we open our beers and start to drink, I notice a contemplative look on your face.

I don't know what's going on in your head now... are you trying to - figure me out?

Oh, Father... this is not a road you want to go down. Stick to the sweet old ladies and families you normally deal with.

This right here... goes a bit beyond your level of understanding. Unless you were a special forces soldier before you became a priest? Got yourself dishonourably discharged? Became a sniper for hire? No?

I'm drinking my beer rather quickly now. Slow down, Moran...

You introduce yourself. I look at your hand, and extend my own. Your hand is warm. Comforting.

"No, that's OK... you were busy sussing out the strange man in your church, bleeding all over your prayer books. Sebastian. I'm terribly sorry about that, by the way. I don't generally burst into places of worship and leave a mess. I'd like to make a donation, and oh! I need to clean the floor..." I'm babbling now. What's come over me?? What is about you that makes me want to be so careful and polite?

 

 

“Don’t worry about that, Sebastian. A donation is always welcome, of course...” it’s not like this place is cheap on the upkeep, “but you really don’t need to keep apologizing for coming in here. I’m glad I don’t need to drink alone,” I wink.

Is that right? Is that putting you at ease a bit? Does it make me seem less - alien?

“Sebastian...” I muse. “Patron of archers, soldiers, plague victims, and athletes... which one are you?”

 

 

With your next question, I almost choke on my beer.

Don't tell him, don't say a word...

"Soldier."

The word is a transgression. I do not reveal things about myself. Ever.

"Ex. Soldier."

Nicely done, Seb. Why not just spill your entire life story? Fill in details about the crimes, as well. And then talk about St Sebastian being a gay icon, and tell him about some of your epic hook-ups - that will impress him.

But I guess it doesn't matter if a priest knows that someone he met once named Sebastian used to be a soldier. This world doesn't have a place for me, and I'm happy to oblige it...

And that's all he's going to know...

I finish my beer and carefully place it on the table.

"Thank you," I say quietly.

 

 

You’ve finished your beer. You drink fast. Must have needed it. I notice I start panicking at the thought that now you’ll just - pack up and leave. Leave me alone, to drink alone, until I’ve drunk enough to sleep.

I nod, like I know what it’s like to be a soldier - like I know what *anything* is like, except for struggling to write sermons, struggling to sleep, and, apparently now, struggling to get someone to talk with me.

“Hard adjusting to the normal world?” I ask.

You nod.

“Another beer?” I blurt out. I’m not sure if we’re supposed to get parishioners drunk - but then, the way you knocked that first one back, I doubt you’re unused to alcohol.

 

 

I'm taken aback by your reaction. You seem to really want me to stay.

I'm not sure why, and I'm usually remarkably good at reading people and their motivations. You had to be, in my former line of work...

Loneliness? Or are you that desperate to add me to your monthly quota of 'lost souls I have saved'?

You're looking at me hopefully, and trying to cover it.

I should go... but what's waiting for me when I leave? Besides another bar, another meaningless encounter, another night in the darkness of my empty flat?

My breath hitches in my throat.

"Please..."

I don't think I was just asking for another beer... but what on earth am I asking you for?

 

 

That ‘please’ sounded a bit more - desperate than a man just accepting another drink...

I take another beer out of the fridge - I’m only halfway through mine - and offer it to you.

“Sebastian... you don’t have to tell me anything. That’s not how it works. But it can be a relief, sometimes, to unburden to a stranger who won’t judge you, and who is sworn to never speak a word of what you say.

I know I can never imagine what your life has been like - but I’m a good listener. And I’m not a therapist - I’m not going to make you work with anything you say. But - you look like a man with a lot on your chest, and you look like you’re in danger of choking if you don’t get some of it off.”

I hope that was the right thing to say. I hope it won’t make you storm off in a huff at this probing priest.

 

 

I open up my beer, and consider what you said. Sounds great in theory, Father. Oh wait... no, it sounds horrific. Being unburdened is something I can’t aspire to. And even if I could believe that some kind of peace was possible for someone like me - opening my mouth is impossible. An image of a clam being pried at with a knife pops into my mind, making me wince.

“You’re very kind... but... talking about it won’t change anything.” I say, staring at my beer. I drink some more of it. “It won’t change anything...” I say, desperately.

Suddenly I hear the echo of a door.

I look up quickly at you. You look surprised - like you forgot where you were.

Most likely it’s a parishioner... most likely. But then, it’s getting late...

What if my tail doubled back and is checking the area where I was last spotted?

Slowly I rise from the table. You look at me in confusion.

“I need to check something... don’t follow me,” I hiss. “If it’s a parishioner, I’ll let you know. If it’s not... stay here until I’m gone.”

I stare at you intently for a long moment as I walk towards the hallway leading back to the main room of the church, then slip out.

 

 

Poor guy - you really do look lost.

Yeah, I didn’t expect you’d want to unburden - most people don’t, when confronted like that. Still - you might wake up some day and wish you had someone to talk to. And come back.

I never had that happen. But in theory, it sounds good, right?

The door opens. Another late visitor? That’s very rare... I am about to get up, when you start rising, looking intent and concentrating.

What..?!

... and sneak off like you’re hunting.

In *my* church.

I don’t *think* so, Sebastian.

What’s going on? Did the people you fought with follow you? Did you hide from them in here and did they work it out?

I will have none of *that*. Blood spilled on the prayer books is bad enough - if they’ve come to hunt you in *my church* -

I get up, stalk after you.

 

 

I flatten myself against the doorframe, and peek into the nave of the church. My gun is in my hand. I really didn't want to use this in here, after everything you've done for me. But better this than you being potentially in danger, right?

I spot a dark shadow skulking in the back... definitely not some sweet old widow lighting candles for her dearly departed husband.

The question is... do I shoot him here and now? Or have him chase me from the building? On the off chance that I end up dying, well, he'll have saved me a bullet and the angst of doing it myself.

But regardless of my lifelong flirtation with death... I'm not about to lie down and let someone do it for me without a fight.

Hmm... tricky.

But I've thought of a third option.

I hold up my gun, and shout, "If you want a fighting chance... get the fuck out now. Circle the church, and we'll settle this in the back."

There's a pause. And then laughter.

"Why would we settle this in the back, when I can settle it right fucking now?" a snide voice shouts back. The dark shadow dives behind a pew, and I aim my gun.

 

 

What the...

There are two guys about to have a *gunfight*?!

In *my church*!?!

I’m frozen, but only for a second -

Jimmy - are you very sure that’s wise, Jimmy?

I stride past you, determined.

“Stop this this instant!” I bellow.

I’m pretty sure that’s not wise, Jimmy...

“This is a house of God! I will have no violence here!”

Sounds really impressive, Jimmy. Hope they think so too. Or, what’s more likely, they won’t care what you will or will not have, and shoot you.

I hear you curse and see you run towards me...

I feel you push me, and then I hear an almighty sound with lots of echo at the same time as my shoulder explodes - blood - a fireball of pain - what?

I hit the floor with my head...

... blackness...

 

 

I’m staring at you in horror as you go down, and then everything’s a blur as soldier training takes over hard.

Civvy down.

Neutralize threat.

No mercy.

I fling myself behind a pew, and wait. I can see James lying on the ground, unconscious and bleeding. No time for playing it safe. I pull out my semiautomatic and start shooting at the chandelier hanging over the spot where I last saw the assassin. An explosion of glass showers over the pew before the fixture itself falls down from its chain. There’s a shout of surprise, then pain - then fear as he sees me leaping past him and shooting him twice in the head. I kick his gun out of his hand and watch the blood spread from his head. Yup. Gone. Filled with adrenaline, I run back to the civvy and check his wound. It’s not as bad as I feared - superficial wound but it must have hurt like a mother if you’re not used to being shot. If I move quickly, he won’t need a hospital. I grab the civvy and carry him to the kitchen. Laying him gently on the table, I then find the first aid kit and set up a field hospital quickly. I cut his cassock from his torso, and yank it down to his hips. Within a short time, the wound has been cleaned, disinfected, and stitched up. Now that the immediate danger has been dealt with, I can assess the head injury and see if he needs further medical attention.

“Father?” I call out, and pat your face. “Can you hear me? it’s Sebastian...”

Nothing... Worry creases my face.

“James,” I say loudly then shout, “James! You need to wake the fuck up!”

 

 

- gunfire -

- blood -

- adrenaline -

- pain -

God, please, why do you send me these? Are they yours? Are they Satan’s? Is it a trial?

These attacks are getting *worse* -

‘James...’

They don’t usually have intelligible shouting...?

‘James... wake up...’

Wake up? What, have I passed out? Shit, did I pass out and someone found me?

I open my eyes. A vague face - I blink -

“Father?!”

I know you - wait -

“Sebastian?! What happened?!”

 

 

There's movement under your eyelids, and then they flutter open.

Relief swamps me - which is an unusual response, and not one particular to soldier mode.

You seem confused, which make sense... but you hit your head hard.

Oh - you remember my name. Short-term memory is alright.

"James! How do you feel? How's your head?"

Again you demand to know what happened, and this time you sound... angry?

Strangely I feel nervous. Definitely not akin to soldier mode.

"Erm... the person who was following me came in and shot you? I took care of your wound, but you blacked out and I just need to check that there was no damage to your head..." I trail off. I can't read your expression. My heart begins to beat even faster than it did when I was taking down the assassin.

 

 

“You had a gunfight in my church?! He *shot* me?! He shot a priest in a church?!”

I’m furious. That’s - that has to be one of the worst things anyone could do. It must be -

Oh no - Canon 1211. ‘Sacred places are violated by gravely injurious actions done in them with scandal to the faithful, actions which, in the judgment of the local ordinary, are so grave and contrary to the holiness of the place that it is not permitted to carry on worship in them’

Does shooting a priest count?? What if nobody knows?! We mustn’t tell anyone - good you didn’t call an ambulance - or the police -

wait -

“He meant to get you, not me.”

Yet you are here.

“Did you *kill him*?!”

*IN MY CHURCH*?!

 

 

Your reaction is angrier than I expected... I don't know what I expected; it makes sense you'd be angry about being shot. But you had been so sweet, so lovely... and the intensity of that anger throws me off. I manage to nod.

Then as you process this information, there appear to be rapid calculations happening in your mind. What's going on??

A series of conclusions are reached in rapid-fire succession.

The shooter meant to get me - I nod again.

The anger you had shown before is nothing compared to now.

My heart is pounding now. I feel flushed.

Why am I reacting this way?

"Yes, but he had already shot you!" I protest. “He would have killed us both!"

I sound like I'm sixteen years old, making lame excuses for missing curfew.

I look into your eyes, growing blacker by the second.

"James?" I whisper. "Are you - alright?"

 

 

Am I alright.

Am I *all*. *Right*.

A deep dark anger rises up inside me and wants to explode at this man who came in, looked at me lost, made me want to *help*, and then *desecrated my church* -

oh and got me shot -

I rise up to shout at you, but the anger turns my stomach and my brain and switches them round - oh *damn* -

I fall back to the edge of the table and watch my evening meal join half a beer in going out the wrong way.

I feel strong hands supporting me so I don’t fall off the table as my stomach reels again and again, convulsing until there is nothing coming out but bitter gall. After what seems like ages, the convulsions stop. My head is pounding with hurt.

“I think I have a concussion...” I pant.

“I’m afraid you may... I am so very sorry...” you say.

I’m too weak to get angry.

I’m worried.

I only just got this parish a few months ago. I’ve been trying... but I know I’m not the best priest. I’m not inspired often; I try to do things they taught us like charity fundraising, children’s events, prayer groups, but people just don’t turn up... or worse, come once and don’t return.

If I got my church desecrated... it wasn’t my *fault*, but will the bishop care? Or will I get a gentle nudge that my talents might be better suited elsewhere? And then what will I do? I’ll never get another parish... I’ll be stuck in an office somewhere, never having the chance to interact with people... to help them...

Being a priest is all I’ve ever wanted, all I have striven all my life to do, and I suck at it... and I can’t do anything else... I don’t want to do anything else... I promised God... and he’s testing me all the time, as is his right... I must bear it, like Job...

... but my church...

I look up at you, looking so upset and concerned.

Please, God, forgive me...

“Help me to him. I must say the prayers for the dead. And then we must bury him. Somewhere where he won’t be disturbed. And then you must clean the church of every drop of blood, every bullet hole, everything.

If you’ve cost me my church...”

Anger rises up again, my stomach contracts - ugh, no, I have nothing more to throw up...

“Just - please. For the love of God, help me make this right. And may He forgive us both.”

 

 

I watch in fascination and horror as I watch the sweet, lovely priest begin to transform into something... other. Your eyes are black and bottomless... as you sit up, I begin to think of a creature rising from the abyss. And then in a flash it's gone as you're vomiting over the edge of the table. I hold you steady, wondering if I imagined it. But why would my mind trick me like that? I'll never see this priest again.

I watch you closely as you get your bearings after being sick. The anger is gone now - you seem upset, but deep in thought. Your face is anguished - and I don't believe it's from being shot. The violence in your church and the dead body... it's a serious problem, and I don't know what it will mean for you to deal with the aftermath. I hate to see you this way. I want to comfort you somehow, but I think you don't want my comfort after I brought this trouble into your church.

You look up at me, and I see steely determination in your eyes.

Wait, what? You want me to help you clean up the church and - get rid of a body??

I definitely did not see that coming...

I see a flash of that anger again, and I stare at you in shock. Why does it affect me so?

"Don't worry, James," I say quietly. "Well take care of everything. You are not going to lose your church..."

I help you get up from the table carefully... my arm around you as you stand and breathe steadily. You tell me to take you into the nave of the church. And slowly but surely we make our way back. I'm growing more nervous by the moment... I didn't tell you about the chandelier, and I haven't seen sweet lovely Father James for a while now... who is this other person looking at me so grimly?

 

 

I can’t do this...

I can’t not do this...

I can’t *do* this - it must be a sin -

I can’t lose my church...

We enter the church. Something seems wrong, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Then we get to the aisle and I see glass everywhere.

A body with a chandelier on top of it.

If my stomach weren’t empty, I think I would have started vomiting again. As it is, my stomach protests and my head pounds - I have to stop you so I have a moment to catch my breath.

“Did you - shoot the chandelier?” I ask, when I’ve got some stamina back.

“Yes...” you say sheepishly.

“Oh man...” I could cry. “I guess I could put it down to vandalism - someone came in, shot the chandelier? Not very likely - what am I going to *do*...?”

 

 

I’m supporting you as we walk, and then when you see the chandelier, I’m literally holding you up. I probably should have warned you; I was just feeling so guilty... and as a rule, I do not do guilt...

Well, you’re not getting angry at me... but you look like you want to cry, and that’s even worse... my guilty conscience has kicked into overdrive and I feel awful.

“I suppose you could blame vandals for the chandelier...” I say carefully. “but we still have to do something about the body with bullet holes, so let’s deal with that first. You should lock all doors. I’ll take care of the body; I just need to call for a car... and then I’ll take the body out through a back door. So I need to move it to a safe spot for now... kitchen or somewhere else?” I ask you, all cool professionalism.

 

 

“If I say it’s vandals, the police will investigate. They’ll notice it was shot. They’ll notice the blood on it. There’s blood everywhere. We could wash it, but then they’ll notice *that* - why would a chandelier not have lots of dust on it? I can’t say it just fell - it’s been checked recently, standard health and safety...”

I’m getting more and more desperate. Why did I invite you in?! Why didn’t I just send you on your sinful and sad way? Why did I insist on trying to *save* you?! Like I could ever save anyone...

“I need to say the Prayer for the Dead,” I say firmly. At least that I know. I may be a sad excuse for a priest, but I know the procedures and I can follow them.

“Help me to him.”

You aid me in getting close. I smell gunpowder. Blood. Death.

- shots -

- adrenaline -

- excitement -

I groan, my hands move to my head. Breathe. But the visions don’t stop.

- exhilaration -

- glee -

*No* - NO!!!

My stomach churns again and I’m retching, there’s nothing left, my head is pounding -

- gun in my hand - *NO*!!!

 

 

Helplessly, I listen to your protests. I'm not usually bound by these kinds of concerns, so I'm not quite sure how to best advise you other than logistical issues to be dealt with in cleaning a bloody crime scene.

You seem so sad, so stressed out... I don't know how to make this better. But then you decide a prayer is the most critical thing to be done first. I manage to keep from groaning out loud. At this point, I'm just trying not to upset you further.

I help you start to walk towards the body, but you don't make it that far. Something comes over you, and you react strongly - from seeing a dead body, I imagine... but no, there's something else happening... you're pressing your hands against your head, like you're experiencing something...

and then you start retching...

and thrashing in my arms...

what's going on??

"James??" I speak in a soothing voice, as I try to hold you still. "James, are you alright? Do you need a doctor?"

You're not responding, and I pull you against me, smoothing your hair and trying to calm you down.

 

 

Doctor? No - but -

“I need your help -“

My head is pounding and trying to contract, but there’s something there, just beyond my grasp -

“Please.”

“Sure, but I should take you to a hospital -“

“No hospital. Get Wally. He’s three blocks down. Go to the library, stand in front of the door, he’ll come to you. Ask if he’s Wally, and if he says he is, say that Father James needs him and bring him here.”

“James -“ your voice sounds concerned, “are you sure you don’t need a doctor?”

“Do as I *say*, Sebastian.” I don’t recognize my voice - except I do - there’s something there, but it’s in cotton wool... and if I try to reach it I get smothered...

 

Chapter Text

You put me on a chair in the kitchen, rush out the back door. My head pounds and it’s tempting to stop concentrating, to sink back, but I have the feeling something cracked open when I banged my head, and I can get to somewhere important...

Part of my mind is screaming at me to stay away, to hide, because it’s *dangerous* and *painful*, but I *have to know*...

I drift in and out and have no idea how much time has passed before you return with Wally. You both pounce on me like concerned hens.

“Father! What’s happened?!”

I open my eyes. Wally looks shocked - I guess I must look a mess, even though I covered my shoulder wound with my cassock. My cut open cassock - yeah, sorry lad. I don’t quite look the paternal figure I have been trying to portray for you.

“Wally. Do you have any coke?”

His eyes widen. “Father... I’m not...”

“No *bull*shit Wally. Coke. I’ll pay you for it, you’ll forget you sold me any.”

My head is killing me.

“Speed will do if you don’t have coke...” I have to support my head with my hands. Please Wally...

“Father. You’re sick. We should take you to a hospital.”

For... what is it with these guys and hospitals?!

“Wally. I know what I need. Drugs. Now.”

My voice could cut steel. Wally is reaching into his coat, his eyes wide.

“God will forgive you, my son. You are only doing as I tell you.”

A small packet of white powder lands on the table of the presbytery. I’m pretty sure it’s never seen its like before.

I gesture to it. “Could you...”

“James. I really don’t think you should-“

“Shut *up* Sebastian...”

Wally gets up and takes a painting from the wall, lays it on the table. He pours some of the powder on the glass. I’m glad it’s a painting of flowers, rather than Jesus or a Saint -

*what are you doing Jimmy stop it Jimmy you’re Father James Jimmy you can’t do this it’s a sin a sin a SIN*

I press on the sides of my head as I am afraid they will split...

He makes two lines, hands me a rolled-up tenner...

*NO JIMMY*

I snort the powder into my nose, feel it hit my brain -

- a bright white corridor appears -

- its walls shatter like they’re hit with a sledgehammer -

- I can breathe again -

- I can think again -

“Thank you, Wally.”

I take two twenties from my wallet, push them into his hand. He’s looking at me like I’m an apparition.

“You’ve done a good thing, kid. Bless you. Now go.”

His eyes still wide, he backs out of the kitchen.

I turn to you.

“We don’t have much time. Listen and do exactly as I say.”

You’re staring at me open-mouthed - yeah, well. I’ll explain later. When I’ve any idea what’s going on.

For now, my mind is a clear straight line and I need to run along it because if I stop or divert I’ll never get this back -

“Do you have a car?”

“Yes - at home-“

“Right. We’ll go to your home, take your car. You phone a friend, tell them to bring tracksuits with hoodies and caps and drive to Slough. We’ll drive out of London, to outside the CCTV coverage. Your friend will drive back, pick us up, bring us somewhere safe - I’m sure you know a place? We can’t go back to your place, it will be compromised.”

You nod, your mouth still open.

“You’ll keep me there for at least a week. Careful when you go out - make sure you look different from today. You may need to lock me up, tie me to the radiator, whatever - be careful, I probably can get loose or out. Don’t leave me alone if you can. Whatever I say, whatever I do, don’t let me get back to this church. Promise me, Sebastian. Swear it on whatever is most holy to you.”

I can feel my eyes glowing with intensity as I glare down on you.

 

 

First you have me collect someone named Wally, and what's he going to do for you that a doctor can't??

On my journey there and back, I ruminate over all the events that have transpired... over and over I question if I could have done things differently to avoid this. Why did I stay in the church talking to you after the first few minutes? Why did I have a drink with you? Because being in your presence was comforting... compelling... but now because of that, I've made a fucking mess of things for you, and I'm deeply concerned about the effect the concussion and the stress have had on your head...

I'm still thinking about this, blaming myself, and trying to decide if I should insist on you going to the hospital - even if it means literally throwing you in a taxi and taking you myself. When I walk in, I'm determined to do this.

Then when I hear what it is you want Wally to do, I go stock-still.

What - is - happening -

Instead of telling you I'm taking you for medical care, I watch dumbfounded as you demand the poor, confused kid sell you coke... or speed...

Yeah, Wally... we're on the same page.

Especially when you order him to cut it into fucking lines for you... and when I try to interfere with your instructions, I'm given an order of my own.

Shut up Sebastian...

As a rule, I don't take orders - even when I was a soldier, I only did the things I chose to do. Until my luck ran out. (Hello, dishonourable discharge... goodbye, soldier.)

And yet I'm following your instructions – again - keeping my mouth shut, and simply staring at the madness unfolding as Wally prepares the lines for you and you snort them. Like you know exactly what you're doing. Like this is not your first time being on the buying end of a drug deal.

When the kid is dismissed (with a blessing, no less!), your attention turns to me.

You issue my orders - and I'm under no delusion that these are not orders. I'm not sure what would happen if I didn't follow them, but it's not even a question to me that I will follow them, and I don't believe it is for you either.

But in the back of my mind, I'm demanding, 'Why are you going along with this craziness, Sebastian?' 'Why are you listening to a concussed, possibly mad priest, Sebastian?' and 'What happened to your free will, Sebastian??'

And the answer to everything I ask of myself is 'I don't know'.

Because I don't know anything other than this - there is no way I could look into those eyes (those black, bottomless eyes!!) and not do whatever I'm bloody told.

So I stare at you for a long moment, then make the call. Quickly I wipe down the surfaces I touched in the kitchen and the pew - I have a work acquaintance pick us up, as you're in no condition to walk or use public transport, and it would best for there to be no witnesses of you leaving the scene. He'll dispose of the body, and come back later to clean the scene. I'll owe him a massive favour, and a good deal of money... but he won't breathe a word to the police when it's discovered that the priest has disappeared into thin air after some mysterious vandalism in the church.

In the back of the car, you're hunched over in the seat, your cut-up cassock hanging off you. A couple of times, I hear you muttering something. I don't ask what you're saying. As I stare out the window on the way out of the city, I realize why I didn't ask - because Sebastian Moran, the reckless, fearless ex-soldier and danger junkie, is afraid.

 

 

I must keep my mind straight. If I don’t, if I fall off this spider-silk tightrope, I may never get it back.

Thank God that you do what I say - I don’t know how I’m doing that, but I’ll take it. I’m not sure if I should be thanking God either - it feels almost like I’m running away from God - but also Satan - Satan’s going to get me if I run away from the church, but not if I outsmart him -

Your friend drops us off the motorway. Your other friend is in Slough, will come pick us up.

“Please tell me that’s a burner phone?” I check. You nod, seem surprised that I’m addressing you. I guess I haven’t really been making small talk, but I’m concentrating so very hard to keep my mind from falling...

I fumble for the coke, rub some on my gums. It helps.

There’s something at the other side of the spider silk line, but if I look at it, I may lose my balance. Just concentrate. Step by step.

More coke.

A car stops, we get in. We change clothes, a baggy old tracksuit, a cap, a hoodie to hide from cameras.

We stop at a dilapidated housing estate, make our way in. You open the door to a flat, let us in.

I’m sweating, my head is being continually worked over with a jackhammer, I’m trembling, and there’s only so much more the coke can do.

But I’m on the right track, still.

Now it’s up to you.

You hand me a glass of water, look at me concerned, but at least you’re not whingeing about doctors again.

“Sebastian. Look at me.”

You stare at me with those big blue eyes.

“In the coming days, I don’t know what may happen, what I will say. I will probably say that I wasn’t myself now. I will probably say a lot of clever things to make you believe me, to make you feel guilty, to threaten you. I will probably try to leave.

Promise me, Sebastian, that you will keep me here. Don’t let anyone find me, don’t let anyone know I’m here, and do. Not. Let. Me. Leave. No matter what I say. Tie me down, gag me if you need to, but don’t let me leave.

I may also get very very sick. I’m sorry. Paracetamol and shit might help. That’s fine.

After a week or so, I hope something will change. If it takes too long, try giving me coke again. If I don’t want to take it, give me amphetamines in a capsule and say it’s a painkiller, or blend it with my food.

Do *not* let me go until I’m ready. And when I’m ready - I’m not sure what it will look like. But I will probably be like this. Not like the nice priest.

Promise me, Sebastian. Promise. You owe me. And if this works out, I’ll owe you, and you’ll get a reward a hell of a lot better than salvation of your soul. Alright?”

 

 

As we wait for the second car, you ask me about a burner phone.

I feel I should demand what's going on... how do you, a sweet priest, know about burner phones, how to plan getaways, how drugs will affect you... but I don't say a word, just watch you cautiously. As if I'm waiting for a ride with a confused rattlesnake who may remember who (and what) he is at any moment... a rattlesnake who's awfully fixated on his stash of coke.

I'm relieved when the car arrives. We change clothing. Your body is lean, well-muscled... and there are a couple of noticeable scars. Stab marks, looks like. Good god... I'm dying to know your story... but something stops me from asking. Stops me as surely as if there were cold hands squeezing my neck.

In the flat, you look like the effects of your physical and emotional ordeal are catching up with you... the coke is surely not helping. I give you water, want to tell you to lie down, not to worry, I'll watch over you... but before I can open my mouth, you're saying the strangest things... making demands of me, asking me - no telling me - to promise... and in return, promising me... what?? A reward better than salvation? What kind of promise is that for a priest to make?

One thing is becoming increasingly clearer... whatever your job description was when I met you... you are no priest. Not truly, not deep down, not where it counts... So what are you?

"You can count on me, James," I say carefully. "I'll give you whatever you need. I'm very aware this is my fault, and I promise I'll make amends for what I've done to you - to your life. But you have to give me something..."

I stare at you long and hard. "What's happening? Has this happened to you before? Who are you - really?"

It strikes me as I speak that one does not demand things of chemically imbalanced rattlesnakes under duress. The danger junkie has reared his head... I can't keep my mouth shut. Not for One. Moment. Longer.

 

 

Have to give you something? Excuse me - you’ll just do as you’re told-

- where did *that* come from?! What right have I to order you around??

The spider silk is unravelling, I’m losing my balance - just one more minute-

You’re asking me to look ahead, at the end of the line - and if I do, I’ll fall -

But I have to give him something - he’ll have to take care of me -

“I don’t know what’s happening. I really don’t. I can’t think of the past or the future or I will lose the present. I’m sorry. But - if we make it through - I’m sure it’s worth it. I can promise you that.

But - who I am - I think -“

Head pounds - too hard, but there’s something there, just beyond my grasp -

“- I think… it’s Jim.”

I faint.

 

 

Lose the present?

If we make it through??

How can you promise me anything if you don't know anything?

Jim??

I have no idea what to say to any of this, but it doesn't matter - because you've fallen into a dead faint, and I've caught you.

I've got you... Jim.

I can't explain why it feels so right to be there to catch you... how could I? I've known you for what, an hour? Two?

I carry you across the room and gently lay you on the sofa, raise your legs with cushions, then proceed to check your vitals. Your heart rate is lower than I'd like, but you did just pass out. I don't observe anything that would cause me to override your instructions, which somehow feels like a daunting task at this point...

like I'd be... disobeying you.

Even though I don't know the first thing about you.

And somehow this translates into not getting you the medical care you most likely need for your head injury... just sitting and watching you helplessly from the floor - gently patting your face and calling your name... Jim...

I fetch a dishcloth from the kitchen, run it under cold water, and lay it across your forehead.

I can't imagine this day having turned out any differently.

Which makes no bloody sense, and part of me is protesting mightily against it...

Against the madness of following instructions from a priest who is quickly unravelling before my eyes...

who when confronted with basic questions responds by fainting...

whose eyes are like pits of tar that I feel myself in danger of drawing too close to...

And when has going for a dip in a lake of asphalt ever turned out well for anyone?

And yet, I've been promised a reward greater than my soul's salvation?

Who makes promises like this??

I picture you in the desert, with shiny red horns and a tail. It's strangely fetching.

Then I imagine this version of you stripping me naked and pushing me into the sand...

Holy... Fuck... I feel flushed at the thought.

Here I am fantasizing about your dark side while you're passed out... and it's so bloody hot. God... If there was a hell, they'd have my room ready when I got there.

I shake my head to clear my thoughts. Clearly, I am no Jesus.

But I can't say beyond a shadow of a doubt that you're no Devil.

I draw my knees against my chest, rest my head on my arms, and watch you closely.

And realize I'm trembling.

 

 

There’s darkness. There’s a lot of darkness. And I’m in a maze. Have no idea where I’m going, but something is following me, and if I stop, it will catch me. If I take a wrong turn, it may catch me too.

I think it’s Satan, which is odd, because I don’t think I believe in Satan.

Of course I believe in Satan - I’m a priest.

No, I don’t - or didn’t - but then I met him. And he was worse than I could have ever imagined...

I’m scared - he’s in this maze, he’s going to get me if I don’t find my way out -

I can feel him getting closer - he’s going to devour me - he’s going to punish me for desecrating my church -

It wasn’t my *fault* - but he doesn’t care -

He’s getting nearer - I can hear him - I can feel him - I can *smell* him - burnt hair -

He reaches out his hand -

I wake with a scream - where am I?!

 

 

Your eyelids are moving rapidly... are you dreaming? In my life as a soldier, I had experiences where I passed out from critical injury and I thought I was dreaming... although it was very different than regular dreams. More like being partly in another realm of existence? I never could figure it out... but it always felt very far away, and I think that's where you are now. I watch as you start twitching... you seem distressed.

I let out a choked sob. I feel so close to a breaking point... and I can normally handle any situation, no matter how out of control it gets. Because it doesn't matter what happens to me in the end. Live or die - it doesn't matter.

But this is different.

You matter.

And how can I say that? I don't know you...

But there's something about you - the kindness you showed me, the loneliness I recognized, and then the anguish I saw in your eyes... like the worst had happened, like you were... doomed.

Doomed.

I am not going to let anything hurt you.

But how can I stop it when even you don't know what's happening to you?? And I'm afraid that the one thing that can hurt you is inside you. It's already here.

"Jim?" I say softly, touching your arm.

And then your eyes fly open and you scream.

Everyone knows the term bloodcurdling scream... but until you've heard one... really heard one, so loud and chilling and wrong that you shrink back in horror, that you believe in that moment nothing can ever be OK again... you can't know how those two simple words so capture it... that feeling of the blood inside you shrivelling up in your veins.

It takes me a moment to react... while my eyes are closed, and my skin is crawling, and I'm shivering in response. Then I scramble towards you, and gently grasp your shoulders. "James," I say soothingly. "I'm here. Sebastian's here... and nothing's going to hurt you."

I will never understand how I came to feel such an intense bond with you after such a short period of time. But I do. God help me, I do.

"I've got you, Jim..." I whisper, stroking your cheek. "I've got you."

 

 

Where am I?! Someone is holding me - who?! What happened?!

I pull back - tanned face, lines, light eyes, looking concerned -

a name - “Sebastian?”

“Yes, it’s me - are you alright?”

Unknown environment - some flat - his? Why am I here? What - whose clothes am I wearing? Why does everything hurt?!

“What happened? You and I had a drink - wait - oh God - a gunfight - what *happened*?!”

 

 

You're awake and talking, not screaming...

But you seem completely confused and panic-stricken... at least you know who I am.

Aaaand, now your memory's coming back and you want answers. Great. I'd almost prefer you'd forgotten...

"Ehrm... random act of violence?" I ask innocently, but you are clearly in no mood for games.

I sigh heavily. "I'm... involved in something dangerous. Someone was after me, and I thought for sure I'd shaken him..."

I look at you intently. "I'm so sorry for involving you... I never meant - "

I cut myself off, frustrated. "I know, that doesn't help. But I'll do everything I can to help you... Whatever it takes..."

I stare at you contritely. Your huge black eyes are consuming me whole...

 

 

Dead - dead body in my church -

“What happened - did I say the prayers? I don’t remember - I meant to say the prayers - what happened? Did I pass out? Why did you take me away? Whose clothes are this? Where are we? Your home? Why didn’t you take me to the presbytery?”

I am nearly shouting - I’m panicking - I need to go back –

 

 

I'm staring at you helplessly as you freak out. I'll admit, it crosses my mind to knock you out again.

No, Seb... we do not knock out the sweet, mad priest... he just needs to process a few things...

oh god, this is not going to be fun...

"Well, James... you were going to say the prayers but then you had something going on with your head, I have no idea what... results of the concussion and the shock, I'm guessing. And you insisted on getting coke from some kid named Wally, and then you were very focused on me following your instructions to the letter - which included arranging rides to a safe house, a change of clothes, and plans to keep you here for a week, no matter what, " I say firmly. "Apparently something would be happening to you over the next week and I was not to let you out of my sight. Sound familiar? I hope so, because it didn't make any sense to me then, and it still doesn't. But I told you I would do what you asked, and I'm a man of my word. So - get comfy, James. Shall I get us some food? I'm starving..."

I look at you closely, assessing if you can be trusted not to escape.

Oh, bother... I'm going to need to secure you, aren't I?

 

 

I... bought *coke* from Wally!? Oh god - the poor kid - and there goes all the rapport I’ve been trying to build up with him - and I didn’t say the prayers?

And - what is all that other nonsense?!! *My* instructions?!

You must be delusional - a dangerous madman -

and you plan to keep me here for a *week*?! I don’t *think* so - I need to get back - evening mass tomorrow, and I have only half written the sermon -

Oh God - the body -

“What happened with the body?”

 

 

"Don't worry about the body, " I say calmly. "An acquaintance will be picking it up, and cleaning the scene of any DNA. It will look like you mysteriously took off after there was some strange incident of vandalism in your church. Maybe the stress of the experience got to you? It's up to you if you want to return after the week is up to deal with all those questions... but for the next week, we're just going to cool our heels, yeah?"

I look at your surprised expression. It would appear that all the stress finally got to me, and I've been getting a little more 'professional' and a little less 'concerned stranger'... but I'm not used to things getting so intense. Nothing rattles me like this whole thing has... nothing...

Still, I don't want you to fall apart, so a little concern wouldn't hurt.

"Would you like some water, James?"

There. I sounded like a concerned professional, but it's a step in the right direction...

 

 

... clean the scene?! There’s a dead body - it needs care -

A strange incident of vandalism?! Oh god the chandelier - I remember it, the mangled body underneath -

I feel sick -

- a flash of something -

it’s gone -

And you’re going to keep me here a *week*?! What are you thinking?? I’ll definitely lose my church then, dead body or no dead body - I can’t just *abscond* - without finding a replacement - and is the door locked?? What will your ‘acquaintance’ do? Help himself to some silver?!

“Take me back *this instant* and I won’t report you to the authorities. You were trying to protect me, I get that. May God forgive you for your sins. But I want no more of your company, I’m sorry.

I don’t need water, let’s just go.”

I move to get up.

 

 

I push you back down on the sofa gently.

"Sorry, Father..." I chuckle. "I'm answering to a higher authority than you now, and I don't mean your big boss. You were very clear in your instructions... and you did tell me that you would try to convince me to let you go."

I sit back down on my heels and gaze at you, remembering the darkness of your eyes, the sharpness of your voice, with a delicious shiver.

"I will probably say a lot of clever things to make you believe me, to make you feel guilty, to threaten you. Ring any bells? Well, I have my orders, and I'm not about to break my word to..." I lock eyes with you. "Jim."

 

 

*Jim*?!

No one calls me Jim.

They used to call me Jimmy back in Ireland, then I became James at the seminary, then Father James.

Yet the name does have some kind of effect on me... there is a shiver of recognition, like from a dream - gunpowder, gelatin - what?!

I shake my head. Ow - wrong move. I groan, take my head in my hand, hold it still. The pain recedes.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, but kidnapping a priest is a major crime. Something the police, God, the public, and the church all frown upon. I don’t know what I said to you when I was out of it, but I was clearly not myself. Now - let me go, Sebastian. Take me back, or call me a taxi. I have a mass to prepare.”

 

 

“Mass?” I echo, dumbfounded. “Sorry, James - I can’t allow that. But don’t worry, I think they’ll clue in pretty quickly that mass isn’t happening.”

I stand up and raise an eyebrow at you. “It likely won’t come as a shock to you that I’m intimately familiar with major crimes. And that I don’t trouble myself with the disapproval of any of the groups you mentioned. Listen, James - if I say you’re staying here for a week, then you’re staying here for a bloody week. You’re in no danger from me, so you can relax. And then if you want to go running to the police when you’re free... you go right ahead, darling. It’s not the first time I’ve had to disappear for a spell... and it won’t be the last. Now - I had my friend bring me a laptop... shall we stream a light-hearted crime film over dinner?”

You’re staring at me in shock and then sheer indignation.

I realize I’m grinning at you. Oh what now, you’re enjoying keeping an adorable priest captive, Seb??

God... I guess my father was right. I’m not quite right in the head, am I? Well, James/Jim and I have that in common, at least... this week should go by swimmingly.

 

 

What on earth...

“What - why?! Why on earth would you want to keep me here for a week?! What do you think I am going to do? I won’t tell anyone about the shooting - I promise - and if I would, what difference would a week make?

What could you possibly gain from keeping me here for a week? Nothing! Whereas I am about to lose - everything. If you don’t let me go back - I’ll lose my church - please - I’ve not been anything but kind to you, have I?!”

 

 

My eyes soften. “You’ve been nothing but kind, James. But it’s not you I’ll have to answer to if Jim comes back...”

“Why a week?” I shrug. “That’s a very good question. Ask him! It was his idea. And as I told you, I gave him my word. I’m sorry, but if it turns out you went temporarily mad because of the concussion and there is no Jim... well, hopefully it can be worked out so you don’t lose your church. Blame it on the concussion. But if he returns...” I suck in my breath. “I don’t want to have to answer why I ignored explicit orders to that man. I’m sorry, James. You can guilt trip me all you like - he did say you’d try that...” I try to hide my smile and fail.

 

 

You utter - madman - you’re *enjoying* this!

“I’m not Jim!”

... am I?

Echoes in my mind...

*No*!

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, but if you made some kind of deal with the devil while I was out of it, you can forget it! I was out of my mind - I had taken *drugs*, you said! I was clearly not myself!

Let me *go*, Sebastian - you have nothing to fear from me, I promise. But I *have* to get back -“

I’m feeling panic rising. I will lose my church, and if I lose my church I will lose everything...

“I *have* to get back! I can’t just disappear! I’ll lose my job - I’ll lose everything I have! You can’t do this to me! Sebastian - please, in the name of God!”

 

 

I look at you fondly.

Poor, sweet James... you have no idea what you're up against...

"Listen... if it will put your mind at ease, I can have a friend leave an anonymous message at your church's office - he can say that you're very unwell due to a concussion, but you're receiving medical care. They won't be able to find you in any hospitals, but that way when you show up a week later," (if you show up, I don't bother to add), "you'll have a good excuse. You can say... that you were found somewhere without ID and were taken to a hospital and then you must have left... and somehow made your way back to your flat a week later without memory of what happened to you. That way you don't have to answer any questions about what happened in the church, because you won't have a clear memory of the last week. The mind is a funny thing, isn't it..." I smile at you kindly.

"I'm sorry. I don't know how much that will help, but it's the best I can do. Now... you need to eat and you need to stay hydrated. I don't want to leave you alone while you're still recovering, so I'm going to order us some food - don't worry, the credit card is under another name, it won't be tracked.." I wink at you. "What do you fancy, James? Do you like Japanese? A Bento box is fairly healthy, and there's protein, starch, vegetables... and leftovers will keep in the fridge if you can't eat it all..."

I begin to pull out my phone and scroll through restaurants in the area. "Beef or chicken teriyaki, my dear?" I ask.

Mmm. I think I want one of each... my stomach rumbles, and I grin at you.

 

 

You’re mad.

I’ve been kidnapped by a madman.

I don’t want to consider what you said - that it was me telling you - it hurts my head just to think about it.

No. I must escape.

Maybe now you’re on your phone - I’m faster than you might think -

I rush for the door, but before I’ve reached it you’re there, have grabbed me firmly. How can you be so fast?! One second you’re sitting down, relaxed, scrolling through your phone, the next I’m pinned to the wall and your voice is in my ear. “I’m sorry, James, but you’re really not leaving.”

The panic that I’ve been feeling on the edge of my mind strikes, envelops me like a black suffocating blanket.

I *have* to get back, you don’t get it, Satan will get me, he’s on his way, I can feel him lurking, always lurking, and he’ll torture me again -

Dark visions of unending pain, suffocating heat, burning... *pain*...

I struggle in your grip, fight as hard as I can, but you don’t budge. I start to scream - at first for help and then because I just can’t stop.

I must get out... I’m terrified-

I thrash and scream, but no sound comes out because your hand is on my mouth; I try to bite but I can’t reach, I’m lifted up and put onto the couch, the hand disappears but before I can scream something soft is stuffed into my mouth.

No - no, I’m going to hell, you don’t *understand* -

You could never understand, no one could ever understand, but they’ll *get* me, they’ll drag me down to hell and never let me go -

I explode into a frenzy of thrashing and screaming, try to kick but you have my legs, try to scratch but I can’t reach, my body spasms every which way looking for an escape -

You’re careful not to hurt me, but I am past caring, my mind is a red-hot fever, I must *get back* -

I’m vaguely aware of being carried, tied down to a bed, pulling on ropes which don’t give, screaming around a gag that won’t move, tears streaming, my body thrashing like a seal caught by a shark, all while the major part of my brain is an inferno of terror and hysteria. He’s coming closer, he is around every corner, any moment he will leap out and drag me down, I must *run*, he can find me *anywhere*, only the church is safe -

Eventually I must have passed out, because I awake by someone sitting down on my bed. I open my eyes to see you, looking concerned.

 

 

I don't get the chance to order dinner... you make an attempt at escape, and then what follows is madness and chaos.

You become a screaming, thrashing lunatic... And the only thing I can do is gag you so the police don't get called by a concerned neighbour... and tie you down so you don't hurt yourself.

And as I do, I begin to question myself... Why am I doing this?? Because after a concussion and the shock of seeing a dead body, a priest had a moment of madness...? Was I wrong to listen to someone who clearly has mental health issues and a colourful past? Considering how quickly he decided to snort coke... and how effortlessly he started giving orders like... like... someone who knew exactly what he was doing. Like a criminal boss used to giving orders. I did not imagine that, and there's no way you would have acted like that if you didn't have your reasons.

But what are your reasons??

There's something about you, something about your past... do you have multiple personality syndrome? Were you a criminal who suffered a head injury or trauma... became a sweet priest named James, and now your old self is returning? Who is Jim? Is James even real?

I have no way of answering these questions... I'm just sitting on a chair, staring at you as you weep, and thrash like a furious, panicking animal. And I'm the one who put you in this position. From the very beginning, it was me...

And I might be crazy too, if I'm taking the word of a madman as gold, and tormenting a poor, mad priest, keeping him from the church he loves so much...

God... I haven't felt guilt for a very long time... not since...

I'm not cut out for feelings like this. I stand, storm out to the living room, pull out the bottle of whisky and start guzzling.

I pace and drink and curse. And drink and curse and pace some more.

My mind slowly begins to quiet down. I quickly place an order for dinner, and pour a glass of water. Then with the water and whisky I return to the bedroom, dreading what I'll find.

You appear to have passed out again. Great. I put the whisky and water on the bedside table, and sit down carefully on the bed to check your vitals - again. Your eyes open and you blink up at me.

"Hey," I say softly. "I'm sorry, James - you were thrashing so much I was worried you were going to hurt yourself. I'll remove the gag if you promise not to scream, alright?"

You nod. I hesitate and pull the cloth from your mouth.

"I've ordered dinner, so you can eat soon. I have water for you. How is your head feeling?"

 

 

Everything hurts. My wrists, shoulders, head, throat...

I try to speak, but I’m too hoarse to produce anything but a croak. You pick up a glass of water and let me drink. It hurts to swallow, but I realize I am thirsty, so drink it.

The doorbell rings.

My heart pounds, my head seizes up.

“It’s them -“ I whisper to you. “Please - please Sebastian, hide me - let me go out the window - please, please don’t let them take me - just kill me - please, just kill me...”

I can’t move, I’m tied to the bed - there’s no way I can get out if you don’t let me -

Tears are streaming down my face.

“Please, Sebastian...”

 

 

Food here already? That was quick... I'd better get my hat and my gun...

You're whispering to me in a panic. I stare at you in shock as you start to cry.

"Kill you? James, no one is going to touch you! You have the most dangerous man alive on your side... and no one knows where we are, remember? It's just the delivery guy with dinner. I think it will do you some good to eat something..."

I wipe the tears from your eyes and stroke your face. "Nothing bad will happen to you. I won't let it. Now just wait for me a moment, and I'll be back with your food..."

You're still crying when I leave, and I'm trying desperately to hold on to my self-control. What is it about you that gets to me? You're so sweet... so vulnerable, like a delicate bird. And here I am manhandling you, gagging you, tying you to a bed. God... I'm such a beast...

Cursing, I collect my gun, push my hat down low over my face, and answer the door. The delivery man barely looks at me, just pockets payment and leaves me a plastic bag of takeaway containers. A moment later, I'm bringing in our bag of Bento boxes and my laptop.

"Is there a film you'd like to watch while we eat, James?" I call out.

You're looking at me with an odd expression as I come in.

 

 

The most dangerous man alive? Great - what good is that going to do me when the devil himself comes for me? He’s going to pat you on the back and offer you a spot of honour in Hell?

Dinner?

Ok, maybe...

But he’ll come anyway, Sebastian, and not even you will be able to withstand him... I wasn’t...

You come back with food. The smell makes me nauseous - I don’t think I could eat.

“I’ll just have some water, please... and whisky...”

 

 

I look at you, perplexed.

"I don't think that's a good idea, James... you were sick back at the church, so you haven't had any nutrients for the last few hours, at least... you need to keep your strength up as you recover. At least have a couple of bites and then I'll give you whisky. Alright? A little rice, a little chicken... should do you a world of good, sweetie..."

When did the terms of endearment start?? He's not a stray kitten, Sebastian. FFS... you don't get to take him home when all this is done...

I sit down on the bed, and loosen your restraints just enough for you to sit up against the pillows that I fluff up behind you. Then I pull them tight again.

I open up a takeaway box, and hold a plastic forkful of rice towards you.

"Eat up, darling," I say encouragingly. "Then, whisky."

 

 

“What I *need*, Sebastian, is for you to let me go. You can play all cute and sweet with your terms of endearment and your rice, but you’re keeping me prisoner. And you don’t have a clue what you are doing. You’re damning me - it’s not that I will lose my church. If you keep me here, I will suffer a fate worse than death. It’s going to happen sooner or later, but you’re doing worse than killing me. It’s going to be on your head, Sebastian, and by the time you realize, it will be too late.

You may not care - fair enough. But in that case, I would beg you to kill me now.

But if you have a grain of humanity left somewhere inside you - let me go.

Please.”

I look at you with pleading eyes. “Please, Sebastian. You seem like a decent soul. I’ve only ever treated you well. What did this Jim promise you to convince you to condemn me to Hell?”

 

 

I drop the fork into the rice, and push the box away.

"Can you explain to me how keeping you somewhere for a week will damn you, exactly...? I don't follow... what do you think is going to happen? What is this 'fate worse than death'? If you could explain to me how 7 days in a flat will condemn you to hell, maybe you could convince me I'm wrong..." I raise an eyebrow.

"Believe it or not, I do have some humanity in me... for whatever reason, I care for your well-being. I feel responsible, after everything that happened. But I'm not about to kill you, so stop asking. And as for Jim, he was a little vague on what he would give me, but that's not why I'm doing this, anyway!

And I think it's interesting that you've both been cryptic and vague... neither of you gave me any real information, so I'm pretty much flying blind... but between the criminal who knows exactly what to do in a situation with a dead body, and a priest who thinks he's going to hell and keeps asking me to kill him... I'm going to go with the devil I know. Sorry, James..." I take a bite of rice and steak teriyaki from my own Bento box, and moan with pleasure. "God, that tastes good... who knew Acton would have such tasty Japanese fare?" I shove a piece of tempura in my mouth. "Oh... hot! I say around the deep-fried breading in my mouth. "Yam. So good..."

 

 

It does smell good... if I’m going to hell, might as well do so on a full stomach.

“Alright then - but can I use my own hands? I mean, you got my feet tied, I’m hardly going to run for it...”

You nod, untie my hands, frown at the rope marks on my wrists, rub them. It’s a small sweet gesture.

“Thank you.”

I eat some of the Japanese fare - it does taste nice. I’m not usually an adventurous eater, but it’s good.

Meanwhile I’m trying to think of what to tell you. I do realize I sound a bit... odd... but I know. I know with the certainty that one knows that when you step off a cliff, you’re going to fall to your death. You don’t need to try it out to know this - your body and mind know. And I know that I’ll be going to Hell if I don’t get back to the church.

I try to find reasoning... but it’s making me shiver and sweat and panic... so I move my thoughts away.

“I can’t tell you how I know. I just know.

And I know that doesn’t make much sense, but neither do your motivations. You said you’re not doing this for what Jim will give you - then why *are* you doing this? And - if both of us were vague - did Jim say he’d suffer immensely if you would let him - me - get back to church? Because I’m telling you *I* will.”

I have some more water, and you hand me some whisky. I drink it gratefully.

 

 

I'm so relieved when you decide to eat, that I allow the use of your hands. You cautiously sample everything, looking deep in thought as you eat. I continue to shovel in my delicious meal, enjoying the momentary calm when I can just take pleasure in your company.

(What? You're not supposed to be taking pleasure in the prisoner's company, that's really not what this is about... right? Right!

But he is very sweet, I can't help that... I was enjoying his company in the church, after all...

Yes, but he's going through some kind of mental and spiritual crisis now... so, cool it with the enjoyment, Moran!)

I notice you seem to be in distress in moments, and in those moments, I tense up immediately. What's going on between us... is there a reverse Stockholm Syndrome effect on the captor? Because I seem to have a case of that, and that cannot happen...

When you finally speak, it's still vague. But you manage to turn it round on me.

OK, sweet priest. As you wish. I hand you the whisky bottle, and you drink from it delicately.

"No, Jim didn't say what would happen if you got back to church - only that I couldn't allow you to return under any circumstance. And that you would try anything to get away. And that I may have to gag you and tie you up. As for why I'm doing this..." I shrug helplessly. How can I explain it to you when I don't even understand it myself? That I'd never felt anything like I did when I was in the presence of Jim? That if there was any chance he'd come back, I had to be there...

"All I can really say is, I'd never seen anybody speak with such ironclad determination and confidence... he convinced me in a few short minutes that what he was saying was the right thing to do..." I trail off. "I know that's not going to satisfy you. But he asked me to promise... and I don't break my word when it's given."

 

 

The whisky tastes good going down.

It tastes less nice coming back up, followed by the little bit I ate.

You support me as I vomit up everything including what feels like my stomach lining, my eyes streaming tears and my belly muscles spasming.

The next days are a blurred nightmare. I vomit up what I eat, whenever I eat, so eventually you stop trying to make me eat, and I just vomit up gall.

You make me drink some foul-tasting liquid that you say will hydrate me from time to time.

I panic most of the time I’m awake - try to run, but my feet are shackled to the bed, try to scream, but the moment I start you’re there with a gag, try to fight you, but you are strong and fast and I don’t stand a chance.

You keep my arms loose now, make me lie on my side, so I don’t choke when I vomit. You try to be nice, and you look so concerned, and I can’t understand why you are torturing me so. I plead, I cry, I reason, but you will not be moved.

When I sleep, it’s worse. I have nightmare after nightmare of being locked and hunted in a maze, of Satan holding me in his hands and tearing me limb from limb, of burning in a never-ending fire, waking burning hot and sweating, to find you there with a cool cloth, wiping the sweat off my brow, trying to get me to drink something.

Right now it’s dark. I have no idea how many days have passed, or weeks, or hours. You are asleep on a chair next to the bed.

I hear a sound at the window. I look over. A shape casts a shadow upon the curtain. The window creaks; I hear a crack, and then it opens.

I try to shout, to wake you, but only a small moan comes out. I try to move, but I’m paralysed. The shape moves, drops into the room on soft feet. Moves the curtain back.

It’s wearing a mask - a black ski mask. It moves over to the bed.

“I warned you, James... I warned you what would happen... but you didn’t listen...”

I try to speak, but I’m not able -

that voice -

He takes out a knife. It glows red hot in the dark.

“Now you’re going to have to be punished, James... punished for all eternity...”

I look at the knife coming closer. He picks up my right hand - I am unable to pull it back - unable to do anything, as he starts cutting off my pinkie finger - not even able to scream -

When he has cut it off, he waves it in front of my face. “One down, nine to go...”

He laughs - that laugh - it cuts straight through all my nerves; I’m a seething mass of pain and fear -

He raises his mask - that face - sharp teeth, red skin, two horns rise out of his forehead -

He smiles, impossibly wide, the corners of his mouth touching his ears, and then he opens his mouth, takes my pinkie, bites it in two -

“Nothing tastes as good as a sinner’s flesh...”

Bits of bone are spewed out as he speaks, blood drips from his lips -

I wake with a scream. You are moving into my line of vision, I shrink away - look at the window - darkness.

I’m aware of a heat and a stickiness around my groin and bottom - a sharp smell - oh, *fuck*.

“I’m sorry - I’m so sorry -“

 

 

Oh my fucking god... if I thought Jim was being melodramatic about what the week would be like, I was dead wrong...

The nausea, the panic attacks, the screaming nightmares... endless... fucking endless...

I spend every moment in that room with you, unless I need to shower, smoke, or accept deliveries of food, booze, and various supplies. And regular breaks to pace in the living room, do sit-ups, lift weights, curse under my breath, and try not to scream my lungs out.

I don't do well in enclosed spaces.

I don't do well not being able to go outside and move.

And most of all, I don't do well seeing you in agony.

I consider this as I pace in the living room around 2 in the morning as you sleep. With most people, I could just shut off my feelings like flipping a switch.

You are the only one I can't do that with... the only once since... David.

I swallow hard and let out a choked sob. Why the fuck did I think of - ? You are not allowed to think of that name, I growl at myself and suddenly there's a crack of pain on my knuckles. I'm staring down at the split skin and blood welling up.

When - did I punch the wall?

James and I are like mad peas in a pod...

The laugh that bursts out of me sounds hollow and haunted.

Suddenly I hear you scream, and I tear back into the room.

I sniff the air, as I sit on the bed next to you and caress your face, murmuring soothingly.

"No need to be sorry, you've been very sick, James... I'm just sorry you're going through this..." I start to loosen your restraints and rub your ankles. "I'll run a shower, and lay out some fresh clothes for you... your ordeal is almost over, just three days to go, alright? We can do this..."

I stare at you for a long moment, sweep back the hair from your forehead.

"We can do this," I repeat, and give a shaky sigh.

Then I get up and go into the bathroom, turn on the hot water.

You're sitting up in bed, looking anguished.

"If you feel dizzy or you need help, call me right away. I don't want you falling in the shower and banging your head, alright?" I say softly, as I take out pyjamas from the dresser - I had ordered changes of clothes for you, and it had given me far too much pleasure picturing you in different outfits. Fuck's sake, Seb...

It's the situation, I think in protest. It's getting to me... I haven't had sex since this whole thing began, and clearly I need to wank next time I take a shower.

I put the pyjamas and clean pants on the bathroom counter, then leave the room to give you privacy. You trudge past me looking like you've been on a 4-day walking tour of hell... poor thing.

Poor sweet James...

Poor sweet, adorable...

Stop it, Seb!!

I sink into the chair, drop my head into my hands, and groan loudly.

 

I feel weak as a kitten, but, like a kitten, I *hate* being dirty. I sit down on the edge of the bath, peel my filthy clothes off me. The shower is lovely and hot... I stand up underneath it, let the hot water wash me clean...

I leave the clothes in the bath so the worst filth is washed away from them as well. I recoil from the stench - it really smells wrong... I must be really sick...

I look at the bathroom window.

I’m not that big... I would fit through it...

I have to try -

I don’t know where I am, but I think we are in London, and I will be able to walk to the church barefoot - pilgrims do it all the time -

I leave the shower running, quickly dry off, put on the clean clothes, and open the bathroom window. It’s on a latch. I would be able to undo it with a screwdriver...

I look around the bathroom. The medicine cabinet? I open it, find a pair of tweezers - excellent. I push them into the screw, carefully try twisting - it’s an old screw and it’s hard to get a grip, so I fold a towel around the tweezers and use all my strength - it moves –

 

 

I pace in the bedroom. Are you crying in the shower?

Oh, Jesus, just the thought...

And... what are you going to do with your soiled clothes? I'm such an idiot...

I hurry to the kitchen to fetch a bin bag, so I can toss the clothing and you won't have to deal with it.

Then I rush back to the bathroom door, and knock. No answer.

I try the door. Locked.

Shit. What if you fainted??

I pause for a moment, sigh, and kick open the door.

Where I see a pert pyjama'd bottom hanging from the window you’ve partway squeezed through.

"Fuck's sake," I growl, and rush to the window. I lunge for your hips and yank.

 

 

I balance on the loo, move to the window, bend out. I hear you knocking on the door - quick -

damn, that’s a long way down... and no hand- or footholds... but I have to try... just try not to break a leg, so I can walk...

I hear a crash behind me - fuck, you’re bashing in the door?!

I push, but two strong hands grasp me, pull me back - nooooo!!! I grab the windowsill, but no use - you’re too strong...

“What were you thinking?!” you shout. “We’re four floors up!!”

“I have to get back, Sebastian... please...” I cry, thwarted again...

“Please... take me to church...”

 

Chapter Text

"James, you have got to stop obsessing about this... it's not worth losing your life over!" I shout, and then see the tears on your cheeks, and I feel terrible - again.

We stare at each other in the bathroom, not moving.

"I'm sorry..." I sigh. "Maybe you need a break from being tied to a bed in that little room. Would you like to watch a film in the living room? Something wholesome? We could watch a Disney film if you like - have you seen Lilo And Stitch? I think you'd enjoy it..."

I gently nudge you and you follow me to the living room, looking very sad and dejected.

"Can you try eating again?" I say softly. "Just some cream crackers, see if you can keep them down... I have ginger ale for you too, you like that..." I go to the kitchen to get both for you, realizing how strange it is that I know you love ginger ale, and am now making guesses at films you'd like.

As I return to the living room where you're looking small and shaky on the sofa, I'm also realizing I barely remember what life was like outside this flat - and before I came to your church - and without you.

I have a sinking feeling that at the end of 7 days it won't just be a transformation for you. That this is no mere flat, but some kind of... cocoon. No - neither of us is turning into a damn butterfly. It's more like - a crucible. And I can't just observe as you're melting down to your essence... it's happening to me at the same time.

And as much as I'm curious about what will become of you by the end... I'm absolutely terrified of what's lying in wait within me.

I throw myself on the sofa and set up the film on the laptop, trying to ignore the fluttering in my stomach and the pounding of my heart.

 

 

There is no way I’m getting away from my captor, but there is no way I can just sit back and watch some cartoon. I’m terrified, restless. I try to eat two crackers and have some ginger ale, but I throw both up into the bucket that you helpfully placed in the living room. I’m shivering and sweating, crying and spasming, and look up at you desperately, trying to find the answer to why you are doing this to me in your eyes.

You are looking so concerned, so sympathetic, so sorry... then why can’t you let me go?

I try to think of what you said - that I said I was Jim and gave you orders - I was obviously not myself, but where did that *come* from?

There is something there that rings a bell, but I can’t reach it... I’ve never been called Jim, but the name feels... familiar... like something you remember from a dream... it’s like I dreamed about it only yesterday, but it’s just out of reach. Like when you see something out the corner of your eye, but if you look at it straight on it isn’t there. I keep seeing glimpses -

- violence -

- blood -

but when I try to think about it, it’s a noisy black zone that makes me dizzy -

- and I’m vomiting again, even though there is nothing, absolutely nothing, left to throw up.

I bear the spasms as my stomach tries to find *something* to push out, feel the bitter acid flow through my oesophagus, burning the lining - I’m not surprised when a bit of blood comes out.

The spasms take a long time. You support me, stroke my hair. Finally they stop, but I’m too weak to move. You gently pull me upright, give me some of your foul-tasting water, which seems the only thing I don’t throw up, and put your arm around me to hold me upright. When the glass is empty, I’m too spent to do anything. I just rest my head against your shoulder. Even though you are the cause of my misery it does feel a little bit safer than being on my own.

Exhausted, I fall into an uneasy sleep.

 

 

I feel so hopeful as I hear you delicately munching crackers. It brings a smile to my face. But then the next sound I hear is you heaving yet again... and my smile disintegrates.

Fuck... fuck...

And the doubts that have been whispering to me, begin to shout... that what I'm doing is cruel, that what I'm doing is monstrous...

Now that I'm cleaning you up from being sick again... feeling you tremble next to me, seeing the omnipresent trail of tears on your cheeks...

I don't see how what I'm doing could be right...

I ponder this as I hold you up, as I stroke you soothingly, as you rest your head against my shoulder and eventually fall asleep.

I was awfully confident for the first days, wasn't I? Fresh on the heels of having seen... Jim. I shiver. Whoever Jim is... he captivated me. But I have seen neither hide nor hair of him since that appearance...

What if he doesn't return?

My limbs grow cold.

What if all this torment is for nothing?? And it turns out I've been keeping you here against your will, when you're clearly unwell physically and mentally?

When you need medical testing and care that I'm clearly unable to provide?

What do I think is going to happen if Jim returns, anyway? I told you I don't want the reward he spoke of... but what is it I do want?

Do I want to fuck him?

The answer to that question is far too obvious...

Because the real question is:

Do I want him to take me and do whatever the fuck he wants with me?

And the answer to that I cannot give because then I'd be shouting at you as you slept, "Jim, come back... Jim, I want you... please..."

I shake my head. So there it is. I had a glimpse of something underneath the surface of you, and now I'm willing to imprison you to see it again?

Fuck this. I'm going to wake you up and take you to a hospital, and hope that you can forgive what I've done to you... and then you'll never want to see me again. And I'll be sad, but I've learned to live with fucking disappointment, haven't I?

 

Resolved, I place my hand on your shoulder.

Then your words come crashing back into me with stunning clarity:

“In the coming days, I don’t know what may happen, what I will say. I will probably say that I wasn’t myself now. I will probably say a lot of clever things to make you believe me, to make you feel guilty, to threaten you...

Promise me, Sebastian, that you will keep me here..."

Promise me...

Promise me...

"Jim..." I murmur. "I... don't know what I'm doing... what the fuck do you want from me??"

My head rests against yours. "Please..." I whisper, barely registering what I'm saying. "Please..."

 

 

I am afloat in a vast expanse of blackness, somewhere at the edge of the universe. Deep below me is a red seething mass of acid, flames, and grasping tentacles. I must avoid it, but everything hurts. I look up - my hands are holding on to a thin thread of silk. The thread is cutting into my fingers, but it’s my only chance, so I must hold on... and move.

Slowly, I shift one hand, then another. I can’t see where I’ve come from, or where I’m going, but I need to keep going... keep going...

After an indeterminate amount of time, I notice a pole looming up ahead, holding up the thread, like a tightrope. As I approach it, its surface appears to be moving - coming closer, I notice there are ants crawling all over it. My thread moves up, to the top of the pole; I will need to cross there, but on the top is the largest, fattest spider I’ve ever seen, eating the ants that are crawling up. It’s growing bigger and bigger with all the feeding it does. I stare at it, scared but fascinated, until it moves up - I realize that what I thought was a pole is one strand of a web. I’m hanging from one strand, the spider is going up another, and other strands stretch out in all directions. I gaze at the web all around me. If I make the right moves, I’ll be able to use it - I won’t have to fall -

I gaze around, trying to gauge where I need to go, when I hear your voice speaking my name. ‘What do you want from me? Please…’

I perch in the centre of the web, looking round to see where your voice is coming from.

‘Please...’

Up. It’s straight up. I look, and see that the strand is held in a strong, tanned, scarred hand.

I start climbing.

“You’re doing great,” I say. “Don’t let go. Don’t drop me. Keep holding on.

I’m coming.”

 

 

I hear you mumbling, and tilt my head toward you.

"What was that?" I ask softly.

More mumbling...

I sigh helplessly, and feel my eyes prickle with tears.

Fuck.

I swipe at my tears but more follow.

"I'm coming," you murmur.

"What?" I ask, and lift my head to look at you.

Your eyes are still closed, but a muscle in your jaw twitches.

"James?" I ask.

I observe your stillness, your breathing remaining unchanged.

"Jim?" I whisper.

You twitch again.

And then once again, stillness. Silence.

I take my leather jacket from the back of the sofa, and cover us both with it. Then I rest my head against yours, and listen to you breathe.

"I'll protect you..." I murmur. "From - everything..."

My eyelids begin to droop.

 

 

I wake feeling oddly calm. For the first time in days I’m not panicking the moment I regain consciousness.

It takes me a moment to realize where I am. You’re asleep in the corner of the couch, your head on the backrest, your arms around me. My head is on your chest. It feels oddly comfortable - almost as if your arms are protecting me from anything that might come at me.

Your chest rises and falls slowly, rhythmically. I sit quietly, just listen, feel my head move up and down with your breath.

Maybe if I keep very still, the panic won’t come back for a moment.

I just sit; my breaths matching yours. Slowly, I move my left hand and let it rest on your arm.

Before long, I’m asleep again.

 

 

Slowly consciousness is returning to me. There are thick cobwebs coating my mind, and the grogginess that comes with deep rest after too many nights of poor sleep. I feel a body against me, warm and comforting in my arms. There's a head on my chest, and an arm curled around mine. God, it's been forever since I actually spent the night with someone. I feel my cock hard against my abdomen. Little Seb obviously approves. I wonder if my bed partner (sofa partner?) would fancy a shag and a coffee before I take off.

Sleepily, I draw the person closer... male. Small. Lean and muscled. Mmm... hello, sailor. I press my nose into his hair, breathe in his beautiful scent, and hear myself make a pleased sound in my throat... god. No wonder I spent the night. Who is this delicious stranger in my arms?

Is he wearing... pyjamas?

I sniff again, and a jolt of recognition shoots through me before my mind catches up.

James?

Father James?

My prisoner James?

My eyes fly open. Yours are still closed for the moment, but you're stirring...

Slowly, gently, I disentangle myself from your limbs, feeling a pang of loss as I move away from your warmth.

God knows what you'll think... that I'm trying to take advantage of you in your weakened state, and lure you into sin?

I press myself against the end of the couch, and exhale slowly. You look peaceful for once. I feel torn... I should let you sleep, but I need to make sure you stay hydrated...

You sigh, and I jump.

"James?" I whisper. "Are you awake?"

 

 

I wake slowly, dragging my consciousness through treacle. I was awoken by a feeling of losing something - what?

I hear a voice, asking if James is awake. James? Oh yes, that’s my name... isn’t it?

I open my eyes. I’m on a couch, I’m cold - there’s a moment of extreme disorientation - you sometimes hear about not knowing who and where you are when you wake up, but I really don’t know.

Where is this couch? Who’s that guy over there? Who am I? What am I doing here?

I am utterly confused for a few moments. I must look like a total idiot, staring at you vacantly. Mind you, you’re looking at me much the same.

Then it hits me. The church. The chandelier. The body.

Captivity. Sickness. Nightmares. Panic.

Sebastian. And - Jim.

Jim.

Jim was in my dream.

Who *is* this guy? Why did I pretend to be him when I was confused? Why did he impress you so much that you kept me prisoner here all these days, despite seeing how badly I’m doing, and clearly feeling upset by it?

And why did I dream I was him? What is he trying to achieve? Is he trying to take over? What is he? A demon? Am I going crazy?

“I’m awake. I’m confused, Sebastian... what is happening?”

 

 

Your eyelids flutter open and you stare at me in a daze. You ask me slowly what's going on, and I struggle not to burst into laughter which I'm afraid would segue quickly into tears. God... this experience has been affecting me more intensely than I had even realized.

I sigh and cover my face. "You're asking the wrong person, James... Jim wasn't exactly forthcoming with details about what would happen. If only we could do a conference call..." I laugh hollowly, then look at you and soften.

"I don't mean to be insensitive, James. I tend to be pretty... irreverent. But it doesn't mean I don't care what you're going through. I'm so sorry you don't even understand why. I know you think something is being done to you, which must feel so terrible... but I just wish you could remember Jim! He was there clear as day... and he might not have told me what the end result would be, but everything else he said was bang on. And no one would know to do the things he did without some kind of practical knowledge of getting out of that kind of situation undetected... What did you do before you were a priest, anyway? Espionage? Or did you just run a crime ring?" I nudge you playfully.

 

 

"I have no idea what's going on," I sigh. My head hurts still, and the dream seemed so - vivid - but thinking about it makes me disoriented.

"I grew up in Ireland with my mam, dad, a younger brother. I always wanted to join the priesthood - I was an acolyte, spent hours in church - I loved the ceremonies, the rituals, the beauty, the serenity... so I went to seminary. I was so honoured when I was assigned a parish in London... but I am afraid I'm not a great priest. I try to help people, but I seem to lack the knack..."

Why am I telling you all this? My captor, my torturer, the person who is going to cost me my church?

But... I felt safe sleeping in your arms; feel comfortable talking to you...

a priest going for a confession?

I have been suffering alone for so long...

"And... I have these visions... of violence, of blood... they are so real, and seem to be getting worse lately... they make me sick, they stop me from sleeping, so I need to drink to get to sleep, but that obviously doesn't help... I am constantly scared of losing my job, or my sanity, or... I don't know..."

I look at the shabby flat. I haven't really taken it in until now. It's ugly, sparse, worn. Like me, I guess...

"And... I know you must think I'm mad, but I have these visions of Hell. They're so realistic, like I know Hell intimately, and - my panicking these past days - I keep seeing Hell and knowing it's coming for me. It's like - I'm only safe when I'm in church, and you're keeping me away from church, and now I *know* that the devil will come and get me - I know it must sound odd to you - and I can't explain it - but I'm so scared..."

 

 

"Visions of hell?" I echo. You poor thing... your beloved Church did a number on you, and you don't even know it...

But maybe there's more to it than that...

"I know I'm not a Catholic..." I start carefully, "or religious at all, really. But... isn't the central premise that forgiveness is available to anyone no matter what they've done? Even murder? So what have you done that puts you and you alone outside divine grace?" I ask gently.

"You seem very lovely and very caring to me... even with the occasional Jim pop-up." I grin. "So I don't know where these 'visions' come from, but... if you suffered some sort of trauma in your life, maybe it's just your mind's way of dealing with it? I don't mean to pry; I just don't like to see you suffer... you're the sweetest man I've ever met." My voice grows more fervent as I speak.

Calm the fuck down, Sebastian... you're supposed to be soothing him, not making him think you have a crush on him!

Which I don't...

I don't, I protest to myself fiercely.

I can recognize that someone is cute and sexy and sweet and... feels good in my arms and... needs my comfort and...

Stop it, Seb!!

"Maybe this week is to face what's been tormenting you..." I say. "And let it go... Because honestly, I don't see why you of all people on the planet should be suffering like this. I've been to war and I've seen the worst of humanity... and trust me, darling... if anyone's irredeemable, it's not you."

 

 

*Yes*, forgiveness is available... but only for repentant sinners, not for failing priests...

'Sweetest man I've ever met'? *Really*?! I'm - I'm not - I try to be, but... most people don't really regard me at all... My old ladies, the few youngsters like Wally... they... they respect the profession, but don't care about the man. I do believe they probably don't think the man is doing that great a job of the profession, but they take what they've been given, as they've been taught. As we all have been taught...

I've never doubted my vocation, really. I've doubted if I was worthy - and I think I have pretty much discovered I am probably not, but I hang in there, because it's the only thing I've ever wanted - but I'm sure that this is what I want to do, and what God wants me to do, though I don't know why. He must be able to get better people to do the job... and it does feel unfair - if He wants me to be a priest, why didn't He make me better at being one?

But then - that's probably my failing... I must just try harder...

And Hell - it makes my skin crawl just to think about it. I *know* it's out there, I *know* it's coming, but I can't explain... Not even to myself, let alone to anyone else... even though I wish you'd understand, I wish you'd let me go back...

"It's - I can't explain, Sebastian... repentant people are people who did bad things, but who have a pure soul, who genuinely feel sorry... not people whose soul is flawed...

I don't know what happened, but I do know the church was my last chance, and I am doomed now. I can't tell you why in logical terms. It's not a logical knowledge.

I just – if at some point I'm gone, and you can't find me any more...

I'll - I'll do my best to forgive you. And - maybe you can go to a church or so, and confess. I'd - I don't want you to feel guilty, I don't want your soul to be burdened. I am sure you are a good person, deep down... you mean well. And you are doing what you think is best. You've been subverted by the wrong influences... but you have been misled, not strayed on purpose. And if it was by me - I'm sorry."

 

 

I listen to you carefully, looking for flaws in your logic - and finding gaping holes. Because you yourself admit that your belief that you're damned is not based in logic.

Fuck. How am I going to reach you?

Maybe it's not about reaching you with words. But the only thing you responded well to was... physical touch.

Great.

So I'll just touch you until you feel better?

(Brilliant plan, Seb. Can't wait to see his face when you propose it...)

Well, if you already think you're going to hell... I think weakly.

I wonder if you've had sex before...

I wonder if you've had sex with a man before...

In your mind, would it really make your stay in hell that much worse? Do you believe in circles of hell? Well, if I were going to hell, you'd better believe I'd want to be in the place with the people who had been drinking and fucking and having a good time...

Goddammit, Sebastian! This is not helping...

What would help? What would encourage Jim to drop by? He had said to give you coke after a week if you hadn't changed. So then... what about booze? Maybe tonight, we could see if some alcohol would shift your perspective a bit?

God, no... you haven't eaten in days... I want you to loosen up, not pass out cold.

Then... I'm still at a loss.

"Well, James..." I say sadly. "This part of you that was calling the shots at the church... I don't fully understand it, but I suspect that he doesn't want you to be burdened or feel guilty either. I think this week away is supposed to help you to let go of some of that. And I don't believe that it has anything to do with a flawed soul or damnation. So we have 3 more days to get through... and then we'll both know what he was talking about. And please know - if I for one second thought it was going to hurt you or damn you... I would not be keeping you here. But I don't believe hiding in a church is the answer, either," I say gently. "I think if you believe divine grace exists, then you have to believe it's available to everyone. Whether you're in a church or holed away with a handsome scoundrel who means well, and plays a mean game of rummy."

I wink. "Do you want to play cards today? Or I could order a board game for us... Cluedo? Monopoly? Scrabble??"

 

 

I don’t expect you to understand... you’re damning me, but you don’t know... you think you’re doing a favour for Jim, who isn’t me, but who took over my body for a bit and enchanted you...

“I would like to try to brush my teeth... my mouth feels like a crypt after all these days of being sick. And then - sorry, but I feel so tired... these past days have been really hard. I don’t think I could play a game. Did -“ Shame flashes through me. “Do you have... a clean bed?”

You look at me, so sweetly - damn it, James, why are you projecting your need for acceptance onto your captor? Is this some kind of Stockholm syndrome?

“There’s another bedroom. I haven’t used it; the sheets are clean. I’ll let you brush your teeth, but I’ll stay, alright?”

I nod. Was I really going to jump four floors down?

*Yes*... *and I’d do it again*...

I brush my teeth very carefully to avoid triggering a gag reflex. It does feel amazing to have a clean mouth again. You lean against the doorpost, looking inscrutable.

When I’m done, you show me to the other bedroom, fold back the duvet for me. I’m so tired... I’m sorry, Sebastian, I must be a very boring captive...

I fall asleep.

 

 

I'm disappointed that I can't get you to forget about your torment for just a little while... I feel like I'm failing. Normally, I'm charming; I'm a fucking charmer. And this isn't even to get something out of you, or get into your pants. I'm genuinely concerned about you. I want to see you happy. If I never saw you again and I knew you'd be happy, then... then... a pang of sorrow cuts through me. What...the fuck...? Where did that come from? I'd... miss you?

No... I'm not allowed to miss you!

As you brush your teeth, I consider - when this week is done, where will I take you??

...

Panic surges in me. I don't even know what's going to happen when the week is up - I've been so focused on getting you through this ordeal, but I have no idea of what will happen to you... after.

After...

whatever happens.

I just assumed I would return to my life after that.

And forget about you...

there it is again - pain.

Sorrow.

You seem relieved when you finish brushing your teeth, and I'm overcome with guilt that I didn't think of this before...

I fuss about getting you into bed - as I'm tucking the blankets around you gently, I see you've fallen asleep. I lean in and press my lips to your forehead.

Then I draw back, feeling stunned.

I retreat to the living room - I don't want to be out of your room for long.

But something's going to happen, and I don't want to be near you for this.

I squeeze my eyes shut, and feel tears flowing...

Oh god, James... you sweet, tormented darling... I'm so sorry for what's happening to you.

I'm so sorry...

I cover my mouth with my hand, and shake as I choke back a torrent of sobs.

 

 

I sleep deeply.

Unlike the past few days, it’s actual *sleep*, rather than tormented fever. I do have nightmares, but also periods of rest.

Occasionally you wake me up and let me drink, help me to walk to the loo. I collapse again straight after - I’m so tired...

 

It’s light at some point. Then it’s dark again. Time is a weird concept, as is space, and identity. I’m not sure who I am, what I’m supposed to do - I know I have to go back somewhere - but there’s a web, and things are all connected, and there is red velvet I get lost in, and I’m going somewhere, but back or forwards, I can’t tell. I have to keep moving, or I’ll be captured - but I’m already captured, and can’t escape - and I’m so tired...

 

It’s dark.

I’m feeling very disoriented.

My body is sitting up. It’s like I’m watching a film, or in a ride in a park - I’m a slightly interested observer, looking out the window of my eyes.

My body stands up and walks to your sleeping form on the chair. It sits down on your lap, starting you awake. You look at me with big amazed eyes, move as if to say something, but my hands grasp your head and my mouth is on yours, my lips pressing against you. You are motionless for a moment, but when my tongue demands access it is given, and soon your hands are on my back, pulling me close, your tongue joins mine in a passionate embrace.

My hands pull off your shirt, your hands pull off mine, our bare chests are touching.

Your jogging trousers do nothing to hide your piqued interest.

It would appear my penis is erect as well.

My hands pull on your trousers, my body moves back to allow pulling them down, and there you are, proud and desirous. Your eyes are huge in the twilight of the room.

My hands move back around your neck, another deep kiss, a slight moan from someone, and my left hand takes your right, moves it onto your erection. You hesitate, but my hand moves yours insistently, and when my hand leaves, yours keeps moving.

My teeth bite your jaw, your neck, sucking in flesh, making you groan, making your hand move faster.

My hands move over your bare chest, nails digging in, leaving thin dark trails in their wake, making you shiver.

My hands trail to your back, gouging deeper, making blood appear, as my mouth kisses passionately, drinking in your moans, your pants, coming faster now, faster...

And with a shudder and a muffled curse, you ejaculate, your body twitching, your eyes screwing shut.

My hand reaches for the tissues on the bedside table, my body moving off you, handing you the tissues. You clean yourself up, look at me with large questioning eyes.

My hand around your dog tags, pulling you out of the chair, into a kiss. Moving, so my back is to the chair. One hand on your shoulder, the other in your hair, grasping firmly, pushing you down onto your knees.

You looking up, your mouth open, your eyes black.

My hands release you, move down my pyjama trousers, releasing my naked arousal. I sit down on the chair.

 

 

I'm dreaming of you... only I think you're Jim again... oh god, he's back...

You've finally come back...

You (Jim?) sit down on my lap and wake me up, so I guess it was a dream within a dream...

you reach for me and kiss me... (Jim?)

it's so vivid, and I'm afraid I'll wake up at any moment...

God, brain... don't take this away from me, please... the only chance I'll have to be with James/Jim is in my dreams.

Your tongue is in my mouth, my tongue is touching yours, our shirts are sliding off...

oh fuck, your skin...

This is officially the best dream of all time...

And now you're pulling down my trousers, and... this is feeling so real, I -

you kiss me, I moan loudly, your hand is pressing mine to my cock and my eyes fly open.

Not a dream -

not a dream...

My mind is weakly shouting orders at me to pause for some reason, very important maybe, but your hand is very persuasive...

oh god, so persuasive...

I haven't wanked for days, and I've been in your physical presence around the clock...

your sweet elfin face... the inky pools of your eyes...

your pert little arse...

oh fuck...

your mouth, your hands are everywhere...

your nails, leaving sweet, fiery trails down my skin

your teeth, sinking into my neck...

then you're kissing me again, and I can't hold back anymore, I can't -

ohgodohgod... Jim...

I barely keep from shouting your name, cover it with a curse, my body is jerking violently... and then... wetness.

I'm still shivering with pleasure when you hand me tissues.

I take care of the evidence of what's happened here, but clearly there's more to come...

you're pulling me by the dog tags, oh fuck that's so hot,

yes, push me where you want me, down on the floor,

anywhere,

I'll go anywhere...

Do anything...

James...

Jim...

My eyes swing down to your pelvis, where you're slowly pushing down your pyjama bottoms, and you're so fucking beautiful, only...

I go still and stare for a moment.

What are all these scars??

Your lower abdomen, hips, even your cock and balls...

cuts… burns...

Who did this to you.

My jaw sets and I'm filled with fury, but I recover quickly - now is not the time to ask about something traumatic that was done to you.

You'd better believe I'm going to find out. And then do something about it.

I will do anything to protect you... avenge you.

But in this moment... my sole purpose is to pleasure you.

I look up at you, eyes smouldering, my hands grasping your hips.

My lips part. I touch my tongue to the head of your cock, swirl around it slowly.

The taste of you... the scent...

James...

Jim...

I drag my tongue down your shaft, and up again - devastatingly slowly. I look up at you longingly. Then I take you fully in my mouth, and with a moan, I begin to suck.

 

 

Your tongue around my head makes my body shiver. A slow, *slow* move up... your eyes looking into mine, full of - something - hunger?

And then my eyes close and my head moves back as you surround me, pressure increases, friction is applied, a thrill of pleasure vibrates through my nerves. My hand moves to your hair again, grasps it, guides your movements. The pleasurable sensation intensifies. My breath comes faster, my muscles tense, small moans escape from my mouth. After a few minutes, the tension in my body increases, concentrates in the lower abdomen, and an acute ecstatic sensation manifests throughout my penis, causing more sounds to escape from my throat, my hand to tighten, my back to arch, and your mouth to fill. Several waves of this potent pleasure shudder through my body. My heart is racing, my mouth gasping, as you swallow my emission.

My body feels very heavy now. With effort, it raises itself, moves back to the bed, and lies back down in it.

Within seconds, blackness descends again.

 

 

I watch you as I suck you... no question you’re into this. And this is not your first time getting blown by a man, is it... little minx.

God, your moaning makes my cock start to twitch... your hand tightening in my hair makes it start to harden. Already, Seb?

Fuck yes... oh, fuck yes...

Your arching back...

Your white throat straining, releasing the most beautiful sounds...

your muscles shivering and then going into spasm...

and then the tang of your semen on my tongue.

Oh god oh god...

you beautiful, wonderful...

James...

Jim...

I don’t know who it was who crawled on my lap and made me wank, and then pushed me down on my knees. Nor do you give me any indication after... you simply return to bed, and fall back asleep immediately.

Shit.

I know who I suspect it is...

But what will you think of all this when you wake?

My heart thuds. Will you even remember?

I stare at you longingly. Sighing, I get up and head to the living room. I cue up a nice, bloody crime film on my laptop, and curl up on the sofa to watch it. I pull my leather jacket over myself, remembering when it covered both of us and we slept on the sofa together. I hadn’t felt so rested in years.

I wish I could join you in bed, my sweet not-so-innocent priest... but I don’t know if you’ll want to find me there in the morning. I sigh heavily and pull the jacket up to my chin as I watch the film, as my eyelids feel heavier by the moment.

 

 

I wake up. It is dark. You are not in your chair.

Are you in the loo? I listen - I don't hear anything. After a while, I am aware of a sound of regular, heavy breaths from the direction of the living room.

You're asleep - in a different room -

Could this be my chance?

I fear you'll wake up when I walk through the living room - but what if I get out here?

I tiptoe to the window, move the curtain aside. It's a long way down, but there's a drainpipe. I've never climbed down a drainpipe before, but how hard can it be? I have to try - I have to get back -

I think about your face when you realize I'm gone. Will you be sad? Angry?

Will you - come to the church to get me back? No - the church is safe - there's no way you'll be able to get me there.

Whyever not? What makes me so sure?

I don't know - let's just go to the church first, then I'll think about other things. Maybe I can get police protection.

Carefully, I move the handle, gently, slowly.

Pull open the window, feeling the fresh air on my skin.

Climb up onto the windowsill.

Reach out for the drainpipe. It's too far away - I'll have to jump.

 

 

I'm chasing James through an underground maze... and he always manages to stay just out of sight...

Fuck, James... why won't you let me just catch you? Why do you want to stay in this maze, when it's so dark and dank and gloomy in here?

I keep calling his name, and occasionally I hear weeping, which makes me run faster - but I still can't find him.

Eventually the weeping gives way to giggling.. but now it's coming from behind me.

What? That makes no sense... it's impossible for you to have -

"I can do six impossible things before breakfast," someone whispers in my ear, and I turn wildly. A shadow disappears behind a corner.

I lunge after it, turn the corner, and see...

Jim.

Covered in blood. Dripping. Holding an axe.

In front of him - James. Bloody on the floor.

"What - have you - done?" I scream, and fall to the cold cement.

"Sebastian, I'm hurt! We had fun, didn't we?" Jim winks, and shoves James into a hole in the cement floor.

"Noooo!!" I howl. "Bring him back... please!!"

Jim drops the axe, and grabs me by the shoulders. "Get him, Sebastian! Before he hits the ground!!"

I go flying into the hole after him, the echo of James screaming all around me...

Then my eyes fly open and I'm running across the room. Throwing open the bedroom door.

Lunging across the room, and grabbing your legs where you're crouching on the wrong side of the window.

Holding tightly onto you, I stick my head out of the window.

"Hey, honey! While you're out can you pick me up some smokes?" I say loudly, then reach out, grab your head, and push down as I pull you back.

"Oh! Never mind! If you go out that way, you'll be dead!" I shout, and slam the window shut.

"Fucking hell, James..." I seethe. "I was trying to make you feel more comfortable... so much for that!"

I grab you and ignoring your thrashing, I fireman-carry you to the other bedroom where I lock the door, shove you in a chair, retrieve the restraints... then once again throw you over my shoulder and tie you down in the other bedroom, despite your shrieks.

Then I throw myself down on the chair and cross my arms, fuming.

"Why are you so determined to fall to your death, James?" I say through gritted teeth. "And don't give me that bullshit about hellfire and damnation... if you believe in a loving god, then you know how it works... and you do not have a flawed soul!!"

 

 

What - how many sixth senses do you *have*, you horrid man?! How did you hear me from the living room? How did you wake up?! I barely made a sound!

I struggle again in a panic, but it subsides sooner than before.

I’m almost getting used to this by now...

“You don’t understand, Sebastian. *Yes*, God is forgiving, but Satan isn’t, and he’s the one we’re dealing with here. The only place where I can escape him is the church, and you’re keeping me away from it, for reasons some demon whispered to you. Who do you think this Jim is? Do you really think he’s God’s agent?”

 

 

"James! I'm certain - beyond a shadow of a doubt - that's not the way it bloody works! You have to realize on some level that makes no sense, right??"

I rake my hands through my hair. "I don't know how my life has come to this!! I'm stuck in a flat in Acton, having theological arguments with a captive priest - who keeps trying to throw himself from a fourth-storey window so the Devil won't swing by and collect him. And I'm doing this because of someone I've seen only two glimpses of in the last five days. Clearly I'm just as mad as you!"

I cover my face with my hands and take a deep breath. "No, of course Jim isn't God's agent! You know why?" I lower my hands. "Because your God wouldn't be able to contract him, and that goes for your Satan, too! I suspect he would find both too boring to even consider working for... unless it suited his own damn purpose..."

We both stare at each other, you indignant, me with narrowed eyes. I've been so careful around you all this time, but it's starting to get to me... especially if you're going to crawl out of bed, seduce me, and then try to escape. And of course you don't remember what happened... well, I am not willing to be a toy... to either of you!

I cross my arms and lean back in my chair.

"I want to speak to Jim..." I snap.

 

 

“Well so would I! I’d love to hear what he promised you to get you to do this to me, and to make you think he outranks both God and Satan! I do hope that he comes out when Satan is here to pick me up and will send him on his way!”

I’m shouting too, now - I know about turning the other cheek, but I am quite certain you are allowed to shout at people when they abduct you. I mean, even Jesus got angry at times.

 

 

My eyes widen. I knew the sweet little priest had some fire under his robes, and there it is...

"Darling, I told you - he didn't tell me anything specific, and that's not why I'm doing this!" I shout back.

I neglect to mention the offer of a reward greater than my soul's salvation; I suspect that would get your knickers in even more of a twist.

"And I don't have any evidence to support my theory... but then neither do you, so I guess we're at an impasse!"

You look like you want to flounce off spectacularly... I'm actually sorry I don't get to see that flounce. I'm sure it would have been epic...

"I wonder if there's anything we could do to encourage Jim to come out..." I muse. "Maybe if you had a few drinks... He suggested some more coke at the end of the week if nothing had changed... but I don't think you're in a strong enough state for that. If you can keep some food down today, would you care for a few shots of whisky? Let's see if we can get to the bottom of this, once and for all..." I look at you, challenge flaring in my eyes.

 

 

Oh God I'd die for a decent drink... oh yes please...

I haven't managed to eat anything for *days*, but I do feel better now than I did before - less sick, and my sleep was deep and good. A few nightmares, but overall more a sleep than a feverish delirium.

"I don't know... I do hope I may be able to keep something down. I'm feeling less queasy than I have been... some dry toast, maybe."

 

A penny drops with a loud clang.

 

"Hold on - you said earlier you'd caught two glimpses of Jim. The first one was in the church, when he sent you to this, excuse my French, God-forsaken place, and ordered you to keep me *captive* - when was the second?!"

 

 

When you perk up at the suggestion of a drink, I eye you with amusement. My little lush...

(Did I just call him my little... Stop. It. Seb.)

But then... a suspicious look crosses your face.

Uh oh...

“Oh... right. Jim made an appearance last night while you were sleeping. He woke me up and ah, kissed me. I thought I was dreaming...” I look at you sheepishly. “Anyway, he didn’t say a word. He just went back to sleep.” I clear my throat. “I would have told you, but... I got a little distracted by you trying to jump out a window. And that is the last time I want to have to do that,” I growl.

 

 

"Wait - what!? Jim - appeared - but - *I* am Jim - that is - he uses my body to appear, doesn't he?! At least that's what you *claim* -"

But no, you speak the truth - it's clear that you're quite uncomfortable saying this, and when you spoke of Jim earlier - no, it's clear you're not making him up. You actually saw this - this demon who took over my body - why? To deliver me in Satan's hands, obviously... somehow subverting you to his cause with his promises of faerie gold... So easy to corrupt the desperate ones...

It must have been because I was wavering, because I had decided to commit a sin, in my own church - that's how he must have got me... might have been hanging round that shooter that you killed...

And then he got me again in here?! And -

"Kissed you!? Are you saying that I - my body - was used to kiss you!? And - how did you know it was him, if he didn't speak?"

 

 

I shift in my seat. "I didn't know what was going on, at first... it felt like such a lovely dream..." I trail off, wistfully. Don't sound so smitten schoolgirl about it, you idiot... he probably has churchy hang-ups about being gay...

"Anyway, by the time I realized I was awake, I assumed it was you - because I hadn't seen Jim in days. But he was very... forward. And he has a different expression on his face. And the look in his eyes..." I shiver, despite myself.

Then I tilt my head to look at you. "I just realized something - I really shouldn't be referring to him as him... Jim is you. Another side of you that was buried for some reason, and... comes out whenever he, you decide, on an unconscious level. Your body wasn't used to kiss me... you kissed me. And I think the sooner you come to terms with what's happening, and understand what part of you Jim is... the sooner you'll be able to leave... isn't that what you want?"

I look up at you hopefully, but of course it's not going to be that fucking easy, is it...

 

 

'Lovely dream?' 'By the time I realized I was awake?' So this went on for *some time*, then?

I notice that shiver - wow, you've got it bad for this Jim, don't you?

So - you're homosexual? I don't mind - I know Rome don't approve much, but I've read my Bible, and honestly, if we are going to enforce the teachings of Leviticus, we've got our work cut out for us. But - you didn't strike me as the type. Not that I know many homosexuals - I guess I'm just going by the stereotypes in the media. I really should know better.

*Anyway*, what is more important, is that *you and I kissed* for quite some time - while I was asleep and this *Jim* took control of my body - again.

How can I prevent him from *doing* that?! It's quite - frightening, to know that one's body isn't one's own.

"*I* didn't kiss you, Sebastian." I frown. "I have nothing against you kissing men - I know it's not the party line, but whatever - but I am *celibate*. I don't kiss people. All my love is for God and His people, in a spiritual way. I'm afraid that this Jim you saw had taken me over, once again, in order to ensnare me further in Satan's grip - and what better way to do that than to seduce my captor, so he'll be even less likely to go against his orders? I'm surprised he-"

Hold on.

"-*did* he stop at kissing?"

 

Chapter Text

I stop myself from groaning - barely.

Bloody fucking hell... if there is a god, he can smite me down at this moment, for all I care... anything is preferable to the prospect of this conversation... with the most closeted man I've ever met, and his spunky alter ego Jim, fan of coke and seducer of men.

Or is James the alter ego of Jim?

Anything would seem possible to me at this point...

including that I may currently be in a mental institution and this is a wacky dream fuelled by a change of meds.

"There may have been some... groping," I mumble. "By you," I add hastily. Satan has a hell of a grip, all right...

"Listen - I can tell I'm not going to convince you of this... so why don't we stick to the original plan. You have a drink, and if you can hold it down, we'll see what it does to you. If you want, I can videotape it if you become Jim... so you can see for yourself."

 

 

‘Some... groping’ indeed. Don’t lie to your priest, Sebastian...

Is it a sin if it’s done while your body is possessed by a demon? Well – surely it’s a sin to let yourself be possessed. The teachings are clear that a *true* Christian cannot be possessed.

So I failed even there... I’m not only a poor priest, I’m not even a good enough believer... possessed by a demon in my own church, where I thought I was safe...

Dear God, I’m trying, but I’m too weak... I am so sorry. So, so sorry... I gave you this life, but it’s too deeply flawed to be of any use to you...

Why should I resist? I may as well give up and let Satan take me...

*No*… No, the Scripture is clear on resistance - one must *always* resist the devil. Even if *I* am doomed, I shouldn’t make the Fiend stronger.

But how? I have no control, no warning, no way to know when he comes and no way to resist when he’s here...

I can’t even kill myself... or - could I? It’s a sin, yes, but I’m doomed already...

I notice I’ve started crying.

I want nothing more than for you to come and hold me as I weep... and that right there shows my weakness.

I reach for my crucifix. I should find comfort in God.

 

 

You process this information, looking horrified and upset. Probably a good thing I didn't mention that you 'encouraged' me to wank until I had a massive orgasm... before shoving me onto my knees to blow you?

Yeah, I know... I shouldn't have done it; of course it was too good to be true. Like you would just turn around and decide to be free and do what felt good?

The scars I saw... they're from you. Aren't they...

Fuck...

James...

Why did I think I can rescue you... from yourself?

Because Jim told me to...

Well, Jim's not here. And Jim isn't helping...

It's just poor, fucked-up James in captivity, and me - his captor. Who now has feelings for a mad priest who burns himself so he won't be tempted by his homosexual desires.

Jesus Christ, Seb. Really??

Things weren't bad enough before? You had to go and fall for the most impossible person in London, and ruin his life, too? (Destroying David's wasn't enough for you??)

Oh god, oh god...

This is so beyond fucked up...

And apparently you agree, because you're crying again.

You're grasping for a crucifix.

You probably don't want my comfort... after what happened between us.

(Because it was you, despite what you said, James!)

but I can't just sit here and watch you sob your heart out!

I sit on the bed, and stretch out my arms to you.

"I'm here, James... if you need me, I will always be here for you. But I won't touch you if that's not what you want..." I say softly.

Just kill me now, god of James... please.

 

 

Arms appear right on cue.

And God forgive me, but I do dive into them. And start sobbing my heart out.

No one has ever held me like this since I was small and would run to Mam when I was hurt...

all this time I’ve been struggling, and never a shoulder to cry on.

And without a shoulder, I didn’t cry... I just drank, and slept, and trudged on.

And now here is a shoulder, and warm bare arms, and it feels like I’ll never stop. My body jerks with the strength of my sobs, I make horrible keening noises, your shoulder gets wet with my snot and tears, oh God, what must you think of me...

 

 

“It’s okay, James...” I soothe.

(I know, it’s not.)

“It’ll be okay...” I whisper.

(It won’t... ever again.)

I kiss your hair, and stroke your face as you sob.

“Just let it out. I’m here.”

(I will always be here... but I can’t make that promise, can I?)

“I’m here for as long as you need me. Whatever you need.”

(Please let it be me. Please...)

I reach for the tissues, and you go through several, blowing your nose loudly. I gently wipe the tears from your eyes.

Then I hold your face in my hands, and feel my chin trembling. “I’m sorry, James. I’m so sorry...” and then I burst into tears.

 

 

You give me tissues, bless you, and I try to clean myself up as best I can. I must look awful... and I just cannot stop weeping, it's like I'm crying for all the sadness in the world... even though you wipe away my tears, and it's so sweet, and then you hold my face, and I look at you... and then you - apologize, and - *you* burst into tears?! Wait - what are *you* sad about now?!

Have I made you cry??

Oh God, I'm the worst person in the *world*! I'm lousy as a priest, as a Christian, and apparently I can't even make a good captive...

I move my hand, offer you a soggy tissue, which you take - oh God, stupid man, James - I reach for the box, give you a clean one, which you clutch to your mouth as you sob your heart out - *now* what!?

This is what you were trained for, you oaf. Comfort the needy.

Yes - yes, I should. I mean - they were talking more about sweet ladies worried about their husband's illness than about big soldiers who kidnap priests, but the principle is the same - be gentle, listen, don't challenge, don't force advice...

"What are *you* crying about now!?"

 

 

“I -“ Grasping for an answer, I just cry harder.

How can I possibly express everything that I’m feeling? My life is in ruins and I want to end it? You make me want to live again but you’re obviously mad - which isn’t an issue for me except that it makes you a complete closet case who doesn’t even know he’s gay? And I’m hanging on by a thread, just waiting for your alter ego to return and do what he wants with me? How do I express that??

“I don’t - know what - to do,” I sob. “The one person I’ve cared about in as long as I can remember... is the one who thinks I’m tormenting him... and that’s not my intention, I promise you...”

I cover my face and weep. “It’s all so fucked up, James. I’m sorry I fucked your life up... but I’m also not. If I hadn’t met you, I’d be gone by now,” I sob.

Shit. Shit... I didn’t mean to - fuck.

 

 

Oh well done James. Now you've made him cry more. That was *not* calm, gentle, or comforting. Well, we'd established you are a rubbish priest, hadn't we...

I just open my arms, hold you, like you held me earlier, get more tissues.

'I don't know what to do' - yeah, I know how you feel, Sebastian...

'The one person I've cared about' –

wait. Wait. *What*?! You - care about me? Like - the way you say it - that's - a very strong care you're implying there. And - it's for *me*. Not Jim. What - how -

'If I hadn't met you, I'd be gone by now' - What?!

You don't mean by the guy who was after you.

You're - oh my poor boy, you're even more messed up than you seemed at first glance. If ever anyone needed a priest, it's you... and you came across the worst priest in London... and then you - started caring for him?!

Good Lord, have you thrown the two most messed up creatures in London together? For - what? Can we heal each other? Save each other? Do - *anything* for each other?

I have no idea how to deal with this. I'm tied to a bed by a kidnapper, who's suicidal and has started *caring* for me. This wasn't covered in seminary.

"Sebastian. Untie my legs. You're here, I'm not going to escape. It's hard to communicate when tied to a bed."

 

 

Now you're inviting me into your arms, holding me, and I don't deserve your comfort, I know I don't... after everything I've done, and you don't understand why it seems necessary. How can you, when I can't even explain it??

The feeling of being in your arms is out of this world, and it feels like I'm weeping all the tears I haven't cried since I was 15...

I cry for myself, and for David, the boy I loved who died at the brutal hands of homophobes...

I cry for you - the sweet priest who burns and cuts himself so he won't engage in what he's told is a sin...

and I cry for both of us, for being trapped in this situation that feels impossible to get out of without one or both us cracking...

And then -

you speak. And it sounds like an order.

I give a shuddering sigh and pull back to blink down at you.

Without saying a word, I untie you, sniffling. Then I throw the restraints to the floor and wait.

 

 

You untie me, and then sit there looking at me like I know what to do now. Yeah, no, sorry Sebastian - wrong priest.

"You know, of all the priests in London you could have gone to... you must have picked the worst one. I know, you weren't looking for a priest... not consciously... but there are two bars, three restaurants, and a strip club right near the church, so why did you go into the church instead of any one of those? What did you think you might find?

What does any suicidal man look for? Like any person, he's looking for salvation... No, I know you're not religious, but salvation just means to be rescued... and you were looking for someone to rescue you. And you still are."

I look at you. There’s a hand stroking your temple. Hold on - that's my hand. What am I doing? We don't *touch* people, James. I stare at my hand until it moves back down.

"You're hoping that this Jim will save you from yourself. Before that, you were looking at Father James to save you, whether you realized or not. And now you think you have both here, and you're going to keep them with you, because if we leave, you are lost - you came across us as you were drowning, and you seized onto the one thing that was in front of you, and now you expect rescue.

Tell me Sebastian - when Jim takes over my body, and heads off to whatever he's got planned, what are you going to do?"

 

 

My mouth falls open as you speak. Who do you think you are??

"I'm not keeping you here for myself, is that what you think?"

You raise an eyebrow, and look at me pointedly.

"Is that what you think??" I ask, aghast. "You know I'm going to let you go! Two more days, that's all! If Jim doesn't return before then, well... I followed his orders, and that's all I can fucking do! You can hightail it back to church, if that's what you feel you need to do... You'll be free, and we'll go our separate ways, if that's what you want. And if Jim comes back..." I trail off, then shrug.

"I have no idea what his intentions are when it comes to me. If he leaves, he leaves. I'll have taken a week out of my life to do what I promised, and that will be that."

I cross my arms. "Doesn't really prove your point, does it..."

 

 

"You're not keeping me here for yourself!? Really? Then who are you doing it for? For Jim? What is Jim to you, Sebastian? You saw him for, what - a few hours, while he was under the influence of drugs? Then for a few minutes last night, as he was *kissing and groping* you? And he gave you orders, and you just *follow* them? Because somehow he struck your good Samaritan nerve and you wanted to help him out?

Don't give me that, Sebastian. You *are* doing this for yourself, whether you want to admit it or not. Regardless of whether you'll let me go. I don't know what this Jim did, but he's cast his spell over you, and you hope he'll reward you, you hope he'll take you away from the life that you're despairing of, which is exactly how Satan works - he promises you what you most want in this world, so you'll sell your soul to him, and that's what you're doing.

Don't try to convince me that it's all altruism. We're both better than that."

 

 

I shake my head vehemently. You're confusing me, and it's not fair... the mother of all evidence is right there, under your pyjamas, and I can't even mention it because then you'll know I blew you, and I'm fairly certain you'll freak out, and never speak to me again. Fuck! Jim!

You've made such a right royal mess of things! Are you planning to fix this, or just leave us to deal with it?

Fucker...

"First of all, when he gave me orders, I followed them because he seemed to know what you needed. And in that moment, I believed him that medical care wasn't what you needed... it was time and space to sort your head out. Second of all, I didn't know there would be any kissing or groping! That's not why I did this! As for altruism, I don't really believe in it, anyway! I think everyone does what they need to do, whether it seems selfish or helpful. So did it give me a purpose to help you? Yes! Did Jim captivate me? Yes! Did it feel good to forget about my own path towards suicide? Fuck yes, and I'm not going to apologize for that! But absolutely none of this is about Satan, and you know that deep down... so don't get on your high horse and tell me we're both better than that, unless you're willing to look at your own motivations!"

Well... apparently I had a few things to say...

I jerk my chin at you. Your move, James.

 

 

"*He* seemed to know what *I* needed!? But when *I* tell you what I need you're happy to ignore it!? What did he *do*, Sebastian, to make you completely ignore someone that you claim you've started to *care* for?! What did he say to make you make me go through what I've been going through these past few days?! You've *seen* me! You've seen how sick and upset I was!

Just - *why*?! Just tell me *why* you believe in him so much that you're happy to torture me?! All the talking you've done, I still haven't heard that!"

 

 

"James, I'm sorry to tell you this, I'm sure it won't make you very happy with me... but after everything you've said, I have a difficult time trusting your judgment. You think you're only safe in a church, and if you're out for a few days, then Satan will drag you to hell. You have an alter ego that does things you have no idea about like snorting coke, knowing how to get away from a crime scene without getting caught, and yes, kissing and groping men... and you say it's Satan doing that through you? What if it's you doing that... because that's what you want, but you're so in denial about it, that you have to wrap it in bright, Satan-coloured paper!"

I don't even know what I'm saying anymore... but I feel myself getting angrier by the moment. I stand up and start to pace.

"You honestly think I was happy to torture you?! Do you have any idea how much torture that was for me??! And the reason I did it, why I sat back and watched you be sick and upset, is because I believe Jim! Because I think that's who you are deep down!! NOT Satan... YOU! And if I'm wrong... you'll leave and that's the end of it! Of everything! You can go back to your safe life hiding in a church and denying your true desires, and I won't be in the picture anymore, and you can forget all about the stupid, cruel soldier who -"

I cover my face. There's no way to end that sentence without Pandora’s box flying open.

I want to punch the wall, but it will probably freak you out.

"Forget it, James. Just forget it!"

I let my head fall against the wall with a thump, and breathe raggedly.

 

 

I look at you. You *fucker*.

"So that's it!? You think I'm insane?! A danger to myself and to others, and thus need to be committed against my will? Because I believe in Satan!? I'm awfully sorry, Mr Soldier, but the *entire Catholic Church*, one point two billion people, believe in Satan. That's no reason to declare me non compos mentis.

But no, you decide that some demon who takes me over when I'm in a fugue state after having hit my head hard, thanks to *you*, I might add, is more trustworthy than I am myself when it comes to deciding about my well-being. Because *I* am obviously insane.

And then you have the gall to claim you have started to *care* for me. That it *hurt* you more than it hurt me to torture me. Because you *fancy* that alter ego who is happy to grope and kiss you, and you hope he comes back and gropes and kisses some more - and whatever else you two got up to; you're not a very good liar, Sebastian.

Fine. But just *admit* it. Admit that you lust after this Jim and hope he's going to come back and fuck you some more, and that's why you're happy to torment a fucking priest. Please don't insult me by claiming you're doing this as a *favour* to me, because I can't be trusted to know my own mind. It's deeply offensive."

I glower at you.

 

 

I glower back.

"We didn't fuck," I growl. "He wanted me to blow him, and I did! I'm actually a very good liar, except when it comes to you! Fuck knows why! Maybe because I care about you, and don't you dare fucking tell me my feelings aren't real! Yes, I will happily admit to lusting after Jim, but that does not make this not real... it's because he's you and it's exciting to see you in your power for once!! Not hiding from Satan! Just making bold decisions and doing what you want!

I never once said I was doing this as a favour to you, I told you I don't believe in altruism! I do care about you and I can see why Jim is concerned about you... all those terrible scars... if someone did that to you, I would destroy them... but if you did it to yourself? Then something is not right, James! Your Church doesn't ask people to do that!! Did the seminary tell you to??”

 

 

Oh, *great*. So Jim got himself *fellated* by his captor, did he? Except he's not *Jim's* captor. Just mine. Nooo, *Jim* is in charge. If only I remembered Jim, I could pretend to be him, and get out of this horrid ordeal.

Yeah yeah, you *care* about me... sure...

Wait - what?

"What scars? What are you talking about?"

 

 

I blink at you in disbelief.

"What? What do you mean, what scars? All over your groin... your hips, your belly, your..."

I clear my throat. "You know... don't you??"

 

 

Scars on my - groin? Belly? Hips?

"What are you *talking* about!? I have no scars!"

I gaze at you, astonished. You are absolutely convinced you're speaking the truth, that's clear - what on earth is going on? Another trick from the Deceiver?

 

 

What the fuck are you talking about??

Just how in denial are you??

I knew you were mad, but...

Oh my poor James...

"Why don't you... have another look?" I shift uncomfortably. "I'll turn my back, obviously..."

 

 

A *look*? At - my groin? What - I know what my groin looks like, Sebastian - it's not like I look away from the sinful bits, or whatever weird ideas you have about priests...

"Well don't turn *away*. You've obviously seen it *already*. And if I have any scars I'd like you to point them out, because I certainly never noticed them."

I stand up, pull down my pyjama trousers, look at you. "So?"

 

 

"So... what? Don't you see them?" I gesture at a burn scar on your hip. "Look closely - that's a burn... and that -" I point from a respectful distance. "On your cock... it looks like you were cut! Maybe a year ago? What happened??"

 

 

What are you *talking* about?! You’re mad - seeing things...

I look at where you point.

There’s-

- a trick of the light. It almost looks like...

Oh God.

Oh - God -

They are all *over* me - how -

“What did you *do*?!” I ask in horror.

 

 

I recoil.

Me? I didn’t do anything!!”

(It was broken when I found it! Do not say that!!)

“James... look at the scars. They’re not new! They’ve had some time to fade. Trust me, I know a thing or two about wounds - and burns, too,” I say wryly, gesturing at my torso and running my hands over the history of my professional career through scars. “Yours I would guess are between 6-12 months. Maybe you were losing time as Jim?? But I can’t imagine him doing this!”

I realize you’re staring at my chest. And now I’m staring at your still-exposed cock. Hello? Focus, Seb...

 

 

6-12 months?! But - what did I do - what happened - how can I never have noticed them - they weren't *there*! They can't have been! Another one of Satan's tricks?!

 

- PAIN -

- fire -

- FEAR -

- blood -

- PAINPAINPAINPAINPAIN -

 

Blackness.

 

 

Oh god...

James!

Luckily I’m not at such a respectful distance that I can’t catch you. I lunge towards you, and catch you as you start to fall to the floor.

I lift you up and carry you to the bed. Once again, I find myself testing your vitals - they’re ok, but your pulse is a bit weaker than I’d like. Fuck.

Maybe I’ve been wrong all this time... maybe you’ve needed to be in a hospital...

I hurry to the kitchen, fetch another glass of water, and a cool, wet cloth. Then I get into bed in a sitting position, gather you up against my chest, and kiss your forehead.

“James...” I call out to you, and pat your cheek. “James, wake up...”

There are tears in my eyes again. I don’t know anything anymore... maybe I was wrong to do this...

I squeeze my eyes shut, and lean my head against yours.

 

 

What's happening?

 

Why am I being held?

 

Who is pushing a cold cloth against my face?

 

Where am I, anyway?

 

I don't recall -

 

I open my eyes. "Sebastian?"

 

I know you... but how do I know you?

 

You look - tears in your eyes? What the hell? "James!" you shout. "How are you feeling? Are you alright?"

 

"James?" No one calls me James...

 

"What happened? Where am I? Who are you?"

 

 

“What?” I ask, in a daze. “James, are you - alright? You don’t know me??”

You have a look on your face, and it reminds me of something...

“Jim?” I hear myself shout, and you wince.

Oh my god... is it really...?

“Sorry... Jim, is that you??” I demand.

 

 

"*Yes*, of course it's fucking me," I snap. Who is this idiot? How do I know him? Why am I half-naked in a bed with him? Well, I can guess that last bit - but why can't I remember anything? My head is fuzzy –

wait –

I remember coke.

"Give me the coke," I order.

 

 

“What?? You just passed out, you should have some water and some toast, first... you haven’t eaten all day...”

I stare at you in amazement. I was starting to believe I was crazy, I can’t believe you’re really here...

 

 

"I *said* give me the coke. And then you can give me your medical opinion."

I frown at you. Who the hell do you think you are, speaking to me like that?

 

 

I cover my face with my hands and sigh heavily. My life has been a fucking circus, and the ringmaster has arrived late. And forgotten he asked me to manage everything in his absence. And demanded coke.

Nothing fucking surprises me anymore.

“Oh, right away, Sir...” I snap.

I push you aside and head out to where my things are in the living room. Muttering, I rifle through my rucksack, and find the small bag.

I return to the bedroom and glare at you.

“First things first, Jim. Tell me what your relationship is to James. And who left all those scars on him? Then I’ll give you the coke.”

 

 

You push me aside and then - ask stupid questions? Make *demands*!?

Who the hell do you think you've been shagging, Sebastian??

I look you over. Military. Ex. A bit worse for wear - still a fighting profession. You move a bit - *there*. Favouring your left leg - knee injury. It would hurt a *lot* if someone were to, say, kick their heel against the meniscus just *there*...

My foot shoots out. You're fast, but not fast enough - and you weren't expecting it.

"You don't make *demands*, Sebastian. Give me the fucking coke *now* - and then I'll see if I want to talk with you."

I could just kill you, but I *do* want to know why I can't fucking remember anything, and I don't know yet if the coke will bring everything back.

 

 

Bloody - fucking - hell -

Pain explodes in my knee, and I lean against the wall.

“What the fuck, Jim!!” I shout. “Oh sure, I’ve just been taking care of the fucking mess you left me with, with barely a word from you... and you’re going to show up and be a violent prick until you get what you want? Here, since you don’t care about anything else... take the fucking coke!” I throw it at your chest and you catch it - damn, you’re fast...

“I’m tempted to just fucking leave you here, but I’m invested in James... and I need to know what the fuck you’ve done to him...” I growl, and cross my arms.

 

 

Who the fuck is this James?! Did I kill him?

Whatever, coke first...

You don't appear to have given me any trappings to properly snort with. Fine then - I open the bag, put some on my thumbnail, snort it - that's better - a bit more - a bit more - a bit more -

*That's* it -

A thick crust falls from my brain. *Finally*. Right. So -

- I still don't know what I'm doing here. Or who the fuck you are.

Wait -

There's a -

Was that a film I watched?

A - dream I had?

A priest called *James*!? I was - playing a priest?!?

Except - I wasn't playing - I actually believed -

Is that - real? Is that the James you're talking about??

"This James guy - is he a priest?"

 

 

I watch glaring as you start snorting coke. God, this is so surreal...

Oh, should I be videotaping this for James?? Somehow, I don’t think that would go over well with the tyrant in front of me...

You’re staring off, and seem to be realizing something...

“Yes,” I say urgently. “James is a priest! What happened to him?”

 

 

"He was - me? I was - playing him? Or - I thought I was him - but - why? And you?"

Fuck, I can't get my head round it.

Some more coke. That's better. Icy spark in the centre of my brain... expand the mind map...

 

The mind map.

 

It's - corrupted.

 

Bits of it are - black. Burnt. I can't see inside - it's like looking into a black hole.

This is - actually scary. What - who could get inside my *mind map*!?

 

Right - reason backwards. I am here. I am now. I am me.

 

Me: Jim Moriarty (*James Moriarty*). No, Jim. (*Father James*). Fuck.

Now: ---*unknown*----. I don't have a clue what date it is?!

Here: Somewhere in - London? No, wait, I remember this - Acton. A safe house that you knew.

Which brings me to the next step - who the hell are you?

You visited Father James -

Who the fuck is Father James!?!

"There are too many unknowns - I can't work out what's happening!"

Should I tell you this? Yes - I seem to trust you - you helped me...

*Fuck*!!! I can *always* rely on my mind, it's the one thing I can trust... and it's been corrupted, like a dodgy hard drive...

 

Withdraw. Take stock. Cartesian truth. I think, therefore I am. But then we get to difficult territory - who is the I who's doing the thinking?

 

I am Jim Moriarty. But - part of me thinks it's Father James Moriarty. And that part has been living in a church for - months? Being a - motherfucking *priest*!? And bewailing that he was bad at it?! I should *hope* so...

What the fuck happened to make me think that?!

I try to think back to when Father James started in the church, but it's like walking when you're tied to an elastic band - you can only get so far before it's impossible to go further. I can't recall the start of his fucking priesthood. He had - memories - of a fucking *happy little family* - who were all still alive - but it was my family - Mam, dad, Georgie - and he was James Moriarty.

Right - skip the elastic band for now - I do remember my childhood. My growing up. Coming to London. It's like seeing the truth through a window on which James' memories are projected... it's so confusing...

So what happened to make me Father James?! Did I finally lose my mind?

I can't recall.

I finally realize you've been talking to me a while and are getting in my face and insistent.

"What?!"

 

Chapter Text

You ignore me - apparently coke is far more interesting. And staring off into space, occasionally ranting, and then muttering about mind maps.

Oh god... James was so pleasantly mad.

Jim’s madness... is an entirely different animal. Less tormented, more furious. A lot more likely to kick.

You shout “What?!” at me, and I heave a sigh.

“So you have no idea what happened to James?” I say through gritted teeth. “Or why you told me to keep him captive for a week? Is this what was supposed to happen??”

I start to pace, wincing as I feel my knee throb with pain.

“What happens now,” I ask, nervously. “When he returns, will he be integrated into your personality, somehow?”

 

 

Right. You seem to be an ally. You came to - me - Father James - because you were being chased, you killed your assailant in the church, Father James - I - made a bit of a song and dance about it, then I got sick, told you to move me out here -

wait. That is an essential bit. That was - me - or at least more *me* than Father James was. I can barely remember it - I can't remember how I was feeling, what I was thinking, but I do remember what happened. I got this kid - Wally - to give me coke, because I remembered that coke can work to focus my brain, remove distractions - and that worked to get me out here - where you kept me captive for several days.

So - *that* Jim (god, how many different identities do I *have*!?) knew something - more than I know now, it seems. He knew that I needed to be out of the church to get Father James to recede - and it seems that Father James knew that as well, because he was *desperate* to get back to that fucking church. Why?

You are looking at me more and more worried, and I guess I should be a bit nicer to you - you helped me, and I will probably need you. I don't know when it is, or what happened to my Empire while I was gallivanting about being a fucking *priest*, or - anything, really - and you seem to be somehow determined to help me and/or Father James.

And I'm getting more and more worried that I'll need all the help I can get...

"I'm sorry..." I start. Good start. You already look more hopeful.

"I have no idea why I thought I was James - but he's *not* me. I have no idea what made me into him. But I think that's why I asked you to keep him away from that church - it seems there's something there that... keeps me down? Keeps me thinking I'm a priest? I'm not - as I'm sure you gathered."

I should probably -

"Thank you. You - did very well - you helped me a lot."

Memories from the past week flood in - oh *god* - I was - did I really say - I soiled the bed - I cried - oh *fuck*...

"You were - remarkably strong. And I realize I made things really difficult for you. I'm sorry, I wasn't myself. Thank you for not wavering."

 

 

As you mull things over, you seem somewhat less agitated...

I continue to pace, wondering how long you'll be here before you disappear again... how am I going to explain this to James??

Then you speak to me directly. I'm relieved at 'sorry'. And then stunned at the declaration that James is not Jim. What? But isn't he your... sweet side? Don't your two sides come together now?

My panicky thoughts are interrupted by you thanking me. Expressing appreciation at my efforts. Your words are very nice, but don't think I don't notice the calculating look in your eyes, darling.

I cock my head and look at you suspiciously. "You're welcome. Jim. But... what do you mean James isn't you? He's... not coming back? Ever?"

Shit...

No...

All this time I've been longing for Jim to return... not thinking of what it would mean for James.

You can't be gone for good... can you??

 

 

"I have no idea - but I fucking hope not. I have never, ever, had *any* desire to be a priest. I have no idea why this happened. And I can't *remember*...

It's like, I remember who I am. What I do. In general. But it's hard to remember when I *stopped* being me. And I can't remember the start of Father James. There's a... blank space, a no man's land, between the two. I don't know what happened to make me... that.

And - as Father James, I had memories. I remembered a family, an education, that I *know* I never had." (Or did I? Is Jim the illusion?... ARGH!)

"Alright, so I may have fantasized the whole lot together and convinced *myself* for some weird reason, but - someone gave me an actual parish. Let me rule it, or whatever a priest does. Was I so persuasive I took them in? How did I convince the bishop that I was a proper seminary graduate? Did I bribe him? Why!?"

I'm pacing, but you're looking like someone who just dropped their puppy down a waterfall. What now!?

Oh - James. You'd listened to my instructions, but had got rather attached to James. Well, I'm sorry, but he is *not* coming back if I have any say in it. Just don't take me back to that fucking church.

*Fuck*! Is it haunted or something? What on earth *happened*!?

 

 

I find myself backing away and into the wall. I close my eyes.

James. Gone.

Just like that...?

I never got to do anything but hold him, and now - I'll never get the chance again...

None of this makes any sense. But then, it doesn't to you, either.

Your voice is wavering. It reminds me of someone...

My eyes open.

If there's any of James left in you, any chance that I could see a flash of him in your eyes...

I have to see this through. No way I can just leave after all this...

"What do you need from me?" I say, stepping forward from the wall. My arms are behind my back. Soldier stance. Interesting. Why??

 

 

Huh.

Interesting.

Ex-soldier, still keen on orders. Order. Yeah, you and me both, mate. I wish I could make any sense of what's been going on.

What do I need from you - what does that phrase mean?

You miss James, even though when I was James, you wanted me. There is something about me, regardless of who I am, that fascinates and attracts you. Good.

You need a purpose. You were suicidal. Need guidance, preferably not from a priest, because you don't believe in that.

You didn't know James before a few days ago, so you won't be much help there... but you are *good* - I remember the lightning-fast responses, the nearly supernatural perceptiveness -

And then something else pops up in my memory. Me waking up, kissing you - scratching you, biting you - those are *my* marks - making you kneel... having you suck me...

Oh.

Sebastian... I think we may become *good* friends...

I obviously need someone to watch me when I'm recovering - and you've proven that you're excellent in obeying orders in the face of strong adversity. And more than that - you have a special fondness for me. And you are a *good* soldier - special ops...

Yes, you may be *exactly* what I need...

"I need you to keep trusting me," I say. "You did a great job in keeping me here, helping me recover my mind, but - I don't know what happened while I was playing church, whether enemies moved in, how low I need to lie - I seemed to have more of a clue when I instructed you; I seemed to know what posed a risk and what didn't - but I don't remember what I was thinking at that time, just what happened - like I was a detached observer. I need someone *I* can trust. Someone to keep me safe, to protect me, to follow my orders. Do you think you can do that?"

 

 

You assess me. And then you express what you need.

You don’t try to convince, or coerce.

You just answer my question, and then ask your own.

I respect that.

Even though my poor, sweet James is locked away in you... somewhere in your psyche, and apparently you have no interest in letting him out again, I know he’s there. And that means something to me...

“Yes, you can trust me. And I’ll protect you better than anyone can. As for orders - I can follow them, but just know that I’m not a mindless automaton. I actually do have a brain, and I’ve even been known to employ strategy from time to time. You do need that for the SAS...”

I rub my eyes. “I’m sure you’ve guessed I had a vested interest in James. I cared for him, and I still do. So I’d really like to know how everything transpired to get you into that church. And why you have all those scars... So I’ll follow your orders, but I just want to be kept in the loop. Does that arrangement work for you, Jim?”

We stare at each other long and hard, and I wait for your decision.

 

 

Good.

I suddenly realize I'm feeling damn weak - I haven't been working out, I haven't eaten, and my brain is - corrupted. I am *not* in top form. I will need a strong person on my side, and for whatever reason, that appears to be you. Thank you, Father James' god.

So you want to be *trusted* and kept in the loop, do you?

I don't usually let people know my plans... but then I don't usually find myself half-naked in a bed with a handsome ex-soldier who was told, by me, he needed to kidnap a priest who was me, and with no clue what happened to my Empire. And you do seem both good at following orders and able to think for yourself - right then, Sebastian. You are now my right-hand man. Better not fuck it up.

"Yes. I do think I can trust you. And I'll need all the help I can get to puzzle together what happened.

But - what scars?"

Do I want to know? My beautiful body... I'm scared to look.

 

 

You consider my perfectly reasonable request. Well, from what I've seen of you so far, 'perfectly reasonable' isn't your M.O. But you grudgingly agree to it, and I let out a breath I didn't realize I was holding. After everything I've gone through this week, I'm in no mood to be fucked with. But I also need to know on a very deep level what the fuck happened to James. I have a sinking feeling I'm going to need to make my peace with never seeing him again (pain...sorrow), but I can't deal with that right now. I want answers. I need answers.

And so do you, only...

You don't know about the scars??

Fuck...

I've barely spent more than thirty collective minutes with you, and I already know this is not going to go well.

So I get to break this news right after I did the same with James?

Brilliant.

I sigh. "I didn't realize - you didn't know. There are quite a few scars from cuts and burns... if you take down your pants, you'll see. I'd say from six to twelve months ago... "

I brace myself.

Fuck.

 

 

Take -

Down.

My...

... pants.

Oh.

God.

 

Slowly, I pull down the jogging trousers, dreading what I'll find. My cock and balls are still there, at least... but...

Oh.

God.

I am - *covered* -

My entire groinal region is a mass of scars - burns, cuts - cuts which have been burnt shut - even - oh god, even on my *cock* - I grab my balls - burn scars -

I'm going to be sick -

Fuck, I'm actually going to be sick.

 

I lean over the edge of the bed and throw up, but there's nothing much to come out, just burning bitter liquid. I see a few specks of blood where my oesophagus has torn from the constant throwing up last week. I spasm, my stomach heaving powerlessly, not producing any more liquid but not wanting to stop either.

 

Right.

This.

Stops.

*NOW*.

 

I am *not* going to keep throwing up whenever I am upset. I am going to eat fucking food and it will *stay down*. I am going to get my strength back.

And then...

 

*THE WORLD WILL BURN*.

 

 

You seem filled with dread as you pull your pyjama bottoms down, which makes sense... and then the sight hits you.

And after some examination, I watch helplessly as you're throwing up.

God, between you and James, the vomiting has been a constant.

I get up to get cleaning supplies and paper towels (again), and hand you a tissue.

My hand freezes as I see the look in your eye... Jim...

Your eyes are practically lighting the room ablaze. It's really you.

And I miss James, I really do, but... you're the one who captivated me days ago.

"I'll be right back... and I'll get you some toast and ginger ale..." I murmur, and head out quickly.

I pop some bread in the toaster, and grab a bottle of ginger ale. Then I scoop up paper towels, a bin bag and some all-purpose cleaner.

When I return to the bedroom, you're sitting on the bed looking agitated. Looks like you're processing your unwelcome discovery...

I hand you the ginger ale, and get to cleaning up.

"James was... in denial about being gay," I say quietly. "He didn't know about the scars either, but... I have a feeling he did it himself..."

The toaster dings.

I stand, and tie off the bin bag. "I'll get your toast. Do you want anything else, Jim?"

 

 

"James didn't think about sex at all," I growl through my teeth. "And these weren't self-inflicted. You can tell from the angle. *Someone* did this to me."

I look at you.

"I'm going to find out *who*. And then they're going to burn."

 

 

"I wasn't looking long enough to - what?? Someone did this to you?" I repeat, my voice sounding like a black storm cloud sweeping across the sky.

My jaw clenches. My hand tightens on the bag.

Relief trickles through me at the thought that James didn't do this to himself.

But then... at the thought that it was done to him... my chest grows tight, as I struggle to contain my fury.

"Correction. We are going to find out," I snap. "I owe the fucker pain..."

 

 

I drink my ginger ale.

Fuck. I need to think.

You come back with my toast. I may as well think out loud and get your input - I need all the data I can get.

"Right, Sebastian, I'm going to list what I know - please help me out if there's anything you know."

I munch my toast and speak, as you sit down on the chair and look at me attentively.

"Fact: I am Jim Moriarty, who thought for... X amount of months that he was Father James Moriarty, Catholic priest.

Fact: I had a parish in London." (How? Bribery from Jim Moriarty? Why? No - speculation later.)

"Fact: I was Jim Moriarty until at least... New Year's Eve 2011 I was in Santiago... Then I came back, did the Brooklyn deal... that was a month or so after, so late January early February... and then... I can't remember anything after that.

Fact: It is now early spring, right?"

You nod. "March - no, April. The... fifth I think? 2013."

"Thanks.

Fact: I remember celebrating the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Father James. That was August. I was not extremely new then.

Ergo: Jim Moriarty disappeared and Father James appeared somewhere between February and August 2012. At that time as well, those scars were made.

Fact: Father James never realized he had those scars.

Fact: Father James never realized he had a past as Jim Moriarty."

I look at you.

"What does this tell us?"

 

 

I’m leaning forward in the chair, forearms on my knees, head hanging down... I listen intently, and when you stop, I steeple my fingers over my mouth.

“So you were gone for only 9-14 months... during which time you received the scars and became Father James.

Can I assume you’ve taken identities before but never got lost in them? So maybe it was the trauma of how you received the scars that made you lose yourself? And as for who did it... do you remember anything or anyone feeling off in Santiago, or during your Brooklyn deal? Did you make anyone angry or upset? I’m guessing you do regularly, but they’re usually too scared to do anything about it... no offence meant,” I say wryly. “In my experience, people know when something is off even if it doesn’t register consciously. So if I say tell me what’s the first thing that comes to mind from that time, what is it... now?” I snap my fingers.

 

 

Hm. Chile and US both seemed fine. The usual.

You snap your fingers. "Idiots," I say. You look at me.

"They were idiots. Most people are. There were no issues. So..."

I look at you. Could you be one of them? Unlikely. You seem very genuine, and I haven't yet met anyone who can fool me.

"I *have* taken on a priest persona before. I didn't call myself James - too close - I was Ignatius. But I can - could - *always* trust my mind. And I've had trauma worse than those scars. So I'm wondering - what if my becoming Father James wasn't simply my mind responding to a trauma, but a deliberate transformation forced upon me? What if the scars were part of a brainwashing programme? Like an even more fucked-up version of A Clockwork Orange? Have you seen that?"

 

 

“You’ve had worse trauma? Fuck... how many people am I going to have to hunt down and kill?” I mutter.

You seem pleased by this. I’m relieved. I don’t want to be presumptuous, but we seem to be heading towards some kind of unspoken arrangement where I take care of your needs and brutally murder your enemies with a song in my heart. Is that really what’s happening??

I grit my teeth, and imagine going on a rampage while you watch.

Fuck, that feels right. Bring it on...

“I’ve seen A Clockwork Orange, and read the book. Brainwashing, huh? I suppose it’s possible, given what happened. But to what end? Just to get you out of the way? Why go to all that trouble when they could just kill you? Is there an end game besides just making you think you’re a priest?”

A sweet, kind priest...

how much of James is still in there, I wonder...

 

 

"That's a good question...

Right, several theories: it might be that, like with Alex, they'd want to prove something. Some scientist who wants to show that his theory works - he can take the worst man in London and turn him into the best - a priest.

Or they might be some criminal rivals, who think that it's the funniest joke in the world - turn Jim Moriarty into a priest.

Or, it might be my own mind that's been trying to convince me I'm a priest because my criminal past - oh, sorry, I was a criminal before - I don't think I mentioned that, but I don't think you'll be shocked - because that past had landed me in such trouble that I gained those scars, and I wanted to move to the other side of the spectrum.

An interesting aspect is how *badly* James wanted to get back to *that particular church*. Not away from you, not to *a* church - he wanted to get back there. He associated that church with the only chance he had to escape the devil. So either I, or someone else, convinced him that he needed to stay in that church. Now, if we go with the theory that I was brainwashed, rather than that I brainwashed myself, that might be because they could keep an eye on me in there - and I seemed to think so when I told you that you needed to hide. So - the church is monitored, possibly. If we find out how and by whom, we may find who's responsible for this.

First of all, I think, I'll need to find out what's going on with my Empire. I had quite the criminal Empire before I became a priest - finding out what's happened to that will be a first step to finding out who did this to me, and can also get us important resources."

 

 

Interesting idea that it's that specific church that held sway over you. And leaving it helped you break its hold...

So I guess it's a good thing after all that I brought trouble into your church! Well, James's church...

I feel guilt fall away from me, and it's such a relief... but the sadness about his absence remains with me. And that he had come to associate me with torment.

But if I help Jim, then maybe on some level I'm making it up to James? It's insane logic, but that's all I have available to me, so I'll take it.

"I'd be more shocked if you weren't a criminal," I say wryly. "What do you need, a laptop? A phone?" You nod, and I get both for you.

"If you think you can handle solid food, I can heat a ready meal for you. But you haven't kept anything down since you got here, so you shouldn't eat too much... maybe a little pasta. And some tea?"

God, I'm quite the menial servant, when it comes to James/Jim... as well as killing machine...

and don't forget sex toy, I remind myself helpfully.

I have not forgotten. Christ, I'd give anything to be a sex toy again...

I'm looking at your bare chest again. Your muscular arms...

Stop ogling the criminal ex-priest, Seb... and go prepare a meal for him.

 

 

Yes, pasta, some tea, sounds good...

I'm on the laptop, entering the darknet, moving to one of our regular hangouts. None of the ones I know are still active. Good - it makes sense they'd move if security were compromised.

I try to locate Steve. Last known activity of any of his aliases was March 2012. So he must have changed identity as well. (Unless he is gone) Yes, unless he is gone.

Wait - my money? I access my Swiss account – does not exist. I try again. No such account. Fuck.

Bermuda? That’s still there – thank fuck.

Belize - gone.

Andorra - gone.

Panama - still there.

Cayman Islands - also gone.

I moan, lean my head in my hands. Those are my personal accounts. No one knows of them. They are extremely secure. Bermuda and Panama were extra secure, extreme paranoia level. The other ones were merely secure. No association with me. No electronic trail.

I go onto a black market site, locate one of my sellers. Track upward. Step one fine. Step two not fine.

That's not one of my providers.

Look around, find another one, do the same. Again a dead end. Different provider. Not mine.

The more I search, the less I find. My people. My money. My organizations. My *web*.

You walk back into the room. I look at you with what I assume are dead or desperate eyes.

My Empire.

It's gone.

 

 

I’m preparing your meal and your tea, and I hear nothing from the bedroom. I don’t know if that’s good or bad... but given the way everything appeared when I left, I’ll hazard a guess that you are not happy.

I return with a tray for you, holding your tea, milk, sugar.

I stop in the doorway. You look worse than unhappy. You look like you’ve lost... everything.

I put the tray on the bed, and sit next to you.

“What’s wrong?” I ask urgently.

 

 

What's wrong.

Everything.

Ever since I came to London, I've worked to build an Empire. I did. Build one. A bloody great one. I had the entirety of London, most of Britain, and a lot of the world in my hands. If I pulled one strand of my web, hundreds of marionettes jumped. It was vast. It was majestic. It was beautiful. It was powerful. It was mine.

And unless I am very much mistaken, it was taken down with me.

I feel like a lost little boy. I want to run into your arms and weep. Which is ridiculous.

"Well. If I brainwashed myself, I also appear to have given most of my money to charity, and dismantled my Empire. *Or* I was taken by some organization which managed to take down everything I have."

*Should I be telling you this?*

Yes - you cared for Jim and James, not for the power of the Empire or the money - you had no idea. Thank fuck.

"I want to look a bit more. But at first glance - it's gone. My main bank accounts have been emptied. My second in command has disappeared. My sellers now work for someone else - *several* someone elses."

I will *not* burst into tears. Jim Moriarty does not cry. Not even when he's weak after a week of not eating and everything hurts and you are looking so compassionate and sweet.

 

 

Listening to you talk, I feel agitated. I want to hurt someone. Fix things. Hold you.

But I don’t know you - and I’m not sure what you actually need.

I was just starting to get the hang of James, and then he was whisked away by you.

You don’t strike me as the type of man who wants comfort, as a rule... like you would see that as weakness. But in extenuating circumstances...

and are these not?

I was cautious around James so he would feel safe even though he was a captive... so he would understand that I meant him no harm.

I’m cautious around you for very different reasons. You seem... volatile. Untrustworthy. Ruthless. And it’s so exciting... like hanging out with a viper.

Fuck, Seb... you really know how to keep life interesting, don’t you.

You have moments when you seem suspicious, like you’re questioning my trustworthiness... but then, you relax. Let me in on information you’ve gleaned, and the Plan.

You look like you want to cry. I think you’re going to cry...

How do I give you comfort without making you feel weak?

"Jim... just give yourself a moment. You've been through a lot..." I put my hand on your bare shoulder, and stroke your skin. "You don't have to figure everything out in this moment. And maybe you shouldn't. You need to get your strength back. Have some food, drink your tea. Take a shower. Your unconscious mind is more than capable of mulling over this puzzle as you do - and it will come up with an even better solution than if you try to force it while you're weak from not eating and being sick all week. From recovering from a gunshot wound and a concussion and being held captive and oh yeah, realizing you've been another person for a year... all of it."

I push your meal towards you, while I continue to stroke you.

"And know that I'm here for you - whatever you need, as long as you need me. You're not alone. I cared about James, and I don't really know you, but - it's fair to say you've made quite an impression," I say wryly. My hand tightens on your shoulder. "So I want to get to the bottom of this, too. And there's a couple of things you should know about me. Sniping is a skill I'm really good at. But covert operations were my motherfucking calling. And something else I have a gift for? Payback. The gods fucking blessed me with it in utero.

So whoever's responsible for this is going to die screaming. And bloody. And broken. And then we're going to pop a bottle of bubbly and toast retaking your Empire - and making it bigger and better than before. Now eat your pasta or I'll tie you to the bed again." I grin at you. "Which I'm alright with."

 

 

Interesting...

Time to assess my new second in command.

Congratulations, Sebastian. You are now the viceroy of a dead Empire.

So - who are you, and can I trust you?

I take a good look at you, at what you’ve said, what I’ve seen in the past week, put it all in the new personnel file, marked, for now, simply ‘Sebastian’.

Posh upbringing, come down low. Possibly disinherited for being gay. A lot of anger, a lot of sadness.

Ex-SAS - probably chucked out, rather than left. Not able to deal with life outside the army.

Hitman - quite successful, but missing a cause in life. Money isn’t enough - a common issue in people who grew up having plenty of it.

*Somehow*, you got hung up on me. And that started... you liked Father James, but when *I* came out, or the version of me who knew exactly what to do, you were entranced. Then you got attached to Father James, but not enough that you would disobey my orders.

*Interesting*...

And then that night where I hurt you so much you came, pushed you to your knees, and made you blow me - you loved that.

You seem very keen to take care of me, which is not your natural modus operandi, so I’d guess you fancy me.

You’re confused because you miss Father James, but it was me you were really after...

You did well walking into a church Sebastian. You wanted a higher power to give you purpose? You *found* him, darling...

And you’re just as bloodthirsty and angry with the world as me.

I think you’ll do...

I think you’ll do just fine.

“You know you have absolutely nothing to gain from joining me. When I promised you mountains of gold, I wasn’t aware my Empire was dead in the water.”

 

 

The assessing way you look at me... I feel like I’m being x-rayed and probed on every level of my being... fuck. Just how much of me are you seeing? I feel naked and exposed under your gaze... with anyone else, I would have felt furious. With you... I want more... I want to be spread out naked and tied with these ropes I used on James...

God... I haven’t been able to stop thinking of you that way since you had me on my knees, blowing you... no one has ever affected me like this.

Will you want more?

Please want more...

My ears perk up at your voice. Your fucking mesmerizing voice...

“I don’t remember anything about mountains of gold...” I raise an eyebrow. “I believe what you promised was a reward greater than my soul’s salvation.” I give you a wolfish smile. “Fascinating claim for a priest to make... I’ve been wanting to officially make your acquaintance for days. Anyway, I don’t give a fuck about money. I have money... why do you think I could just take off like that? And as for my soul, well it’s pretty tarnished as you can probably tell... so salvation wasn’t really my top concern. But something better than that? All right, I’m clearly intrigued or I wouldn’t be here...When do I get to find out the answer?”

I push the container of pasta towards you. “You need to eat if you’re going to take on your enemies. And I wouldn’t say your Empire is dead... more like disassembled and in the wrong hands. It’s not Humpty Dumpty, it just needs to be put back in its rightful place... and the wrong hands need to be cut off. Figuratively. Literally. Whatever you want...” I take a forkful of pasta and eat it. “S’good. You better have some before I finish it.”

 

 

*Perfect* response, Sebastian. You don't want money, you want me. And by the look on your face, you really *want* me. Which is absolutely splendid, because my usual ways to get people to do what I want - money and violence - are not readily available here - except through *you*. But *sex*... and *attachment*... can be much more powerful motivators.

And it's not like that's going to be a hardship... you're fucking hot. No wonder sleepwalking me came out and seduced you. Now sleepwalking me was either very insightful or very reckless to just take you the way he did - but it paid off. You loved it.

As did I...

I'm not going to have to fake anything with you - it will be an absolute delight to make you mine.

And I really think that is what you want... someone to take over your life, to give you orders, to let you live out both your violent side and your passionate side, give you something to fight for and something to love...

There you go. Something greater than your soul's salvation indeed...

I eat my pasta obediently. My stomach tries to protest, but I don't let it.

*I'm* back. I'm in *charge*. My body first. Your body second. And then the rest of motherfucking London. England. The world.

I'll take it all back, piece by piece, and it's going to *deeply regret* letting me down...

"You're probably right, Sebastian..." I say after my third mouthful of pasta.

"So, tell me... why are you so keen to help me?"

Good to hear what *you* think...

 

 

More assessing... including my body, don't think I didn't notice...

I lean against the headboard casually and cross my arms, letting my biceps bulge.

Like muscular ex-soldiers, do you...?

Your eyes are gleaming... fuck...

I feel my temperature shoot up. If I wasn't already half-naked, I'd be stripping off my shirt.

I observe you observing me, and then you finally pick up your food and dutifully start eating.

Some of my tension leaves me... it was so horrid watching James being so sick all week and unable to keep anything down.

I feel a pang of guilt. I've been so focused on Jim, I haven't thought about James for the last while...

But Jim needs my help now... And he's asking me a question that I have no idea how to answer...

Why am I so keen to help?

"Honestly? I have no fucking idea. At first I was helping James after I got him shot... then you showed up with your strange demands, and disappeared again..." I shrug. "I guess I was just intrigued, like I said. Then James was so sick and in a terrible state, and he needed me. And I felt terrible about getting him into this situation, but I guess I don't have to feel guilty...?? It's all so fucking weird... and I usually don't give a shit about people. Not outside the army, anyway..."

I stare at you for a long moment. You probably remember what James and I talked about. It's not really something I'm dying to bring up. Who wants to talk about wanting to kill themselves? Especially with a hot guy who's the only thing on this fucking earth, other than the Regiment, that has made me not want to kill myself...

"I guess..." I say slowly, "this has been the only thing that's meant anything to me since the SAS cut me loose..."

I wince. Fuck me, it still hurts...

"The only fucking thing..." I say hollowly.

 

 

Oh, showing off your body... I *like* that. And you're getting decidedly hot, by the look of things. Good... after dinner has gone down we may want to indulge in some light getting-to-know-you-better exercises.

Thank fuck they at least left my cock intact and capable of functioning...

*dark fury rising*

*Yes*, we'll get to that. But not now, because if I let the volcano burst now, I'm going to kill the only ally I have, or at least severely damage our relationship. I'll get to kill someone *soon*, don't worry... and I *will* find who's responsible, because I'm still a fucking genius. (I am, aren't I?! I mean - they can't take away your geniusness with brainwashing, can they?!)

*Later*. One step at a time. Current step: Sebastian.

‘Intrigued’.

‘Guilty’.

‘Usually don't give a shit about people’.

‘Only thing that's meant anything to me’.

Poor Sebastian...

No, wait, what?!

That must be the remnants of Father James. I don't fucking *pity* people. No one ever pitied me. It'd be a fine mess if I went around *pitying* people - I'd never get anything done.

No, this is an absolute godsend. You're lost, suicidal, desperately looking for a cause, because there is still *life* in you, you *want* to live, you just don't know what for - the army is all you've ever had, and you lost that.

Cults tend to look for the desperate, the lost, the hopeless, because they are easiest to convert - they *want* to live for something, deep down, and if you give them something that means they don't have to think for themselves, they're delighted.

You *do* seem capable of thinking for yourself - which is great - but not able to see yourself as a good enough cause to live for.

Well, darling - welcome to the Cult of Moriarty. Current membership - one, but with good prospects of growth.

I move over; my hand strokes your face.

"I'm grateful, Sebastian. And - I'm not someone to trust easily, but I do believe I can trust you.

Thank you for throwing your lot in with me. I do believe you are the best person I could have met - if I believed in god, I'd thank him for bringing us together. And - I can't guarantee anything, we may both be dead soon, but I promise I'll do my very best to make it worth your while - in more ways than one."

I grin, reach for the whisky.

"To a fruitful collaboration."

I take a swig, grimace - yuck, this is cheap shit - manage something that resembles a smile as I pass the bottle on to you.

 

 

Things got a little maudlin there... I struggle to pull myself together. You don't strike me as the sympathetic sort. You do however strike me as the 'you'd better be fucking honest and tell me everything I need to know' sort... and in my way I opened up to you more than I did with anyone outside my unit... even more so than to James, the sweet priest who would have sympathized. Interesting.

You're still assessing, but you no longer look suspicious... you have a satisfied expression, very feline, like you just tucked away a canary in your teeth.

(And you find that hot, do you, Seb... yes, of course you do.)

The beautiful predator next to me begins to stroke my face, and I nearly fall over. Oh my god... one touch of your hand has meant more to me than all the touches of far more intimate parts I have experienced in my lifetime. All those memories fall away, ashen and crumbling... only this matters. Only this is life.

I'm in a daze, half-hearing what you're saying... that you trust me, and then some flattering things to keep me hooked, and don't you understand, I'm already fucking hooked. I'm a goner. I may very well be dead soon and if it's in your service, then I'll have no regrets.

But... you'll make it worth my while?

More ways than one?

Oh god, it sounds like... it really really sounds like...

Yes... collaborate with me, you adorable little lightweight... I take the bottle from your hands, grinning at you. Then I take a manly swig, my eyes on you the entire time.

You definitely know I have the hots for you. Only question is... is all this manipulation on your part, or... do you want me, too?

Chapter Text

*Look* at you... impressing me with that big swig, undressing me with your eyes... well... the little there is left to undress... (*which is DAMAGED and the world will BURN for it* - *yes*, Jim, but not quite yet...).

“Have you got any coffee? Lots of sugar, please...”

You take my plate out, I drink some more water - unlike Father James I’m not much of an alcoholic - and plan for our little tête-à-tête.

Specifically, I’m assessing my mental state - I know what I can be like in the throes of passion, and I want to bind you to me, not scare you away. I have *some* inkling of what you like, but I’ll have to very much play it by ear as I’m going along, which means *not* completely losing myself in the proceedings. Which I can do - but since I haven’t had sex in *months*, except once when sleepwalking, is going to be less fun than it could be.

Still. I don’t want to use it till it breaks - not this one.

I do have some serious aggression I’d like to work off though - and I think you would be happy about me doing so, as long as it stays manageable...

I look around the room. Quite professional shackles - James didn’t stand a chance, and I would have had serious trouble without a pin or something. Ropes... now that is interesting. I look wistfully at the cable for the bedside lamp - no, ropes are better.

You come back with two cups of coffee, put one on the bedside table, make to sit down with the other one. I put my hand on your hand holding the mug. Your eyes grow large and dark as you look down at me. I move the hand and mug onto the bedside table, then stand up (headrush - stay with it Moriarty, fainting now would severely lessen the impression you want to give), grab your head, kiss you hard.

 

 

You politely request coffee, eyeing me with a calculating gleam.

You are a delightful little manipulator, aren’t you? At this moment, I don’t give a flying fuck what you have planned. I’ll deal. I always deal with life throws at me, and usually it’s not the prospect of playtime with a hot criminal and formerly captive priest.

I smile at you, and go prepare your coffee.

I saw wheels turning in your mind - and I suspect if you hadn’t wanted me to see that, I wouldn’t have. But you are letting me in on it... hmm.

At this moment, I'm too horny to worry about it. Yes, I’m thinking with my cock - gloriously so. I’m humming as I make us both coffee, and I tidy up a bit as I wait.

When I return, you stop me from sitting down with my coffee. Oh? Will I need a hand free? I stare at you, as you put my mug down and then stand. You seem unsteady for a moment, and I watch closely to see if you need my support. I guess not because a moment later, you’re kissing me.

You’re kissing me and it’s like night and day compared to our one and only kiss from before. That one was more ‘oh, what’s this, let me kiss it’... this one is ‘you’re mine to do with as I please, and you’ll thank me for it’

... it’s personal, it’s masterful, and it’s melting my brain.

I’m sagging against you, moaning against your lips... slipping my tongue into your mouth just a little, sliding my hands around your waist. God, you’ve wasted away to almost nothing this week, but you still feel like a powerhouse of will, and I want to be under that will, under you, oh god, I really fucking do...

I kiss you back urgently, and moan again.

 

 

Well. That's one question answered – two, really. You are absolutely up for it, and you are absolutely up for me taking control. The little signs - accepting my tongue in your mouth, your muscles going weak, your moans - and then you're grasping me, urgently, frantically, *wanting* so much...

And you will get, Sebastian... Let's do this - let's get to know each other...

 

I turn so you are with your back to the bed, push you down on it, push you onto your back, straddle you, still kissing. I nudge us both further up, so your head is on the pillow, then I move my arms under your arms which are grasping my back, push them up, move my hands to your wrists, press them down next to your head.

 

 

The moment you start pushing me onto the bed, I feel a triumphant surge of excitement. This is really happening, what I wanted deep down with James but could not push for... but I think I understand now... James was so lovely and sweet, but he was a sliver of you, he was but a muffled version of you... you, Jim, are so authentically you, and you set my fucking head on fire, and well, other key parts too, as evidenced by my hard cock straining against my jogging bottoms.

Somehow I know to follow your lead; it just falls into place between us, and I let it, I want it... finally, the one who doesn't expect me to be the big man, the aggressor, the seducer... that's all you, baby... and it feels so good to feel your weight on me, your hands on my wrists, oh god, oh fuck...

The last five days my emotions and sexuality have been in a pressure cooker, and now... oh god, Jim...

"I want you," I groan in between kisses. You look down at me with your huge dark eyes, and I feel pinned to the bed by your hands and your will and your stare. "I fucking want you..."

 

 

"Do you, Sebastian...? Do you really?" I purr into your neck.

I move my right hand off your wrist, take the handcuffs from where they have fallen behind the mattress, and click one cuff around your right wrist, hook the chain around the rod of the bed, and the other one around your left wrist. I sit up, look down at your face.

 

 

Oh god, your voice... I feel it reverberating against my neck, and I close my eyes, woozy with desire.

Suddenly you're clicking cuffs into place onto a wrist. A chain clanks loudly and my eyes fly open... I watch as you do the same to the other wrist. Then you're looking down at me with a raised eyebrow and a predatory gleam in your eye.

"And the captor becomes the captive... at your mercy... my life in your hands..." I murmur, in a daze.

I shake myself out of it. "Fuck yes, I want you... and you know it," I say gruffly. "I have from the beginning..."

 

 

"Ah, but it's not for the faint of heart..." I smile.

You're mine. You are totally and utterly mine. I mustn't fuck it up, but if I keep a shred of common sense about me, this is going to be *magnificent*...

"But you don't have a faint heart, do you, Sebastian?" I ask, trailing my fingers down the red lines I left on your chest... whenever that night was - last night? Two nights ago? Three? Who cares?

I stroke your jaw, the bristly stubble, move my hand down to the bruise in your neck where I bit you.

"Such a strong, beautiful soldier... *my* soldier..." my hands brush against your dog tags, then move down. I lift the waistband of your trousers, liberate your beautiful cock, who seems pleased to see me.

 

*Your* cock is still pristine...

*Fury*... *rising*...

*NOT*. *Now*.

 

I strip off your trousers over muscular legs covered in golden hairs. The shackles at the bottom of the bed are still there.

Right ankle. Left.

 

I sit upright on your legs, look at you.

Fuck, you are hot. Your beauty so enhanced by being tied down. Raw power, strength, toughness, all bound by the force of my will...

 

I straddle you, move up, letting my trouser-clad erection rub against yours as I lick your neck, then bite your jaw.

"Do you want to find out what it feels like, Sebastian?" I whisper in your ear. "What it feels like to be *mine*?

To submit to my will... Surrender under my hands..." I nip at your earlobe.

"Feel the full force of my desire...

Tell me, Sebastian... is that what you want?"

 

 

Faint heart? I have the complete antithesis of a faint heart, and it's my tragic flaw... according to most people I've ever met, anyway...

Somehow I doubt you'd agree with their judgement.

God, every touch of your hand is like a firebrand, setting my skin ablaze.

Your soldier, yes...

Oh god, I wasn't sure if you'd ever touch my cock, and I wanted this... I really fucking wanted this...

Trousers off. Ankles shackled. Sebastian lost.

Sebastian found...

God, is there anything hotter than you sitting on me... rubbing your cock against mine... licking me, biting me... whispering to me...

I have searched high and wide across the planet, so I can say with absolute certainty -

nothing is hotter than being in your presence

and nothing will ever be this hot again

Do I want to be yours? I shiver as you whisper into my ear.

"God, yes," I mutter. "It's all I want..."

I have the sense of a large black force being held back by will alone...

and if it releases, I'll be swamped, and that will be the end of Sebastian Moran as I know him...

or possibly the end of Sebastian Moran full stop.

And I say, Bring it on.

"Fuck. Yes." I growl. "Make me yours..."

 

 

Well. I’ve been seriously fucked over and if I find out by whom, the tales of their suffering will make Satan blanch.

But focussing on the silver lining... and why not, I’m an incurable optimist... if I have to conquer the world anew, and wreak terrible revenge, I don’t think I could find a better person to do it with than you. Just as a soldier, you seem magnificent. I’d have been very lucky.

But *this*... this is more than magnificent, this is sublime. You are the very picture of masculinity, the beauty of a sharp knife, a gleaming machine gun, a fierce predator ready to kill, and you’re writhing underneath me asking me to *own* you...

It’s all my Christmases come at once.

And I *want* you, Sebastian... *fuck*... if I lift the lid off my emotions slightly the flames lash out. I can’t release, not entirely, not in this state; I don’t know what will happen - but I can relieve the pressure a bit... and enjoy it. Enjoy it very much...

I stroke your beautiful body, trace the scars on your chest, your muscular arms - so strong - I remember how well I slept with those holding me...

- holding James.

It was James. I don’t need to be held.

Strong arms, precise hands, that will kill and stroke on my command. Lovely mouth... can’t wait to feel it on my cock again... and to see it smile. I only saw that smile once or twice, but I love it - insolent and sarcastic and intelligent.

But first, I want to see your tears... I want to hear your moans...

I bend down to kiss you again, softer now.

“I will, my sweet sweet soldier... I know you miss the army, but I’ll give you something better, my dear... what’s queen and country, when you can serve the King...”

I bite your neck, relish your moans. It’s like I’m parched ground and your sounds are little drops of summer rain... soothing, healing, life-giving.

My mouth makes its way down your chest, kissing, lightly nipping a nipple, licking the scratches I put there the other night.

Lower down, to your hips, just brushing against your cock with my hair, kissing your legs, moving my head down, biting the sensitive skin of the inner thigh.

 

 

God... the gleam in your eye when I ask you to make me yours...

there seems to be a lot going on in your head right now, and I'm guessing some of it has to do with what you're going to do to me... and I suspect it's not going to be an everyday kind of fuck. And I never took issue with those before, they were something to savour and enjoy - as often as I could manage it. Like food and water and whisky and cigarettes.

But the thought of wanting it now is laughable...

now when I'm stretched out naked and shackled for you...

now when I'm lying in wait, at your mercy and at your pleasure...

and god, I think I might be in for it - like, really in for it, like maybe not leaving this room alive... and I don't care...

if this is the end for me, so be it.

Better to die at your hands than by myself in my flat, with a smoking gun.

But if I do survive this night...

the thought of being yours... helping you rebuild your Empire…

smiting your enemies while you watch.

God, yes...

I exhale slowly as you stroke my body.

and then you kiss me and it's gentle and sweet.

I think that means pain is coming...

and I welcome it.

Something better than the army? I blink. It's what I lived for. Is it even possible for something to be better?

When I feel your teeth on me, I start to believe. Fuck. Yes.

but not something - only you.

The King...

mine.

I moan, as you start to explore your newly acquired territory.

I feel your hair against my cock, and I bite back a groan.

Then with your teeth in my thigh, I no longer can.

"God save the King," I mutter, my eyelids fluttering shut. "Long may he reign..."

 

 

Oh, *good* response... my valiant knight...

I move further down, along your strong legs, down to your shackled ankles, your feet together, some movement in them, because I will want to move you, my darling...

I head back up, remove the pillows from underneath your head, kiss you again - I’ve never been much of a kisser, but you taste so good... intoxicating... before this is over I’ll taste your semen... but first your blood, your sweat, and your tears.

I move off the bed - it already feels cold, to not be touching you.

“Turn over; lie on your front.”

 

 

Was it only a few hours ago that it was you in shackles, as James?

I could not be happier to be your prisoner now...

Your lips... so addictive, can you always be kissing me?

Swollen from your kisses, my lips part in protest as you move away.

What are you doing now, Jim?

Orders. Yes, good.

I gaze at you briefly before flipping over, and lying on my stomach.

Waiting for the next order, the next sensation, anything...

 

 

Your eyes before you flip over - a man parched who’s finally given a drink.

I sit down on your legs, stroke my fingers over your hair, your neck, your back... the lines I left there... already so marked by me, and I wasn't even *me* - not fully... your gorgeous muscular arse, your thighs...

I get up, bend over, kiss you between your shoulder blades.

"Don't move."

I walk out of the room.

 

 

God, who would have thought I would love the feeling of you sitting on me...

I do...

it's so bloody hot...

I feel your eyes on me, and ohhh, what that does to me. I love you looking at me... it feels proprietary...

and that is all I want in life, to belong to you.

I feel a soft, damp kiss between my shoulder blades, and I shiver.

You tell me not to move. And then you're gone.

And I can't even say for certain that you're coming back...

I don't know how long it would take for me to disobey your order... but it would be a good long while.

God, how did this happen?? I spent a few days in a room with the alter ego of a criminal mastermind, and that's all it took to want to belong to him??

Fuck. Yes.

And not only do I want it, I don't feel alarmed by wanting it.

Because in this room is where I found my true calling.

Just when I thought I had reached the end of my rope, there was Jim... and shackles. And... whatever else he's bringing into the room?

I should probably be worried. A slow smile spreads across my face.

 

 

I walk through the dark apartment. Poorly furnished, boring, cheap. Still. I've lived in worse... and the treat waiting for me in the bedroom is *luxurious*.

There are knives in a kitchen drawer. I choose a mid-sized one – shining sharp. Perfect...

And... sunflower oil. It'll have to do.

When I walk back, I suddenly notice how weakened my body feels. Everything aches - my stomach, my shot shoulder, my throat, my muscles... I will need some time to recover, and good care. I'm sure you'll be happy to provide it... but for now, weakness will need to take a back seat. I am on a mission... not quite from god.

I enter the bedroom. You haven't moved a muscle.

I climb onto your legs again and let the cold steel of the knife softly stroke your back. I'm holding it flat, no risk of cutting you, but you know what you feel... you lie very still as the blade travels down and back up your torso again, whispers up your arm, then down, as I lie onto your back and lean the sharp edge against your throat.

"I could end it all right now, Sebastian..." I whisper.

"What do you say?"

 

 

There’s a blade resting against my back.

Oh... oh.

Right. Called it. I know a psychopath when I see one... like calls to like... right, Jim?

The blade drags across my skin. You’re enjoying this - I know you are. You’re thinking about it... aren’t you.

And my erection isn’t going away. Not when you scrape the knife along my skin... not when it’s pressing against my throat.

I huff out a small laugh.

“I’d say... of course you could. And if this is how it ends one day, then... at your hands it is. Do you really want to do it today... before we’ve tasted each other for real? Before we plan your comeback, and go on a bloody rampage?” I shrug, and press my throat ever so slightly closer to the blade. I feel its sharp kiss, and close my eyes with a faint smile.

Mmm... I was looking forward to all that, weren’t you? Your call... Sir,” I breathe.

 

 

*Good* answer, Sebastian... the *best*.

I'd expected one of two answers, either of which would have been good - the surrender to my will, or the newfound will to live. But this combines both.

And - *Sir*.

I chuckle softly, move the blade away, not harming your beautiful skin.

"Great answer, Sebastian... and I am going to taste you..."

I lay the knife on the bedside table, lick your skin, slightly sweaty.

Enough playing. I have a fuckton of aggression to unleash, and if I don't, I'll become *grumpy*, and we wouldn't want to spoil the mood.

I get off the bed and pick up the ropes that you used to bind me with. I make two nice loops - good stuff, heavy enough to pack a thud, but light and supple enough not to damage you overmuch - it will allow me to lash full-strength without risk of breakage, and *god*, I need to -

- such a beautiful canvas to paint on -

*slash*

 

 

The knife slips away, and your laugh is like sweet, dark music in my veins. I shiver. God, how did you get inside me like that?

God, yes... taste me...

I shiver again at your tongue on my skin.

And then you're off the bed again, fussing with something... I hear the slide of ropes.

Interesting... Very int-

PAIN

I hear a shout, feel my body jerking in response.

It was me who shouted. But now I'm ready...

So this is what's happening... I brace myself for the next lash and when it comes, I exhale roughly, and then remain quiet as I wait for the next lash to fall.

So it begins...

A small smile plays on my lips.

 

 

Oh god the symphony of agony and ecstasy...

I love it, I adore it... playing a body like a clavichord, eliciting sounds and moves, breaths and stripes, with careful application of one's chosen instrument... there is no joy in heaven or earth greater...

The ropes feel pleasant in my hand, easy to wield, flexible, dancing for me.

After the first shout, more from surprise than from pain, I get the pants... the rough exhales... the intakes of breath... the involuntary shudders... oh god a moan... a clenching of a fist...

My arm rises and falls, rises and falls, using the force I need to expend some of my aggression, by no means all, of course, but it's *good* to lash, *good* to hear the little gasps of pain, *good* to see muscles tense and relax in a dance of acuteness and acceptance, *good* to see lines appear in the increasing light of dawn, *good* to feel the impact of the ropes on your beautiful body, your twitching body, your heavily breathing body, but most of all your *surrendering* body, relaxing its muscles after every involuntary spasm, maintaining its position, offering itself up for my lashes…

It's a rhapsody of pain and pleasure, nothing else exists outside this room, outside you and me, and it may be because I have been so weakened by everything, or because I've been so lost, or because I haven't had proper sex in *months*, or *fuck* knows, but I can't recall an occasion where I've been so enraptured, so ravished, so intoxicated; your body is beauty personified, every red weal making it more entrancing; your moans are pure honey being poured into my ears, and it's with a shock that's so intense it makes me physically shudder that I realize that this is a two-way street, that I'm losing my*self* with every stroke that I'm using to make you mine, that we're merging, growing, spiralling into this magnificent beast which is much larger than the sum of its parts, and I have no idea where this is heading, but I know I can't stop, not now, I'll see how I'll deal with this later, but now we are on a rocket ship to heaven and we can't jump off...

I moan audibly with the next lash.

 

 

I have lost all track of time...

Time is measured not by minutes or hours, but by lashes of your rope...

there on my back,

there on my arse,

there on my thighs...

Given all the sex I've had, of course I have had some experience with BDSM... of course I have. The standard blindfold, handcuffs, and a nice light whip or flogger...

but it was like a trip to an amusement park compared to this journey into your realm.

Because I understand that you are the ruler here, the sovereign...

and the common tongue in this realm is pain. The kind of pain that laps at you like a serpent flicking out its tongue... the kind of pain that spreads over you like a blanket, muffling everything that is not pain and is not the beautiful man striking you with a rope.

Finally someone who is not afraid to whip like they mean it... and I fucking love it.

And through it all, there is a soundscape washing over the room, washing over me... my involuntary breaths, gasps, moans... the whine and lash of the whip... and then... a moan from you.

And that is the exact moment when my control begins to wane...

I become painfully aware of my erection. God, I have to stop myself from rutting against the bed, but I want to. I so want to...

I hear myself whining at the lash that follows.

And keening at the next...

 

 

Oh, *yes*. We’re getting there... your sounds change, no longer just sounds of exertion and pain, but of lust, pleasure, *want*...

You want this, you want more, and you want me...

And *fuck*, I want to fuck you, but not yet, Moriarty, not yet... if you want to keep him, trust him completely, and use him any way you want; you have to break him down further... there has to be blood, and tears, and desperation; he has to be nearly insensate... and then you swoop in like a dark angel and bring him the release he needs... and it will shatter his world, and leave him wide open for you to rebuild it - and his world will be Moriarty, and you will have your perfect storm to unleash upon those who deserve it.

But a spell this intense cannot be wrought without influencing its caster... I do find myself transported into a higher realm, somewhere I’ve never been, I never expected...

I’ve whipped and fucked people before, of course, but they were toys... just a body, preferably aesthetically pleasing, to make the right noises, to accommodate my cock, then to be discarded. They were only a small step up from my left hand.

*This*... it’s not just because it’s been months, or because you are a great soldier as well as a sexual partner, or because you are the most handsome man I’ve ever seen, or because we have built up a kind of rapport over the past days... it is all of these things, but there’s more. You affect me in some way - and people *don’t*, that’s what the entire psychopath thing means.

It’s probably an after-effect from Father James, who so desperately wanted to *care* for people... but it’s disconcerting, to say the least. Though - not entirely unpleasant. This may well be the most pleasurable whipping I’ve ever given... and you’re enjoying it too, by the look of things.

 

 

The pain is melting into something else... it would be too simple to call it pleasure.

Pleasure-submission-surrender- dissolving everything -

but once everything melts away... what remains? Are the remains still Sebastian Moran?

I don't have an answer for that right now.

I want you to fuck me, like I've never wanted anything...

I want to be taken by you, be consumed by you...

and afterwards, I'll deal with the repercussions.

Or there will be nothing left of me, and I don't need to worry about anything.

If I have one wish left in this world, it's to be yours. For one glorious, blazing moment - yours, utterly and completely.

Every step I've taken in this godforsaken life has brought me here.

I'm ready.

I'm ready for you to take me where you want me to go.

Please, Jim.

I think that's where we're heading. It has to be... Please don't let me be wrong.

Please.

 

 

My arm is getting tired and your skin is covered in stripes.

No blood. Yet.

I stop the whipping. I’m pleasantly panting, a slight bit of sweat, a shoulder that’s killing me, and a raging erection. You are pleasingly disintegrating. Time for physical contact.

I sit down on your legs, stroke your sweet weals, decorating your magnificent body so beautifully, enhancing the perfect lines...

I trace the scars on your sides and arms. They make me angry. Someone *damaged* you. Damaged what is *mine*.

Calm down, Moriarty...

No. I won’t calm down. I have *one* thing left to conquer the world with and it’s *perfect* and it’s *lethal* and it’s *mine*. And if *anyone* *ever* *dreams* of touching it...

hell hath no fury.

 

Wow –

do you feel like that? Is that why you’re talking about revenge, bloody, screaming, breaking revenge?

 

A different level of connection... for me it’s that you are mine, and someone touched what’s mine... for you it’s that I am god, and someone touched your god... but despite these looking superficially different, at the core they are the same.

What’s being built here is a symbiosis, Sebastian... I’m making you mine, but with every step I’m taking in this twilit morning, I’m getting more engrossed in you... and I won’t tell you, and you may not be aware, but I’m taking a massive risk here. I’m putting a bit of myself in another person... I’ve never trusted anyone enough - but the potential gain is so immense that I could not not do it.

But it’s fucking scary, and I don’t know what I’m doing...

So I’m going to dig *deep*, Sebastian. Make sure there are no hidden bits inside you that might rise up and bite me...

It’s going to be a *long* day, Sebastian...

I kiss the weals, lick them, trace my nail along them, watching your responses - moans, shivers... a little whine... you want me, don’t you? So badly...

Patience, my sweet...

 

 

Your whipping with the rope is intense, and I have a high fucking threshold for pain, but fuck, you're like a man possessed... no. a demon in the flesh of a man.

But you have a few things to work out, don't you, my beautiful Jim? Can I call you that??

I will, even if it's a secret I have to carry in my heart.

My Jim.

Mine.

My Jim is making small pleased noises, as counterpoints to my louder ones...

and I'm holding onto each one as a balm for my pain before it turns into pleasure...

because it means I'm affecting you, too...

The whipping winds down, and then you're kissing the marks you've left on me.

Oh sweet fucking Christ... how is that more intense than being whipped? I shiver as your lips move against me, and then your tongue, and then your nails... oh god... the pain I was handling... but how am I going to survive this?

 

 

"My beautiful Sebastian... you're so exquisite, lying here, carrying the marks of my passion..."

I trace my hand over your buttocks, move a finger in between, making you moan and move up... oh yes dear, I am going to fuck you... but not yet... you're not nearly desperate enough...

"Tell me Sebastian... do you want me?"

 

 

I breathe roughly as you speak to me, finger me possessively.

Your question makes me huff in disbelief.

"Fuck, yes..." I say hoarsely. "Of course I do... how could I not??"

 

 

"How could you not, indeed..."

I remove my finger. "Not quite yet, though."

I relish the little sound of disappointment. I know, my darling, my sweet sweet soldier... but sexual desire is only one side of desperation...

I get off you, nudge you over onto your back, check your face and other parts. Yes... lots of desire, eyes wide and dark, rock hard cock, sweat, but no blood and tears yet.

Time for the next step, you reckon?

My arm is still tired, so I'm not going to whip your front... yet... but let's see what we can do with a knife.

That's an entirely different game... it's one thing to be whipped, even whipped hard, but being cut open... it invokes a primal fear and revulsion, in sane people at least, as well as the pain. Let's see how sane you are, my darling...

I pick up the knife from the bedside table, loosely trail it over your jaw, your neck, your collar bone, your chest. You stay perfectly still - good soldier.

I move it to the centre of your breastbone, and *push* down and *pull* back. Blood wells up next to the gleaming steel.

 

 

My heart sinks when you break contact. My skin longs for your touch. But deep down, I knew it wouldn't be simple, or easy, or even a guarantee...

Because this is a quest, I realize... Only you are not a prize to be won - you're the king I must prove myself worthy of, before I swear fealty.

I'd make a vow to you right now, but... I sense there's something you want from me first.

And I don't know what it is yet...

you turn me over, and I stare up at you hungrily.

Whatever it is... it's more than pretty words, and you'd see right through such a thing. So I keep my mouth shut.

And that's when the knife returns to your hand.

My eyes stay on the blade.

Still considering ending my life? No... not that...

You caress me with the blade, and I suppress a shiver at the cool steel.

Then it pierces flesh.

A sharp intake of breath. A wince.

It's your eyes on me that make me shiver.

 

 

Luscious blood, so red, so *alive*...

But what does this mean to you?

I look up, see your eyes looking intently into mine.

Something - passes between us. Questions are asked, answers given, vows spoken.

Not breaking eye contact, I move the knife down again. Cut your chest - not deep, not damaging anything, just drawing blood - and you don't look away, don't close your eyes, don't make a sound. A slight tremble in your jaw is all I see.

 

 

It hurts... of course it does.

It wouldn't mean anything if it didn't hurt.

This is the language I understand. Soldier language.

Like basic training, only... you can leave the army. And the army can leave you... in the dirt. Alone. Afraid.

This feels different. Is different.

You're cutting into my flesh... there's no holding anything back from you.

What you want, you'll take from me...

What you want, I'll give you...

Only... I'm still not sure what it is... how can I give it to you, if I don't know??

I feel a bead of sweat on my forehead. I begin to doubt. What if... I get this wrong? What if I don't give you what you want from me?

What if... I'm found wanting, all over again? My father. The Army.

Not you too, Jim...

my breathing grows quicker as you cut into me again.

 

 

I’m looking into your eyes, intently, reading you...

Pride at not flinching, acceptance of the cuts - oh my sweetheart... are you insane like me?

- but then - fear? Hesitation? Not fear of the knife - fear of...

- failure?

Fear that I’ll reject you?

Oh Sebastian - how could *anyone* see you and find you wanting?

There’s pain there though... previous rejections... oh wait, the army? Of course, that’s why the bitterness...

Well, they’re idiots... All hung up on their rules -

I only have one rule, my Seb. Obey me and you live. Simple, comprehensive, and no hard feelings afterwards.

The fourth cut. Blood welling up from your skin. I lean over - I have to taste it... blood can tell you so much about a man...

Sweet... iron, with a smoky tint, a delicious aftertaste - nectar and ambrosia, god, I want more...

Another cut, let the blood flow a bit faster from this one, suck it - *god*, that’s good - look at you with your blood staining my mouth - how do you respond to that, Sebastian?

 

 

God, your eyes... like you're peeling everything back, having a look inside.

Incising me - inside and out.

I'm burning for you, even as the slicing of my skin burns with pleasure-pain.

And throughout, I am dazed by you... amazed by you... completely besotted by you.

and then - tasted by you.

Fuck... god... Jim...

You're savouring me like a fine wine...

Well, I'm glad you like my taste, little vampire...

so much that you're going back for seconds...

you lift your head, and oh god... what a sight...

"Oh," I breathe. "God... Jim..."

I want to say something, but words all dry up in my throat.

All I can think is 'god' and 'please' and "Jim' and 'please' and 'TakeMePleaseFuckMePLEASE'

Why can't I say it? Why can't I say anything??

 

 

You appear to love the sight of my mouth covered in your blood - god, Sebastian, is there any way you are less than perfect? And the cuts - you appear to be relishing them -

We have entered into a demented dance of passion and pain, we're spiralling together, and I can't tell where we are going, if we will ever leave this room, or if we do, if we will be the people we are now.

The world has shrunk to this small bedroom in Acton, where a fallen King is starting to rebuild his Empire with his First Knight.

I look at your eyes, I keep looking into your eyes, you are completely enraptured, breathing my name, looking like you want to speak but are unable to...

If you can't speak, Sebastian, shall we see if we can make you scream? I doubt I could do it quite yet though... not until I damage you worse than I am willing to. You have these manly soldierly hang-ups...

But maybe we can loosen you up, a little?

The bottom of the rib cage is quite sensitive... some illiterate mouth-breather has left a scar there. I trace it with my knife... cutting a scar is more difficult than cutting healthy skin, it's harder... I do my best to trace it exactly.

 

 

I'm transfixed, I can't tear my eyes away from you.

God, I've fallen under your spell completely...

You look at me with such pleasure, I feel a surge of euphoria.

But there's also something so calculating about your stare... what are you planning?

What are you - doing -

Oh, SHIT, you're not -

"FUCK, Jim!" I shout as you shove the blade through my resisting scar tissue, then I suck in my breath.

OhMyGodOhMyGod...

I tamp down on the panic rising in me.

Right, just calm the FUCK down, Moran - there we go, FUCKFUCKFUCK!!!

I'm groaning loudly and it's turning into a pained, angry roar.

Breathing loudly and irregularly, I stare at you hard as you watch me with interest.

Oh, this is interesting to you, is it? I feel my eyes spark.

Down, Seb... he's proving something, so don't go cocking it up by getting angry with the little fucker...

"Well, that fucking hurt," I say as casually as I can muster. But I can't stop myself from glaring...

 

 

Rising heartbeat, tensing muscles, increased perspiration - panic - pain - *delicious* - oh god I want to keep this, can I keep this?

You're good, you're so good, you're keeping still, calming yourself down, letting out your pain and fear through sound - I do hope the neighbours aren't too curious around here.

Ah, *defiance*... quickly subdued, but still there.

Good, Sebastian. We've gone past acceptance and entered resistance territory. Now let's travel through there and see where we end up, shall we?

The solar plexus. The sides of the waist. The underbelly. We're getting to an area full of fascinating sensitivity. I let the tip of the knife trail, watch your face - alert, slightly pissed off, but no sign of rebellion. Finally cut low down in the groin, by the side of the hip. Soft, yielding skin...

 

 

You seem pleased, which makes me feel pleased even through my irritation. What the fuck is wrong with me? Ohhh, I'm so happy that it makes you happy to cut me... your pleasure at my pain is so beautiful?

I guess Daddy was right... only... I'm more of a deviant than you could ever have imagined, Daddy Dearest. Even I didn't know this was here... lurking under the surface of my relentless sexual lust and licentiousness.

Because my erection hasn't gone down, and I'm so bloody turned on being at your mercy. Even as you start cutting into me again.

"Oh... motherfuck," I groan. You're concentrating, cutting so precisely, but your eyes are lit up, especially whenever a reaction escapes my control - every sound I make, every twitch, every flinch, every wince... like you're cataloguing every noise and every breath. Like they're being recorded in that dark mind of yours... for replaying, for studying...

God, what the fuck I have got myself into?? I fight back the rising panic again, as you cut into my groin. I let out an anguished moan. Oh, you're going to enjoy playing that back for yourself, aren't you... fucking little psycho.

I moan again as the knife continues to do your bidding. Amidst the excruciating pain that you're lovingly doling out, I imagine myself going back to the past and turning you down to save myself all this suffering, all this torment. I have to tamp down the hysterical laughter that rises in me.

Turn you down?? And miss out on all this?

I hear a low laugh, and it's dark and it's twisted... and it's the sound of a man teetering on the edge of madness. What's so fucking funny? I look at you staring at me, and then my eyes widen as I realize it was me.

I grin wildly at you, as I try to regulate my breathing. "I don't know - which of us - is more insane..." I pant. "You are one - twisted - little psycho, you know that? God, I want you... I fucking want you..." It comes out as a growl, and a plea - and I continue to pant as you gaze at me with inscrutable eyes, those bottomless black pools that have trapped me like a beast sinking into a tar pit... a beast who wants to sink deeper and deeper into your darkness. Consume me... make me yours, I beg silently. But the words still stick in my throat, and I continue to smile at you fiercely as I plead with my eyes. Please, Jim... please.

 

 

You're definitely turned on, and not getting any less so. Masochist and danger junkie? My favourites...

I'm carefully studying your responses, cataloguing them in my 'Sebastian' folder (I really must work out your last name) and adapting my strategies. We're still in panic territory, but it's suppressed quite magnificently. Great training - and great willpower.

Then you burst out into a black laugh that sends a shiver down my spine - and you look surprised at it yourself. Don't worry, Sebastian, you are not losing your mind... you're just going deeper into the dark side of your soul than you've ever travelled, and it's scary... but you've got a good guide. I won't let you fall - but you don't know that. And that's alright. Fear is part of the journey.

Defiance, still - yes, I'm a twisted little psycho, pleased to meet you. And you want this twisted little psycho more than you've ever wanted anything in your life - what does that tell us about you, Sebastian?

A feral smile, wild begging eyes - still way too coherent, my love. (*my what*?) (a figure of speech.)

I let the knife play over your balls and cock, and it only twitches and grows harder. Aw...

Not there, though - not yet. Maybe later...

I move your legs a bit apart, sit between your knees. The skin on the inside of the thighs... so thin, so delicate... even on you...

One cut right, one left.

 

 

There's amusement in your eyes.

But... you're not saying anything... why aren't you saying anything?

How am I supposed to know what you want?

I shove aside panic over and over again. When your knife is trailing along my cock... along my balls...

fuck, Jim... really?

Christ almighty... what am I doing.

Whatever it takes, I hear from a deep part of me... well, not 'hear' exactly... but the knowledge washes over me and through me.

Whatever. It. Fucking. Takes.

My legs are moved apart and you're sitting in between them.

Oh god... pain. such exquisite, searing pain.

My head falls back. "How - long - are you going to do this?" I groan. "What do you want from me? Sir??" I look up at you, wide-eyed and urgent.

 

 

Ah, significant point. Still in defiance being defied territory - but now you want to know when it will end. You're wearing down. And knowing when it will be over, what to give me so that it will stop, will make it easier to bear, because then you can count down to the point of closure, or you can make it stop by doing or saying the desired formula - but that would make it too easy, wouldn't it, Sebastian? It would make it possible to hold on to your defiance, because you only have to hold out until that point is reached.

And that's not what I'm after here...

"How long? Until I have had enough, my sweetheart... You don't mind, do you?" I kiss the top of your thigh, look back at your crazed eyes.

"What do I want from you? Why, exactly what I'm doing, of course. I always do what I want, haven't you realized that by now?"

 

 

I groan loudly. Fucker. Crazy, sadistic fucker.

The most beautiful, mesmerizing man in all creation and he wants to play with me instead of fuck me... like a cat 'plays' with a mouse. Which never ends well for one of them...

Only... I. am not. A Fucking. Mouse.

"Mind? Nah... I could use some distraction from the week I just had," I pant, as I stare you down. "And yeah, it crossed my sodding mind that you do whatever you want... So... let's do this, Sir. Let's play."

Good work, Seb. You're done for...

The cruel gleam in your eye has me laughing darkly again... I'm afraid if it continues, it will at some point turn into tears. So I stop abruptly and give you my most feral grin.

You're meat for the beast, now... why didn't you keep your mouth shut? I rage at myself.

Nah... that deep part of me whispers back, and I shiver. This is the good bit. Enjoy the ride...

 

 

I'm loving this.

Of course I am, but I'm loving this even more than expected.

Whenever I used to torture people sexually, they always *crumbled* so quickly... 'please Mr Moriarty, no Mr Moriarty, I'll do anything you want Mr Moriarty, please stop...'

*Boring*.

But you - part of you is *loving* this, loving this more than anything you've ever loved in your life. Part of you refuses to give in. Part of you enjoys playing the game.

Really, you are one of the most magnificent specimens of humanity I've ever come across.

Your grin, your laugh, your eyes - you're on the edge of hysteria, but also more aware than you've ever been.

"Isn't this the most delicious game you've ever been in, Sebastian? It's dancing on the edge of the knife, all sharpness and acuteness, and there's nothing that makes you more *alive*, is there?"

I move further down, make a long cut along the calf of your right leg, all the way to behind the ankle.

 

 

(Funny. I had thought you'd get angry at my insolent tone, or whatever...

I had thought that would take things to the next level. And it did – oh, it did... but I had no idea you would fucking love it... or what would follow.)

 

You're not angry at my bravado - egging on a psycho with a knife.

God, I practically dared you, didn't I...

The blade digs into my calf and keeps going...

Oh shit...

"Motherfucking hell," I groan.

down down down it goes...

"Oh Christ..." (Was that a whimper? Get it together, soldier!)

...ending behind my ankle.

I look down and start laughing again. "Fucker. Yeah. We're dancing all right... Fuck..."

I don't even know what words are spilling from my mouth as I stare at you. Everything is vibrant, heightened... and in a surreal daze at the same time. I've felt this way in war, in life-or-death situations in the Regiment and as an assassin... and now with you. And a knife. On the most intense battlefield I've ever found myself on.

Dancing on the edge...

I stare at you with half-closed eyes. "If there's - anything left -" I say hoarsely through the haze of pain. "I want - to be yours -"

The words practically shock me out of my stupor. God... you're just laying it all out for him, aren't you, Seb? Is that even on the table?

It has to be...

It has to be.

"Want - to be yours..." I whisper. "Need it."

 

 

First, resistance.

Then, realization.

And finally -

 

Oh...

Oh.

Oh Se*bas*tian...

You beautiful, fucked-up, lovely creature.

(You do *not* pounce him and smother him in kisses, Jim.)

(Awww...?)

(Moriarty. This isn't over yet.)

(I know...)

But that - has to be the most beautiful thing anyone has ever said to me.

‘If there's anything left, I want to be yours.’

I must keep my head. Must keep my calm. I'm in charge. Of everything. Of the world. Of you. Most definitely of myself.

 

Icy spark in the centre of the brain... let it expand...

Coolness. Calm. All through the body. I am mind. I command. I control.

 

"Oh, Sebastian..." I muse, "are you certain? Can you do that? Can you surrender to my will... completely?"

 

 

My eyelids flutter closed. Fuck. Surrender to your will completely... What if I say yes and you do something horrible... that there's no coming back from? Pain and suffering are one thing... what if you do permanent damage? Are you that insane, that much of a sadist??

Well if you are, what business do I have asking you to make me yours? I don't think you will... but I can't rule out the possibility absolutely...

But at the moment, I don't bloody care.

Of course, I'm in such a state that what it sounds like in my head is,

What if he does something terrible??

Want him

What if he-

WANT HIM

And I have gone through life without questioning my desires; they have always led me exactly where I needed to go... culminating here. In this room. With you. On the edge of a knife.

Fucking so be it.

"Whatever - it takes," I hear myself say in a daze, then my eyes fly open and I stare at you - clearly and intently. "Fucking - completely..."

My heart flutters. It flutters, like a nervous butterfly.

The moment of truth... what's it to be, Jim?

 

 

I do my best to not hold my breath, not show outwardly how I'm sitting on the edge of my seat... figuratively...

This is a critical point.

I've shown you what I can do. Drink your blood, dance my knife over your cock, cut some of your most sensitive parts... showing you I have no restraint, am not limited by sanity or reason.

It's one thing to say you want to be mine when you just know I am a hot criminal.

It's an entirely different thing to say it now you have seen I'm a blood-thirsty psychopath.

And I can see the fight in your eyes - the battle between sanity and... what? desire? lust? hope? despair?

What if I end up maiming you? Cut off your cock? Stick my knife into your arse? Poke out an eye? I've carefully deconstructed the notion that I won't... and what I want from you, what I'm asking you, is to surrender *regardless*.

And you do. Oh fucking god, you *do*.

You're *mine*. Completely.

I am not sobbing with relief.

Instead, I turn, sit on your legs, take your left foot in my hand, and cut from the heel to the ball.

 

 

The look in your eye...

The look in your eye...

For a moment... something flares up like... relief??

Did I see that? Did I see-

but if it was there, it’s been smothered. Now I see a wild surge of desire and hunger tempered by iron-cold resolve.

You return to sitting on me... that weight I missed so much...

and take my foot in your hand. And take the knife. I barely have a chance to stiffen and take a deep breath before your blade is slashing through my sole.

Oh - god -

I hear a loud scream, animal in pain. Everything from this moment is consumed by white-hot PainFearFearPAIN

- Oh god oh god -

Pain, blazing, searing pain swallowing me whole...

The deep part of me chuckles and soothes, yes, yes... you can’t be the stuff of legend without going through the fire...

The deep part of me is speaking with your voice now... is wearing your face...

BreatheBreatheBreathe

Dizzy with pain, soaked in sweat, I blink up at you. Why are my eyes stinging?

Oh god -

I look at you, and start to shake.

The look in your eye. Wild desire. Hunger. Affection?

Oh. God.

You want me.

You want me.

My face crumples. My eyes close.

I feel wetness on my cheeks before I realize what I’ve done.

I let out a sound. What does a heart cracking open sound like?

“Oh god... Sir...” I whisper brokenly as I weep.

”Am I yours now? Am I yours?”

 

 

Scream.

Bliss searing through me, setting my nerve endings on fire.

Turn. Look.

Breathing through the pain, through the panic, staring at me through the haze -

Tears.

Got too much. Too much for you. Emotions frazzling, resolve fraying, body trembling.

Fire in my loins, in my (heart) belly, in my mind.

A sound that I'll hear in dreams (nightmares) for years to come. The sound of a soul breaking. Breaking open? (Please)

'Am I yours now?' (*Yes*)

"Oh sweetheart... it's not a project. No twelve-step plan that needs to be undertaken to become mine..."

I lean over, kiss your cheek, taste the tears.

Lean up, over you, stare into your eyes, so light, so desperate.

"... no final exam that you can pass..."

I stroke your temple, your jaw.

"... no final step to take, and then you can relax..."

Your eyes - so desperate -

"You're doing so well, my dear... you've earned a reward..."

Your cock perking up - well, someone is still in the game, despite how fraught your mind is...

I get up off the bed - god, I miss the contact already - pick up your trousers, get out your packet of cigarettes. Sit back on your legs, light one. Breathe in the smoke. Mmmmm... I don't smoke, but I do like the taste.

I place the cigarette between your lips.

 

 

I watch through my haze as you absorb my words, my tears.

I continue to cry, and I'm not sure why. I've gone through worse physical pain than this, suffered emotionally more than this...

You speak - there is warmth in your voice, but underneath, that steely determination.

Not done, Jim? My heart falters.

On some level I was asking you, Can we rest now, Jim?

Your kiss on my cheek lights up the world.

Can we rest now?

Your stroking my face is a healing balm.

Please?

A reward... Not the Reward.

Can we rest?

Nonono, don't leave... you bring me my pack of fags, return to sitting on me. (ThankChristThankChrist)

You heard my thoughts. Or I spoke out loud?

I don't know anymore. Through my tears, I watch you light up the fag. Watch you take a drag from it, staring at me.

What could be more beautiful? Smoke surrounds you like a halo.

I watch you as you slide the cigarette into my mouth.

I breathe in deeply. Hear the crackle of the burning fag.

My eyes close. This is the most beautiful cigarette of my life. Of all time.

Am I thinking, or speaking aloud? None of it matters anymore.

There is only you.

I feel you remove the cigarette from my lips, hear you take another drag.

There is only you.

 

 

A brief respite... a moment of peace and rest at the eye of the storm.

You're looking at me - grateful. Accepting. Peaceful.

It's worked.

You're mine.

Completely.

I stroke your face after I hand you the cigarette again, stroke your tears from underneath your eyes, lick them from my fingers.

Take the cigarette back.

This is so sweet. Lovers almost, sharing a moment of repose in the midst of their fornication.

A last relished drag for you. One for me.

I look at the first cut I made, on the breastbone, put the cigarette out in it.

 

 

Nicotine flooding system... brain feels a surge of euphoria. Muscles relax slightly.

A kick of adrenaline counteracts my exhaustion.

I still feel shivering in my muscles. Pain everywhere, dulled by euphoria. My foot - no, don't think about that now. Survey damage later. Little fucker.

The first clear thoughts breaking through the haze of my mind... I feel the beginning of a smile on my lips.

Then painBurningPAIN, animal scream, eyes fly open, jumping forward and impeded by restraints. Caught. Trapped. Hyperventilating. No. Breathe. BREATHE.

I breathe, and stare hard at you, and breathe.

"Why?" I ask, my voice shaking, my eyes wet with tears.

I need to know.

I'm in a new world. I begged to come in and you obliged me.

I need to know... the rules.

 

 

Oh you *sweetheart*.

Why?

Really?

“Why not?”

 

 

I huff a laugh in surprise, and... admiration (??) for your unapologetic nature. You do what you want. No question.

"Can't - argue that," I say weakly.

Little fucker.

Am I yours?

What am I in for next?

 

 

My darling...

Blood, sweat, and tears.

*Mine*.

I lean over, kiss you, bite your lip at the same time as I make a shallow cut on your right bicep, drink in your moan.

My arm's rested enough, I think...

I look at the ropes next to the bed. Too mellow. Good to unleash my aggression. But that's not what we're doing now.

I get up, switch off the bedside light, unplug it, cut the cord off the lamp and the plug off the cord.

Packs a pleasant *thud*.

I fold it into a loop and let it fly, lash over your thighs.

 

 

You kiss me at last, and I almost break down. There's a bite on my lip and a cut on my arm which makes me moan... but all I can think of are your lips on mine.

Then you're up again. I watch through half-closed eyes as you... cut the cord off a lamp.

My muscles tense.

Oh god... there's more...

Your eyes gleam with pleasure as the cable flies, and I find myself thinking, 'Yesss, do what you need to do, my beautiful Jim' and then I don't have time to consider that further than 'Is he? IS HE?' because PAINStingingPain, and the lashes continue and I hear myself crying out again and again.

The dispassionate part of me rolls my eyes at such carrying on, such an unsoldierly display...

but the lashes keep coming, and I'm roaring with pain, and somewhere along the way it becomes PainPleasureEcstasy (??) and ohgodohgodJimJimJim, YesDoWIthMeWhatYouWantYES.

 

 

Cries. Roars. Tears. Blood.

Release.

You're losing yourself; you're crying, not resisting, just letting it all happen, finally...

I do hope we're not going to have neighbours calling the police... nah, not that kind of neighbourhood.

You're sinking, deeper and deeper, beyond coherence, beyond rationality, wanting to know what and why and how long, just experiencing pain, just undergoing it, because it is my will, and that is what I need, that is what I want, and it is what *you* need as well, my beautiful Sebastian, my soldier, my Knight...

When your front is covered in stripes, and you're weeping, and just groaning, not even tensing any more, just taking, just accepting, I pause again, share another cigarette. You don't even look fearful or suspicious. Just accepting of whatever happens.

I burn your thigh when I put it out.

Then I turn you over.

 

 

When you burn my thigh, it's not a roar of pain... it's a scream of anguish, and it rips from my throat, and from a deep covered-over part of me... tearing through me as through a thick hide. I think I've carried this scream inside me for a very long time... I never let it go, I wasn't allowed to... and now it's a flurry of beating wings and panic and then - it's flying free. The scream is gone. The hide is torn asunder. Tossed away. And now there's me. Just me. And you. You looking at me like I'm being seen for the first time in a very, very long time...

By the time you turn me over, I'm shaking.

And then I start to sob.

 

 

Part of me, that’s probably still Father James, and quickly suppressed, wants to drop everything, unshackle you, hold you in my arms, kiss you all over, tell you it’s fine, it’s alright, you have done *enough*, you’ve done *great*, I’m going to love and kiss and hold you forever.

Nonsense.

But that *scream*...

That’s going to stay with me for a long time.

What was inside you to build up that scream? Just how damaged *are* you?

But - that was the final barrier I needed to cross.

I didn’t recognize it until it happened, but that was your last panic, last resistance, last anguish.

You’re spent now. You’re all done. I *could* cut off your cock now, and you wouldn’t protest.

It’s enough.

I like your mind, your spirit, your body. I don’t want them broken - just mine.

I stroke your back as you sob and sob. Gently, soft strokes. Minutes pass.

When you’re no longer shaking, just crying softly, I pick up the knife again and mark you as Mine.

Then I release your ankles, rub the weals the shackles left on you, in an echo of your gesture not long ago - in another lifetime.

 

 

I'm barely aware of what's happening, just that you're stroking my skin slowly, and it hurts, Jim, it hurts... but it would hurt so much more for you to not touch me. And I can handle most pain but this is different... it stings from the inside out. I'm hollowed out, I have new skin... the old me has been carved out, the old skin sloughed away... the new me is wholly yours.

You mark me. I'm beyond making noises, or reacting to the pain... I just weep quietly as I feel the incising strokes of the blade, and imagine what you're tracing onto my skin. And there's my answer.

I almost burst into sobs again.

I have passed through the trials.

I have not been found wanting.

I am worthy to serve the King.

My King.

Clear as the M on my back, I am yours.

Suddenly, I'm being released. Gently rubbed.

What happens now, Jim?

I can't see beyond this moment.

I can't see beyond you.

 

 

You're limp, let yourself be handled.

Remember what you wanted, Sebastian?

I reach for the oil I put next to the bed, wet my cock with it, pull you onto your knees, sit down between your legs. Pour some oil on my hand, rub it on you.

Then I enter you.

 

 

I think you're... getting ready to...?

I had forgotten about what I wanted in the first place. For the first time in my life, I forgot about sex. Everything became about you, and you are sex, death, everything.

Everything is a subset of you.

I don't even know if I can come after everything I went through... I feel like I just ran around the world, swam across the sea. Crawled through the desert on my hands and knees.

You're pulling me onto my knees, rubbing oil into my arse.

I feel the head of your cock pressing into me.

Fuck. Jim. Inside me.

It doesn't take long for me to remember.

My libido comes roaring back with a vengeance, and I'm hard, so fucking hard, harder than I ever remember being.

"Oh god -" I gasp. "Ohhh -"

You're inside me. You're going to fuck me.

All I wanted.

All I want.

Jim.

My cheeks are wet with tears, and I moan loudly as I feel you surge into me.

God.

Yes.

JIM.

 

 

You don't stay limp for long - good, I haven't extinguished the life, the lust. I didn't think so, but the human psyche is so delicate...

You arch your back, gasp your delight at my cock entering you, moan like a man who's being revived from beyond the cusp of death.

I push deeper inside you - a voice in the back of my head warns me that I haven't had you checked, as I'd normally do - oh well, too late now, I've drunk your blood and you've drunk my sperm and we'll just have to pray, won't we? - but it's a small voice and it is quickly forgotten because I have been waiting for this *so long* and I want you *so fucking much* and you're *mineminemine* and I'm pushing inside you, trying to suppress my pants, my moans, but you feel *so good* -

- and I let go, I can let go, you're mine, I can completely trust you, there's no more game I need to play, I can just *fuck* you; and it's primal, it's raw, it's everything, the culmination of this long morning, my fingers dig into your hips as I pound inside you again and again and I *need* this, I *need* you, *Sebastian*...

 

 

God, the feeling of you inside me...

I'm aware of every inch of your skin. Everywhere you touch me feels alive... like I'm crawling out of the underworld on bloody hands and knees, back to Life.

Every surge of your cock inside me is filling me, enlivening me... strengthening me...

And I will be your soldier and your knight and your living weapon...

and I will smite your enemies for you, raise you up again to the top of the mountain. To the top of the very world.

And then... I hear the most beautiful thing I've ever heard... noises - your noises. Tiny pants. Small moans. Are you trying to stop yourself? Oh, don't... please don't. I need this. I need to know this means something to you, too.

Because it means everything to me...

the way you're moving in me...

pounding into me like a stormy sea pounding rocks on the shore... I am the mighty rocks, and you are the torrential storm...

your enemies are already dust.

I feel a glint in my eye as I imagine what I will do to them, and groan loudly as you fuck me harder... harder... harder...

"God...

Yes...

JIM."

 

 

Oh god you're loving this, you're loving this as much as I am, or maybe more - it's worked, I've made you mine, completely, like I've never done with anyone - I've fucked people, of course, but I always discard them afterwards; I've tortured people, but they break; I've recruited people, but usually in more conventional ways - money, power, threats -

I've *never* had this. I've never done this - never sculpted someone so delicately, so precisely, chipping off every bit of excessive marble to reveal the marvel inside, and then relish it -

You're *magnificent*, and you seem to agree, you're moaning my name, and I am not moaning yours, I'm *not*, not out loud, at least, but I can't suppress my groans any more, as I'm reaching the culmination, the climax, the apex of everything that's happened between us this magical morning, and as if on fucking *cue* the sun comes out, and bathes the bedroom in a golden light through the curtains, making your hair shine golden, highlighting the blood of the M on your back, and that's *it*, I'm tumbling over the edge, my nails digging into your hips, smashing into you, harder, *harder*, and the universe fucking *explodes*, I swear it does, it's an orgasm more intense than any I've ever had, or even imagined *existed*, it's to any previous orgasm as a nuclear bomb is to a firecracker, I am making some unworldly sound, I'm spasming into you, as my semen is pulled from my *toes* as wave after wave of concentrated pleasure pours through me, shuddering, trembling, spurting, streaming –

 

 

God, the sound of your groaning... I nearly come right then and there, but I suspect I should... wait for you to finish? I don't know the rules of this new world where you reign supreme... but I have a feeling I'll become aware very quickly.

Your name is flying off my lips, amidst your moaning. and then suddenly you're going into spasm against me, coming into me, god YES, fill me, give me everything...

It's amazing to me that I just realized we're fucking raw, but it feels so right to have nothing between us, I never want anything between us...

Oh god... the noises you're making, I've never heard anything like it...

all the times I've had sex, and there were a lot of times I'll admit, I thought it was so hot...

I was a bloody fool.

I’ve been watching shadows in Plato's cave.

And now I've broken free of my chains, stumbled out of the darkness, and seen the sun for the first time.

The room is filled with light. I can't wait to see it bathing your face.

I pant as your orgasm recedes, and wait for you to return your attention to me.

 

 

Fuck, fuck, *fuck*...

This is so fucking intense, I'm going to faint - I can't faint - that would be very very bad timing - keep *with* it Moriarty -

deep breaths -

*Fuck*, that was...

Fuuuuuck...

... yeah, quite erudition-eroding.

I am lying on you, catching my breath, slowly slide out of you. You're leaning on your elbows, breathing shallowly, your head hanging down.

I've tasted your blood, sweat, and tears... now it's time for your semen, Sebastian.

Carefully, I move you, onto your side, then onto your back.

Your cock is rock hard, as it has been all the way through the proceedings.

You really, really are something special.

You've earned your reward, my Seb...

I lean down, lick a stripe from your balls up your shaft, making you shock and tremble. Then I take you into my mouth.

 

 

Your deep breaths...

leaning on me...

moving out of me...

You move me so gently... I feel euphoric at your touch, and then I'm on my back and it hurts, but... I forget the pain quickly as you loom over me.

Your beautiful big black eyes...

gazing at me.

And then you look down.

And move down.

And - ohhh.

Oh.

I begin to tremble as I feel your tongue on my cock.

OhGodOhGod...

Your mouth on me is a revelation...

Every casual sex partner has been rendered faceless in a single stroke of my cock.

The memories are shadows. Meaningless.

My mind goes fucking blank.

There is only your mouth, my cock, and fuckYesJIMYES!

I don't know what I rant out loud and what stays in my mind...

"God... please... yes..."

My head falls back against the pillows as I moan loudly.

 

 

Finally, Sebastian... Finally you get to feel what it's like to be mine. You've felt the pain, and you did magnificently... now you get to feel the pleasure.

I like to think I'm good at this - I haven't done much of it in the past years, obviously, but I know how to read the signs, I know where to put pressure, I know when to go slower or faster - I could make you even more desperate, but we've gone past that stage; this is the reward, and you have so earned it...

So I'll make you enjoy it as much as you can, and then when you need to, I'll let you come...

And that moment is not too far away. You've been on the edge for hours...

 

 

oh god, I've never experienced this level of pleasure in my life...

and that's saying a lot.

The memories of shadow puppet theatre don't stand a chance against you.

I let you set the pace, but my hips begin to move, rocking gently.

The rhythm is mesmerizing... my moans and sighs are rising and falling with the pulse of my hips and your lips, like waves in the sea. Wave after rolling wave of motion, ecstasy, sound, motion, ecstasy, sound... god... yes... god... yes... Jim... YES...

My cock pulses, desire mounts in me higher, higher, higher, oh no, oh god...

"Please... Jim..." I chant. "Fuck, god, please...Jim..."

 

 

Oh god don't *beg*, my sweet... it makes me want to toy with you and you *really* don't deserve that.

I increase the pressure, increase the pace, and am rewarded by a roar of pleasure, an arching back, a cock getting impossibly even *harder* and bigger and then a jet of hot sweet liquid hitting my velum, and a row of incomprehensible syllables pouring out of your mouth, some of which sound like 'Jim'.

 

 

As I move towards the point of no return, my eyes open and I look at you as you pleasure me. You're not looking at me - it feels like a gift to be able to watch you unawares. Or maybe you are aware and this is a gift, too. Your hair is a mess, falling forward into your face. You rake it back and concentrate with deep focus and intention. God, that's for me... all for me...

God... Jim...

You increase the pace, and pleasure swells in me, crashes over me like a wave. I cry out, arching... explode into your mouth, shouting...

I pant and shiver and tremble...

aftershock... aftershock...

I give a low moan. I try to move and can't. Not even a finger.

I laugh helplessly. "God," I sigh. "Fuck..."

 

 

It sounds like this is *quite* intense for you, and I should bloody well hope so. I can't help but grin like the Cheshire Cat who got the cream - literally. You pour into my mouth again and again, and I hold you in my mouth, feeling you shudder, hearing you moan, hearing your laugh - laugh? interesting - your sigh. When you're quiet, I suck you in again, making you squirm and squeal, then I let you go.

I sit up.

 

Here we are.

 

How does the King greet his Knight when he's been through a harrowing ordeal to prove his worth, then spilled his seed into the King's mouth?

 

I lean over and undo the shackles around your wrists. Your arms must be numb by now.

 

Chapter Text

Sunlight is still pouring through the window, lighting up that beautiful pale, elfin face, the dark pools of your eyes.

Brave new world... Peopled with you and me. And the faceless masses. Nobody else matters.

You unshackle me.

God... I hope I can move soon.

"Can I -" my voice croaks, and I wince. My throat is raw from screaming, shouting, howling... roaring and sobbing... God. I can't believe any of that happened. It did happen, didn't it? I look down at my body - swollen red stripes... blood... burns.

Yeah. It fucking happened.

I clear my throat. "Can I have some water, please?" I ask, my voice shaking a little.

 

 

Yes, my sweet Knight. You can have anything you want.

I move up the bed, help you lift your head, take the glass of water you gave James two lifetimes ago, let you drink, let you swallow, drink again.

I lift your arm, move it, rub it gently to get the blood moving again, then the other one.

I remember a first-aid kit in the medicine cabinet.

“Can you sit up? Careful...” I hold you steady.

“Can you walk?”

 

 

My throat feels like cracked earth during a drought. Water spills over the cracks, and it stings, and then feels so soothing I almost cry.

You're so gentle as you help me drink...

you're rubbing my arms, moving them about...

helping me sit up.

I feel kitten-weak. My muscles are trembling, but I feel safe under your care. Leaning on your small, muscular frame as you lead me to the bathroom... sitting me down on the edge of the tub while you dig through the medicine cabinet for supplies.

Here is where it hits me. I'd forgotten all about the last few days...here is the bathroom where I was laying out pyjamas for James before he made his attempt at an escape through the window. Out in the living room is where James and I sobbed in each other's arms and slept together on the sofa.

I feel wistful and sad, but relieved that he is no longer suffering... no longer tormented by thoughts of Hell and the Devil. Jim is here now... and he'll take care of everything. With the help of his Knight. His murderous rampaging Knight... who's currently staring at his King dreamily as he fusses with his wounds after an epic bout of BDSM and fucking.

Just like in the old ballads. I chuckle. Well, if I'm laughing, I must still be alive... and awake.

If I were dead or dreaming I sure as fuck wouldn't be feeling like I'd crawled through Hell being beaten by clubs and stabbed with hot pokers... by a Devil who wears your face. And pyjamas. And is so beautiful and terrifying and hot. How soon will you want to fuck again?

I think I have a stupid grin on my face. You're such an idiot, Seb...

 

 

I’m feeling very considerate now - like poor Father James... never knew I had a caring side. But you’re mine and you’re all I have and you are magnificent... and I’ve hurt you and that’s all good and proper, but that’s where it ends. We don’t then let Mother Nature dole out infections or something.

I meticulously clean your wounds, then set you in the tub where I wash your body clean of blood, sweat, tears, and semen. You seem fine - relaxed and happy; and I couldn’t be more delighted. You’re smiling as I wash your hair, then quickly do my own. We towel ourselves off. I bandage the wounds that need it.

We’re both exhausted and aching.

I go to check on the first bedroom I was in, and see you’ve cleaned and turned the mattress and changed the sheets. Bless you.

You come from the kitchen with two bottles of water, hand one to me.

Without saying a word we get between the clean sheets. You wrap an arm around me. I lie on my good side and put my head on your shoulder.

We fall asleep.

 

 

I emerge from a black velvety void, feeling more rested than I can ever remember. I think there were dreams - I snatch at hazy images of the Devil (doing lascivious things to me as blood drips over us both), but they wriggle away, and then dissipate into mist. My eyes flutter open, and I sigh. Well, dreams of a dominating, deviant little devil are fine and good, but I have the real thing next to me.

I look over at you. You're murmuring, and still in the same position you fell asleep in. We both are. You must have been exhausted, too - not just from our time together, but from this entire week.

I wonder how you'll feel today, after - everything. Coming back to yourself, realizing you've lost your Empire... temporarily, I remind myself.

In sleep, you look like James... vulnerable. Young. I stroke your face before I realize what I'm doing.

I have no idea what our dynamic will be like now. I don't want to assume it's OK to stroke anything, until I know how this... relationship (?) works. I know we have a relationship, but are we in a relationship? Oh good, Seb... wake him up and then demand to know where this relationship is heading. I roll my eyes, and chuckle quietly to myself. Then slowly I extricate myself from your body, gently easing your head onto a pillow.

As I get up, I groan quietly as my muscles scream in protest. I have felt this weakness and excruciating pain in basic training, on battlefields, and in covert ops that nearly got me killed... and oh yes, killing the tiger that nearly tore me to shreds. And now, after a night with you. I shake my head, and grin as I stretch out my limbs. You're really something, Jim...

Stiffly I creep to the bathroom. I take a piss, yawning. Then I shuffle to the sink to splash cold water on my face. As I do, I catch a glance at myself in the mirror. I freeze as I study my upper body. God... your marks are everywhere. There's gauze and bandaging covering the burns and the worst of the cuts. There are many little slashes remaining, but mostly I'm focused on the angry red lash marks covering my entire body.

Fuck...

I laugh out loud. Dominating little deviant is right.

"How... stripy," I mutter to myself, amused. Then I see something that shocks me even more. My face looks ten years younger. My eyes are bright blue and clear. A smile lights up my face, and I look away sheepishly. OK, Seb... you're not a fifteen-year-old schoolgirl with a crush. You're ex-SAS, and a bloody assassin...

with a crush.

I groan, shake my head at myself, then shuffle back to the bedroom - where I get back into bed, and curl around my dark King, still deep in slumber.

 

 

I am in a church and I can't get out. There are no doors and the windows are too high. I try to move a pew to build some kind of tower to a window, but they're bolted to the ground. I have to get out, because I forgot to buy cat food, and the cat is hungry. I keep searching around the church - there has to be *some* way in, otherwise how did the cat get in? - but I can't find anything; no trap doors, nothing.

I apologize to the cat and explain that it'll have to hunt mice or something, but it's too keen to rub around my feet and jump onto my lap when I sit down. Since I have nothing to do, I just sit and pet it.

Suddenly I hear the click of a latch. I turn around, and there is a large wooden door, slowly moving open. I feel fear - get up, look around for a place to hide, but the devil's already seen me. He walks up the aisle, grinning from ear to ear. I look at the door - could I run to it - but no, he's in the way, there's no way I could reach it in time -

I hear a mighty screech and the cat launches itself at the devil. I shout 'Kitty, no!' but it's already jumped up. The devil lashes out his hand and smashes the cat aside. It tumbles through the air but lands on its feet, shakes its head and heads for the devil again. I have to help it - I can't let the devil take it - and despite my fear, I run towards the devil, shouting at him, so he takes his attention off the cat. I throw a bible at him, a hymn book, another. He moves towards me, but just as he is about to grab me he starts screaming, and grasps at his throat. It's slashed open, blood gushes out. As he falls down, the cat jumps off his back, its teeth covered in blood, grinning at me - such a large grin - so many teeth...

 

I wake up feeling achy but reasonably rested. My head hurts, as do my shoulder and my throat. There's a man around me. This is good, I like this man and trust him.

There's some confusion in my head - where am I and why? Who is this man? What am I supposed to be doing?

I open my eyes, see a tanned neck with a bite mark, a goldish-red beard -

Wait -

Sebastian.

Oh.

Fuck.

Yes.

Morning of - well, debauchery is the only word here.

Empire gone.

Priest life.

Oh, fuck.

 

Coffee.

 

 

I feel warmth, and stirring...

I'm pressed into a lovely man-shape... yes, please.

My cock is hard against his pert bottom. I nudge against it, and nuzzle his neck.

"Hey, honey..." I purr. "Why don't you bring that sexy arse closer and ride my -"

Wait. This isn't just any sexy arse...

It's Jim's.

Shit.

I don't think that's how you speak to your King...

My eyes open, and I slowly pull back from your bottom.

"Ah... Morning! How are you feeling?"

 

 

*Someone* is waking up...

... *someone* has forgotten where he is, hasn't he?

Oh, good, you remembered yourself. Then it's a retreat and a flustered good morning. It's not morning - late afternoon by the look of the light - but good save regardless.

So - now what?

How do I greet the man I've cut open, burnt, whipped, fucked, and marked as my property, on what is essentially the morning after the night before? The man who's kept me prisoner on my request? The man who shot a guy in a church? That man?

"How am I feeling?" Yes, that's what he asked. You hate people repeating questions back to win time.

I've lost too much weight. My shoulder and oesophagus are killing me. I'm in a squalid flat in Acton. I've lost my Empire, six months of memory, and most of my money.

And I'm feeling fucking ace.

"I need coffee."

 

 

I watch emotions flicker across your face - irritation at my gaffe, indecision about what to do or say (god, can I relate), feeling lost and frustrated (makes sense)... but also - satisfaction? I'm not sure how to read you yet... James was an open book but Jim is still a mystery.

My ears perk up. Coffee? I can do that. And god, yes... there will be much coffee.

"Coming right up..." I say cheerily. I sit up and immediately wince. "I'll have to cancel running that marathon I had planned for today. And leg day at the gym. But I should be able to handle making breakfast... which you need to eat," I say firmly as I limp across the room. "God... my foot hurts like a motherfucker..." I say mildly, and step into my boxer briefs. "I must have stepped on a knife... careful when you get up, Jim! You don't want to step on one, too!" I throw you a sarcastic smile and shuffle out into the kitchen, yawning.

Well... I may be your knight, but it turns out I'm still a mouthy fucker. Humming, I put on coffee, and get breakfast started.

 

 

Well.

That's not quite the response I was expecting.

I don't know what I was expecting, but something along the lines of discomfort with the situation, or extreme subservience, or sexual advances.

Not a cheerful and slightly sarcastic chatty soldier who skips off to make breakfast.

Though breakfast is a good idea. I need to regain my strength. And I need to get to work.

I grab the laptop, have a look round again, start creating strategy in my head.

 

Priorities:

- Find out what caused my stint in the clergy

- Find out what caused my Empire to collapse

The two are probably related, but we can't say for certain they are.

 

Leads:

- The church. If I was being kept there, there is probably monitoring material.

Risk: They will have seen what happened, potentially heard what I said, and will know I'm likely to get back there to check, so will have it monitored. Now if it wasn't a brainwash, but me myself doing this, I might be able to find some clues there - but I'd have to know for certain that it was me, and not someone else, before I could consider going.

- My old network. It appears to have disappeared, but they can't have got *everyone*. Unless, again, it was *me* who dismantled it in a fit of insanity (heh), in which case yes, they could have. Whoever they are. How would I have disposed of my contacts? Killed them all?

Action: Have a thorough search until I find *someone*. Or not.

- My last apartment. Again, if I was taken from there, it will be under surveillance. If I did this myself, I may have sold it or blown it up or god knows. Too risky to go look.

 

I may have to -

 

What?

 

Why are you waving in my face?

 

 

"Jim," I repeat. "Your coffee's here on the nightstand. And breakfast will be done in a minute. I'm not sure how much you want to eat, so I'm just putting everything out on the table."

You blink at me, grunt something, and sip from the coffee mug. Then you make a face, before returning to your laptop. God. Someone's grumpy in the morning... Afternoon. Whatever.

I return to the kitchen, shaking my head. This is fucking bizarre. Well I certainly didn't expect you to be reciting poetry to me, but... I expected something. Give me something. After everything I went through?

Anyway... I'm not going to let your grouchiness spoil my good mood. And to be fair, you've been through a lot and your situation is dire.

Jesus, Seb... way to make it all about you, I chide myself.

I'm fucking not, a sullen voice snaps back.

Nooo... you're the very picture of maturity and balance... Bravo. Suddenly I feel like I'm talking to myself in my father's voice.

Fuck maturity and balance.

I throw the remaining plates on the table, and stalk into the bedroom.

"Breakfast is ready." You look up and open your mouth to speak and I interrupt with, "Are you going to say something about what happened? It was a pretty epic moment for me, and I'm just wondering if it meant anything to you at all..."

Inwardly I wince at my injured tone. Yeah. This was definitely the best way to handle it.

 

 

Coffee... good. Not good coffee - stale instant - but it contains caffeine, which is the main thing.

I can’t find anyone. Whoever did this did a *very* thorough job. Which points to *me*. But - that doesn’t make any *sense*. I was fine the weeks, months leading up to this. Same as normal. I can’t see any clue, in my behaviour or thoughts or in the circumstances around me.

Maybe I should...

‘Breakfast is ready.’

... I should put a stop to these constant interruptions. How can I solve my problems if I’m constantly disturbed?

Before I can speak, you do.

Oh.

Oh Christ you want attention. Sweet words. Aftercare.

Ugh - normal people are so *difficult*!

I want to snap at you to shut you up. Look up, see your face.

Oh for fuck’s sake.

I adopted a guard dog and now it wants to talk about its feelings. And it’s doing puppy eyes. And I can’t just snap at it because it may go away and I need it.

Right. Put Empire on standby, relocate to Sebastianopolis.

I get up.

“Shouldn’t let breakfast get cold.”

You open your mouth.

“*Yes*, Sebastian, I will discuss it! But there’s no reason we can’t talk over breakfast, is there?” I stalk to the kitchen.

Did it *mean* anything to me. What does that even *mean*?!

Breakfast smells good - the proper Full English. And more coffee.

You sit down opposite me, looking defiant, with an undertone of uncertainty.

I sigh.

Oi! James! You were so keen on feelings and people. Can you take this one?

...

... yeah, didn’t think so...

I take some toast, butter it, start nibbling.

“So you want to talk about this morning. Specifically, you want to know if it meant anything to me.

Of course it did - I wouldn’t have done it if it was meaningless.

But that’s not what you mean. You want to talk about feelings.”

Like some teenager... *No*, be nice, Moriarty.

“I don’t do feelings. For real - I’m a psychopath, I just don’t have them. I can see that they exist in others, but for me - no. Just anger, often. Lust, occasionally, but that’s more a physical need.

And physical needs are less significant for me as well. I’ll often forget to eat and sleep for days.

As you can probably infer, I’m not very used to human company. Or very well-suited to human company.

So - that’s it. I promised you great rewards - and you will have them. Adventure. Excitement. Riches. Great sex.

But - if you’re talking about love, or chocolates and roses - you’re barking up the wrong tree, Sebastian.

You said you want to be mine. This is the me you’ve pledged yourself to.”

No take-backsies!

For fuck’s sake Moriarty...

“I’m not going to hold you captive. You’ve helped me a lot - if you want to leave, because it turns out this isn’t what you wanted after all, you can.”

No you can’t! A Knight doesn’t leave his King if the King isn’t appreciative enough!

 

 

My heart lurches at hearing you say my name... even in irritation. In fact, irritation is an improvement. Between irritation and nothing... well, I'll be the snarkiest motherfucker you've ever met, just to get a rise out of you. I smile faintly to myself. God. I never change... how I ever got as far in the army as I did before getting thrown out on my arse, I'll never know. It's a miracle I didn't end up in military prison, with some of the stunts I pulled... but that time in my life is over. Now I'm facing the man I swore myself to in a blood-and-sex-soaked haze... over breakfast and instant coffee.

You begin to speak, and I listen intently, while sipping my coffee.

You don't do feelings... Uh-huh. I'm rather acquainted with emotionally unavailable men. Hell, I've been an emotionally unavailable man my entire life. (Adult life. Shut it, Moran.) And the one thing I know from experience? You can't hook someone like this directly. Not by demanding, or prying, or crying. You come at them sideways, under the radar, from the cover of darkness... and you have a better shot. Not a guarantee - far from it. But a shot.

 

I told you covert ops were my motherfucking calling... Well, I have never failed in my objectives. Not once. Missions failed when idiots got involved who shouldn't have been anywhere near them. But me and my patrol?

Unassailable. Unstoppable. Unfuckingbreakable.

And I intend to apply the same approach here. Only thing is, I'm not actually clear on my objective... which is the kiss of death in the field. And even though things appear to be domestic at the moment, I'm very aware that every minute in your presence, I'm in the field.

So I'd better get clear fast, if I don't want to end up in pieces. Well, it's not like I'm looking for a fucking ring, or a declaration of your undying love. So what do I want from you?

 

Something...

 

More.

 

I'm not sure what that means yet. Only that I'm bound and determined to have it. By any means necessary.

And I say... why bark up a tree when you can just scale it?

I put down my coffee mug with a thump.

"Well, thank you for your honesty, Jim. And now here's some from me." I lean back in my chair, suppressing a wince at the pain. I lean my elbow on the back, the picture of masculine cockiness. "I wouldn't even know what to do if you were throwing chocolate or roses or love at me. I suppose if you're ever so inclined, we'll find out pretty damn fast." I smirk at you.

"Do you see me packing my bag in a huff? Or trying to climb out the window? I just wanted a goddamn debriefing. Christ, even the army does that. I've been to war, and it's got nothing on you, Jim. So pardon me if the most bloody intense experience of my life got to me. It did - it got to me. But I pledged myself to you, and that. Was not. A trivial thing. When I commit to something, it gets all of me. Do or fucking die. I'm putting my life on the line for you, and I don't know that I'll survive. And that's fine by me... I'm good with that. All I ask is for some fucking acknowledgement, when the situation calls for it." I raise an eyebrow, and lift my mug.

"And I'm a big fan of Adventure. Excitement. Riches. Great sex. Cheers to that... Sir."

I sip my coffee, staring at you... then I grin fiercely and attack my breakfast with gusto.

 

 

Oh thank fuck for that.

I was afraid I'd have to have a 'What are we?' conversation with a suicidal assassin when I am not even quite sure yet who *I* am.

I can't help but feel a surge of perverse pride at 'most intense experience of my life'. And there's a surge of (*relief*) appreciation when you state that you're pledged to me. Good. My army of world domination has started.

'Fucking acknowledgement' - what does that mean, though? I'll pay you, of course... but I have the feeling you want something else. What - a pat on the head and 'good boy'?

"I'm glad to hear it. What do you mean by 'acknowledgement when the situation calls for it'?"

 

 

You look - relieved? What's that about? I actually thought you'd get huffy about being spoken to forcefully. But I've been a mouthy fucker with a defiant streak for my entire life... and I'm not about to hide who and what I am, because I can't - not even for you, Jim.

I will follow your orders to the letter but I won't be a shrinking violet about it...

But surprisingly enough, you seem fine with it. With your terrifying eyes and your indomitable will, I can't imagine you get people being upfront with you very often - maybe it's a relief.

Anyway. Now you want to know what I mean by acknowledgement - what do you mean, what do I mean? Doesn't that speak for itself?

You seemed to recognize immediately afterwards that I'd gone through something big, and I - guess I felt you there. Connected with me. And then after we woke up - nothing. How do I express that to you without sounding like we're in relationship territory??

I sigh heavily. "When you woke up, it was like nothing had changed. But everything has changed. You took me somewhere... deep. Intense." My voice wavers for a moment, and I clear my throat. "And it felt like you were there with me - but then you disappeared." I shrug helplessly. "Like it meant nothing... I'd like to think what I endured... and pledging myself to you means... something."

God. Do I sound like a smitten schoolgirl? Do I? I don't even know anymore!!

 

 

From the look on your face, that was a stupid question. Well - I'm sorry Sebastian, human emotions are *quite* alien to me. And I don't really intend to make much of a study of them, so if you could just tell me what you need, that would be grand.

"What do you mean like nothing had changed?! Changed from *what*, exactly?”

Fuck's sake -

"I *told* you it meant something! And yes, it was deep and intense! So what do you need, after that?

Could you just for a moment appreciate I'm a psychopath and don't have the Manual on Human Interaction that everyone else seems to have been born with, and just tell me what you need, what you want, so I can decide to give you what you want, or explain why I don't, rather than you getting upset about me not giving you what you want?"

 

 

I rake my hand through my hair, and then cover my eyes. Why do I feel like I was just teleported to another dimension? In what universe am I the one with an understanding of emotions?? If I were to tell my former patrol mates this, they would laugh until they cried. Oh, ha ha ha... the cosmic joke's on me. I feel like I'm bordering on hysterical laughter myself, but I push it back.

My hands drop to my sides.

"OK! I didn't know for certain you were a psychopath until you told me, did I! Not that it comes as a shock... And I'm not getting upset!" I shout, then wince.

"I'm sorry. I'm not getting upset," I say in a pleasant, controlled voice. "It's not like I have such a good understanding of emotions that I can express it well... I just end up getting frustrated when I can't put it into words." I hesitate and then sigh. In for a penny...

"And I meant - after we fucked, it felt like you were there with me, and after we woke up, you basically ignored me. I just kind of felt like 'oh, is that it?' After all that??" I stare at you, your words sinking in.

"So when you said 'of course it meant something'... that's it, that's all you have to say about it. No elaboration. OK..." My brow furrows. How the fuck do I navigate this?

"I just need some time to adjust to this. I didn't get the Manual on the Psychopathic Psyche... funny, I would have thought as a cold-blooded killer, I would have it down pat. But apparently I have a lot to learn... if only someone offered counselling geared towards a criminal mastermind and their right-hand man. Could clear things right up..." I throw a piece of bacon up in the air and catch it in my mouth.

"Thank you for indulging me," I say as I crunch it in my teeth.

 

 

I am trying to follow, but this is tricky territory, full of treacherous holes.

So you were upset at me working instead of paying you attention - *well what did you want*!? - but then you say that saying 'of course it meant something' was all you wanted to hear - but I *said* that - oh so that was it?

Then why did you still seem angry afterwards? Are you still angry?

Ugh - should I have done all that if it means now we're getting fucking *feelings* involved?

Yes - yes, it was worth making you fully *mine*. I've built an Empire before - I can do it again - but having a capable guy there who is entirely unquestionably incorruptibly loyal to me *definitely* makes things easier.

If that means I have to indulge him occasionally - so be it.

"No worries," I mumble, though I'm not sure if that was sarcastic or not. You seem like a sarcastic fucker.

"I guess we both have a lot to learn."

There! That was empathic, wasn't it?

"I don't mean to make you feel insignificant. You are bloody significant. But my mind works very quickly, and trying to work out what the hell *happened* is kind of high priority at the moment."

Is that alright? Have we talked about your hurt feelings enough now? Can we move on to what the fuck happened to me?

 

 

You seem frustrated... like you're trying to solve a puzzle which doesn't make sense... and not flip the table.

I watch you, closely. Part of me is amused by how perplexed you look, and the rest of me is disappointed and annoyed. But then - I threw in my lot with you, and rather dramatically at that. I can't exactly be all 'ohhh, but can't you be more considerate, Mr Psychopath??' It would take away from what I did. I have to accept who you are... but I sure as hell don't have to just roll over and not say anything... right??

God, this is confusing... I push around the remaining food on my plate as you respond.

Shit - you've gone through a lot, and it's all been me me me lately. And you have been indulging me, given the circumstances... somehow I sense that it could have gone very differently. But I'm also aware that you need me... and I have to admit, it's nice to be needed...

And well, you did say something... I'm bloody significant! I'll take it.

Feeling lighter, I can't help but smile at my breakfast. "Thank you. I appreciate it..." I start to shovel the remains into my mouth. "So. Did you find anything out that's helpful?"

 

 

I look at you, assessing. That's not sarcastic, is it? No, you're eating heartily, and you seem genuinely concerned.

"No." I say, frowning. "Whoever did this did an *extremely* thorough job - which does point to me, like you suggested - but that doesn't make *sense*. I've never had any thoughts in the direction of hanging it all up and becoming a priest. I've never even been religious - always found it a load of bollocks. Even if I suffered a trauma that was so bad that I wanted to stop being *me* and change my life - I can't imagine that a *priest* is what I'd choose. And to be fair, I *sucked* at it.

So - I am inclined to think that this was done *to* me. And the bank accounts seem to support that theory - all my accounts have been emptied, except two super-secret ones. Now if it had been *me* doing this, why wouldn't I have emptied those as well?

So - current working hypothesis is - an enemy with a *lot* of info on me. Someone close to me? Possible. I can't imagine though - I'm a generous employer, and very careful - don't trust anyone more than I have to. Not even my second in command had access to everything - just what he needed to know.

Other enemies - they knew even *less*.

However, what if they managed to get information from *me* when they brainwashed me?"

I throw my plate against the wall, where it leaves a stain from the tomato sauce, and shatters.

"I don't know what the fuck's *happened* and they messed with my *BRAIN*!!!"

 

 

I listen carefully as I eat. Fuck. I guess I can see why you were preoccupied...

As you begin to talk about your enemies and brainwashing, my grip on my fork tightens and my eyes narrow. I'm thinking of a response, but I don't have time to share it. Because the next thing I know, your plate is flying across the table and smashing against a wall.

I look at the tomato sauce stain and then back to you.

"And they will pay for that," I say simply. "So you can't find your second in command? Anyone you can think of who might know where he is? Him or another employee?"

Thoughtfully, I chew the last of my remaining toast. "They can't all have disappeared. Maybe you'll have better luck finding them in person than online. I track people online too, but... sometimes you can't beat having your ear to the ground. I find when I'm tracking somebody things just... fall into place. Can't explain it... I've always been a natural when it comes to hunting, and flushing out my prey. You want me to have a crack at someone? Or do you want to go hunting together?" I raise my eyebrows at you, smiling slyly. I need to keep you active so you don't get too fixated on what's been done to you - we need to focus on moving forward.

As much as I want a second round with your amazing cock, I think it will do you a world of good to make some headway on your problem. Our problem.

I shove my plate away. "Tell me what you need..."

 

 

Yes... you might be right; people may have disappeared online but still be traceable in the real world...

We could-

(*Don’t go outside!!!*)

I reach for my head - it feels like a radio alarm just went off in there on maximum volume with mostly white noise. I try to concentrate-

Nothing.

Fuck’s *sake*!

Why shouldn’t we go outside?

We could be recognized. The Jim who appeared in the church, who seemed to know a bit more than I do, was careful about that - get to an area without CCTV. Come back in disguise, quickly duck indoors.

CCTV.

 

CCTV.

 

Oh, *FUCK*...

 

I groan, rest my head on my hands.

 

 

I watch as you hold your head.

Headache? No - you're thinking.

I don't want to interrupt your focus...

but then you groan in frustration.

 

"What's wrong?" I demand.

 

 

“CCTV...” I groan.

You look at me puzzled.

“Jim who was there in church giving you orders, who seemed to have certain knowledge that I currently don’t have, was adamant that we had to get out of reach of CCTV. Then hide when we came back to London. He knew, or suspected, that we would be in danger of being spotted if we were captured on CCTV.”

I look up at you, face drained.

“There are only two people who have consistent access to CCTV. There are only two people who could have wiped my Empire out so thoroughly.

One of them is me. The other one... is Mycroft Holmes.”

 

Chapter Text

You seem downright stricken, but I'm still not following... Where are you going with this?

Jim at the church did seem very focused about avoiding CCTV...

Your face grows pale. I tense. I want to reach for your hand (what??) but I grip the table so I don't do anything stupid.

Finally you reach your conclusion... Mycroft - Holmes?

There's a charge, like a current that runs through me - but I have no idea why.

I scan my mind for something - anything.

Why - do I keep seeing my father's face?? My jaw hardens. When I returned to London, I read something online that mentioned his bloody Lordship's presence at some illustrious event... and there was a reference to somebody Holmes? Which I only remember because I had also read about a detective named Holmes who had a similarly daft name, and I wondered if they were related.

Mycroft had a government position (?) and seemed unremarkable... But then, I had stopped reading shortly thereafter and gone out and killed a mark. Reading about Lord Moran had been extremely motivating.

"Mycroft Holmes. Government. That's as much as I know. Power player, I take it? Why would he go to these lengths to target you?"

 

 

"Mycroft Holmes is... yeah, he is the government. And MI5 and MI6. And a significant part of any foreign intelligence agency you'd care to name. Also the one person in the world I'd admit may be more intelligent than me, but if you repeat that I'll kill you."

It does fit... it does all fit...

*Fuck*...

"Mycroft Holmes is also the one man who was more powerful than me.

I... may have got a bit cocky. I liked playing with his brother, Sherlock - have you heard of him?"

"The detective?" you ask. "Yeah - I wondered if they were related."

"His baby brother. And his weak spot. He's a delight to play with - the brother, that is. Mycroft is dull, but Sherlock is a drama queen - and *so* easy to rile.

Anyway, I may have got a bit carried away in the game; put Sherlock in some- rather dangerous positions - he doesn't care about his personal safety at all - Mycroft had warned me to stop, but I disregarded him. I thought he'd never take away his brother's favourite playmate - looks like I underestimated his dourness."

I try to poke at the picture in my mind, to find its weak spots.

"It does make sense - he would have the resources to dismantle my Empire so thoroughly. He would also have access to all the torture and reconditioning methods used throughout the world. And he would be pissed off enough to do this to me - justifying it by seeing it as protecting his *brother*, and fuck the Geneva Convention."

 

 

I feel my eyebrows rising when you describe him. More powerful, more brilliant... and... dull?

You are the most fascinating thing in the world to me, I can't imagine having more of something than you and coming off dull. But you are clearly far, far, far more than the sum of your parts... and such delectable parts...

Focus, Seb... this is important.

Wait - what did you -

You liked... playing with Sherlock? What does that mean?

Not like you played with me... right??

I feel myself filling with resentment towards this lowly detective... can he break into a military prison and rescue prisoners without getting caught? Fuck you, sleuth boy. And your big brother, too.

"So a heavy hitter in the government (the ultimate heavy hitter?) who's neck-high in security and intelligence, on a national and global scale. Took apart your Empire, and subjected you to brainwashing and torture, which left you thinking you were a sweet, lovely priest for the last 6-12 months. To protect his little brother. Is that it?"

I rub my eyes. "Jesus. Fucking. Christ. And you feel confident of this? If so... he won't be the usual kind of target, even for a high-security target..." I drum my fingers on the table, staring off for a moment. Then my eyes swing up to yours. "Challenge accepted. What do you want to do to the fucker?"

 

 

Challenge...

I look at you. Not sure if you are incredibly brave or incredibly stupid. Or both. Definitely incredibly loyal.

"If I start listing everything I want to do to him, we may both expire before we get a chance."

I sigh. "It's the only thing that makes sense... I *really* don't think that *I* did this."

I finish my coffee.

"I'll need to plan this *very carefully* - he knows I've escaped. London will be on high alert. Any of my previous contacts who are still around will be closely monitored.

He's going to *also* expect me to flee. But there's one place he'll never expect me to go. Straight to Hell.

Have you been to Dublin?"

 

 

You're looking at me with respect, and... concern? Oh, I get that it's probably a suicide mission to go after the big man. But there's nothing like a suicide mission to get the blood going...

"I've been to a lot of places in this world, but never Dublin... that's where you're from, I take it?"

You give me a haunted look, and roll your eyes.

Jesus, what happened to you there? How many people am I going to have to kill for messing with you? My mouth tightens.

"Hell it is," I say in a surly voice. "So, we need to plan our route, and get you fake ID... anything else you need to take care of before we get there?"

 

 

Hold on –

What is that – sensation? Doubt?!

I’m second-guessing myself. Not a common situation. It feels – odd. Confusing.

I’ve never been worried about my mind - well, other than the standard insanity - but it always was *others* who suffered from it. It always served *me* well. Mostly.

*But*, now it’s been corrupted, and exposing it to Dublin when in a vulnerable state might send it dying in agony for good. I moan inwardly. I’ve never had to *be careful* with a *fragile mind* before.

I hate being weak.

“If I’m trying to recover from being a priest and regaining my sanity, Dublin is probably not the best place to start… I’ll eventually want to go there because it’s convenient for London, but let’s head to a more pleasant place *first* so I don’t go screaming mad. Sun, sea, sand…

Have you ever been to Yemen? Beautiful country. And so intractable.”

 

 

Now we're going to Yemen? Changeable little fucker, aren't you?

"Why yes, I have... but it was a very long time ago, and I wasn't exactly sight-seeing and exploring spice markets. Covert op. I saw very specific areas, under cover of darkness... and smoke grenades. And a blindfold, briefly." I grin. "And after that, I had to get the hell out, rather quickly. Maybe you'll show me a different side? I wouldn't say no to going to the beach..." I stretch, feeling pleased. After spending days in a room watching you (well, James-you) sleeping, crying and throwing up, I could use a change of scenery. Travelling with you sounds fun.

"Will there be plotting, fucking, hijinks, and fucking? Mmm. My kind of holiday..." I grin.

 

 

“I think you’ll like it - I doubt we’ll be doing much lying on the beach, but they’re kind of fond of weapons and you strike me as the type of person who enjoys deserts and mountains and too much sun.

However, we’ll have to smuggle in our own booze. And be kind of discreet about the fucking.

I’ve never been to Yemen, and don’t really have contacts there. We did some arms deals, but that was all via third or fourth parties. Which is good - no contacts for Holmes to know about - but also bad - we’ll have to go make friends all on our own.

I’ll do some research on where we could go and who we should meet. Also get some ready cash available. Can you get hold of false IDs for us, British for you, Yemeni for me? Let’s fly normal cattle class, not take any weapons - there are plenty there. We’ll have to leave from Heathrow, so best change appearance a little - I’ll use dark foundation; you can shave, get a fake neck tattoo. We’ll go separately.

Anything else?”

 

 

"I am well acquainted with deserts, mountains and too much sun..." I grin lazily at you. "Leave the IDs to me. And flights, and accommodations... I'll get us adjoining rooms. It's the height of discretion, and just in case we do encounter any trouble, it's not a bad thing to have an alternate route available. And I'll go platinum blonde... You'll love it - brings out the blue in my eyes." I wink at you, and get up. "Right. Let's get you the fuck out of the UK..."

 

I head to the bedroom to grab my laptop, bring it to the kitchen, and get started. I'll need a photo of you for your ID once we get your dark foundation... I wonder if I can convince you to take a couple of tasteful nudes? I chuckle to myself, and you look perplexed. Sorry, Jim - I'm embroiled in a plot against a top (the top?) government official to seek vengeance for my - Jim. I may be cut up, burned, and sore as hell, but I am in a fucking good mood.

 

I take care of the tasks on my list quickly, and quickly clean up so I can round up our supplies. As I do, I realize I've been humming Dream a Little Dream of Me... uh. A bit romantic, isn't it, Seb?

I switch to Here Comes the Sun, smiling to myself as I prepare to leave.

 

"Anything else you want me to get?" I yell into the bedroom, where you're ensconced with the laptop. Obviously we need a second one, or we'll fight over it like cats and dogs.

We, I find myself thinking as I put on my boots. We, I'm still thinking as I shrug into my jacket.

 

 

You seem in an awfully good mood for a suicidal guy who's just been tortured quite intensely. I grin to myself. I'll remember that.

You've booked a trip to Sanaa with a hotel for a week. After that, we'll see...

It may actually be fun, starting from the ground again. Doing the legwork. Negotiating in person. Brushing up on my Arabic.

I manipulate a photo to make me look darker, send it to you for the IDs.

"Multivitamins, iron tablets, Armani foundation Designer lift shade 8, Kiehl's Nourishing shampoo and conditioner, Elemis Hydrate and Revitalize Duo, La Mer hand cream, Theodent Classic Whitening toothpaste, Philips Diamond Care electric toothbrush, a laptop, an iPhone, a few burner phones."

 

 

I listen to the ever-growing list, sniggering. Good to know you have a sense of humour...

"Hah. You're funny, Boss."

 

Silence.

Not... a joke?

Slowly I return the doorway, and look at you typing away on my laptop.

 

"Yes?" you ask, pleasantly enough.

 

"You are joking... right, Jim?"

 

You arch an eyebrow and don't look up. "You asked, I answered."

 

"You have to have those specific brands... Do you know how long this is going to take me? You want me out there shopping for designer hand cream instead of doing something useful? What am I, your right hand, or your errand boy?"

 

A slight smile. "Well asked... The answer is yes to all questions."

 

I huff in disbelief. Then I turn and walk to the door.

 

"Oh, and Sebastian...?"

 

"Yes?" I wait by the open door.

 

"Thank you!" You say with great emphasis, as if I'm a child.

 

Muttering, I pull my hood over my head, and slam the door shut behind me.

We are clearly mental...

 

 

Very good. You didn't ask me to write it down, and you do plan to get what I asked. Good memory.

Now.

I get down to do some decent research while you're away. You're good, but you're awfully chatty.

Yemen - land of tribes, where the central government only has the power the tribes allow it. Therefore, hard for Holmes to have an overview of.

Tribes, hospitable and generous to a fault, not likely to do something because some official tells them.

Land of a million mountains - one of the only countries in the world without a rail network, because it's just too mountainous. Easy to hide things behind mountains...

And a people who make their homes on *top* of the mountains, rather than in the valleys like most other nations, because a mountaintop fortress is nigh impossible to conquer.

No wonder I'm attracted to it...

I familiarize myself with the prominent tribes, their chiefs, their loyalties, their problems, their priorities. Pictures from the place may call to mind the Middle Ages, but these pictures were taken from a smartphone and uploaded to the Cloud. And if it's been uploaded, sent, or saved, I can find it... it's taking a lot more effort without my tech team in place, but I can work out the basic structures I'm after, get a profile of some interesting players, find out what they might be interested in...

Are you back *already*!?

 

 

I push the door open in annoyance, carrying your new laptop, iPhone, and a bagful of burner phones.

Paranoia had taken over partway through the trip. I had felt uncomfortable being away from you, and worse, terrified that something would happen to you. And I hadn't even left you my number in case you needed me! You idiot, Seb... I chastise myself as I walk into the bedroom, relieved to see you're fine, albeit looking up at me in annoyance.

I drop your packages onto the bed. "Here. I'm going out for the rest of your insane list, now. I'll text my number to this burner phone in case you need to contact me..." I take out my mobile and start typing in numbers.

 

 

"07923505397?" I ask, puzzled. Why did you think I didn't have your number?

Oh... you hadn't given it to me officially? But - you're there on the network... I knew where you'd been... it was easy to find... what if I needed to contact you...

You're looking at me between surprised and annoyed.

"What?"

 

 

I stop typing numbers. I look up at you, my face blank.

I turn around and head back to the door, which I shut firmly behind me.

Ok... I can track people too, but... how quickly did you -

never mind.

Mycroft... I almost feel sorry for you.

As I walk down the hallway, I laugh, a low rumble in my throat. Nah... I'm so going to enjoy this.

 

 

You’re heading off without saying anything. Are you pissed off?

Why should I care?

Right. I’ve identified some interesting people I should meet who may be good contacts. I’ll also have to look into qat trade - there is a market in the UK but no one is really exploring it.

It looks like a great place to be. Lots of potential.

 

But.

 

(oh god not this again…)

 

Hospitality will mean we’ll be invited into people’s homes to stay. We’ll share a bedroom, likely, but - any weird sounds will be frowned upon.

So? It’s not like I’ve never shared a room with a bodyguard without jumping him before...

... but then I’ve never had a bodyguard who looked remotely as attractive as you...

Maybe we should go somewhere else first... a private island in the Maldives... just - recovering, before jumping back into work...

Fuck’s *sake* Moriarty! What’s wrong with you?! Want to go on a nice trip with your new boyfriend? Walks along the beach, holding hands? You got an Empire to rebuild. You’re not going to do that swimming in the Indian Ocean.

Right. Of course.

I get back into intertribal politics and the effects on the weapons trade.

… I do have to recover a bit though. My mind map has been damaged. Maybe I should give myself the time and space to rebuild it carefully, rather than jumping into another high-risk situation. It might jeopardize it further.

Am I made of bone china?! When have I ever needed rest before?!

Well but I’ve never had a corrupted mind map before...

I’m still arguing with myself when you walk in.

“They didn’t have Theodent anywhere unless they order it in, so I got you Colgate. It’s fine, I’ve been using it for years and my teeth are great.”

I look up.

"Would you rather go to the Maldives or Yemen?”

 

 

When I return a couple of hours later, you're still in the same spot. Really, Jim? You haven't left the bedroom this whole time?

And you seem different - tired. Frustrated. There's a crease mark in between your eyebrows, the hint of shadows under your eyes.

Well, no wonder - you're letting yourself be consumed by this. Poor thing

You don't have a snippy response about substandard toothpaste.

Instead you ask - what? First, Dublin.. then Yemen... now the Maldives?

"Really?" I ask, laughing.

I stop laughing when I see how confused you look. What is going on with you?

I throw myself on the bed. "I have two different answers for that. For myself, Maldives, fuck yes, hands down. But for you?" I cock my head, studying you.

"You've been through a lot..." I say carefully. "Brainwashing, torture, injury and sickness, the shock of your memory returning and realizing what was done to you... That would take some time to recover from. I think you need to regroup, and get back to yourself... but I don't know you well enough to say what would best recharge your batteries." I lift one hand, palm up. "Being on the ground, actively rebuilding your Empire and plotting to take down your enemies?" I lift the other hand. "Or taking some time away for yourself, so you can get stronger..." I bring my hands together with force. "And then rebuilding your Empire and taking down your enemies... as painfully as possible. I guess I do have an opinion... but it all comes down to what you need. Where would you rather be recovering?"

 

 

Regroup.

Recharge batteries.

Hippy nonsense.

I should be getting my finger out. No time to waste.

(But I’m so tired...)

*Recovering*...

“I guess... a week or two wouldn’t hurt? I’ve been in that bloody church for so long... and it’d give the first commotion some time to die down... less chance of ringing alarm bells...”

I look up at you.

Not because I’m hoping for support. I’m just trying to gauge your opinion. You’re still new. I need to know how you work.

 

 

I watch your face as you consider my words and find myself holding my breath. Damn. You asked my opinion (!!) about what I wanted, and I did give it - but it was buried under everything else... and you looked extremely dubious, even scathing, and now I just missed out on an opportunity to go on a beach sex holiday with you... well, therapeutic rest holiday... but with sex, beaches, sex on beaches, and I want to go!!

Now Yemen feels like far less of a fun adventure and more like work...

Fuck...

Why do I -

What?

Wait. What!

Two weeks?!

I suppress my urge to whoop with glee, and scoop you up. Fuck... calm down, Seb...

“I think that would be prudent...” I say, nodding sagely.

Yes. Prudent.

The most prudent sex holiday ever.

I get up, focusing on not smiling like a loon. “I’ll just change the flights and accommodations. Won’t take me long...” I say in the most casual tone ever, and slip out to the living room with my laptop.

No more discussion, I think, grinning madly. We’re doing this...

 

 

It’s for my health...

I am strong and in charge, always, but if I break a leg I don’t go walking on it - that would be stupid.

My mind map is corrupted and I don’t know how it will develop. I’ll need to keep a close eye on it. Better to do so in a peaceful environment.

What if Father James comes back and starts panicking in the middle of the desert? Better be on a quiet island with a trusted bodyguard.

I realize I don’t know shit about you. I could have researched more when I looked up your number - well, and name - but... I’d rather hear it from you.

Anyway. That can wait. I can make a beautiful file on you later. Now first let’s survive getting out of London.

A private island in the Maldives might be more likely to attract Mycroft’s attention than Yemen, so let’s fly to Colombo first, then leave from there.

Do I need a doctor on call? Hell, do I need a fucking shrink on call?

Wait, you’re not booking flights to the Maldives with my Yemeni ID, are you?

“Sebastian!”

 

 

I start doing a search for flights, then on a whim, I switch to accommodations.

I'm looking at places with the most privacy, which I'm sure is what you'll want, and of course those places are posh as fuck...

which you'll appreciate, and will make me want to set things on fire. But whatever. This isn't about me.

I hear my name being called by that voice...

"What?" I call back, perusing accommodations. Oooh, this suite has a jacuzzi in the bathroom...

But maybe you'd prefer a private guest house...

 

 

“I need a new ID,” I explain, entering the living room. “A Yemeni going to the Maldives is going to raise suspicion. And we need to fly to Colombo first, then move from there. I could pass for Indian; I can do an Indian accent. Get me an Indian ID. Sri Lankan fly from Heathrow. We should book separately.”

I bend over your shoulder.

“What have you been looking at? Jacuzzis?!”

 

 

I'm nodding as you speak. Makes sense... clever Boss...

Uh oh...

"I wasn't looking at Jacuzzis, I was checking out the features of a suite. But am I right in assuming you'd prefer something more private? Guest house? Private beach?"

 

 

“Private island. They got loads. With supplies sent over, no staff on the island. An English-speaking doctor on standby on an island nearby. GP with psychiatry specialization. I’ve found some good candidates in India.”

If I’m going to be recovering, I’m going to recover good.

 

 

Wow... You've done your research...

Didn't we just start talking about the Maldives?

Jesus. I thought I was good...

I'd better step up my game if you're going to find me useful... is there anyone you need me to kill on the way to the airport?

"OK... would you prefer to choose the island, since you've already been looking?"

You're willing to see a psychiatrist?? I don't know why I find this so shocking...

 

 

"Coco Privé. I don't want anyone else there. It's available - we'll send the staff to a neighbouring island and they can bring food and pick up the laundry. We don't need to pack - we hardly have any stuff. I'm sure they'll be happy to provide us with whatever we need. I don't think you should go to your house - it's been compromised.

Anything else?"

 

 

"Not that I can think of... I'll take care of ID and flights. You do accommodations. We can buy some clothes while we're there, but I don't think we'll be wearing too much. Because it'll be hot," I say loftily when you look at me. My eyes return to my screen.

Yeah, that's what I was thinking... not us naked on the beach... naked in the sea... naked and sipping tropical drinks...

Oh god... we've fucked once, and I'm addicted...

"I'll pack restraints?" I say innocently.

 

 

"Nope. I don't want anything setting off alarm bells at the airport. I'll have some delivered there... along with some other... tools I might want to use..."

Damn it Moriarty - you'd think you've been celibate for a year...

But you do look delectable... I can't wait to make you scream again...

*Enough*, or you'll never get out of here.

You look up at me. Your blue eyes dark and on fire.

Oh fuck...

"Bedroom." I say, hoarsely.

 

 

Tools? God... what am I in for? And why can’t we be there now? But you’re looking cool, and all business... oh.

No, you’re not...

I feel my breathing shift...

my eyes blaze...

And then.

Bedroom.

So much promise packed into that one word...

I inhale deeply.

“Yes, Sir...” I breathe.

And I retreat to the bedroom, where I wait for you by the bed. Trembling with trepidation and my desire for you.

 

 

Well - it makes sense, right? I’ve not had sex or even masturbated for a year. That’s not healthy. I need to catch up. Get rid of some excess buildup of urges. So I’ll be able to concentrate on the work again.

As I enter the bedroom I have to hold back a gasp. I, James Motherfucking Moriarty, actually have to hold back a gasp.

I really need a break. And a lot of sex. When did I last have a holiday? Fuck it. Live a little.

I stalk towards you, see you swallow, look at me with naked hunger.

Swallow. Good idea.

"On your knees."

 

 

As I wait for you, I’m wondering - should I have taken my clothes off? But you didn’t give me an order to... then all thoughts are driven from my head when you stalk in.

God, the look on your face when you enter the room... I will never forget it for the rest of my days...

Your eyes are gleaming pools, unfathomably black and bottomless... like they could pull me into an abyss... were you a demon all along?? I don’t even care... You want me, and you can do what you like with me.

Then hearing you give your next order... I have to choke back a noise building in my throat. I sink to my knees, and stare up at you.

 

 

*Fuck*, that's hot - that look on your face as you sink down, not breaking eye contact, getting down on your knees, kneeling for me, the sexiest man I've ever seen...

Fuck yes, the Maldives was an excellent choice. There's no way I could have kept my hands off you in Yemen. And it would be a sin to spoil that beauty by exposing it to the air of Dublin.

I walk to where you're sitting, push my trousers down, grab your hair, push you onto my cock.

I do want to play some more... but I should let you recover, should plan getting out of London - the longer we stay the more dangerous it gets - and fuck I just *need* you...

 

 

God, how you look at me, looming above me... like I (oh, fuck) belong to you, and yes, that’s all I want; I do belong to you, please yes...

Your trousers come down, and I’m staring with hunger at your cock, oh my god, yes manhandle me, I’m fucking yours, Jim...

Your cock is pushed into my mouth, and I moan with the pleasure of it... I can’t help but remember the first time, but this is so much hotter, you’re fully here, you’ve made me yours, I’m yoursyoursyours...

And now that I’m not half asleep and confounded, I can work my magic.

I slide my tongue up and down, up and down, as I take you all the way into my mouth.

Humming quietly, I suck with intensity, then slightly less, teasing you. I look up at your dark eyes, and there’s a flutter in my chest, and I almost stop what I’m doing...

I slide a hand slowly across your hip to your arse, and squeeze. Eyes locked onto yours, I take you deep into my throat, and suck deliciously hard.

 

 

Oh, you're *enjoying* this...

When did you fall from heaven, you improbable angel? And how did you end up selling your soul, or at least your body, to the devil himself?

Never mind, you're *mine* now, and I'm going to enjoy you *so much*... And you're going to *love* it...

*Fuck*, you're good at this -

how did you get so good at this?

I'm going to cut off all their dicks...

Mine now...

Oh *god* that mouth...

My head is starting to get a bit light - I pull you off, sit down on the bed, kiss you hard before I push your head back down.

 

 

Mmm, you're so into this, I'm going to make this so good for you, Jim...

(my Jim...)

Your eyes flash with something... something dark... making me shiver. But then it passes, and suddenly I'm being pulled off your cock, nooo, that's for me, but now you're sitting on the bed, pushing my head back where it belongs, servicing you, pleasuring you, watching you to gauge your responses as I flick my tongue rapidly over your head, and languorously over your shaft, making you gasp, making your head fall back, that's right, just sit back and enjoy, my king, I'm back to sucking hard and deep, Jim Jim oh god Jim...

 

 

Fuck - this is good -

I let myself enjoy it, feel your tongue, your lips, your hands on me...

My hand tightens in your hair, moving you harder, faster...

God, this mouth - unlike anything I've ever experienced... it's so fucking good I'm losing much of the power of thought...

It feels *so fucking good*...

I don't know what the fuck I was thinking the past year, but this is *definitely* part of what is needed to make me be *myself* again. I feel on top of the world, I feel ten miles high, I feel omnipotent, I feel like Jim Fucking Moriarty...

 

 

I'm making noises as I suck you, and it's not just to excite you...

You excite me. But it's gone far beyond excitement now...

You've bewitched me...

I would rather blow you than get a blow job from anyone...

I would rather blow you than fuck anyone...

I have never felt like this before in my life, but god, it's like I was living... a lie.

None of it was true.

Shit... it's like the false me split open under your lashes, your knife, your lips, your cock... and I emerged from that skin, as I was supposed to be.

Yours.

God, yes... yours...

I moan as I suck you harder and faster, harder and faster, grasping your cheeks, pulling you deeper into my throat rhythmically... hypnotically... making you gasp... and groan... and grip my hair hard as you begin to shiver, shiver so deliciously, yes, my beautiful Jim, come now, come for me...

 

 

Fuck - god - god - fuck -

I seem caught in a litany of those two words, interspersed with your face, your face as you are performing your *magic*, and there is no other word for it, there is nothing that could ever endeavour to compare to this - I mean, yes, I know I haven't had sex for a year, but I do recall what it was like, and *nothing*, *nothing*, *ever* came close to comparing to this - I would have *remembered*, I would have kept the provider close, if it meant keeping him on a chain in a dungeon...

*Hmmm*, there’s a thought...

Oh *fuck* -

This is too much. Surely the human body wasn't built to withstand such intensity. I'm going to die, my heart is going to go too fast and break through my chest, my cock is going to explode, my eyes are going to pop out, I'm...

... exploding into a million shining stars...

... wave after wave of pleasure...

... oh *god*...

"Se*bas*tian... *fuck*..."

 

 

Your gasping is coming so fast now, you're moaning so feverishly...

Because of me... what I'm doing for you...

Mmmm... I could do this forever.

I have to find a way to do this forever.

I watch in a daze as you break apart, shuddering, and spilling into my mouth, crying out my name, oh god, oh god, I love to hear you say my name...

I swallow, and continue to lick and suck, until you whimper and pull my hair.

Gently I release your cock, and smile up at you.

"Sir is satisfied, I take it?"

 

 

Fuck - no - *no* - I can't take it - too intense -

I have to pull you off, and am irritated to hear a small whimper in my voice - damn it - I *don't* whimper - but this is *too much* -

You're looking ridiculously smug, but I can't blame you - anyone who has just delivered a blow job like that is entitled to look as smug as he likes - fuck, he should be nominated for sainthood.

Snarky comment. Oh, you rascal...

"It'll do..."

 

 

Oh, you fucker... that was Olympic-calibre, and you know it...

I roll my eyes and get up.

"I'll just keep striving, shall I?" I smile brightly at you.

My cock is hard. Of course. I can't imagine making a sultry suggestion, like I would to someone else... ehm... now what?

 

 

Fuck me. I'm never going to be able to get up again.

You sit next to me on the bed, your trousers tenting. Ah yes. I guess you deserve a reward.

Not that I'm able to move.

"Did I say you could get up?"

 

 

My eyebrows shoot up. “...No, Sir.”

I slide back down to the floor, where I wait on my knees.

“Won’t happen again, Sir...”

Shit. You have me trained well, don’t you...

 

 

Beautiful... so beautiful, my graceful and elegant knight...

I love watching you move, you're like a dancer, your body so efficient and effortless in its movements.

And there you are, on your knees, looking up at me. Obeying me. Calling me Sir. *delicious*... oh yes, I should bask in this for a few weeks. It will be *so* healing...

I look at you, closely.

"Move down your trousers and pants," I command. You do so. Your cock is proudly erect, striving towards me. I move closer to the end of the bed.

"Stroke yourself. Make yourself come. No - don't look away from my eyes. I want to see every bit of your journey."

 

 

Well, you seem pleased with me rectifying the situation quickly... that’s something.

And now I’m being ordered to pull down my trousers, and oh god, yes, Sir... does this mean...?

Oh...

This is the kind of order to make a man feel self-conscious... exposed... subservient...

But I am not such a man.

Sex is hot, and I’m hot. And you watching me is fucking hot.

I stroke myself as I like to be touched. Stroke, stroke, hard stroke, hard stroke... my thumb swipes over the head on the fourth stroke. Your eyes are moving from my hand on my cock to my eyes. I don’t look away. I watch you watching me. My desire increases when you meet my eyes.

Bloody hell. I’m not going to last very long...

I’m panting. I’m trembling. My strokes are coming harder and faster...

 

 

The recording facilities in my mind are engaged in high-definition, with double back-ups. This is incredibly hot, and though I'm spent for the moment, I will definitely want you to do this again.

Your eyes are huge and dark, your mouth open, breaths coming shallow. I glance from your face to your delightful cock, your hand stroking it expertly. You're already so very turned on; this isn't going to take long.

I focus on your face. I want to see you look at me, look at me with desire, with pleasure, with hunger. I want to see your pupils dilate. I want to see the moment you lose yourself, for me, because I ordered you.

Not long now. Small shivers are moving up and down your body. Your hand is moving faster, your mouth opens wider, breaths coming shallower. Your tongue licks your lips as you keep staring into my eyes.

"Come for me, Sebastian..." I whisper.

 

 

Fuck... I've never had an experience like this in my life. Have I done this before for anyone? I must have done... I'm finding it harder and harder to remember what life was like before you. Or at least, to care. What is that? What is this mesmerizing effect you have on me?

Whatever. This hand on my cock is stroking for you. I'm panting and moaning for you. And now I'm coming for you, because you told me to. Almost instantaneously, I feel a surge of heat and desire at your words, and it consumes me, burns me up, swallows me whole. I'm wholly inside your realm, enveloped in Jim, and I'm shuddering, shuddering, gasping, exploding, yes...

I continue to stroke as I thrust into my own hand, aiming at my abdomen. I feel sticky wetness, and I look up at you, panting.

You seem very pleased, and somehow... that's as good as the orgasm itself. If not better...

Jesus. What has happened to me? And what will become of me after two weeks on a private tropical island with you? I smile up at you in a daze. Do with me what you will, Sir...

 

 

Perfect, just perfect. You come almost the moment I tell you, and it looks intense...

You can tell a lot about a man from looking into his eyes as he comes. It’s when he is at his most vulnerable - at his most accessible.

You are, indeed, as I’d surmised, mine. You love me telling you what to do. You love kneeling in front of me. You love sucking my cock.

You come, shuddering, panting, groaning, screwing your eyes closed when it gets too much, but then opening them again, because I told you to watch me, and there’s nothing you want more than to obey.

You’re hooked, Sebastian... you’re addicted to the powerful drug of Jim Moriarty.

(And so am I)

(Fuck off. I’m just feeling a bit weak at the moment. I don’t do addictions.)

My hand reaches out. Important to reward my loyal subject. I stroke your hair, your temple, your jaw.

“Beautiful...”

 

 

My heart soars when you touch me. And explodes when you say Beautiful...

Fuck... your approval is... everything.

And your attraction, your enjoyment, your pleasure... is beyond anything I've ever wanted.

I stare at you, practically swooning at your touch. God... if my former commanding officers could see me now. If my father could see me now. I want to laugh wildly. This is as far from the army and aristocracy as I can possibly get... farther than I ever got as an assassin.

Good.

I'm finally where I belong.

I have to stop myself from gasping at the thought, from tears springing to my eyes...

After a lifetime of searching... I'm where I belong...

 

 

You look so delighted when I stroke you, tell you how beautiful you are...

It almost makes me feel...

no.

I don’t feel stuff. Don’t be stupid.

Still. It’s awfully sweet.

“You can get up now...” I murmur.

I reach out my hand, help you onto the bed. Not that you need any help, but it’s a gesture...

You sit down, then we both lie down, spent. Would it be silly if I curled up with you?

Of course. What are we, sweet young lovers?

I’m tired again... geez I need a holiday...

I close my eyes - just a moment...

 

 

The expression on your face... softens.

oh...

an unfamiliar feeling comes over me...

an opening in my chest...

butterflies...

(Butterflies?? Who am I??)

You tell me to get up, and then - extend your hand. I take it and it feels like I'm floating...

floating up towards you...

You lie down, and I follow suit.

Ohh... this feels...

so...

You close your eyes.

I want to curl up with you so much...

Can I?

Holding my breath, I snake an arm around your waist.

And exhale slowly.

 

 

Is that an... arm?

Oh god no. No *cuddling*. We can't *cuddle*. Cuddling leads to all kinds of expectations and...

I'm too tired to think about what else.

But cuddling can't happen…

I nod off, the arm still on my waist. I half wake, because the weight on a stomach that has had a lot of upset and just ate is unpleasant. I can't lie on my right shoulder, because that's been shot, so I have to turn on my left, bringing me closer to you.

You smell of fresh sweat and sexy man and safe space.

Really? Already? What's that about? They really did do a number on my brain, didn't they?

Your other arm moves to form a pillow for my head. Well. I guess that is acceptable. I'm so comfy and warm... and sleepy...

 

 

I'm expecting you to push away my arm, or snap at me, or just glare at me...

But you just drift off, and I let myself relax into your warmth.

Could still happen... Could have a firm talking to in my future. But - I won't know the boundaries until I test them. And I won't be able to affect the boundaries until I look for weaknesses...

Which I fully intend to do.

You twitch and then turn towards me. I inhale your scent deeply. Jesus... I could just lie here for a century breathing you in... that sweet masculine scent with notes of honeysuckle from the shampoo you used last.

Slowly I move another arm under your head. You say nothing, and your breathing slows down again. I watch you through slitted eyes as you drift off, then allow my eyelids to flutter shut.

 

 

When I wake, it's deep dark night and I'm relaxed and dozy despite several parts of my body aching. There is Sebastian all around me. I could get used to this...

I shouldn't. It's a weakness.

But I could...

I move, and you wake, and blink at me sleepily, your eyes colourless in the little light filtering through the curtain. You look uncertain - well done, Sebastian, you've already learned I'm an unpredictable nasty fucker.

Anyway.

"Good morning," I grin. You look relieved.

 

 

Movement... warmth...

where am I?

Jim.

Jim is where I am... and my arms are still around you. Should I move them? Or wait for you to say something?

Oh god, I've waited too long to decide...

and now you're... smiling at me? Wishing me good morning??

"Morning," I say sleepily. "Or... night?"

That's it. I'm not moving until I have to.

 

 

"It's around three a.m., I'd say," I mumble. "We should probably get up and book flights. We were going to, but then we were so *rudely* interrupted..." My cock stirs at the memory of the rude interruption. Oh god, really? Are you going to do this to me every time you see Sebastian? We're never going to get anything done... and wouldn't it be more comfortable to do this in a private villa on the Maldives rather than in a dump in Acton?

But your cock seems similarly inclined, and you look at me and *fuck*...

I grab your shoulder, pull you over, your cock rubs against my cock and I'm on *fire* - I kiss you, hard, teeth clashing, a lip in between, blood - yours? mine? who cares -

 

 

Three a.m.?? And you want to get up? What about sleeping all cosy like we are, and then waking up and fucking and having breakfast and then getting going?

You're still pressed against me, so when your cock starts to twitch, I am very aware. And my cock responds and I am no longer interested in sleeping.

And neither are you by the way you pull me onto you, and kiss me, ohhh fuck...

The kiss quickly becomes ferocious, and there's a sharp pain and the taste of blood.

I moan into your mouth - then pushing you into the mattress, I grasp your arse, and pull your pelvis against mine.

 

 

There is nothing else in the world but cock and desire and Sebastian and lust and want and *now*. Shit - still only got fucking sunflower oil - oh well - I move you over, bend down off the bed, you grasping for me; this must be how cavemen fuck - all primal urge and no space for reason -

I grab the bottle, pour oil over myself, onto my hand - over the bed - fuck the bed -

Give me give me *give me* Sebastian, *now*, *NEED*, needneedneed...

My mouth travels over your body as I rub oil around you, feel you become slick, oh god I must be inside you, it’s unthinkable not to, Sebastian...

Fuck, did I just moan your name? -*WHO CARES* -

I must be must merge must Sebastian...

 

 

God... fuck... Jim...

I’m desperate as you move away and stop kissing... grabbing the bottle, pouring oil onto yourself, onto me, fuck yes...

more... oh god, more...

I’m already so addicted, my need for you is blazing within me, yearning for your touch...

oh god, I need to kiss the lips that my name just spilled from...

“JIM,” I groan, and kiss you hungrily.

 

 

You’re as frantic as I am, all hands and lips and limbs; I push your legs up, feel, find, push, *god*, tight, hot, *mine*; your lips taste of blood and smoke and sin and lust, you are fucking *amazing*, like a fucking virgin playing in my head, not quite touched for the very first time, but never had sex like this, had no idea it could be so *good*, so fucking good, your arse is as exquisite as your mouth; it wasn’t just because of the long buildup yesterday, we’ve had *no* buildup now and it is *magnificent*...

And you’re loving this, loving being taken by me, no preamble, no niceties, just - this - which is fire and explosions and exhilaration, ecstasy on a whole new level, that no one ever told me about, how dare they keep this from me, I’m going to kill them all, except for you, you my soldier, bringer of rapture, bodily manifestation of divine pleasure...

“Fuck - Sebastian -“

 

 

God, is this... is this just what we do now? I hadn't dared to hope...

I moan at the thought, at all the sensations coursing through my body at once... the throbbing pain all over my body from the First Time... the searing heat from your hands, your lips... your cock, thrusting into me, slickly, forcefully, oh god, claiming me with each thrust, yes, make me yours MakeMeYours...

I look up at you in the darkness, trying to make out details. Your dishevelled hair... your pale skin, looking ghostly in the black room... your open mouth as you pant and groan...

The arch of your back... your straining neck as you throw your head back...

I'm in an ecstatic haze, lost in you, your sex. My cock is rock hard between us. I feel your abdomen lightly glide against my balls as you lean down, and I nearly come then and there.

"oh god, oh fuck," I moan. “I’m close... I'm close, Jim..."

 

 

Oh god you’re falling over the edge just from being fucked? Maybe it is good that I was Father James for a bit... if this is my reward for being good... Saint James gets heaven delivered to his doorstep... complete with gun...

Still. This is all getting overly informal...

I stop moving, grab your balls, tight. You make a sound between a moan and a mewl.

“When we’re in bed, it’s Sir.

And I come first.

Alright?”

I squeeze, let go.

 

 

Just as I'm teetering so close to the edge... you stop. And grab my balls, making me let out the most desperate, unmanly sound.

huh?? what??

OH...

yeah, yeah, whatever it takes... anything you fucking want...

just don't stop...

I wince as you squeeze, and stop myself from gasping... barely.

"Fuck... god, yes... Sir..." I pant. "I understand... whatever you want..."

 

 

Good...

Whatever I want...

Always... always whatever I want, Sebastian...

God, we're going to be such *great friends*...

You are so fucking *beautiful*... even in this little light, I can see how reddish golden your hair is, how silver-blue your eyes, looking at me with such intensity; devouring, relishing, absolutely *loving* every second of this, loving waking up and being fucked hard, by me, always by me, Sebastian, because you are *mine* now, I made you mine, and you begged for it, begged so beautifully, so mellifluously, so eloquently...

*Mine*...

Oh *god*...

I thrust into you hard, and you're panting and alternating screwing your eyes shut and looking at me, and I'm going to come, and you – are so fucking close -

Regardless - I need - now - oh god -

 

 

OH god, how do I not -

fuck-

I want you to touch me...

but we seem to have established a very specific dynamic, and I'm still learning but I don't think 'touch my cock' and 'Sir' really go together, or that you'll be very impressed.

I could touch myself... but if I do, I'll come so fast, and that's apparently verboten...

You seem like you're about to fall over the edge any second now...

"Oh... fucking... hell..." I gasp.

 

 

Yes... no... fucking *heaven*,  Sebastian, all seven levels of it, and the Elysian Fields -

I want to order you to come for me, to  come just from the delight of being fucked by me, but my mouth can't do words,  can't do anything but groan as the world goes black and all pleasure known to

mankind gathers into my balls and explodes into nirvana, paradise, avalon,  vaikuntha, valhalla... I spasm, jerk, moan, gasp, and all in all carry on like  I'm not the world's most self-possessed gentleman, but *fuck*...

see purple fireworks, hear heavenly choirs shrieking in my ears, as I pour  myself into you, the origin of life, the essence of existence, the big bang,  Sebastian, fuck, Sebastian, you are divine, I am the devil and you are my fallen angel, and it's a  miracle this bed hasn't burst into flames yet...

 

 

You're coming and it's so fucking insanely beautiful...

arched back, straining neck, white skin...

your cries, like you've seen the source of the universe...

 

You're coming and I'm transfixed at your beauty, the intensity at which you do everything - jesus, what did I think sex was before??

I haven't even come yet, and I feel like I just underwent an alchemical transformation from yours.

You're still shivering as your orgasm recedes...

you're collapsed against me, sweaty and gasping for breath. My hands grip your hips.

Stay here forever, lying on me... don't ever go...

 

Chapter Text

There's...

... consciousness, somewhere, reluctantly, awareness in a soft void...

... pleasure, diminishing delicate waves bringing the occasional shiver...

... body, heavy, limp, drained but so alive...

Vicinity. Sweat, blood. Hands on me.

*Sebastian*.

How can this already feel so comfortable? I hardly know you...

I know you're mine though... I know I can trust you...

Trust you...

I have never trusted anyone. Not since I was - what, five?

And here is this soldier, coming out of the blue, walking into a church, and I'd trust him with my life...

What is wrong with me?

It's good, though... so good... I'm so tired, confused, I need time... and you will give me time, you will stand guard until the sun burns out, help me recover, get revenge, anything I need... you said so, and I *know* it's true.

Slowly, I feel myself shrinking; I slide out of you. Your cock is still rock hard - it won't need much -

*No*. *Mine*. *Show power*.

Oh come on, he's deserved a reward...

*No*. *Hard leaders get respect*.

Oh, alright then...

 

And it is kind of hot...

 

"I'll take care of that in the morning," I nod at your cock.

 

 

Your weight on me... your damp skin... your sweet-musky scent...

Even with my cock lying against me like a rock... I feel content, basking in your presence.

Your cock softens, and you pull out. I feel moisture leaking.

I wait eagerly for you to turn your attention to me.

What does that mean... in the morning??

I look at you in disbelief.

"What?"

You don't respond.

 

"Really..." I start to feel injured, which quickly gets covered up with irritation.

 

"Really," you echo, seeming unconcerned.

 

God, do I know how to choose them...

The god of my existence is a selfish prick.

 

"Ok...I'll just take care of it myself, shall I?" I shoot you an exasperated look as I get up and head towards the bathroom.

 

 

"Don't you *dare*," I say, my voice dark.

I thought my order was clear?

 

 

What the fuck are you talking about?

I look back slowly from the bathroom door. "Don't I dare... what?"

 

 

Ugh. Slow.

"I *said* I would take care of it. That means that *you* leave it alone until I do."

 

 

My mind goes blank, and I'm struck by the urge to start laughing.

With anyone else under the sun, I would.

Something tells me not to - if only because I can't handle even the thought of you deciding I'm not worth it if I don't want to deal with your madness, and you just fucking disappearing...

No... Fucking... Way...

Which leaves me stranded in between powerlessness and the end of the fucking world.

Only one thing left to do...

I stare at you hard. Then smile slowly, showing my teeth.

"Sir. Deliriously happy to oblige your whims, Sir."

I give you a cocky salute, then shut the door with a bang. Cursing I get into the shower to cool off.

I think of you as cold water pours over me...

The god of my existence is a mad, sadistic control freak...

and I'm completely fucking smitten.

 

 

You look at me intensely for a moment. Are you going to tell me to fuck off? What will I do if you do?

You smile like you’re about to attack me - but don’t. Just squeeze out your words of assent, slam the door shut, and go to have what I assume is a cold shower.

God, you’re delicious... and obedient... and so fucking hot.

I grin to myself as I hear curses float down from the bathroom. I know you won’t disobey. I know that with a reassuring certainty.

I stretch out in the bed, am half asleep by the time you get back into bed, your skin chilly from the water. I move away.

 

 

I towel off in annoyance. I'm not opposed to cold showers. What I am opposed to is being fucked with. But I'm not an idiot - this will not be the last time. You were fucking enjoying it.

Fine. Somehow, I feel even more enmeshed with you, which is downright infuriating.

 

I stalk back into the bedroom naked so I can get dressed and ready for our trip. Only - you're in bed. I guess the plans have changed - again. Fine... I really wasn't in the mood to get up at 3:30 - 4:00 now.

I get back into bed, and you move away. Little fucker. I don't particularly want to cuddle, anyway. I consider going to the other bedroom, but my resolve doesn't even last long enough to sit up.

Instead, I yawn and sprawl out, taking up as much of the bed as possible. I cheerfully pull out one of the pillows that's under your head, and sling an arm over it. There. You take the other room if you want to stretch out. Satisfied, I close my eyes, and feel myself drifting off.

In my dreams, there's a crying cat scratching at the door, and I'm desperately trying to ignore it. It already broke a beautiful crystal vase full of red roses, and I’m not letting it back in. I won’t.

 

 

I wake up - it’s about seven-thirty - stretch. Much more reasonable time to get up. I probably need my sleep when recovering.

(You’re not going to get *indulgent*, are you, Moriarty?)

No - I just - damn it! It’s perfectly reasonable to take time to recover from a bloody year-long brainwash! Also - who am I justifying myself to!?

I turn over.

Ah, yes... there was a pleasant start to this morning planned...

I pull the blankets off you, waking you up, sit on your thighs.

“Good morning, Sebastian...”

 

 

I wake with a start, and a grinning little psychopath sitting on my thighs.

My head falls back onto the pillow. "Oh. Good morning to you," I say with cheery sarcasm. How long will it take you to figure out that the more psychotically happy I sound, the more you have to worry about...

Like he has anything to worry about when it comes to me, I find myself thinking in irritation.

Shut the hell up, Seb...

I gaze up at you. "Sleep well?" I inquire in a voice smooth as silk.

 

 

"Like a *baby*..." I purr.

"I had this really pleasant dream... about you..."

I look down, and little Seb does not disappoint me. It eagerly jumps up, hoping for attention.

"Yes... that featured in my dream, in fact..." I muse. I touch it lightly - just drawing my nail over it - and it twitches obediently.

"Didn't I say I would take care of it? I seem to recall something like that..."

My hand lightly moves over your balls.

"But you know the rules... I come first..." I smile.

I start stroking my cock.

 

 

I watch you closely, wondering if you're going to fuck with me again.

Then your nail moves over my cock, and I shiver slightly.

Yeah, you did say something like that... right before telling me not to touch it.

Your hand on my balls makes me almost swoon, and I can barely focus on what you're saying.

"I wouldn't dream of breaking the rules, Sir..." I murmur, with half-closed eyes. Which then fly open when I see what you're doing.

Ohhh... fuck...

This will be burned into my brain for all time...

It's unbelievably hot and my cock clearly thinks so too, as it hardens abruptly.

Fuck... and I have to lie here and watch helplessly in the face of unbelievable hotness.

The god of my existence is the ultimate tease...

 

 

Ah yes... once again, the perfect response. You’re like the instrument I was born to play... whenever I touch you the most beautiful music comes out. And I don’t know how I know exactly what to do, but I just do - and we spiral higher and higher together...

You’re looking at me like your eyes are going to fall out of their sockets; wide awake, hungry, admiring - I love that - I bask in the glow like a cat in the sun; it’s all I can do not to purr and preen.

Your cock is rock hard - yes, my dear, you will get your release, you’ve been *so* good...

You’re not moving, not even thinking of moving - we already have such a strong dynamic, we both just slotted into it, so naturally... my perfect pet predator...

 

 

You are so beautifully, magnificently sexual... god, I could watch you for the next century and be afraid to miss a microsecond every time I blink.

Your gleaming black eyes...

your cruel, sensual mouth...

your pale hand sliding along that perfect rosy cock that I can't take my eyes off...

 

I've had people perform for me before... I'm never been sure what it is about me that makes people want to impress; I just took it in stride and enjoyed myself - Like, oh, you want to put on a show, honey? Pray, continue... It always felt a bit kingly, which I rather enjoyed... in the moment, anyway... but the performance (and the performer) was generally quickly forgotten as I was off in pursuit of the next bout of pleasure.

 

But this is no performance, this is a bloody royal decree - Behold. You will watch, and you will not move, and you - will - worship - your - King. And you will thank your lucky stars that you are witnessing this stunning display. For truly you are blessed by Fortuna to be a loyal, obedient subject to your King...

Your eyes are half-closed now, your breaths are coming quicker... I stare at you, transfixed and barely breathing.

 

Your decree is working... I have no idea if you'll follow through with touching me, but I've forgotten my resentment... there is only the majesty of JimJimJim, and my reverent worship.

"God..." I hear myself murmur. "So fucking beautiful.."

 

 

Oh yes, worship me... I'm a fucking narcissist par excellence, and I adore this... I love seeing this magnificent sample of pure masculinity lying here at my mercy and in my thrall, gazing at me like I'm the epitome of sensuality... even murmuring his admiration... yes baby, keep it coming...

I am moving faster, feeling my pleasure gather, my heart rate increase, my breaths coming shallower... I glance at you through my eyelashes, looking so full of longing as well as reverence...

And then it's coming, and I'm not stopping it, I'm letting it push its way out, feeling so. fucking. good, landing on you, making your cock twitch, and I moan - fuck, orgasms are so *intense* these days –

 

 

Oh god, oh god... you're getting so close...

I can't believe I get to watch this, fuck...

I will never forget this sight, ever, ever...

and then your body is racked with shivers and gasps and groans...

you're coming on me, your semen splattering on my abdomen.

I realize I've been holding my breath, and I let out a long breath.

"Well, that was fucking magnificent..." I say in a low, ragged voice.

 

 

Ffffuuccckk...

Wow. Even if I’m not touching you; just being with you, looking at you, seeing and hearing your excitement, devotion... fuck, that’s so hot.

Fuck it. I’m going to the Maldives and I’m going to fuck your brains out for two weeks and *then* I’ll see about anything else.

It’s bound to be healing.

You are looking at me like I’m an angel descended from heaven to bless you. In a rather un-angelic way, granted, but your awe and reverence are definitely reminiscent of how a man looks at a deity...

I don’t think I’ll ever get enough of that.

You’re still staring at me with hunger, and yes, my gorgeous predator, it’s time to feed you...

I move my hand over your balls, already so tight, your cock, making your eyes grow even larger, then close briefly, then open again, staring at me.

That’s right, Sebastian. Your god is touching your cock. And he’s going to make it *real* good...

I touch your tip, ever so gently, making you shiver, then I put my hand around you, start moving, carefully, assessing your responses.

 

 

You seem pleased at my response, and this pleases me inordinately. What happened to the man from earlier who was slamming the door and cursing? What happened to the man who became a contract killer so he'd never again have to deal face to face with some arsehole telling him what to do?

That man has vanished... now there is only subject to the king, devotee to the god...

Fuck... you're barely even touching me, and it feels so good, I don't know how I'm not going to come within seconds. Then your hand moves over my cock and I suck in my breath. I bite my lip, focusing... just a little while longer, Seb... you can do this...

 

 

You're so close but you want to savour this... why not, you've earned it. I move my hand, not too fast yet, letting you feel the pleasure without building it up too much.

So...

good morning, Moriarty. You appear to have acquired yourself a live-in bodyguard, pet predator, fuck toy, and second-in-command. These functions have never been combined before. Hell, I've never had a live-in bodyguard before - the thought of having someone near me all the time was *abhorrent*. *Is* abhorrent - unless the someone is you. I wouldn't like not having you near for too long. You feel - safe, comfortable. I know you're a bloody good killer and I know you'll kill for me, and it feels like having your own very violent guardian angel.

And you're so fucking hot - look at you, eyes half closed, rugged facial hair on those *jaws*, muscular body, looking exquisite lying down, but *really* coming into its own when you move, when you walk - when that gunman was in the church and you stalked out to get him - like a cat, silent, determined, deadly... a large ginger cat - a tiger... you're a tiger, look, you even have stripes; stripes that I put there...

I press my fingers onto your chest, drag them down, slowly, not breaking the skin, but reminding you of the pain.

 

 

Your eyes are on me, assessing... I get the sense that you're learning my body, mapping me out... well, I'm yours now, it makes sense you want to know your territory. It's a calculating approach, but a flare of pleasure shoots through my chest at the thought.

I'm clearly as mad as you that this would make me happy...

And you also look like you're admiring your newly acquired possession...

god, each flicker of your eyes over me feels like I'm being appraised... very favourably. I'm feeling downright dreamy, laid out for you like a feast... but excitement is building in me with each stroke of your hand.

You drag your nails down my chest, and my breathing quickens.

How have you combined pain and pleasure like this... just the slightest bit of pain now takes me back to that time, the First Time, oh god was it only hours ago? I feel like everything that came before was from a lifetime ago... none of it matters anymore...

my breathing grows rough, as desire mounts. Fuck... Jim...

 

 

I look into your eyes - you're looking at me, with hunger, pleasure, but also assessment - trying to read what I'm thinking, what I want, what I have planned. Of course - if *I* am surprised at this turn of events, it must be entirely unsettling for you - there you are, doing your job, ending up with a mad priest on your hands, who some ethereal psychopath told you to guard - and you do - and then you find yourself quite literally captivated yourself, enthralled in both senses of the word, and your life is no longer your own, and you have no idea who you've given it to...

Quite the brave and selfless act, my warrior... Except it's not selfless, is it? It's that salvation you say you don't need...

Speaking of salvation - I should give you what you've been longing for -

I speed up my wrist, hear your breaths get shallower, feel your cock tighten, see your eyes close - god, that face, *so* beautiful –

 

 

God... getting there... getting so close...

Can I just come, or am I supposed to ask permission now? It feels like information is being parcelled out to me slowly... which is keeping me off balance, don't think I don't know that...

but I also don't fucking care...

not when your hand is grasping me like you own me (you do), and you're staring at me like your very own treasure (I am), and fuck, whatever, just tell me what to do...

"Can I -" I say, panting, "...come... Sir?"

 

 

Oooh! Permission being asked! Such a *good* tiger!

I'm not going to say: 'Well why did you think I was doing this?'. I'm going to be nice.

"You may..." I purr.

 

 

You look delighted...

Oh, thank fuck...

And your low, seductive purr is what pushes me over the edge.

My body begins to shake uncontrollably, and my head falls back.

"Oh... god...Sir..." I groan, and then I'm going into spasm, exploding, roaring at the ceiling...

Fuuuuck

blissblissblissBLISS

I'm floating through the cosmos, and I hear panting... oh, that's me.

Slowly I return to my body and blink up at you. "Mmm. S'really fucking good, Sir..." I manage to mumble.

 

 

Again, you're coming when I tell you... this is even headier than having the power of life and death over someone - which I do with you, of course, but it's much more than that. I've never been this close to anyone - I've always kept well away from people, and for good reason - but you are just so - fitting, so right. Like I had this space which was there and which was fine, but it wasn't until you slotted into it so perfectly that I realized that that was what that space was for.

And that's dangerous, Moriarty. That way dependence can grow, Moriarty. We're not getting *dependent*, are we, Moriarty?

No - of course not. But I have to admit that it's pretty damn good to have this - whatever this is. This Sebastian. This roaring tiger.

Your orgasm seems pretty damn intense - I can't compare it with any previous data, of course (*what previous data!?*) - *but*, I think we can assume that this is more intense than usual.

There are different factors at play here... one is the strong leader that the lost man searches for, one is how much you love my charisma and - well - hot body, one is your *very* strong masochistic and submissive urges that I am *more* than happy to indulge, one is your romantic disposition - the Knight giving himself to a King -, one is your protective side which seems to be invoked despite you being very aware that I am more dangerous than you...

So many sides to you, Tiger.

You blink up at me in bliss and pride. I smile, grab a few tissues, clean us both up a bit.

"Shower?"

 

 

You smile at me and it’s like a gift... it dazes me. You’re such a predator, I don’t expect it of you... but it makes you no less predatory. You could wield it like a weapon... but this smile seems relaxed, and a tentative glow lights up my heart.

Don’t get too comfortable, I tell my heart wryly, as I spring up to follow you into the bathroom.

I ease into the shower, my beautiful, sadistic boss already under the hot spray of water. Right. How do we do this? Because this is a first for me... I don’t generally bathe with employers, or men I have sworn myself to (as if there could be more than one). Lovers, sure - once and then never again. But you’re not exactly that - you’re the boss in bed as well as out. None of what I would normally do seems to apply.

I watch you soap yourself, and I grab a shampoo bottle. I lather my hair, and on a whim, I start to do the same to you. You stiffen and look up in surprise - then relax under my attention. I feel the bones under your scalp as I scrub your hair. I want to know every inch of you. Need to. Your eyes close as I nudge you under the spray, and rinse your hair. I take this moment to gaze at your unguarded face. Beautiful. Jim.

How do I make you mine, I think, before shaking my head. Idiot. How could I make a wolf mine, or a shark? How could I make a tidal wave or hurricane mine? Or the moon and stars? You stalk, you destroy, you shine...

I just want to be there for the ride, wherever it takes me. That’s what I tell myself as I lather your hair with conditioner and gaze at your beautiful face.

 

 

Hmmmm... hairdresser as well? Is there no end to your talents?

I do my best to not indulge in purrs and leaning against you as you massage the lather into my hair.

When I was a kid I’d fantasize about a large wolf that would be my friend and would protect me - against my father, against bullies, anything. He would be big and strong and terrifying and he would hurt anyone who wanted to hurt me. He’d be absolutely loyal and understand everything I said and always be by my side and sleep in my bed and come to school with me and I never would be hurt again.

It does look like I got my wish... except instead of a wolf, I got a tiger... even better. And I get to have sex with him as well, which never quite featured in my childhood wolf fantasies.

We towel off, get dressed, and go on our respective laptops to book islands, flights, supplies, and IDs.

 

 

It takes a while, but finally, finally, everything is in place for our trip. I step out for a couple more things we need (can't believe you forgot to mention lube), and some takeaway for us.

Your appetite is getting better, but I still end up eating half your doner kebab, rice, and salad. By the time we're done, it's time to get going to the airport.

As we wait for the car to arrive, I feel dazed. Is this actually happening? I'm going with the most beautiful man I've ever seen to the Maldives for a rest (sex) holiday? For two weeks?

All because I shot a man in a church? Whoever said crime doesn't pay is a fucking idiot.

 

 

I turn into Vivek Joshi from Delhi, a mathematician who’s studying at the University of Essex and visiting the University of Colombo for some research. You bleach your hair and you’re Jake Leedham from Colchester, going to Sri Lanka to surf and party. We pick up some likely luggage en route to the airport, get onto the Piccadilly Line at different points, ignore each other at Heathrow and on the plane.

In Sri Lanka we change identities - I’m Amit Nehra, going to the Maldives to work as a sous-chef in one of the resorts, you’re Pete Olsen, going to surf and party.

In Malé we meet Hilmy, the owner of Coco Privé, who tells us that all has been arranged for our arrival, the staff has been relocated so the island is empty, but they’re just a phone call away; there are meals in the fridge and freezer for seven days, and plenty of fresh fare if we want to cook our own; everything they suspected we might want is there, everything we ordered is there, and if we want *anything* else let him or Hammad know and it will be got.

 

We get on a boat which takes us to our island. I’m happy the trip has gone well but very anxious to be alone with you again - bloody hell, I’m addicted...

 

 

It’s a long, long travel day. You’re mostly quiet, on your laptop, or staring into space with an intent expression. I automatically know I should never interrupt these reveries when they happen - it seems like something very important is happening. Crucial to the entire mission. So I stay vigilant and present like a good bodyguard, even at a distance. I hate being separated from you, having to keep from staring at you...

But finally, when we get to our destination, we’re reunited - happily for me, and as for you, I doubt it makes too much of a difference except that you’ll probably enjoy sex when it happens. I have to make peace with this non-emotional connection, by necessity... or it’s going to kill me. Right, Seb. You’re loyal security, sexy plaything, and Jim’s right-hand man - that’s all. That’s plenty.

What more do you want, anyway?? A sunset proposal? A declaration of love, crying in the rain? Kissing tenderly on the beach, making love under the stars?

Can I see Jim doing any of these things? Fuck, no. So spare yourself the heartache, and just... get over yourself. This is fine. This is amazing. We’re going to shake the foundations of the civilized world by the time we’re through... and if Mycroft Holmes is still alive, he won’t be able to pick up all the pieces.

I smile ferally as we travel across the sea to the island. (Our island...) You look at me questioningly, and I say nothing, just tilting my head back to breathe deep of the sea air.

 

 

Here we are.

Here *we* are.

I’d never think of going to a fucking tropical island before. And - I guess it would make no sense to go to one on my own. Why do you make so much of a difference? Why does this suddenly seem like something healing, even fun? When do I ever do something for fun that doesn’t involve intricate plots and games but just... indulging myself? Indulging my *body*? I always just regarded my mind as important. The body was - there, to be used as a tool, not to be spoiled.

Like a gun or a sword, I knew I had to maintain my body, so I gave it food and did exercise and stuff, and occasionally did things to still the urges; used some handsome guy and discarded him - but the only indulgence is coffee, and you could argue that’s more about the brain.

And now I’m about to go on a sex holiday with - some guy who is not to be discarded?

But that’s not just a body indulgence. It’s also to let my mind recover, by letting it rest for a bit. If they’d broken my ankle, I wouldn’t go forcing it to do ballet. Same with the mind - let it rest, see how it feels.

We get off on the pier, Hammad gives us a quick tour, ensures we have his phone number, and he’s off - here we are. All alone on a desert island - with a well-stocked villa.

 

 

I'm standing on the pier, as our contact leaves by boat. As I watch the boat grow smaller and smaller on the waves, a feeling washes over me... what? Uncertainty. Excitement. Fear.

That's a lot of feelings...

I was alone with you, as Jim anyway, for a couple of days. Then travel time. Now alone again, but we're really alone... like private island alone. I'm not used to spending time with anyone since leaving the SAS... but that was years of living in extremely close proximity and intense work, by professional necessity. It bonded us so deeply, we barely needed to speak to express something.

Maybe that's why being on my own felt like being out in the cold...

like I had been expelled from Paradise, and nothing would ever be alright again.

I would never feel close or warm again...

(Jesus... you're a fallen angel now, Seb? Maybe just get over yourself...)

Now, what you and I have is similar, at first glance... close proximity... intense, dangerous work... but why does it feel different?

Is it the sex?

I never had a difficult time separating work and sex before...

Well, what am I supposed to do? Not have sex with you on a private island for two weeks??

I laugh loudly, then turn around. You're not there, already gone into the villa...

I walk slowly towards it, still feeling uncertain. Fear and excitement crash through me like waves.

Let's see what kind of alcohol this place has... I need a drink. Now.

 

 

 

I must be mad. Well - that’s known, but - how on Earth did I find myself on an island alone with some guy I only just met? Usually my staff is extensively vetted and tried before they get anywhere *near* me - and here I am with one of the world’s most lethal men, who I’m pretty surely going to drive to the edge of his endurance and beyond - and I’ve never been so comfortable with anyone.

Well - I’ve always trusted my hunches. My mind is sometimes too quick for even me to follow, so if I know something without knowing how I know it, I’ll still take it. And I know I can trust you...

 

Right - let’s explore our new quarters. Definitely better than the Acton dump.

The villa is tasteful, lots of wood and glass and comfortable cotton. It’s stretched, so all rooms have a sea view, and a pool runs alongside it, like an inviting moat. It’s light, pleasant, airy, and pretty - looks like a good place to rest.

All tables have been laid, I notice with amusement - god forbid we’d have to do that ourselves...

After our long journey I’m mostly keen to have a shower, though the pool and sea look pleasant too - no. Shower, resisting the temptation of a blowjob, nap on that giant bed, and then explore the delights of my new... what do I call you? Bodyguard/second in command/sex... person -... I have never read or heard about someone like you, let alone have any experience with anything like this.

You stalk in behind me, head straight to the fridge, take out a bottle. “Beer, Boss?”

Yes, actually, a cool beer does sound refreshing after our journey...

“I’ll have one, yes, Tiger.”

 

Chapter Text

I pause in the act of grabbing two cans from the fridge.

Did you just call me - Tiger?

Did I hear that right?

Huh... Tiger.

Well, it’s flattering... Fierce. Beautiful. Lethal. You’ve got me dead to rights...

“Coming right up,” I call back with a grin on my face. I have a pet name. What can I call you? Kitten? Hah. I already know the answer to that. Sir in bed. Jim everywhere else. Boss is fine. Definitely, definitely not Kitten...

My hands close on the cold cans, and I set them on the counter. I grab a glass for you, in case you want it. I find a bag of crisps in case you’re peckish, and pour them into a bowl. I bring the beer, glass and bowl into the living room, and place them on the table.

“Dinner in an hour or two?” I grab a handful of crisps and stuff them in my mouth, before throwing myself on the sofa. I tip the beer back and drink with gusto.

My head falls back. “I feel better already... this place looks amazing. Good choice, Boss...” I sigh and drink heartily.

 

 

I grab some crisps, have a large sip of beer, and find myself mimicking your lounging pose on the sofa. It *is* very comfortable...

Unlike you, I didn’t sleep on the plane, and I’m knackered.

“If I don’t move, I’ll fall asleep on this sofa... it’s very good. God, so much better than Acton... and those horrible planes. I don’t see how you could sleep in that tight tiny chair,” I complain.

You shrug. “One year in the army, and you are able to sleep anywhere. A plane seat is a luxury.”

You take another swig of your beer. God, you look so... masculine and hot and sexy and...

I may need to reconsider that blow job in the shower...

I have another sip of beer but it just makes my limbs feel heavy.

“I need a shower and a sleep, Sebastian. Let’s explore the bathroom.”

 

 

Your eyes are on me... I know that look.

God, I know that look...

I'm trying not to make it too obvious that I'm checking you out while you check me out.

But then you invite me to 'explore the bathroom' with you, and... I'm up in an instant. If my instincts are right, and they most often are, I'm not going to have to hide that I'm checking you out.

And if my instincts are wrong... god help me, I have no idea how I'm going to keep my hands off you while you're naked and wet...

I lead the way to the bathroom that we had been shown on our brief tour. The bathroom is stunning... like something out of the pages of a design magazine. Très-chic.

Not the usual kind of thing I notice or give a fuck about... but you look calmer here. Like beautiful surroundings and clean lines are necessary for your mental wellbeing. Noted.

God... the flat in Acton feels like a lifetime ago.

Now we're removing clothing, tossing it in a heap on the floor.

Now we're stepping into the huge designer shower, where you crank the water to a hot blast. At least it's not scalding like it was in Acton.

Now I'm trying not to reach for you, or kiss you... let him make the first move, Seb.

I soap myself slowly, staring at your beautiful pale arse, your shoulder blades jutting from your skin, your wet black hair, now flattened against your head.

Beautiful... so beautiful...

 

 

This is more like it. Huge waterfall shower - I just didn't feel I could get properly *clean* with that little streak of piss in Acton.

I rub the sweat, grime, and make-up from my skin, reach for the body wash - see a pair of flashing blue eyes - oh -

do you even *realize* how hungry and predatory you look? It's *very* hot...

I hand you the body wash.

 

 

I hesitate for only a moment before I take the body wash from you. I squeeze some foamy liquid into my palm, and the scent of jasmine fills the air.

I breathe it in staring at you.

Damn... you smell good, baby.

Jesus... Stop calling him things that aren’t Sir or Jim...

I reach out and trace foamy circles across your arms and shoulders... your chest... feeling the hard muscles underneath soft white skin...

What did you do to get so strong?

I picture you living as a priest for a year, wearing your priest’s cassock...

and now I know what lies beneath...

Now I’m touching it...

I slowly move my hand down to your abdomen and have to restrain myself from plastering my body against yours...

I must stop myself...

I’m pretty sure I should stop myself...

My hand inches further down.

 

 

Strong hands gliding over my skin, skirting over my muscles, cleaning me from all the dirt of the long journey stuck in between *people* everywhere...

I take a deep breath, breathing in the jasmine scent, the water vapour, the vicinity of my private tiger, but most of all the *space*. I don't like people. It's a bit of a miracle that I'm letting you be here, but you're not people - you're a people preventer. Anyone comes too close, you'll get rid of them. Heaven.

You're getting quite close, but that's really quite pleasant... we're nearly touching, and your hand is sliding... oh... yes, that is most welcome...

 

 

I seem to have received a green light... from you, and from your cock, which appears to be perking up.

My hand continues its descent, trailing down to your pelvis...

My breathing quickens as my hand closes around your beautiful cock, which is already semi-erect.

We haven’t come since before our travels...we are long overdue.

And we could just go for perfunctory orgasms... but I wonder if you’d be up for something new?

I consider as I slowly, sensually stroke you to full erection.

You strike me as someone who needs to be in control at all times, but... are you curious about what it would be like to give in to pleasure and not worry so much about control?

Well. Only one way to find out...

I lean in and murmur in your ear, “If you’d ever like me to fuck you, Sir... it would be my pleasure to service you. And for you, I’ll be sure to make it exquisite...”

I say this in a low, rough voice, infusing it with promise and a hint of threat. My eyes look at you intently for a moment, then I move back casually with a small smile, and increase my speed.

I’ll just let you think about that, then. Maybe you’ll even fantasize a little... you’re not the only one who can manipulate, Sir.

 

 

Hmmmm, yes, that is good... a quick orgasm, then a sleep...

You get closer, whisper into my ear - oh - oh *really*, Sebastian? Longing to sample forbidden fruits, are you?

Well, who knows...

"I'll keep it in mind," I smile.

I have to admit - not out loud, of course - that the thought does have its appeal, which is quite surprising. I usually associate being fucked with an unpleasant past, being powerless, in a position of servitude - yuck -

but being fucked by someone who truly desires to serve me - to make it feel good - hmmm.

For now, this is good though...

I smile at you, push on your shoulders, push you onto your knees.

You know what to do. I lean back against the clean tile wall.

 

 

Oh, a smile...

and you look sooo curious... oh, kitty...

So very promising...

Nah. Fuck that... I saw that spark in your eye. I'm in your head now... it's an inevitability, like the sun going down.

But first, it's my turn... you're pushing me down to my knees. Yes, you love being serviced, don't you...

Well fortunately, I have always aimed to please...

But never so much as with you.

I feel a smile tugging on my lips as I lower myself to the floor of the shower and look up at you... leaning against the tiles like a Dionysian rock star.

Yes, darling... I'll be your adoring fan... the only starfucker you need is right here, baby...

Mmm... I take your beautiful cock, glowing pink in the warm water and steam, and I lavish it with attention...

My tongue and I are in agreement... it's in need of worship, and I am your devotee.

I moan as I drag my tongue over your musky-sweet skin, and I'm delighted to see your head fall back and your breathing grow raggedly uneven.

Fuck, yes... enjoy the ride, dark angel... let me show you what I'm capable of...

 

 

Fuck fuck fuck... I don’t think I’ll ever get enough of this. Or even get used to this... your mouth is a whole new level of heaven, hitherto unexplored, and oh what luck that it walked into my church - not that I should have been in that fucking church, but this is definitely some silver lining to the whole disaster.

I’m not in the mood to prolong - I want a quick orgasm and a good sleep, and then I’ll see what tomorrow brings.

I push your head deeper; you understand the signal and increase your pace.

God, yes - yes that’s it - fuck yes keep going keep going keep going -

“Ffffffuckkk... yes...”

 

 

Your cock and my mouth are getting intimately acquainted... I suspect there will be many moments like this in my future, between me and your gorgeous, perfect appendage... and the thought makes me dizzy with pleasure. The taste of you is making it hard to think clearly, but let's face it, I really don't need to be thinking right now. You're moaning and leaning back against the wall like it's the only thing that's keeping you from collapsing.

You like that, do you? I suck harder, fondling your beautiful arse.

Your breathy gasps remind me of a flurry of wings... like a bird being released into the air from an underground prison and soaring into the sky. I guess your sexuality was imprisoned just like you were... be free, magpie...

I don't know where that came from... but I like it.

 

 

My orgasm is once again shattering - fuck, that *mouth* - that *man* - where have you *been* all my life? How could I rule the entirety of London and half the world and no one took the effort to inform me of your existence? Fuck...

I'm trembling, holding on to the tap, accidentally shutting off the hot water, making myself squeal and you laugh. That laugh... so many teeth, so beautiful, so infectious...

I shut off the water, reach for a towel, as you get up.

 

 

The sight of you shrieking as cold water splashes over you is so fucking cute, I don't even mind that I'm not being given an orgasm. I think this is something I just have to get used to, and treasure them when they come. In the end, withheld orgasms from you are better than actual orgasms from some random I'm never going to see again... I get to go to bed with you, wake up with you...

I'm smiling as I step out of the shower, grab a luxury towel, and dry myself off. And when you head out of the bathroom, with a towel wrapped around your waist, I'm one step behind you, trying not to snigger as I remember your adorable shriek.

 

 

Oh, what's this? No hints towards that fine upstanding cock? No nudges? No discreet withdrawal to the lavatory?

I can see you are horny as hell, but you seem content to just follow my lead, to just be here and take what you're given when you're given it... so enchanted, intoxicated by my presence... which in turn intoxicates me - that sense of power is *quite* heady.

Careful, my dear, I can be a very cruel games master...

But this is good.

And I am shattered.

It's eight p.m. and I haven't slept in forever - with luck I'll sleep through till the morning and that'll be the jet lag taken care of.

I don't think I need to warn you not to touch yourself while I'm out. I think we've established that dynamic already without much ado.

You're really quite something... I think as I tumble into the white sheets and black oblivion.

 

 

You're shuffling to bed, looking more and more like you're going to keel over. And then throwing the towel off (mmm) and crawling under the sheets. Your eyes are closed before your head hits the pillow.

It's a good thing you decided to travel here first. You desperately need rest and a peaceful environment... I don't know that Yemen would have qualified...

Since you're down for the count, perhaps I should take care of myself in the bathroom? You didn't say you'd take care of it, gave no explicit instructions.

I hesitate, craning my neck to see how deeply you're sleeping. My breath catches in my throat when I see your face... if I didn't know you, I'd think you were fifteen years old. Only the tiny lines around your eyes give you away. You look young, tired and sad.

I want to slide in next to you, wrap around your body protectively, keep you warm and safe.

Jesus, Seb... it'll take three minutes. Just take care of it first, and then you can cuddle your terrifying boss.

I picture myself alone in the bathroom, bringing myself to orgasm. Away from you. Gasping with pleasure, exploding in my hand... But without you to inspire it or witness it... I'm left feeling cold...

In an instant, I'm pulling back the covers, crawling in next to you... I hold my breath, then curl around you. And breathe deep of your scent.

I listen to you breathe until darkness pulls me under.

 

 

I'm in a long corridor, like of a hospital or a school, with green linoleum which makes my soles squeak. The place is deserted, and half the strip lights are not working, or flickering, and the end of the corridor is lost in darkness. I have to make sure I'm not seen from any of the doors that line the walls, because I'm not supposed to be here, so if I see a light coming through the windows in the doors, I crawl past, because the window is only in the top half.

There is a counter which should have a guard on it, but I got rid of him somehow. I have to hurry though, before he's back. I reach the end of the corridor, which has doors to the outside, but they're locked. I know I thought of this, and I have a solution, but I can't remember what - I have to get out though, before someone walks into the corridor and sees me - I have to get out and get Georgie -

I see you walking past. You don't know me yet, I'm only a child, why would you help me? But I need you to - you need to open the doors -

I try to wave at you, to get your attention without alerting anyone inside, but you don't see me, you're focussing on something further down the road, outside of my view. I jump up and down, but you can't see me.

You crouch down behind a bin and aim a rifle over the top. No - if you shoot, people will hear, they'll come running - you can't -

I have to hide somewhere -

Finally the window in one of the doors gives way, and I crawl outside. As I run out of sight, I turn to look what you are aiming at. It's a tiger, ambling on the pavement like he belongs there. I want to tell you no, not to hurt the tiger, he doesn't mean any harm, but I need to run, need to hide -

I see you aim - I should run - but that poor tiger hasn't done anything wrong - you should call the zoo, not shoot it -

I hide behind the wall, and call out to you, but you don't hear me. I try again, louder - louder -

"SEBASTIAN!"

 

 

The cat who broke the vase with the roses is back... roaming outside the house, meowing at every door, every window. He wants in, but every time I have tried to pet him, he has bitten me and run off. I don’t want to let him in, he’s aggressive and destructive...

he is scratching furiously at the door now, he’ll have left marks on the paint... he’s mewing pitifully, and I know I won’t be able to resist his sadness...

Did he... say my name??

I hear it again loudly, and I feel myself torn from the house abruptly.

I find myself pressed against you, and you’re shaking and thrashing.

“Jim...” I say weakly. Then more firmly- “Jim.”

I touch your shoulder gently. “Jim, you’re dreaming... you’re OK, you’re safe...”

 

 

There's someone *around* me -

I *punch* -

"Ow! Fuck, Jim!"

He's let me go - I jump, reach for the gun on the bedside table -

Wait, why is this bed so big? Oh - hotel? And -

wait, I know you...

 

 

I stare at you, holding a hand against my eye.

“Jesus... Christ...” I groan, my head falling back against the pillow.

“Your right hook is fucking beautiful... but can you maybe not throw it at me?” I snap.

You’re silent, looking around the room in confusion.

“Bad dream?” I grumble.

 

 

Sebastian. You are Sebastian, you are with me now. I fuck you, you're eh - a bodyguard I guess - and the first lieutenant of the new Empire. We are in the Maldives, because I need to recover from being a fucking priest.

Right.

"What were you doing holding me down?!"

 

 

Gingerly I remove my hand from my eye.

I wonder if there's a steak in the fridge...

"I wasn't holding you down, I was..." I hedge. Jesus.

"We must have been spooning as we slept. You woke me up when you were having a nightmare - you called my name, remember?"

 

 

“Yes! You were going to shoot that tiger! You mustn’t shoot tigers. They’re endangered.

And I don’t *spoon*. If you can’t keep your hands to yourself, you can sleep in another room.”

I stomp off to the bathroom. I don’t know why I’m in such a foul mood.

Except - my dream - Georgie -

*fuck this*

I slam the bathroom door, seethingly stare at the toilet, daring it to deny me the relief of a good piss.

 

 

What?

Are you fucking kidding me? Not only do I get punched, but instead of an apology, I get yelled at? (Partly for what I did in your dream?!)

Jesus fucking Christ…

"Yeah? Is that what you think? Then you're fooling yourself, little spoon!" I shout, and storm off cursing towards the kitchen.

Why the fuck did I come here again? Because I swore myself to a cantankerous little tyrant with beautiful eyes, who fucks like a god?

Jesus, I'm an idiot... I tear open the fridge door, and start pulling out packages of food.

Steak. Thank Christ.

I look through drawers until I find plastic wrap, then rip open the package of steak. I wrap the cold meat in plastic film and press it to my eye.

Fuuuuck... that feels good. If I can avoid sporting a black eye, that would be spectacular.

I grab a beer, wander to the living room, and throw myself onto the sofa. At this moment, I don't want to be anywhere near you. I'll look through the other bedrooms and find someplace more suitable where I can wank for the next two weeks. I grab the remote and turn on the TV. There's a black and white film playing, looks like... The Maltese Falcon. I saw it once years ago... I put my feet up on the sofa, crack open my beer, and settle against the cushions to watch it.

 

 

I have a piss, splash some cold water on my face. Fucking nightmares. This wasn’t a particularly bad one, but it seriously fouled my mood.

It’s eleven... I should get back to sleep. I’m too agitated though.

I go to the living room, where you are watching the Maltese Falcon with a steak on your eye - oh yes, I punched you.

I don’t apologize.

But maybe I could explain - I’m not used to people sleeping in my bed - no one *ever* slept in my bed as an adult -

No. Explanations are for the weak. They’re justifications and I don’t need to justify my actions.

I do want you to come back to bed with me though...

What - Fuck’s sake, Moriarty - want a cuddle and a bedtime story?

God, I do need to recover... I’m weak.

You’re smoking - a cigarette would be a good idea.

I sit down on the sofa.

“Give me one of those.”

 

 

I hear you walk into the living room, and I don't look up.

Not a word, Jim? As expected, but it's still irritating as hell.

Then you sit next to me, and request a cigarette in your charming way - which is to say it's not a request, and in no way could be construed as charming.

I pull a fag out the pack and toss it at you. Then I swipe up the lighter from the table and throw it onto your lap without looking.

"Your wish is my command, Sir!" I say cheerfully, just as Humphrey Bogart stands up threateningly and says, "People lose teeth talking like that. If you want to hang around, you'll be polite."

We look at each other for a moment, then I turn back to the TV screen, chuckling.

"What's the plan now, Boss?" It's only slightly tinged with sarcasm. I tip back the rest of my beer.

 

 

Cheeky bugger, aren’t you?

But the telly gives the perfect retort and I can’t help but snigger at that, as do you, and some of the ice between us breaks.

“It’s eleven, and I’m bloody knackered - I was hoping to sleep through to the morning, but my mind thought otherwise, and now I’m wired,” I say, pulling at my cigarette.

I guess I could have some alcohol? I don’t usually drink much, and it might not be great for the recovery of my mind, but you do make it look attractive.

I’m sweaty - probably a cold beer would hit the spot.

“If you’re getting another one of those, get me one,” I suggest.

 

 

Well, at least you're laughing and not yelling. And requesting a beer? Doesn't seem like it would be your drink.

Also, again not quite 'requesting'... but ever so slightly more polite. I guess you get to keep your teeth, Jim.

I chuckle as I get up and head to the kitchen. I hadn't decided if I'd have a second one, but why not. Maybe a buzz will make you more pleasant...

I grab two cans and leave them on the counter as I look through the cabinet for snacks. I arrange some cream crackers and lovely cheeses on a plate. Thoughtful of them to stock the kitchen for western tourists...

I bring you a can of beer and a glass, and set everything on the coffee table with a flourish. "Enjoy, Sir..."

Then I throw myself back on the sofa, and crack open another can. I grin as I drink it. I'm being such a shit, and I don't care.

 

 

You’re pushing. That’s fine, it’s to be expected - finding out where the lines are. I take the beer, lovely and cool, rub it against my forehead, then open it, take a large gulp, sigh. That does taste nice.

I take a last draught from my cigarette, stub it out in the ashtray, lean back against the back of the sofa.

“As to plans - I’m here to let my mind rest and recover. I have never had any problems with my mind before they fucked it up,” (*anger*) “so I have no idea what I need to do, what might happen, how I know if my mind’s alright, how I know if there’s a problem.

Anyhow, I’ve put the numbers of the doctor and the shrink in your phone; doctor and doctor2. If anything happens to me - if I start acting weird, or if I get a coconut on my head and pass out, call them. They’re on standby on one of the islands nearby.

Other than that - I have no idea what people do to let their mind heal and rest. Swim, read books, relax? I guess you’ve worked out that I’m not the most relaxed person in the world. I’ll do my best. Any advice?”

 

 

"Well. I'm not exactly Mr Holiday In the Sun, either. Whenever I was on leave from the army, there tended to be a lot of drinking, fucking, and gambling... and sitting on my arse, being a lazy lump. I suspect I can get the hang of enjoying a private island... You can watch films or a series - looks like they have Netflix. Maybe they have cards or board games here? You can go for a walk, explore the island... look for seashells, build a sand castle?" I grin. "I wonder if there's any snorkelling gear... that would be cool. I could build a bonfire one night, if you want. Look at the stars? Idunno, Jim... don't force yourself to do something, just see what you think might be enjoyable, and try it out..."

As I'm listing possible activities for you, my mind is swirling. Doctor. Shrink. Right... this is meant to be a therapeutic experience for you... recovering from torture and brainwashing... and I've been throwing attitude at you.

I brood as I drink my beer. I need to cut you some slack... I've always been a mouthy fucker, and it's especially not easy to hold back when I feel irked. But an accidental punch in the eye and terseness are hardly the worst things I've encountered. The sexual mind games are chafing a bit. The coldness and withdrawal when we're not fucking is also not all that enjoyable... but then... this isn't a romantic relationship. You made me no promises, or even insinuated anything... I jumped to that conclusion myself after you laid me bare, made me feel those feelings... no... you didn't make me do or feel anything. Feelings came up during an intense experience. That's all. I can shove 'em back where they came from.

Because this mission is about you. And I swore myself to you... it's time to start acting like it.

"Any of that sound good to you, Boss? You'll figure it out, just give yourself some time to ease into it..." I yawn. "Maybe you'll even like it..."

I smile at you, and this time it's not sarcastic.

 

 

Well you look like Mr Holiday in the Sun. But then you’re one of those people who tan when they look at a picture of the sun.

Drinking, fucking, and gambling, huh? Who did you *fuck*, then?

... and why does that make me dark hot with anger? It’s not like I’m the jealous type - so what if you had some other cocks in your mouth -

-*rage*-

... huh. Looks like I *am* the jealous type. When did *that* start?

Well - it’s not like I ever shagged anyone twice before - I didn’t really have time to get jealous - what did I care what they did before or after me, as long as they were clean -

But you are *mine*. And I *don’t share*.

It’s not like you knew you were mine back then, did you?!

But the thought of you dancing with some hot guy - kissing him - taking him home - taking his cock in your divine mouth - while I was stuck in a church -

Beer spills over my hand. I’m squeezing the can.

Cool it, Moriarty. That’s definitely not helping you relax.

You’re talking about soothing activities for toddlers and I’m not sure if you’re being funny or not.

You do seem more friendly than before.

All those things seem - I don’t know. I’ve never tried them. I’ve never wanted to try them. Why would we make a bonfire? It’s warm here even at night, and a fire is just going to draw every insect on the island. Look at the stars? Well yes, there’s less light pollution here than in London, but unless you packed the Hubble telescope, there’s not going to be much that I haven’t seen before.

What do normal people *do* to relax? I scan my database - watch television, read novels, play games - none of that seems attractive. Television programmes are unbearably slow and tedious, novels are predictable, and I will win any game that relies on mental acumen whereas you will win any that rely on physical prowess. Games that rely on chance are nonsensical.

Fuck, how am I going to survive the sheer tedium of being stuck on this fucking island with nothing to do?!

I feel a mild panic rise - I need *out* - I’m captive -

Calm *down* Moriarty! You’re not captive. You’re one phone call from the rest of the world. You’re here to rest and rest you will.

Oh for fuck’s sake. Spilling beer again. The can looks rather squashed.

I get up, throw the can at the window, stomp to the kitchen to get another beer and a glass - I need to get out - I open the kitchen door, get out onto the patio, cross the little bridge over the pool/moat, start pacing on the beach.

 

 

A shadow crosses your face when I mention my proclivities on leave. Huh. Weird.

Did you just crush your can?

Then you seem to be mulling over my suggestions, but it's making you look confused. And then perplexed. And then... panic-stricken.

What's wrong? You finish crushing the beer can. Looking angrier and angrier. Throwing the can. Stomping across the floor. Storming out. Jesus. Temperamental little thing, aren't you?

Thank Christ I had my little epiphany that I needed to give you some leeway and be supportive while you recover from your trauma. I stare out the window to see where you've gone... an external light has automatically switched on. I guess I don't need to worry about you wandering off too far... private island was a good idea. Also appears to be making you feel... trapped? You're pacing. Looking agitated and furious.

Should I leave you alone for a bit to cool down? I drink the rest of my beer and watch for a few minutes as you pace. I feel agitated with you out there. Especially at night.

I head out to the patio and walk out to the bridge. I lean over the railing onto my forearms.

"Alright, Jim? Wanna go for a dip?"

 

 

I need to focus, but I have nothing to focus on. I need a project. I need to kill someone. I need to pull out a big plan. I need to - need to -

A candidate for killing presents itself. It's the only fucking candidate on this fucking island.

I *could* kill him - it would make me feel better -

*NO*!

No. He is good, he is useful, and he is - right in front of me...

 

I punch your side.

 

Chapter Text

Welll, in retrospect, maybe I should have left you alone...

Because when I walk up to you, you look at me murderously. And just as I'm thinking of a joke to make, you attack so quickly, I barely have time to react - I just clench my muscles, and move aside just enough to avoid some of the impact.

I suck in my breath as sharp pain flares through me. Jesus. You hit hard, little fucker... at least now I know you can take care of yourself in a fight.

When you come at me again, this time I'm ready. I deflect your punch, and shove you back.

"What. The Fuck, Jim!" I shout at you. " If you want me to leave you alone, I fucking will! You don't have to punch me, you little fucker!"

 

 

The moment I throw the punch, my mind calms down. Focus. I’m in a fight. Fights are simple, basic, physical. Centre your attention.

Don’t go away.

Also, don’t call me a little fucker. I’ve killed people for less.

You’re damn fast, but so am I. I try to feign and get a left hook in, but you evade and block. A kick, also evaded. Damn, you’re *very* good.

 

 

As I block your next punch and kick I see the flash in your eyes. Hmm... you don't want to be left alone... you want to fight.

Interesting... very... interesting...

I shrug, and throw a hard punch to your shoulder. Nicely blocked - I only clipped your wing, little bird...

What next, I think as I deflect your next vicious punch at my jaw. Careful, Seb... don't hurt him - much.

A fierce grin spreads across my face, and I throw a punch at your chest. As you block, I take advantage of your distraction and shove you back. You keep yourself from falling over into the sand and glare at me. We stare at each other, breathing hard.

 

 

You're good. I knew you would be, but it's good to actually see it, experience it.

You're not going full out - you would be able to knock me out in seconds, I'm pretty sure; but you're not just taking the punches either - you are retaliating, though you seem more interested in keeping me off than in disarming or hurting me. That's alright, Sebastian, I don't mind a little pain.

We're circling each other on the beach, looking at each other.

Fuck, you're hot. I don't usually get distracted by my opponent's attractiveness when in a fight, but you are a *particularly* fine specimen of a man, and you *shine* in this context - you prowl like the tiger I called you earlier, moving with such grace, such ease, but such lethal purpose - you could snap my neck in a second, and that physicality, fluidity, dexterity, is mighty fine to behold.

Still, I have steam to blow off, and punches blocked are only marginally less satisfactory than punches delivered.

I jump at you again, deliver a flurry of punches, all blocked or evaded, and get a punch in the shoulder in return -

*fuck*

- that was my injured shoulder.

I stagger back, gasp for breath.

 

 

I'm holding back, holding back... nice and easy, Sebastian...

But after everything I've gone through this week, part of me wants to just fight.

Pour out all my frustration on the beautiful little fucker before me who enjoys playing head games...

You're really going for it, now... I'm actually challenged.

Then I make contact, relishing the sensation of my fist hitting flesh hard, and -

Shit...

I move towards you, hands out. "Fuck, Jim... are you alright?"

 

 

"Yeah - your mate shot that shoulder. Just - avoid it, alright?"

Your hands are out, showing you're not a threat - but *I* am, baby -

I manage to get between them and get a good left hook into your ribs before jumping back.

 

 

I grunt in surprise, and retreat to give myself some breathing time. I look up at you, and you're grinning. Oh, finally a smile on your face. Is that all it took?

I hold my ribs and breathe raggedly. "Fuck. He was hardly a mate. Sorry about the whole getting you shot thing, by the way," I say, panting. "But I guess it worked out for the best."

I advance, and deliver an uppercut to the ribs, just hard enough to hurt. "Had enough?" I ask with a feral smile.

 

 

Damn - I'm going to get annihilated if I keep this up; I only got that punch in because you were worried you hurt me.

But fighting is better than that agitation from earlier... and you seem to enjoy it too, judging from your smile.

"You're welcome to surrender," I grin, moving round, trying to get a kick at the back of your knees, but being grabbed, unbalanced, and landing on my back in the sand, with a tiger on top of me.

 

 

You seem less angry, but still intense...

which is terribly enjoyable.

Countering your next move ends delightfully with me looking down on you in the sand.

"You were saying?" I smirk. Then I realize my hands have grabbed onto your wrists, to keep you from punching me at close range... and they're still curled around your wrists, next to your head.

Let go, Seb... let go...

I smile at you slyly. "Looks like you found something fun to do after all..."

My hands squeeze your wrists firmly. "Surrender?" I whisper.

 

 

*Really*, Sebastian?

I close my eyes for a moment, lean my head back, relax my muscles, like I'm giving in -

then, as your grip relaxes, my left arm shoots out, elbows you in the thigh, my legs wrap around your right leg and with a quick yank I pull you over, and then I am on top of you, my teeth in your neck.

"Who was going to surrender?"

 

 

Well, here I am... beneath you again...

I inhale sharply as your teeth sink into my skin.

Then I laugh seductively, low in my throat.

"Clearly I was, Sir..."

I push my pelvis against yours, and stare up at you.

 

 

Oh...

Of course, that is an option too...

Also tends to distract the mind...

And you are *very* sexy...

My Tiger...

I wonder...

It's playing with fire, but then when have I ever shied away from that...

"Or are you...?" I purr into your neck, biting slightly.

"Inside," I gesture my head towards the villa, get off you. We brush sand off each other, cross the bridge into the kitchen. You close the door as I walk to the bedroom, rummage in your bag for the lube, put it on the nightstand, turn to you as you walk in.

"You spoke about you fucking *me* earlier... in the shower... and who knows, I think that might actually not be an infernally bad idea..." I see your eyes go large and your breathing accelerate -

"but, much like Red Sonja, I'll only give myself to a man who can defeat me," I grin at you.

You look puzzled - hesitant - can't blame you, Tiger. But I do like my games.

"Go on, then. If you want me, you'll have to conquer me."

I spread my arms, then make use of your temporary confusion to get another punch into your rib cage.

You have to keep up, Tiger...

 

 

There's that look...

Game. On.

Another delicious bite, and then I'm being ordered in.

God, it's amazing how quickly I've acclimatized to being bossed around by you... like I never did even in all my years in the army.

There's a smile on my lips as I'm taking extra care to brush sand off you, then as I follow you back to the villa. In the bedroom, a look of mischief lights up your face. Playful Jim? I'm intrigued.

Red Sonja? What? Conquer?

Is Jim... surrendering?

Pain explodes in my ribs - same spot. Jesus.

"Fucker," I gasp, as I double over. I look up, eyes glinting.

"So. That's how it is..." I say in a soft growl, then straighten up.

I advance towards you slowly. "How I fight. How I fuck. Curious. Aren't you."

I shrug. "Happy to oblige."

I feint a punch and when you block, I tackle you and shove you against a wall.

Your wrists are once again captive in my hands, pressed against the wall.

"How badly do I need to defeat you?" I grin, and stare intently into your eyes.

 

 

How you fight. How you fuck. *Yes*.

I'm *interested*... like I've never been interested in another person. You are a lucky man, Sebastian... or doomed, more likely.

And I'm shoved against a wall, held firm in two strong hands, hard body pressed against mine. I let myself drop, moving my wrists together. You're not expecting it and my arms manage to escape. I try to elbow you in the side, but you're so fucking *fast*, you already have me in your grip again and I find myself against the wall again, this time facing it. I kick your knee - the weak one - you curse, and I manage to twist out of your grip, dive away, turn.

Again we're facing each other, sizing each other up.

 

 

In a few quick decisive moves, you're out of my grasp.

Well, we would hardly want the game to be over too quickly, would we...

"Still haven't answered my question..." I observe, as I circle you. "Total defeat with potential wounds and injuries, or... just a perfunctory conquering so we can get down to the ravishment?" I lick the corner of my lip cockily. "Because I'm good with either scenario, Sir..."

 

 

Ah good. You're not afraid to touch me. You're not a pushover. I like that.

I grin at you.

"That's up to you, Sebastian... I'm not playing around. I'm fighting. So... are you going to take your captive with minimum or maximum force?"

We still eye each other warily, moving around, looking for openings.

"I am pretty sure you're able to take people down without damaging them overmuch... *pretty* sure. But I could also understand if you have some aggression to work off... and I'm not squeamish.

Nothing disabling or permanent though, or I'll skin you alive..."

 

 

Bloody hell... when I came out here, I did not expect for us to end up circling each other like animals.

Looking to throw down just to get to the sexual conquering I crave... or possibly tearing each other to shreds.

Can't say I'm sorry about how this has gone... I'm fucking not.

"Oh, I can work off some aggression? This is promising..." I grin, and throw a couple of sharp jabs that you easily step away from. "My future captive has nothing to worry about... I know what I'm doing when it comes to conquest..." I smirk, and lunge at you.

My shoulder drives hard into your chest, and I punch your side.

"That's for the sucker punch," I pant, as I wait for you to catch your breath. "Come at me, sweetheart..."

 

 

Oooph - air - air - air please?

Good, air's coming back. And you're being nice, not following up straightaway, waiting for me to get my breath back.

You'll soon learn not to play *nice* with me, Sebastian...

I've been looking for an opening, but you're not giving me anything. I have to say it's doing something for me, how good you are at this. Hope you fuck half as well as you fight. I'm good at fighting - I'm fast, aggressive, and I don't care much about pain, but my major strength is that people don't expect it. They see me and think small scrawny guy who lets others do his dirty work. I do, if I can, but that doesn't mean I can't hold my own.

However, the surprise factor is gone, I'm nowhere nearly in shape - Father James led a sedentary life, I've been ill for a week, and my right shoulder is fucked - and you don't give me an inch. Still, I try - I spring, feint, punch, kick, but am efficiently blocked or sidestepped each time.

You're pacing, a grin on your face - you're *enjoying* this, are you?

I have to admit though - so am I. Huh.

 

 

I'm watching as you make your moves... you're obviously not afraid to fight dirty, so I'm assessing everything I can for the future. You don't seem angry at not being able to get to me... but then, I don't want you to get bored, either.

I punch you under the jaw - hard enough to hurt, not hard enough to take you out of the running.

Then I drop my defences. "Go on, then... Show me what you've got..." I purr, eyes flashing.

 

 

Oh - really?

That's *very* dangerous, Sebastian...

But no - I've had you helpless before, of course, and I didn't damage you...

But this is different - this is a *fight* -

No, Moriarty. Play nice. Honest fighting, no back-alley moves. He's not out to hurt you - quite the opposite...

But an invitation to let go won't be passed up...

I aim my punches at your sides, your stomach, where you can use your muscles to prevent any damage or hurt. I punch *hard* - you can take it, and if you can't, I don't give a damn, really - I need to *hit*, need to *harm*, need to *hurt* - fucking bastards, fucking world, fucking idiots, fucking *fuckers* -

 

 

When you realize you can just come at me, no holds barred, several looks pass over your face - surprise, menace, intrigue...

with little delay, you attack - mainly coming at my abdomen, and hard. I brace myself, and take it. I asked for this, and anyway... something new is coming over you now. Fury unleashed. And underneath that - Pain. Distress. Fear.

I almost whimper at the sight of your face, but then I channel my own distress into rage.

Against the men who did this to you. Under the orders of Mycroft Fucking Holmes.

Hit me all you like, Jim... Pound me into the ashes of your sorrow. I can take it.

Maybe I can't truly fight you when you're feeling like this... but I can keep it interesting for you.

"You're angry, Boss?" I clip your chin, your jaw. "Angry is good." I punch your stomach, making you gasp - then I shove you back before advancing, grabbing your shirt and pulling you towards me into a bruising kiss.

"What else you got?" I snarl at your face.

 

 

I’m punching hard and being punched back and I am not looking where I’m aiming my fists now I just want to *destroy* -

and then I’m being kissed - what? - oh fuck this is delicious - I want to fight, I want to fuck, I want to *unleash* and destroy the world and I *could have* destroyed the world a year ago and I probably just should have, but I’m coming back and I have this weapon of mass destruction by my side and he’s kissing me and fighting me and I’m searing high; I bite your lip and punch your jaw as you pull back, then your side.

 

 

I watch with delight as you decide what you're going to do in retaliation.

Your surprise at being kissed was delicious... the first time I kiss you and it was in the middle of a fight...

fuck... so hot...

My distraction is perfect for you to punch me again.

Panting, I touch my fingers to my lips and see blood.

God, I want to eat you alive...

I grin at you cockily, haul back and punch you in the stomach and the solar plexus - one, two.

As you gasp for breath, I kick the back of your knee, making your leg buckle. Hooking my leg around your ankle, I throw you towards the bed face down.

Then I haul you up from under your arms, and throw you onto your back.

I raise an eyebrow, grin, and drop down to cover your body with mine. I kiss you again, hard.

 

 

I don’t stand a fucking *chance* - you’re a cat playing with a mouse, letting the mouse get in a few jabs indulgently.

I’m on my back on the bed, being pressed down and kissed - and you’re holding me down *properly* this time, a grip I can’t escape from.

I let the kiss happen, kiss back for a moment, consider my options.

My body is aching in quite a few places. Not too badly, and I’m fine ignoring it, but there’s no way I’m going to win this, and we both know it. It was good though - I do want to keep fighting, but I also want to keep kissing... interesting. I don’t *kiss* - only in aggression, before someone is about to get *annihilated* -

am I?

I decide to just wait and see what you do next. I’m fine here...

 

 

God, you're kissing me back and not punching me in the face...

Your lips against mine... feel... so... amazing...

As I kiss you hungrily, I feel a very distinctive sensation and I smile.

I cup your arse and lift up your pelvis, rubbing my hard cock against yours.

I may still get punched in the face, but I've never been the reticent type...

My fingers close over the waistband of your jogging bottoms. As I yank them down over your hips, my tongue dips into your mouth possessively.

 

 

Oh, one wrist is being released so you can grab my arse and pull my trousers down - risky, Seb. It’s my right one, but still, I could get in a decent punch, I think...

Your hard cock feels so good - distracting - I want to feel you, feel your passion, your aggression, your lust -

But I said I was going to fight, and I’d hate to disappoint...

I bite your tongue, jab you in the throat with my free hand, yank my left hand free, pull your hair with my right hand and push with my left so you move away and I can pull myself from underneath you. I try to throw myself off the bed, but you’re too fast and grab my legs.

 

 

I don't even get to touch your hard cock before your retaliation... I think that bothers me more than the pain. I'm coughing and gasping as you try to free yourself, but I still manage to grab your legs and then haul myself back onto you.

Headbutt? A bit much...

Punch to the face? Not at this moment...

A backhand? Heh. Tempting... but no.

I grab you under the jaw - clearly not to choke, but to hold your head in place.

"What's it gonna be, Jim?" I ask hoarsely. "We could keep going all night... leave each other bruised and bloody. Or do you want me to show you what you're missing, and make you howl? Because I aim to please..." I purr. My hand snakes around to the back of your neck, and I tighten my fingers through your hair and yank your head up.

"Mmm," I breathe. "You're fucking gorgeous, you know that?"

I kiss you and pull back, breathing hard. "Fight or fuck, Boss? Or fight and then fuck?" I growl, and my other hand closes over your hard cock.

 

 

*God* you feel good - and your hand on my cock is - tempting -

But giving in is not in my vocabulary, extensive though it may be.

"I don't *surrender*, darling... If you want to fuck, you're going to have to fight for it," I purr.

You've left my arms free, so I punch your jaw with my left, grab your hair with my right, kick your right leg with my heel, and manage to get from underneath you, jumping off the bed. My trousers are still off, so I'm quite naked, but I don't much care. I'm not one to follow society's standards of shame and decency, and I don't feel more vulnerable now certain areas are exposed to air that weren't before. You are not a dirty fighter, and if you were, jogging trousers wouldn't have made much of a difference.

Once again, I'm eyeing you warily, seeing what your next move will be.

 

 

You want to - you fucking want to - but you're enjoying this...

so much so that when you punch me and kick me to get away, I'm laughing as you jump from the bed.

"Ouch," I complain mildly, as I touch my jaw, and experiment moving it. "Now, now, Jim.. when has violence ever solved anything?" I ask playfully, and move towards you with a gleam in my eye.

Most of my violent moves aren't particularly sexy... I'd like to slam you against the wall, but I don't want to injure your head, considering you're recently concussed, and oh yes, brainwashed...

but if I don't slam your head?

I could... yes... and then...

I peel out of my boxer briefs, and throw them aside.

I kick out at your thigh, and as you're trying to grab my foot to throw me off balance, I throw a series of intense martial arts moves I learned in the army - a combination of various schools such as jiu-jitsu, aikido and kickboxing. I pummel you ruthlessly... relentlessly... I unleash on you like a thunderstorm - less for pain, and more for impact and overwhelming you with intensity. When I have you reeling and moving back to escape the onslaught, that's when I make my power move. I launch myself at you, twisting you to slam you forward into the wall.

I grind your cheek firmly against the wall so you can't slam your head back into my face. I twist your arm hard around your back, just enough to hurt.

"Check and mate," I growl in your ear before biting it hard.

Then I throw you onto the bed onto your stomach, and straddle you, pinning your arms against the bed.

I twist one arm behind your back as I reach for lube.

Then I press my hard cock against your arse.

"I'm going to enjoy this..." I purr. "And so are you...Sir."

 

 

You're laughing - you're loving this. You're as insane as I am. Providence *really* made a brilliant move throwing us together... or a disastrous one, from the point of view of the rest of the world.

You're stalking me again, and yes, Tiger is the best name for you, large, beautiful, deadly, graceful, predatorial...

... and then there's reciprocal nudity. What is this? Trying to distract me - or indicating that you've stopped playing, and fucking is imminent?

A foot kicks out, I try to grab it, and a barrage like none before is unleashed on me - your fists are everywhere - I try to get back, and then I'm grabbed and slammed into the wall - hard, but still controlled; it hurts, but I'm not hurt.

So *that's* what you're like when you aren't toying with your prey any more...

And then I'm thrown over the bed and feel your hard cock against me - and there's no way I can escape without wrenching my arm out of its socket - *well done*, Tiger.

That cock feels delicious - I don't let myself be fucked, *ever*, but you're unique in so many aspects, aren't you, Sebastian...

"I'd better," I growl.

 

 

I chuckle, not letting myself be cowed by your threat...

"There are two things I know how to do fucking well, Boss..." I say roughly. "I've just shown you one..."

I slather myself with lube, then I slide a slicked-up finger into your arse.

Tight. You really don't do this, do you...

You're in good hands, Jim...

I lean down and start whispering sweet, filthy things into your ear, as I prepare you.

"Your arse is fucking beautiful, Sir... I can't wait to be filling it with my hard cock..." I say low in my throat, and smile as I feel you relax and open. I slide in a second finger.

"That's it..." I purr. "Open for me... I'm going to give it to you so good, Sir... " I growl, and slide in a third finger, making a come hither gesture. "Ohh... you feel so good..." I whisper, and my eyes half close as I feel your muscles adjust around my fingers. Almost there...

 

 

Ohhh, *cocky*... well you have every right to be, Sebastian. The thought of anyone beating James Moriarty in a fight and fucking him... never mind *surviving* the experience... is unthinkable. You really are something else... I'm so glad I got you...

You're putting fingers inside me - conquering and aroused but *still* caring and careful. Whispering into my ear, managing to be both aggressive and deferent at the same time; you have to be the hottest thing I've heard and felt in ages...

I concentrate on making myself relax, because I want you, I want to feel you, feel your force, your masculinity, your strength, your *cock*...

 

 

God, you're so into this... I can see by the way you're breathing, focusing on letting go of your tension, your resistance...

I knew you would be, but... this goes well beyond my fucking imagination.

You're so bloody hot... I remove my fingers, and position the head of my cock at your entrance. I press firmly and push inside you.

Push. Wait. Adjust.

Push further. Adjust.

So close...

A bead of perspiration rolls down my forehead.

Final push, and... in.

Oh... fuck...

I groan softly as I bury myself in you.

God knows how many men I've fucked, and you've just eclipsed them all.

Was there ever any doubt??

Not a one...

I start to move in you.

"God...You feel fucking amazing..." I moan, and thrust into you hard.

 

 

You're still holding my arm behind my back, but you've eased the pressure; it's no longer hurting... but I'm still in your grip, there's no escaping - not that I would want to, you've earned your prize fair and square, Sebastian. Your very willing prize...

You remove your fingers - the moment is here - I feel the head of your cock against me, seeming unrealistically big for a moment, but I relax, and you press, and I accommodate, miraculously...

It seems that that is as much as is humanly possible, but you wait a moment, and I keep breathing, and you manage to move further... resistance, no, release, relax, and a bit further... it feels so large, so odd, but not unpleasant; I'm feeling you all around me, your body, your arms, your legs, your breath, and inside me, you are surrounding me and filling me up, and then you're there, you're completely inside me, and I breathe through it, it's a lot, but I wanted this, and it does feel good, it does feel really good...

And you move back, not too far, and push back in, and that feels weirdly pleasant, and then you push *hard*, and I groan, hold on, what's that, I don't get *vocal* in sex, especially not so early on... but that was - intense -

and you do it again, and I manage to suppress a groan, but fucking hell, Tiger, you are incredibly hot, holding me down, pushing into me, such strength and power and lust -

Oh fuck it - we've earned this -

You thrust inside me again and I moan lasciviously.

 

 

I pause for a moment at the sound you make.

Good sound?? Yes... very good...

Jesus... I'm fucking Jim. I'm inside him. Making him groan...

OK Seb... don't get so wrapped up in that that you lose focus. Your boss is not exactly the patient, forgiving sort...

I thrust again to see if it will happen again. No. But I think you're holding back now...?

Aw no, baby...

A sly smile plays on my lips. My mission is clear... more beautiful sounds from Jim.

I tilt my pelvis back and down, then surge up powerfully.

And you moan, and oh Jesus... that was gorgeous...

My fingers grip your hip, and my other hand releases your arm. I don't think you're going to fight me any more... but just in case, I wrap my arm around your shoulder and yank you up against me. Now you're on your knees, and pressed to the headboard.

Now I can hold you in place, and it gives me leverage to -

I surge forward and into you.

Fuck. Yes.

This time I'm the one who groans loudly, but I just hit a sweet spot that I need to feel a lot more of.

I begin to pump into you, feeling your muscles squeeze tantalizingly around my cock, feeling your body pressed against mine as I fuck you -

my captive, my conquest...

God...

Jim...

 

 

Fuck, you *are* good.

Not that I have much to compare it with - any previous fuckers didn't much care about my enjoyment of the experience - but this does feel pleasurable. As well as bloody hot - being manhandled by a big, strong, very handsome soldier, who's just shown me his commendable fighting skills, is undeniably erotic.

You don't treat me as if I'm made of bone china, thank goodness - you're thrusting inside me hard, and it's starting to feel more and more enjoyable.

You're quite vocal in your passion, and that's arousing too - your grunts and groans as you are fucking me and clearly loving it...

 

 

Your body is responding so beautifully to mine, you're surrendering to my thrusts, squeezing my cock, and panting breathlessly interspersed with soft moans. God I wish I could record that sound... and god, imagine a video...

I groan loudly at the thought, and drive myself into you firmly.

I should throw in some finesse moves while I can because I suspect this is going to get down and dirty fast...

 

Many years ago, I was in Istanbul on leave in between missions in the Middle East. I had discovered an establishment with nightly belly dance performances, and couldn't get enough of it. Partly because the belly dancers couldn't get enough of me. I wasn't like the usual clientele - rich businessman or hapless tourist. There were a few moves that I learned from a couple of the gorgeous dancers who were especially enamoured of me. They had used their dance technique during sex in a way that had nearly made me have a meltdown. I'd never made so much noise... In fact, the Egyptian belly dancer who hailed from Luxor had covered my mouth with her hand, and then a pillow, as she didn't want her landlord to know she had a gentleman caller. She had been all discipline, shimmying throughout and keeping the beat like a relentless drum, drawing me into a primal trance... that brought out very primal, not so gentlemanly noises.

The Turkish belly dancer from Samsoun was more sensuous and exultant, like her dancing... teasingly whispering the dance moves she was demonstrating. Her sensual undulation, paired with hypnotic zagareet, made me come within seconds.

 

I adapted a few of the things I learned from them in the way I move my hips when I fuck. I wonder if you'd enjoy feeling an undulation as much as I did... I move against you experimentally, my body moving in a wave against yours, finishing with my hips tilting and pushing against you...growling low in my throat as my cock presses deeply into you.

 

 

What - are you doing, what - oh god - you've stopped the hard pounding, and instead are making - moves - subtle, like a wave, and then a final *thrust* that makes me want to cry out - god you're hitting the spot...

Hold on. Was that a whimper? We do *not* whimper, Moriarty.

A groan - alright, that's acceptable...

Oh, fuck... this is... unbearably good...

What did you say? There are two things you know how to do fucking well? You were not exaggerating...

(And how do you know how to do this so well?)

Stop it, Moriarty... not *now*. So the man has fucked others. You can kill them all later. Now just enjoy him fucking you.

Oh my fucking god, do I enjoy it...

I promised myself never to let anyone fuck me again when I started my Empire. Half the *reason* why I started the Empire was to not let anyone fuck me again.

And here I am, moaning in the arms of a soldier who's balls-deep inside me, and not for the last time, if I have any say in it, and I do, because I rule the motherfucking world.

Fuck, Sebastian - stop that, you're driving me insane...

"Hard..." I pant, "Fuck me hard -"

 

 

I'm grinning like a lunatic with every sound I draw out of you... every gasp, every whine... so fucking beautiful...

Get that smugness out of your system now, Seb...

Because I intend to do this every chance I can get.

You sound like you're unravelling quickly, and then you demand I go hard again.

Too intense, my magpie?

"You want it hard? It'll be my absolute pleasure, Sir..." I breathe into your ear.

I shove into you with delicious force, making us both groan loudly.

I pause for a moment, and your hands grip the headboard. I pull you back firmly onto my cock, and then set a rhythmic, relentless pace with the slightest shimmying of my hips.

My hand snakes around your hip, and I start to stroke you to the same pounding beat.

The headboard slams against the wall, and our breathing gets more intense.

"God - you feel - like a - fucking - dream - " I rant, throwing my head back and pulling you hard against me.

 

 

Yes, I am a dream, I am a nightmare, I am your god and your devil; you’re fucking me mercilessly and then your hand grabs my cock and you are around me as well as inside me and it’s a very good thing we’re not in Yemen because I think the slamming of the bed can be heard across the island.

As well as your grunts and growls... I like a loud lover...

... do I?

... apparently. Huh. Yes - it’s exciting to hear.

I never cared whether my sex partners enjoyed the proceedings or not. If I liked them loud, it was the cries of pain I enjoyed... not the groans of pleasure. And I *did* enjoy those from you as well... thank fuck they didn’t brainwash that out of me... I do still seem to be *me*... but there’s something about you that makes your presence more enjoyable than most people’s.

You definitely distracted me from my episode earlier... very effectively...

I do hope I don’t get too many of those though - my body is aching all over...

But mostly it’s feeling good... very good...

“Come for me, Sebastian...”

 

 

With anyone else I would have been annoyed... I never did handle it well being told what to do. It amused my patrol to no end to see how much it rankled me being given orders.

"What the fuck did you expect in the military, Basher?" Bain had asked, after a meeting with a particularly arrogant superior officer had ended in spectacular cursing and a black mark on my record. "Warm, friendly discussions over cream tea? Handwritten notes with 'please' and 'thank you', signed 'Love and Kisses'?" He had laughed uproariously after I had told him what to do with his fictitious note.

Nothing got to me like someone getting in my face telling me what to do.

So why is it different with you? Why is everything different with you?

Hearing Come for me, Sebastian feels not like a plea or a sensual suggestion, but like an order... one that is not even within my ability to ignore if I wanted to...

Come for me, Sebastian...

What is about your voice that makes my body spring into action?

My cock twitches and my muscles tense, shivering. Continuing to stroke you firmly, my head falls back.

Come for me, Sebastian...

I feel your cock twitching, feel your muscles straining as you lean against me, your head resting on my shoulder.

Fuck... your body against mine is perfection...

Shivers become shudders.

Come for me, Sebastian...

And I

lose

control,

bucking,

thrusting,

Come for me, Sebastian...

gasping

moaning "fuck... Fuck"...

Come for me, Sebastian...

thrashing

exploding

fuckfuckfuckJIM

 

 

Oh god you are *perfect* - obeying even this order... how did we get so symbiotic already?

No time to think too much about it - you are tensing, trembling, your cock seems to grow even larger, you're pulling me to you, breathing louder, groaning, grasping me tighter - fuck that feels good -

- and that's it, you're over the edge, you're jerking, groaning, crying out, that's it Sebastian, come for me, my Tiger...

... and you erupt inside me, I feel your heat, and the sound you make is otherworldly -

and I let myself go as well, it's alright Jim, you can come, why not, this was so fucking hot -

I feel my muscles tense, my fingers grasp the headboard, you manage to keep your hand going even through your own release, keeping the rhythm nearly perfectly, and that's it, I'm off, I'm jolting, moaning deep in my throat, and *coming*... coming so fucking *good*...

 

 

Floating...

Floating...

BlissBlissBliss...

Dimly I hear you,

moaning...

feel you,

tensing...

shivering...

come, Jim...

come...

and you do,

ShudderingMoaningExploding,

god, so hot...

I keep stroking until I hear a small squeak from your lips, and I grin widely at that, and stop. Breathing raggedly, I take a moment to feel you - your back against my chest, your cock in my hand, and mine in your arse. Then I sigh and ruefully release you - pulling out, and falling against the pillows. I grab tissues from the nightstand, hand some to you, and clean myself off.

"Jesus... we should kick the shit out of each other more often..." I pant. "I'm going to be bruised as hell. So. Fucking. Worth it..."

 

 

I carefully clean myself off with a trembling left hand, then fall onto the bed as well. I need a shower, but I need to catch my breath first...

Fucking hell...

That was... something else.

"*You* are going to be bruised as hell? You didn't go three rounds with a fucking SAS officer... shame on you, beating up a priest..." I grin.

I feel uncharacteristically light - at ease, almost...

 

 

I chuckle. I never get to hear you laugh, and the sound is delightful...

"No, I just went three rounds with a wild animal. Christ, Jim... I've got to be on my toes around you." I nudge your shoulder playfully.

"Oh, I'm definitely ashamed of my behaviour..." I grin up at the ceiling. "If there's any kind of penance you need to issue... I'll be down on my knees as many times as you think the good Lord requires..."

 

 

"Oh, you certainly will," I grin, rolling over to you, putting my hand on your shoulder. That's ok. I can touch you like this. It's not weird or meaningful.

"If you get me a beer you are allowed to have one as well," I try. Hey, you never know.

 

 

Oh. He's touching me.

He's touching me...

Jesus Christ, Seb... you were just inside him...

Oh sure, yeah... it's no big deal, whatever...

(He'sTouchingMe!!)

"I'm allowed?" I throw back my head and laugh. "Wow. You're a strict boss..." I tease. "Coming right up..."

I sit up too quickly and groan. "Jesus... my ribs feel like they were pounded with a club..."

Painfully, I stand and prod my abdomen, wincing. "Hungry?"

 

 

"Bring the cheesy stuff as well," I wave.

Now the euphoria of the orgasm has waned a bit, I am starting to feel the ache all over my body. Bloody hell...

I do an inventory. Jaw bruised. Injured shoulder fucked up a bit more. Ribs bruised. Cheekbone bruised. Soreness around the stomach, abdomen, right leg.

Nothing seriously damaged though. No injuries or broken skin. Breathing is a bit tender, but no ribs broken or lungs hurt.

You walk in with a tray with two beers, the cheese and crackers, a bottle of whisky and two glasses, and your cigarettes and an ashtray, sit on the bed, put the tray in the middle, open the beers, pour us both an inch of whisky, and light a cigarette, breathe it in deeply, blow out the smoke, and look at me. I hold out my hand, and you pass the cigarette to me.

 

 

In the kitchen, I'm smiling to myself as I prepare a tray.

Do not get carried away, Seb... you know what he's like, Seb...

I start humming the melody to I Can See Clearly Now.

Fine. Random song. Totally irrelevant lyrics.

OK, Moran... game face on. He does not want a smitten kitten. You're a hot soldier, a badass bodyguard, and his loyal knight.

That's more than enough.

I pick up the tray, humming.

 

It's going to be a bright (bright)

bright (bright) sunshiny day...

 

Shut it, Seb...

I return to the bedroom, cool as you please.

You still appear to be in a good mood. I really should pound on you and then fuck you senseless as often as possible.

As I lean back against the headboard, a smile plays on my lips - I slip a cigarette into it so as not to be so bloody obvious.

I breathe in the smoke, and a cloud of smoke billows out around me. Damn. Best cigarette ever...

Next thing I know I'm passing it to you, and we're sharing a cigarette.

We're sharing a cigarette...

I love the Maldives... I love Coco Privé... We are never leaving here.

Fuck's sake, Seb... I throw back my whisky and stare at you, grinning dazedly. Then I stuff my mouth with cheese and crackers so I don't say anything stupid.

 

 

You seem awfully cheerful for someone who claims he’s sore all over. I’ll remember that...

Still, you’ve just fucked James Moriarty. You should be cheerful. Unlike *your* body, mine is a rare treat...

I pass the cigarette back to you and see you gazing at me. What’s that... admiration... pleasure...

... good.

I’m feeling pretty chipper myself, I have to admit. That was exactly what the doctor ordered...

I snigger at the thought. You look at me.

So, now what? We make conversation? I’m not exactly familiar with postcoital etiquette...

“I was thinking that that was exactly what the doctor ordered, and then pictured a doctor prescribing fighting a soldier,” I explain my giggle. You snort.

“I do think that might be what I needed to get back to sleep, though...” I stretch and take a sip of beer, then whiskey, pleasantly dulling my head some more. “I don’t think it’s a sustainable method, but to get over one’s jet lag, can’t beat a good beating and fuck...”

The cigarette reappears, and increases the quiet in my head even more.

That’s got to be good, right? Healing for the mind? Resting it? Or should I not be dulling it with alcohol? Fuck it, if Moriarty’s mind can’t deal with a simple beer - I’m really fucked. And I’m not. I’m fine. My mind has always reigned supreme and it shall again.

I feel myself sinking down, but there’s no way I’m going to sleep all sweaty.

I put the cigarette out, and carefully sit up. “Bloody hell, Tiger... glad you weren’t really trying to hurt me...”

 

 

As we smoke, silence falls over us like a cloak.

I stop myself from saying, 'I'll beat and fuck you any time you want, baby...'

I stop myself from saying, 'You're so fucking beautiful, it hurts to look at you...'

I stop myself from saying, 'What is this thing between us...? What is it, Jim?'

What is wrong with you, Seb? All the sex you've had in your life, and you're getting this swept away?? Stop it!

So I keep my mouth busy with the cigarette, and the beer, and the whisky. And I say nothing.

When you sit up, you wince. Shit. Did I hit you too hard? Even your wince is adorable. Shut it, Seb.

"Nah. More like fun pain..." I grin at you, and stop myself from winking. "Do you want some ice, Boss?"

 

 

“Hilarious. I’ll leave the masochism to you if you don’t mind... let’s have a shower first and then I’ll see where I want ice.”

We head back into the shower, where you take a soft sponge and wash me ever so carefully. That’s nice... means I don’t have to bend and stretch. Though I usually prefer my showers steaming hot, we’ve opted for a more lukewarm approach this time.

I really mustn’t make a habit of this... but it was *good* to blow off steam. All that aggression that I normally give regular outlets pent up for all those months... fuck, if you wouldn’t have been here I’d have *exploded*.

Yeah, definitely need some time before I am myself again.

There’s a gym on the island - I’ll try to use that, to get fit again in the first place; I’m *flabby* - Father James did some exercise occasionally, but he also loved his drink - but also to relieve the worst of the aggression and stress. I can’t keep fighting elite soldiers.

When I’m clean, we head back to bed, finish the whiskey and beer, chatting about inane things like the Maldives’ ecoculture and geography, London transport, military strategy in World War One, and whether Scottish or Irish whiskey is best.

I’m surprised I actually *enjoy* the small talk. It’s so easy - I sucked at it as Father James, and never did it as Jim Moriarty, except when playing a role, never as pastime in itself. But you’re witty and quite intelligent for a normal person. Atypically, I find myself not bored.

 

 

I'm delighted to be invited back into the shower with you. We seem to have established a routine.

One where I get to feast my eyes on your beautiful body while rubbing you down gently.

It's my second favourite part of my work. But, then - sleeping in the same bed is amazing, too.

Obviously fucking comes first. It should come second and third, too.

Then sleeping. Then showers.

Now that I think of it, most of my work so far has been seeing to your various needs, and making sure you're protected.

I can't get complacent, as much as I love being here with you.

There's critical work to be done, and part of me, the badass soldier, is chomping at the bit to get the mission underway... wreak bloody vengeance, and re-establish your domain.

The lazy idiot part of me wants to spend two weeks drunk and screwing.

Swimming. Eating. Doing Nothing.

Lounging on the bed, we somehow fall into our first relaxed conversation... and it's so enjoyable - just hanging out in bed naked with you, eating cheese and crackers, hopping from one subject to another.

I don't take it personally when your eyelids start to droop. It's late, almost two. You clearly need sleep. And maybe a cuddle?

Without saying a word, I pull back the covers and you crawl in. I hesitate and follow you.

I lie on my side, not touching you... but I can't make any promises about what my sleeping body will feel inspired to do in your presence.

"Sleep well, Boss," I murmur, and close my eyes.

 

Chapter Text

Apparently we sleep in the same bed. When was that established? I can’t quite recall if it was a conscious decision... it’s fine though... you’re safe...

 

I dream of having to catch a train, but the doors only open for a second, and in a different place each time, so I’m locked out each time, and I have to get the train or I’ll miss my flight...

 

Next I’m in a business meeting and it’s going wrong, the guy is furious with me and I try to subdue him with words, but he’s not having it, and the next thing I know his bodyguard has shot my bodyguards and he’s coming at me, threatening...

 

What - someone is fucking *strangling* me - I lash out - fuck - “*Sebastian*!”

 

 

Pain. Roaring. Fury.

Someone thrashing - what??

"What the fuck?" I growl, my eyes flying open. JIM. Where's Jim?

Jim - hitting me furiously, cursing. I feel my hands on skin. Throat. Hard enough to bruise.

Oh. Shit.

Release. Release.

"Must have been - dreaming," I say, confused. It felt so real. I was protecting you - against a monster who had stolen your face.

"Sorry..."

I touch the bridge of my nose gingerly, and suck in my breath. "Jesus. I'm going to be a walking bruise..." I groan.

 

 

*Fucking hell*. I thought having a bodyguard would save me from people attacking me in the night.

I stroke my neck, cough a bit. You get up and get me a glass of water.

“I thought you were the one who was used to sleeping with people?”

 

 

"Do I give that impression?" I ask innocently. "Well. I didn't do much sleeping, I usually left. Or there wasn't a bed."

You have an odd look on your face. Shut up, Seb.

"I'm not so good at... people. One-on-one. Not for extended periods, anyway. My patrol-mates were the exception. Hook-ups... not an exception."

I grimace. "Sorry about the throttling..."

 

 

You *usually* left did you? And just how often was *usually*?

And what do you mean you’re not good at people for extended periods? You’re not –

... you don’t want to *leave*, do you?

Hook-ups? I’m not a fucking hook-up, am I?! I’m your fucking god, Sebastian... you’re *mine*, Sebastian...

you’re not. Fucking. Leaving. Sebastian.

“Would you rather leave?”

My voice is calm. Completely calm. I’m not going to fly in a rage if you say yes. You’ve helped me well. You can be a great asset for the Empire. It’s probably for the best, I suck at people too. Would probably kill you within a week.

 

 

"Would I rather - what? Fuck, no!" I look at you, aghast.

Why would you think that? The look on your face is stormy, barely hidden by icy calm. Are you - upset?

"I didn't mean..." I shake my head. "This is not parallel to any of that," I say vehemently. "You are not people. This is not a hook-up. I don't know what it is. A calling? My bloody purpose in life? I'm not going anywhere." My breath hitches in my throat.

 

 

I don't do relief. I don't do emotions at all. I'm just - healing still. From the - stuff. Brainwashing. Being a fucking priest. And - well, at the moment my Empire consists of one subject. Would be a terrible shame to lose him.

I'm not people. I'm not a hook-up. I'm your purpose in life.

And don't you forget it.

"Maybe I should tie you to the bedpost at night..." I muse.

 

 

I chuckle. "Sounds hot. I'm game..."

I look at you. Are you feeling reassured?

"I meant what I said... I'm here as long as you want me. As long as you need me. Not going fucking anywhere," I say gruffly.

You will need me, won't you? After everything's taken care of, and you're back on your feet again?

Oh god, oh fuck... Want me for always. Need for me always.

Calm down, Seb. Just. Breathe.

"Well, we're up now... nothing like a good choking to get your blood pumping. Breakfast?"

 

 

I groan.

"Yeah, I guess we should - it should be around six, and we have a full day ahead of us..."

 

 

"...full day? You want to get started on the plan?"

I want to whine, But we just got here!!

But - Swimming. Eating. Doing Nothing.

Drinking and Screwing?

I hide my moping, and haul myself out of bed. Jesus... I feel like I got hit by a train. I limp slowly across the bedroom, holding my ribs.

"God. Wild animal is right..." I mutter.

 

 

"I was being *sarcastic*, Sebastian," I say.

I feel so much lighter now you've said that you're here as long as I want you. That you're not going anywhere. You're not. You're mine. I never doubted it.

"I have no fucking clue what I'm doing. I've never been on a holiday in my life. I don't expect it's a good idea to have a punch-up with an SAS soldier every day - but I really don't know what to do to let my mind rest. And I don't even know if that is what I'm supposed to do - I just assumed rest was good. And - if something happens, if I start thinking I'm a fucking priest again and start trying to convert the jellyfish, it's best that I'm away from people.

Huh. Looks like you're not people either..."

 

 

I’m leaning against the doorframe, listening to you. "Well, that's settled - neither of us are people. Who would want to be? Fuck people..."

My heart glows at the thought of being placed in the same category as you.

Wait - what did you say before that? "I should think you wouldn't turn back into James now... It's kind of a one-way street, isn't it...?” I rest my cheek against the doorframe, looking at you doubtfully.

James was so lovely, so sweet, but... I'm devoted to Jim. It's always been about Jim...

 

 

"I hope so, but I don't have nearly enough data to be able to give any predictions with a reliable degree of certainty."

I look up at you.

"They *fucked* with my *brain*. I didn't know who I *was* for nine months. I think I managed to escape, but - I really know *nothing*. I don't even know if *this* is real - if this isn't yet another hallucination. If there ever was a Jim Moriarty. And if there was, how the *fuck* they managed to convince him that he was a fucking *priest*. I have seen the scars - but I can *deal* with torture, I shouldn't go out of my mind just because they burn my fucking bollocks - I don't know what *happened*, I don't know *how* it happened, and I don't know that it won't happen again, and it's *infuriating*. My mind has always been the one thing I could rely on - I've always been so much smarter than anyone else; I could always trust my mind to give me the advantage I needed to stay ahead - and all of a sudden I learn that my mind has been betraying me -"

It's *terrifying*. The fear that my own mind might deceive me at any one moment.

 

 

As you’re speaking, I’m slowly crossing the room.

I sit back down on the bed. “Well... maybe they used a drug or some new brainwashing technique... don’t be hard on yourself. Be hard on them. We will be very hard on them for what they did to you...” I growl and clench my fists. “And I don’t for one second believe you won’t feel like yourself again. You only returned to yourself a few days ago...Your mind is still reorienting... give it time. That’s why we’re here, right? So your mind can feel safe and rest and recharge. And you will. I’m sure of it... and as for hallucinations...”

I pinch your arm, and jump off the bed. “Did you feel that?” I chuckle, dancing out of the way of your grabbing hands. Damn. You’re quick...

 

 

Easy for you to say, Moran. You’re not the one whose brain has been screwed with.

But it’s good to see your fury and determination. You really are devoted, and I have no idea how I got this - a mad priest mumbles some unintelligible instructions at you and you followed them against heavy opposition - then he tortured you and you loved him for it - and became his loyal knight.

It does seem like Father James’ god thinks I deserve some compensation for what I’ve been through...

“Let’s do breakfast first, then see what delights the island has to offer... Hammad seemed big on the TV, but I’d like to think we didn’t come to a tropical island to watch telly, huge though it is... I guess we’ll have to swim in the sea and stuff. I do expect you to keep me safe from fish - you weren’t a boat trooper, by any chance?”

 

 

I chuckle. "Mobility troop. Desert warfare. We didn't spend a lot of time in the sea fighting fish... but I'll wager I can slap the shit out of one if it comes near you. I've been known to catch them in my bare hands..."

 

"I wasn't joking, so that will come in handy..." Your tone is dry, but you look suitably impressed. "My, my, Sebastian..."

 

"I have something to confess... When I said there were two things I do really well? It was purely for effect. Although I think you'll agree I'm a paragon when it comes to fighting and fucking," I say, grinning cheekily. "But I have an additional list of skills that are rather good, I've been told..."

 

"And being humble clearly isn't one! Continue," you demand, your eyes bright with intrigue.

 

"Covert ops, as I mentioned... There's a reason the army kept me around for so long, even though I was an insubordinate bastard... they knew if there was something dangerous and impossible, where failure wasn't an option, me and my patrol were the ones deployed.

Then there's sniping... The longest recorded sniping kills are the officially documented ones only. You'll notice none of them are SAS... they prefer to keep their business to the shadows. So you certainly won't find my name on any such list. But I'm happy to demonstrate for you sometime on one of your enemies.

Assassination. You want someone dead, be it fish or human, I'm your man. Turns out I'm a bit of a prodigy when it comes to delivering death."

I'm your man echoes in my head, and I ignore this.

 

Your eyes have lit up by now. My heart feels like it's glowing.

"And then... you may be interested to know that I also have mad skills when it comes to..." I falter. You're looking at me with an expectant smile.

I was going to say I've been told my kissing is to die for, but something holds me back.

"... the kitchen," I say smoothly. "But only when it comes to breakfast. Full English coming up..."

I sweep out of the bedroom, my heart fluttering. Seb... Jesus. Don't talk to your boss about what a good kisser you are, even if you are currently sharing a bed!

What is wrong with me?? Nothing. It's stress. It's jet lag. It's (Jim)...

Muttering to myself, I start putting ingredients onto the counter. I ignore the vision of your face swimming before my eyes, and the fluttering sensation that continues in my chest.

 

 

My, you do know how to sweet-talk a boy...

Assassination, sniping, impossible missions...

You’ll never get one more impossible than me, that’s for sure. But that explains why you were not fazed guarding a mad priest; and how you seemed almost psychic in your perceptiveness.

I do seem to have won the jackpot here. I didn’t even know a guy like you existed. I mean, I know about elite soldiers - but I thought they were all boring, Queen and Country, upstanding obey orders meatheads. Not - subversive sarcastic kinky hot intelligent guys. I sincerely suspect there aren’t many of those...

... there may well be only one. And he’s mine. He’s got an M carved in his back.

Bloody hell, what was I thinking... I was in a daze, heat of the moment... and fuck, it was hot...

... *Anyway*, if we stop thinking with our slightly damaged and severely neglected genitals for a moment, you sound like a really good acquisition - my very own pet assassin. Pet *elite* assassin. Not that I think you’ll stand a chance to get at Holmes... but if we put my genius and your skills together...

“The recorded record for long-distance snipes is over three kilometres. Is there any chance that you could do something like that?”

 

 

I look up at you from chopping mushrooms. "Well... if you know that, you know it depends on many factors. Wind direction and speed... elevation... activity of the mark... functionality and accuracy of equipment... I can't say with any guarantee that I could do that... again," I add quietly, and turn with a sly smile to deposit the sausages and bacon into the now-sizzling pan.

 

 

Should it turn me on that my new whatever you are has done a record snipe?

I’m not one for fawning, but that is *one* amazing feat. And you know it; don’t think I didn’t notice that smile.

Well, I’ve never really held with false modesty.

“You’re quite the catch, aren’t you? What brought you to a dilapidated London church?”

There’s a story there...

 

 

I slow down pushing the now-sizzling meat around the pan. Catch? I'm quite the... catch?? Do you mean as an employee, yes, of course as an employee, Seb! What else would he mean, as a boyfriend??

I hold back a snort. Then cluing in to what you asked, I feel myself tense.

"Oh, that... I was doing recon on a mark. Didn't realize he had his own security tracking me as I did. I wasn't given that intel, but that's no excuse. I should have seen it."

Slowly I take the eggs and crack them one by one into another pan.

"My mind was... elsewhere." Don't say anything else.

crack

"My own personal shit. Stupid." My jaw tenses. Seb.

crack

"Should have left it at home. Didn't." SEB.

crack

"Sloppy. It's the only time that's ever happened. It won't happen again." I hold my breath.

crack

I stare at the pan, watching the edges of the eggs turn up slightly.

I chew my lip. "Haven't felt that way since - I met you. Met James, then you."

Careful, Seb...

"I could have ducked in anywhere. Why a church of all places? Something drew me in. And then, James was kind to me. There was no way in hell I was letting that fucker get away with shooting him..."

I shake myself, and look at you. "So that's the story. Weird to think that was just a week ago. Then after a pit stop in Acton to imprison a priest, here we are!" I give you a small smile, and flip the eggs. Letting out a long breath, I throw in mushrooms and tomatoes, and get started on coffee.

 

 

“You were suicidal. You didn’t want to leave the army, you were kicked out. And then you felt lost - until you met me and all of a sudden your life has a purpose again.”

No wonder you’re so devoted...

 

 

I go still and stare at the coffee maker for a moment.

"There are worse things than death..." I say slowly.

I jab a button and listen to the coffee maker bubble into life. "This world... civilian life... doesn't make sense to me. I thought being an assassin would help."

I start to feel panic rising in me, that mind-numbing panic again... cold sweat... icy fingers on my heart... not again...

Not in front of Jim.

I punch the cutting board, and flex my hand. I stare at the blood on my knuckles, numbly.

"It didn't. Being your assassin, though..." I trail off. "Makes me feel..."

My breath catches in my throat.

"Alive."

 

 

You’re so hurt about being kicked out. But you’re delighted about being mine. Which means that you’ll fight to the death for me. Which is a trait that is highly desirable in a bodyguard - that’s one thing you’ll be then. And then it also makes more sense to keep you close. I’ll have to get used to someone sleeping in my bed - you’re too good an asset to put anywhere but in my immediate vicinity. When we get back to civilization... Holmes is going to be hunting me, we can be sure of that. And he’ll use every resource at his disposal, which is a *lot*. Little Sherlock is going to be guarded tighter than the Queen. And I’ll have to be very very careful rebuilding my network... because that’s exactly what he’ll be looking out for. He’ll have little feelers all through criminal and hireable Britain ready to ring the alarm when anything resembling Moriarty shows up.

I wonder... would he have identified you? I can’t risk it; I’ll need another straw man to work through...

*Later*. We were going to rest our brain. Plotting later.

I guess I should say something. You’re looking at me.

“I’m glad I’m providing you with incentive to live. I’m not going to lie, it’s an impossible job, in more ways than one, but I guess that’s only a bonus for you.

We haven’t discussed responsibilities and compensation.

Sorry, this is not how I usually employ people.

I suggest full-time bodyguard - you already are doing a great job of that.

Going on missions when we’re back - anything from reconnaissance to assassination to breaking and entering to kidnapping - whatever comes up. I don’t think any of that will be a problem.

Do you have any limits or weaknesses? Now is the time to say. I won’t hold anything against you now, and don’t want to find out you have a debilitating fear of heights when we’re up a tower. So any phobias, anything you won’t do - no killing kids or something - and while we’re at it, anything you wouldn’t be able to bear me doing in bed.”

 

 

As you speak, I lick the blood still seeping from my knuckles.

"Sounds good to me. No weaknesses or limits when it comes to work, except...

Well, I don't like the idea of killing women or kids, but - if it's going to happen regardless, at least I can do it painlessly and without distress. I won't hurt kids or women. No torment, no torture."

I slide the eggs onto plates, and then mushrooms and tomatoes. Bacon and sausages follow. I carry the plates to the table and return for coffee and toast.

"As for sex... well, I liked everything you did. Really, all I can think of that I wouldn't be into is stuff that I really can't picture you doing anyway! Like being treated in a really cutesy, demeaning way. Just not my thing. But overall, I'm cool with BDSM, toys... really I just liked being at your mercy...feeling like I belonged to you..." I admit. "It was... so fucking hot..."

Am I blushing? God, I'm a former SAS soldier, for fuck's sake...

Hoping you didn't notice, I gesture at the table with a flourish.

"Breakfast is served," I say, not looking at you and pouring us both coffee.

 

 

Ugh. Bit disappointed at the faux-chivalric no women and children thing. I mean - no torturing kids is one thing, but women are no less evil than men, Sebastian. I suppose you see less of it in the all-male SAS, killing all-male Taliban, but trust me.

Anyway, I said I wouldn’t hold anything against you. And I won’t. I’ll get someone else if the torture of a lady is required.

I tuck into the food.

“Alright. Glad you like being at my mercy - I like having you there, as you will have noticed.”

Did you just *blush*?! You *did*!

Ohhh, we’re going to have a lot of fun Sebastian...

“So does the rest sound good? Assassination, bodyguarding, etcetera?

I suggest 200K a month for your full collaboration. It doesn’t take into account bedroom shenanigans - I never really dealt with a member of staff that way. Not sure if you’d call it employee benefits or added responsibilities...”

 

 

You're silent for a moment. Is the no-torturing women and kids thing throwing you or something?? Sorry... some contract killers draw the line at killing them at all... I think I can be forgiven for not wanting to hear a woman screaming not in pleasure. So I have a soft spot for women - even criminals and insurgents. Sue me. If I had to do it to save the life of a soldier... or you... I would in a heartbeat. Just not for money.

Glad you like being at my mercy. I like having you there...

I glance at you. Oh god... you totally saw the blushing, didn't you... the gleam in your eye speaks for itself. My face starts to go hot again, but thankfully you're already moving onto the next topic.

"Sounds perfect, Boss. Oh, let's not factor in bedroom shenanigans... I'll throw that in for free," I say with a wink.

What did we discuss about not winking at the boss, Sebastian??

You're not his boyfriend, you're more like a gun-toting boy toy. His gun-toting boy toy.

I shove a sausage into my mouth, and try not to blush again.

 

 

Oh god you’re blushing again... while eating a sausage, no less.

I smile sharkishly, lick my lips. Yes, getting redder... oh how cute, I have a blushing elite soldier. Without limits in the bedroom. My favourite type.

“I think I might be able to think of something to do today after all...

Hammad assured me everything I asked for has been delivered and is waiting in one of the bedrooms...”

I spear a sausage of my own, bring it to my mouth, brush it against my lips before biting into it.

“I guess it would probably be wiser to take some time to recover...

... but you don’t strike me as a wise man. Nor am I...

And what I say goes, doesn’t it, Sebastian? Because you belong to me... my very own soldier to do with as I like...”

I take a sip from my coffee.

“Even after you’ve seen some of what I like, you still can’t think of any limits...

I like that in a man.

A strong, handsome, sexy, skilled man... who is mine... marked and branded. My property. My slave. Ready to be chained down and whipped... to fall to his knees and be fucked... to do anything, bear anything, for my pleasure...”

I don’t think I have much appetite for breakfast... some more coffee is drunk, but mostly I’m drinking in your dark eyes... your shallow breathing... your tongue licking your lips as you stare at me...

 

 

God, you notice everything...

and you like it.

And you will use it.

Sebastian, you idiot...

Abruptly I stop berating myself when I see you touch the sausage to your lips, definitely for my benefit.

Fuck.

 

My very own soldier to do with as I like...

God, yes... I'm yours, please...

what - did you have delivered, Jim?

What's going to happen in that room?

 

A strong, handsome, sexy, skilled man... who is mine... marked and branded. My property. My slave.

Every word is searing into my brain. My body is heating up, my muscles tense.

The speared sausage halfway to my lips is forgotten, trembling on metal tines.

I exhale and then slowly, purposefully push the sausage against my lips. My tongue darts out and licks it before it slides with devastating slowness into my mouth.

I start to chew, staring at you heatedly.

After I swallow, I down my coffee and plunk the cup emphatically on the table.

"Anything and everything you want, Sir... I'm yours to command..." I say gruffly.

Yours.

 

 

*Mine*

Right.

Breakfast will wait.

I get up.

You look at me, eyes large.

*Mine*.

I lick my lips.

“Wait here.”

You sit still, looking at me as I leave the room.

I head into the bedroom where a suitcase with supplies is waiting, have a look through it, take out a blindfold, walk back to the kitchen.

You look at me as I come in. It’s quite heady to be looked at like this - like I’m the hottest, most desirable man in the world, which I *am*, of course, but I’ve never been really looked at like this...

I look into your eyes for a long moment, then walk around you, lift the blindfold, put it on.

 

 

There it is... the look...

I would spend my life waiting for this look... to grace me with its longed-for presence... to dominate me with its smouldering demands...

Mmm... you're licking your lips...

God, what that does to me.

When you leave, a thrill of excitement moves through me... and as I'm not stupid, there's apprehension as well.

but clearly I'm not wise or sensible, either... because apprehension gets shoved away, in favour of lusty anticipation.

My heart rate increases when you return... looking like quite the predator, sauntering into the room...

Damn, you're fucking gorgeous, aren't you...

My breath quickens as you look at me. As you walk behind me...

And then catches in my throat as a blindfold appears, and then I see nothing at all.

OK...

I need to not think of the last time I was blindfolded which was in Afghanistan, and definitely not something I want to remember at this moment...

but there were other times on leave, when sex partners wanted to get frisky, and a blindfold would come out. That was fun... although that was generally accompanied by silly sexy things like feathers, candle wax and fun-fur handcuffs... not knives and cables and whatever the fuck you had delivered...

Although... given the choice between, I would always choose what's behind door number two, administered by a certain delectable, terrifying little tyrant...

god, yes... what do you have planned for me, Jim...?

 

 

A small twinge when the blindfold descends, quickly pushed away. Unpleasant memory, likely in the military, but not sufficient to be traumatic in this situation. Good - but keep an eye out. If you scream, I want it to be because I want you to, not because you're having a panicky flashback.

I pull your hand and you get up; then I let go - a small test.

"Follow me," I say, and walk towards the bedroom.

 

 

I exhale, steady myself, and follow your footsteps.

Some of my training involved blindfolding... movement, fighting, using weapons... it was important to be prepared for any scenario.

Enhanced interrogation, too... of course the real thing is different than any training could be...

Still I'm better prepared for whatever's going to happen than anyone else you've played your little games with. Of that I'm supremely confident - and it puts determination into my muscles and into my sense of navigation.

I slow down as I near what I think is the doorframe... wouldn't do much for my confidence walking into it, now would it?

I stop as I near where I sense your presence.

Here we go...

 

 

Perfect - confident but careful.

I stand for a moment, looking at you. Good lord, whom I don't believe in, thanks anyway for making this absolutely perfect specimen of mankind.

I should send your mother a thank-you card... Bleached blond hair accentuates your tan, a stubble is just breaking through creating a five-o-clock shadow, muscles clear even in the baggy t-shirt you've thrown on, strong legs visible underneath your shorts, an arse to die for currently not visible, but memory serves *very* well...

What joys to experience, in this first time after the first time? I mustn't go as crazy as I did then... I had a point to prove, and I don't now. All I have to do now is relax my mind...

I pick up two leather cuffs that I'd laid out and tie one around each wrist. A quick glance at your shorts shows that you are all too keen on the proceedings - good. I don't know what I'll do if I want to do something you don't want - we'll burn that bridge when we get to it.

I lift your hands, pull down a chain that loops through a hook attached to the ceiling, attach it to your wrists, pull them up, secure them.

Beautiful... my very own Tiger, strung up and at my mercy...

 

 

Restraints are going to feature heavily in the next two weeks (and in my future), aren't they?

I am so OK with that... so more than OK. I find it difficult to not be grinning like a lunatic as you attach the cuffs to my wrists. And raise them over my head. Oh... when did you find time to make adjustments to the ceiling, Jim?

Not at all relevant... the important thing is I'm attached to it now.

Securely.

Blindfolded.

Waiting...

I sense where you're standing in the room, turn my head towards you, and smile.

 

 

Smiling... such a beautiful smile, just a *little* bit cocky, but we'll forgive that, mostly just - happy, though. Happy to be chained to the ceiling, to a hook that Hammad assured me would hold an elephant, to be blindfolded and to just - be, just stand here awaiting my pleasure.

I pick up a knife, stroke it against your cheek, trace it down along your throat... as always, there's that will I/won't I feeling... it does make one feel so alive, knowing one can kill someone with a simple flick of your wrist... you're standing very still, your breaths calm but shallow to minimize movement...

I grab the neck of your shirt and cut through the collar, then the sleeves, then the rest of the front, let the cloth fall onto the floor.

Then I do the same with your shorts, finally your pants, and throw the knife onto the bed.

 

 

I feel a blade against my face, my throat... god, everything lies on the edge of a knife for you, doesn't it.

I want to fall on my knees, but I can't... so I just stand there breathing while you caress me with your blade.

And suddenly... fabric is being cut... concisely... ruthlessly...

In the time it takes for my breath to catch in my throat, I'm naked.

That's the fastest I've ever been divested of clothes...

definitely the hottest...

"God... Sir..." I breathe, transfixed at what is happening.

I have a feeling this won't be the last time my clothes are scraps of fabric on the floor...

How will my sparse wardrobe survive these two weeks?

How will I??

 

 

You appear to like this. Good - you love living on the edge, don't you, my sexy sexy soldier?

*So* sexy. I walk around you, drinking in your naked body, muscular, strong, supple, just *perfect*... made even better by the marks upon you, from me... the weals from the ropes, mostly gone... the healing cuts from my knife... the bruises from my fists... the angry burns from our shared cigarettes, the welts from the power cord, and the bold M upon your back, proudly proclaiming to all the world that this here body belongs to *me*...

*Fuck*, that's hot...

The power of life and death over someone... the power to make someone do whatever you want... I had an entire web at my disposal, but they had boring restrictions, and alliances, and balances, and I always needed to calculate how every pull on every strand reverberated all the way throughout it... it's almost liberating to have power over only one person, with no effects outside this island, for now, no need to think fifteen steps ahead; it's just you and me.

I look at the tools laid out. So many possibilities... but this is just for fun. Just for you and me.

I move closer to you, stroke your shoulder. So smooth, so warm... move my fingers down, over the weals of the M, down to the delightful swelling of your buttocks, back up over your hip, your side, your chest, with the ridges of the cuts. Put my arms around you, kiss your neck.

 

 

God... the feeling of blind powerlessness while you walk around me...

You're not touching me... I don't know if you're deciding what to do, admiring the view, or trying to unsettle me... all three, I suspect... it has the effect of making me feel like I'm slowly being consumed by flames. My skin is heating up, my loins are on fire as I'm waiting for you...

when you touch me, my breathing speeds up; I'm shivering at your touch, not knowing where you're going to go next...

and then I feel your arms slide around me, feel your lips on my neck, and I'm swamped with sensation.

I can't hold back any more... a moan breaks free of my lips.

"Fuck..." I whisper, and lean into you, trembling.

 

 

You're already so affected, by the mere touch of my fingers... then my mouth in your neck makes you tremble...

I wonder how long I could let you balance on the edge of passion and despair...

One day; not now. Now is for enjoying you, and letting you enjoy my enjoyment of you.

I suck your skin in through my teeth, bite a little, not too hard, making you gasp.

"So responsive..." I muse, moving back, trailing a finger across the mark of the kiss, along your clavicle.

"Such a beautiful, well-trained, sensitive body... all mine, to use as I like... for pleasure, for pain..." I pinch your nipple between thumbnail and finger.

 

 

Your teeth... your fingers... setting my skin ablaze...

Oh god... I'm suspended somewhere between heaven and fucking hell... it's so good, so good, I almost can't bear it... and you've only just started... usually (already we're at usually??), sex with you is so over-the-top hardcore intense, I just feel completely consumed by it. But this holding back, this teasing... oh god, I'm going to be a raving mess by the end, aren't I?

Your purring voice is already making me want to whimper...

when you pinch my nipple, I make a rumbling sound in my throat.

"Yours... yours, Sir..." it comes out like a growl. I want to sink my teeth into your neck so much... I want to devour you...

 

 

Mmm, my Tiger is growling... but growling all the right words. Good thing he’s chained up though... those claws can get vicious.

But only if I want them to.

I look down at the implements. What to use on my dear hot soldier...

I choose a thin riding crop. Not too heavy, but nice and whippy. Perfect for my new favourite toy...

I move around you, lash the crop against your bottom.

 

 

You pause, and I hear a rustling sound. Deciding which tool of the trade to use?

A tremble of anticipation and apprehension moves through me.

It's weird, the similarities between this and interrogation by an enemy...

(Don't think of that...)

You move around me again, and suddenly there's a lash of pain against my arse.

I inhale sharply and smile.

Mm.

Jim...

The adventure begins...

 

 

A sharp intake of breath, and then a smile. You're just the perfect masochist, aren't you, Sebastian?

Much of your body is off-limits at the moment as I have to give it some time to heal, but your arse and thighs are fair game for my crop. I lash steadily, making sure I cover your bottom with parallel lines, then move down to your thighs.

 

 

You lash repeatedly... avoiding the wounded areas, I notice.

Ohhh... so sweet...

Jesus, Seb! I think, panicking at the strange thoughts I've been having... Why don't you just start doodling hearts with your initials all over the place... that's sure to impress!

Right... benefit of the job, nothing more, nothing less...

I feel my arse twitching, and moan with delight as you lashlashlash...

My cock is already so hard... fuck...

 

 

You just appear utterly delighted with every touch you get, whether it's a stroking hand, biting teeth, kissing lips, or a lashing whip... Your moans are of pleasure, and your excitement is plain to see.

Mildly irritated, I flick the tip of the whip against your cock.

 

 

I yelp and suck in my breath. Motherfucking fuck, that hurt...

"Jesus!" I breathe. My muscles are getting a bit trembly - from the shock more than the pain, but it still fucking hurt.

God... looks like we're taking a detour from pleasure into pain... I brace myself for whatever's coming next.

 

 

That's better... gotta keep you on your toes.

"This is not just for your enjoyment, Sebastian... it's for mine too, and I like a few gasps of pain... don't worry, it's not been damaged..."

(*unlike mine*)

(*fury*)

*lash* against your buttocks, harder this time.

 

 

FUCK... oh you'll get your gasps of pain...

I groan as another hard lash follows.

And more than just gasping...

"Oh... god..." I pant. "Are you - enjoying yourself now, Sir?"

 

 

"Hm-mm..." I muse, changing the crop for a dressage whip. The little flicky string at the end is a particular favourite... If you are an expert wielder, which I *am*, you can flick it against any small surface you choose, giving a small but sharp little snap. I take up position to your left, whisking the vicious little scorpion's tail against your chest, your nipples, the recovering bits... no damage will be done, but there will be quick delicious jabs of pain...

 

 

Bloody hell... whatever you're using now, it's got a savage bite...

every time it lashes against a spot, it feels like being envenomated... fiery, biting pain spreading underneath my skin... injecting me with your delicious poison...

my breath, rough and ragged...

my head, thrown back...

oh god...

so good...

 

 

You do love your pain, don't you, Sebastian? Good, because so do I...

It's delicious to see your head thrown back, hear your shallow breath, see the occasional tremble rippling your skin, like a horse trying to remove a fly, see your fingers clasp, hear soft moans...

I carefully move down, set up a rhythm of flicks against your thighs, your hips... move to your cock, your balls...

 

 

I yelp, and yelp again.

"Fuck, Jim... Sir," I correct myself, panting.

Shit... it's so hard not to be reactive when something's coming at little Seb...

Just... breathe...

 

 

For that 'Jim' I'll aim a few at the head... Little Seb shows no inclination to hide at all. Good to see he is at least as big a masochist as big Seb...

You're nicely perspiring now, but keeping admirably still.

I move towards your back, aim my flicking kisses at the M, moving along the lines.

 

 

God, that sharp little kiss... that burning, stinging glow... it's like you in the form of whatever implement you're using. It's you...

territorial (yes... all yours... every inch...)

merciless... (oh god... the M? fuuuuck)

and strangely, savagely... intimate?? God... I knew I was mental, but I had no idea how mental...

and yes... this is the most intimate connection I've ever felt with someone...

and I need to stop following that line of thought, or I know I'll regret it.

Just. Breathe. Seb.

And enjoy the fucking ride...

 

 

When I finish the M, I lash your bottom and thighs with the dressage whip. It's thin and flexible and capable of doling out a mean line of fire, and I'm fucking *angry* at the world, so you're going to have to suffer a bit, alright?

 

 

oh god... a rain of savage, burning kisses on my flesh...

I can take this...

I can take this...

how much more are you going to do?

I groan at the pain of it, the pleasure of it, blending into a symphony of flames licking my skin... fuck...

 

 

lash

lash

lashlash*lash*LASH

My arm is getting pleasantly tired, your groans are sounding more frantic - it'll do.

It'll have to do.

I can't keep *lash*ing you for*ever*, until you are a *puddle* of *blood* and *bones* at my *feet* -

*No*, Moriarty. You like this one. You keep him alive.

Breathing heavily, I walk towards you, undo the chains, hook your wrist cuffs together, push you over the footboard of the bed.

 

 

oh fuck, oh god... it's so wickedly good, but eventually we're going to move beyond pleasant pain into painpainohgodpain... and when I reach that point, can I say anything? Can I really say anything, or do I just - let you?

Isn't that what it means to be owned?

I'm groaning out loud, gasping in pain... oh you must be enjoying yourself now...

but suddenly I feel myself being unchained... wrists shackled, I find myself draped over the footboard. I don't even remember how I got here...

fuck... oh holy fuck... what do you have in store for me, Jim?

 

 

Your arse, glowing, covered in weals, some red, some angry purple, some blood where they overlapped -

Your breath, still coming in pants -

Your body, just letting itself be handled by me in whatever way I want -

fuck, so hot -

I grab the lube, rub around you, inside you, slick myself up -

*so hot*

*want*

*mine*

 

 

I lie loosely over the wood, my muscles slack, utterly surrendering to you.

Being the object of your desire is so painful, so hot...

I wouldn't give this up for anything...

My eyes close as I feel you prepare me.

God, yes... take me... fuck me...

But I can't say that, it would sound too much like I was telling you what to do...

I lay my cheek against the mattress, and wait to be possessed by you.

"Yours, Sir..." I whisper. " All yours..."

 

 

"I know, my Tiger..." I whisper, more tenderly than I intended. Well. You're behaving exemplarily, might as well be rewarding.

I push myself against you, feeling the heat radiate off your buttocks, push in - oh fuck so good - slowly, Moriarty, slowly... careful, don't tear him - he's too good to waste -

Oh god you feel *so* - *good* -

*Was that a moan*?

Keep yourself under control, Moriarty...

 

 

Ohh... you sound so sweet. Shades of... James(?!).

A small glow lights up in my chest.

And I can't consider the implications of this, because I'm distracted by your cock pressing against me, and into me...

and deeper into me, ohh...

and then -

you moan...

oh god... so beautiful...

you buried in me, moaning...

oh... Jim...

 

 

Your arse - so tight, so smooth, so hot, so perfect... made for me, I swear, made by the gods themselves, then given to me as tribute...

I move, it's fine, I'm in, you're safe, you won't tear, and I need to move - I need to *fuck*-

What the fuck is the Catholic church thinking, forbidding their people to fuck? It's the very source of life, what on earth could possess them to say it's sinful? Insane death cult, with their idols of a man dying on a torture instrument... and they say *I* am sick... sick for enjoying the purest form of ecstasy... union with a partner...

Every slow stroke is unbearable delight, every inch of my cock shouting out its joy throughout my body...

I squeeze my fingers into your hips, slowly increase my speed...

 

 

OH god, so hot... so fucking hot...

amazing... intoxicating...

I thought I knew, I thought I knew what fucking was!

All that I had done all these years, only to be proven wrong...

so wrong...

thank god I found you, rescued you from that church...

and then you rescued me...

and now instead of the darkness that consumed me, I'm lost in you...

found in you...

in the way you claim my body...

moving inside me so purposefully, powerfully...

possessing me fully...

making me yours...

oh god...

yours.

 

 

*mine* - all mine...

The most beautiful man in the world, handcuffed, bent over a bed, being fucked by me, after I've whipped him raw - his body covered in my marks of ownership - he's *mine*, my property, my killing soldier, my protector, my fucktoy, *mineminemine*...

Gasps are escaping me, some of which an unwitting observer might misconstrue as groans, but surely not, surely I don't groan during sex -

But what *is* sex? *This* is sex, indubitably, the quintessence of what sex can be, the secret of life, the universe, everything -

what have I done before? Stuck my cock in people - meaningless bodies, no more vivid than moving pictures on a screen, their arses or mouths no more satisfying than my left hand - incomparable with this -

"Fuck - Tiger - hot -"

Did I say that?

Fuck's sake Moriarty watch your *mouth* -

 

 

You seem to be getting swept away by it...

Which is so unbelievably hot, it's throwing me into a tailspin.

Your gasping...

Your words...

How you're gripping my hips...

How you're moving in me, not mindless thrusting, with every stroke with your cock I feel you...

I feel you with me...

Which I've only ever felt with one other person, and it was such a long time ago...

and I never let myself think about it. Ever.

But now for the first time in forever, it's not just meaningless fucking, is it...

Jim...

I am no longer lying limply, I am writhing back against you.

"God... Sir... So. Fucking. Hot." I moan, throwing my head back.

 

 

You’re so into this, and for the first time *ever*, I feel like sex is something I am doing *with* someone, rather than *to* someone. We’re both collaborating to make this a magnificent, intense experience, and feeding off each other, spiralling higher and higher... I didn’t know this was possible in sex, or at least that it was possible for *me*, maybe for normal people with all their *feelings*, or maybe it was all romanticization in the media... but this - sex with you is *interactive* sex, and you’re actively making it better for me, and I think what I’m doing makes it better for you, and we’re pushing each other further and further on and it’s fucking amazing... it’s amazing fucking... I’m never going to fuck anyone else any more, not after this, not when I can have this... and you’re going to stay *alive* and *with me*, Sebastian Moran, because I need this always always always...

 

 

God, each time we've fucked, it's like we're reaching a new level... The first time was the most epic sex of my life, a glorious, majestic, blood-soaked fuck-drama... but it feels like we're moving towards something even more epic, and I have no idea what. I'm not used to this. On occasion I've had sexual encounters with people that took place several times over the space of a night, but after I leave, I never go back for seconds. I just don't.

But with you, I want more and more, I can't get enough, I want you, IWantYou, and it's all that I can think about since I met you...

I feel you filling me over and over again with your cock, your gasps and moans are ringing down over me like a rainstorm, and I'm soaking up your attention, your rising ecstasy, your bloody intense passion, god, I've never been with anyone like you... and I thought I was a more sexual creature than anyone else I'd ever encountered, but I've finally met my match, and it's you, and I just always want to - fucking ShutUpSeb!!

Oh god, just shut up, and enjoy the most magnificent fuck by the most magnificent man you've ever met...

Jim, IWantYouIWantYou, Jim...

I push back against your thrusting, panting, groaning... oh god, so hot, so hot...

 

 

Your sounds are magnificent, driving me higher, higher... why is that, a small detached part of my brain wonders? Since when does the evidence of another's pleasure affect me? Evidence of another's pain, yes... but you're definitely not groaning in pain. You're loving this.

Oh, who cares why I enjoy it...

(But what if it's an after-effect from the brainwashing? Some remnant of caring for others that Father James was so big on? What if I’m relapsing by enjoying this?)

*Fuck off* - I'm me, I'm entirely me, I'm *not* relapsing into anything, I'm just enjoying a great fuck with the best eh... fucker I've ever enjoyed, and it's fine if he enjoys it too, of course groans of excitement turn me on, I'm a narcissist, it's good to hear evidence of what a good fuck I am...

(... right...)

*Shut up*, brain - not now -

Just - body - just - thrusts, deep, hard, thrusts, faster, and faster, and oh fuck holy Mary mother of god -

"Oh *god* -"

 

 

As the speed and intensity of your thrusts increase, desire mounts. My skin heats up. I'm ablaze with lust, moaning loudly.

Oh god... you are going to let me come, aren't you?

Aren't you??

A bead of perspiration rolls down my cheek. God, what if I can't stop myself?

My cock is hard, and pressed against the footboard, which feels so good, but...

"Oh - god -" I pant, concentrating so hard... don't come... don't come...

 

 

I'm over the edge, this freight train cannot be stopped; my nails dig into your hips, I'm pounding into you, oh god, so hot sohot *sohot* -

All the pleasure in the motherfucking *universe* gathers up into my poor little balls, the pressure is too big, and it shoots out - shoots out into its rightful recipient, my magnificent Tiger, and I spasm and I jerk and I shout as ecstasy too intense to bear racks my body - fuck - fuck - *fuuuuuccckkkkkkk*...

 

 

I manage to hold off, thank Christ, and enjoy the hotness of your orgasm, coming in me, shuddering, crying out, oh god, your orgasms seem like they're getting more intense... mmm...

you're collapsed against me, our bodies slick...

I lay my cheek against the duvet, and wait for you to decide what to do with me.

 

 

Breath - breaths - yes - keep breathing - damn - ran three marathons - ribs hurt - oh yes - fuck, breathing hurts - should get up - can't move - that's it, I'm going to die here - die buried balls-deep in a Tiger - who can say that - air - air please - bit more - fuck, why is this footboard so high, I should be able to just fall on the bed...

Come on, Moriarty...

With superhuman effort I manage to right myself a bit. I slide out of you, take the bedpost, use it to pull myself round, and manage to reach the bed, where I collapse.

"Bloody hell - Tiger - you're - something else -"

Ribs still hurt, as does breathing, but at least I can get air into my lungs now I'm no longer squashing them.

 

 

I remain in my shackled position, contentedly listening to you catch your breath, feeling rather pleased at how intense this seemed for you.

I feel you land on the bed, and raise my head.

“Why, thank you,” I pant. “You’re rather insanely good yourself...”

 

 

Of course I am.

It’s nice to hear it though.

Right - that was a pleasant start to the day. Let’s finish breakfast and have a nap, since I’m still recovering... then explore the island...

Oh wait. I now have responsibility for you as well, don’t I. Well, you deserve it - you’ve been great.

I roll over, remove your blindfold, then pat on the bed beside me. You blink a few times, move around, sit on the bed, lie down on the designated spot, look at me - eyes filled with hunger, but politely not requesting or pushing or even hinting - just waiting to see what you’ll be given, which is adorable.

(*What?*)

... which is appropriate.

I move myself up on an elbow, look at your gorgeous chest, breathing shallowly, a single trace of blood where the whip reopened a cut, stroke my left hand over it until I get to your cock.

My touch makes you shudder - the mere touch of a finger, I’m not doing anything yet - you are so on edge -

it might be fun to see how desperate I can get you, but not now, now is just for finishes and rest.

I put my hand around you more firmly and start to stroke. Your eyes close, breath shortens -

“Open your eyes, Sebastian... look at me.”

 

 

When I lie down next to where you sit, I gaze up at you. I won't say anything, but oh fuck do I want you to finish me off...

You regard me and a look crosses your face - fondness? Was it??

I want to sigh dreamily, and nuzzle against you. Jesus, how much more like a dog do you want to be, Seb?

 

Excuse me... not dog, Tiger, I correct myself loftily.

 

The stubborn part of me that remains independent and defiant appears wearing SAS gear, and reacts with a huff. Mate, you are whipped, he says scornfully.

 

Are you unaware of the entire last week?? Of course I'm whipped... every bloody chance I can get. Now piss off, I growl. I'm about to be taken care of by my Jim...

or, just Jim. Whatever.

I hold in my wince when your hand brushes my wound, and then hold in a moan when you lightly touch my cock.

Can't hold in my body's reaction though... that delicious shudder springing free from my muscles. Fuck. Jim...

God, your hand feels so good...

then I'm being told to look at you, and I stare into the darkness of your eyes, and oh god, this is why the recalcitrant soldier in me is a bloody fool, to think I could resist this... resist you...

beautiful, powerful Jim...

My eyes half close and I moan with pleasure.

 

 

"Keep your eyes open, Sebastian..." I purr.

So beautiful, so luscious in my hand... so good to see how you're losing yourself...

"You are mine, Sebastian Moran..." I remind you. "You will be mine for ever... it's not something you can resign or retire from, as I'm sure you have gathered."

"Your entire body is mine..." I keep moving my hand.

"This means I can do with it as I like... but it also means no one else touches it unless I say so... I guess you've worked out that I don't like sharing my toys."

I squeeze a bit harder, making you moan louder.

"Your cock is mine, to enjoy as and when I like. If I don't touch it, no one does... including you. Is that clear, my darling?"

 

 

My heart absolutely soars when I hear your words, and for a moment I'm afraid it will explode in my chest.

"Yours, yes, it's yours," I say fervently. "I understand..."

 

My inner rebel is staring at me wide-eyed. Seriously, Seb? You're giving him absolute power over your cock? Are you mental?

Yes. And Yes.

Let me break it down for you...

Wanking pales in comparison to sex.

And the absolute best sex I've ever had pales in comparison to sex with Jim.

Ergo, I'll do bloody anything Jim bloody wants of me.

 

I feel feverish with desire as you work me into a frenzy

My muscles are straining... shivering... shuddering

"Oh god... I don't fucking want to resign or retire," I moan. "Yours, Sir...yours..."

Forever and for always...

I can't bring myself to say the words.

But it's everything to me.

All I want...

oh god... Jim...

 

 

Yes, you are, aren’t you? Utterly and completely...

(And why is he like this, Moriarty?)

Well - I’m an inspiring man, obviously.

(Really.)

Yes, really.

(Nothing else there we could surmise about his motivation?)

I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.

(People commonly give themselves to you, do they? Without financial or violent incentives?)

He’s obviously overwhelmed by my personality and how great I am at sex.

(Obviously. And what is it commonly called when someone is overwhelmed by another’s personality and sexuality?)

... I’m *sure* I *don’t know* what you mean.

(-

This line of thought is *over* and *closed*! Do Not Revisit!

 

I’m busy, anyhow.

Deep blue eyes staring at me like I’m the one come to save their soul...

*God damn it*-

“Come for me, my Tiger...”

Could I make that sound a *little* more like a command and less like pillow talk next time?!

 

 

Oh thank Christ, thank motherfucking - oh - god -

oh god -

The shuddering builds until there's nothing left of me - only desire like liquid fire consuming me, gasping for breath, shiveringshiveringohgod, yelling, exploding, panting...

floating in space blissfully, bonelessly...

and slowly, slowly, returning to my body and the room.

"You're not just insanely good at sex," I sigh. "You are sex... Jesus Christ, I can't even move..."

I try to lift my head, give up, and let it fall back.

 

 

I pretty much preen at that.

No one's ever told me I was sex before. Or even that I was good at sex - at least not when I actually did what *I* like, rather than satisfy the customer. I was damn good at satisfying the customer - but I hated it - people have no respect for you when you sell them orgasms. Better to sell anything else.

I undo your cuffs, lie them on the bedside table. I have one shagged-out Tiger... and it is kind of nice and cosy, this bed... probably better to have a nap *now*, anyway, and breakfast after...

"Move up, you big lump..." I nudge you further up the bed, and pull a sheet over us.

 

 

After you uncuff me, I rotate my hands and stretch out my arms. I wasn't sure how you would take a compliment, but you're just pleased as punch, aren't you?

Aww...

OK. Idiot. Stop awwing at Jim, even in your head. If you ever let that slip out... I'm guessing they won't be able to find all the pieces.

Did you just call me big lump? And nudge me? And cover us with a sheet?

Aww!

Oh bloody hell... there's no way I'm making it off this island alive...

But what a way to go! I grin at the ceiling, and without looking reach for a pack of smokes, lighter and an ashtray.

I light a fag, inhale deeply... and blowing out smoke, I pass it over to you.

 

 

Oh yes, good idea... post-coital fags are the best...

I inhale the smoke. I don’t smoke, but I do enjoy the taste of it now.

(Tastes of Tiger...)

(Shut up.)

(Does though. Tastes of soothing presence while Father James was suffering. Tastes of stolen kiss in the middle of the night. Tastes of that morning where we shared cigarettes and I stubbed them out on you.)

*Anyway*.

I hand the cigarette back. I prefer this way - smoking a full one is too much, but the occasional toke, just enough to have a taste, is good.

You do many things to make my life more pleasant...

I must be certain I reward you well. Maybe 300K is more appropriate.

The cigarette is finished. You extinguish it in an ashtray. Civilized...

My eyes are dropping - well, I’m here to rest.

 

 

I watch you from the corner of my eye as you smoke.

You seem so relaxed and dare I say it, content? And I'd also guess sexually sated by the pleased smirk on your face - I put that smirk there. I made your limbs all gooey. I made you feel cosy in bed.

Good work, Sebastian... now I'm smirking, too.

I watch as your eyes slowly close. Aww. Sleepy Jim.

I shake my head at myself. I need to stop focusing on how adorable my boss is...

Is that even possible? I stare at you drifting off into sleep, and move as close to you as I can without touching. Yeah, I'm sure it is. I'm going to join you in a nap, and after I wake up, I won't notice your adorability any more... everything's going to be fine... just fine...

 

Chapter Text

I have no idea what the time is when I wake up - where I am - the light is wrong - but where am I supposed to be? I can't remember - my flat? No - the presbytery - what the fuck am I doing in a presbytery? Well, I'm a priest, obviously - must have had too much to drink last night - no, what the fuck? I'm not a priest - am I playing a priest? Why is it so bright?

I know *you* - you're Sebastian. You're good people. Good to have around. Safe. Sexy. Oh yes - fucking - whipping - heh, that was good... Fighting... was also good, but explains why everything hurts.

Maldives. Private island. Resting. Right.

Well, I did that, didn't I? Did a good rest. Time for coffee and food, and then have a saunter around the island. With my private bodyguard. Who is available for intimate sessions should I so desire. Good find, Moriarty.

I prod your shoulder. "Wakey wakey, sleeping beauty... I think we may need to reheat breakfast."

 

 

The cat who broke the vase is back... he's sleeping on my chest, occasionally digging his claws into my chest as he kneads me. He's purring, staring at me with half-closed eyes.

I say contentedly, "Are you going to be a nice kitty now?"

He looks at me reproachfully and opens his mouth to meow. But instead I hear a voice coming from a distance.

I find myself opening my eyes, staring up at the ceiling in confusion. Then I look over at you.

Jim.

I smile sleepily. "Sure thing, coming right up..."

I find myself wishing I could pull you into my arms and lounge in bed with you lying against my chest. Fucking hell, I really need to banish thoughts like this once and for all. My stomach clenches - seriously. What the fuck is wrong with me?

I roll over, groaning. "Yep. Everything still hurts."

I pull on a pair of army shorts and pad to the kitchen, yawning. I'll reheat everything else, but the eggs I'll make from scratch - much tastier. I boil the kettle for tea, start cracking eggs. Soon everything is being warmed in the pans, and a few minutes later, breakfast returns to the table. I reach for the teapot.

"Tea," (darling?) "Boss?" I bite the inside of my cheek.

You nod, and start eating delicately. I pour tea in a mug for you, adding milk and lots of sugar, as you like it.

Maybe I just need to hit myself in the head with a heavy frying pan, I ponder as I distractedly munch a piece of bacon... would that make me return to some semblance of normal?

 

 

Ugh, stiff... everything aches. We definitely need to check out that gym today, and next time I have some aggression to express, I can do it there, instead of making myself a punching bag for an elite soldier. The elite soldier appears to also be aching though, so I can be reasonably proud of myself. Though I know that you were mostly just indulging me.

Breakfast smells not too appetizing - my stomach is still pissed off - so I start carefully with bits of toast and egg, and lots of tea.

"Did you make any coffee?" I ask. You nod, and move to the coffee maker where a fresh pot is waiting, pour some in my mug, put in sugar.

You know how I take my tea and my coffee. And I know how you take yours - both black.

What does that mean, when you know how someone takes their tea and their coffee? Does it mean anything?

 

 

You're not eating a lot, but at least you're eating... that's something. You're scrawnier than I'd like... I'll have to make sure we have regular mealtimes. Maybe I should fire up the barbecue for dinner, the smell of grilling meat should be enticing...

As I eat everything on my plate, and everything you leave behind, I'm not sure what to say. If I ask what you want to do, you probably won't know. If I ask how you're feeling, you may feel like I'm mothering you. Shit. We can't fuck 24-7 for 2 weeks straight (although my mind floods with salient images at the thought), so what are we going to talk about? What are we going to do? I could easily spend 2 weeks being a lazy lump - other than working out, I'd spend my time eating, drinking, watching films, reading, swimming, snorkelling, and being an all-round beach potato. Having someone to admire and fuck and get whipped by is just icing on the cake.

Well since you seem clueless and confused, maybe I should just do what I would do, and you can join me if you like.

"Thinking about going for a swim today," I say, drinking the last of my coffee. "Anything you'd like to get up to, Boss?"

 

 

So now we have fucked and had a nap and are finishing food - you eat like you're a platoon on your own - and still there is day left.

Now what? If only I knew exactly what to do, then I could do it.

Wait - I have a psychiatrist on call, don't I? Why don't I make use of him?

"I'll come with you for a swim, if you promise to punch any sharks, jellyfish, and kraken. I'll have to make a call first."

I retreat to the bedroom. I don't know what this psychiatrist is going to ask, and I want some privacy.

He picks up immediately. Well, he must be bored.

"Mr Richards! How are you?"

"Alright, I think - look - I am here to let my mind rest, from a - rather traumatic occurrence. And I am not sure how to do that. I need you to tell me."

"That is hard to say without more information, Mr Richards... would you like me to come over for a consultation?"

"No. I don't want to see anyone. Unless I need help, in which case my associate or I will call you."

"I understand, Mr Richards. Do not hesitate to contact me if you change your mind, but I do understand the desire to just let yourself catch your breath.

As to what you can do to rest - are there any situations or activities which upset you, bring back unpleasant memories?"

"No - no, not that I can think of."

"In that case, you should do whatever you like best - it is a lovely island, and should be a great environment to rest in. Do make sure you give yourself time both for rest and for activities - only focussing on one may make you feel either lethargic or tired."

"That's the thing though - I don't normally - enjoy doing things. I'm a - bit of a workaholic, I guess. I am not used to doing stuff for pleasure. Or resting. And - I don't enjoy them."

"I see. So what *do* you enjoy?"

What do I enjoy?

What do I *enjoy*?

...

"... I have no idea, to be honest..."

"I see. Are there things you used to enjoy, before you stopped doing them, or stopped enjoying them?"

Are there?

My games with Sherlock, I enjoyed those... but I can't really play those from here... a good deal... solving a difficult problem...

"... only... only work, really..."

"And why have you decided to stay away from work for a while?"

"I'm - like I said, I had a traumatic experience - my mind is - is not functioning the way it should. So I figured - I needed rest, to let it heal..."

"That sounds like a very healthy decision, Mr Richards. And when you made this decision, what did you envision rest to look like?"

Just- a tropical island. A beach – that’s restful, right? But actually *lying* on a beach – would get me antsy within minutes.

Fucking my bodyguard – is enjoyable, but I can’t do that 24/7. He wouldn’t survive, for a start.

“Mr Richards, would you class yourself as a dedicated person?”

“Dedicated? To what?” I ask.

“To your work? Would you perhaps even say you are obsessed by it?”

“Oh – yes, definitely.”

“Could you perhaps channel some of that focus into a hobby? It may start out as something you don’t feel strongly about, but as you learn more about it, or start to do it better, you may start to enjoy it more. We don’t tend to feel attracted to things we’ve never done.”

Is that so? “Well what kind of hobby?”

“That is very hard to say, Mr Richards, but there is plenty of entertainment on the island. You could try reading up on a subject that interests you but that hasn’t got to do with your work. Do you do sports?”

“I used to. Haven’t in a while.”

“Did you enjoy that?”

“Not particularly. I just did it to keep healthy.”

“You could try some different activities. There are personal trainers available who could teach you yoga, that might be very beneficial, or many other types of sports.”

“I said I don’t want people around.”

“Indeed. Well, in that case, I do recommend you try some swimming, or jogging, or using the gym on the island – or all three. But – in moderation. It won’t help your mind if you overexert your body.”

“Right…”

“Are you a spiritual man, Mr Richards?”

“What?! NO!”

“I understand. However, many people find meditation very beneficial. It doesn’t have to be spiritual – there are very practical apps that help you focus and rest your mind. I could send you some recommendations, if you like? If you start with just fifteen minutes, twice a day, you can see how it works. It’s important that you keep to it, though. Can you do that, for these two weeks?”

“If it helps my mind, then I can do anything – don’t you have any more things that I should do?”

“I’m afraid not, Mr Richards… Apart from consultations. We could have telephone consultations, if you prefer?”

“Yes – I might – yeah. I’ll get in touch with you if I want you.”

“Very well.”

I hang up, curse. Useless – absolutely useless. Fucking meditation app. *Yoga*.

 

 

I snicker at your joke, and watch bemused as you make a beeline to your - our? - bedroom. I never considered asking if I should take another room... but I'm sure you'll tell me if that's what you want.

Given the circumstances, it makes sense that you'd want security close by.

Yes, security.

I am being professional...

(Please god, fuck, don't want a room to yourself...)

I hear your muffled Irish lilt from the kitchen, but I can't make out any words. I wonder who you're calling...

I ignore the demanding urge to figure out who you could possibly want to talk to by phone, and try to focus on cleaning up the kitchen. Then I stare out the window at the beautiful blue ocean.

Fuck. I can't wait to get out there... you don't strike me as the outdoor adventure type, but I wonder if I can convince you to go snorkelling.

I picture myself showing you the amazing world that exists under the waves, and you awestruck as brightly coloured schools of fish stream past us, and smiling up at me...

Stop. Making it. Seem. Romantic. You. Idiot.

I picture you pointing at a jellyfish in a mad panic, and me crushing it with a rock. And then turning and punching an octopus. You're awestruck by my heroism, and smiling up at me...

I throw myself on the sofa, and cover my face with a loud groan.

 

 

*UGH*!!!

I throw my phone onto the bed, then myself. Fucking useless fucking shrink. I had hoped the profession had come on a bit since I was a teenager. If you phone a *normal* doctor, and you say 'I burnt my arm', they will tell you exactly what to do to get your arm fixed. They know it all - usually are overly bossy.

But you phone a psychiatrist, and it's all 'oooh, what would you like to do, Mr Richards?' Well I would *like* you to tell me how to fix my mind, you fecking eejit.

Fecking meditation apps...

If the only fucking thing you can think of is fucking meditation apps then I'm going to fucking meditate. Twice a day. Fifteen minutes. And it better fucking work.

My phone beeps, and I see a text message with some suggested apps.

Guided meditation for beginners sounds best.

I read the introduction. Airy fairy bla bla about there is no wrong way to meditate, do what feels natural...

What feels natural right now is to throw my phone against the wall and destroy every breakable object in the room, is that catered for in your fucking app?!

Calm down Moriarty. Focus. You need to heal your mind, and if you need to swallow some distasteful medicine, then so be it.

I start up the app, and my phone starts talking.

"Sit down in a comfortable position. On the floor with your legs crossed is a good one to try."

Right. I sit on the floor, cross my legs. Immediately look very meditative. Good.

"Close your eyes, or focus on one spot in the room."

Will you stop giving fucking *choices*!? How am I supposed to know what is best?!

Seething I close my eyes.

"Roll your shoulders slowly from front to back. Move your right ear to your right shoulder, then your left ear to your left shoulder. Feel the muscles in your shoulders and neck relax."

Right. Relax, Moriarty. Now. Relax, god damn it.

I scowl at my muscles until they get a bit less tense.

"Observe your breathing. Notice how your breath flows in and out. Make no effort to change your breathing in any way, simply notice how your body breathes. Your body knows how much air it needs."

Well of course it does that is how it *survives* -

No - calm down. Observe breathing.

Why does that twat have a Californian accent? I should have got a British one. This is going to irritate me all during the meditation.

Ugh, my shoulders are tensing again - *relax*, you fucking useless excuses for muscles!

"Sit quietly, seeing in your mind’s eye your breath flowing gently in and out of your body."

My *mind's eye*!? And how can my 'mind's eye' *see* breath? It's fucking *air* - it's *invisible*-

“When your attention wanders, as it will, just focus back again on your breathing.”

Right. Breathe. In. Out. Now what?

“Notice any stray thoughts, but don’t dwell on them. Simply let the thoughts pass.”

What the fuck does that even mean?!

“See how your breath continues to flow...deeply... you’re feeling calm...”

*I’ll be the fucking judge of how calm I am*!!!

I throw the phone through the room to shut the annoying twat up. He doesn’t, so I grab him again, bash him against the wall until he finally cracks. A splinter of glass cuts my finger, and I scream in frustration.

 

 

I hear a muffled thump, and I look back towards the hallway to your/our bedroom. Should I go see -

no, I think it will make you mental if I come running over a little noise. Just monitor the situation, Sebastian... I move closer to the hallway, and find myself sneaking towards the door.

Quiet. As. A. Mouse.

What is that voice? It makes me want to strangle the caller. Why would you be talking to some new age hippie?? I strain to listen - oh. You're - meditating??

My eyes widen. Retreat. Retreat.

I quietly creep back to the living room. I stand and watch the ocean, with an ear cocked for any other noise. After a few minutes, I relax. Maybe you're getting into it?

Bang.

SmashSmashSMASH

And now you're screaming, and I'm already to the door before you stop.

I knock. "Boss?" I call, and open the door a crack to peek in. "Shit."

I observe your bleeding finger and the splintered phone on the floor. "Come with me, Sir. I'll clean that wound for you..."

 

 

"What's the fucking *point* of knocking if you're not going to wait until I say yes!?" I shout, stamp on the dead phone - I'm not wearing fucking *shoes* - I pound the wall with both fists.

You're walking up looking all fucking *reasonable* and *reassuring* and I fucking *can't stand* you -

I punch your jaw as you get close. "Fuck off!"

 

 

Pain

Shock

Adrenaline

I recoil, holding my jaw.

Do not hit your less-than-adorable boss. Do not.

Little fucker hits hard. You're glowering at me, then staring at your finger as it drips blood onto the floor.

"I was concerned you were hurt when you screamed..." I snap. "My mistake, Sir. Would you like me to clean your wound, Sir? Or would you like to do it yourself, Sir?"

Shit. The defiant rebellious soldier formerly known as Basher is banging at his cage, and this is not a good time if your unholy scowl is anything to go by... retreat, soldier... And keep your fucking mouth shut.

 

 

I'm about to explode.

I know the feeling so well.

I can even observe it, like an outsider. It's happened so often.

I can control it. For a time. If it happens at an inconvenient moment, I can contain the explosion until I get to a more appropriate situation.

It's not comfortable, and it's hard, but it's possible.

I wouldn't have lasted long, otherwise. There are cases where it can be risky, but potentially beneficial, to explode. I've terrified people with it. But there are also situations where one absolutely has to maintain control, and I've managed to. I am in charge of myself. Only that way can I be in charge of others.

I can release my anger on you now. I'm not sure how you will respond.

(Irrelevant. You're mine. You will respond however the fuck I want you to respond.)

I can't keep beating you up, though.

(Why not?)

*Because* there is a limit to what a human body can take and I don't want to break you.

(He's nowhere near broken. He can take a lot more.)

"Tense your muscles."

 

 

"What?" I ask, even as I'm tensing up.

Deep down, I know. I know.

My Basher side quiets the fuck down.

My protective Tiger side tenses and growls at anything that could hurt you... even yourself.

Deeper still, I hear a voice whisper, 'I got this, Jim...'

And I wait for the impact, for you to give me your pain.

I got you...

 

 

The problem with the explosions is that they are a nightmare. Always. Either for someone else, or for me. Preferably for someone else.

It's like carrying around a bomb in which a nuclear reaction has occurred - there's no way to calm the nuclei and tell them to go back to their original state.

If I'd keep myself calm and go home - once I was home I'd climb the walls, punch them, hurt myself.

Much better to get someone - anyone - and take my aggression out on them.

I tried punching bags - it doesn't work, not quite.

I am a murderer - not because of the chance circumstance of having murdered, but because I *need* to murder. I was born with a surplus of aggression and it needs an out or it destroys me.

I won't murder. Not you.

I just need an outlet for this aggression.

It's quite bad these days. Which makes sense, looking at the past months. There's probably been a buildup that needs release.

And here is a body to take the aggression. To absorb the explosion.

I start pummelling your sides. Little risk of breaking anything, convenient target.

The explosion breaks free.

 

 

You have a calculating expression, and there's a look in your eye... I know that look, and it's dangerous. Like a creature rising from the abyss... You have it in you to kill me in this moment, don't you, Jim... Well, I won't let you just kill me on a fucking whim, but how far am I going to let you take this?

Far, I hear from a deep part of myself.

But what if far becomes too far? I protest, my last bastion of self-protection rearing up in a panic.

The answer is swift, terrible, decisive. Give him what he needs, soldier...

And then you start to punch.

And I let you.

And I listen to grunts and ragged breathing from both of us.

And I descend to this deep part of myself, where I hear, "Whatever you need... I'm here, baby..."

Part of me protests at the term of endearment, because we do not have that kind of relationship, and never will...

but the rest of me is focused on the intensity of the blows pummelling me, and soon I forget.

 

 

It's not a red mist. It's a distinct clarity in which I exactly see where my fists land, my blows connect. The skin giving way marginally, the muscles taking the punches. I can let go - you're more than strong enough to take these without damage.

Why do I care anyway?

Because we don't want to *break* him, Moriarty.

Oh yes. That was it.

I punch and punch and punch and feel the power of the explosion pour out... slowly, bit by bit... it's no longer stifling me, it's no longer overwhelming... it really feels like I was full to the brim and under dangerous pressure, and now the level is slowly slowly lowering...

My arms are getting tired...

That's enough.

"Get out."

 

 

In training for interrogations, and then undergoing actual interrogations... you fall into a bit of a fugue state... where the pain doesn't matter... your memories don't matter... your identity doesn't matter... any damage is assessed by a detached part of the mind to deal with later... but ultimately all that matters is that you take it like a soldier.

And I do.

Oh, I do. You hit bloody hard, attacking like a vengeful beast, but you're not trying to cause damage... so that's something.

But how I feel doesn't matter.

Because I said whatever you need, and I meant it.

So I sink deeper into the place where nothing matters...

And eventually you stop...

and then you say get out in a cold voice, and it's this that injures me.

Really, Seb??

Whatever. Part of the job. You're recovering from trauma, you're a psycho, it's bound to make you punchy.

But the look on your face...

I lean in towards you, and stare reproachfully for a long moment.

"Happy to oblige, Sir..." I say hoarsely, turn on my heel, and leave the room. I pull the door behind me forcefully.

I'm aware that I'm acting like a sullen teenager, but I can't seem to do anything about it. Slowly I shuffle to the kitchen and take out a couple of bottles of cold beer. I feel like a tenderized side of beef... but I've been through a lot worse. This is nothing. It doesn't matter.

I take the bottles outside to the dock, twist one open and pour it down my throat. When I'm done, the bottle then goes flying against the dock with a satisfying smash. The other one is twisted open, and the contents are also poured down my throat. I look at the empty bottle for a moment, considering. Then I sit down painfully, place it next to me on the dock, and lower my feet into the cool blue water.

How I feel doesn't matter.

It's not supposed to matter...

I glance at the broken glass. I should clean that up. Not 'should'. Clean it up now, Seb...

Instead I lean back against my hands, close my eyes and sigh heavily. Then I lift my face up to the sunlight and breathe through the pain.

 

 

I tell you to get out and you just *stare* at me - *what*!?

I stare back - you're not moving -

I'm about to repeat myself in a harsher tone of voice, when you say, 'Happy to oblige, Sir,' and walk off.

You seem grumpy. Well - makes sense, I guess, you've just been used as a punching bag.

Not my problem. You deal with it.

My arms are tired. My body is tired. It's good - some aggression siphoned off.

I stare at the destroyed phone, then at my still-bleeding finger. I head into the bathroom, rinse the wound, put a plaster on it.

You offered to do that. Instead I decided to beat you up.

So? I'll do what I need. You're free to go if you don't like it.

I won't be trying any more meditation apps. I don't think I'm the target audience.

What then?

Swimming, I guess?

I open a drawer - several pairs of swimming trunks in different sizes. I take out mine and yours, put mine on, grab two towels, go outside.

You're sitting on the dock. You're drinking beer. Smashed one bottle.

I take my aggression out on you; you take it out on a bottle. Can't be as satisfying, but I notice you haven't smashed the second bottle.

I walk up behind you. You're not turning round.

"Did you want to go for a swim?"

 

 

I’m aware of several things.

Your footsteps on the dock.

The broken glass is still there, which means you’ve definitely seen it.

You’re not going to apologize.

I could obliterate you. Shove your face into the broken glass. Throw your broken body into the sea. Spend two weeks holidaying while you feed the little fishes.

I know it and you know it.

We both know I won’t.

But we both know I could.

And somehow this takes the edge off...

We all have our ways of dealing with intense feelings - mine appears to be reminding myself I could murder you in a heartbeat, you little shit.

I find myself smiling out at the sea.

I turn my smile towards you. I could kill you, but let’s swim. Sir.

“Sure,” I say wryly. “I was just sitting here thinking I could go for a dip...”

I turn my killer smile back to the sea.

 

 

There's a tensing of the muscles - ohhh, aggression? No - just the thought of aggression -

You turn around, and yes, there it is.

It comforts you that you know you could kill me? Well - whatever floats your boat, I suppose.

Yes, I know you could kill me. We also both know that you won't. It's more likely that I'd kill you - but I *really* shouldn't.

Keep that in mind, Moriarty. You may be confused and upset and aggressive, but this man is much too valuable to risk. NO 'whoops that was a bit too hard'. No letting ourselves go and discovering the other party stopped breathing some while back. I am in control of my body. I am in control of my actions. Always.

But - if it reassures you to realize that you are physically stronger than I am - by all means, be my guest.

"I brought your swimming trunks," I volunteer.

I don't know why. We've got a private island and it's not like we haven't seen the goods before. But - my poor nethers have been damaged so much - I want to protect them from the dangers of the deep. And though I know the thin layer of nylon won't be much of a barrier between me and the untold horrors of this deceptively blue expanse, it does feel marginally safer.

 

 

You offer me my swimming trunks, and I have to fight not to raise an eyebrow. Between asking me if I want to swim, and making the considerate gesture of bringing my trunks, this is remarkably pleasant behaviour given your demeanour just a few minutes ago.

I suppose I’m glad you’re making an effort and not being a brooding little shit all evening.

“Thanks ever so,” I reach out to take my trunks from you.

Then I shrug out of my army shorts to slide them on. Your eyes are on me, all over me - you’re taken in the swelling. The bruising’s going to be brutal. Can’t wait for you to see it.

“Shall we?” I smile. And I push you in.

 

 

Oh my god -

There’s a moment of hanging between heaven and earth, of panic, of betrayal - and then I’m hitting the surface and going under, under -

There could be *sharks* here - I’m *bleeding* -

I splash to the surface, spluttering indignantly-

“Sebastian!!”

 

 

I throw back my head, grinning widely - then I jump into the water with a loud whoop and a large splash.

You’re still spluttering, looking adorable. I chuckle as I circle you, and start treading water.

“Welll, think of it this way, Boss - you’ll punish me for it later,” I say, grinning at you. Strangely I don’t feel upset anymore. Being with you has unbelievable highs and lows, but I wouldn’t trade this for anything. Blinking up at me with your hair plastered to your head and water streaming down your face - I have never seen a sight so beautiful...

I wish I could kiss you.

I can’t kiss you.

Remember your role here, Sebastian...

I dive under the surface into a somersault, then pop back up, splashing water.

“The water’s gorgeous,” I purr, not adding ‘and so are you.’

 

 

"I'll punish you alright - and you can look *less happy* about it," I protest, splashing water in your face.

I look around for dangerous predators circling us, but they appear to be lying low for the moment.

 

 

I laugh as I'm splashed with water. I could retaliate, but I'm getting off easier than I might have... considering I just pushed a previously violently angry Jim into the sea. But I guess you got it out of your system when you were pounding on me and throwing me out of your (our?) room.

"Don't look so worried... I did some reading so I'd be prepared for any danger, and there's never been a shark attack in the Maldives. And the reef sharks are harmless to humans. But you know if there *were* a shark attack, which there won't be, I would take it on so you could escape... I'd punch it in the eye so hard it would cry buckets..." I grin at you. "Actually, if I kept slamming it hard enough in the gills, it could asphyxiate. That's how a dolphin can kill a shark, did you know?"

I move closer to you, and splash water back at you - just off to the side, with the edge of it hitting your jaw.

 

 

I consider climbing onto your shoulders when you start talking about reef sharks. Just in case, I stay close to you.

"You say they don't attack people - but what about if they smell my blood? And how do sharks cry, anyway?"

You look exquisite in the sunlight, with your blond hair flat against your scalp, your broad grin - it's good to see you grinning like that. You were so miserable when you came into that church...

(Since when do we care about how people feel, Moriarty?)

It's just - morale, that's all. He'll function better if he feels good, won't he?

I carefully move a bit further out to sea, keeping my eyes open for any unexpected movements. I think I saw a fish - why do they allow fish to swim so close to the island?

"Don't swim away," I say, nervously.

 

 

"Listen, if we stay close to the island, we should be fine. But if it really freaks you out, we can use the pool instead. Christ, it's huge... I just thought why swim in a pool if you can swim in the sea?" I observe you staring at the water suspiciously.

"Jim."

You look at me with a wary expression.

"I'm not going to swim away. I'm here to protect you. No matter what..."

The words hover in the air between us. And just like that I forgive you for today... your violence... your anger and coldness...

For always, Jim. I'm yours.

 

 

It shouldn't freak me out. Fuck's sake, kids swim in the sea. I'm a big scary criminal.

I'm just afraid that the fish might not realize.

"I'm not a big fan of *nature* up close and personal..." I waver, then curse myself for showing weakness. With a scowl, I start swimming. You stay close, to my relief.

It's good to get the muscles moving in the water. Takes some of the stiffness out. After a bit, I even dare to turn over, float on my back a bit...

It's very sunny - I should have put on sunscreen. I'm going to burn to a crisp if I stay out here too long.

"Jim, look," you say. I turn over, you point underneath us - a coral reef. I can see reddish blobs in the clear water, with bright yellow and orange fish shooting through it. The fish are nice enough to stay in the reef and not attack, and even I would have to admit it's beautiful. I hold onto your shoulder for stability as I look.

 

 

Within a few minutes in the water, some of the tension leaves your body... you're swimming, and even floating. I should make sure we go into the water every day.

Oh - coral reef. When I point it out to you, you come closer and hold onto my shoulder as you look. I'm trying to focus on the coral and all I can think is 'Jim's touching me... he's touching me!'...

"Maybe I can convince you to go snorkelling tomorrow... see it from underwater?" I coax, and grin at you. I wish I had an excuse to slide my arm around you.

 

 

Snorkelling sounds good - then I can keep an eye on the dodgy buggers. I don't like the way the water distorts the image, so distance is unreliable, and I can't quite focus. And this does look pretty. I will want to look closer. I do enjoy beauty. Preferably in a less wild form, say on a picture, or in an aquarium, but I'll grudgingly admit that this has its appeal.

"We'll have to get out... or I will, at least. I didn't put sunscreen on and this sun is way too fierce for a poor Irishman..." I grin wryly, then start swimming towards the beach. You swim with me, and we clamber up, when -

"Fuck - " I gasp - "I stepped on something - ouch - sharp-"

 

 

Immediately I submerge myself so I can see what you stepped on.

Oh fuck... really??

I emerge from the water quickly.

"Get up to the beach," I say calmly. "I need to examine your foot."

You sit and gingerly extend your foot. No spikes are embedded - that's something. But I still need to move fast.

"Jim, we'll need to get you medical attention. You stepped on a stonefish, which is very venomous. So all you need is antivenom. I'm going to carry you to the house, and call for a doctor. It's a simple treatment, so there's no need to panic, Boss."

Hear that, Seb? No need to panic...

Fuck... I was just getting you to relax outdoors and you step on the most venomous fish in the world?

Fuck!

 

Chapter Text

A - fucking *stonefish*!?

Hyaluronidase. Destroying cells.

Cardioleputin. Increasing heart rate, promoting the spread of the venom.

Stonustoxin. Dilating capillaries, so the venom is sped up even more. Causing hypotension, potentially death.

Antivenom. *Now*.

You're running to the house, carrying me in your arms.

Fuck. I *knew* it! Can't trust nature! *Especially* fish!

My foot hurts. My foot hurts a lot. My foot really hurts awfully much.

Little *fucker*.

"Did you kill him?"

 

 

"I'll go back and kill him later," I say tersely.

I deposit you on the edge of the bathtub, and plug the drain.

"What are you doing?" you demand, looking panicked.

I turn the tap and adjust it so hot water is gushing out. "Just immersing your foot in hot water. It'll help with the pain. I'll get you a painkiller in a second, just calling the doctor first," I call back as I rush to my phone. There - doctor. I make the call, and then rush back.

I practically tear the medicine cabinet off the wall.

Calm. Down. Seb.

You've dealt with worse in a fucking desert.

This is Jim.

Ignoring my urge to punch through the wall, I pull out an analgesic for the pain. I fill a glass with cold water and bring it to you. "Here. Take these. The boat will be here in a few minutes..." I say soothingly.

 

 

Fuck - my foot is on *fire*. The cells are all being eaten away - I'm surprised when I look and all I see is a mild swelling. It feels like there are a million fire ants biting me all at the same time, from the skin all the way to inside the bones.

I put my foot in the bath. The water is scalding, but there's hardly any way this could hurt *more*. I'll put my foot in boiling water, if you think it will help.

You come up behind me. I lean against your strong abdomen - that I punched all over just now - no - don't think about that, that was then, this is now, and my foot is being broken down by enzymes as we speak -

I take the glass. "I don't take painkillers," I growl through my teeth.

 

 

"Good for you, Sir. These are extenuating circumstances. And since I'm the one who's going to have to listen to you screaming in a few minutes, perhaps you'd be kind enough to just take them... Sir," I place the small white pills firmly in your hand.

You hesitate.

"Swallow the damn pills, Jim," I growl at you, and cross my arms.

 

 

"No."

I don't take painkillers. I don't dull my sensations.

(You really may want to dull your sensations any moment now Jimmy. This is quite excruciating Jimmy. And it's only going to get worse Jimmy.)

No. If there is pain, I'll face it head-on. They've burnt my fucking bollocks; how much worse can this be?

(Your burnt bollocks did result in you going mental and thinking you were a priest, though.)

That was different. They must have done more than torture. I can fucking withstand fucking *pain*.

This *fucking* hurts though -

No. No fucking painkillers. If I'm killed, I'll feel it happening.

"Just support me till the doctor comes," I say.

I am sweating profusely, I notice.

 

 

"Fine," I mutter, and put the pills on the counter with a thump. Why the hell do you want to deny yourself painkillers? These aren't prescription, they're not strong enough to mess with your mind...

My brow furrows. You're slick with sweat. Fuck.

I'm sure the hot water isn't helping...

I take a towel and wipe you dry. "Should be here in a couple more minutes..." I say, trying to keep the agitation from my voice.

 

 

"You said that several minutes ago," I scowl.

"Why do people do this? Why do they subject themselves to the whims of nature? You strike me as one of those people that are face-down in the dirt for fun at weekends. Why do you do it?"

 

 

"Why??" I search my brain for answers, but it's hard to think straight when I'm fucking worried about you dying on me.

Fuck... that... you are not going to die.

"Why nature? Idunno... it's fun?"

Your scowl deepens.

Right. That wouldn't strike a chord at the moment.

"You don't have to deal with people's bullshit. Ideally... It's just you and the elements. And yeah, it can be fucking messy, uncomfortable, and dangerous. But I never minded any of that..." I say slowly. "I guess I like messy, uncomfortable and dangerous..."

I'm staring at you, you're staring back, and a charge goes through me.

Did you feel that, too??

We're looking at each other and I'm barely breathing.

A bead of perspiration is rolling down past your eye, and I wipe it away with my index finger... it's almost like wiping away a tear, and my finger lightly brushes across your cheekbone. Jim...

Your lips part and then -

we hear banging on the door.

I step back guiltily. Then I realize who it is, and I rush to the door.

 

 

I’m sweating all over, it’s hard to keep my balance on the side of the bath.

You come rushing in with Hammad and a lady who I assume is the doctor. They’re carrying bags and equipment – I notice an IV drip. They put everything on the bathroom counter.

The doctor greets me with a nod of the head and her hands at her heart.

“Mr Richards, pleased to meet you, though I wish it was in better circumstances.” She has a pleasant Indian lilt - Tamil Nadu, I’m guessing.

“Please raise your foot, let me examine it.”

She puts on gloves, takes out a magnifying glass and tweezers. You position yourself beside me, so you can support me as I lift my foot and turn it to her. It’s red - from the heat or the poison? - and angrily swollen.

She goes down on one knee, asks Hammad to hold my foot, and has a rummage in the wound. “No spine fragments left in the wound, that’s good... let’s wash it out with disinfectant - Mr Sanders, could you get the showerhead and turn it on? Hammad, move the foot over the bath...”

She washes my foot with acidic sulphur and brimstone, by the feel of it.

As she sees me grimacing, she asks Hammad to get some painkillers from her bag, so I explain to her, too, that I don’t take painkillers. She reassures me that they are perfectly harmless and won’t make me drowsy, but I refuse. I hear you sigh, Tiger - you can fuck off. Pain is information. I’m not cutting it off.

She gets out an IV drip as you refill the bath with hot water.

 

 

I watch as you receive treatment - god, you must be so irritated beyond belief.

You're in pain, vulnerable, at the mercy of others...

You ignored your own beliefs about nature (and fish) and then were nearly killed... in nature, by a fish.

God... am I going to be blamed for this? I don't care at the moment... I just want you to be OK, and not in pain...

(Please, he needs to be OK...)

I watch as an IV drip is attached to you, and try to breathe normally again.

 

 

The drip goes into my vein. She explains that the antivenom must be given slowly over the course of ten minutes. Again recommends painkillers, because the pain is only going to get worse. I said *no*, doctor. Fuck’s sake.

She suggests she should stay on the island, at least for the coming twelve hours. I grit my teeth - I guess it’s wiser -

“I understand your desire for privacy, Mr Richards. I will stay in the staff quarters, unless summoned. However, there is a small chance of complications, nothing serious, but the sooner you get help if it happens, the better.”

Fuck, this is painful... and infuriating... this is the last time I’m going out in the fucking jungle. Only sterile chlorinated pools for me from now on. You can take pictures of the fucking coral if you insist.

I bet you will still want to go into the sea after this. You’re one of those unbearable outdoors types. Even though the outdoors is ganging up to kill you - I bet you think that’s *fun*. I bet you wrestled actual tigers and strangled them with snakes...

Am I getting feverish? I think I am...

 

 

I feel such a sense of relief when the doctor recommends she stay on the island to monitor you for complications. You're glaring and you look furious, but that's to be expected. The world is not supposed to act like this, is it... it shows you that you can't control everything. Poor Jim...

I look more closely at you. Your eyes are a bit glassy, and you're looking flushed...

"Do you feel like you have a fever, Jim?" I ask, worried and look at the doctor.

 

 

She looks at me, touches my forehead, shakes her head. “No fever, but you may experience a headache and confusion. Do tell me how you feel, Mr Richards.”

How I feel? I’m being eaten from the foot upwards. My fucking bodyguard is helping by boiling my leg. The bathroom is the wrong shape. My heart is beating too fast and there’s no fucking air in this place -

“I’m having trouble breathing,” I manage, before the room decides to flip upside down and then go black.

 

 

JIM!!

I lunge for you, and catch you before you fall to the floor. I hold you in a sitting position on the edge of the bathtub, and try to keep your limp body from sliding into the water.

FUCK!

I would take you to the sofa, but now you're hooked up to an IV and it will take some manoeuvring.

"Is this normal, or is something wrong??" I demand of the doctor. "I want to take him to the living room...”

 

 

There is blackness, but there is an annoying green ache in the blackness, that doesn't let me travel all the way to... wherever it was I was going, it'll come back to me any moment...

 

 

She looks slightly concerned. "Hopefully nothing. Symptoms can include fainting, delirium, fever... and the pain can cause hallucinations. I can examine him once you take him to lie down. Hammad, please take the IV, as Mr Sanders carries Mr Richards... careful now..."

It's awkward, but we slowly move out of the bathroom and to the sofa. I lay you down gently and slide a cushion under your feet.

"I could get a basin or a pot with hot water?" Hammad offers, and the doctor nods as she checks your vitals.

I sit on the floor next to you and hold your hand - it feels hot.

"Fuck, Jim... wake up," I plead.

 

 

God...

I'm a priest, I'm looking for God, aren't I? And isn't He supposed to be the light at the end of the tunnel? Where is the light? There's plenty of tunnel... I've been walking through this darkness for - is it years or minutes? One of the two - and I seem to not be reaching anything... and I keep having the feeling that I'm forgetting something.

And there's this *pain* every time I step on my right foot –

 

 

The doctor finishes checking your vitals. “He’s stable, he’s just experiencing side effects from the venom. But I don’t believe there’s any cause for concern...” she says soothingly.

I watch as Hammad brings a pot of hot water over and places it on the floor. The doctor gestures at me, and I slowly lower your poor, swollen foot into the steamy water. I stare at you lying on the sofa - you look so small, so vulnerable... what if you -

“Jim...” I say, clutching your hand. “Wake up, please...”

 

 

There's a voice in the black. Is that the voice of God, calling me? It must be. If I can follow the voice... my foot is hurting *so much*. I have trouble going on... but I must get to the voice...

The rest of my body hurts as well. But it seems the voice is getting closer. It's pleading with me... is God so keen to see me? That's nice...

There it is... there's some light...

Some more light... I think I can see a shining golden face...

"... God?"

 

 

You twitch and there's movement under your eyelids.

Jim??

Clasping your hand, I move closer to you.

Your eyes open a crack.

God?

Huh? What's going on??

"Jim, can you hear me? It's Sebastian!"

I squeeze your hand.

 

 

Saint Sebastian? Why has he come to greet me? That's nice of him... I like him.

This probably means I'm dead, then. And in heaven. Oh thank God. I didn't think I'd make it.

But if I'm dead, why does everything hurt? I hope it's not like that for eternity... maybe it's the recent discorporation? Shadow pain?

Who are these other people? And why does one of them have an IV drip in my arm?

Oh shit –

"I'm not dead?"

 

 

You seem pleased when you look at me, which makes me heart soar. Relief crosses your face, followed by confusion.

Awww... my poor, confused Ji - Boss.

"You're not dead, Boss," I assure you. "You just passed out."

I remember I'm still holding your hand, and slowly unclasp it. I feel bereft, like I lost something. I run my hand through my hair, self-consciously.

"You remember what happened? You're still experiencing some side effects from the venom, but you're on the road to recovery now, Jim..."

 

 

I'm not dead. Saint Sebastian holds my hand while an Indian lady is giving me an IV drip. Someone is smashing my right foot with a sledgehammer, which they should really stop.

I sit up, look - my foot is in a bucket. Full of flesh-eating acid, by the feel of things. I pull it out - it looks awful; swollen and bruised.

"What happened? What venom?"

 

 

You still appear confused, and your face creases in pain.

"You stepped on a stonefish... But the doctor was able to administer anti-venom after a very short time, so you're going to be just fine," I say fervently. "But you'll likely be experiencing symptoms for the next day or so. How do you feel?"

 

 

Stonefish? How did I step on a stonefish in Euston?

"Did we go to the aquarium?"

 

 

"Aquarium?" I look at you in confusion. "Of course not. We were swimming..."

What is that expression on your face? Jim?

 

 

Did we go swimming? That sounds like fun. It must be summer; the sun is so bright.

Why would I go swimming with Saint Sebastian?

"Are you a saint?"

 

 

I laugh in shock. "What?"

Oh... Saint Sebastian? Haha, like I've never heard that one before... Only - I don't think you're making a joke...

An uneasy feeling has been growing in me. "Jim, do you - know who I am? And where we are?"

I look at the doctor, concerned. Her brow furrows. We wait for your answer, me with my breath hitching in my throat.

 

 

"You are Sebastian, you told me," I say impatiently. I'm not stupid. “She is a doctor. You can tell by her... doctoring."

"We are in London - aren't we?" The light looks odd - "Are we on holiday? Who's minding the church?"

 

 

The uneasy feeling has morphed into a sinking sensation.

No... you can't be...

"James?" I whisper.

I cover my mouth with my hand.

 

 

"Yes? What's wrong?" You look upset - what's going on? Why am I - wherever I am? Why did I get bitten by a stonefish? What was I doing swimming with stonefish? I shouldn't go on holiday; who's going to do the service? And I need to visit Mr Ulminster, he's sick - and my foot hurts - so much - what was I thinking?

 

 

"Jim..." I say carefully. "We're going to need to have a conversation, but it would best be in private. Just give me a moment..."

I wave Hammad and the doctor to come with me, and walk them to the kitchen. I look back, and your worried expression twists my heart.

"Jim had amnesia for a few months..." I say quietly. "And just came out of it less than a week ago. So, I'm assuming this is delirium from the venom and it will be temporary??"

 

The doctor considers this. "Oh my... Mr Sanders, I can't say with any certainty... I imagine it would be temporary, given that the venom can cause delirium, as you said. And given the recentness of the amnesia, it makes sense that his brain would be getting confused between identities. As I said, I will stay to keep him under observation. If it's determined that we need to bring a specialist to the island, we will - whether that's a psychiatrist or a neurologist, I'm not sure yet."

 

"Is it safe to tell him about where we are and who he is or should I wait until he remembers?" I fret.

 

"Well, he's already realized he's not in London," she says gently. "Use your best judgment. If you make something up, he may not accept your explanation, and get upset anyway... especially given the stress and trauma that his body has undergone with the venom. I wonder if you can keep trying to convince him to take a painkiller, it might help... shall we give you some privacy? If you need help, just call us back."

 

I thank them for their help, and leave them making tea. Returning to the living room, I'm filled with dread. What do I do??

James wasn't exactly low-maintenance, especially when it came to being away from his precious church. How would he react to discovering he was in the Maldives?? I curse under my breath, then paste on a concerned smile as I approach you.

I settle on the floor next to you.

"Jim..." I say carefully. "Yes, you're on holiday to rest." (True.)

"Don't worry about the church, it's being looked after." (Well, it must be by now.)

"How are you feeling now?" I say gently, trying to steer you towards the present.

 

 

Saint Sebastian walks off with the doctor and nurse, leaving me lying here suffering really quite unbearable pains from this foot - what happened?!

“What happened to my foot?” I ask as you come back. “Is that the stonefish? I love all God’s creatures, but this is really a very unreasonable way to behave... do you have any painkillers? Or a stiff whiskey?

And who’s looking after the church? Bishop White kept saying there was no personnel available to substitute so I just mustn’t get sick or go on holiday... and it appears I’ve done both...”

 

 

"We were swimming and you stepped on a stonefish, which is very venomous... yes, I'm happy to get you painkillers, but that means you won't be able to have any whisky," I say firmly. You're already faint and loopy and oh yes, back to thinking you're a priest!! (fuckfuckfuck!!)... mixing a lot of booze and pills in your condition is the last thing you need.

"I don't recall the name of the person looking after the church, but the bishop was very understanding once it was explained that you were so unwell." (FUCK...) "Now. Let me just get you your painkillers, Jim..." James. Whatever. Fuck.

 

I rush off to the kitchen, where the doctor and Hammad are drinking tea and chatting. I let the doctor know what's happening, she hands me painkillers and a glass of water, and I rush back.

 

"Here you go..." I say soothingly, and place them in your palm. Oh god, please let your memory come back soon... I'm not going to be able to keep this pretence up forever...

 

 

Bishop White understanding? I must be really sick then...

Of course, they don’t send a saint to take care of you unless you’re on death’s door...

I take the painkillers. “You know you can take alcohol with painkillers. Unless you have a liver condition - I don’t, do I? Or is that why I’m sick?”

 

 

I want to groan and throw myself to the floor. "You don't have a liver condition. But I don't think it's wise to have booze when you're already" (delusional) "er, ehm - " (a brainwashed priest) "having problems with memory. Which is an effect of the venom... I'm sure your memory will come back as the anti-venom does its work..." I say cheerfully, and imagine banging my head against the wall.

I lower myself to the floor next to you. "I'm sure your foot will feel better soon," I say soothingly, and pat your arm.

 

 

“I’m grateful that you came yourself. I mean, I’m not even one of yours. I guess we’ll work out what’s wrong eventually...”

The pain is really quite excruciating. It seems to be less when you are touching me. Which makes sense - it’s what saints do.

I mustn’t presume - but the pain is really so bad - and you’re here...

“Could you... please, it’s really quite painful...” I take your hand back, put it on my arm, looking at you pleadingly.

 

 

You want me... to touch you?? OK... twist my rubber arm.

Only... now I have to act like I don't you know you intimately? Like your cock wasn't in my arse just a couple of hours ago?

Jesus Christ...

I touch you gently. "Of course..."

I find myself in the very mindfucking position of staring back into the eyes of James, which is a very different experience than looking into Jim's.

Oh my god... he's so sweet. I actually missed beautiful, fucked-up Father James...

I realize I'm smiling at you fondly. "What do you mean, not one of mine?" I ask you softly.

 

 

“Soldiers, plague-sufferers, archers, athletes... I’m just a priest. But I’ve always been quite fond of you. Thank you so much for coming to me. It really means a lot.” I smile. Wonder if I could touch you? It does seem to be helping...

 

 

My mouth opens, and snaps shut.

Oh. Fuck. You... still think I'm Saint Sebastian??

Welll, you are one of his... because you left fag off the list, and you're in denial about it. But let's not quibble about that...

You actually think there's a saint sitting here with you. On holiday.

Fucking hell. This was probably a big, fat mistake... but I can't imagine telling you you're a criminal mastermind hiding out in the Maldives with his bodyguard that he likes to whip and fuck. At least you're somewhat calm for the moment. Because there's a bloody saint sitting and comforting you...

God, that sweet smile... I didn't realize how much I'd missed it... missed you...

Oh my fucking god, get it together, Sebastian!!

I smile back at you helplessly. "Of course, Jim... I've always been fond of you, too..."

If there's a heaven, I'm guessing that impersonating a saint with a delusional priest you have the hots for is not going to get you waved in... maybe I should call on Saint Sebastian for some fucking guidance. Barring that, I could really use a whisky...

 

 

I touch your hand, and you look at me so lovingly - I feel my heart grow in size.

This is the feeling I sometimes got with the Mary statue... but having you here, in person, touching me... it’s too much bliss for a simple human to take...

The doctor knocks and comes back in; she takes out the IV and checks my vitals.

She also asks me some basic questions, and I’m afraid I’m quite quickly at a loss...

My name is simple: Father James Moriarty.

Your name? Well, that is Saint Sebastian - should I call you Saint? You just said Sebastian - but that might be modesty -

- should I have added the Father for myself? Was that hubris?

But then things get difficult. If I know where I am. I look out the window - it looks quite tropical - “Spain?”

What day it is? “I’m so sorry, I am afraid I really don’t remember...”

 

 

You're touching my hand. You're touching my hand.

Correction - James is touching my hand.

God, you look so happy - there's my reminder. You are not Jim. Well, you're part of him - but you're not supposed to be driving.

Hm... you're part of Jim. This sweetness, this affection. Where does it go when Jim returns to his rightful place?

I contemplate this as the doctor examines you, asks you questions.

When you refer to me as Saint Sebastian, I smile at you. But inwardly I'm cringing. The doctor glances back at me, and her eyes flicker over my body – she did that before as well –

Oh.

Right -

Saint Sebastian is looking a little worse for wear - no arrows, but a hell of a lot of whip marks, cuts, bruises, and two lovely cigarette burns.

I should put on a t-shirt. Of course, they've already seen everything, and –

 

Spain? Oh god...

I excuse myself quietly, slip into the bedroom. I grab a t-shirt, pull it on and look around the room.

Will your memory be back by tonight? If not, will you want to sleep apart? The thought of being alone in a bed without you...

Jesus. It would just be for one night... calm down, Seb...

 

Taking a deep breath, I return to the living room and take my post sitting on the floor next to the sofa. I touch your arm and you smile up at me. I leave my hand there, and sigh.

 

 

It does feel better with you here...

the doctor tells me that I’m suffering from some memory issues because of the venom and that’s normal and nothing to worry about.

I smile and tell her I’m not worried.

I’m not. I’m sure it will be fine - I have a saint here. A miracle worker. I’ll either be right as rain or on a track to heaven - either is fine with me.

I wonder if that stonefish was Satan in disguise... and Saint Sebastian came down to battle the forces of evil. I’m so blessed...

The doctor gives me more painkillers and explains to you when I should take them, then asks if she can have a word with you in the kitchen. The nurse also heads into the kitchen and comes back with a kettle, pours more hot water in the pot in which he is boiling my foot. He tells me to keep it in there, Mr Richards, it will ease the pain.

“The pain is really bad. Thank you, my son. But I am not Mr Richards - I’m Father James.”

He nods, looks away, scuttles back to the kitchen.

 

 

I look back at you as I follow the doctor to the kitchen. I don't like leaving you, but you smile at me bravely... at least you're on painkillers now.

I disappear around a corner and face her, panicking. "Is everything alright? Is something wrong??"

 

"Oh no, Mr Sanders. Physically at least, things are progressing as expected. Mentally, well - clearly the experience has confused matters for Mr Richards, but I'm hopeful by tomorrow things will clear up for him. If not, we'll reassess the best plan of action. He's very lucky you acted so quickly and got him the medical attention he needed..."

 

I sigh with relief. "Ok... that's something..."

 

"The reason I wanted to speak to you is," she hesitates. "This is a delicate matter, but I couldn't help but notice all the marks on you... do you need me to examine you and give you care?"

 

Oh. Right. I shake my head. "Oh, don't worry about me, doctor... I have basic medical training; I can take care of it myself..."

 

"I understand some enjoy certain activities recreationally... but the cuts and burns were of concern. And I wanted to ensure this was... consensual? Or do you require any assistance?"

 

I smile sheepishly. "Completely consensual. I know it seems a little... intense..."

 

She holds up a hand, and smiles at me kindly. "Mr Sanders, I require no explanations. Your assurance that this was not done against your will is sufficient.

But - I would be remiss to not say anything. And of course were you to change your mind, you are welcome to contact me for medical care or assistance with authorities."

 

"Thank you, ma'am..." I say, looking her in the eye. "I do appreciate that. But if it helps put your mind at ease, look at him and look at me. I could easily put him on his arse anytime I want..." I grin. "And I have... so nothing to worry about here. I just need him to get better and be himself again..."

 

She nods, satisfied. "This priest persona of his... seems very sweet. Is he normally like this?"

 

I laugh. "Not quite. But I still need him back..."

 

She nods again. "The mind is very complex... I can't give any guarantees due to the recent amnesia, of course... but we'll give him the best care possible, and reassess tomorrow. Just be there for him, and try to keep his mind off any pain or stress... perhaps you could watch a film? Hammad and I will be in the staff quarters, should you require assistance. And I'll return regularly to monitor his progress."

 

"Thank you, doctor..." I smile appreciatively, and return to the living room.

 

Your face lights up when you see me. Oh god... you're so fucking sweet...

 

"Do you need anything, Jim?" I say soothingly. "Are you hungry? Thirsty?"

 

 

“A beer? Surely a beer can’t hurt?”

You look dubious, but get me a beer anyway, and have one yourself. It’s funny, I never thought about whether saints drink alcohol. Well, Jesus did - wine seems more civilized somehow, but I see no reason why a saint couldn’t drink beer.

It’s blissfully cool and refreshing. I’m sweating profusely - the boiling water can’t be helping, but if the doctor says it eases the pain, that’s good with me. The pain is really bad.

I wonder if -

“I’m sorry to ask, but - would you consider - touching me again?”

 

 

"Touching you?" I echo, and then add hastily, "Of course..."

I slide a hand onto your arm, and move up to your shoulder.

I'll touch you as much as you want, Jim...

Down, Seb. He's recovering from the most venomous fish in the world! And oh yeah, he thinks he's a priest. Of the non-gay variety.

I smile at you faintly. "Any better?"

 

 

“Thank you. I’m really grateful.”

I touch your hand, and the pain does lessen even more... so good that you were here when I stepped on a stonefish...

So was I on holiday with you? No wonder bishop White let me go... if an actual saint asks if a priest can go on holiday because he is sick, he couldn’t refuse.

I wonder why we are on holiday though - I only stepped on the fish when I was here, so that can’t be it.

“What is wrong with me? I mean - before I stepped on the fish?”

 

 

What's wrong with you... oh god...

I wonder if I can find that stonefish and step on it. Or one of its friends.

"Jim... something happened to you that was very stressful, and you needed to take time away to heal. But if we talk about it now, it will stress you out and upset you again... and I think you need to focus on getting better. Aren't you still in a lot of pain? Well, I don't think this is the best time to get into it... The doctor says your memory will start to come back as the venom is broken down, and the side effects fade."

I try to project confidence as I'm panicking inside. I'm a saint, after all - I must know what I'm doing.

 

 

Oh. OK. I have to admit the worries about the stonefish are at the forefront of my mind at the moment - you help, as do the painkillers and the beer, but the pain is really quite bad.

And I’m still sweating really bad - “I’m sorry, I must not be making the best impression. At least I’m not a plague sufferer...” I try a grin, but I’m afraid it probably looks more like a grimace.

 

 

I shake my head. "Do not worry about what impression you're making! You're going through something so intense right now... we're just going to focus on getting through this, and making you as comfortable as possible." I squeeze your arm. "If you want something to distract you, we can watch a film. Or if you just want to sit here, we can... and if you're thirsty or hungry, or need anything at all, you'll tell me immediately - promise?"

Saint Sebastian is getting a bit bossy... but I guess I can get away with that. I grin at you.

 

 

A- film? I’d never thought of - watching a film with a saint. Though - why not, I suppose? It might take my mind off things. And I guess it’s a bit boring for him to sit here and heal without distraction. “I’m sorry... I fear I’m not really stimulating company...” I say.

 

 

"Jim, you don't need to think about that," I protest. "I'm not here for entertainment... I'm here for you... it's pretty much my purpose at this point," I say softly and touch your cheek.

Ohhhh no... don't get swept away by him needing you and being comforted by your presence, he thinks you're a saint, you bloody idiot... and when Jim returns, he's going to remember everything you said and did.

I clear my throat. "What types of films do you like, my dear?"

Oh god... not the terms of endearment again...

 

 

I feel so safe with you... I’m so blessed. Thank you, God. I don’t know how I deserved this, but I’m really grateful.

“I’m... not really sure, to be honest. I’m sorry, my memory is a bit messed up...”

I try to think of watching films... I can’t quite...

wait - I think -

“I think... maybe... I like crime films? I seem to recall-“

 

*blood*

*gunfire*

*pain*

*exhilaration*

*smoke*

 

“No - no, I...”

My stomach contracts, my body spasms -

“I’m sorry -“ is as far as I get before the contents of my stomach make their way outwards, onto the floor - oh god no I’m splattering Saint Sebastian - oh god –

 

 

An assortment of emotions flicker across your face, and your distress grows quickly... and the next thing I know, you’re vomiting on the floor.

Ah, yes... it’s all coming back to me.

Poor, sweet, pukey James...

I murmur comforting sounds at you, pat you soothingly, and get up to collect paper towels and whatever cleaning product I can find. You don’t seem to want me to go, but it’s got to be done... so within moments, the floor is clean again, and I’ve brought you a cold, gingery drink which I hope is comparable to ginger ale.

“Maybe we’ll just hold off on a film for now...” I soothe, as I kneel next to you and put a cool, wet flannel on your forehead. “How are you feeling now, Jim?”

 

 

“I’m so sorry... so very sorry,” I fret, trying to clean the specks of vomit off your legs. Strong, beautiful legs... hurt though, as befits a martyr...

Then you bring me a cool drink, and a wet cloth which soothes my feverish head, and I could cry with gratitude.

“I feel - it’s better when you touch me, and the flannel helps, thank you.” I reach out my hand for the drink, drink some of it. It feels good, and my stomach doesn’t complain, so I drink a bit more.

Now what? What do you talk about with a saint? Who said he’s here purely for me, but won’t tell me what is wrong with me to have brought him here? I guess I should just wait and see... God’s ways are not for us to know, after all...

But... I’m feeling self-conscious now. How does one entertain a saint?

“Do you want to... pray, maybe?”

 

 

I'm so relieved that you're feeling a bit better. I watch contentedly as you sip your drink.

"Pray?" I echo, horrified. "Do you want to pray? You don't have to pray for my benefit," I assure you, panicking. How am I supposed to pray like a saint would?

"But if you want to... please go ahead..."

Is that disappointment? Fuck... "Unless you want me to do a short prayer?"

 

 

“I would be so honoured,” I say, delighted.

 

 

ShitShitShit...how the fuck do saints pray??

Focus, Sebastian... first of all, they don't say fuck.

Second... don't go formal, because you'll fuck it up. Just say something comforting for poor Jim. James. Whatever.

Why is my mind a total blank??

"Erm..."

Say something!

"So..."

Anything!

"God... Lord..."

Shit, I already fucked up...

Keep going!!

"Lord God, I humbly ask that James recover fully from his affliction..."

That's good. Oooh, affliction, that sounds like something a saint would say...

"And that his pain and suffering are lessened, and... that his recovery is quick... and..."

Wrap it up!

"That James receives all the healing he needs. And - "

Finish it!

"There are no more incidents with fish for the duration of our stay. Amen. Oh, and thank you. Lord. Bye."

I definitely need a drink.

"James, that prayer made me so thirsty... I'll be right back."

I go to the kitchen, open up a beer, and lean against the counter drinking it.

I don't want to leave you alone for too long... I return with my beer, and sit next to you again.

"Sorry... a bit rusty..."

 

 

That doesn’t sound like you commonly pray for people. Even I do better than that, and I’m a rubbish priest. So that’s not a common pastime for a saint - all the more reason to be grateful to you for doing it for me.

“Thank you so much,” I smile at you.

“Could I - have a beer too? I’m sorry, I’d get it myself, but...”

 

 

"Just - space them out a bit..." I grin at the little lush. "Finish your ginger drink, and then I'll get you a beer in a little while."

My hand returns to your arm, and you beam at me. God. You're so damn sweet, I just want to eat you up with a spoon...

How are you part of Jim? You could not be more different, but you came from somewhere in his psyche. I drink my beer, thinking. Is it possible I can find you in Jim when he returns... somehow?

 

 

You’re touching me again, and I am so grateful... the pain is still there, but I can face it when I’m with you.

I guess I should worry more about the fact that my memory seems gone... but I’m in good hands. All in good time. First get rid of the poisoning, then we’ll see more about your plan for me.

I feel weak and my head, stomach, and ribs hurt, though that pain is dwarfed by the pain in my foot. But... it’s manageable with your presence.

For a while, we just sit in silence. I feel like I should be doing something, like I’m a host who’s neglecting his guest, but there’s not much I can do, and you seem to be content to just - be.

 

 

You're quiet, and you seem still in pain but peaceful. I run the flannel cloth under cool water, and lay it on your forehead again.

"Jim, can you handle some broth, maybe a bite of toast? We should keep your strength up. You can have a beer once you have some food in your stomach..."

 

 

You are so sweet and caring, and I can’t believe you are doing all this for me...

“I... think so, yes. I will try. Thank you so much.”

I’d prefer if you wouldn’t leave me alone, but I guess you can’t just miracle up a meal - not your portfolio.

Again I wonder why you of all saints came to me... I guess I will find out at some point. I’m keen - I know it’s hubris, and I shouldn’t feel it, but I do feel pride at being chosen.

 

 

I return to the kitchen, and bring out a tray a while later - chicken broth for you, Mulligatawny soup for me, toast for both of us.

I place the tray on the table, and help you sit up. You wince at the movement.

"Sorry, Jim..." I murmur.

You seem so small and fragile. Poor sweet James...

I place the tray carefully on your lap. "Just a couple of bites if that's all you want. Don't force it..." I fret. Memories of your sickness in Acton come flooding back to me, and so does your distress and pleading... guilt washes over me. Once again, I'm the cause of your sorrow and sickness...

How does this keep happening??

 

 

I carefully dip the toast in the broth and nibble it. It seems to go down alright. You eat with gusto, but look at me worried. I smile encouragingly. “This tastes lovely. Thank you very much.”

I finish one slice of toast and most of the broth, and you seem happy, and hand me a beer for my efforts.

The pain in my foot is increasing. I’m not sure if it is because of the water cooling or the painkillers wearing off, but I suspect it’s because you haven’t been touching me.

A particularly painful shoot has me arching my neck back and grimacing.

 

 

I’m relieved to see you eat, even such a light meal. I hope it doesn’t make you sick again... I watch you closely, and you’re seeming less content and focused on me. Then a pained expression crosses your face and your head falls back.

“Jim? Do you need the doctor?” I say urgently, grasping your arm. “Or should I get you more painkillers?”

 

 

“Some more painkillers... and maybe - the water has been cooling-“

 

 

“On it,” I murmur, and rush to get you painkillers and a glass of water. Then I refill the pot with piping hot water, and help you lower your foot into it.

“It looks a little less red,” I say encouragingly. Still swollen as fuck, I don’t add.

I look up at you, and you give me a brave smile. I sigh, and stroke your arm. “I’m so sorry this happened, Jim...”

 

 

“I’m... not? Sure, it hurts... but - I don’t know what it was like before, but this close communion with a saint is... really special. I’m really very grateful. I don’t know what the future will bring, but I trust you,” I smile, put my hand on your hand. It should be bearable like this... anything would be bearable like this...

 

 

I look at your hand on mine. Oh, god... I'm not worthy of your trust, sweet James...

Why did I let you believe I'm a fucking saint?

Because, Sebastian... this reversion to James is just temporary. So why freak him out with an explanation of what happened while he's in pain? His memory will come back, Jim will return...

and know that I went along with being a saint.

Will he be angry? Or will he understand?

I'm still staring at your hand. I look up at you.

"The future will bring what it will bring," I say softly. "And I'll still be here for you. With you. You can count on that, Jim..." I squeeze your hand. When you squeeze back, my heart somersaults in my chest.

 

 

I am more relaxed now... you seem so calm and caring, stressing how you are here for me - of course I know that saints are selfless and generous, but actually experiencing it first-hand is very special.

You are sitting very near - in an impulse I lean my head on your shoulder.

 

 

Awww, Jim. James. You're so bloody sweet...

 

Fuck. His head's on my shoulder. His head's on my shoulder...

Do not get used to this, Sebastian... and for Christ's sake, do not think this means something. It doesn't - well, not to Jim who's the rightful owner of this body.

 

Holding my breath, I lightly rest my head against yours, and settle against the sofa.

 

 

“Are you alright? I mean - do you want a chair, or-“

It doesn’t seem right that you would be sitting on the floor -

“I’m absolutely fine - very comfortable,” you reply, and though I can’t see your face, I can hear the smile in your voice.

The pain is bearable now - still there, but I do believe those painkillers are quite potent - and I’m not sure if I should have drunk that beer with them... I’m feeling quite lightheaded. But not in an unpleasant way.

I think I might actually be a bit sleepy...

 

 

James is so considerate, I think fondly, enjoying the feeling of his warmth against me...

Wait. Why do I feel like I'm cheating? Is this cheating??

No! Of course not. I'm not having sex with him, or even kissing him... don't think it, don't think- oh god. I fucking want to.

Not when he's recovering from stonefish poisoning of course! But yeah... I felt that way from the moment I met him - it's my sweet, shy gay boy fixation. And he was so lovely to me in the church...

Stop that now...it's irrelevant. He doesn't want to, anyway. And Jim will be back by tomorrow. Probably.

And even if he wasn't... James is so chaste and obedient to churchy doctrine. He doesn't even know he's gay! And even if he was attracted to me, he's hardly going to shag a saint, is he?

...

What about snogging?

...

I'm not allowed to think any more. I'm just going to sit here protectively, with the most adorable priest in the world, resting against me. No thoughts of snogging or shagging. Like Saint fucking Sebastian.

Besides, if anything happened with James, I'm afraid Jim might murder me.

I try so hard not to think, but there it is, a sultry whisper in my mind - what a way to go...

 

 

I keep thinking I’m falling asleep but then there is a stab of pain that prevents me. I don’t want to fall asleep anyway - it would be rude.

But I’m on that weird brink where everything seems unreal. I’m drifting in and out of reality...

There’s a feeling of being too hot and wanting to take all my clothes off, but I’m only wearing swimming trunks.

I’m leaning against you and suddenly I have a weird sexual urge, like I’d like to make love to you - I startle awake at that - surely merely thinking that is a major sin -

There’s a turtle in my sock and I have to get him out because he’s biting me - little fucker -

I have to give that girl her pound back or she won’t be able to buy ice cream...

“Why did you burn that hat?”

 

 

Your breathing changes, and I relax. Sleep will do you a world of good, I think.

But then a moment later you breathe in sharply and tense up.

Did you dream something?

"Why did I what?" I ask, confused.

I lift my head and twist my neck around to look at you. "Were you dreaming, Jim?"

 

 

“No - sorry, my head is a bit... like a balloon. Full of air. I’m - just a bit... overcrowded.”

I’m not sure what I’m saying.

“All the girls are here so we better serve up.”

 

 

My brow furrows.

"Jim... What are you talking about?" I say slowly.

And then I remember. Side effects of envenomation by a stonefish - hallucinations.

Oh. Shit.

"Are you feeling any different? Maybe I should call the doctor in..." I say gently, stroking your arm.

 

 

“No, it’s nice just you and me... Saint Sebastian... did you know,” I giggle, “that you are also called the patron saint of homosexuals? Probably because you are always depicted mostly naked and pierced by shafts - sorry. Must be a painful memory. And because you are so very good looking, I guess - even more in real life.”

 

 

My eyebrows shoot up. You're giggling? And... flirting??

Oh god... now what!

"Yes, I'm aware that Saint Sebastian is called the patron saint of homosexuals..." I say fondly. And while it's true that many a homosexual has fallen to his knees before me in my naked splendour... should I tell you I'm not actually strictly, y'know... a saint? It just seems to be so comforting, and as James you were such a handful in Acton when I was keeping you from your church. How would you react if you realized I'm just a regular Sebastian, keeping you away from church while holidaying on a private island in the Maldives?? You'll want to know why, which I don't think you'll handle very well... and the pain and hallucinations are just the psychotropic cherries on top.

"Why, thank you, Jim. That's very sweet of you. So are you."

Oh perfect, that sounded like flirting, too. Do I need to call in the doctor as a chaperone??

 

 

I scoff. “No, I’m not. Scrawny, ugly little Jimmy. With the scary eyes bulgy eyes... booh, froggy Jimmy...”

I feel something pressing against my head and turn to examine it with my hand. It’s your shoulder. Very muscular. Too bad about the scars.

“Good thing Saint Irene was around...”

 

 

"Saint Irene, right..." It's getting hard to focus with you touching my shoulder...

"Jim, why on earth would you think that? You are not ugly... You're absolutely beautiful."

I don't think Saint Sebastian would say that? But then, saints are supposed to speak the truth, and you are the most stunning man I've ever seen... even sweaty and flushed and looking high as a kite...

 

 

“Thank you. You are so sweet... you’re the sweetest man I’ve ever met. I can call you a man, right? Yes, of course... even our Lord was a man, we had that entire council of Ephesus...

You are very beautiful and very sweet and I am very grateful you are here, Sebastian...”

 

 

I'm smiling at you as you ramble sweetly. I can't help myself... you're just fucking adorable, aren't you.

What is it about you? As Jim, you can have me on my knees, doing anything you want, bleeding and begging to be fucked.

As your alter ego James, I just want to wrap you in my arms, protect you from the world... cover you with kisses...

Sebastian. No. Can't ever happen. I can't take advantage of your trust like that. I may be yours, but I am not your saint. And I don't think dedicated, chaste Father James would just throw caution to the wind and decide to fuck me.

… Would he?

No. Sod off. Also he's delirious and hallucinating, for fuck's sake.

Stay strong, Seb. Jim will be back before too long...

and then... I'll never see James again.

The realization hits me, and I find myself growing mournful. I want Jim to return so much, so I can be with him again... but I didn't know how much it would mean to me to see James again... losing him a second time will be so much harder than I thought.

 

 

“Did you remember to feed the fish? Or was that the other one? I don’t like Americans. I know we’re supposed to love them, but they’re noisy. Barking all night... my neighbour had one, but the milkman hit it with his car.”

My head is unclear and uncomfortable.

“You must be uncomfortable too... please come up on the sofa.”

I move forward. “There’s plenty of room...”

 

 

I'm trying not to shake my head as I hear you ramble. Jesus... I'm so glad the doctor is here.

You want me to - lie on the sofa with you?

"I'm fine here, Jim..." I protest, but you look at me stubbornly.

Jesus, you're so obstinate and dogmatic, even as your alter ego.

Well, if it will keep you calm - a hysterical, hallucinating psychopath is too terrible to contemplate.

I slide in behind you, and drape an arm around your waist. Then I touch my hand to your arm.

"Is this alright?" I ask softly.

 

 

Oh - I can lean against you - should I? Yes - you seem fine with it, and the more you touch me, the better your healing seems to work... the pain seems to recede and my head is going into pleasant pink clouds...

I lean back into your arms, hear a sigh of pleasure - oh - was that me?

“Thank you so much. I could have died without you...”

 

 

I close my eyes as you lean against me.

"Well... it was me that encouraged you to go swimming even though you were afraid of fish... so I feel kind of terrible about that," I admit. "But I will always be here to protect you, Jim.."

The thought breaks into my mind before I can stop it.

I wish I could still have this when Jim returns...

I sigh. You can wish it all you want, soldier, I think gruffly. You and I both know it's never going to happen...

 

 

Those painkillers are strong... I’m kind of drifting in and out.

‘Always here to protect you...’

‘Jim’

“Why do you keep calling me Jim? No one’s ever called me that...

I mean, you can call me whatever you want, of course...”

 

 

I guess it was just to remind myself that you're Jim... James will be here for such a short time.

"If you prefer I call you James, I will..." I say carefully. "Are you getting tired? Maybe you should sleep..."

JimJimJim... are you going to remember any of this?

 

 

“It’s fine - call me what you like. I guess I am sleepy, kind of... but my foot really hurts. So I’ll be kind of drifting off but then someone smashes it and that wakes me up.

You’re really helping a lot, though,” I suddenly startle, not wanting to sound ungrateful for everything you are doing. “I guess it’s rabbits and guinea pigs, isn’t it...”

Wait... that didn’t make sense.

“I’m sorry. I’m a bit... robust. No - I don’t know...”

 

 

I rub your arm soothingly. "It's OK, James... it's all just a side effect of the venom. You're going to be fine... and don't you worry about me. I'm here for you no matter what."

 

 

“It’s really new for me, having my very own patron saint... I never expected... you are so sweet and so nice and so beautiful... I love you...”

 

 

My eyes widen. Fuck.

He means like a priest loves a saint. Like Father James loves Saint Sebastian.

Not Jim and Sebastian!!

My heart flips in my chest. No. No happy feelings allowed. It's all a misunderstanding.

It will be back to normal by tomorrow, so don't do anything stupid...

"I - love you too... Jim," I say in a whisper.

 

 

Jim...

There is something about the name that kind of nags. Somewhere around the back of my mind...

I’ve never been called Jim, but there’s this... like in a dream... sort of image, feeling, but if you try to look straight at it, it’s gone.

But you love me...

A soft ecstasy drapes over me like a wispy veil. That blessed feeling of communion with the divine, that soul connection, experienced in such rare moments, which are what I long for and strive towards...

here on my sofa, or someone’s sofa anyhow, holding me, healing me, loving me...

I am in a true state of bliss...

... maybe I do drift off...

 

 

I hear a ghost of a sigh, and your muscles relax...

and I feel our bodies gently melding against each other, so peaceful and so comforting and so -

fucked.

I'm so fucked.

What if Jim-you remembers what I said to James-you??

I start to panic. It's fine. It's fine. It was all just to comfort James...

I'm a complete moron. GOD, I hope you don't remember any of this...

But I have a sinking feeling that a traitorous, recalcitrant part of me is glad I said it.

Chapter Text

There’s a fire, and I’m lying in the forest, with my foot in it. Why did I come camping? I don’t like it. Whose idea was this?

There are dangerous animals in the forest. Tigers and lions and scorpions.

I must move my foot –

 

I kick the side of the pot. Pain shoots through me, and I cry out.

 

 

I'm resting comfortably when I feel your body jerk against me, and you shout loudly.

My eyes fly open. "James...?" I say sharply. "Are you alright?"

 

 

“What - Yes - what happened to my foot - oh yes - fish -“

I lift my foot to look. It’s very swollen and an angry red, with bruising. It hurts like two people are simultaneously smashing it with sledgehammers.

Then I realize - I fell asleep in your arms - oh how rude -

“I’m so sorry - I drifted off - I do apologize...”

 

 

"No apologies, James..." I soothe. "Sleep would do you so much good - it's unfortunate the pain wakes you up. I'll give you another painkiller as soon as I can."

I stroke your arm. "Should I put on a film to distract you?"

Oh, maybe that's not a good idea if you're hallucinating...

"Or... maybe some soft music? Would you like any tea? Don't even think about asking for any more beer," I warn playfully, and squeeze your arm.

 

 

“Tea sounds good, thank you. When will you be able to give me another pain killer? It really really hurts.”

I notice I’m sweating quite profusely.

 

 

I glance at a clock. "Another couple of hours to go... I'll change the water for you..."

I scoot around you, feeling strangely bereft at not touching you. Shit.

And you're already looking distressed that I'm getting up - we can't get attached like this. Jim will be furious...

I help you lift your foot out of the pot, wincing at your wince.

"Be right back-" (darling) "James." I assure you.

I return with a fresh pot of hot water, put your foot back in carefully, and give you a reassuring pat.

Then I head to the kitchen, and set about making tea. I pour myself a glass of whisky and neck it. And another. And, what the hell, one for the road.

I bring a tray of tea and biscuits out to you, along with a couple of cool washcloths. I set down the tray on the table, and place the washcloth on your forehead.

"Since it's a hot drink, I thought a cool flannel would help - if you want to use it on your arms and legs?"

I hand you the flannel and you look at me.

"Do you - want me to do it?" I ask, my breath shallow.

 

 

The hot water hurts, but it does then ease the pain somewhat.

You disappear, come back with tea and cool cloths - and then you offer to - wash me?!

I’m about to protest, but then - even the Lord washed his disciples’ feet - it seems like a saintly thing to do...

“That would be... so sweet...”

 

 

"Oh..." (my pleasure) "Of course, James. Anything I can do to help..." I murmur, and sit on the floor next to you, ignoring your protests.

I take the flannel and run it slowly down your arm.

God, Jim... I wish I could touch you like this...

"Does that feel good? Cooler, I mean?" My voice sounds rusty, like I haven't used it in days. I clear my throat, and look at you.

 

 

“Much better...” I sigh.

I look at you - what’s going on with your voice?

And your eyes. Oh God.

Your face. Looking at me.

What is - how - no - not possible -

No - no - forbidden -

Oh God -

Your eyes grow larger and larger - or is that because my face is moving nearer –

 

 

You look at me uncertainly, and it's so sweet.

Now you're looking at me looking at you... I can't - tear my eyes away.

Oh god - now what.

Your eyes are huge and shimmering - such bottomless black pools, wanting to pull me in, down into your depths to drown me...

what the fuck - is - happening -

are you going to - no –

 

 

I’m not sure what’s happening -

Everything is a bit - hazy -

I can’t think straight... all I see is Saint Sebastian... I must be having some sort of... divine rapture...

*wrong* - *sin*

But -

... in the Orthodox Church it’s very common to kiss icons of saints...

So... if you don’t have an icon...

My mouth meets soft, smooth, warm lips...

 

 

oh my god oh my god James is kissing me...

I'm finally kissing James!!

Shit, I can't do this, you're totally fucked up by evil fish venom!!

Down, Sebastian...

Ruefully, I pull away. "James, I wish I could..." I say breathlessly. "But - you're not yourself. I'm afraid you're not thinking clearly... because of the venom..." Also, you think I'm a saint, and oh god, since when have I taken any kind of moral and ethical stance against snogging someone hot? But you're James... and I can't get over how furious Jim would be... wouldn't he?? Yes, of course he would!!

 

 

Oh -

Oh God oh God I messed up -

I tried to *kiss* a *saint* -

Sinful sexual urges - projected onto a *saint* -

I pull back, horrified. I wish I could sink into the ground - I wish I’d disappear into smoke -

I get up - my foot is agony, but I don’t care -

I have to -

I run out of the room, tears streaming down my face.

 

 

My mouth drops open at your horrified reaction. Oh no...

Fuck, what did I do??

Driven you from the room in tears, that's what... Shit!

I go tearing after you. "James," I call, "don't run away, you're hurt! It's alright!"

You're hobbling, and I catch up to you easily, grabbing you by the arm and holding you up. Your tear-streaked face squeezes my heart.

"James... you misunderstood me," I say gently. "You didn't do anything wrong... I wanted to kiss you. I - just didn't want to take advantage of you while you weren't well..."

I push the hair off your face. "Let's get you back to the sofa... please..."

 

 

“You - wanted to kiss me - but how - no - it’s a *sin* -“ I cry. “I’m not supposed to - have urges - and I try not to - but you are so beautiful and so sweet - and I gave in - I’m so sorry... so sorry... I’m a sinner, a horrible person...”

I break into heaving sobs.

 

 

I pull you against my chest. "James, no! You're not a horrible person, and it's not a sin..." I say urgently, feeling your sobbing body against mine. "It's not sinful to care about someone and to show it... I promise you that..."

Besides which, you're not a priest! I want to shout, but that is not the road to more kissing.

Which I'm not supposed to be doing with you anyway, oh fuck it... I have a sobbing delirious sweetheart in my arms, and all I care about is comforting you. I'd have to be made of stone not to...

"James," I murmur, cradling your head. "Please, James... look at me..."

 

 

I look at you.

You are so beautiful... so sweet...

Your eyes are still full of.. love... but - something else -

Oh.

Oh *fuck*.

Oh of *course*-

My eyes grow wide -

“No - no - get *away* from me-”

I stumble back, limp on my bad foot, put my arm out in front of me -

“Keep away from me!!”

 

 

"James! What's wrong?" I ask, perplexed.

I put my hands out, placating. "Will you please let me help you sit down? You can't walk on that foot!"

I watch you back away from me slowly. ""I'm not going to hurt you! What do you think I'm going to do??"

 

 

“Why won’t you leave me alone!” I cry. “How did you lure me out of my church?! You - horrid fiend - oh God - I guess it earns you lots of points, doesn’t it, seducing and torturing a priest... and then making him trust you so you can tempt him to mortal sin - *why*?!” I sob. “Why?! I’m not a good man, but I tried... why do you consistently torture me?!”

 

 

Oh... fuck my life...

you remember...

Or you're starting to...

how much longer before Jim is peering out at me through those flashing black eyes?

"Oh god, James..." I sigh, my hands covering my face briefly. I rake my fingers through my hair. "You have this all wrong... I'm not out to seduce you! This is why I didn't want to kiss you, so I wasn't taking advantage of your memory loss! I can explain everything - but can you please just sit down first, you're not well..."

 

 

“No! A good Christian must *always* renounce Satan! I renounce you! I renounce you! I will not listen to your lies, Deceiver!!”

I stumble backwards, trip over my unreliable foot, fall over.

No matter. “Get away! You can’t touch me! I’m a man of God!”

I reach for my crucifix, but of course, it’s gone.

“Away!!! In nomine patris et fillii et spiritus sancti!!”

 

 

I watch in horror as things escalate - and the next thing I know, you're on the ground trying to banish me with Latin blathering.

Did you... just equate me with Satan??

"For fuck's sake," I shout, then try to calm down.

"Jim, I am not fucking Satan... now if you want to roll around on the floor, freaking out... be my guest. But if you want to know what's happened to you, I can answer your questions. Do you remember being envenomated by a stonefish? You're not well, and you need my help!" I extend my hand. "Do you want me to help you to the sofa or not?"

 

 

“Away!” I shout, panicking, trying to move further away from you. “You will not tempt me! Of course I was envenomated by a stonefish! So you could turn up and play the *rescuing saint* - shame on you! *Shame*!” I can feel spittle shooting off from my mouth as I shout at you.

I can’t believe I was naive enough to let Satan tempt me out of my church - using my weakness for beautiful men, so weak, such a feeble failure, so easily tempted by a pair of blue eyes - I’m so unworthy - how could I ever believe that an actual saint would come to me - hubris...

I scuttle further back, but suddenly there’s no ground anymore - I fall backwards - try to grasp the railing I see to my left but miss, bang my head on the bridge instead - I feel water and blackness enclosing me at the same time.

 

 

Oh, Jesus... can I have a personal saint to help me with this mess?? I'll get down on my knees and praise his glory, I promise!

You are seriously panicking now... shouting and spitting and crawling back away from me. I'm trying to follow you to keep you from hurting yourself, without making you panic more... you're getting awfully close to the edge, and I'm lunging towards you, and - fuck!!

You're in the fucking pool, and are you passing out??

I jump in and grab you a moment later, holding you up.

"Jesus fucking Christ! Jim! wake up!" I shout. You cough out some water, but remain unconscious, limply falling against my chest.

I lift you up carefully and lay you on the bridge, then hoist myself up.

By the time I carry you to the house, I'm shouting for the doctor - the doctor and Hammad meet us at the door.

I fill in the doctor as I lay you down on the sofa, trying not to have a fucking meltdown. I'm blinking back angry tears, as I see the doctor examining your pale and limp body on the sofa.

Jesus, Seb - you're a soldier... why aren't you acting like a soldier??

 

 

I’m drowning -

Why am I drowning?

There’s water in my lungs -

I cough, cough some more, water coming out.

I am on a sofa. There are people around me. An Indian accent, an English one. Tamil, posh trying to sound working-class.

My foot hurts immensely. The side of my head throbs. I think I’ve hit it.

I look up.

The Indian lady looks at me with professional care - medical profession. The English man - military - looks genuinely worried sick. There’s another Indian-looking guy, not speaking.

“Jim!” the English guy cries out. “How are you feeling?”

“My foot hurts,” I reply.

 

 

"Do you remember what happened?" I say urgently, as the doctor checks your head. Am I dealing with Jim now??

 

 

“No... I’m sorry.”

 

 

There’s something about how you’re answering me...

“Do you... know who I am?”

 

 

“I’m not sure. Sorry. My head got hurt. I think. Who are you?”

 

 

Oh no... “Sebastian...” I say slowly. “Do you know... who you are?”

 

 

“Yes, of course. I’m...”

Eh.

 

 

You look at me blankly. I glance at the doctor and crouch down next to you. “You’re Jim...” I say softly.

 

 

“Yes, of course. Jim. Thank you.”

I look at you and the doctor or nurse. You both look worried.

“I’m sure I’m alright. Just - hit my head - and my foot?”

 

 

Oh god, please let this be temporary...

“First you stepped on a stonefish, and received anti-venom treatment. But you’ve been experiencing symptoms like delirium and memory loss... and you just now hit your head, because you were panicking a bit and you lost your balance...”

You look completely perplexed. Shit...

 

“How is your head feeling, Mr Richards?” the doctor asks. “Any dizziness? Nausea?”

 

 

Jim Richards. OK.

“No - no thank you, I’ll just have some water.”

 

 

No thank you? Like the doctor was offering you a serving of dizziness or nausea??

Oh god...

"Coming right up, Jim..."

I shoot a worried look at the doctor, who continues to ask you questions as I walk away.

 

In the kitchen, I rest my forehead against the counter, and cover my head with my arms. I feel numbness spreading through me, with prickles of fear and dismay bursting through.

"This is temporary... it has to be temporary..." I mumble to myself.

But what if it's not? Impossible... because Jim would never allow this fate to befall him.

And there may be temporary glitches, but when it comes right down to it, Jim makes the rules... and he is no victim of Fate, or fucking anyone.

Jaw tense, I grab a bottle of water, and head back to the living room.

 

 

The doctor squats down beside the sofa, looking mildly concerned.

“Mr Richards, do you remember anything?”

Ehm... I want to help, but I can’t think of what to say. I don’t really...

“Do you know where you are?”

Luxury accommodation. Tropical location. Doctor is Tamil, accent doesn’t sound like she’s been living abroad. Therefore - India, possibly, or - “Sri Lanka?”

“Can you tell me your mother’s name?”

Mother. Right. I must have one.

“Not right now, sorry...”

“Do you remember what happened to your foot?”

“I stepped on a stonefish.”

“Do you remember that?”

“... no. Just Sebastian telling me. It really hurts.”

You return with water, and I drink it. You look so concerned - oh. “Are you my husband?”

 

 

I go still. Husband??

“Nnno...” I say, my heart suddenly racing. “I’m your... employee.”

I’m more than that! I’m YOURS! I want to scream. But that’s not something you would want known, so - I keep my mouth shut.

Once again I sit next to you on the floor. The doctor glances between us.

“How long is this going to go on for?” I ask her. “Hopefully just a day you said??”

 

 

Employee? You’re more than professionally concerned though. You genuinely care.

“It is hard to say,” the doctor shakes her head. “The effects should start decreasing soon, as we have administered the antivenom. But Mr Richards had already suffered some trauma, you said, so we can’t really be sure whether that is influencing the behaviour.”

She turns to me. “Mr Richards, if you like, I could administer a sedative. It will help you relax and sleep, and hopefully that will ease your recovery. It also has a strong anaesthetic effect, so you won’t feel the pain in your foot until it has receded.

Do you think you may want that?”

I look at her. Sleep until the pain is over? Yes please!! I nod.

“Mr Sanders, Hammad, can you help Mr Richards to his bed?”

“Don’t worry,” you say, and lift me up like I weigh nothing.

Employee? Why would I employ an ex-soldier who is very very fond of me and recently went through torture? Who on Earth am I?!

 

 

I carry you to the bedroom - our bedroom. I feel so relieved that you’re going to take a sedative - amnesia-Jim is far more easy-going than regular-Jim or Father James. It also feels so good to have you in my arms...

Regretfully I lay you down on the bed, and drag a chair next to the bed while the doctor gives you a sedative. I watch, steepling my fingers so I’ll have something to do with my hands. It feels strange to not be touching you.

Unlike with Father James, I really have no excuse to continue touching you. You don’t think I’m your personal saint, you think I’m just your employee... but what else was I supposed to say?? I’m your bodyguard, and oh yes, you own me, and fuck me like a god?

“How long will he sleep for?” I ask the doctor.

 

 

“When the sedative wears off, he may wake up because of the pain. If the pain has receded sufficiently, he might move into a natural sleep, which would be good. It’s best to...”

The doctor keeps talking, but I’m sinking deeper and deeper into a soft darkness in which the pain recedes to a buzzing, then a tingling, then a tiny pinprick in the black...

 

 

You drop off to sleep as the doctor tells me someone must keep an eye on you. As if I’m going to leave you alone... She tells me to call her if anything happens or worries me.

The doctor does a quick check of your vitals, while I grab some crisps and beer from the kitchen, and head back to my chair with a book.

Satisfied, she and Hammad head back to the staff quarters.

And I sit and stare at you from my chair.

Your chest rises and falls. You look like you’re suspended between feeling peaceful and troubled...

What lies in store for us when you wake up??

 

 

I’m in a bell tower, looking for my kitten. It climbed up here, and I have to get it out before the bell starts tolling because it will deafen her and she will panic and run away and then I’ll never find her again.

Finding a black kitten in a dark bell tower is not an easy task, however. And I’m not sure what the time is and when the bell will start.

I find a corridor leading off and down in a different direction than I came up in and follow it. It ends in a library-type place with soft lighting. I remember that this is where I put my books, and I should get them back when I have a place.

Why don’t I have a place? Oh yes, I live on the streets with some other kids. I probably shouldn’t have got a kitten but she looked so forlorn and she’s been quite good staying with me up till now.

I find her pawing into an aquarium. No - kitty - those are piranhas -

I run to her but trip and knock over the aquarium - piranhas everywhere - shit, I need to run, but have to save the kitten -

Blackness again.

 

 

I see some movement, and look up from my book. You’re twitching a bit, and murmuring. Dreaming. You don’t seem like you’re in real distress, just regular dream frustration. I wonder what you dream about... and are your dreams extra trippy now, injected with venom? Who will you be when you wake up? I put my book down, and gaze at you. It’s nice to be able to just look at you... you, Jim-you, would never allow it.

But I miss Jim-you. I miss that sexual charge between us, always present and ready to crackle with electricity and heat...

I feel myself start to harden. Fuck’s sake...

Wait - do I still need your permission if you’re for all intents and purposes MIA? Maybe not... But - I’m not going to leave my post to go have a wank.

I watch you as you twitch and murmur, and I drink the rest of my beer.

 

 

I’m walking on some weird path and my feet hurt. I say feet - it’s only one foot which seems to consistently step on something sharp. I try to take a different route, or walk in a different way, but it keeps hurting.

I smell beer - I must go to the beer. It has something... important...

I open my eyes and see a sleeping Tiger next to a few empty beer bottles and a crisp bag.

My entire body hurts. But especially my foot. And I’m thirsty. There’s a bottle of water on the nightstand; I reach over and pick it up, drink it down in gulps. I’m under a blanket, it’s too hot - I shrug it off.

 

 

I’m showering with three Jims...

 

Jim Three has been writing on a whiteboard, and is trying to hand me a marker. “Information is key, Sebastian. Where did I go to school?”

 

Jim Two is wearing a crucifix, and keeps sneaking peeks at my cock and then looking away. “I’m extremely celibate,” he informs me. “Will you wash me clean of my sins? Start here...” he points at his cock, and I reach for it.

 

Jim One knocks my hand away. He’s glaring at all of us. He yanks off the crucifix from Jim Two and pulls down the whiteboard, and throws them onto the bathroom floor. “There. Now I’m taking my Tiger and leaving!” he pouts.

 

“Jim... now how am I supposed to know the real you?” I complain.

 

“I’m the true Jim,” one Jim says.

“No, I’m the true Jim,” the other protests.

“That’s exactly what a false Jim would say! Don’t believe him!” another snaps, and gets shoved by the first Jim. Or was it the second?

 

I try to break up the shoving, but it gets worse. “Stop it!” I shout. “Don’t hurt yourself!”

 

“Sebastian.. you’re so sweet,” says one Jim, touching my arm.

“And handsome. I don’t want to be celibate anymore...” the other Jim whispers, touching my cock.

“You take such good care of us,” another Jim purrs, and kisses my neck.

 

The shoving has become kissing and stroking.

Oh... Jims...

 

I hear a sound, and I pull back from the randy Jims. I have to get back to - back to - I awake with a start.

Jim is awake, staring at me. “Jims?” I mumble, rubbing my eyes.

”How do you feel? Do you remember who you are?”

 

 

“Jims? Did you have so much beer you’re seeing double? Yes, of course I remember who I am.

Wait - didn’t I? What happened?

My foot hurts like a motherfucker. Did the doctor finish her treatment?”

 

 

Suddenly I’m wide awake. “Jim? As in, Jim Jim? Not James? No amnesia?”

 

 

I groan. “You’re joking, right?”

But no - I start to remember. Like you remember a dream, in bits and pieces, and if you try to look at it, it disappears...

“Oh god - I was *him* again?! And - I thought you were- *Saint Sebastian*?!”

 

 

“Yeeahh?” I say, hesitantly. I have no idea what may set you off...

“I have no idea why, other than the name and...” I trail off. “Well, not important. But you’re you again?” I say, sighing with relief. “Memory loss and delirium are just side effects. Hopefully that’s the last of it... do you need anything? Are you hungry?”

 

 

“Saint - Sebastian-“

I remember the things I said - oh god -

I try to keep a straight face but -

“Oh my god - I thought you were healing me - I told the *doctor* -“

I can’t help it, I burst out in howls of laughter.

“Oh god you must have been so confused - I bet they don’t train you for *that* in the Regiment - or do they?”

I’m laughing so hard and my ribs hurt - fuck - I can’t stop –

 

 

I’m smiling at you in surprise. I didn’t expect you to find it funny...but I guess it is, sort of... And it’s nice to see you laugh, you so rarely do... after a moment, I start to snicker along with you. But then it starts to take on a manic tone, and - you’re not stopping...

“Jim!” I say tersely, and shake you a couple of times. “It’s ok, come back now...”

God, I hope I won’t have to slap you...

 

 

Yes - yes, you’re right - it’s not *that* funny...

Except it is, and I can’t stop laughing...

You shake me again, and I feel a flash of anger - and that snaps me out of it.

It’s immediately subdued, and I calm down.

“It was hilarious though...” I say, still smiling. “You poor Tiger, you’re really getting the full Moriarty experience - sorry, the contract is not renegotiable.

Fuck, my foot hurts - could you do the hot water thing again? That seemed to work - and maybe a bit of healing, your holiness?” I grin.

 

 

I raise my eyebrows at this. Maybe stonefish venom enhances one’s sense of humour?

“Your holiness? Oh, I’m happy to give you a bit of healing touch anytime...” I get up from my chair, and collect the beer bottles. “I’ll just get the hot holy water, my child...” I say wryly, and leave the room, shaking my head.

When I get to the kitchen, I lean my head against the refrigerator.

I’m glad you find it funny... but it was an insanely stressful experience, and... all the feelings it brought up being around James... it was intense. I liked feeling... close to him.

And now I have to shelve that again. In a deep, dark closet. And lock the door. Because I can’t ever have that with you.

I fill a pot with hot water, and return to the bedroom.

“One pot of holy water. Would you rather stay here, Jim - or return to the living room?”

 

 

“Let’s go to the living room - what is the time, anyway?”

Normally I’d be able to tell from the light. I’m still out of it.

“It’s... 3 am,” you say.

Hm. Not ideal, but there’s no way I’ll be able to sleep with my foot like this. Maybe we can watch a film –

oh god that reminds me - “Oh you poor thing, I made you *pray* - I did think you weren’t very good at it, though...”

 

 

Poor thing? Is this newfound humour and empathy going to stick around for a bit? Because I’d be OK with that...

I grin. “No? And I was so proud of that prayer... I thought it could win an award. Let me just carry you to the sofa, you should stay off that foot...” I scoop you up easily, and walk towards the living room.

“You know, I think that prayer was really rather good...” I say with mock indignation. “...considering I haven’t stepped foot in a church in about a thousand years. Well, except for - that one church where I met a priest...” our eyes lock intently, and my throat tightens. I try to laugh it off. “But I don’t usually score priests some blow, take them away in a getaway car, and then imprison them... until they fly me off to a private island. Not as a rule...” I say lightly, and then lay you down on the sofa. “I’ll be right back with your water...”

I head back to the bedroom. I need to forget about James... James is gone. It’s just Jim now... and Jim is my boss, and I need to focus on getting him better, and not get him attacked by any more evil sea creatures. Or get any stupid ideas in my head.

I return to the living room with the pot. I test the water and it’s still piping hot. I lower your foot into it - still red and swollen. Then I sit down on the floor next to you.

”How are you enjoying your holiday so far, Boss?” I say, rolling my eyes.

 

 

I grimace as my foot touches the hot water and is lowered in.

“Wonderful. Absolutely spiffing. Next time I have some great ideas about going to the fucking jungle, please slap me, because I’m obviously hysterical.

I’m not going to set a foot outside the villa. With my luck, a fucking crocodile has just landed on the island.”

A memory comes up.

“Oh god did I accuse you of being Satan and seducing me? Well... at least Father James had taste...”

 

 

"He did taste good when he kissed me..." I wink at you. "But then he was all horrified and 'get behind me, Satan'... which as you know, I'm more than happy to do."

 

 

I laugh at that. “You were the perfect gentleman, and that was your reward... you should have just ravished him, maybe that would have taught him...”

I sober up.

“It’s worrying that he came back, though. I don’t want him poking out every time I’m a bit under the weather. I was hoping I’d seen the last of him...”

Maybe I do need to talk to that bloody psychiatrist? I really don’t want to... though - if he’s as useless as I think, I could kill him. Either way, I’d feel better.

The thought perks me up a bit.

 

 

Mmm, ravishing James... enticing thought. I wonder if I could convince you to dress up as a priest one day. Maybe for my birthday? We could pretend I'm going to you for confession, and...

Mmm.

What?

"This was an extreme circumstance, though. I doubt he'd come back if you had the flu or sprained an ankle."

Oh... there's that confession fantasy again...

 

 

“Yeah... and it’s only been a couple of days since I’ve... come back. Still.

I appreciate what you did, but maybe next time try to talk him out of it, see how that goes? Explain that he’s motherfucking Jim Moriarty and he rules the world.

Which is a big claim from someone who can’t even walk around a fucking private island without getting nearly killed by a fish, I do realize.

Did the doctor say when my foot will stop feeling like it’s being tap-danced on by an elephant in stilettos?”

 

 

"Sure, I can try," I say, sighing. "But dealing with James... he's such a handful. I don't know how much you remember about those few days in Acton, but it was non-stop. Crying, carrying on, trying to escape... I was just trying to keep him calm since he - you - were in so much pain. But sure, if he ever comes back, I'll tell him who he really is. He'll probably accuse me of being Satan again and trying to trick him." I shrug.

"Oh, the side effects are supposed to last for a day or so... it's been several hours by now. You did take painkillers, by the way... or James did. It seemed to help..."

 

 

“Typical... he liked his brain dulled. I wonder if that was part of the brainwashing. Keeping his mind numb so there was less likelihood of me realizing what was going on.

I do remember Acton... kind of. It was like - he *needed* to get back to that bloody church, that was all he could think of. Like a junkie missing his smack.

Huh - and it was physical as well - all the vomiting...

I do wonder if there was something drugging me in that church, something physically addictive as well as mentally...

I wish I could go over there and investigate. But it’s bound to have all been cleared up.

If I get my hands on who’s responsible for this... it may be too much for even you, my dear...”

 

 

"Hmm... it may surprise you just how much I want to see someone suffer for doing this to you," I mutter darkly, my hands tightening into fists.

"Drugging makes sense..." I say slowly. "There was an awful lot of vomiting... and he was so frantic, and obsessed. Not in his right mind, at all. God, that's so fucked. Someone really wanted to do a number on you..." Anger floods through me again.

"If only we could stab them repeatedly with a stonefish... that would be fun to watch!"

 

 

“Oh, don’t worry... once we have them, I will not run out of ideas...

the main problem is getting to them. If it is Mycroft Holmes, which I strongly suspect - he’s the most untouchable man in Britain. You could get to him, with a lot of effort - but he’d be the last thing you ever got to.

But I’m pretty sure it is him... he’s the only one who has the means, and the motivation... and he’s done a number on me before. He *tried* conventional torture, found it didn’t work, and I actually used his knowledge against his brother. I wouldn’t put it past him to go a step further...

A shame, we used to have a nice understanding. I shouldn’t have played with little Sherlock... but he was so irresistible...”

 

 

I'm nodding and staring off as I listen to you, switching gears from lovesick nursemaid to covert operative mode. Lovesick?? No, it's just a crush, easy enough to get over... I just need a fucking distraction. Like... a nigh-impossible secret mission?

Perfect.

"Hmm. That does present a challenge, but I'm sure once we brainstorm and pool our resources..."

the gears in my brain start to strain. Irresistible??

I go still, white noise roaring in my ears...

"Play with?" I look at you intently. "Like you play with me?"

You stare back at me. My breath hitches in my throat.

"Did you fuck him?"

 

 

You start thinking along with me like a soldier with a brain, which is what I hoped you were, when all of a sudden you stop and go off on an irrelevant tangent.

What the fuck.

You’re *jealous*?!

“What is it to you, Sebastian?” I ask, my voice level.

 

 

“Absolutely nothing, Sir,” I say, my voice cool but terse. “I just like to be clear on all information before I go into a life-or-death situation. If there are any spurned lovers with powerful, vengeful brothers coming into play here, that would be useful to know...”

Or ex-lovers who want you back? My jaw tightens and I stare at you.

 

 

Yeah, right.

But ok, I’ll play along.

“No, our games were cerebral rather than physical. He’s a genius, but on the side of the angels. I’m... not. So it was a classic fairy-tale setup; Good versus Evil. And he’s so easy to rile - it was hilarious to watch him dance through every hoop I held up for him,” I smile.

“Anyway, big brother Mycroft was not amused, which started off as a good thing - it gave me a handhold on him, a man who otherwise was impossible to manipulate. But - like I said, I got carried away. Enjoyed the game too much - he was enough of a genius to be a challenge, but not as impossible and dull as his brother...

But I never so much as shook his hand. Only his boyfriend’s. Who’s *adorable*, and the ultimate tool to use, because Sherlock goes all unreasonable,” I smile. “But don’t worry, I didn’t fuck him either.”

 

 

I listen, observing you closely. I’m good at spotting lies and tells. You have to be, in my line of work. Something tells me you’d be even better at hiding them... but I decide to believe you. For now. I still want to beat the hell out of this Sherlock...

And why does fucking Sherlock get to have a boyfriend, I think sulkily - which makes me want to slap the shit out of myself. And then beat Sherlock bloody.

Maybe that can be part of the plan, beating on Sherlock...?

“I suppose you’ll want to use his one weakness against him in your revenge scenario, then?”

I sound bored and a tad murderous - and I’m ok with that.

 

 

Awww, you’re jealous... How *cute* -

I want to tease, but something tells me not to. Not now. It’s blatant that you are keen to let loose on Sherlock, though...which may be quite amusing, actually. I’ve played with his mind, but not with his body... not like *that*, don’t worry, Sebbie...

And it’s going to eat his brother alive. I think I’ll kill Sherlock while he watches... or devise a plan where either of them has to kill the other, ohhhh, the angst...

Stupid Mycroft. Having a weakness. A chink in the armour. An in.

I’ll never be that weak...

 

 

I’m staring at you hard, watching the wheels turning in your mind.

Will you let me do it?

Hurt Sherlock?

Anyone who you describe as irresistible should be fair game, as far as I’m concerned... But I won’t touch this valuable chess piece without your say-so.

I smile at you fiercely. “Whatever we do... I’m looking forward to it, Boss...”

 

 

Ohhh, this is quite delicious. It distracts from my foot, as well - and the hot water does help.

“I’m sure you do... my strong Tiger, keen to get his hands on my enemies... tear them limb from limb... though I can’t help but notice that you seem to have more aggression for the man you’re jealous of than the man who tortured me... I’m disappointed...” I pout.

 

 

I go still. Shit.

“Jealous? What is there to be jealous of?” I say smoothly. “You’re fucking me, not him...”

No, Seb! Right tone, wrong answer!

Fuck it. Go all out, Tiger...

“If anything, he should be jealous of me,” I drawl. “I’m the one living in the fascinating, beautiful mastermind’s world. His world sounds small... and fucking boring...”

I smile at you like a shark. “I’m exactly where I want to be.”

 

 

“You’re *delicious*, Tiger...” I smile. Fascinating beautiful mastermind... Mmmmm... I practically purr.

“You *are* aware I’ve fucked people before, right? I didn’t get this amazingly good at sex by not practising...

As have you, I expect.”

Stop toying with him and throw him a bone. He’s been so good tonight.

“But I guess we can both agree that anyone we’ve dallied with before was inferior and just practice for the main event.

Speaking of which... did you know that endorphins are strong painkillers? And that you can release them through orgasm?”

 

 

“I think I’ve heard that before, yeah...” I smirk at you.

Jesus... you have no idea how many people I’ve fucked to get to this level.

And I’m not about to tell you...

and fuck yes, they were inferior to you... everyone and everything is...

You called this the main event...

I’m practically glowing.

“Yes, I assumed you had a past, Boss. I definitely did... but everyone pales in comparison. There is no comparison. You clear the board. You clear the playing field. Players get carried off the field on stretchers when you appear. And dumped off a cliff.”

I get up to my knees. “I’d like to offer my endorphin-producing services, Sir...” my voice drops down a register, and I eye you hungrily. “Since your pain has been so intense, I think an epic orgasm would be in order... don’t you, Boss?”

 

 

Jesus. Buy him a promise ring, why don’t you, Moriarty... what business is it of his how many people you fucked and how he compares? Are you trying to make him happy? Since when is that a consideration? Is this a hangover from bloody Father James, so eager to please?

Stop this, Moriarty. You can’t allow yourself to become indulgent...

But your words are narcissist catnip. I clear the board. Everyone else is dumped off a cliff.

Hear that, Moriarty? They’re all dead. No need to go looking and prying and orchestrating accidents...

“Why yes... I do think so. I’ll measure it against the other ones... which were setting the bar rather high.

Don’t disappoint me, Tiger...”

I lean back with an indulgent smirk.

 

 

Oh. It’s go time...

I didn’t expect that for a couple of days at least, given your condition...

and given your condition, is it wise? What if you go delirious again, or start hallucinating? Stopping myself from kissing James was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. I’m not about to turn down blowing Jim, not on the same day, not ever!

You heard the man, soldier... get to work.

My hand trails down your chest and abdomen slowly. My fingers hook under the waistband of your bathing trunks, and I pull them down over your hips.

Hello, my darling... I’ve missed you.

My fingers slide down the silky pink skin of your semi-erect cock.

Followed by my tongue.

Hmmm... what’s good for an epic orgasm?

A nice, long tease... has Jim Moriarty ever been teased a day in his life? I can’t imagine anyone having the stones to do it... until now.

I flick my tongue along your shaft and then your head.

Showtime.

 

 

Yes, that is an excellent distraction... most excellent...

I’m not thinking of how you learnt this Olympic level of cocksucking. I’m *not*. They’re all off the cliff, remember?

You’re licking and swirling and really pulling out the stops, and I have to concentrate to suppress noises - fuck, Tiger...

I lick my lips, notice my breathing has sped up - careful Jim, don’t get out of breath, if you faint again he’s not going to give you another blow job for *days*, and that would be such a waste...

You’re moving up and down slowly, with full concentration, a master at work...

 

 

Mmmph... I have always enjoyed sucking a beautiful cock. But yours is so much more beautiful than any other...

It’s the most gorgeous cock I’ve ever seen, and I long to worship it daily.

My style of teasing is naturally different than yours - less pain and more play, less cruelty and more seduction...

I let desire build gradually, my lips and tongue coaxing the most beautiful sounds out of you...

Loud moans, primal cries...

Then I slow down, grinning as I hear whines of frustration...

Ohhh, my beauty...

It will be so worth it in the end.

 

 

Oh sod it. The best blow job in the history of blow jobs. Stop trying to be the strong silent type and let him hear you’re appreciating what he’s doing. Also, it’s a good way to let him learn what is *particularly* appreciated... like - oh god like that move - do that again - oh god *yes*, your tongue...

I’m lying back on the sofa, completely losing myself in the pleasure - fuck, you should get a pay rise just for this... four hundred is not unreasonable...

No no no don’t stop - what are you doing?!

 

 

Oh, you are so going to have that epic orgasm by the time I’m done with you... I smile around your cock, and start to increase the speed and pressure slowly. Eventually you’re gasping and moaning again, and I wait until just the right moment when you start to twitch, and slow the fuck down.

One more time, my dear... I promise, I’ll make it so worth your while...

 

 

Sebastian... if you are determined to drive me crazy, you're many years too late.

The whines coming out of me are most unmanly.

But it's *goooood*... people don't usually *tease* me. Too much of a risk of me getting pissed off and ripping out their throat. I must admit I considered it briefly, but I am letting you do your thing... don't argue with the expert...

 

 

Enjoying the ride, honey? I'm grinning non-stop... It's probably a good thing I can't open my mouth - if I said anything remotely smug to you, you'd probably have a meltdown.

Your patience is likely fraying, so I'll just have to keep you distracted - with my tongue.

Reverently, I lick and suck you until you start to moan again.

OK... now you're ready...

I increase my speed, and suck you hard.

 

 

It’s so good... I’d leisurely lounge in the delight, but you keep changing the speed and pressure and keep me on my toes. You’re toying with me mercilessly, and I’m *loving* it.

“Fffuuuuuuck, Tiger... you’re - fuuuck, you’re so good. You’re so fucking good. Oh god -“

My discourse appears to have dropped its usual erudition to make me sound less like a genius and more like an uneducated porn actor with a predator fetish. I am so never going to let you go. Both because I can’t miss this and because you must be prevented from ever revealing to anyone that Jim Moriarty was reduced to a babbling pool of slavering.

Your mouth goes faster, pressure increases - my groans are coming faster - are you finally taking me there, or is this another deceptive pre-finishing dash?

 

 

This is it. This is it... I squeeze your arse with my hands so I can take full control, and start to move you back and forth. I take you deeper into my mouth, moaning as I do. Oh god... I love to blow you, it's so insanely hot...

especially as you're carrying on like this. God... you got loud and vocal when I fucked you too, but this... mmm... yes, I need to commit everything I did to memory. Because I need to bathe in these sounds daily... your ragged breathing, your primal groaning, your desperate cries...

Never fear, my dark angel... your fall is near. I inch you closer and closer to that edge where there's no turning back... closer to that magnificent tumble into ecstasy...

I dig my nails into your arse, and begin a deep rumbling purr in my throat.

I feel your back arch, and your muscles strain...

Oh god... your gasps are exquisite...

 

 

What are you - *what are you doing* - this *has* to be illegal, it's so good... how do you do this - are you *purring*!? Oh god -

Tigers can't purr - it's either purring or roaring - but *this* one can, and is damn good at it.

And it looks like you'll put me out of my misery at last - if you stop *now*, I *will* kill you, and no jury in the world would convict me - you're digging into my buttocks, your sharp nails offering a sharp counterpoint to your delicious mouth, and really go to town - oh god yes - oh this is it - finally - I hear sounds which are otherworldly, and I fear they're coming from me, and then the world goes black - no - don't faint Moriarty - no, it's alright, there are purple fireworks shooting through the blackness as I am smacked around the head with the most delicious mallet imaginable. My cock convulses in spasm after spasm as every grain of pleasure in the fucking universe presses its way through underway to your mouth.

 

 

Oh god... what I witness is so beautiful, I almost come, myself...

the openness of your face, no masks, just pure pleasure and euphoria...

your body a shuddering mass of ecstasy...

moaning and crying out helplessly...

Jesus, that was fucking gorgeous...

I've never given you an orgasm so epic, and I would hazard a guess that no one else has either.

I'm feeling like a very smug Tiger, indeed...

Suddenly I realize we're in the living room, and anyone could come in any moment. I use a flannel to clean you up, and then move your bathing trunks over your hips.

"Glad we weren't interrupted, ‘cos I wasn’t about to stop..." I grin. "Was that alright, Boss?"

 

 

“I’m sure the doctor would have knocked,” I pant, when I can breathe again. “And if she just barges in, she deserves whatever she sees. I’m sure she doesn’t think we spend our evenings here playing connect four - she saw your body yesterday...”

I grin. “Did she say anything about that?”

 

 

I pause, then smile brightly at you. "Why yes she did!" I say in a hushed conspiratorial tone. "The good lady offered me medical care and inquired if I needed assistance escaping your evil clutches." I chuckle. "A true professional, your doctor... She wasn't horrified or judgmental, and understood that it was likely recreational. But she definitely thinks we're mental..." I snigger. "Seeing as I've elected to stay in your evil clutches, and all." My smile turns seductive. Mmm. An image arises of you as a dark demonic being clutching my naked body in your claws, and fuck if that doesn't get me hard. I guess your doctor is right... we're fucking lunatics.

"If the pain starts up again, I'm happy to provide you with more natural painkillers, Boss..." I say innocently.

 

 

I scowl. “That’s not right. She should be loyal to me completely, not offer ways to you to escape. I fucking pay her enough. I guess she needs some more explanation on what ‘complete discretion and compliance with client’s requests’ means.”

 

 

Uh oh. Did I get her in trouble?

"I spent quite a bit of time in India when I was growing up... Lord Moran liked to keep an eye on his precious tea plantations. But really I think he enjoyed playing the stately lord in a smaller pond," I rolled my eyes. "Anyway, doctors in India have a revised version of the Hippocratic Oath. Maybe 'compliance with the client's request' doesn't translate into helping you keep a prisoner, in her mind," I shrug. "I'm guessing she doesn't usually deal with criminals. No harm done...”

 

 

“No harm done!? What if she decided I was keeping you prisoner against your will? What if I *was*? Do I need to spell it out for you, how much trouble it could get me in if my fucking *staff* goes all vigilante crime fighter on me?! Or worse, involves the authorities? I thought I was clear that things might come to light that might not be all above board - and I thought that I had been *very* clear that she was only here to provide medical assistance as and when required by *me*, or requested by my associate in case I was incapacitated, *not* to go and play the hero rescuing said associate - oh.

Oh. Fuck. Of course.”

 

 

"'Oh. Fuck. Of course.' what?" I ask, perplexed.

Shit, I shouldn't have said anything...

 

 

“Don’t you dare think you should have kept your mouth shut!” I snap, my voice quite loud now. “I work on *information*, Sebastian, and if you start keeping things from me to protect *others*, you may as well sign your P45 now.

Don’t you *get* it?! Say you were my prisoner and she helped you escape. You’d go to the authorities in Sri Lanka who are straight on to Interpol, and hey, there’s Mycroft’s Christmas present: Jim Moriarty on a nice warm island all on his own. Don’t you see how dangerous it is to have an employee who fancies a nice romantic boat ride with the poor tortured man she just rescued more than she fears her employer’s wrath?! If she had any idea who I am, she wouldn’t be so fucking stupid.”

 

 

"Completely understood, Sir. Absolutely no keeping information from you," I assure you. "I didn't have the impression of romantic interest, I assumed it was genuine concern. But you're right, Sir - it's irrelevant."

Shit, soldier... you fucked up, and your commander is livid.

"My apologies, Sir..." I say quietly. I rub my eyes, and sigh heavily.

"Fuck... I was in a panic about your life being threatened and obviously I wasn't thinking clearly... I don't know how that happened, but it won't happen again..."

Fucking right it won't. This isn't a beach holiday. It's the calm before the fucking storm. Get. Your shit. Together.

I stare at you intently. "We're on the same page, Sir." I say grimly.

 

 

“Are we?” I look at you suspiciously. Am I thinking straight? Is my mind still befuddled by my stint as a priest? Am I being distracted by how gorgeous and good at sex you are? Are you indeed the smart, sharp, quick, perceptive soldier I think you to be?

“Is this because she’s a woman? Like when you said you didn’t like killing women - I assume in the SAS you don’t encounter a lot of women other than as a nice diversion on a weekend off. But trust me when I say they are dangerous.”

 

 

"Sir, I have met my share of dangerous women in the field, and I can handle any situation that comes up," I say firmly. "It's not that. It's - "

Fuck. What is it, Seb?

I groan softly.

"You're not - the only one who hasn't been in a good place, Sir." I stare off for a moment, then return your gaze steadily. "You probably got a sense of that when you were asking me questions earlier... When I met you - met James - I was not at my best. Emotionally. I fucked up when I was followed. And I just fucked up now. I'm not 100%," I admit. "And I don't want to compromise the mission, or your protection. If you need to let me go because of this, I understand." My heart squeezes in my chest, and I grow cold at the thought. "I guess I need some time, too..." I say, tensing my jaw. I hate admitting weakness. Especially when it could compromise you.

Fuck. Now what?

 

Chapter Text

Huh.

Of course.

I’ve been so distracted with the demented rollercoaster of my own issues that I didn’t think about how your problems might be affecting you.

You don’t just get the perfect second thrown at you in mint condition, Moriarty. You knew he had some previous damages.

He’s good though. He’s that rare combination of overall intelligence and elite soldier.

But - a bit suicidal and probably more than a little fucked up in the head.

I’ll have to dig into that. Can’t have him dropping any balls, not when I rely on him.

“Right. I’ve been a bit preoccupied, as you can imagine, but I do need you in top form. So - we have the psychiatrist on standby. Maybe we should have him come over and you could have a talk with him about how to deal with your issues.”

I don’t want to get into this - I don’t - I have enough on my bloody plate -

I have to. I rely on him - he’s all the Empire I got at the moment...

“Do you know what is going on? What your issues are? Do you have any diagnoses, or suspicions? What are your coping mechanisms, why are they failing? Have they ever worked?”

I see you frown at my questions.

“I need to know these things, soldier. You are my entire army at the moment. I need to know how you work.”

 

 

Well, you don't fire me or order me the hell off your island... that's something.

I relax for about a second and then you mention 'psychiatrist' and I tense up again.

And then the questions begin. You - want me to answer all this?

It's not like I've never been ordered to see a shrink before in my life... but it was easy to mess with them and not divulge anything I didn't want to.

I even ended up sleeping with one... during a session.

But this - you're not going to be seduced. You're going to see right through any deflection or manipulation.

My head feels like it's spinning... "I'm sorry, I've forgotten the questions..." I say weakly.

 

 

"First question," I say sharply, "Do you know what your issues are? Do you have diagnoses from psychiatrists, or do you have suspicions of your own?"

 

 

I want to fall on the floor and crawl under a table.

"Are we - starting now?" I hedge, and then shrink under your stare.

"I have diagnoses, sure - I'm no stranger to being ordered to undergo psychiatric examination," I say darkly. "But I wasn't exactly honest with the fuckers, so most of their diagnoses were bullshit. They liked "Oppositional Defiant Disorder" for me. Such a fancy way of saying I have issues with authority. I know, the irony is not lost on me... a military career, and then I work for you..."

I shake my head. "They also didn't like that I use violence and alcohol to deal with problems, but I think that's being short-sighted... my kind of violence can solve problems pretty efficiently."

 

 

I scoff. "You don't have Oppositional Defiant Disorder. You love orders, just not nonsensical ones. And you have a temper - sure - but you don't blame everything that's wrong with you on others - quite the opposite. You have not shown any issues with my authority so far - I just think you have an exceptionally high standard for what you consider 'authority'. Let me guess, in the army you did have respect for some officers - the ones who knew what they were doing and talking about. Am I right?"

You nod.

"So, coping mechanisms... violence - well, I'd approve of that, wouldn't I? And again, you don't strike me as the type to go into a red mist and beat up everyone and anyone - maybe when you were younger, but you're too disciplined for that now.

Alcohol... I've seen you drink quite a bit, but you don't seem to get drunk, clumsy, or irrational. As long as you can shoot straight if we're suddenly attacked by a battery of stonefish, I don't really see a problem.

So - you said you bullshitted the psychiatrists - what about yourself? Do you have any idea what's wrong with you?"

 

 

I wonder if I should head to the mainland for some supplies... surely we're running low on supplies? I really need to make sure we're not going to run out of booze anytime soon.

"I just - need to get myself a beer," I say pleasantly. "Would you like one?"

You raise an eyebrow, but you nod. I hightail it to the kitchen, and once again I find myself pressing my head against the refrigerator door - so nice and cool...

But I can't just hide here all night... I groan softly, grab two bottles, and return to the living room with considerably less speed.

I put your bottle on the table next to you. Then I throw myself in an armchair, and stare off as I drink my beer.

"What's wrong with me is in the past," I mutter. "Life only made sense to me in the military. There were problems there too, of course. But it's the only place I fit... when they left me alone to do what I do best. Then it got taken away from me, and life didn't make sense again. It - wasn't good. But I have a place now, so it's fine." I grip the bottle in my hand.

Oh god... don't take my place away from me. Don't send me away... Please...

 

 

Good grief. So much for my new keen and accommodating bodyguard. Ask him a question and he’s a surly teenager.

I chuckle softly. “Believe me Sebastian, if anyone knows how uncomfortable it is to talk about mental health, it’s me. James Moriarty, diagnosed psychopath, pleased to meet you.”

I lean back, have a sip of my beer. Nice and cool - I’m still sweating uncomfortably.

“But it’s not fine. Because you said just now that you’d dropped the ball because you are not quite 100%, and you need some time too. You even offered to leave because you didn’t want to compromise my security - tell me, would you really rather leave than talk to me?”

 

 

I close my eyes. Fuck. Nothing gets by you.

 

"No, of course not..." I groan. "I just really hate talking about this..."

 

I open my eyes and stare into the gleaming black pools of yours. It's a bit mesmerizing.

 

"You're right. I wasn't fine when you met me... and I guess I'm not completely over it..."

 

It feels like forcing water through a rusty pipe to speak to you about this. I want to flip the table and then throw it through the window. But I won't.

My hands tighten into fists. I want to punch a wall. But I won't. I force my hands to open and lay them on my thighs.

 

"The Regiment was everything to me..." I say hollowly. "Everything. It was my life, and it was always going to be my life. To be thrown out-" I tense my jaw, try to breathe in deeply. It feels like the air is trying to get around a jagged shard of glass skewering my diaphragm.

"There was no life outside of the Regiment. I tried - but nothing mattered. It felt like drowning. Every day felt like drowning..."

My heart is racing, my chest is tight, and I'm struggling to catch my breath.

 

 

Whoa. You're really badly affected by it.

Sorry Tiger, but I need to know more.

"So why were you chucked out?"

 

 

I shoot you a look, and you merely stare at me expectantly.

I groan and cover my eyes. "Fuck, Jim! It's not exactly something I want to talk about! It would be like taking a wound and rubbing salt into it... and then adding a squeeze of lemon! Let's just drop it..."

 

 

"Sebastian." I say sharply. "I'm not running a democracy here. I work on information. If you have a weakness, and you blatantly do, I need to know about it."

 

 

I turn and glare out the window. Anyone else I’d be telling to fuck right off, and then shoving them against a wall for pushing me. No one pushes me. Ever.

But - you did just ask if I’d rather leave or talk.

And - I would rather die than leave.

And somehow... reminding me of our dynamic makes me feel safe like nothing else in this world.

It’s not a democracy... because you’re in charge.

And I want you to be...

The tension leaves my body. I sigh heavily.

I stare off for a long moment, then turn to look at you.

“I haven’t talked to anyone about this. Even my patrol, although they knew the basics. Dismissal with disgrace,” I say, my jaw tightening. Rage and grief move through me in waves and I find myself trembling.

I look out over the sea, remembering. I light a cigarette and blow smoke, staring off.

“I just couldn’t take an idiot’s decision lying down...” I say softly. “I couldn’t. Not when the life of a member of the Regiment hung in the balance. Not when the superior officer wanted us to delay the rescue plan, even though we had been on the ground for weeks and he’d just arrived. I went rogue. He tried to stop me, and - I knocked him out. And then I got it done. It did get a little... messy.” I smile faintly. “Not international incident messy... But word travelled fast. The army couldn’t very well do nothing when a popular operative disobeyed an order, assaulted a superior, and became famous in the ranks for the crazy escapade he pulled off...” I smile to myself, then take a drag of the cigarette and exhale. “I could have got 10 years for countermanding a direct order. At the time, it didn’t seem unreasonable to potentially get 10 more for the assault. No one was going to stop me from carrying out that rescue mission. Not our side. Not their side. Certainly not that peon I laid out...” I put my head in my hands, and hunch over. “I gave - everything. Everything I was, everything I had. And they cut me loose...” I whisper.

 

 

I feel relief at your words. I assumed it would be something like that. No 'I went loopy and killed my mates after I'd had a nightmare'. No 'I chickened out and deserted in the middle of a critical operation' (I couldn't have imagined that anyway).

Disobeying orders - well, we can't have that, of course, and I'll have to have a word with you about that.

Knocking out a superior officer - I somehow doubt you would, working for me.

Some light murder, by the sound of things - again, not really a problem in my opinion.

You are extremely upset. Interesting. I've seen soldiers with PTSD before, but never ones who were traumatized by being *dismissed* from the army.

So that is why you were doing less than legitimate work.

"Right. Well, it seems like their loss to me - cutting off their nose to spite their face.

It doesn't sound like the cause of your dismissal was anything that I need to worry about - unless you think you may disobey direct orders from me, in which case we will have a more serious issue on our hands. I don't do dismissals - and I'd hate to lose you."

 

 

I don't do dismissals...

Slightly chilling, Jim... Not that I would dream of disobeying a direct order from you.

"You don't need to worry about that, Boss," I say firmly. "I don't fail at missions, and you are my mission. And I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that no one will do for you what I can - no one can protect you like me, no one can pull off impossible shit like me, and no one will be as loyal to you as I am. I won't even say loyal to the grave because I don't intend to die and leave you defenceless..."

No one will fuck like me, either... or enjoy your various dark appetites... but I'm confident enough in my appeal and my skills that it doesn't need to be said.

 

 

"Oh, but I *do* worry... like I said, you are my entire army, and I need to be able to rely on you - including in the unlikely event that I give orders you disagree with, or even think may be endangering myself. What will you do then, my recalcitrant Tiger?"

I'm relieved that you don't intend to die.

Of course I would be. Like I said, you're my whole army.

 

 

I drink my beer. “I can see why you’d worry, given everything...” I say slowly. “If I disagree with anything, I’ll tell you why. Then you’ll make the final call. If new factors arise and for some reason, I can’t communicate with you... I may have to make a judgement call. Outside of that, you’re the boss. I understand that completely.” I exhale smoke from my fag, and bring it over to you. “What you say goes,” I say quietly.

I watch you as you smoke. I can’t help thinking about orders that may endanger you. I already know I won’t handle that well... even as I carry them out. The danger of what lies ahead of us hits me. I don’t care about the outcome for me. I care more than I can express what happens to you...

 

 

I smile.

"Good. As long as we're agreed on that."

I'm sure you don't mind if I test this then?

"Once I'm recovered, send Hammad on his boat, and kill the doctor."

 

 

I'm about to take a drag from my cigarette, and I almost drop it.

Really?

She seemed like a nice lady. 'Seemed', I notice I said...

But my loyalty can be to random seemingly nice people, or it can be to you - my beautiful psychopathic boss who doesn't give a toss about possibly innocent people dying. And to be honest, I never troubled myself too much about the plight of random innocent people. What kind of assassin would I be?

I give you a half-smile, and stub out my cigarette. "If that's what you want, Boss... that's what you'll get. But if someone comes asking about her, what do you want to do?”

 

 

“She’s a divorcee with no children, estranged from her family, with not many friends, or much of a moral compass, loyal to the guy who pays her a lot of money. Until she sees a handsome guy who appears to be in danger, and her romantic rescuer side takes over, and she makes the stupid decision to offer to run away with him.

No one is going to miss her much. And if they do - lots of people go missing. There’s nothing linking her to us, or this island. Hammad *should be* clued in enough not to ask questions. If he does, just smile at him and tell him she made a mistake. I’m sure I’m not the first crime lord who rents this island anyway; he shouldn’t ask.”

I’m observing you closely for any signs of confusion or reluctance. Can’t have those in my second in command.

 

 

I regard you, impressed. “You researched her?”

Makes sense that you would want to know about your employees. Information is clearly very important to you as a mastermind – especially in the vulnerable position you currently find yourself in.

"Sure thing, Boss. You want it done now?"

 

 

"Once I'm recovered, I said," I reply sharply. "Do I look recovered to you?"

 

 

“Actually...” I regard you. “Maybe it’s all the murder talk, but you seem more like your beautiful old self again. If you didn’t have your foot in a pot of water, I would have no idea there was something wrong with you, at first glance.” I look at you closer. “You’re paler than usual. And you look fatigued, but it’s pretty late... about 4am? Do you think you can sleep?”

I’m fucking exhausted, but I’ll stay up as long as you do.

 

 

"Some good murder does perk me up. But I'd prefer to be declared free from stonefish venom before I indulge. Bloody hell - I don't usually spare my body, but it's really been through the wringer this past week. I should eat healthy and hit the gym and the pool and stuff - and stay away from *nature*," I frown.

"I am not sure if I can sleep - my foot really hurts, and it's only going to get worse if I try to take it out of this pot. Maybe if you prop some pillows behind me, so I am in a sort of half-sitting position, and I can leave my foot in... I might doze off until the water cools too much."

No way am I going to, but you are tired -

what the fuck do I care?!

 

 

You poor thing… you’ve already gone through so much, and now this. But I know better than to express any sympathy.

I fluff some pillows and slide them behind your back, then I bring you water and tea to keep flushing you out. Of course that means you’ll need to visit the bathroom soon, but – it will be well worth it to get this venom out of your system as soon as possible. Then I can send Hammad on his merry way, kill the doctor (sorry, lady), get rid of the body, and then maybe you’ll be in the mood to watch a film together. Or have a long nap. Together. I settle myself in an armchair by the sofa, and drink good, strong tea to stay awake and keep vigil over my poor, not-so-sweet Boss.

I pick up a book I found in the library – a spy thriller. Hopefully exciting enough to stay awake. “It’s good to have you back, Sir…” I say quietly, as I turn to page one.

 

 

I feel a little stab of disappointment when you fluff up the pillows rather than sitting behind me and supporting me yourself.

What the *fuck*, Jim. Father James has really done a number on you.

“Go to sleep, Sebastian. Leafing through those pages you’re louder than a herd of rhinoceroses. Not to mention your brain creaking to read the big words. Stay here, but don’t you dare snore.”

 

 

I point at myself. “Oxford drop-out, yeah? Big words don’t scare me…” I grin at you cockily. “I don’t mind staying awake, Boss-“

You sigh and roll your eyes, and I hold up my hands placatingly. “Alright, I’ll close my eyes for a bit. If you need anything, and I mean, anything, just wake me up.”

 

“You’ll be the first to know,” you say, sounding grumpy.

 

I lean back in my armchair, throwing my book on the table and closing my eyes. “And I do not snore,” I say loftily. “I’m a world-class sleeping companion. That gets taken away from you if you snore or steal blankets…” I say drowsily.

 

 

Oh *really* Seb? And who would you steal blankets from? Huh?

I should have asked for my phone. But I decided I was going to give my mind some rest -

- and then got it buggered by injecting it with venom. Great work, Moriarty.

I drink some more water to flush it out. No way I'll be able to sleep like this.

Should I try looking into the mind map? Just - a casual stroll through the burnt-out neighbourhoods? See if there's anything worth salvaging?

I wasn't going to...

Sod it.

 

Right, here's the past week - lots of fear and vomiting. And that all-encompassing need to get back to the church, even if it killed me. Your stable presence comforting but also frustrating.

Further back. In the church. Constant low-level anxiety at not being good enough. Drinking. Trying to sense God. Feeling that I'd lost the connection I used to have. Visions of violence - wait.

Zoom in. Visions - yes, those were memories of my previous life. That's why they were so mixed emotionally - I felt a deep aversion but also the exhilaration and excitement. The aversion made me physically sick - like in Clockwork Orange. The memory of the excitement made me feel guilty.

Focus on the visions - were they more frequent towards the end? … Yes, James thought so... was that me coming back?

Back further... fewer visions... still anxiety, drinking...

 

Damn it. I need the loo. Shouldn't hold it in, it's getting rid of venom.

 

Pause.

 

"Sebastian?"

 

 

The cat is tangled up in weeds on the shore, and it’s furious because it’s trapped and wet. I’m trying to untangle the weeds from its legs, but it’s hissing and swatting at me. I have long scratch marks that are bleeding… and I’m afraid I’m going to faint. Did you dip your claws in venom? Why would you do that? Don’t you know how much I care about you? The cat looks sad and meows my name.

 

“Yes, kitten?” I mumble. “I’m trying…”

 

Then I open my eyes, and find myself in the living room blinking at you. “Jim?” I ask. “What do you need?”

 

 

Kitten?!

Oh - a dream. Alright then.

“I need the loo. And a top-up of hot water.”

 

 

"Right..." I get up, feeling groggy. I lean down, pick you up and carry you to the bathroom, your foot dripping water down the hall.

 

"You don't have to carry me," you protest. "I just need to lean on you!"

 

"Well, we're halfway there now... if you really want to hobble, you can do it on the way back," I yawn. I put you down in the bathroom, and wait in the hall for you.

Did I dream - you were a cat? Scratching the hell out of me? Hm... Seems appropriate.

And did I call you Kitten?? Well, you didn't say anything about it, so I should be safe...

 

 

I do not like being manhandled like this. I mean, it's good to know you are strong, but I am not a baby. Or a kitten.

I flush some venom out, hobble to the sink and brush my teeth, then call you back in. I insist on just leaning on you as we head back to the living room. You head to the kitchen to boil some more water, and I lean back onto the pillows.

 

So - back to August last year. I can remember that - but vaguely, like a dream, rather than the usual clarity with which I remember things. Further back. It's like wading through treacle - with an elastic band pulling me back. I can't go there. I just can't.

Try harder.

I pull, trying to break the elastic -

Nothing.

Fucking hell. I am not the master of my own mind, and it's *infuriating*.

 

I'm vaguely aware that my foot is lowered into some hot stuff. Initial pain, then slow relief.

 

 

You're concentrating on something, and it seems to be frustrating you... rising above the pain? Not sure. You don't say and I don't ask.

After I put your foot in hot water, I re-settle into my armchair. I glance at my book, but instead I close my eyes. I think I know how to get that feral kitten free...

 

 

I approach from the other side. New Year's 2011. Some deals. Some travel. The usual. Again, it doesn't end abruptly - just sort of - crumbles. I remember an afternoon here, two hours there... and then... darkness.

I will have to do something else to penetrate into that empty black space between March and July 2012.

Drugs? Memory-enhancers? I have a few dealers in my - *used to* have a few dealers in my web.

Kidnap Mycroft Holmes and force him to tell me what happened? Sounds *so much* better...

I indulge in a few fantasies of what I'll have you do to him... and slowly drift off...

 

 

The feral kitten is free, and purring in my lap...

he morphs into a dark-haired man, and we kiss languorously on the sofa.

"I need you, Sebastian..." he murmurs. His voice is so familiar.

Now we're kissing on the beach, and I know I should stop because the stonefish have declared war on you. I hear them whispering, and then I hear a woman say, "I have a boat... come to safety, Sebastian..."

But I don't want safety... I want you...

I want you...

 

 

I awake again because my foot hurts. I'll live, though. No need to wake the sleeping Tiger.

I look at you, asleep in the chair. Your head is at an angle, a cushion stuffed under your cheek. Your mouth is slightly open. You indeed are not snoring.

The sun is up, and shining in through between the blinds, falling on your hair. Aggressively light from the bleach, somehow it still looks good. Contrasts with your reddish stubble. I don't think I've ever seen a man remotely as handsome as you. Is this clouding my judgement? Am I thinking, as it were, with my cock? I don't *think* so. But my mind has not been itself recently. Keep an eye on this. Don't just trust him because he is the only one you have and because he is hotter than the sun, but remain critical. If he keeps on making errors like with the doctor -

(Then what? You're not going to get rid of him, are you?)

-... take appropriate steps as seems prudent at that time.

 

So. Take stock of mind map.

Crumbled from February 2012. No memories at all after 23 February.

First day I can remember as James is 21 July, when I was pretty settled in the priest life.

So. There is a period of five months that is a total blank. In which - my nether region was severely damaged, as was my brain. I can deal with torture, so I assume there was something else used as well. I like to think I could withstand brainwashing, what with my mind being quite superior, so I assume they used some kind of experimental drug as well as the torture. And probably I received a drug in the church as well, to ensure my mind wouldn't come back. That would explain the physical discomfort when I was away from the church.

All in all, a very clever setup, Mycroft Holmes. I take off my hat to you.

 

They will never find every piece of your brother.

 

 

I return from dumping the doctor’s body in the deep sea, weighted down with rocks.

You’re waiting for me on the shore, waving. You look so happy to see me.

I’m going to do it – I’m going to tell you how I feel.

 

“Jim!” I call out as I dock the boat. “I have something to tell you.”

 

“What, darling?” you ask, with a coy look on your face. “I can’t hear you…”

 

“Jim – I need to talk – about us…” I call to you as I walk up the beach, then stop when I see a stonefish inching towards you. And further off, there are priests with sunglasses hiding in the jungle. Carrying guns.

I’m trying to get to you in time… why did I fuck up with the doctor and have to leave you alone?? The stonefish is inches away from you, its spikes are bristling, and it appears to be preparing to pounce. Do stonefish pounce?? And there's a bishop taking aim at you with a gun...

 

“Jim!” I shout. “Watch out for the bishop!”

I wake up leaping out of my armchair, and blink at you in confusion.

 

 

"Pray tell me what the bishop did?" I ask you, amused.

 

 

“The bishop? Oh- he and some priests were hiding in the jungle with guns...” I shake my head to clear it. “Need anything?”

 

 

"Oh, that sounds like fun. I'd love to have a game of Hunt the Bishop. He was a right cunt - in Mycroft's pocket, no doubt. Maybe after my foot is better.

Speaking of which - could you get me some more hot water? I don't want to jinx it, but I do think it's getting less... or I'm just getting used to it."

 

 

“Sure thing, Boss...” I hurry off to get you more hot water. As I’m heating it, there’s something pulling at me. I’m trying to remember something... from my dream?

The attacking stonefish? No...

Killing the doctor? Nope.

Priests, bishops... no. No.

Something I wanted to tell you...

I need to talk - about us.

My heart starts to race. What-

Suddenly the kettle whistles loudly and I jump.

Fuck! I grab the kettle and fill the pot.

It was just an anxiety dream... obviously I have nothing to say about ‘us’. Laughable thought...

I sigh and bring you the freshly filled pot.

“We can hunt a bishop, a knight, a queen, all the pawns... whatever it takes until you’re safe... and oh yes, had your revenge,” I grin at you, and lower your foot into the pot again.

 

 

"Hmmm, a chess metaphor... Mycroft is the Queen, indubitably. And Sherlock is his King - the most important thing in the game that the Queen tries to protect but that's not powerful of itself. Bishop White - Sherlock's boyfriend is his Knight in shining armour - literally, he's an ex-army Captain. The Holmes Mansions are the Castles. Everyone else is a pawn.

On the black side - I'm the Queen and King, and you are all the other pieces. We should get ourselves some pawns..."

 

 

“So I’m your knight in shining armour...?” I smile at you innocently. “Ex-army captain? Please...” I scoff. I relish the thought of showing you what I’m capable of. I hope your plan allows me to be a badass. “You may already have some men in mind for pawns, but I have contacts too if you need them.”

 

 

"Depends if you were identified or not. If you were, your contacts are likely being watched as well as mine and we have to start from scratch, except that we will be hunted whilst starting from scratch. A bit like raising up an army while hiding in enemy territory. Oh and all the world is enemy territory and every person is potentially your enemy.

Not too hard, I expect?"

 

 

I shrug. “Being behind enemy lines and searching for pawns to hire... been there, done that. You just have to have back-up plans in case of an inevitable double-cross, as I expect you know. I’m with you, Boss...” I feel the strange urge to cover your hand with mine. But I’m not suicidal (any more) so I ignore it. I really need to get this little crush under control...

 

 

"Good. I've built my Empire from scratch before - but that was back when no one knew me from Adam. I just had to be sure not to get caught or cross the wrong guy too soon - now I'll have to assume that every person might run to Mycroft the moment I turn my back. And I can do some things with money - but he'll always offer more. However, not everyone will know that. And there's fear - no matter what he tries, Holmes will never be as scary as I am. But I have to make sure everything remains very hush-hush -

ugh. I am supposed to *rest* here.

Distract me, Tiger."

 

 

“Distract you, hmm... do you enjoy the recitation of fine poetry?” I place one hand on my chest and hold the other up. “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate...

Rough winds do shake-“ I duck as a book comes hurtling at my face.

“- the darling buds of May,

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date!” I finish grandly. “Not a fan of poetry?” I stand and move towards you, grinning. “Do you want to play cards? Watch a film?” I glance down at your body, still in your bathing trunks. “Have a very thorough sponge bath?” I say in a husky voice. “I’ll use my tongue on the delicate bits...”

 

 

“Good idea. I’ve been sweating like a pig these past hours. There’s a shower with a seat two rooms up, let’s go there and show me your bathing skills,” I grin. “But make me a coffee first.”

 

 

“As Sir wishes…” I leave with a smirk, and prepare coffee for both of us. If you’re not going to sleep any time soon, I need to be alert. And I want to be at my best for this bath which I’m very much looking forward to…

I bring you your sugary coffee, and return to the armchair with my mug.

 

 

"Let's play a drinking game," I suggest. I see your eyes light up - really Sebastian? It's ten in the morning...

"With coffee," I clarify, and you look disappointed.

"I tell you things about yourself. You tell me if I'm wrong. We drink coffee while doing it."

You nod. "Alright..."

(Why are you doing this Moriarty? Showing off?)

Of course not! I just need to ensure that the information I deduced is correct. My brain is not itself. I might have got something wrong and act on the wrong information.

"You're the only child of Lord Augustus and Lady Susanne Moran, born 12 December 1977, which makes you 35. You went to Eton, but were a difficult child. Something happened between you and your father which makes you hate him with a passion."

You pale, open your mouth. "How do you-"

"You spoke about travelling as a child with Lord Moran earlier, so you are obviously his son. Your dad's in the Who's Who, and his entry includes the mention of the birth of a son on 12 December 1977. Interestingly, we never hear anything more from him, which suggests a split. Your accent is cultivated working-class, though you slip into posh when you get upset or angry. The accent is not just put on to seem one of the lads - you cling to it with a determination that betrays fury. You hate your dad and all he stands for - also clear from the way you pronounced his name - but in a manner that is not simply explained by the usual male parent-child rivalry - he really really messed you up in some way.

And of course you went to Eton. Like Lord Moran's son would go anywhere else.

Then you went on to Oxford, where you read History. You-"

"How - Did you look me up?"

"Well, your dad would want you to do something useful and promising, like Political Science or Law, so you'd not do those. You'd piss him off by doing something he'd think was useless and an indulgence. You're not an academic, but you love stories, and you know an awful lot about the reorganization of army hierarchy under the influence of technological innovations during 1915 and 1916, so I'm going for History."

 

 

I stare at you, dumbstruck. Then I take a moment to sip my coffee.

“Well… were you anybody else, I would think you psychic, Boss… or that you were an agent who’d done his research…”

As I drink my coffee, I realize I love you knowing things about me… not meaningless things about my family and where I went to school…. You love stories echoes in my mind. I want you to know things about me… how I like my coffee, my favourite colour, what makes me feel better when I’m sick. What is that?? Not an employer-employee relationship. Get your shit together Moran, I tell myself for the thousandth time. But I realize with a sinking feeling in my stomach it will do no good.

“That’s amazing. Really. But you already know I’m not going to be able to do the same thing… not with those kinds of details. I read people differently than you.” Jesus. Shut your gob, Sebastian. He does not want you to read him. He likes to remain aloof and mysterious… See?? Exactly what he wouldn’t want to hear…

 

 

"That's alright. I'll tell you what you need to know about me.

So, there's an army recruitment centre in Oxford, where I suspect you entered one day because you wanted to do something more practical and physical. You joined the parachute regiment, then from there applied for SAS selection."

"How did you know I joined the para-"

"Your knee injury. You also hurt your ankle. Common injury for beginning paras. HALO exercise, I suspect? It was when you were young, so probably before you joined the SAS."

You nod.

"Selection I'd assume you passed at first try. The Regiment was everything you'd ever dreamed about and you excelled. Mobility troop, specializing in demolitions, I'd say, but doing every other course you could get your hands on. You liked to party, but mostly you liked to train, train, train. I'd guess you have at least one child somewhere, but you don't want to have too much contact with it, because you feel you'd be a rubbish father. You were popular with your mates because you were competent, fiercely loyal, relatively easygoing, and smart. You were deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Djibouti, and Yemen; probably more. You excelled as a sniper. You lived, loved, and breathed the Regiment.

Then you were dismissed, which was the worst thing they could have done to you. You'd rather have been shot somewhere. You didn't go to Daddy, which again shows your irreconcilable rift. You couldn't do the usual ex-SAS thing of getting a highly-paid security job, because you'd been dismissed - so you turned to the criminal world, who care less about your references and more about your skill. You excelled, again, and got some good jobs, but you were more and more dejected - you missed the camaraderie, the excitement of *properly* challenging missions, rather than just 'go there and kill that guy', 'come along and look threatening', 'go there and pick up that'."

Your face is looking dejected.

"They did you a favour, Seb. You could have stayed and done your full service jumping through the hoops those idiots set for you. You'd have got more and more irritated at the total incompetence of the people at the top, who send good soldiers in to die with too little information, for all the wrong reasons. You're smart - you know how the world works - no wonder you got pissed off.

Instead, they gave you the perfect training ground to become what you were meant to be - mine. My second in command. My full fucking army. You have exactly the skills I need, and I promise you, it won't be boring, your orders won't be stupid, and the sex will be better."

 

 

I shake my head. "Wow. That's astounding. You're right about everything except a child. I never wanted to procreate, and I was extremely careful. Given everything that I went through as a child, I didn't want to mess up a kid. And I was bound and determined to be the last of that blasted name... one more way to stick it to his lordship..." I sneer. "But everything else - amazing." I clap. "And I know you're right... about how working for you will be infinitely better..." I say slowly. "It will just take some time to get over it. But the sex - no comparison. I've already forgotten the past."

I wink at you, realize I can't take that back. Fuck it - if you deduced everything about me with such accuracy, you already know I'm fucking into you.

 

 

Damn. No child. That was an educated guess - I figured if you'd been sleeping around, maybe even had long-term relationships with women, you'd get *someone* pregnant.

"I was right about you being bi though?"

 

 

I shrug, making a face like ‘whatever’. “If you want to slap a label on it... I never really cared enough to think about it. I just slept with whoever I found attractive. When you’re living on the edge of life and death like I do, it doesn’t really matter. They’re both attractive in their own way... but there’s an ease with men, you could say. I can just be myself... rough edges and all.”

I finish my coffee. Didn’t mean to say all that... what is happening?

 

 

"Are you saying I'm *easy*, Sebastian?!" I say, my face mock-shocked. "I'm disappointed. I should play more hard to get. But you're right though - men tend to be more straightforward. Not that I ever tried women - it's just something I observed." Hold on, I thought we weren't going to volunteer information about ourselves? Whatever. It's not like it's a secret I'm gay.

I can't help but wonder though -

"Earlier you said you read people differently than I do - and I am aware that my level of deduction is a rare feat. But - what can you read from me? I won't promise I will confirm or deny - but if I feel it's fine for you to know, I will."

That's a step further away from the not volunteering information.

But - if he's going to be my close right-hand man, he should know some things about me. It's all fine and good being enigmatic and mysterious, but if I want you to have my back whatever happens, the better you know me the, well, better.

 

 

I regard you. Well, you asked, so I have to give you something...

Usually what I read in the field is if someone is being honest or has something to hide... if they’re anxious or confident... if that confidence is well-founded... how dangerous they are (or how cocky and stupid)... and their motivation overall. There are a few basic categories. In your case... hmm...

“You’re extremely confident and it’s very valid... generally you’ve been able to get out of any situation with your mind, killer instincts, and resources. This last situation was a fluke, which is infuriating to you because the one thing that matters is your invulnerability. Power, influence, money... they’re all tools. But you do enjoy them, and you enjoy the game overall... you... have a hunger for it. The hunt. Nothing can get in the way of that. Especially feelings.” I pause. Tread carefully, Sebastian... “Your mental health can be a vulnerability... but it can be managed, and even used to your advantage. Nobody wants to take scary-crazy head-on, do they... so plotting against you would be undertaken by rank idiots, or... people of extreme well-founded confidence. But - no one is completely infallible, not 100% of the time... and that goes for your nemesis, too.” I look at you, not sure of what you’re thinking. “You’ll enjoy plotting against him,” I say softly. “It will be a pleasure to make him pay...”

 

 

I look at you, appreciatively. You don't keep your eyes in your pocket. I am not sure how much is speculation, but you got me quite well. A bit *too* well, if I'm honest. I didn't think I was so bloody transparent.

"You're right, broadly. I am confident because I *am* faster, smarter, better than anyone else. It can make things boring... so it was a delight to meet an opponent who was a bit of a challenge. Too bad he didn't play nice. And yes, I do look forward to not playing nice back...

How did you know about the scary-crazy?"

 

 

“It’s in the eyes, Jim... you don’t survive covert ops or war zones without recognizing it...

you have the gaze of a hunter, a killer, a psychopath... you’re not someone to be crossed, but you enjoy making people pay for that mistake. Like a cat with a mouse.” I shrug. “I don’t mean anything negative by it. I have my own brand of scary-crazy. Quite honestly, I’m looking forward to when we’re both coming out to play...” I grin at you carefully. I really hope I didn’t say too much. But it’s been so enjoyable talking about us, even if it’s still us as individuals. Somehow I feel closer to you... but I understand you well enough to know that doesn’t mean anything to you... and that I need to back the fuck off before things get potentially dangerous.

“I’m your scary-crazy tool to be deployed at will, Boss...”

 

 

"Oooh, I *do* look forward to that," I smile. I feel my eyes lighting up. Are they lighting up scary-crazy? Damn it - now I'm self-conscious.

Oh fuck it. You've seen some of the scary side of me and plenty of the crazy side.

But you - fearsome killer - seeing you go scary-crazy sounds like a *scrumptious* treat. Too bad I can't just call it up at will - I'm guessing it's a heat of the moment in a battle thing, rather than something you'd invoke when, say, dealing with a wayward doctor. And I *definitely* don't want to call up your scary-crazy side against *me*.

There's something else there, that I meant to put my finger on - something about how you see me -

It's gone. Oh well, it'll be back if it's important.

 

 

Your face lights up, and I want to swoon with pleasure. Sure it's inspired by the thought of me being your personal terrifying killing-machine, but still - I made you light up!

I flash you a fierce smile.

Reading you went OK, I think... I avoided land mines and didn't come off as an incoherent idiot trying to impress you. I have utmost confidence in my skills, but - you have a way of making me nervous... mainly because I'm afraid I'll let my feelings show... and there mustn't be feelings, and I understand that, so get the fuck over it, soldier... why is this still an issue??

I grab my pack of fags, and light one up. I take a drag, and exhaling I offer it to you.

 

 

I shouldn't - I don't smoke - oh well.

It's a nice little ritual we have developed. And I like the taste of these cigarettes. And it's good to take a puff and give it back.

When we've finished the fag and the coffee, I remind you, "So what about that sponge bath?"

 

 

Now it's me lighting up... "Oh, right away, Sir... do you prefer the living room or the bedroom?" I ask gallantly, all the while eying your body like I'm going to devour it.

 

 

What - oh, you meant an *actual* sponge bath?

"I think I am up to have a shower – there’s a sit-down shower two doors down," I gesture. "Much as I appreciate the thought of a sponge bath, I would really like a proper shower."

 

 

"Right, of course..." Jesus, you mentioned that, didn't you. I hope you get some sleep today, because then I can sleep too. I can't wait until you're fully recovered, the doctor is out of the way, and it's just the two of us again...

I rise and lean down next to you to help you stand up. Your arm goes around my shoulder, and you carefully lift your foot out of the pot.

 

 

"I *do* think it looks better - it's still very red, but that's also the heat. It's blue, but it's less swollen," I say. "And it's less painful, I think. When we've had our shower, get the doctor over to look at it."

I can't wait for this nonsense to be over. I hate being weak and dependent.

 

 

I help you hobble to the bathroom down the hall. You seem irritated as hell, but I don't offer to carry you - you are clearly not shy, and will tell me exactly what you want in no uncertain terms.

In the bathroom, you step out of your trunks while I'm fiddling with knobs and getting it to a nice hot spray of water, the way you like it. When I'm satisfied, I nod at you and you take a seat in the shower. It's nice and roomy, and I shrug out of my clothes - then I select a body wash with a light gingery scent.

I lather up my hands, and begin to bathe you gently. You don't like to be coddled, but you definitely have a sybaritic side to you - being bathed by a hot, naked man with luxury products never fails to leave you sighing with pleasure. And it's a sensual extravaganza for me, washing every inch of your beautiful porcelain skin. I can feel you relaxing under my hands, as I wash away all the sweat from the last day, and the memories of pain and anxiety and confusion - for both of us. Leaving behind Father James, and fears of Satan, as the water pours off you and circles into the drain. I clean myself up too, feeling refreshed. Then I shampoo and condition your matted hair, until it's clean and shining. Then when you're squeaky clean and your muscles are buttery-soft under my strong hands, I lower myself to my knees and look up.

Your cock perks up and I smile.

"Shall I do something about that, Boss?" I say in a husky voice.

 

 

I feel *so* much better. The pain in my foot is still there, but decreasing, and it's so good to be clean again. Not to mention being washed and massaged by the hottest guy I've ever seen... I practically purr.

And then you're on your knees in front of me offering to suck my cock. Paradise island indeed... as long as you stay well away from murderous wildlife.

"Why don't you..." I say lazily, spreading my legs.

 

 

I flash you a hungry look before lowering my head towards your cock.

I flick my tongue at your head, but I'm far too overcome by desire to tease - all that sensual bathing and touching your delicious skin has thrown my libido into overdrive. I take you in my mouth fully and start to suck you, letting out a deep moan.

Fuck you're so hot, fuck you get me so hot, oh god... Jim...

 

 

You seem *really* into this. I can live with that...

I've never seen cocksucking as an activity that is pleasurable for more than one party, but then I did feel much the same about fucking. Maybe I just had a bit of a skewed view of sex. Scrap the maybe. Growing up abused by my mum, working as a rent boy for a couple of years, then when I *finally* came into my power only getting off on hurting and fucking guys over whom I had total power *probably* doesn't make for the most balanced sex life. And lo and behold, out of the urban jungle came a Tiger who showed me the *beauty* of sex... It's like a fucking X-rated Christmas film...

Fuck and you're *good* at it... I'd employ you for that mouth only...

 

 

As much as I enjoy what I do to you... seeing and feeling your reactions is sooo fucking beautiful. As if you're making these sounds for the first time in your life... as if this level of pleasure catches you off guard, still surprises you. Which is shocking to me given how drop-dead gorgeous you are. But - given the glimpses I've had into your psyche, perhaps not all that implausible? And if so, then I'm the one who's given you this... but this pet theory of mine is for me, and me alone, to consider. And every time I do, it feels like a warm glow expanding in my chest. I have to keep myself from beaming like an idiot, because I'm sure it would be unwelcome and you'd think me a soft-headed, soft-hearted fool, not worthy of being your second in command. And I have to respect that - after all, you didn't hire me for the boyfriend experience. You want a black-ops soldier; that's what you shall have. A black-ops soldier who's currently on his knees, sucking you hard and fast, and oh god, you are not going to last much longer... I grin around your cock. Come for me, beautiful Jim... come for your Tiger...

 

 

I've given up the tough guy act, I'll let you hear what you're doing to me, because you deserve it, fuck yes you do... also, you should be allowed to come as well - you're so good at this... don't want you to get averse...

Fuck... fuck fuck *fuck*...

I arch my back, clench my fists, moan loudly - fuck - "yes - Tiger -"

Oh god -

Wave after wave of pleasure pours through me, out of me, into your mouth, and I swear you are grinning, with your mouth round my cock, like a cat who's getting the cream...

Fuck, I must still be brainwashed...

I've hallucinated myself the perfect second...

No, wait... if I were hallucinating paradise, there certainly wouldn't be any fucking *stonefish*... if I ever get to heaven, which I wouldn't even if it existed, I'll specify that there's to be no fucking nature anywhere in sight. Just Tigers...

I shudder as you keep licking and sucking - fuck –

 

 

Your orgasm is a symphony of primal sensation and sound... and when I look up at you, I see the most beautiful sight - you coming undone... you unravelling... you tumbling into ecstasy.

Fuck, I could never tire of this. You shouldn't be too difficult to convince of letting me suck your cock as often as possible. Not only it will be a pleasure, but... surely you'll be so transfixed, you won't desire another?

God, why did I think of that? I keep sucking you and licking you, my jaw tense.

Bloody well right you won't desire another! Not if I have anything to say about it, I think grimly... you're whimpering now. Oh - right. I give you a farewell lick before being merciful and stopping.

And if I have nothing I can say about it... then I'll just do what I do best, and neutralize the threat like the badass soldier I am.

I'm grinning at you fiercely from down on my knees, as you look down in a daze.

There's not a motherfucker on this planet that stands a chance...

 

Chapter Text

Water... water flowing over my face, my body... warm water...

Body pleasantly limp, sprawled on a chair...

Loins twitching with afterglow...

I look down at a face with the largest grin I've ever seen on man or beast... Lethal and endearing, looking up at me with pride and... possessiveness? No - I must be mistaken. I'm the possessive one. You're the possessed...

"I do think you've got healing powers, Saint Sebastian. I'm feeling a lot better..."

Shall I? Oh, why not. I'm in a generous mood, and you've had enough to put up with these past days.

"Get up..." I gesture, and when you're standing, pull you towards me, open my mouth, put it on your cock.

 

 

I imagine I'm being ordered up because you've had enough of being in the water, and want to exit now... demanding little shit, I think fondly. Well, as long as you're happy, relatively speaking... But suddenly your head is coming at my groin, and oh my god... I know I've bordered on arrogance about my own special skills, but god, Jim... you're a fucking master... oh fuck... my head falls back, and I groan loudly.

 

 

Well, at least I know it's appreciated. I can use this water in interesting ways...

I let the droplets rain on your sensitive head, fill my mouth with water and squeeze it out, use my tongue to drive you mad.

I love having this power over someone... I love having you as a quivering wreck at my mercy.

 

 

Oh, fuck... good technique, Jim... no one has ever - oh, fuck

I moan helplessly, powerlessly, as I fall under the spell you weave with your mouth and a waterfall shower. Wherever we end up when all this is said and done... can we have a waterfall shower installed? Please??

I'm gasping and groaning so loudly, I'm afraid Hammad and the doomed doctor will be able to hear it from the staff quarters. Just a little light entertainment to send them off with...

"Oh god... Jim..." I pant, grasping at your shoulder and the wall, as my knees go weak.

 

 

I'm glad to see that you appreciate my efforts as much as I appreciate yours. I probably have less practice than you, but I am good at reading signals and doing just the right thing at just the right time. You're grasping for support - careful Tiger, I don't think I'll be able to hold you up. Your scrabbling hand finds the doorknob, the other one rests on my shoulder, but not too heavily.

Time for the grand finale... I take you deep, hold your balls in my fingers, move up and down...

 

 

“Oh... god..." I moan, as you clearly decide it's time to bring me to completion... because there's no way in hell I'm stopping now. I feel a spasm of pleasure move through my body, and my knees almost buckle - I manage to stay standing, half leaning against the wall for support as my body begins to shake uncontrollably. "Fuck... yessss..." I hear myself shout as though from a distance as I feel myself dissolving into maddening liquid ecstasy yesyesyes...

 

 

I'm disabling an elite soldier just with my mouth... and I'm not even talking. Your sounds are beautiful...

As you shudder your pleasure into my mouth, I recall again that I haven't had you tested... but you said you were always really careful... yeah but that was with women... still, you strike me as a careful person. Still - things can happen. I should have the doctor take a blood sample and send it with Hammad to be tested.

(What will you do if it isn't clear?)

Well, have him treated, of course.

(What if it can't be treated?)

Will you shut up?

(Will you get rid of him?)

No! He's still a good soldier.

(Could you keep your hands off him? Will you be able to be careful and not exchange blood and... other fluids?)

Will you *stop* being a damper on my fun!? I'll have him checked! I'll cross that bridge when I get to it!

You're panting and gripping the door handle with white knuckles. I delicately wipe my lips with a finger.

"I think I'm ready to leave, what about you?"

 

 

Oh god... you're so amazing...

"That was... amazing..."

I breathe raggedly as I'm trying to hold myself up. You're very quiet - I open my eyes to see you staring at me with a pensive look on your face.

"Leave? Oh... sure..." I pant. If I can keep from pitching forward and cracking my skull on the wet tiles... or yours.

But if I do, luckily there's a doctor on site who will fix me up... before I arrange a little accident for her.

Still. Bit unseemly. And we should try not to concuss ourselves in the shower, you've already got enough going on medically.

I turn off the water, and step out. I towel myself off first so I'll be dry when I help you.

You stand and lean against me, hobbling out of the shower. Then I dry you off, and look down at your discarded bathing trunks.

"Do you want to wear something else?" I say doubtfully. "You don't seem as overheated... I can bring you clothes, or help you to the bedroom."

 

 

“Yes, those things need a wash,” I say, disgusted. “Just shorts and a t-shirt, I guess. And then we should get the doctor to look at my foot, and tell me what we need to do in the coming days. And I want her to take a blood sample from you. I’m sure you’re healthy but it’s not my habit to exchange bodily fluids with someone who’s not been tested.

There you go, Tiger, that’s how crazy you make me,” I wink.

 

 

Blood sample? Oh...

Crazy??

Did you... wink at me??

I'm sure you must be joking, of course you are, what else could it be...

"Sure thing, if it would make you feel more comfortable. I was last tested a couple of months before I met you; I should have told you that... and I'm... not interested in being with anyone else if we're -" Careful, Moran...

"If this is-"

Gah... why is this so difficult?

"Ongoing," I say casually. Just the pinnacle of cool, aren't I...

But if it's not ongoing, just let me know so I can impale myself on the nearest stonefish...

 

 

'Ongoing'. Poor Tiger - I can see you sweat trying to work out how to describe our arrangement. Well, yeah, it's new for me too - I don't usually shag someone more than a few times at most, but I'm *definitely* not stopping this any time soon.

"Why did you have yourself tested?" I ask - any risky behaviour I should know about?

 

 

I shrug helplessly. You get a funny look on your face when I've talked about my past. It can't be jealousy, so what is it?

"Meaningless casual encounters? Seemed important to be careful..." when you hooked up as often I did, I don't add.

 

 

I don't approve of you having casual encounters of a sexual nature.

Picturing you with some bloke, your mouth round his cock -

*he's dead*

I don't even know who he is!

"You should have used condoms, you idiot," I snap.

 

 

What. My mouth drops open. "I did use condoms!" I snap back. "And I'm guessing you had casual encounters with people, too... or were you practising monogamy?"

 

 

I look at you -

Have you lost your mind -

I can't stomp out because of my *bloody* foot.

"No, as a matter of fact, I did not have casual encounters. I had planned encounters, with people who had been checked. Some of them even survived it."

I glare a death-stare at you.

 

 

I stare back at you in disbelief. "What, am I in trouble for having hook-ups before I ever met you?? I told you I was always careful, and I've never had any issues... so why are you giving me shit for my past?"

 

 

I'm not giving you shit!

I'm just -

Well -

You started it!

Calm down, Moriarty.

"You're not in trouble. I'm just reminding you that survival is a rare treat."

 

 

"Survival is a rare treat?" I shake my head, flabbergasted. "Well, I truly appreciate the honour of being allowed to live. Maybe you could get me an 'I survived Moriarty' t-shirt for my birthday!" I say with a good dose of sarcastic cheer. "Sorry, make that for my one-year performance review, since what we have is strictly professional..." I mutter under my breath. Maybe I do have some residual suicidal urges, after all...

 

 

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

 

 

“It doesn’t mean anything at all..” I glower at the wall, crossing my arms.

 

 

"Sebastian Moran. Stop acting like a sullen teenager. Look me in the eye and tell me what that meant."

 

 

Jesus. I do not want to get into this - now or ever. Fix it, soldier...

I heave a sigh. “Being grilled about my past... I took it personally, I guess. It’s fine, it’s just been a long bloody day, Jim. We’ve barely slept, and it’s been an ordeal for both of us. I didn’t mean anything by it...” God, let him believe that...

 

 

You -

You're lying. You're pissed off about something.

Oh -

Oh fuck.

You fancy me.

Big, bad, mean soldier.

You *want* me.

Oh you're *joking* -

I start laughing - I can't help it - this is *absurd* -

 

 

I watch with shock as you start to laugh...

What the fuck, Jim?

My eyes narrow at you. "What exactly are you laughing at?" I ask in a soft, dangerous voice.

 

 

“*Really*, Sebastian?! Oh you’re *superb*. Let me guess, in your previous involvements, you’d back off if anyone got too close, because you can’t have emotional involvement. Yet another reason to prefer men - women can get so *insistent* on *feelings*, can’t they?

But me - I’m a psychopath, incapable of emotions - so you fall for *me*. Perfect! Whatever it takes to avoid a proper relationship, right? You’re well under way to pretending to yourself that you’re *pining* for me, which fits you *perfectly*, because it means you’ll never have to deal with anyone loving you.

Oh poor Tiger... I don’t know what fucked you up like this, but it seems we’re perfectly matched...”

 

 

I feel my protective cover slowly unravelling as you talk - the one where I'm your loyal second in command, bodyguard extraordinaire, and sure we're fucking, and I'm flirtatious, but it doesn't mean anything to me...

Oh - no -

no -

Bad.

Very bad.

He saw - he saw -

Do something, soldier...

A cold wall slams down over my panic.

"Oh, your deduction thing? " I smirk. "Not bad, Boss... You're right, I do back off from emotional involvement, and yes, women expect too fucking much. And yeah, OK - I'm fucked up. You just described a shitload of SAS soldiers. But I don't know where you got 'pining' from - because I'm into you? You got me there... you're hot, and sex with you is amazing. Because I'm playful and affectionate for a killer? Guilty as charged... But you don't need to worry about me 'falling for you', Boss. I'm very clear on the parameters of our relationship..."

I raise an eyebrow at you. "Alright? I'll get you your clothes..."

I slip out the door, heart pounding. It takes all my discipline not to run for the boat and gun the engine until I reach the mainland.

FuckfuckFUCK, I don't know if you bought it, but I just had to get out of that room before I disintegrated onto the floor.

I stalk to the bedroom, grab a short-sleeved shirt, a pair of shorts, and pants, and return to the bathroom. I hand you your clothes and flash a lopsided grin at you, even though my insides feel completely shredded.

 

 

Oh come *off* it soldier - I hope you don’t act this poorly on any undercover missions.

Still, your reassurance was correct - I don’t need to worry about you falling for me. Either you convince yourself that you haven’t, or you don’t, but either way, it’s not my problem. I don’t want to have to deal with your emotions, and it seems like you’re perfectly happy to keep me far away from them, whilst keen to keep up the arrangement we have so far.

You come back and hand me some clothes.

“Your emotional state is for you to deal with,” I say, pulling on the pants. “You need any help, there’s a psychiatrist on call. You ever let it compromise your job, you’re in trouble. You don’t, and I won’t ask any more questions. Alright?”

 

 

I flash you the look I used to give superior officers when I was in basic training. Coolly professional, slightly bored, with a dash of arrogance. "Nothing will compromise my work, I can assure you of that. And I'll endeavour to feel nothing whenever possible."

I manage to not roll my eyes - barely.

While you dress, I stand at ease. As much as I would love to storm out, I have a fucking job to do - my heartless bastard of a boss needs my help hobbling to the sofa, and I have to do this while pretending I'm not harbouring a massive crush.

Someone just put me out of my misery... please...

 

 

“Oh for fuck’s sake - keep the English passive-aggressiveness out of your communications, please,” I sigh as I’m pulling on my t-shirt.

“If you have feelings - fine. I’m not saying you can’t. It’s human, allegedly.

But you’d never let your emotions get in the way of a mission. I’m your mission - you said so yourself - so no emotions around me, except for the usual awe at the orgasms I give you.

Anything else - you think your feelings, whatever they may be, might interfere with your mission, you’re on the phone to that psychiatrist and sort it out.

If I find out you’re compromising your own or my safety because you’re trying to be *tough*, or whatever other ideas you got about how you’re supposed to be, you’re in trouble.

Can you understand that without being a fucking surly teenager?”

 

 

Two sides of me are at war with each other - one side is absolutely horrified that I've fucked up, and wants me to snap to attention, and reassure you again that you have nothing to worry about, Sir.

The other side? Currently gritting my teeth, to keep from shouting at you or throwing Olympic-level snark in your direction.

And the part of me that has to decide is on a razor-thin ledge, trying to assess the best thing to do while overcome with surges of adrenaline and very unwelcome emotions.

"Of course I can... because this is not an issue like you seem to think it is," I hear myself saying pleasantly. The voice that I perfected in the army and Eton and fucking Lord Moran's house. The voice that got me through some insanely tense situations without punching anybody or smashing something to oblivion. The voice that signifies barely suppressed danger - only you're in no danger from me, so it can really only be turned against myself... or bottled up for an explosion of violence and aggression when the situation calls for it.

Oh so that's the direction we're going in? Fine. I'm going to need a drink or two or three to bottle up these lovely feelings then... to be unleashed at someone who will never see it coming...

"Also... I'm not a fifteen-year-old with hearts for eyes," I say darkly. "I'm ex-SAS and the only fucking son and heir of Lord Augustus Moran. Any notions of a romantic nature were beaten into oblivion a very long time ago... and that's the end of that. Shall I help you to the sofa, Boss? I could use a stiff drink, how about you?"

 

 

There's something there... Yeah.

Lord Augustus Moran beating any notions of a romantic nature out of you. That's at the core of your problems, there.

But I'm not going to dig deeper into that. One, you're one wrong move away from exploding. Two, it's none of my fucking business. You can deal with it.

I know I'm irresistible, but I hadn't quite expected this. It's not entirely unreasonable though... I did come down on you quite hard, making sure that all thought of anyone but me was blasted away. It's easy for such a fascination to grow into infatuation... and, like I said, in a twisted way, in your twisted mind, I'm safe. Safe because you know I could never love you. Because you're absolutely terrified of being loved...

Well, no worries there, Tiger.

"Yeah, I could do with a drink, I guess... And text that doctor to come over in a bit."

 

 

"You bet," I say cheerily, as I help you hobble back to the sofa. Killing someone, even someone as innocuous as a doctor with designs on a hot bodyguard and unfortunately poor judgement, will be satisfying on some level. And I definitely need to visit the gym and work out some of this aggression before I react to something you say, and things go fucking pear-shaped.

Once you're set up on the sofa, I send a text to the doctor, then slip off to the kitchen and pour a couple of whiskies.

I neck one and pour another. And another.

Hmm. Something keeps rubbing at me - the look on your face when I've talked about my sexual history, and your little reaction just now... then how you reacted to your theory of the doctor wanting to take me away - issuing her death sentence. Not that you didn't make valid points as a criminal mastermind, you absolutely did - but there was something about the tone of these incidents that struck me as not 100% professional.

Which means -

Oh, you fucker... So you're feeling possessive and jealous, but I'm the one with the problem...??

Right... Well, you're the Boss, you little shit. So you get to make the rules...

But somehow knowing this... makes me feel a little less like drowning myself or pummelling someone to death.

A smile slowly spreads across my face. I wonder what will happen when someone flirts with me in front of you... it's as inevitable as the dawn and I for one can't fucking wait. I chuckle to myself, pour myself another whisky, and bring out the drinks to you.

"Salut," I say smartly, and clink your glass before pouring the fiery nectar down my throat.

 

 

"A stiff drink, he says... is there anything left in that bottle?"

Still, you look not affected at all. Makes sense - you're very used to it. I'll have to keep an eye on that - it's all well and good becoming an alcoholic when you're chucked out of the army, but you're now working for me and I want you on top form. Still, if it helps you deal with feelings, you pour that stuff inside you. I think that's why Father James used to do it as well...

Soon the doctor turns up, saving us from an unexpectedly awkward silence. She looks at my foot and murmurs appreciatively. "It's healing well, Mr Richards... it's a good thing we got to it so soon. How have you been feeling?"

"Alright - it hurt like a bastard, but it's less now. And I haven't been... confused since I woke up in the night."

"That is good," she says. "Hallucinations are not uncommon after being stung by a stonefish, and the fact that you didn't take painkillers can't have helped. The intensity of the pain can increase the force of the delusions. Now the pain has gone down, you should not suffer from them any more - but do let me know if you do."

She gets out some ointment. "You should keep the sting uncovered and your foot up as much as possible as the wound heals. When you walk on it, make sure you keep it covered and clean. Rub the rest of your foot with this ointment to improve the healing of the skin. Do contact me if anything bothers you or changes, but it should heal nicely from now on."

"Thank you," I say. "Could you take a blood sample from Sebastian to be tested for any venereal diseases?"

"Certainly," she replies, and gets some tubes from her bag, takes your blood, labels them. That will have to do.

"Sebastian?" I gesture at the doctor.

 

 

Oh, it's time, is it...

 

"Hey, doc - there's something I'd like you to look at while you're here, if you don't mind? It's so awkward... " I smile sheepishly. "But Jim insists I should have it taken care of immediately. And well, he's the boss, as you know..." I wink at you, and you roll your eyes.

 

Her lips twitch. "Of course, I'll have a look." She looks at me expectantly. What's that look in her eye - intrigue? Just what do you think I'm going to show you, my good lady?

 

I glance at the overhead light. "It's a bit dim in here to see it... it's probably not a big issue at all, but you know - when it comes to health and safety, you can't be too careful. I'm just going to bring this lamp over for some extra light..." I hop up from the sofa, unplug a floor lamp, and carry it over.

 

"I can examine you in your bedroom, if you prefer..." she says coolly.

 

I go still and stare at you, open-mouthed. "Jim!" I shout. "What's wrong?"

 

The doctor turns to look at you, I flip the lamp in the air, and slam the base into the back of her skull.

 

She crumples to the ground with a thump, eyes staring lifelessly.

 

"Nothing personal..." I say to her, and twirl the lamp like a spear. "Done," I say to you. "So. If you wanted it to look like an accident, I'd smash her head on a rock so it looked like she slipped on the beach. But assuming you don't care, I can rent a boat, weigh down the body and dump it in the ocean tonight. Unless you have another idea?"

 

 

Wow.

Oh wow Tiger.

That was - efficient, elegant, quick, bloodless.

There’s something special about seeing someone kill for the first time. Like seeing someone come for the first time, or sleep.

I like that you didn’t try to show off, and didn’t hesitate. You just - acted. You don’t look excited or reluctant or averse. You ask what I want done with the body in a matter-of-fact way.

Yes. You are what you say you are. You’re a killer. And you’re damn good at it. I can’t wait to see more. Preferably more challenging work... I’m picturing you killing a room full of men Kill Bill style...

Anyway. Body.

“Send Hammad back to the other island and have him send off the blood samples to a hospital to be checked. I believe he said there is a speedboat for our use at the dock - we haven’t even walked around that way yet... so you won’t have to rent a boat.

Well done, Tiger. I like your style.”

 

 

What is this look in your eye now? You look pleased... impressed, even.

Holy shit... did I actually manage to impress my seemingly unimpressible Boss..?

Well, I guess I did impress you with fighting and fucking...

but this is more purely professional, and I have a feeling you may have been starting to doubt my suitability as your second based on the last clusterfuck of a conversation...

so this feels fucking satisfying...

I keep myself from reacting to your last statement. I'm cooler than cool as I nod, pick up my pack of fags and wander off to find Hammad in the staff quarters.

He takes the blood samples as instructed, and heads off on the boat without inquiring about the doctor. Jim will like that.

As I stand on the beach watching Hammad leave, with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth, I hear the echo of your words to me.

Well done, Tiger...

I like your style...

 

 

I try to get up, leaning on the back of the sofa, and stand on the hurt foot. It seems I can, as long as I avoid any pressure on the wound. But if I curve my foot I can hobble around. Thank fuck. I hate being dependent.

You raise your eyebrows as you come in, but don’t challenge me, instead pick up the doctor and disappear with her. I check the floor - no blood or other traces. And with the bloodlust of the marine fauna around here, there won’t be much left of her body soon either.

 

 

I safely stow the body in a storage room I find, until I can move it to the boat under cover of darkness. When I return, you're back on the sofa.

"Package is the storage room. I'll head out when it's dark. Hungry, Boss? I could eat a horse..."

What is it about killing that gives me the appetite of a giant?

 

 

Probably best to leave it till later, yes. It’s quiet around here but it would be just my luck if some neighbour in a yacht would decide to come and say hi to you once you’re out at sea.

“I’m not particularly hungry but I’ll have something. And then I could do with some sleep in a horizontal position without drugs and without having my fucking foot in a pot.”

 

 

"Fair enough! I'll find something light for you, back in a few..."

I head towards the kitchen and I'm tempted to turn and say 'I'm glad you're feeling better'... because I am, but strangely now I can't say something even that remotely basic without wondering if you're reading something into it - and yeah, all right - something is there... whatever.

The whole 'making me yours' thing messed with my head, so this feels a bit intense for a crush. But that's all it is - an all-consuming crush where I can't think of anything but you. It happens!!

I return to the kitchen, shoving aside such thoughts and focusing on what to prepare. Everything is so neatly labelled - I choose a chicken biryani dish for you, and a curried coconut chicken for me. I also find a lovely dessert of banana fritters and sticky coconut rice, which I warm in the oven as we eat.

"Lunch is served," I announce, bringing you a tray with a beer. "Save room for dessert - all this will definitely make you fall asleep..."

And if you're sleeping, maybe I can catch a few winks, too. I'll need to be alert for disposal detail tonight.

 

 

I’m surprisingly hungry, I realize when I smell the food. A beer? Oh, why not. I’m on holiday. The first one in my life.

I eat the very tasty chicken, watching you devour your dish. You seem a bit wary of saying anything, which suits me fine - one of the things I hate most about people is their constant need to fill silence with vapid conversation. I’m sure if I need to know something, you’ll tell me, and if I want to know anything, I will ask. Until such times, I very much prefer silence.

As you bring out the dessert I’m yawning, and the sticky sweetness makes me even sleepier.

We hobble to the bedroom, you supporting me still being easier than me trying to walk on my own, and you pile two pillows on the bed for me to rest my lower leg on.

I pull off my t-shirt, then look at you looking uncertain, standing next to the bed.

Oh.

“You coming for some sleep as well?”

 

 

I focus on breathing steadily as you ask if I'm going to have a lie-down. I had been considering during lunch if I should perhaps take another bedroom now that the cat's out of the bag about my little crush... which in this scenario would be seen as tantamount to coming down with a case of some pox or another. Yeah, I tried to cover it up with bravado, but you're not fucking stupid... quite the opposite.

But knowing what you know, you're inviting me to... join you for a nap?

Saying nothing, I reach back over my shoulder, and pull my t-shirt forward over my head, then throw it on a chair. Trying with every fibre of my being not to read into it, not to get excited, not to think this is something when it's fucking nothing. It's just safer for you when I'm next to you... that's all.

Carefully I get into bed, not looking at you, and making sure I'm not too close.

My heart is racing... how the fuck am I going to be able to sleep next to you... ever again??

 

 

You're tense as a bowstring. Well, that's your problem. I will just continue to be the same way, and if you can't deal with it, you're going to have to get creative.

I sigh.

"Sebastian. Relax, will you? I'm not going to treat you any different. I understand it can be disconcerting for you to have someone - expose you like that, but you'll have to get used to that. You don't get a private life any more - your life is mine. I work on information, so I get it any way I can. I could have not told you what I saw, but I want to be able to share my information openly with you, because you need to know what I know in order to work most efficiently.

To me, there's no difference between one form of information and another. I don't know shame, privacy, remorse, pity, guilt - they're emotional values attached to information. I remove the labels, just deal with the cold hard facts.

I know this makes people uncomfortable."

If we were in a normal situation I'd have kicked you out and told you to come back when you had sorted yourself out. But that would leave me alone and very vulnerable. So I need to kind of make you see my point of view without alienating you too much.

I can do friendly and personable when playing a character, but I don't want to have to play a character with you. So I have to somehow make the Moriarty experience more palatable. Which is *not* my forte. I've worked for many years making the Moriarty experience as unpleasant as possible. Ugh. When I am back at full strength...

"I don't know what I can say to make you less uncomfortable - making people comfortable is not really what I do. But - as far as I'm concerned you haven't changed; I just know more about you. You're still my full army, you're still fucking hot, and you're still welcome to be my second. Anything you need to do for – self-care, or whatever - I don't know –

If you'd feel more comfortable sleeping elsewhere, or not fucking, or whatever, you'll need to tell me. I'm not good at assessing people's emotional needs, it's a bit of a blank space, but if you let me know - again, information - we can see how we can accommodate."

There. Fucking thoughtful or what.

 

 

Your words jar me from my anxious state. You didn't ask me to sleep in another bedroom, so I'm not. You didn't take fucking off the table, so I'm sure as hell not going to. All told, you're being quite considerate and accommodating, for you.

I'm not about to fuck up what I have with you over a silly little crush.

I put my hands behind my head, and stare up at the ceiling. "Appreciated, Jim. But you don't need to trouble yourself about this... nothing's getting the way of doing the job I'm here to do. Nothing will get in the way or be an issue for you. I was a career soldier - I know how to put the mission first, and put aside everything else. So I'm good with sleeping arrangements if you are. And as for sex..." I look over at you and eye you appreciatively. "Wild horses couldn’t stop me. I'm not about to say no to the most amazing fuck ever..." A sly smile plays on my lips. "Which you know I say with the greatest respect, Boss... from one good lay to another... I have never met your equal, and I don’t think it exists. So believe me when I say... I’m happy to be exactly where I am.”

And I realize this to be true. On a very deep level, there's nowhere else I would want to be than working for you. And for the first time since leaving the Regiment, something loosens in my chest and I can breathe again.

I have my mission, amazing sex, and I know my place in the world. What else could a soldier want or need, anyway?

 

 

Well, that's sorted then. And you think I'm the best fuck ever. Which strokes my ego not insignificantly. I have never had anyone comment on my sexual prowess. Not honestly, not in a more or less equal relationship - I mean, we don't have an equal relationship, of course not, but you are not sucking up to me. You wouldn't do that.

I realize I appreciate having someone around who tells me what's what - it's very rare. Even my closest people are very careful about what they say. You don't seem to give a fuck about personal safety... which might not be very smart, but then you do seem smart enough to have stayed alive up to now. I hope you'll stay alive with me as well... I like having you around.

I'm drifting. It's really nice to have a foot that doesn't hurt...

 

 

I stay awake so I can stare at you, unobserved by you.

Your breathing is comforting to listen to.

I feel a pang of pain to look at you and not touch you.

Your face is restful in sleep.

I continue to stare at you longingly until my eyelids begin to flutter, and then...

 

Chapter Text

It's getting dark. My foot is sore, but not too bad. I switch on the bedroom light, earning a grunt and squinting eyes from you. I pull my foot up and turn it to look at the sole. The wound looks nasty still, but clean.

"Remind me never to go on holiday any more. It sucks and is bad for my health," I sulk.

 

 

I chuckle drowsily. "Noted. I think holidays don't usually include near-death experiences on the first day, but I may be wrong... Anyway, maybe when you're done with your holiday, you'll feel differently..."

I suspect not, but anything's possible. I think you've made up your mind that holidays are stupid, and fish are evil, and nature should be blow-torched, and it would take a bloody miracle to change that...

I yawn. "God, we slept the day away... must have needed it. Do you want anything, Boss? I'll drop off the body when it's good and dark, so I have some time yet..."

 

 

Do I want anything?

Hmmm...

"Coffee first. Don't bother to put on clothes."

 

 

Oh... suddenly I wish I was wearing less...

I flash you a smirk, and head out to the kitchen.

As I wait for the coffee, I think back on the events of earlier today and the rawness of my feelings, and chalk it up to both of us being sleep-deprived. Luckily, you were surprisingly understanding about it, and whatever, I'll get over it. I'm feeling much better now after some deep sleep, and I'm confident I'll find a way to navigate this bizarre situation of having a crush on my boss, of all people - and really, I just need to stop thinking about it every fucking moment, and it'll be fine. Totally fine.

I prepare two cups of coffee, and return to the bedroom where you're sitting up in bed.

Fuck, you're beautiful...

Jesus Christ, Seb...

 

 

Well, your hunger hasn't abated. That's good - I have a lot of sexless months to make up for. Not that I had that much sex before I was Father James - every month or two, depending on my body's urges. But it can't be healthy to go without for so long. And you are too hot to waste. God knows when my antics will drive you too crazy and you decide to leave. Despite my big words, I will let you go - you've done a great job; you freed me from that church, you deserve to live and get some money to get you going.

Maybe - maybe I should tell you this, so you don't get it into your head that you need to kill me to get away from me?

Not now though. Now you're looking at me like you're ready to combust if I smile at you and it would be a shame to spoil that by talking about leaving and other boring things.

"Those are nice shorts, but I think they'd look nicer on that chair there," I nod, sipping my coffee. Ah, delicious.

 

 

You're looking pensive again... your mind is so rarely inactive; I only see it shut down when we're...

oh...

you're thinking about it, aren't you...

mmm. me too, Jim...

I glance at the chair. "Good call, Boss. It'll do a lot for the Feng Shui of the room, too..." I smirk, and peel off my shorts and pants in one fell swoop, making sure to let my muscles ripple as I do. Then I fling my clothing overhand without looking, and hear the rustling fabric as it lands on the back of the chair. I stand in front of you, drinking my coffee. "You were right, that's so much better," I say, a lazy smile playing on my lips.

 

 

Oh you precious *show-off*. You're as much of a prima-donna as I am, aren't you... Only you like showing off your masculine physique and your muscles and your manly skills like good aim... which reminds me, I ordered some weapons for the island - I should have you do some target practice, to check if you are as good a shot as you claim you are. I doubt you'd lie to me about that, but I didn't get where I am by believing everything pretty blue-eyed boys told me.

Little Seb is already hoping he will get some attention... well, we'll just see how Big Seb behaves.

Again I feel like I want to hurt... of course I do, after all the tension of the past days...

Which bits of you are whole enough to be hurt again? Hmmm...

"Go to the freezer, see if they have any peas."

 

 

You're enjoying my little show as much as I am, aren't you...

very good to know...

I definitely have to start logging some time in the gym. Let's see how much you enjoy that...

Meanwhile... I'm standing naked before you, finishing up my coffee without a care in the world.

And I see a flash of something in your eye... something intense.

Oh. It's. On.

I raise my eyebrows. "Peas," I echo, giving you a bemused look as I head for the kitchen.

What the hell...? You didn't ask me to bring you a knife, or a lighter, or anything I can see you using to cause pain... what are you going to do with peas? Torture me by putting them under the mattress? I can sleep like the dead, princess... you're the one obsessed with comfort and luxury...

Curious, I return a moment later. "Your peas, Sir..." I say and toss them on the bed.

 

 

You look puzzled - oh my sweet innocent Tiger.

I pour out the frozen peas onto the floorboards, point at them.

"Kneel."

 

 

Really?

I stare at the floor, and a slight scowl escapes me before I wipe my expression clean.

This is not sexy times...

we're heading right into torture the Tiger territory...

I shrug, sighing.

As I told the good doctor before I smashed her skull on your command... You're the Boss.

I lower myself gingerly to the floor.

"Oh..." I say through gritted teeth. "This is great..."

 

 

Awww, don’t you like my plan? I thought it was so smart - a way to hurt your knees, which are quite unscathed so far.

I stand in front of you, grasp your hair.

“I am not too fond of whining Tigers… I have a much better use for your mouth, darling...”

 

 

Well, this will distract me somewhat from the extreme discomfort of the fucking peas...

I look up at you, and slide my fingers over your shorts. There is no admonishment so I unfasten them, and yank them down - you step out of your shorts and pants, and kick them aside.

My hands float up to your thighs, and I gaze at your face for a moment, before looking at the cock in front of me.

Hello, my beauty...

it's me again...

I breathe in your scent, and touch my tongue against the head. Your cock twitches, and begins to grow.

Yes, darling... it's time to wake up. I'm going to take you for a lovely ride...

I run my tongue along the shaft, and then I can't stop myself, and take you fully in my mouth.

My hands move around to your arse, cup your luscious cheeks, and pull you closer... deeper...

I moan, and it's a combination of pain and pleasure which is really strange because... knees are a weird thing to be aware of during a blow job. Fucking sadist. You beautiful fucking sadist. I moan again, sucking you firmly.

 

 

Lovely... you are so fucking good at this... and your poor knees are suffering, I know, Tiger... that extra edge of pain to the moans make them all the more delicious... send shivers down my spine...

*It's not enough*

No Moriarty you can't break him. Be careful. Play nice, Moriarty.

Damn it. It appears sex is not the only suppressed emotion that needs an outlet. Father James was not aggressive, either...

I should have killed that doctor myself. I wanted to see you work, though, and I have... which does nothing to diminish my killing urge.

Some aggression that doesn't cause damage... Hmmm...

I pull you off my cock.

"That was exquisite as usual, my pet... how are your knees?"

 

 

I feel my head being pulled back by the hair- god, that’s hot...

“Fucking painful, Sir.” I grin at you ferally.

 

 

"Good... I have some more pain I'd like to give you, my darling... Peas are nice but they are a bit hands-off... There's a table-tennis table in the room next to the gym, get me one of the bats." I kiss the top of your head, sit back down on the bed.

 

 

That sounds like way more fun... I haul myself up, digging frozen fucking peas out of my skin and wincing.

“Happy to, Sir...”

I leave the room, limping slightly.

Did you... kiss my head? Huh.

I’m still pondering this when I return with your bat.

“As requested, Sir...” I hand it to you with a flourish.

 

 

You're looking much more happy about this. Prefer the personal touch, Tiger? I'll remember that... may tie you up some time and leave you for an unspecified amount of time, if you're naughty...

I'm really enjoying this, I ponder. Having pre-arranged encounters was so *limiting*. I'd plan what I wanted to do, sometimes would get some improvisation in if the mood struck. But having someone with me 24/7, that I can use as I want when I want... it's an amazing luxury, and really very stimulating.

And you're very easy to be around. Some hiccups, sure, but considering I've never spent more than a few hours in anyone's presence without wanting to kill them, including my closest associates (I once came *this* close to pushing Steve out of a window because he kept chewing gum. Told him to get rid of the gum instead.), it's quite an achievement.

How do I do this? Can't have a 6' soldier lying over my lap, that would look ridiculous. "Bend over the bed," I say, patting a spot next to me.

 

 

God, I was already excited when I was blowing you, but the peas under my knees were so distracting... now at the thought of you taking the bat to me, I am fucking hard.

You've trained me so well, my beautiful psychopath...

I bend over the bed as directed, close my eyes, and brace myself...

 

 

Your arse has suffered its share of assaults in the past few days, but a table-tennis bat is a thudding rather than a cutting implement, so hopefully it will allow me to let loose a bit without doing too much damage. It's also quite light, so allows me to use as much force as I want to without endangering you. The lengths I go to for you, Tiger...

I stroke your back, so beautiful as it bends over the bed obediently, the M healing nicely - it's really well done, nice straight lines. Well done Moriarty. And well done Tiger for staying so still...

I raise the bat, slap it down.

 

 

Your hand stroking my back makes me want to rub against you, but I stay still, waiting. Wanting.

And then... quick on the heels of a rush of air there's a hard smack of pain - not bad, but bracing. Mmm... there's a lovely warm glowing feeling after. I close my eyes and turn my head to the side, wanting to purr...

 

 

Your face looks blissful after the first twinge of pain. You're loving this, aren't you? You are such an interesting specimen...

I raise the paddle again and let it land on the other cheek, keeping up a rhythm of alternating cheeks in a punishing speed. It's physical enough to feel good - and the impact, the sound, your little gasps all combine to enhance the experience.

 

 

God... so good... the warm glow slowly builds into a deep stinging heat... broken up by the sharp, biting kiss of the bat.

I already know you're going to carry on well past the point of pleasurable pain to something deeper... darker... and I don't fucking care. I just want you to do with me what you will...

oh fuck... Jim...

I moan at the thought.

Yours, I think, then whisper it, "Yours, Sir..."

 

 

My sweet Tiger...

*My* sweet Tiger. *Mine*.

Regardless of how many people you fucked - that was just because you didn't know me yet. You're never going to touch another person in your life...

(What if he leaves you Jim?)

He won't! He can't! I won't let him!

(Do you honestly think he is going to *stay*!? Once this silly little infatuation is over he's going to see you for what you are and go walkies.)

*NO!!!*

(What's it to you Jim? You're not getting *attached*, are you?)

Of course not - but - he's good - I need him -

(*We don't need anyone.*)

Cold descends, makes me feel calmer.

I keep smacking. Pain is good.

 

 

There's a pause. What's happening? What are you thinking?

And then the bat comes down hard. Fuck. Reaching that point - fiery pleasure-pain growing in heat, like biting flames under my skin...

I let out a deep groan. "God... Sir..."

 

 

Ah, good... more pain. I like pain. I *love* pain... Always have. From when I can first remember having sexual fantasies they've involved hurting pretty boys... and later handsome men. The library had some comics in which the hero was captured by pirates or enemies, tied to a post, and whipped... red lines on a muscular back... they made me feel very funny, and when I was older, I realized why... not only was I gay, I was a bloody sadist as well. Of course I had other stuff on my plate then... like trying to survive... so I didn't really worry. I just masturbated to nice pictures of whipped men... or the book of De Sade that I stole from a bookshop... The 120 Days served me well...

And then when I finally was able to - get men to do my bidding... oh, heaven. I never really cared about their enjoyment - in fact, their not enjoying it was a turn-on. But - you enjoying it is a turn-on as well. As long as I can see you suffer - you taking pleasure in your suffering is actually quite hot.

Several of your stripes have started bleeding again. I move my efforts down, to your thighs.

 

 

Oh god... it's not a harsh implement, but in the hands of a master bestower of pain... you're making me bleed again aren't you.

There's a symphony of pain raining down on me, and I can sense the crescendo, building and building... as you move down to my thighs, the moans and small cries escaping my lips are getting louder - interspersing with the rushes of air and hard smacks. It's entrancing... I'm ensnared in your trap, without rope or shackles in sight...

and I wouldn't dream of moving, short of the involuntary jerks of my body at these particularly hard smacks... I think we're nearing the end, I think dreamily, hearing my cries grow louder.

 

 

You’re not trying to be the hard man, just enjoying the ride and vocalizing your sensations, even in this mild session. And - it’s nice. It’s almost sweet. Just a nice sweet spanking between friends...

Jesus. I’m really losing it, aren’t I...

Anyway. I’m here to relax and enjoy my new toy and so I shall. I thought I was a priest and you were a saint a few hours ago, for god’s sake. I should stop making demands of myself and just - be.

A few particularly hard smacks to end off, eliciting beautiful little cries from you, then I grab the lube.

“You got such a magnificent arse, Sebastian. It should never be without my marks... if you’re ever without, I want you to come to me with a whip so I can remedy it... alright, my dear Tiger?”

I’m lubing you up, your soft moans accompanying the movements of my fingers.

 

 

I'm bent over the bed, my arse and thighs burning with pleasure, while you finger me and tell me I'm to bring you a whip if your marks ever fade... and all I feel is pride to be worthy of your marks, and exultation that I must truly belong to you...

and until I met you, I had no idea how deep my desire to be hurt and dominated truly went. God, we really are insanely well matched... insane being the operative word, I think wryly.

But there's time enough to think about all this later, because your fingers in my arse are feeling possessive and sweet, and you're making me moan, and I want you, fuck I want you...

I always want you...

Oh fuck... please...

 

 

I think you're ready for me, my darling Tiger.

And I am certainly ready for you... I dab lube on myself, grab a pillow from the bed, kneel down on it, and push myself against you. One hand guiding my cock inside, one hand trailing up over your arse... nails scraping...

 

 

I feel you behind me, getting into position, and then - your cock is pushing against me, into me...

I shiver as I feel your hand grasping my arse, your nails digging into my skin...

I wince slightly as you push in deeper. Oh but it's good pain, really fucking good, and then my muscles squeeze your cock and relax.

"Fuck... you feel amazing, Sir..." I groan, and my hands grip the duvet as you move inside me.

 

 

"So do you, my Tiger... your arse was *made* for me... made to bear my stripes, to accommodate my cock..."

I push further, further - feel you relax - a bit more - my balls touch your skin; I'm all the way in. I survey my prey - submissively bent over a bed, his hands grasping in the bedclothes, his brow sweaty, his face a mixture of a grimace and ecstasy... his muscular shoulders, his arms, with some recent cuts from me... his back, with fading stripes, and the prominent red M declaring to the world who owns him...

*Fuck* you're hot...

Slowly I move back - so tight, so hot, so good...

 

 

Your arse was made for me -

I groan at your words. Fuck, could I be any more into you... into being used by you... into being your toy, your possession, your slave?

God, no one has ever got me this hot ever...

"My arse was made for you..." I agree, panting. "My cock was made for you... my body is yours, Sir..."

 

 

"Not just your body, Sebastian..." I say as I move back inside you. "All of you... mind, body, and soul... all mine..."

 

 

Demanding little fucker, aren't you, I think breathlessly. God - take it. Take all of me.

"Every inch of me... every bit of me..." I growl. "I want you to have it..."

 

 

*Oh god you mean it*...

Fuck, Tiger...

I feel disoriented for a moment. *No one* is this perfect. I must still be hallucinating... have hallucinated myself the ultimate second-in-command. I'm going to wake up and - well, hopefully be Jim again, having had bad seafood and dreamt this entire circus of being a priest and going cold-turkey in Acton and going on a sex holiday in the Maldives.

God, that would be a relief...

... wouldn't it?

 

 

Your pace changes... you're slowing down, and you feel less... there. Strange to be able to tell this when I'm facing away from you, arse in the air... but you don't feel as present.

Is something wrong? James didn't suddenly re-emerge and find himself fucking Saint Sebastian, did he - because that will be difficult to explain, and especially to convince you to keep going. 'No, it's cool! Ehm, the Almighty in His wisdom told me he wants us to shag each other rotten... Why? Don't question the Lord, James...'

I grin despite myself.

 

 

I can't help but feel that I'd *miss* you if I were suddenly back in my old life - Jesus Moriarty; you're not getting *attached*, are you? You need him to be your army, and he's a good lay - that's all. A good lay nowhere near compares to what you had - and which you *will* get back. With his help. While you're fucking him senseless. Because he's a *fucking* good lay...

"Every inch of you, Tiger... and I'll take good care of it. I know what you need, Tiger... and I'll give it to you..." I push harder inside you.

 

 

God, yes, give it to me...

each time you thrust, you're slamming against my marks, which makes my cheeks flame with pain from the smacking with the bat...

I push back my arse against you, which just makes the pain more intense, but I want it, fuck I want it...

each mark was from you, making me yours... I want to feel every livid mark.

I push back harder, and groan with the primal pleasure of being possessed - you're not stronger than me physically but you're the most intensely powerful man I've ever met... god, you're so fucking hot, Jim...

 

 

You’re groaning with pleasure, and to my surprise it’s turning me on. I didn’t know pleasurable groans could be a turn-on - there you go, you live and learn.

Maybe it is because you are *so* into me - it’s extremely hot to have someone look at me the way you do - have someone respond to me the way you do...

I’ve worked with good, professional people before, but - they were just that. Professional. Good at their job, but their motivations were money and fear. Both powerful motivators - but you don’t care about money, and I doubt you know fear. You want to do whatever I want because you *want* to, with all your heart. I’m your passion, your obsession, your god.

What narcissist psychopath could be immune to that?

I’m moving into you faster now, relishing the sensations, incomparable with anything else... fuck, the perfect body, the perfect skill set, the perfect temperament... a few mental and emotional flaws, but we’ll sort those out...

“So *fucking* hot...” I groan.

 

 

Mmm... I'm gathering every uttered word like a precious object for my collection. Each gasp, each groan, is absorbed to replay later. Every word, every sound means I got to you... even a little is something.

A little is everything...

I love wringing pleasure from your cock during sex or a blow job... any pleasure that I give you is a triumph. God, nothing's hotter... even my pleasure is secondary to that. Fuck, have you trained me well... and I don't care.

You’re pounding me now and I’m moaning shamelessly. Fuck I love it, fuck I love -

My eyes open, and my hands grasp the duvet even tighter. White-knuckled, I hold on for dear life...

Steady, soldier... steady...

 

 

You're moaning, and something I do makes your eyes go wide and your hands grasp the duvet - yes - yes Sebastian, *my* Sebastian, mine...

My nails dig into your hips as I feel myself hurtling towards and then over the edge - oh god -

"Fffffuuuuuckkkkk - oh - fuck, oh god..."

I shudder, shiver, shock my pleasure into you - oh god how can this feel *so good* –

 

 

Oh god, you’re soooo into this, into me, sexually at least... My heart feels like it’s going to burst, it’s beating so hard and fast...

Then you’re coming and it’s glorious, fuck yes, come in me, come in me, yesss... I practically come with the pleasure of your body shivering against me, your loud keening... yes baby, let it out... all out for me... I pant, and bliss out to the feeling of your body collapsed against mine.

 

 

Fuck... fuck, that was *good*...

I'm floating, somewhere there is heavy breathing - you? or me? Both, probably...

I am lying on your back, feel the ridge of the M against my cheek. Fuck, that was... good.

Did I say that already?

I lie for a moment, catch my breath, feel myself shrink out of you.

"Well, that's one way to forget about all the shit..."

 

 

Oh... your cheek is on my back, it’s on my back...

...

yeahh, this crush is well in hand. It’s possible having amazing sex isn’t going to help with that. But if I can’t give that up (and no, I fucking won’t), then...

What then?

I don’t fucking know, do I?

It’ll come to me... it has to.

Your cock softens, and withdraws... the stickiness is pleasant... the stinging burn of my arse and thighs is delightful.

“Mmm. The best way, in my humble opinion...” I murmur, contentedly.

 

 

I stretch up, hobble to the bathroom. “Stay there.”

I get the first-aid kit, hobble back, put some alcohol on a sterile cloth, move you upright on your knees, nod at your hard cock. “You have permission to take care of that.”

As your hand reaches down, I put the alcohol on your wounds.

 

 

You hobble away and I have to stop myself from telling you I can get whatever you need. You know that very well, don’t you. Jesus, what am I in for now... not that I didn’t enjoy the pain, but I’d realllly like to come now. Please?

You return with a first aid kit and I relax. I’m taking care of myself, am I? Not a problem...

Oh, you’re...

“Fuuuuck” I groan loudly. “Motherfucking Christ!”

 

 

"That's no language for a saint," I smile. "Come on Sebbie, best take care of that erection before I change my mind... I am soooo changeable..."

I start cleaning the wounds. This is some weird tropical location with lots of nature, must make sure to keep any and all wounds squeaky clean. *I* decide if and how my Tiger suffers.

 

 

Really? You want me to pleasure myself while you’re taking care of my wounds...?

well, that will go a long way to ensure I link you and pleasure and pain into a heady mix of sensation. My hand hovers over my cock and then strokes slowly.

I inhale sharply at the lingering sting. But it’s you causing my discomfort... and that’s good enough for me. My hand increases its speed, and my eyes close.

 

 

Good... good Tiger. I can't help joining in when the wounds have been cleaned... put some alcohol on my finger, and stick it inside you... just a gentle encouragement...

 

 

Your latest ‘attentive’ action has me suck in my breath, and my head falls forward. I let out a ragged moan, and my hand slows down...

“Oh... fuck... Sir...” I growl softly. My hand increases its speed again.

 

 

"Come for me, my Tiger... let me see how hot me fucking you makes you..." I whisper.

 

 

Your words inflame me... your voice sends shivers through my body. “Oh god...” I whisper. “You have no idea how hot it makes me...” being fucked by you, being manhandled by you, being owned by you...

My head falls back, my lips part, and I moan and pant as I ride the waves of painpleasureJim... “Oh...” I breathe, shivering, “Fuck...”

 

 

Beautiful. So beautiful...

This epitome of masculinity, this quintessence of beauty, shuddering and shivering out his pleasure onto the bed because of me... because he is *mine*...

Oh fuck this... I'm never going to let you go, Moran. I'm sorry. You're too hot and have seen too much. You're mine for ever... or until one of us tires of the other and I'll have to kill you.

But until then - such fun...

"You've soiled the bedsheets... don't worry, you can change them, and I'll punish you for it later... before bed... alright my Tiger?"

I press a kiss to your arm, trembling on the bed to keep yourself upright. I pack away the first-aid kit.

"What's for dinner?"

 

 

I want to fall against the bed, but I hold myself up. You announce I’ll be punished for leaving my mark on the sheets... I laugh helplessly. Of course - just... of course.

“Oh god... “ I groan. “Sheets... dinner... punishment... as you wish, Sir...”

My muscles feel sapped of strength and I stay where I am... “Any moment now...”

Did you... kiss my arm? First my head... now my arm? I could get used to this... “Dinner... the chef stocked the fridge well. Do you fancy tandoori chicken and saffron rice?”

Please fancy tandoori chicken and saffron rice... my mouth is watering already.

 

 

“Sounds good. Call me when it’s ready.”

I head to the living room, get out my laptop. I’ll have to get a new doctor for if nature finds yet another way of trying to kill me, or if I go too far in a bout of passion and really hurt you. I don’t *think* I will, but I didn’t build an empire by trusting in probablies.

I find a guy who looks good. And is straight. And has no morals. And is ugly. Perfect.

I make arrangements for him to get to the island and be on standby tomorrow. We’ll just have to not get any medical emergencies until then. Surely we should be able to do that...

 

 

I haul myself up without doing something embarrassing like falling face-first onto the bed.

Right - sheets first. Little fucker - where else was I going to - never mind. I strip the bed, and throw the soiled sheets into a laundry basket in the bathroom. Then I poke around until I find a linen closet and make up the bed with military precision.

Satisfied, I head to the kitchen and pass by you working studiously on your laptop. Hm... wondering what you’re up to, I continue on. Soon, food is being heated, and wonderful scents are filling the kitchen.

I always liked spending time in the kitchen... I just won’t cook if it’s just for me. Maybe when we get back to London - what? While launching a scheme of vengeance against Mycroft Holmes, you’ll find time to make a beautiful dinner every night?

Maybe I should try a home-cooked meal tomorrow - today I settle for artfully arranging the table, and food on the plates - the effect of which is spoiled by shouting “Jim! Dinner!” And then when you don’t show, “Get your arse in here before it gets cold!”

 

 

Excuse me?! I’m most definitely not going to appear with a summons like that.

“Jim,” your head pokes into the living room, “food is generally appreciated best when it’s hot.”

I close my laptop with a sigh. This subservience to the requirements of the flesh... so tedious.

It does smell nice though.

Ohh, you’ve made an effort. The table is laid beautifully, with linen and silver and a candlestick and everything.

You pull me out a chair, I sit down grinning. “What’s the occasion?”

 

 

I grin back and sit down. “Who needs an occasion? I thought you of all people would appreciate a spot of elegance. If it’s silly, I can look for paper plates... or would you prefer we just go at the serving dish with a couple of forks?” I ask innocently and pour you a glass of wine.

 

 

“No, I like a man who knows how to receive me... though not quite how to invite me to dinner. We will have to work on that mouth of yours,” I smile as I sip my wine.

This food smells delicious. I didn’t realize I was hungry.

 

 

“Oh, you want an invitation to dinner?” I say, without thinking. Shit. Did that sound like a reference to a date? Did you mean it to be? Did you?? Of course not... but it’s too delicious a thought to not feel a secret thrill.

“I’ll work on that,” I say, burying my sly smile in my wine glass. “You work on that mouth of mine...”

 

 

“Oh don’t worry, I plan to...” I grin. “It has a particular talent that so far makes up for the coarseness that it sometimes employs...”

I tuck into the chicken. Delicious. Tastes just like a good Indian in London. Proper comfort food...

 

 

It’s good to see you with an appetite again. I dig into my food with pleasure. “I’ll head out on the boat after dinner. It’s dark enough now...”

I feel a strange pang... I don’t want to leave you...

I want to shake myself for being so ridiculous... I won’t be long at all. It’s just... I’ve not left your presence in days. And I don’t want to. Ever again.

 

 

“Sounds good. I got us another doctor; he should be here the day after tomorrow. Try not to get me killed before then.”

Is that a pang of guilt on your face? Well there should be; you were the one who wanted to go out in nature.

Except it wasn’t, was it? It was me, trying to make up for being a violent dickhead. Well. That will be the last time.

 

 

Fuck. So you do blame me then, for this entire fish debacle... well, I don’t think encouraging someone to go for a swim is exactly parallel to almost getting them killed. But I can hardly say that, can I... because it did almost happen. Fine. I’ll not encourage you to go into nature again while we’re in a tropical paradise...

“God. I hope this new doctor doesn’t make a pass at me... it will grow tiresome killing doctors and dumping their bodies...”

 

 

“This one is straight, though I think if anyone could cure someone of that, it would be you. Oh, and male. And not of the rescuing persuasion, as far as I could tell. Well, no more than doctors usually are - that’s the problem with many of them.”

I wonder again what we should do the rest of our days here. I really am not cut out for this. There’s only so much whipping and fucking of your second in command you can do.

Well, let’s get through tonight first. You’re going on your boat trip, and I... what? If I’m trying to rest my mind, then what?!

 

 

“Anyway, what happened was hardly me trying to get you killed!” I say playfully. “A) I rarely kill people with nature. Too many variables. B) Do you know how boring life would be without you? Why would I deny myself that, just because you can be a pain in the arse sometimes? Sir.” I grin at my plate as I eat. This food is fucking delicious. I wonder if I can convince you to stay here for another month.

 

 

I’m not sure if I should lay down the law for your insolence or have a laugh with you. Oh come on Moriarty - when did you last have a *laugh with* someone?! I don’t think I ever... not since Georgie...

You are... insolent, but in a kind of - respectful way? I don’t for one second think you have forgotten our positions. You just don’t feel that that means you have to be ‘Yes Sir, no Sir, two bags full Sir,’ all the time. Which - is refreshing. You’re not dumb. I actually enjoyed chatting with you the other night. I don’t think I’ve ever had a chat with anyone without being a persona...

“You love me being a pain in your arse, admit it,” I grin.

 

 

You look at me with those dark, assessing eyes. Every time I say something in the playful to snarky range, I never know how it’s going to go over. But I approach it as I do any potentially dangerous situation... throw my best at it, and assume it will work out somehow... recognizing that one day my luck will run out. But apparently today is not that day.

“Oh, I admit it freely. The pain in my arse from you is pain like no other,” I say, and bat my lashes.

 

 

“Coquettish is not a good look for you,” I chuckle. “Stick with hot mysterious strong man, or enthusiastic puppy. Or - Tiger cub.

If you want to go out and roam nature while we’re here, go ahead, by the way. I’m sure your jungle training has prepared you for the dangers and pitfalls. I’m not moving outside any tiled area.

I’ve been thinking of how to keep myself from getting bored without working, and I must say I’m not too sure, but there’s an online course on quantum physics I’ve been thinking of doing... or maybe I should watch television? People seem to think that’s amusing... and I definitely want to have some sessions in the gym to get some strength back. You can help with that, I assume?”

 

 

“Quantum physics or television, hmmm...” I pretend to ponder. “Maybe try both. And yes, I can help out with strength and conditioning... so, between fitness, science, entertainment, and avoiding nature, I hope you’ll be occupied enough... and of course, I’m available indoors for whatever distraction you fancy...” I say magnanimously.

 

 

“I had no worries about that avenue... but there’s a limit to how much you can fuck your associate, unfortunately... I’m sure it’s doing wonders for my fitness.”

 

 

“Shame about the limit, but I suppose that’s true. Associate, though... that’s a step above ‘employee’ or ‘bodyguard’” (or ‘sex toy’, which I certainly enjoy). “But I rather like associate...” I raise a glass to you. “May we do wonderfully violent things together, Boss... and to each other, whenever possible.”

 

 

“‘A partner or companion in business or at work’ - Yeah, I guess it’s a step up. You are though - you are bodyguard and second in command and army commander and army and advisor and... well, all I’ve got at the moment. Housekeeper. Nurse. Valet. Cook. Lead assassin. Body disposal unit. Sex toy.

Congratulations, you’ve made it to the top of Moriarty’s Empire. Took Steve five years. Quite an achievement, Tiger.”

I notice I’ve finished my food already - wow.

I take a sip of my wine. “What’s for pudding?”

 

 

“I saw some more gulgulas - banana fritters, basically. I can warm them in the oven, and they’ll be delish.” I drain my glass, and get up. “So, this ‘Steve’... you weren’t able to track him down?” I ask, heading to the kitchen.

 

 

Did I tell you? I don’t remember - those first days were hazy.

“Steve disappeared. Just after the last day I can remember. I’m not sure if he was killed, arrested, or hid, but his online presence just ended abruptly.

We do have a protocol for if either of us get arrested or need to disappear, but he’s not got in touch in the chatbox where he was supposed to leave a message. So either he’s still incarcerated, or dead, or terrified so badly that it made him more scared of them than of me.

Or who knows, he might be working as a vicar in Clapton.”

 

 

I listen to this explanation as I slide the fritters in the oven. You seem to be taking it alright that your former top of the Empire has bloody disappeared. I’ll assume that means you weren’t fucking him, too.

I return to the dining room, and pour us both more wine. “And if I disappeared one day, you would just move on to the next bodyguard? Even though I might be a priest in Covent Garden?” I tease. “It’s OK, I get it - but you should know, Jim - if I didn’t know where you were, I would turn the world fucking upside down to find you again. I’ve broken soldiers out of secret prisons that didn’t even officially exist. Nothing would stop me from finding you.”

I drain my glass. “I would be a fucking terrible man of the cloth...” I say, grinning. “Showing up drunk on communion wine... winking at hot parishioners... passing out in the confession booth. I’m certain I’d be fired, if not excommunicated...”

 

 

“He hardly just *disappeared*. I disappeared and didn’t know that I’d disappeared for months. I’ll try to get him back, but until I have a clue about what happened, there’s nothing I can do. And it’s not like he was the only one - the people below him disappeared too. There may be a fucking prison full of Moriarty’s people, or they may all be dead, or converted to a life of the cloth, I just don’t know. I need more data to be able to as much as form a speculation.”

I feel a bit miffed at what seems to be you accusing me of just abandoning my second. If I could help him, I would. Not out of loyalty or affection, but because he’s good and I want to keep him, because he’s mine and I don’t like people messing with what’s mine, and because if people know I come down like a ton of bricks on anyone harming my organization, they’re less likely to do so.

But you saying that you will move mountains to rescue me if you can... that’s reassuring. Even if I don’t know *what* happened, and even if you can’t take on Mycroft Holmes - knowing you have my back is good to know.

 

 

Hm. May have overstepped my bounds with that... but that’s my way and has always been. Can’t know how much I can bend the rules of the universe I occupy until I slam against them. Test for weaknesses, seek out loopholes, and try again. It worked for an aristocratic brute of a father, snotty elitist schools, the army, the Regiment, living outside the law as a contract killer... now you - you’re different. I have the utmost respect for you. I’m not trying to get away with anything - I. Just. Have. To Know. How far can I go with you? How far before you smack me down? I’ll take being smacked down over not trying. I’ll never not try.

I don’t think I’m thinking about work anymore...

I shrug. “Fair enough. We’ll get to it when the time is right.”

I hear the oven timer ding.

“Well, it looks like the time is right for banana fritters, at least.” I get up, and return with two plates of fritters with a small scoop of coconut ice cream, and place it in front of you. Then I sit down and tuck into mine.

 

 

‘We’ll get to it’ indeed. I’m glad you’re taking an interest in Steve’s fate. I guess that means you’ve decided I wasn’t fucking him, or you’d be all snippy about that. It’s kind of cute, in an unacceptable and annoying way.

I eat the fritters and ice cream, finish the wine. I’m getting tired - probably a good thing; I need to recover from shitloads of shit - a fucking stonefish, being sick for a week, being shot in the shoulder, being brainwashed for months - it’s a wonder I’m still standing...

“Why don’t you sail out with the doctor, and I’ll watch some programme or other... then I’d like to sleep again, I guess. You can come if you like but don’t feel like you have to - I likely need more sleep than you.

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten your punishment. I’ll take care of that tomorrow,” I say magnanimously.

 

 

“Oh thank you, I was so worried about that...” I say with a half-smile. “Alright, I’m heading out... I’ll join you later.”

I get up, clear the plates and carry them to the kitchen. As I’m cleaning up, I think how strange it is to hear ‘you can come if you like’... and how much it terrifies me that if it falls so easily from your lips, then the opposite could be said, too. ‘Find yourself another bedroom to sleep in’ or ‘I want to be alone tonight’. My hands clutch at the counter at the mere thought. That can’t happen...

I finish cleaning up, and head to where I stored the body without saying goodbye - I’m sure you would find that sentimental and unnecessary.

I wrap the body in bin bags, secured with rope - then haul it out to the boat. I cover it in blankets and snorkelling supplies that I found. I really don’t think I’ll be seen, but you don’t get as far as I did in my line of work assuming everything will go according to plan.

I gun the motor, and head out on the water. My first act of killing and body disposal for you! Aww. I breathe in the sea air, and appreciate the momentous occasion. Something else has clicked into place - I’m not just your bodyguard, not just your second. I’m your assassin, your killer, your leashed Tiger, straining at his chain. Leaping at whoever you tell me to... a faint smile crosses my lips as I stare across the sea in the darkness.

 

 

I eat some oranges and a banana, then settle into the bedroom with a large bottle of water and a measure of whisky.

I switch on the TV and flick through the on-demand stuff. Recommended is some nature documentary about the sea - I *don’t think so*. I scowl at Sir Attenborough and his stonefish and sharks.

I settle on something called ‘Black Mirror’ which promises five-minutes-into-the-future dystopia - just the thing to cheer me up, I guess, but it looks intriguing. I do enjoy the first episode - what a brilliant idea - I must do that some time.

I’m cheerful and comfortably sleepy when you get back. It’s such a relief to not be in pain or sick... my foot and shoulder are a bit achy but if I relax them it becomes a soft background pain, easy to ignore.

“Had a good boat trip? We should make the PM fuck a pig when we get back.”

 

 

The disposal of the body over the edge of the boat goes swimmingly (hah), and I turn the boat around. So peaceful out here on the waves, under the night sky. I wonder if I can convince you to go for a boat ride sometime. Would it count as nature, if you’re in a boat? I think I already know the answer to that. But I won’t say it’s to look at the stars... I’ll wait until you’re stir crazy, and present it as getting some air. It probably still won’t work...

I bring the boat back to the island, dock it, and head back inside. I assume you’ll be sleeping, but I’m surprised to find you watching telly and looking rather comfy in bed with snacks and whisky. Mmm. Yes, I think I will join you.

“Yeah, it was real joyride - we should - What?”

 

 

“We can’t, it wouldn’t be original any more... I wish I had thought of that. I should meet this Charlie Brooker. I like the way he thinks and I could make it happen.”

You’re looking at me like I’m delirious, so I explain the programme I just watched, to generous laughter from you.

“I’m too lazy to watch another one, but I’m quite comfy... I got myself a whiskey but haven’t touched it yet. You want one?”

I think I’m asking you to keep me company or something. Which I would never do, of course. But I kinda want to chat a bit and doze off with you here. I’m so comfortable and it’s been so long since I’ve been comfortable and I want more comfort and you are comfort-increasing.

 

Chapter Text

I’ve never seen you like this before... sleepy, relaxed, gentle... even a bit... sweet. Which is truly wonderful, and I want more.

“Yes, and you never have to ask that question...” I grin, pull off my shorts, and throw myself on the bed. I put my hand out, and you give me a glass of whisky.

“Cheers, Boss,” I say and have a sip.

I get the impression that you like that I’m here with you.

Aw, Jim... I like that I’m here with you, too...

 

 

“Oh, we get naked Tiger with the offer of whiskey? You’re a cheap date, darling,” I grin.

 

 

I laugh. “The whisky wasn’t even strictly necessary... But it’s appreciated, nonetheless...” I sip some more.

“This is getting dangerously low. If a gentleman were to wish for a second glass... what might he be required to do?”

 

 

“A gentleman? Where would we find one of those on this here island?” I grin.

Am I - bantering? I believe this is called bantering. I’ve never bantered in my life. Good grief. Is this the brainwashing - or is it you? I can’t rely on knowing who I am any more... is that a curse, or - a new chance?

 

 

I look around the room, and then under the pillow, before scratching my head. “I guess there’s no gentleman to be found here...” I say with a puzzled smile. “What might an unsavoury scoundrel be required to do?”

 

 

“Ugh, can’t abide unsavoury scoundrels,” I wave my hand. “Unwashed, uncouth, crude of mouth and habit. Let them into your home and they’re all over the furniture, slovenly dressed, drinking your spirits, making lewd suggestions to your womenfolk...”

 

 

“Yes, the womenfolk seem to have... fled by way of the sea.” I give you an innocent smile. “But I think you’ll find that the lewd suggestions are only directed to the most dashing of men in the area. One in particular. And if this requires scoundrels to engage in washing away their uncouth ways, making eloquent overtures and speaking with honey’d tongue... well! say no more. I have just the tongue for you, good Sir...” I drain my whisky, licking the rim of the glass with flourish.

 

 

I was tired, Tiger...

“See? Blagging their way into one’s home, threatening the innocence of the blushing youth, luring him in with their sweet, sweet words... wheedling their way into his trust... only to have their wicked ways with him once he’s let them in... using those honey’d tongues in ways abhorrent to God and man...”

 

 

“Oh, the innocence of youth! Sullied evermore by villains who blag and wheedle,” I exclaim, then smile rakishly. “Yes, tragic. Might I interest you in a nice, relaxing massage?”

 

 

“Why, my good man, what happened to your desire for whiskey? I fear a massage might prove too much for my delicate situation, and inadvertently push me into Morpheus’ realm... and I have to keep an eye out lest the cads try their sweet tongues on unsuspecting innocents.”

 

 

“Quite right, good Sir... I shall wait with you, and keep an eye out for any of these cads with sweetly wicked tongues! And I’ll protect your body with my own. Can I pour you a whisky to bolster your spirit in these dangerous times?”

 

 

“Pray do, and have one yourself, well-deserved after a hard day I dare say!”

You pour us both a stiff measure - I suspect that will do me - and clink your glass against mine. “Cheers.”

“Cheers. I must say, it’s good to have polite company out here among the yokels and fishermen. A gentleman gets lonely sometimes...”

 

 

“Oh, that won’t do at all! I shall keep you company for the rest of the evening, and may god have mercy on the souls of these wicked men with sweet, gifted tongues... who entice innocent youth to remove their clothing under cover of darkness, far away from prying eyes. You’re looking rather warm, good Sir... are you feeling warm?” I tug gently on your pants.

 

 

“I must say, I am... these climes are hard on men of standing... it won’t do to let standards slip, of course, when one is among one’s lessers... but maybe, when relaxing at night... when in trusted, intimate company... one could be forgiven for loosening one’s garb a little...”

I move up to allow you to pull down my pants.

 

 

I watch as your cock slowly comes into view. Oh, my beauty... prepare for the wickedest of tongues.

“Good Sir... I fear for your safety since the blush of youth has not fled your cheeks.”

I stroke your arse gently.

“Might I school you in what type of behaviour to look out for from these wicked men? Otherwise you might be taken in by their roguish charms... and that will never do,” I say firmly, and squeeze your cheek.

 

 

Clever Tiger...

“Alas, I’ve been in a protected environment all my life... I fear I have had little exposure to the harsh realities that provide a gentleman with the armour to safeguard himself from disreputable rascals.

I would be most grateful for whatever information you might be able to share with me that might serve me in my dealings with less wholesome characters...”

 

 

“I would be honoured to provide examples of what you might encounter out in the cold, dark world... honoured, I tell you...” I purr. “Once a disreputable rascal enticed you out of your clothing, he might do something like... “ I trail my finger down your abdomen. “In which case, you should wait and see what he does next before you respond...” My fingers reach your pelvis. “Hold steady, now...” I whisper.

 

 

“I say... this does seem deceptively innocent... or would seem so, between two men of good breeding... what might a ruffian do, though, one cannot help but wonder?”

I lie back, eager to let the ruffian get to work.

 

 

“Oh, a ruffian might...” My hand closes over your cock.

“He might even...” I say conspiratorially and begin to stroke.

“You see how this would be terribly tempting to an innocent? But if you can imagine, there’s something even more tempting...”

 

 

“I can see how this might be tempting indeed,” I say, my eyes closing with pleasure. “So good of you to warn me of this... pray, tell me more...”

 

 

“Ohhh, are you certain? What if showing you makes it too difficult to resist?” I say sadly.

 

 

“Surely with a gentleman such as yourself I am in good hands?” I pant.

 

 

“Good hands... yes... very good...” I purr. “But what about a wicked tongue? Could you resist that? Let’s just see...”

I dive down onto your cock and lick it luxuriously. “Are you feeling tempted, my dear?” I whisper against your cock, and slide my lips over it.

 

 

“I had no idea such wickedness existed...” I say, leaning back. “Pray, show me more... I need to be well warned of all the evil tricks such creatures might employ...”

 

 

I make an affirmative sound deep in my throat, as I pleasure you... oh god... what is it about you? I’ve always enjoyed sucking a beautiful cock, but after I’d move on - there were always other beautiful cocks out there to see. But yours - I can’t get enough of it. I want it all the time. I want you all the time...

Oh. Focus, Moran. We were playing a little game, were we not?

I raise my head, my eyes half closed and seductive. “That should give some idea of what lies in wait with wicked tongues... pray, do you feel you have a firm grasp of the danger, or... do you need to be further acquainted?” I flick my tongue against the head of your cock.

 

 

Hnghn...

Much further...

“I do believe yours is the wickedest tongue in existence... tell me... you’ve only ingratiated yourself with me in order to corrupt my innocence, haven’t you? To get me like this... utterly helpless in your grasp... subject to whatever unholy fate your tongue has in store for me...

Alas, you scoundrel, you’ve succeeded... I’m helpless against your wicked ways... may god forgive you...”

 

 

I listen as you accuse and lament. I almost laugh at 'may god forgive you'... but I do find myself grinning.

Well, I don't want to stop what I'm doing to respond... so I just give you a pouty expression, and a muffled 'awww'...

Then my tongue gets to work as I suck you harder.

 

 

I don’t know what that sound was supposed to be, but it felt delicious...

Game over for now, you get to work properly, using your mouth for what nature intended it for. I’m sure of it.

I lie back and luxuriate... yes, this must be what a holiday is supposed to be like...

 

 

Mmm, those sounds you're making... the little spasms moving through your body...

I need to become an expert in your body... so I can wring out all the pleasure, sounds and spasms I'm capable of. Besides keeping you safe, healthy and happy (for you), it's now my mission in life...

Mmm... good mission, soldier.

I moan as I suck you harder. Then I squeeze your arse, pulling you deeper into my mouth.

 

 

Fuck yes... this must definitely become a daily feature of my future life. I don’t understand how anyone can be this incredibly good at this. Did you sell your soul to the devil? Oh wait, yes, you did...

I groan as you go harder, deeper... let my mind go, my body go, letting myself just... feel... enjoy...

 

 

Oh god... your body is practically melting in my hands. Just that one beautiful part is staying hard, but it won't be for long if I have anything to say about it.

Mmm. You're really letting go, and it's fucking gorgeous to watch...

My fingers grip your arse harder as my mouth moves quicker... harder...

 

 

Yes well no one can be expected to withstand an onslaught such as this - not even the most upstanding gentleman, which I certainly appear to be right now. I let go into your skilful ministrations, let myself shudder, gasp - you’re so fucking good at this, Tiger...

 

 

I'm moving your pelvis back and forth as I fellate you, and god, fuck, it feels so possessive, I love manhandling you, I want to manhandle you all the time... when you allow it.

That dynamic... right there...

Oh god...

so beautiful...

so perfect...

thank god I found you...

I want you, Jim...

always...

 

 

You’re really into this, which is a godsend - where does one find an elite military bodyguard assassin who is incredibly hot, up for sexual encounters with his boss, who also happens to give the best blowjobs in the Northern Hemisphere? If I’d had any clue you existed before, I’d have moved heaven and earth to acquire you. And as it is, you kind of landed in my lap...

Almost makes you believe in god.

I’m getting towards my climax, letting myself go, feeling my entire body go tense, like a bowstring being drawn, and then *released*...

Intense pleasure shudders its way out through my cock into your eager mouth, *so good* - oh god –

 

 

When you consider how many blow jobs I've given, how many orgasms I've captained, it's amazing how fucking exciting it is every time with you. With anyone else, it was sexy fun in the moment, easily forgotten... with you, it's a bloody revelation every time. It's a ladder rising up to heaven, with choirs of angels... about to tumble into the abyss when they see how much pleasure the devil and his second in command are having.

I swallow your seed, and continue to suck you gently... feeling tremors move through your muscles... hearing you whimper... aw.. poor Boss... I'll stop very soon...

 

 

You’re determined to suck every last particle of pleasure out of me - you evil -

I mewl pitifully -

was that *me*?!

“Stop-“ I pant.

Finally you relent. I am lying prone on the bed, breathing shallowly, heart racing, eyes wide, trying to... not die, mostly.

 

 

Satisfied, I watch you panting. spread out naked in bed, looking rather shocked.

This is just the beginning, sweetheart... I'm still learning your body and I'm making an intensive study of it. Soon you'll be helpless against my considerable skills and formidable talents...

God, you're beautiful...

"So. First lesson complete. Do you have a better understanding of crafty men and their wicked ways?"

 

 

“You depraved scoundrel...” I pant, “but... I fail to understand - what is the benefit to you of doing this? Is it merely the satisfaction of corruption? Or - does it satisfy you in other ways?”

 

 

I laugh low in my throat. "Oh, my dear... it's both. Of course, the corruption is deeply fulfilling. But mostly it brings me pleasure to see you shivering in ecstasy under my attention..."

I grin. "You'd have to be wicked to understand..."

 

 

“You must be the wickedest man in existence... I do declare, your excitement is obvious and plain to see! How do you then get your fulfilment yourself, I wonder?”

 

 

I run my hand through your hair before tightening my fingers in the gleaming black strands. “Oho! You want to know all the secrets behind my wicked ways... Well, let me ask you this..” I murmur, gazing at you. “Are you curious about how it feels to pleasure a man? Leaving him helpless and powerless, under you... moaning and shaking in ecstasy?”

 

 

Oh really Sebastian?

“No. I think I prefer to be the one being pleasured... I’m sure my position in life awards me such. But if you want to demonstrate to me how you moan and shake in ecstasy, you have my permission...”

 

 

I chuckle. Little shit...

“I’m delighted to have your permission, good sir... and I should be honoured to show you a demonstration of ecstasy.” I waste no time, and get on my knees to give you a good view. My cock was already erect while I was blowing you... now at the prospect of wanking for your viewing pleasure, it’s rock hard... seems to be a default position around you.

I lick my palm and fingers slowly, and wrap my hand around myself. Alright, little Seb... let’s show him how this is done.

I begin to stroke, my eyes fixed on yours. God, you make me hot...

 

 

Fuck, you’re hot... your perfect body covered in my marks, your muscles rippling under the skin as your arm moves, your beautiful cock standing at attention for me...

I’m sleepy and dozy, but this is a very pleasing sight before sleep... might induce pleasant dreams.

Your eyes are gazing into mine, and I love seeing the lust and adoration; fully focused on me as you are pleasuring yourself.

 

 

My eyes flicker over your naked body, lying on the bed now in an indolent manner... as an Emperor might stay prone and languid while one of his male slaves performs for him.

Mmm - Emperor and slave... fuck, that's good.

My speed and intensity increases, and my lips part.

You gaze at me, lazy and curious... so remarkably feline... so elegant, so above it all...

and with a gleam of pleasure in your eyes...

Yeah? You like this, Kitten?

Well, it's all for you...

You wanted ecstasy? Watch this...

I sink down to the floor, resting my arse on my calves. My back begins to arch, and my head drops back slightly.

I start to pant...

and shiver...

and moan...

fuck... yes... you are my Emperor, and I am your willing slave...

 

 

Fuck. You’re a first-class performer, my darling... good to know. I’m almost tempted to film it, but I don’t need to, do I? I can have this any time I want... it’s mine... fuck, what a find...

You’re getting there...

“Open your eyes, Sebastian...” I whisper, and you hear me, and your eyes look into mine - a shock goes through me - what’s that?! I have no idea... but your eyes are so intense, so beautiful, so... open... I can see the depths of your soul as you lose yourself, and you shudder, and your mouth is open, and you look at me with such naked *need*...

I’m fascinated, can’t look away –

 

 

I’m almost shocked to hear my name. I’m in such a dreamy state, I’ve almost forgotten where I am...

I’m with you.

And your eyes are on me, and I almost stop in a daze because that’s what your eyes do to me...

but it wouldn’t do to stop... not with you watching me... wanting me...

oh fuck...

Oh fuck...

It’s entirely different to look at you as I do this... feeling myself being penetrated by your stare... commanded by it...

god, I can’t last much longer...

You’re so - fucking - hot -

My body spasms, and I moan with pleasure, staring back at you...

 

 

Your eyes boring into mine...

I like looking into people's eyes; it unnerves them and it can tell you so much about them. But yours are unlike anyone else's I've ever seen... the colour seems to change with the light, from steel blue to warm grey; in this artificial light they're almost greenish.

And the things I could see... you definitely have a crush on me; oh you silly man...

you're lethal and could kill me in the blink of an eye, and that's kind of hot...

you've got admirable self-control, learnt over many painful years rather than through predisposition, which is good, because I can be an infuriating fucker, and I love testing people's limits...

you think I'm the hottest thing on god's green earth, which is flattering...

and then your eyes narrow, and you're coming, shuddering, panting, your eyes squeezing but managing to stay open, to keep looking at me, as instructed...

Such a hot scene... such a hot Tiger...

We are going to have such fun when I'm back on form...

 

 

Oh god, oh fuck...

Jim...

I’m coming, so hard, for you, for youyouyou...

I want you, ohhh...

Thoughts dissolve into the shivering, shuddering mass that is Tiger...

I pant as I stare up at you...

I want you...

 

 

It's with a slight shock that I realize that I *own* you. I actually own you. It's not a game, not just a phrase - it's reality. It's plain as day on your face.

I won't need to test your limits. There are no limits. If I told you to jump off a cliff, all you'd be worried about would be how I would cope without you.

I sit back.

That is - quite something. I've owned people before, but it was always a blackmail thing... I had them in my pocket, but they were desperate to escape it. You are the only one to have jumped into my pocket of your own accord... and you'll stay there indefinitely if I let you.

I'm overcome with a wave of - not tenderness - but - goodwill?

I appreciate you, Sebastian. You are good for me.

I smile, hand down some tissues. You wipe yourself off.

"I'm nearly drifting off... are you coming to bed?"

 

 

I’m panting as I look up at you. Feeling shivers ripple through my body... fuck... that was more than just bloody hot, which it was... but it felt like you stared into my soul, and gained possession of it somehow. You already had my body... you had my mind... now, I feel powerless in your presence, fully mesmerized by you, as you observe me...and assess me.

(And... what about your heart, Seb?...)

No. Heart has no place here. That’s not what you want. That’s not what we do.

You do not let your heart into this... got it, Moran?

I clean myself off with the tissues you hand me. Delighted, I hear you invite me to join you in sleep...

“Affirmative, Boss... I could use some sleep...” I grin at you, and settle into bed.

This is good... amazing. Fortune smiled at me when I stumbled blindly into your church...

I have everything I need here.

“Night, Boss...” I yawn, and close my eyes.

 

 

You seem happy to be invited into bed... should I be worried about that? Nah - that's your problem; I made that clear... no cuddling, alright Tiger?

I'm so tired... but this was a good day, overall. My foot's doing well, my shoulder is hardly giving me any trouble, I didn't think I was a priest, and we got rid of that doctor.

Aw... your first kill for me... many more will follow...

... and some excellent sex. I could get used to this lifestyle...

(No I couldn't. I'm too edgy - it's only because I'm so fucking tired that I can bear this inactivity.)

Well you're here to rest so just be tired and inactive. It's good for you.

Whatever...

Sleep...

 

 

I wait a moment then open my eyes. Yours are closed, and I watch you breathe... then I look at my hand, resting near yours.

Don’t even think about it, soldier.

What did I say?? You’re thinking about it...

My hand curls against the sheet and I stare at your pale fingers resting against your pillow. Your hand is the perfect size for mine, I find myself thinking as I drift off.

 

 

I wake up - a body -

danger -

I stiffen, reach out for my gun -

no - wait - this is ok now. There's a body in my bed now. It's a Tiger. It's safe.

It's also *touching* me.

I guess it's alright - you're asleep - so am I -

I drift back off.

 

 

I’m cuddling with the cat... it’s being unusually sweet and rubbing against me. Outside there’s a stonefish trying to get in. I see it bumping against the window. The cat tenses and hisses in my arms.

“Don’t worry, sweetie...” I murmur into its neck. “I’ll protect you.”

The cat stares at me, then bumps my head, purring... then he settles into my lap to sleep.

I awake, and find myself pressed against you with my face in your neck.

Shit...

Thank Christ you’re sleeping...

I take a moment to enjoy your skin against mine and then ruefully move away from you.

I sigh, close my eyes and fall back asleep.

 

 

When I wake, it's around eight AM. A good time to wake up, I guess. There's a big sleeping lump next to me.

I lean on my elbow, study your sleeping face. People are unguarded in their sleep, no masks, which can be useful when you're trying to find things out about them...

I study the lines on your face. Lines around your mouth and eyes and on your forehead indicate a period of intense grief of at least a few months in the years of puberty. A lot of laughter in adulthood as well, but always with that core of pain underneath. A lot of time spent in sunny climes, squinting against the sun. Tiny veins on your nose, almost invisible in your tanned skin, signal alcohol abuse (oh god I'm not getting those after all Father James' drinking am I!? I must check in a mirror as soon as I get up!!). A pale scar near your ear - a knife grazed shallowly. Another scar in your beard, where no hair grows - also a knife, but much older. Probably late teens, early twenties.

Your face as you are sleeping is tense - you are used to remaining on guard as you sleep, which makes sense, given your years in the army. Probably if I popped a balloon next to you you'd hit the ceiling and grab your gun on the way down - that might actually be fun to try some time...

I chuckle, which wakes you. You look momentarily disturbed and displeased, then you see me.

 

 

The stonefish has sent a threatening telegram... the kitten is terribly upset, and is pacing, hissing, glaring at the window.

Suddenly I hear cruel delighted laughter... did the stonefish get into the house?

My eyes fly open, and I look around with confusion. Oh - dream. Who the fuck am I sleeping with? And why did they wake me up?

My eyes settle on you. Island, Jim...

crush.

Right...

I yawn and stretch. “What are you laughing at so early? Was I talking in my sleep? I can’t be held accountable for what I say when I’m unconscious...” I give you a lopsided sleepy grin.

 

 

Ohhh, silver platter...

“You were! You were saying that you adore me... oh, Jim...” I imitate your voice. “You are so beautiful, so sexy... please, fuck me rotten...”

 

 

“I - what??” My eyes widen, and I swallow hard. “See? Dreams are so delightfully wacky, aren’t they... there was a fish sending telegrams to a cat, too.” I grin at you wryly, trying to ignore my heart racing.

“Anyway... you are beautiful and sexy and you know it. So of course I wanna be fucked rotten...” I raise an eyebrow. “Coffee?” I ask innocently.

 

 

"Before or after being fucked rotten?" I smile.

 

 

“Oh, after sounds amazing...” I say lazily, rolling onto my side. I prop myself up on my elbow, and eye you with a hungry smile.

 

 

Are you ever *not* up for sex? I think I've already had more sex since I came back from being Father James than in the year before I was him. Not that I'm complaining - it appears being a priest for a few months is good for one's libido...

What to do, what to do... how to use this absolutely gorgeous man, mine to use as I see fit...

Let's put him to the test a bit.

"On your knees, Tiger..." I point to the side of the bed.

 

 

I watch you look at me pensively, then I do as ordered. What do you have in store for me?

I have never had so much sex with one person... and I sure as fuck didn’t expect it to be so hot... although I’m well aware it’s because it’s with you. I just can’t get enough of your attention, your skin, your gorgeous cock... in my mouth, in my arse, I just want it all the time...

fuck... take me... use me... I’m yours...

 

 

Your eyes blaze at me, gaze hungrily at my face, then my pelvis. Yes, my dear... all yours...

I sit at the edge of the bed, grasp your hair, push your face forward. Your mouth opens obediently, and I push you onto my cock.

 

 

God, I’ve never been like this with anyone before... longing to serve, to be at your mercy...

My army mates wouldn’t recognize me. And I don’t care...

Your fingers twisting in my hair... so hot.

My head being pushed down to service you... glorious.

Your cock in my mouth... oh...

Fuck... Yes... Sir...

I can’t say it, so I groan with pleasure...

and groan again as I suck your beautiful cock harder...

 

 

Oh yes, you're enjoying this. There doesn't appear to be much you don't enjoy, as long as your body gets attention. You don't appear too keen on talking, which is fine. This is a much better use of your mouth, anyway.

My fingers tighten in your hair, move your head up and down, and you don't resist, just let yourself be moved, suppressing a gag reflex, I assume, occasionally groaning, which reverberates through me deliciously.

 

 

You’re guiding me roughly, pushing my head up and down, and I’m registering every moment, every nuance... I need to know how you work. No one will know your body like I do. No one will worship your delicious cock like I do.

Jesus, Seb... what happened to your backbone? part of me asks scathingly, and I imagine smacking him hard. Piss off. That’s what happened, I say, grinning ferally around your cock. I continue my work uninterrupted, sucking you hard, and digging my fingers into your luscious arse.

 

 

You're really going for it, your fingers digging in, your head moving enthusiastically, and I let go of your hair, just lean back on the bed, letting myself be serviced... no need to push the rhythm, you know it, you know how to pleasure me so well already...

Decadently I lean on a pillow, moaning softly at your skilful attentions.

 

 

Your moans, the little flutters of your eyelids, the twitches in your cock as I suck you...

I memorize every detail. They’re mine to keep, to tuck away for always.

Your body jerks against me, and you groan. The spasms are coming harder and faster... not long now...

I make a rumbling sound of pleasure in my throat, feeling my mouth vibrate against you. You groan louder. Mmm. Yes. You’re so close, and I want it...

 

 

“So good, Sebastian... such a quick learner... learning how to pleasure me... in every way I desire. And there are many ways... so many ways...”

My mind goes there... all the ways in which I can use you for my gratification - and that sends me over the edge; my fingers clawing into the bedclothes, I shudder my fulfilment into your mouth... and you swallow eagerly, keep licking, sucking, like I’m the fountain of youth and every drop of me is a blissful elixir that can’t be wasted...

Eventually it gets too sensitive and I flinch away, and you stop, looking immensely satisfied with yourself.

“Well done. Now you can make coffee.”

I manage to not sound too out of breath.

 

 

I refrain from shaking my head... selfish bugger. Poor Sebastian is going without an orgasm again... but, whatever. I would happily suck you off every day of my life without thought to reciprocation. Well, OK - there would be thought...

“I aim to please, Sir...” I say with an easy smile, and roll out of bed.

In the kitchen I start coffee and think about what you said.

I didn’t really say in my sleep that I adored you... did I?

You were messing with me... right??

I mean, it’s ridiculous to think it... when have I ever adored anyone?

My eyes widen, and I hurry to pour the coffee into cups for us. Milk and sugar is added for you, and I saunter back as though without a care in the world...

I can be carefree... I just have to not think about the thing I obviously didn’t say...

 

 

You’re taking that very well. Interesting...

I lie back into the pillows. This is a good way to start the day... quite relaxing and invigorating. A man could get used to that.

You walk in, hand me a mug of -

Well. Someone has his mind somewhere else.

“Come here, Moran.”

You walk up to me, eyes questioning.

“On your knees.” I’m not standing up for this. You kneel beside the bed.

I raise the cup, slowly pour the coffee over your shoulder, your chest, your back.

“I don’t take milk.”

 

 

Oh. Changed your mind, did you?

Are you going to -

FUCK

I hear myself yelp, and it sounds like an animal in pain.

Right, because it fucking hurts...

Seriously, Jim??

I squeeze my eyes shut as the heat is absorbed in my skin.

"Fucking Hell," I say through gritted teeth, and you stare hard at me. "I don't how the fuck I made such a silly mistake, Boss."

I give you a feral grin. "I must have been distracted by how beautiful and sexy you are. Obviously I won't make that mistake again..." I did mean the mistake of adding milk, but I recognize that it could be interpreted as not being distracted by your sexiness again. I'll just let you wonder...

Not that you care.

Whatever.

My hand grasps the cup, grazing your fingers... then I pull it back sharply. "I'll just get you a new cup, shall I?"

 

 

Why did you pull back from the cup? Did you feel that shock when your fingers touched mine? Just static electricity, Seb...

"Make it quick," I say, put the cup onto the side table.

Where was I? Oh yes, that this was a good way to start the day. *If* your idiotic bodyguard is capable of remembering how to serve your coffee.

You walk in with a new cup. Ah good, you made a pot. I take a sip. At least you didn't forget the sugar.

"Much better."

 

 

I make sure to wait until I've left the room before I roll my eyes... and reached the kitchen before I mutter under my breath.

You did this, Seb... the disapproving part of me reminds me helpfully. Gave yourself completely to your psycho boss who likes to cut you up for fun... and when you give him an epic blow job, instead of reciprocating, he pours coffee on you for adding motherfucking milk??

I shrug and rinse my stinging chest with cool water. No big thing, I think as I pour coffee into a new cup.

My disapproving voice is now yelling at me. Really, Moran? Really? You were a highly respected, decorated star of the SAS... and now you're fetching coffee and dumping bodies and sucking the cock of a beautiful sadistic psycho, and getting abused for your trouble? What is that?? Why are you doing this?!

I grit my teeth as I add sugar. I can't get this wrong.

Piss. Off. I snap at myself. Obviously I'm in -

My eyes widen, and I suck in my breath.

Fuck.

No...

A spoonful of sugar hovers over the cup and almost drops too much in.

A crush is one thing, soldier...You are not allowed to fall - to develop feelings.

"No no no..." I chant to myself softly, eyes closed and hands gripping the counter.

You do not have feelings for him. Understand?

You would have to be insane to have feelings for him.

Get your shit together, for fuck's sake...

Right. I got this. I can do this.

I hurry back with the fresh coffee, and am granted your snippy approval.

Well, you're still a little shit... that helps keep things in perspective. I arch an eyebrow.

"You'll just have to punish me for something else, Boss..."

I hear manic laughter in my mind.

Oh Jesus, Seb...

 

 

Oh yes - thanks for reminding me. You have a punishment coming still for yesterday's sheets. I'll indulge later... when I'm up for it.

First let's enjoy my coffee. Then - explore the island a bit, hobbling. And when I say island, I mean the paved bits. Or at a stretch, planked bits, in the case of the jetties.

I'll want to hit that gym. I need to work off some tension, aggression; and I need to get stronger. I'll have to use the machines that don't require foot pressure, but I can work on my arms, make sure my shoulder doesn't freeze - do some crunches - I'm sure you're a perfect spotter.

I pat the bed next to me. "Not joining me?"

 

 

"Guess I was staying outside of the splash zone," I say wryly, then sit onto the bed. My coffee has gone from hot to merely warm, but I'm not picky... and I've had more than enough hot coffee for one morning.

"Up for anything today, Boss?" Besides tormenting and torturing your bodyguard?

"How's that foot feeling?"

 

 

"Shit, but way better than before. How does it look?" I move around, point my foot at you.

 

 

"Like you can kick anyone's arse if you want." I lift your foot to examine it, trying not to swoon at the feeling of your skin. "Looks a lot better... less swelling, less redness. Still sore? When you put weight on it, we'll see if it's improved..."

We. We'll see.

It is we, I realize in a daze. We're a dyad now - professionally speaking, of course. I have no life outside you, and more importantly, I don't want to. My life truly is enmeshed with yours now...

 

 

"Well, the only arse around here to kick is yours, and I don't think I should try to do *that* again any time soon..." I grin. "Don't worry, we'll spar again when I'm back in form - and I won't be such a pushover then, Tiger.

I do want to check out the gym today, do some exercises for my shoulder - it's healing well, but I don't want it to get stiff. And firm up my body a bit and get a bit fitter - Father James led a largely sedentary lifestyle, and I feel flabby. Yeah yeah, I know I don't look flabby, but I *feel* it. I should be able to do stuff if I keep off my foot and don't overburden my right shoulder. I'm sure you're a talented personal trainer as well?"

 

 

I shrug, grinning. "I'd say I know what I'm doing... as for how inspiring I am, that depends on how much I can boss you around. Your call, obviously..."

It was already sounding fun working out together, but the thought of pushing you and getting in your face a little is irresistible. As is the thought of making you sweat, watching your body slowly transform... My eyes light up. Best plan ever.

 

 

Oh that's how it is, is it? You want to boss me around?

"We'll see... breakfast first; not your greasy affair please - just eggs on toast and grapefruit. And more coffee. Then we'll have a walk around the island, then when the food has gone down enough we'll check out that gym."

 

 

“A boring light breakfast it is, Boss...” I hop up, grabbing our coffee cups and heading back to the kitchen. I get started on eggs, then throw in toast. Grapefruit - ugh. I look for the sour spheres, and slice into one in distaste. I grab an orange for myself instead, and peel it quickly before returning to the eggs. I realize I’ve been singing softly. Apparently my subconscious mind selected No Mercy by the Stranglers. Which is fine, as long as my whimsical mind doesn’t change the gender pronoun to ‘he’... I suspect it would not go over well.

 

Everybody has some secret wishes

Just keep your fingers crossed, maybe they'll all come true

But don't worry if they just remain a fantasy

Life shows no mercy

 

 

Hold on. I know that song. 'No Mercy'? Heh. Quite.

Or maybe you're just taking out your aggression on the grapefruits, stabbing them with your knife.

I pull on some shorts, limp to the dining room, land on a chair. You pour me another coffee, serve me toast with eggs - at least you remember how I like *them* - and a grapefruit cut in two with a spoon. I stab the thing, take a bite. Yuck. Awful sour stuff. My mouth puckers in distaste; you snigger. "I can't stand those - don't know how you eat them..."

"They're healthy," I respond. "Great for the immune system, which I need on an island that's trying to kill me. And the flavonoids are supposed to help the brain..."

 

 

The brain... oh. You poor thing. You’re worried about the state of your brain, aren’t you...

I can see why, after what you’ve been through. I think about telling you that fish is brain food, but somehow I don’t think it would be appreciated.

“So you want to eat healthy, eh?” I ask dubiously, then smile at you. “Great idea...”

Nothing to say I can’t stuff crisps down my throat and wash them down with beer. I have the body of a fucking Adonis... but if you’re going to be all determined and obsessive about getting into shape, then - I want to represent myself well. I finish my eggs - could have used a few rashers of bacon, I think ruefully.

 

 

I notice with amusement that you’ve served yourself eggs on toast as well.

“You can eat whatever you like, Tiger... I’m not the kind of person who’ll resent it. As long as you don’t eat chocolate in front of me. But you don’t have a sweet tooth anyway... and I won’t get jealous of bacon and beer.

But - I’ve been through a *lot* of fucking shit, and my body is on its last legs. And mens sana in corpore sano... so I’ll try to be healthy while I’m here. Like some fucking spa retreat. With personal trainer and fucktoy.”

 

 

"To your fucking spa retreat!" I hold up my coffee cup and clink yours. "And your healthy body and mind..." I drain my coffee, and look at you.

"Fucktoy?" I ask, grasping at my chest and pretending to be injured. Then I shrug, grinning. "Yeah, alright..."

No! Not alright! I want to shout at you, even as I'm telling myself to calm the fuck down.

I thought you liked being his fucktoy, my logical brain argues reasonably.

I do!! But I want -

More? The beautiful psycho across from you is not going to give you more... and you know it. End of bloody discussion.

I do know it... and somehow I'm going to have to live with that...

You can do this, Seb...

"More coffee?"

 

 

Your face is doing things - showing emotions, that I could read, if I cared to, but I'm *not* going to, because this is my fucking holiday and your emotions are your problem. You'll let me know if there's any issue I need to be aware of, I'm sure.

"Yes, please," I say, holding out my cup. You pour the last of the coffee, add sugar. I take a pensive sip.

Should I ease up on the coffee? Maybe I should look on the internet and see what is a good regime to get oneself back in shape, with emphasis on the mind. Or maybe I should get that doctor over here and design a routine with food and exercise. Or maybe I should get a nutritionist. I'm sure you know how to get me fighting fit, but the army isn't too big on getting geniuses' brains functioning properly.

 

 

You're lost to your thoughts as you drink your coffee. I'm not sure that I should ask - I've assessed that you value not being bothered with questions, and that you'll speak your mind as soon as you need something, including feedback. It's just that I'm worried that you're thinking about me and my little crush (it's not a - Yes, that's all it is...) - but I can hardly ask you about that!

'So, Boss... did you guess I have feelings for you yet? That must be irritating? Or is it laughable? Or does it not even register as relevant? Thought so! Never mind!'

Yeah, that would be as much fun as having my heart carved up with a rusty knife.

I get up and start clearing the table. "Just cleaning up," I say, sounding relaxed. "Whenever you want to go for a walk, I'll be there..."

 

 

"I can do without the running commentary," I say sharply. I can't stand inane chatter. Except when it's me doing it, but then it serves a purpose and people better pay damn close attention.

I grab my phone, look up which foods are good for the brain. Coffee! Excellent! Fatty fish - I bet you can go out there in that boat and catch the fattest fish around here. Probably with your bare hands. Whereas if I join you, I'll be eaten by a passing shark. Nuts, berries, leafy greens - eggs - turmeric?

"Tiger, have we got turmeric?"

 

 

I roll my eyes as I head to the kitchen. Uh huh... called it.

Minutes later, you're asking me about turmeric. Like I would fucking know?

"I hope it's not running commentary if I tell you I'm looking through the spices..." I call back cheerily. "Why, yes! In point of fact, there is turmeric..."

 

 

"Of *course* you are looking through the spices; I just asked you for turmeric, I wouldn't expect you to start leafing through the bookcase," I call back, only half irritated. How is one supposed to eat turmeric? There's a recipe for golden milk, which sounds disgusting, but I'll try anything.

"Can you make me this?" I call, holding up my phone.

 

 

"Makes sense, Boss," I agree, making sure to not laugh... but god, you're easy to annoy. I have to be careful not to go too far... but then, that's inevitable, isn't it? I always go too far, push too hard... it's my modus operandi, and it's what I need for my life on the edge. I've done a lot of shit being in your employ (and under your whip) that's new for me, but that one thing is not about to change...

I glance at the phone you're waving at me. "Jesus. Really?" I make a face. "Sure thing, if you want to put that in your body... I could look for a recipe that has other shit in it, something more palatable like a smoothie.."

 

 

"Seems alright. Just make sure you have the aniseed and add honey. And cinnamon. And don't forget the pepper."

You cook the concoction and I take a sip. Not too bad, actually. Like a good boy, I drink my entire cup, whilst you look on with a raised eyebrow. "Not bad. Now let's explore."

My mind map is dying for something new. Even if it's a fucking boring island with dangerous wildlife.

You help me into the bedroom, where I put on long trousers, put my socks over the ends, tie on boots over them, then put on a long-sleeved t-shirt which I tuck into the waistband, and a hat.

"Do you think I should put some net curtain around the hat?"

You're looking at me absolutely stupefied.

 

 

"If you're that paranoid about bugs, that's what insect repellent is for. You don't need to add netting to a hat unless we're starting an apiary..."

Jesus, this stonefish thing has really thrown you for a loop... "Listen, Boss... I know the stonefish experience was wretched. But something terrible is not going to happen every time you step foot into nature. I spent years out in nature, and I survived..."

Hell, I even survived a tiger attack, but I'm hardly going to bring that up now...

 

 

"You don't count. You're like - part of nature. They recognize their own. They attack what is alien to them, like me. Grew up in inner Dublin, then lived in London. Went abroad regularly - from airport to limo to luxurious accommodation and vice versa. Nature only enjoyed from inside airconditioned vehicles with bullet-proof glass, as is proper. I *bet* you, the moment I get out there, I get bitten by mosquitoes, attacked by crocodiles, crabs, scorpions, and every species of spider you can imagine. Did you know they have black widows here? You were supposed to protect me, but that didn't prevent that stonefish attack, did it?! I nearly *died*!"

You nod sagely and put foul-smelling lotion on me. "This should prevent any mosquitoes from attacking you at least. And I promise I'll shoot any crocodile that comes near."

I look at you suspiciously. "So now I smell like a chemical lemon and you still haven't explained how you will prevent black widows from running up my sleeve and biting me."

 

 

Jesus, am I out of my element... I have no idea how to reassure someone so virulently anti-nature, who proves his paranoia by citing stonefish envenomation... this evidence will always win any argument.

“Well... if I emanate some energetic field of ‘nature’ that keeps nature from attacking... best stick close to me. Within the field of protection, you’ll be safe...”

I sound like I know what I’m talking about, don’t I? And if it means you staying up close and personal to your big, protective Tiger, that sounds good to me...

 

 

I look at you askance. That doesn’t sound legit.

Still, I’ve been outside before. And we’re staying on the roads. Maybe I should take an umbrella to prevent anything dropping down at me from above...

I can *hear* you roll your eyes as I fish an umbrella out of the stand, but I’m not listening.

My foot is tightly bandaged and if I tilt it to the side I can walk just fine, if not fast. I put on sunglasses, you open the patio door and I set foot outside in the blazing sun. The nice ocean breeze means it’s not too warm, and my long sleeves and trousers should prevent sunburn as well as animal attacks.

I look suspiciously at the air - no swarms of killer bees *yet*.

 

Chapter Text

I shut the door firmly, then wait patiently for you to move further out than one step into nature.

It would hardly do to rush you - but if you take much longer, I'll be tempted to throw you over my shoulder. That'll go down spectacularly well, I'm sure...

I stifle a chuckle.

"Think of it as gathering data..." I suggest, lifting my face up to the sun with pleasure. "I imagine you want to know what's around you. I could gather the intel for you if you prefer... but there's nothing like first-hand experience when it comes to the lay of the land..."

That came out way more sexual than I intended. My lips quirk.

 

 

Easy for you to say. You look like you belong here - barely dressed, your skin resistant to the burn that would assault mine if I exposed it to the sun like that. Your platinum blond hair makes you look even more tanned... Eyes trained with a lifetime of spotting danger in any environment, be it jungle or desert or urban jungle. I bet you ooze pheromones that make mosquitoes think twice, tigers regard you as one of their own, and jellyfish fall asleep, or something. Whereas mosquitoes *love* me - they'll travel to the top floor of a skyscraper just to get to me. And I hate that chemical stuff like you just put on me - I'll make sure there are electric repellents and have people clear the room, but the little buggers will still kamikaze their way at me.

We walk along the boardwalk by the side of the house, cross the little bridge across the pool onto the beach. I look suspiciously at the sand, but nothing appears to be lurking there.

As I'm trudging along, you are walking as easily in this soft sand as you do on the planks, the muscles under your tanned skin moving and adjusting effortlessly. I scowl. I'm not an ungraceful man, but the way your body moves so comfortably in any environment - the way you are stalking this beach, as majestically as you would the jungle, or the city streets - not like a proud Lion who owns the place, but like a strong Tiger who was born to walk easily in any environment, confident that he is the most lethal one around - I'd call it cocky if it weren't so guileless and natural.

 

 

I pad along the sand, watchful of my surroundings - I mainly rely on my intuition when it comes to threats, having developed a sixth sense early on in my training. But I'm being extra mindful given your paranoia and recent brush with death. It wouldn't do to be caught unaware if one of your nightmare scenarios really did happen - I'm very confident that I can rescue you from anything and keep you alive, but god, I'd never hear the end of it if you were attacked 'by nature' again...

I spot a flash of colour as we pass by a copse of palm trees. "Look, Jim," I say softly. "It's a gecko. Nothing to worry about..." I add, as you step behind me and look at it suspiciously. What do you think it's going to do, leap at you through the air?

"They're not aggressive," I assure you, and move slightly closer to the tree. "Want a closer look?"

 

 

You do seem to pay attention to everything, like a really good bodyguard - if you were a cat, your ears would swivel around as they're picking up every shade of sound, and your eyes notice the slightest movement, as evidenced when you suddenly stop and point at a tree. What!? What danger is lurking in that deceptively innocent-looking clump of palm trees?

You point at something blatantly displaying its lethality in its lurid colours.

"No, I do not want a closer look, thank you very much. And I know it's a gecko and that they're not aggressive, but then neither are most humans, and look at the two who have landed on this island. Just our luck if we've struck upon the Jim Moriarty of geckos... he looks fabulous enough."

The thing raises its head at me, then scurries up the tree.

I move further along the beach to the relative civilization of a boardwalk.

 

 

"Terrifying thought..." I grin at you.

"But I don't think we'll run into the Jim Moriarty of any other species. One per island is likely more than enough..."

On the boardwalk, I glance at you - you seem slightly less hostile at the environment.

"What about the pool? Will you want to go swimming at some point?"

 

 

At the end of the boardwalk is the jetty where you sat, where we went swimming, and where the stonefish attacked. I'm keeping an eye on the water as we're walking along it - it's crystal-clear; anything that decides to jump me will be showing itself well before it's anywhere near.

I can objectively see the beauty of this place - the turquoise waters, pure sand, bla bla bla - if one likes such a thing. I could see that a lesser mind, unaware of the myriad dangers surrounding him, might be lured into a false sense of security by the lulling of the waves and the soft caress of the sea breeze.

"The pool? Sure - it's clear, tiled, chlorinated - and you'll check it for invasive wildlife before I set foot in it. I'm not going near *that* again," I say, nodding at the sea.

 

 

“Fair enough,” I grin. Shame you won’t go back in the sea, I was enjoying being immersed in it with you. Weird thought... but I was. It felt powerful, bigger than us... and like it connected us... like it could draw us togeth-

Yeah, maybe I need to stop thinking about the amazing power of the sea right the fuck now.

Besides, it makes sense that you would refuse to go back in, after your experience. Wouldn’t I even-

Who am I kidding? Even if I suffered an attack by a stonefish Moriarty, I’d be doing a cannonball dive back into the water as soon as I was able...

it’s important to get past these things so they don’t become hang-ups... but I don’t think I’ll share that approach to life; I suspect you would not be impressed with being given advice.

“Where to now, Boss?”

 

 

"We can walk across the beach to the other jetty, then further round back to the villa, then to the gym?"

You nod and we set off across the sand. This side of the island doesn't have much of a beach; there's only a thin line of sand between the sea and the trees, and I walk behind you warily eyeing the two wildernesses from which destruction could rain down any moment. You point out a pretty orchid - fine, I guess that can't jump at me, but I'm glad when we reach the other jetty.

"Want to go out in the speedboat?" you ask. "It's lovely to get a bit of breeze on your skin. I promise we won't get attacked by sharks and I won't let you fall into the water."

I look at the sun dubiously - I can't hold up my umbrella when we're at sea, and it's insanely strong at this latitude.

"There's sunscreen in a box of supplies in the boat," you point out. I'm about to object to using *collective* sunscreen - who knows who was here before us - but it's in a mini bottle, unopened.

"Alright then, Tiger, navigate me to the heart of the stonefish' domain..."

 

 

“Well, they’ll be hardly be floating at the surface,” I point out. “We’ll wear life jackets to be extra safe. But going out on the water was one way to get away from my stupid father when we were on holiday... I learned from a young age how to handle a boat...”

It was also a great way to get girls, and take them to a remote area for some naked sexy time, but I don’t mention that to you. There’s a lot I don’t mention to you... I’d like to keep my skin, thank you. So you can do things to it... pleasurable things... painful things... bloody things... anything as long as you’re doing it to me...

I lead you the speedboat, and hop in. I extend a hand to you.

 

 

I step into the boat - a bit small for my liking, but I've been on boats before. Good place to do business when you want to be sure you won't be disturbed, or no one will hear the gunshots or the screams.

I sit down and put sunscreen on my face and hands, and you gun the motor and get us out onto the water. The boat jumps over the waves; the breeze whips my hat off, so I hold it in my hand and let my hair fly.

Alright.

"So what's the point of this?" I ask after a minute or two.

 

 

I look back from the sea to you. Are you joking?

No, of course not...

“Enjoyment... unwinding... relaxing... letting everything go and just being in the moment...” I rattle off. I’m slowly mastering the art of non-sarcasm with you... my mother would be amazed...

Something tingles in my mind. “There are medical studies about the effect of such things on the mind and body... ” I say casually. “They can be as effective as meditation... without the duress of meditation,” I grin, remembering your one disastrous foray into mindfulness.

“Same with being out near water...“ I look back to the sea, and breathe in the air deeply. “I love it... you don’t get to see it very much when you’re deployed in the desert... but I made sure to get out to the coast when I could...”

Life before Jim... strange to think of it now…

I have a feeling there won’t be much in terms of holidays by the sea if you have anything to say about it... so I intend to enjoy every moment I can.

“Jim, look! A dolphin!” I say as I see a splash. I slow down the boat gently, and watch with rapt attention. “Maybe we’ll be lucky and -“ I watch with delight as another dolphin flips in the air, followed by another. I say a prayer to my non-existent god that you won’t think they’re going to jump in the boat and start beating you with their fins...

 

 

I look at you sceptically. This sounds suspiciously like an attempt to get me to enjoy nature. But so far it's more acceptable than that Californian droning in my ear about emptying my mind. I'll check your medical studies when we're back... for now, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt.

I look at the water, try to relax my mind. I think that maybe trying to relax my mind defeats the purpose...

A fish jumps and you get all excited. Oh. It's not a fish, it's a mammal. I guess that makes it all the more special.

You really seem enraptured, keep looking at me to see if I am displaying the right levels of exhilaration. Obediently I look at the place where they jumped.

Oh look, they jump again. You seem barely able to contain yourself.

 

 

The dolphins are putting on a spectacular show, flipping in the air, the sunshine sparkling on their skin.

I'm grinning like a loon as I turn to you. Oh. Not impressed... really?

Alright. I try a different tack.

"Did you know dolphins can kill sharks? They ram their underbellies with their snouts... or slam them against the gills until they asphyxiate - in fact, if there's two dolphins present, a shark will just swim the fuck away. Pretty bad-ass, eh?"

 

 

Oh really? One fish can kill another fish? Sorry, mammal. Wow.

"Fascinating, Sir Attenborough," I reply.

I guess the environment is peaceful enough, if people don't bring up sharks.

"Maybe move a bit closer to the dolphins?"

 

 

"Sure. You're not going to shoot them, are you?"

I slowly bring the boat close enough for a better view, but not so close as to scare them off.

I peer into the water, and run my fingers along the surface.

"They don't usually come close to touch... but it's been known to happen..."

 

 

Of course I'm not going to shoot them. They're protecting us from sharks.

Also, you seem to absolutely adore them. Since we're here, might as well enjoy the sparse entertainment on offer.

The dolphins seem to enjoy their - play? I check the rather dusty, flimsy file on Marine Mammal Behaviour in my mind map - no one knows why dolphins jump, it could be to move faster, it could be to have a better overview of what is in the water, it could be just for fun.

These guys (girls? mixed group?) certainly seem to be having fun, jumping and swimming upside down.

It's enjoyable to look at your face; you're completely enraptured. Interesting - why would you show such delight at a simple natural phenomenon? Not even particularly aesthetic, like a sunset or a flower.

I find myself looking at you more than at the dolphins. Careful Moriarty - he might get the wrong idea.

 

 

I glance at you, and see you staring at me. Here I thought you'd be observing at least out of scientific curiosity... but no, this doesn't seem to be the kind of data you're curious about at all. I on the other hand appear to be a specimen on a slide... that might be alright, if you were examining me naked and conducting certain types of experiments...

Little Seb perks up the thought...

Down, boy... this is hardly the time. Or place.

"No interest in marine life, then?" I grin. "Feel the same way about coral reefs?"

 

 

"Oh, that's the next item on the tour? Well, since the last time you showed me a coral reef ended in me being stung by the most venomous fish on the planet, it can hardly get worse, I suspect..." I respond.

 

 

"Well, you'll be in a boat, this time..." I say reasonably. "Unless you want to watch more of the leaping dolphins...?"

 

 

"They seem to be done leaping mostly. Let's look at stonefish central from a safe distance. You sure they don't leap too?"

 

 

“I’m relatively confident...” I grin, imagining the chaos and me springing into action to protect you. “But if that were to happen, I would shoot them out of the air. Alright... next stop, coral reef...” I’m thrilled that you’re going along with this, unimpressed though you may be. I turn the boat around and soon we’re flying over the beautiful blue water.

 

 

The breeze is quite pleasant, I have to admit. It seems to clear the cobwebs from my mind. I know that's nonsense, but - a good wind to blow the ashes away from the burnt bits of the mind map, to give me a clean sheet to work with - may be just what I need.

You seem to read my mind, and just loop around in a big circle, before slowing down again at a coral reef.

 

 

"There are other coral reefs that are bigger and farther away," I say, as I manoeuvre the boat close enough to the reef to see it clearly. "But I'm sticking close to the island for now unless you want to go for a longer ride..."

"Beautiful, yes? If one cared about such things..." I grin. "There would be more to see if you were snorkelling, obviously..."

 

 

I look at you in withering scorn. "I am not touching this water ever again. You go snorkelling as much as you like and bring me back pictures - there's an underwater camera in one of the drawers in the bedroom. But if you get yourself killed by one of the myriad killing creatures swarming this sea, I'll be most cross."

 

 

I chuckle. "I was not suggesting you go into the water, Boss... and I won't get up to anything that could be potentially harmful to me, when I'm responsible for you. But I will say... when it comes to nature, I rarely encounter anything I can't handle. The tiger attack was the exception, and well - I was the one left standing." I grin at you. If there's a hint of arrogance, I'd say it's well-deserved. Who else can say they've fought off a tiger and lived?

 

 

"Was that that scar on your chest?" I ask, intrigued. "I thought it looked like a claw. That was when you were quite young, early twenties? Was that during your jungle training?"

 

 

Oh - the jungle cat is out of the bag... I don't usually talk about that. Strange that it just slipped out around you...

Is there anything else in danger of slipping out...??

Better keep an eye on that, soldier.

"Yep... the area was supposed to have been clear of tigers, but - well, intel isn't always perfect. Learned that the hard way. So I had some pretty impressive training that day... how to apply everything I'd learned to a seemingly impossible situation to survive. In a split second. Or die horribly..." I say quietly.

I suppress a shiver as I remember the feeling of the tiger's claws tearing through me, the instant before I reacted like a wild beast.

"It was almost impossible to be afraid of anything again... even when I probably should have been. That tiger taught me as much as the army did... I was almost sorry it had to die. Such a beautiful, majestic fucker, but..." I shrug. "He made his choice when he attacked. He was the law of the jungle in the flesh..."

 

 

That does sound impressive. And such acuity I called you Tiger...

I look at you with even more respect. "Do you know why he attacked you? And - how did you kill him?"

 

 

"I'd hazard a guess that he didn't like me being in his territory... as for how I killed him, I was told more than I remember. Punched him in the throat like a battering ram so he'd let me go, then grabbed my knife. People were shocked I didn't go for my gun, but - I can't explain it," I say, staring off. "As if - I wanted to take on the tiger on level ground. None of this was a conscious decision. He was still close enough that I slashed open his side, and kicked him away from me so hard, he landed against a tree. When he came at me again, I threw my knife in his eye.

He was so shocked, he stayed down, and by then his abdominal wound got the better of him - which is good, because I was weak from blood loss and I wouldn't have lasted much longer. He died as they were getting me away for medical care. I wanted to finish him myself - but I was unconscious by then... I would hardly call it a 'noble' fight, but that's not the kind of fighting I know... and anyway... tigers speak the language of savagery. One second was all he would have needed to rip out my throat or my guts, and I would have been dead in an instant..."

I look at you intently. "I've never told anyone that story... only the people who saw it know everything that happened... other people heard about it from them, but I would always say I didn't remember anything... the truth is, there are things I remember that I'll take with me to my grave. That I think of every time I've been in a life-or-death, them-or-me situation. That tiger... was my greatest teacher. He came so close to killing me, but I'm only alive today because of what I learned that day..." I sigh shakily, and pull out my lighter and cigarettes. I feel raw and open, like I've been vivisected... Once I started talking, I couldn't stop... what is it about your gaze that makes me tear my fucking chest open and show you my heart??

I can't do this again...

Or you'll see... you'll see...

 

 

This is... opening a whole new area of Tiger. Something about you being close to nature? So close that you had a fight man-to-man with an animal opponent, and it became some kind of weird spiritual experience, more meaningful than your actual man-to-man fights, some of which must have been about as lethal, judging from your scars.

I can't quite comprehend the intensity of it, even with your explanation, but you seem very affected by the memory. And you say it's something you never shared with anyone, so it must be something close to your heart.

So why are you sharing it with me? Something - about me owning you? You want to show me the complete works? I did ask for that -

- brave of you to actually go there.

I'm not sure how to respond. Should I ask questions? Or should I just - acknowledge?

You light a cigarette, offer me the package. Instead I take yours, take a draught, give it back.

 

 

You haven't said anything. You don't need to - that was a lot. I still don't know why I told you all that.

I bring out a flask of whisky and tip it back into my mouth.

"Yeah, it's a lot," I sigh, wiping my mouth, and putting the cigarette back between my lips. "But then... I know about the whole Father James fiasco... Only fair you learn something about me."

Grinning wryly with a cigarette hanging from my mouth, I offer the flask to you.

 

 

I take it - there's a flash of 'not good for the brain', but - people drink alcohol together to bond, and I think that's what you want now.

What do you want, Jim?

Well, I want to have a good relationship with and good knowledge of my army. So I'll engage in bonding. And bondage, but that's for later. Not practical on a boat.

I start looking around for ropes.

*Jim*...

Don't worry, I won't... I need him to stay alert for attacking wildlife, after all.

I hand the flask back.

"Thanks for sharing that," I say, experimentally.

 

 

I stifle my surprise as best I can by taking a drag off my cigarette and blowing smoke rings at the blue sky.

"Well, I won't say 'anytime'... but I've been known to share on occasion, should the opportunity present itself. Once every few years, anyway..." I grin at you.

Even that is an exaggeration... I can count on one hand the number of people in the world who know personal things about me. Those were extremely circumstantial moments, born of spending time in a corner of hell with patrol mates, with nothing to do but wait and drink and talk. And even they don't know more than pieces of my story...

I take another drink from my flask. "If I've proven that it's safe in the boat... do you want to go for a longer ride or head back?"

 

 

"I did enjoy the -" I wave my hand - how do you call it - "speeding through the water, the wind through my hair. Seemed - calming. Can we do some more of that?"

 

 

"One speedy boat ride coming up, Boss," I beam as I turn the boat around, and rev up the engine. Soon we're shooting across the stunningly blue water, and I whoop with delight as we leave waves of spray in our wake.

 

 

I don't quite get the urge to whoop, but I'm glad that you're enjoying it. I am too - it seems - strangely more meditative than that bloody app. Just letting the wind blow around me, whip my hair, flap my clothes... it feels like the wind is blowing through me as well as over me, blasting away all the soot and dust, leaving my mind clear... I know it's suggestion, but if it works...

 

 

At some point in the ride, I put on my shades to deflect sunlight, and the occasional spray of water. This means I can glance at you surreptitiously here and there - are you actually more relaxed, Jim?

My work here is done...

I show off my boating skills, without being a daredevil which I don't think you'd appreciate. God, I wish I could spray you for fun, but that would be counter-productive to my aim... wouldn't it?

Yes, yes, it would. Behave, Moran...

I grin as I turn the boat around and head for home, welll, our vacation home.

Our... I think, softly wrapping myself in the thought, before I let it fly away with the breeze whipping at our hair and clothes.

Don't be an idiot, Seb.

 

 

“That was... actually surprisingly pleasant,” I grudgingly acknowledge as we get back to the jetty. Stepping back on solid planks feels a bit weird.

You grin like you personally created the ocean for my entertainment. Sure, Tiger... you were right, it’s not all bad.

I’m still not touching it though.

We walk further around the back of the island, where the staff quarters are, around the edge, and back towards the villa. The gym is on the end, encased in glass with a good view of the beach. It’s a sauna as we walk in, but there’s a powerful air conditioning that we could have started up from our phone to go on before we came in.

Since we didn’t, we decide to let it blow for a bit and have a seat on the sun loungers on the beach.

 

 

I'm about to suggest a beer while we wait, but I don't think you'd approve. It wouldn't hurt my workout any, but I think you'd be more of a purist than me.

"Cold drink?" I suggest. "Non-alcoholic, of course..."

 

 

"Yeah - eh - water, I guess... or do they have juice in the fridge? Juice with water," I decide, being healthy, lying back on the lounger, enjoying the warm sun. "And ice cubes. And one of those little umbrellas. And a straw."

 

 

"Sure thing, Boss..."

I pad towards the kitchen. I find some fizzy water in the fridge and mix it with mango juice and orange-pineapple juice. Ice cubes, an umbrella, and a straw later, I put the concoction on a tray, along with one for me. I don't even add rum to it.

Then I fill glasses with filtered water, and bring the tray out into the sunlight where you wait for me in the shade.

"To new ventures... health and fitness... rebuilding your Empire... and vengeance!" With a sharp smile, I hold up my glass of fizzing juice and clink it against yours.

 

 

I hadn't expected the full tropical cocktail treatment, but you manage it. I'm ridiculously pleased with my orange drink, green straw, and pink umbrella.

"To the two most dangerous men on the planet!" I toast back.

The concoction tastes quite good as well - the mango makes it sweet enough.

I lie back on the sun lounger. Surely this is how one is supposed to be on holiday? Lying in the sun, pretty cocktail in hand, looking out over the sea from a pearly-sandy beach, near-naked pool boy on hand...

 

 

I feel a thrill at being included in your toast. It's certainly appropriate to include me as one of the most dangerous men on the planet... and paired with a criminal mastermind, I may very well be in second place.

But so often I feel like I may just be a walking prop in your world. Useful, valuable, pleasurable, and other than that - irrelevant. But maybe, just maybe, you're... liking having me around?

I smirk as I drink my tropical drink. It's safer than smiling dreamily... in this moment I don't even care that my drink is non-alcoholic.

You toasted us...

Professional and platonic we may be, but we're an us... and That. Is. Everything.

 

 

We sit on the beach for a bit in companionable silence. My mind is remarkably quiet after the boat ride, and I'm happy to just look at the sea, listening to the waves, wondering about the frequency of the surf and how to calculate it.

After half an hour, the gym is suitably cooled down for us to go in.

"Right, soldier man. Give me your get-fit-with-a-shot-shoulder-and-a-poisoned-foot routine.”

 

 

"Hmm. So not much cardio, until your foot is less painful. But we can start with some conditioning..." I lead you to the gym, and get you started on a cross-trainer machine, focusing on upper body.

"Just take it easy on your wounded side. Jesus, you've been through a lot the last couple of weeks... let's cool it with the shootings and poisonings, yeah?" I say wryly.

 

 

"Oh I'd *love* to! But *someone* keeps walking into churches whilst being trailed, and swimming in a shark tank..." I grin.

 

 

I lean against a metal post, smirking. "I've sworn off churches; I can only handle one mad ex-priest in my life. And I don't think I'll be doing much swimming without you, which is a shame - you won't get to see my shark-beating-up techniques... But let me know if you want me to enact how it would go - sans shark."

 

 

"I'll happily watch from the safe distance of the jetty," I retort.

It feels good to be physically active - I speed up, want to get properly sweaty. It seems to clear my mind, get it sharper, make more of the burnt bits fall away.

 

 

Once I'm satisfied with your form, I start lifting weights. I watch you closely as I do, cautious for signs of fatigue or straining.

But you seem mindful enough. And if I'm training, perhaps you'll check out my form.

I have it on good authority that I'm a thing of beauty to watch when my muscles are in action...

 

 

It's easy to get into a rhythm, and the view is particularly enjoyable... You are a sight to behold working out. Muscles bulging, veins rippling, sheen of sweat forming on the skin... And those *sounds*...

I think I may have some unconventional options to add to the workout... I look around the gym. A gym is *practically* a dungeon, really, with the right amount of imagination... and I have a *lot*.

 

 

Your eyes are on me. A lot. And you don't care if I notice...

Fuck... me...

Why didn't I think of this sooner?

This is hardly a customary workout, both of us staring like we want to devour each other right here and now. The aircon isn't doing much to bring down the temperature in the gym... I'm surprised neither of us is bursting into flames...

 

 

Right... my shoulder is starting to ache and I think I have an idea for a different type of workout... one that focusses on the left arm, and some hip action... fuck, your muscles moving under your skin as you lift those weights... I do hope you never went to a public gym. I would not believe you'd ever got to leave on your own.

I step off the cross-trainer.

"Up... and strip."

 

 

Oh...

this worked even better than I'd hoped.

You don't even care that I'm sweaty? I'd have thought you'd order me to the shower first.

But then you're sweaty yourself... staring at me hard, licking your lips.

Mmm... I'm ready to meet this down and dirty Jim...

I peel out of my clothes and stand before you, my muscles feeling like they're bursting with energy.

"How'd the workout make you feel, Boss?" I ask huskily.

 

 

"Mine - good and hot. Yours - even better and even hotter," I reply, as I walk around you, looking at you from all angles - god you are so fucking hot - that arse - *mine* -

"On your knees, bend over that bench," I point at a thing with leg weights which has *spanking bench* written all over it.

 

 

I head to the bench, then I drape myself over it enticingly. I look back at you, eyes blazing with desire.

"I look forward to your training regimen, Boss..." I say hoarsely. "I suspect it will be far more punishing than mine..."

 

 

“Oh yes, my lovely Tiger... I suspect so as well...”

There’s a pile of jumping ropes in the corner, which is just the thing to make a gym into a genuine dungeon. I saunter over and pick a few up and walk back to where you are bent over the spanking bench very enticingly indeed... Pheromones floating through the air, stronger when I bend over your back to tie your wrists to the legs of the bench.

I lick the back of your neck, tasting slightly salty. There is something so primal about fresh sweat...

 

 

I let out a long, slow breath when you lean over me - god, you’re barely touching me, and my entire body is in flames. For you.

I close my eyes briefly. I feel you tie my hands to the bench, and I feel - so - overwhelmed - with anticipation, with desire, with surrender.

God. Yours.

I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

I feel your tongue on my skin, and I groan softly.

I thought I knew where I was supposed to be, in the Regiment... and it was right, for a time. But now I see - it was all to be the most powerful weapon in your arsenal. A living weapon of fury and devastating deadly skill.

I am your weapon, your pleasure, your anything and everything you need.

I shiver and wait for whatever you will unleash upon me.

All for you, Jim.

 

 

Convenient leg lifty thing is perfect to tie your legs to. You can move them, but you’d have to lift 50 kg to do so. Don’t say I don’t care about your health.

I walk around the bench.

“What a beautiful sight... a naked Tiger, tied down, all ready for whatever I have in mind... mmm...”

I stroke your back, your arse, your thighs, causing a ripple through your skin in anticipation.

I don’t tell you to stay put as I walk out. You know I want you to stay put; I would hardly have tied you down if I didn’t.

 

 

And then you’re stroking my back, purring at me, and suddenly... I’m alone.

You do like to do that, don’t you... disappear without a word.

A strange feeling of unease tickles the back of my neck.

The thought of you disappearing one day... you wouldn’t... would you??

But if you don’t actually care about me, more than superficial affection... what would stop you??

 

 

I walk across to the villa, using the path, getting into the nice airconditioned lounge. Ah, lovely...

I amble to the bedroom, pick up the lube from the bedside table. Such an oversight of me to not bring it. How did I expect to not want to savour my Tiger after a stimulating workout?

I consider making a coffee, but content myself with a glass of water, then walk back to the gym.

 

 

I wait and wait, cheek pressed to the padded bench.

God, you enjoy this, don’t you...

It’s the one thing I have a hard time surrendering to and you know it now… I need to feel your presence, whatever you’re doing to me. If you’re gone...

I feel myself swamped with longing. My chest tightens, and my breathing quickens.

Jesus, Seb... he’s in another room. You’re a fucking soldier, for Christ’s sake...

get a grip...

I push back the longing, and exhale deeply.

As you wish it, I will wait for you...

 

 

I walk into the gym, where you are still lying down, obediently waiting. And that's so hot...

"Not getting bored, Tiger?" I ask, putting down the lube on a convenient nearby treadmill.

 

 

“Bored? I’m tied to a piece of gym equipment with my arse in the air, knowing you’d be returning to do god knows what to me...” I say wryly, but there’s a quiver of excitement in my voice. “Doesn’t exactly set the stage for boredom... just what am I in for, anyway?” I smirk back at you.

You have no idea how much this excites me and I hope I’m not letting on... but holy fuck, do I want you...

 

 

"It's quite useful, this bondage lark," I remark, strolling over to you. "One merely ties one's Tiger to a convenient bench, such as one might find in a common household gymnasium, leaves him to stew for a few minutes, and when one comes back..." I reach to where your cock is pressed to the rubber matting, "one's Tiger is in a convenient state of arousal, ready for use as one sees fit..." I squeeze.

 

 

My eyes close. “One’s Tiger is delighted to be of service...” I murmur, and inhale sharply at the feeling of your hand on my cock. Squeezing... so... proprietarily...

Fuck... me...

 

 

I pick up the bottle of massage oil that the gym kindly provides, and pour some over your back, then set myself on your arse and get to work rubbing your shoulder muscles.

Not what you expected, I’m sure. But your muscles are so hot... and rubbing your smooth skin, feeling every one of them... is delicious...

I have a good go at your back and shoulders, then get up, rub oil on your lower back, your gorgeous arse... lean over you, letting my body touch your sleek back, my cock caught between us...

Mmmm... warm and smelling spicy and so hot...

 

 

What are you planning? I’m sure you fetched something on your way back... what diabolical plans do you have for my -

Huh?

Is that -

Oil?

Are you -

Oh.

OHHH...

I can’t believe you’re rubbing me with oil (!!!), but it feels so fucking amazing...

fuuuuck...

And you feel absolutely divine...

Oh... bloody hell... Jim...

 

 

"Your body was *made* to be rubbed with scented oils... and presented to your Emperor to be used... wasn't it..." I purr, moving up again to rub further down your arms, then moving down to oil your strong rock-hard thighs...

 

 

I breathe in deeply, as your hands continue to rub my muscles.

“Fuck... yes... Sir...” I moan.

My eyes open.

“Apologies... my Emperor...”

A smile slowly spreads across my face.

 

 

Visions of you in chains presented to me sat on a dais in a purple robe, tigers at my feet... Defiance in your face - I'll tame this one myself...

Hmmm...

Oh yes. Taming.

"I seem to recall you have some punishment due, don't you, my dear?" I breathe in your ear, making the hairs in your neck stand on end.

"Nice oily skin will be lovely and sensitive..." I trace my finger along the top lines of the M.

I get up, pick up one of the skipping ropes, fold it double, and let it fly.

There's nothing like that sensation when a whipping instrument makes contact with skin... the little shock through the rope, the *thwack* sound, the stiffening of the recipient, the look in his eyes...

 

 

Huh? Right, right, punishment...

Dreamily, I feel your finger moving along your M carved into my skin.

Wait, what?

Oh, Owww...

I gasp at the cracking sensation against my back, then a fiery pain spreads from the area.

I curse myself for not being prepared... a little positive attention, and I’m practically rolling over for you and purring. Well, technically I can’t stray from this position I’m tied into.

Whatever. Resume pleasurable pain mode. Mmmm...

 

 

You almost look shocked... really, Tiger? Still?

But soon you're getting into it... lovely pain junkie... so good to have my own masochist to torture and fuck. Sometimes going a bit too far... just pushing that edge... but not today. Today is for fun, for you and for me. You're going to suffer, of course you are, but not too much.

Rope on oily skin makes a lovely sound, and by the look on your face, and the way your fists clench, an intense sensation.

I move methodically down your back, seeing red stripes appear, then to your arse, then your thighs, which are harder to bear, I know, darling, but you're all heated up now, surely you can take this for me...

 

 

My cock gets painfully hard as you proceed down my body, whipping me - with a skipping rope, I’m guessing. Fiery throbbing pain is spreading across my back and arse, and... oh... thighs... fuck...

I let out a groan, and exhale slowly.

 

 

Groan, good - do we want more today? I'd love some tears... but it's hard to get tears from a Tiger, and I don't want to damage you too much. The downside of having my own masochist - I have to keep him in one piece. Too gorgeous to waste...

... so fucking gorgeous...

The muscles straining under the reddening skin, the eyes squeezing shut when the rope impacts, the pants, the little moans -

A few last ones with full strength on your arse, then I throw the rope aside. A yoga cushion provides a good rest for my knees as I kneel behind you, lube both of us up, and push inside - not too fast to do damage, but not taking your comfort into account - my pleasure is all that matters after all...

 

 

I sigh as I hear the rope being tossed aside.

Thank Christ... this has been so hot, but my skin feels like it’s been attacked by fire ants... and I’m being consumed by flames inside, too... I am beyond ready to get to the next part... which, glory hallelujah, appears to be your agenda, because - Oh it’s happening right now, no time to waste, you’re inside me, and I’m groaning at the sudden stretch, but it’s good pain, fuck, so good...

“Oh god...” I moan, as you start to move inside me. “So - hot -“

 

 

You don’t mind me shoving myself up your arse, do you? No, of course not...

You’re so into anything I do to you - such a sensual person. You just adore sex, in whatever shape it comes.

But I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t try to find your limits, would I? It would be depriving myself of information... and fun... and that will never do.

Your hot body, smelling of fresh perspiration and scented oil, warmed up by the exercise and the whipping, your moans, your almost involuntary words, your hot, *hot* arse, letting me in, letting me take my pleasure from you...

So this is what they mean by paradise island...

 

 

God... you’re really going at it, pushing into me, digging your fingers hard into my hips - I expect nail marks and bruises on top of your whip marks. I love being at your mercy... I fucking love being yours, to do with what you like...

As I feel your cock fucking me hard, my cheek presses to the bench and I pant roughly.

And I realize... this was the first time we stared openly in desire at each other, as if we were going to combust... I grin as you fuck my arse harder, and grip the metal post with my bound hands. I’m getting to you, aren’t I...

 

 

You’re starting to moan and pant a bit hard... which is doing funny things to my cock... but don’t get too carried away, Tiger.

“Don’t you dare come, Tiger...” I purr. “You wouldn’t want to *disappoint* me, would you?”

 

 

“Don’t worry - about me - Boss... I don’t forget fucking orders... oh - fuck...” I groan at a particularly hard thrust. “ but you don’t - exactly make it easy, do you... Sir,” I pant. My cock is pressing hard in between my body and the bench, and your thrusting is causing the most unbelievable friction... god, the sweet, burning torment... desperately, I start doing sums in my head to distract myself.

 

 

I’m glad me fucking you is giving you such pleasure, Tiger. It’s going to happen a lot... fuck once a month, it seems one’s libido increases when one finds oneself surrounded by exceptionally hot men.

I’m thrusting hard; this is going to not last much longer - oh *fuck* you’re hot -

“That’s it, Tiger - so hot - fuck, yes...”

I buckle, gasp, shudder as I come inside you... inside your hot sweet arse... digging my nails into your hips...

Fuck...

 

 

My body is rocked by your orgasm, as you slam into me and jerk and shudder against me. I shiver. Ohhh ThankChristThankChristThankMotherfuckingChrist... I don’t think I could have held on for a minute longer. God now do me, pleaseJimPleaseJimPleaseJim... FUCK...

 

 

"*God* you're hot Tiger. I have to say, I do like your style of working out. I think it may catch on... in certain very elite circles, that is..."

I lie on top of you for a bit, feeling myself shrink and slide out, until I've got my breath back. I slide off you, untie the ropes around your wrists, then your legs.

"Shower." I say, using you as a prop to stand up.

 

 

I stay still for a moment before moving to stretch my arms and legs, and then sighing and standing up.

So that's it? Can I expect something in the shower? You just loooove leaving me in the dark about these things, don't you.

I would be furious except... this apparently is what it's like to belong to you.

But does that mean I should say something or just accept my fate?

I look down at my still-hard cock and back at you, pointedly.

"If we're done here... then of course," I say drily, and head towards the bathroom.

 

 

Hint noted loudly and clearly, Sebastian...

I step into the bathroom next to the gym, start up the shower nice and hot. A Tiger with a face like a thunderstorm follows me. I hand you a bottle of shampoo, turn around.

 

 

I take the bottle a bit more sharply from your hand than I intended. What can I say? Blue balls do not make for a cheery Tiger. Sighing, I dump the fragrant liquid into my hand, and begin to lather up your hair. I feel the bones of your skull, the bumps and hollows... god. To think I already know you so intimately, more than anyone ever has, I'm assuming...

(There haven't been any others in this position, surely?? My jaw tightens at the thought.)

And yet... I still know so little about what goes on in your head.

You value me in a strictly professional sense, that you've made perfectly clear, and I understand that. But if we're going to fuck, why don't you do me the courtesy of either finishing me off or letting me do the job myself? Fucking controlling sadist...

I stare at your foamy head, seeing the difference in strength between us. I could snap your neck any time I want and you know it. You also aren't afraid. Because you know I'm loyal to the bone, and I'm incapable of hurting you - well, hurting you seriously, I grin fiercely to myself. I did enjoy that fight we had a few days ago... very much. And of course, what came after... fucking you... taking that sweet arse for myself and...

I stifle a groan as my cock hardens again. Oh, fuck my life...

 

 

Oh, you *are* grumpy. Are those the hands of someone who is thinking he could snap my neck? But you won't, Sebbie... it's alright dearheart, I am only testing your limits. I won't cross them *too* far. Not far enough to endanger myself, certainly.

Washing my hair appears to excite you though. How adorable.

You rinse out the shampoo and I hand you the conditioner, which is definitely massaged in slightly more vehemently than strictly called for.

 

 

While your hair is conditioning, I give myself a quick wash, willing my cock to go down. Little Seb remains stubborn. I let out a huff of frustration.

"As you can see, someone needs a release," I say wryly. "If I can just do the job myself later..."

How fucking weird is it to ask... but I'm not going to be retiring or precious about it any more. If I need to come, I need to come...

 

 

"I will tell you if, when, and how you will get your release," I reply curtly, then walk out of the shower and start towelling myself off.

Not quite at explosion level yet.

 

 

I step out of the shower, eyes glinting. I snatch a towel from a shelf, and towel myself off, willing myself to control my temper. I have a lifetime of controlling it until it inevitably snaps... but it's started fraying significantly in the space of a shower.

"Well, then!" I say, smiling fiercely. "Enjoy my fucking sunny mood, Boss..."

I throw my towel to the floor before striding out naked towards the villa for fresh clothes.

 

 

"Sebastian." My voice is not raised.

"Come back and pick up that towel. Put it in the laundry basket."

 

 

"Oh! Did I leave a towel somewhere?" I call back, feigning horror. I pop my head back into the bathroom, and tsk at the towel.

I lean in, grab it and still looking at you, toss it overhand into the laundry basket. Then I turn and once again, head towards the villa, to the bedroom.

 

 

Well done, Tiger... Mr Sunshine.

I walk to the bedroom after you, where I see a reluctant Little Seb being squeezed into pants. I put on some cooler clothing than before - I've survived the walk through the wilderness, well done me - walk to the living room, get out my phone.

"What's for lunch?"

 

 

I stifle a sigh. Relentless you are...

"Is there anything in particular you'd like?" I ask in a cool voice. "If not, I'll have a look at the meals that are remaining..."

 

 

"Anything will do," I wave, engrossed in an article about the possibility of proving the existence of black holes. "Just make it quick, I'm hungry. And healthy."

 

 

“As Sir wishes,” I grumble, and return to the kitchen. Once again, I find myself leaning against the counter with my head in my arms. Jesus... I do not handle it well not being able to come, apparently... it really wasn’t an issue before. I either had my pick of very willing partners... or I could have a quick wank... or if work intruded, I was able to sublimate by wreaking death and destruction. Easy-peasy.

I have never in my life had to put off coming for no good reason... for somebody’s fucking whims...

I take a glass and slam it hard into the sink. Shards of glass rebound against me and I glare at the sink.

“Oops,” I mutter, and throw another one.

“So distracted today!” I announce sarcastically.

I shove off from the counter and start rifling through the labelled contents of the fridge. I pull put a rice and veggie dish and throw it in a frying pan, adding chicken breasts with a spice rub that smells fucking amazing. Indian food in England is delicious, but the Maldives is putting it to shame...

 

 

Well, as long as it's glasses and not my precious skin.

I feel invigorated after the exercise from earlier. I do think that's a good way to get my mind back to normal. Or maybe it was the sea breeze, or the turmeric. "Tiger! Don't forget to put turmeric into the food!" I call out.

 

 

"Never!" I say cheerfully, as I crack a beer for myself. I down one, and then another.

Ah. Better.

Takes the edge off, and keeps me from starting something which would be potentially explosive.

Calm the fuck down, Seb - you wanted this. You wanted him - you got him - now you have to deal with his fucking idiosyncrasies.

Fine. So I'll fucking deal with them.

I throw some turmeric in the rice, stir as it heats, and then bring out two plates with a beer for me. I place the plate carefully in front of you, smile with my teeth, and sit down to eat.

 

 

Ohhh, if smiles could kill... you're beautiful like this. Lethal. I wonder if this is what your senior officers saw when they gave you orders you didn't like... and how they didn't shit their pants.

I tuck into the food - hmmm. "Really good, Tiger. Cooking is definitely one of your many talents." I'll overlook the third beer during lunch - you can drink whatever you like, but if you fuck up, there will be consequences.

I'm feeling better than I have in a long time. If I'm not attacked by any more wildlife, I might actually benefit from this holiday/recuperative period.

I hand you my neatly emptied plate. "No dessert, but I'll have some coffee. Don't fuck it up this time."

 

 

I can’t help but huff out a laugh as I get up - and then give a low, throaty chuckle as I walk to the kitchen. God, if you were anyone else, Jim...

But that’s the point, isn’t it... you can get away with anything and everything because you’re you. I glance back at you before I disappear into the kitchen. Beautiful infuriating little fucker...

But you’re my beautiful infuriating little fucker. Whether you admit to it or not... you may own me and give me orders, but I’ve claimed you as well, James Moriarty. You’re mine to protect, mine to serve, mine to take care of, MINE...

and no amount of your bullshit and lazy cruelty will change that. When I bring back your coffee, I’m a changed man. I look you square in the eye, and put your cup in front of you with a thump. “Just the way you fucking like it,” I say, affectionately.

I stop short of kissing you on the head, but I may as well have. I sit down with my own coffee, light a cigarette and start blowing smoke rings at the ceiling.

 

 

What? What's in that coffee? I sniff it surreptitiously - it's not poisoned, is it?

No - you seem to have cheered up. Good.

"I thought we could do some shooting practice this afternoon," I suggest. "I had some guns and targets delivered. I want to see if you are as good as you say you are, and I'd like to see how my own aim has suffered from wielding incense and being brainwashed and poisoned. No sniper rifles I'm afraid, but I got an AR 15 as well as some handguns."

I swear I see your entire face light up at the mention of these.

 

 

Oh, goody... I can sublimate my urges towards violence and self-destruction with a little healthy shooting.

“Mmm. AR 15. You really know the quickest way to a Tiger’s heart...” I quip with a dark smile, and stub out my cigarette.

 

 

"Yes, an AR 15 is a quick way to anyone's heart, really," I grin. I take my time finishing my coffee, though I see you are stir-crazy. Maybe because you are stir-crazy... you'll need to learn to adapt to my desires anyway. You don't complain, but you do jump up when I set down my cup and decree it's time to move.

We get the guns and targets from the hall closet, I set up the targets on the beach while you remove the beach furniture behind them. I hand you a Beretta, point at the targets, about 40 metres away. "Go ahead".

 

Chapter Text

I give you an exaggerated wink, and get into position.

I tilt my head and cock the gun.

"Ready?" I look at you, and shoot the first target without breaking eye contact.

 

 

Ohhh, show-off... of course you hit bull's eye.

Well, you got your audience pegged. I love a good show-off. Been known to show off myself, on occasion.

I raise my own gun, a Sig, and look properly along the sights before I shoot. Not far off yours, I notice with contentment. Half an inch off, at most. I still got it.

We move a metre or twenty further on. "Go for the second target," I say.

 

 

Impressed with your first shot, I take aim at the next one. I assumed you knew your way around a gun as a criminal mastermind, but I'm looking forward to seeing what you can do.

Still, it's hardly a competition... I start to hum the chorus to AC/DC's Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, hit my target, and grin at you cockily.

"You're up, Boss..."

 

 

I manage to hit the target as well, but from this range we really should start using rifles.

I hand you the AR 15. "Right, show-off - time to show me what you really can do."

We walk down the beach. 100 metres is as far as we can get with good line of sight, so I expect absolute accuracy.

 

 

I segue into humming AC/DC's Big Gun, and fiddle to get a feel of the rifle.

Then I take aim, singing softly.

"Big gun, loaded and cocked

Big gun, hot hot hot

Got a big gun, ready or not-"

 

crack

 

The bullet flings itself through the air with a whine, and I take the impact of the blast with a surge of pleasure.

"Big gun, give it, give it a shot, c'mon," I sing, grinning at you.

 

As I step away so you can take your stance, I sing to you,

"There's a bad man cruising around

In a big black limousine

Don't let it be wrong

Don't let it be right

Get in his way

You're dead in his sights-"

 

 

Well I've certainly found the way to cheer up the Tiger. The bigger the gun, the bigger the grin. And now he's even *singing*.

I'm not too familiar with rifles, tend to leave them to the guys - too much risk to stain my clothes - but I know the basics of how to use one. I hit the target accurately enough to kill him, unlike Mr Big Gun here who's gone straight through his pulmonary valve.

"Right - further back. We'll have to climb on a chair to look over the fence."

The whole island isn't more than 150 metres long, but maybe we could do something from the boat - that would make it harder. Anyway - I have little doubt you are as good as you claim you are. You seem so at ease with the guns, so happy you get to show off to me, so effortless in climbing on a chair, sighting over the fence and, no doubt, hitting the bull's eye again.

Too bad we don't have moving targets -

wait. We do. I point at the gulls flying around. "Shoot one of them."

 

 

Really? Why do I even bother asking. You always mean what you say.

"My father used to insist on taking me hunting," I remark. "Said it would make a real man out of me..."

I make some adjustments to the gun. "There are two facts that quickly became established. One - hitting a target is like walking to me - I can practically do it in my sleep. Two - animals are not my game of choice. I 'inadvertently' shot him in the arse one day before he could kill a fox... See Fact 1 - he never took me hunting again," I grin and take aim. "Sorry, birdie... Boss says it's your time," I croon.

Crack

Zing

...

Thump

I hand you the gun. "I found better ways to be a man. Whenever you're ready for another go, Boss... I'll be right behind you..."

I run my tongue over my lips seductively, and light a cigarette.

 

 

That was impressive. Not the nearest gull, not one flying among a load of others, one coming in at a swoop over the beach, so I could go and collect it if I wanted to.

"I shouldn't even try - I'm a good shot at close range, but I've never been sniper material..."

Still, I have the rifle, might as well try. I aim, but the bloody things won't stay in my sights long enough to shoot one. "How do you *do* that? They keep moving!" I exclaim in frustration.

 

 

"Yeah, they'll do that... Try this. Connect to your prey on such a level that you can sense where it's going. Like there's no difference between you and the prey. You're one. Once I do that, I can practically see it's trajectory, and it's a done deal... try it," I say, and take a drag off my cigarette.

 

 

That all sounds like more of your esoteric becoming one with nature crap. I look at the birds, try to shoot one, but miss. "They keep changing direction! Bloody unpredictable critters..."

 

 

"How dare they!" I agree, leaning against the fence with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth. "But since they're so insufferably non-compliant, you may need to try a different approach..." I blow smoke up towards the sky, grinning.

 

 

I was about to pack it in, but am intrigued by your comment. “What do you mean?”

 

 

I think for a moment, taking another drag off my cigarette. "You're into astronomy, aren't you?" I pause as you look at me strangely.

"So. Use that shit. Go the route of quantum physics. I only have an idiot's understanding of it, but - you and the bird are basically particles in the same field, right? Observing a particle creates a connection non-locally, as I understand... and affects the particle?" I squint at you through the smoke. "And time is our human perception of the space-time continuum? So on a subatomic level, you and the bird are connected, everything's already happening, and you know where that bird's arse is heading."

I give you a slow, feral smile. I'm divulging my greatest weapon that has kept me alive in the most volatile and dangerous situations - my ability to connect with some deep animal part of me that - just - knows.

Where the moving prey will go next -

who is a source of danger -

when to get out of the way before an explosion would have fried my arse...

An intoxicating brew of observation and gut feeling.

I guess it's strange if I think about it... I don't do it consciously. I sure as hell don't think of it in scientific terms, and I don't really care to understand it - I already know it fucking works.

But maybe hearing it in a language you understand will help you to see as I do -

as a predator locking on his target...

a bond stretching between them, invisible but palpable...

and that slow, gorgeous moment before the inevitable impact of the killing strike...

claws or bullets, hands or teeth, it's all the same...

the final notes of the Stygian tango between predator and prey.

 

 

I'm watching you with my mouth open.

That's - hardly the kind of talk you expect from a mercenary, Oxford or not. I want to pick holes in your quantum mechanics discourse, but - that's not the point. That's just a metaphor that you're using to try to explain the concept to me - the concept that you as the predator are connected with the prey, and *that* sounds like a whole load of *one with nature* bullshit, except - it isn't. Somehow, and I don't know how it works, and that's infuriating me, and I *will* work it out, this is true for you - you *do* feel which way the birds are going. It probably stems from observation of birds, internalized, and processed to a point where you can predict a bird's path like you can predict the path that a ball will take when it bounces - it's mathematics, but it doesn't feel like mathematics because you can just *tell* without doing the calculations.

Whereas my brain works by doing the calculations, and that doesn't work with birds, because they are not balls. But - if you get your information from observation and deduction, I should be able to too - I don't suppose you have spent very much of your life watching seagulls.

I look at the things swooping and sweeping, and try not to think, just to let instinct take over - it's like typing, when you start thinking about what your fingers are doing you start making errors, but if you just think the words, they appear on the page -

I lift the rifle, follow one of the gulls that is further off - I keep losing the nearer ones in the sights - and the moment my finger moves I *know* it's a hit.

Bang.

Screech.

Bird tumbling from the air - hit but not dead -

Bang. A bullet from your handgun.

The bird is dead.

 

 

You consider my words, eyeing me, and then the birds, dubiously. Still trying to decide if my approach is bullshit?

Come on, Jim... I know what I'm talking about. And you know it.

You can do this... just... open your mind to it...

Just... drop into that place...

drop

the fuck

down-

I can feel a shift in the air the moment before you pull the trigger.

A thrill moves through me, and I'm already aiming where the bird will fall before it meets my bullet.

Thump

I beam at you.

"Nice shot, Boss... Another?"

 

 

Alright, I’ll give it a try... the gulls scattered after our shots, but come back quickly enough.

I keep one in my sights, but the moment I pull the trigger he does something unexpected and I miss.

Listen to your sniper, Moriarty... whatever he’s saying works for him, so it could work for you too.

Breathe. Feel the gull. Feel its swooping path... it’s like a dance... don’t think, just feel...

Bang.

Dead gull falls to the sea.

 

 

I watch you first miss, and then try to apply my suggestions, alien though they may be to you. Once again, a thrill moves through me before you pull the trigger - and I already know you've hit your target before the bullet makes impact.

I don't know if you'll appreciate cheering, so I downplay how delighted I am. Grinning widely, I pretend to tip a cowboy hat to you.

"Nice shootin', Boss... now anyone who's trying to escape your unholy wrath is far less likely to get away." I smirk. "I was not of course referring to myself..."

 

 

"I'll still leave the sniping to you, if you don't mind. We all have our talents, and I'd be inclined to believe your claims were not unfounded, from what I've seen so far. Which might be *very* useful if we want to get Mycroft Holmes... I would love to actually get my hands on him, but that might not be realistic. Whereas getting a sniper on a roof who could get him when he's walking from his brother's house to his car... His own house and his office have secured parking garages, but his brother's place doesn't, and it's one place he can be guaranteed to visit regularly... and may even be enticed to visit by the right message..." I muse.

 

 

"Of course, Boss... sniping is my domain. But it's good to have these weapons in your arsenal, should the need ever arise, yes? If you want to practice, you could pick off stonefish," I grin. "Maybe you'll kill the little bastard that got you. It could be cathartic... until you're ready to take on Mycroft... And it sounds like you have some ideas about that already..." I consider this for a moment. "You really just want to shoot him and be done with it? I thought you'd prefer something a little more... vengeful?"

 

 

"No, I don't want to just shoot him. I want to have him at my mercy, I want him to explain exactly what he's done to me, I want to make him suffer as he did me. But what I want may not be feasible and it is good to have a plan B."

I sigh, make a frustrated gesture.

"It's impossible to overestimate how insanely powerful this man is. He runs half the planet from the shadows. When you were in the Regiment? That was your boss. If you ever wondered why you were sent where you were sent - that's him. Playing his games, using his pawns, all for the good of 'England', whatever that is. He has more enemies than you can imagine, but none of them dare take him on, because it would mean a death sentence for them as well as their countries or organizations. And that is where we have an advantage, Tiger - we have nothing. Only each other."

Wait. That didn't quite sound like I meant it to.

 

 

I listen intently. Fuck. That’s who was responsible for your brainwashing... who we’re going to have to outmanoeuvre and wreak your unholy vengeance on.

Well. The odds aren’t good, but they never are in my life... and I’m still alive. And like you said, our advantage is-

Wait. What did you say?

Each other?

My eyes fly up to meet yours, and my mind goes blank.

Shit. Say something.

I blink at you.

Say anything.

“Yes...” I clear my throat.

Not that!

“So... he won’t see us coming,” I say darkly. “And I’ll do everything I can to make your revenge possible, Boss...”

Better.

 

 

So loyal... and so lethal. You’re something special, Tiger.

“I’m thinking of a way we might be able to get hold of him, but it’s good to know that if we can’t, or it’s too dangerous, you might be able to snipe him off from a reasonable distance and get away.

I’m willing to risk a lot to get my hands on Holmes, but I need to balance it out. If I think it’s probably going to get you captured or killed, it’s not going to happen.”

Huh. That’s new. I had assumed I’d be willing to trade a Tiger for an Ice Man... but apparently I’m not.

He’s the best chance of rebuilding my life - and apparently that’s more important than revenge. Interesting...

“Show me some distance work. How far away can you hit one of those gulls?”

 

 

I carefully take your remark about not letting me be killed or captured, and turn it over and over in my mind... Really, Jim?

It wasn’t even a question for me that it might go that way... that’s the nature of missions. But - you won’t allow it?

A warm glow is forming in my heart - it’s a tiny, sweet little thing... But it’s mine.

You don’t want me captured or killed...

You want me... here. With you.

You speak again, and I blink.

“Without a sniper rifle?” I consider this, cocking my head and peering at the birds swooping through the sky. “Mm. The ones that are farthest away at this moment... I should be able to take one down, if the wind doesn’t have other ideas...”

It’s not a good idea to give a guarantee... I have a healthy respect for the X factor, the unknowable little fucker that’s waiting in the wings to cock up the works. I’ve seen too many simple missions and sure shots get blown out off the water by something trivial and unforeseeable.

So I won’t tell you I can beyond a shadow of a doubt... but of course I can make the fucking shot.

 

 

I watch you as you look through the scope, go still. Your breath ceases. Your eyes don’t blink. Your hands don’t move.

And then there’s a loud bang and a bird falls from the sky as the rest scatter.

800 metres I’m guessing. On a tiny moving target.

I’m getting seriously impressed.

 

 

I watch the bird fall, then smile faintly. “Hey, look at that. Any more, Boss?”

It feels good to be shooting again... and the look on your face... I could get used to that. Like you’ve discovered a treasure under your very nose. And I’m that treasure...

 

 

“Another two. Quick succession.” As the birds scatter in all directions when you shoot one, that would make it harder...

 

 

I nod curtly... squinting as I scan the skies, I note the remaining birds have skittered off to a different area. And the wind is picking up. Shit.

I lick my finger, hold it up to the air. If only I had my own rifle with me...

No excuses, Moran.

And anyway... if anything’s going to turn you on, it’s watching a badass soldier in action.

I close my eyes briefly, and exhale. Then before I can second-guess myself, I’ve fired off shots in rapid succession... and we both watch as the birds plummet.

Still holding the rifle in place, I glance at you. “Strange... the remaining birds seem to be leaving...” I say, sounding confounded.

 

 

I do suspect little cartoon hearts are floating round my head. Do you have any idea how sexy you are like this?

... yes, yes you do. You are looking decidedly cocky. And rightfully so.

Hot, smart, strong, *and* an amazing shot. If I have to have a one-man army, this is the man I want.

 

 

God, the way you’re looking at me... slowly I lower my rifle and rest it against my shoulder. I stand legs apart, eyeing you. Like a predator sizing up his prey...

His dangerous, unpredictable prey...

If you were anyone else, I’d be walking up to you, and sweeping you into a heated kiss. Anyone else and I’d be peeling you out of your clothes, and pulling you down into the sand.

But you’re you - and you’re a fucking enigma with claws.

I took you down once. Do I have to do that every time I want to fuck you?

“Well, you’ve got me in full predator mode now... Any other targets I can take down for you, Boss?” I drawl, trailing my fingers along the body of the rifle.

 

 

"Yes, get that fucking stonefish for me..." I grin. You look none too pleased.

Not yet, my dear... not yet.

"I'm going back into the gym. I enjoyed that session earlier. I meant the exercise, though I enjoyed the rest too... very much...

But I have the feeling it clears my mind, gets rid of the fog, the smoke, the ashes."

I start walking towards the gym. You can come, or not - up to you.

 

 

I watch you head to the villa, and I’m left alone on the beach.

Fucking great...

No, I don’t want to work out, Jim...

No, I don’t want to jump through any more hoops, Jim...

No, I don’t want to be messed with any more, Jim...

 

I blink back tears, angrily. Oh, that is it...

I swipe at my eyes, and glare in the direction of the building.

Then I storm across the sand...

into the house...

into the gym, where you’re lying on your back, lifting hand weights.

You look up questioningly.

“Is this a joke to you?” I demand.

I take a hand weight from the floor, and throw it, watching with satisfaction as it cracks the wall.

“You think this is fun? Denying me a fucking release and then not letting me do it myself? What the fuck kind of game are you playing!” I shout at you, hands squeezing hard into fists.

 

 

I say. One can't have an uninterrupted workout around here, can one? Tigers all over the place, flaunting their sexuality, one way or another... *and* wrecking the walls. Hammad is not going to be impressed.

"Does it matter?" I ask, sitting up.

You stare at me, furiously. I look you up and down. I stretch my right shoulder, massage the tight muscles. It's getting better.

I look at you disdainfully.

"Is this what you did during Selection? Ran up to your DS and asked if this was a joke to him?"

 

 

I scoff. “That’s what this about? To show my obedience? You realize how often I was given shit for my attitude? And I was still the best fucking soldier to come through Selection... Does that mean anything to you?

You wanna break me down and build me up again as yours... your weapon, your killing machine, your loyal beast?” I growl, stalking towards you and shoving my face towards yours. “I’m already fucking yours... loyal to the grave and willing to do anything for you. And if this is what you really want me to do to prove that shit, fine. But I don’t have to like your mind games, and I’m not going to pretend it’s not frustrating as all hell!” I glower, arms crossed in front of my chest. I’m ready to storm out and have a drink, but I can’t help but be curious about what happens when I lose my shit like this. Gonna hit me? Freeze me out?

 

 

"I didn't ask you to like it. Nor did I ask for your opinion," I say.

This is immensely valuable information. Tiger's weaknesses are as important as his strengths. And it appears that your cock is an important weakness... And if you'd have shown even a *hint* of *that* kind of attitude in the army you'd have been out. So - cold, hunger, endurance, pain, stress, sleeplessness, humiliation - you can deal with all that. But prick-teasing... that goes too far, and people get *shouted* at. Good to know.

"Please refrain from giving me your evaluation unless asked for. Now - either get out or close the door. You're letting the hot air in."

 

 

I stare at you, seething. Oh, so that’s the outcome of getting angry - you act like I don’t matter enough to warrant a response?

I look you up and down, eyes narrowing.

“Far as I can tell, Sir - the room’s already full of hot air,” I drawl. Turning smartly on my heel, I saunter to the door.

“After Selection, I fucked my DS,” I call back, cocky as hell. “Some people appreciate premium cock and mutual orgasms, all night long...” I growl softly.

I shove the door further open and swagger through, slam it shut behind me. I am long overdue for a drink after your bullshit.

 

 

I look after your retreating back. Right. You wanted to find his limits; you've found them. Now what?

Well, there will have to be punishment for this attitude, of course. But there's no saying that that won't have a happy ending... but will you submit to it without knowing that?

I do think you will... you do seem to still be *obedient*, though severely mouthy. I can deal with mouth...

mmmm, that mouth.

I finish my workout, have a shower, saunter back to the villa. I can practically see a thundercloud hanging over the living room. When I come in, you're fuming and having a beer - not your first one by the looks of it. It also doesn't seem to help. Some more glasses appear to have mysteriously jumped off shelves as well - at least you cleaned it up.

The living room has some convenient beams of the 'tie your Tiger to' variety. Right. Time for a clash of wills - and I don't think it should be a problem. In the end, we both want the same...

"Get the restraints from the bedroom, Tiger," I order.

 

 

I hear footsteps, picture you surveying your realm... me included, of course. I don’t look up, and continue to drink my beer.

You give me an order. Huh. More denying me an orgasm? Fine. Whatever.

I swipe up the bottle, and leave without saying a word. In the bedroom, I mutter as I gather the restraints and finish my beer. Then cursing I head back to the kitchen, throw out the bottle, and return where I drop the restraints on the table.

“Sir.” I say in a rough purr, and wait.

 

 

Well, I didn't say 'bring me the restraints and be happy about it', so technically I can't complain. "Strip, and put the restraints over that beam there," I order lazily, then get myself a glass of orange juice from the kitchen.

 

 

I watch your retreating back, then I sigh and throw the restraints over the beam. A moment later, I’ve finished shedding clothes and I wait for your return. I know you’re going to make me pay for getting angry and shouting - I knew as I was doing it. But I just didn’t have it in me to grin and bear it any longer in that moment.

But now... I know I’m going to suffer and I’m resigned to it. I gave myself to you and now I have to face the consequences of that.

 

 

You don't seem too cheerful. Well, you shouldn't be - you are going to be punished. But you usually look happier about it. I've definitely found your weak spot...

I put your wrists in restraints, pull them up so you are stretched out underneath the beam. Then I grab your hair, pull you down into a kiss, starting hard, but slowing down to gentle, almost sweet. I stroke your cheek. "Sebastian... my beautiful Tiger..." I whisper. "You're mine. That means you do what I say when I say it, without question, without challenge. I get that it's hard, and you want to communicate that... but you can't speak to me like that. You know that, don't you?"

 

 

I inhale sharply when you yank my head by the hair towards your face. Ohh... good kiss... I melt into it despite my resolve to not get carried away. By the time you’re finished kissing me, my knees are trembling... God, it feels like I’m only upright because of the restraints.

Then - you whisper to me, your face close to mine. I stare into the endless darkness of your eyes, feeling light-headed. I realize I’ve been holding my breath, and I let it out slowly.

“I’ll do whatever you say,” I say, my voice hoarse, but steady. “But... what kind of Tiger doesn’t growl, Sir?” I ask, in all seriousness. You don’t really want some weak little pet without teeth, do you?

 

 

I grin at that. "I guess you're right about that... but what sadist would not punish his property for an outburst like that? It's a dance, Tiger... a dance between you and me," I say, stroking your hair. "A dance of pain, and blood, and pressure, and resistance... intricate and fascinating. And overall, you're doing well - you growl, but you do as I say, which is what is important - it is the essence of who we are."

And I wouldn't know what to do if you didn't - I can't physically force you. But I can't imagine you not obeying me - like I said, it's the essence of who we are, both, and together.

I step back, slap your face. Twice from the left, twice from the right. Then I grab your hair and kiss you again. Your eyes are going soft, the way I like them... sinking into that place where you are nothing but mine.

"Are you ready for your punishment, my Tiger?" I ask softly.

 

 

God, I did not expect this... I’m completely mesmerized by you... your voice, your gaze, so unexpectedly gentle... and then -

My eyes widen as your hand cracks against my face. Repeatedly. A surge of adrenaline follows, and suddenly you’re kissing me again, fuck, Jim...

Breathing harder, I look at you as you ask me a question.

“Yes, Sir...” I murmur, then lick my lips. “Shall we dance?”

 

 

"Hmmmm..." I murmur, then walk to the bedroom where the rest of the equipment is. I lift the bag, carry it to the living room. I look at your body, already so full of my marks. I'll have to be harsh enough to make you feel you're being punished, but take it easy enough to not damage you. I rummage through the bag - oh, yes, a good start.

I head to the kitchen, get myself another orange juice - add just a bit of vodka - and a bottle of water, peel a ginger root. Back in the living room, I place the juice on a coaster, bring the water over to you. "Here you go, Tiger... have a drink..." I hold the bottle to your lips, help you take a few sips, put it down, wipe your lips, walk around you. I slap both your arse cheeks, hard, then move them apart, push the ginger root against your entrance, gently push it inside until it's fully in. It should start working its magic in a minute... getting worse for about half an hour. I’m sure it will be a pleasant show to watch. And just so you don't get bored...

I walk around you, kiss you again, grasp your nipples and twist them hard. You gasp. Then I take the nipple clamps from the bag, take the wimpy plastic covers off, and put the metal teeth on your nipples, making your eyes screw closed.

Satisfied with my handiwork, I sit down on the sofa and sip my orange juice.

 

 

You disappear into the bedroom, and I wait, considering. This is not going how I thought it would... my anger has dissolved under your kisses, your softly uttered words... even your slaps... so proprietary...

I shiver with pleasure, and then from imagining what I must be in for...

When you return, I watch you closely, eyeing you as you hold up a bottle to my lips. Then you disappear behind me...

I feel hard resounding smacks against my arse, and then... what? What are you...? Ohhh, kinky... but what is that - tingling sensation...

I’m distracted by you kissing me again, and then by the metal clamps on my nipples... Jesus... fuck... and what is that burning feeling?

My mouth drops open... my eyes fly open... I stare at you, sitting on the sofa, drinking juice.

“What is that?” I groan. “Oh god... Sir?”

 

 

“Ginger, my dear... very healthy. Related to turmeric, in fact. It’s got zingerone in it, which is similar to capsaicin, the burning ingredient in pepper. Meaning that you’ll experience a rather unpleasant sensation, heightening in intensity, for a while.

Similarly, nipple clamps get more uncomfortable the longer they are worn.

So if you don’t mind, I’ll just sit back and enjoy the show for a bit.”

I sip more of my orange, lean back on the sofa, putting my ankle on my knee.

 

 

I wince, shift, and then suck in my breath at the flood of sensation as the fucking ginger root shifts inside me.

“Oh god,” I say softly, my jaw clenching... afraid to move, afraid of even breathing too deeply...

“Fuck... you’re just going to sit there with your drink and watch me burning from the inside... being tortured by metal clamps?” My head falls back involuntarily, and I make an anguished sound in my throat. “Oh. God. You are truly gifted at meting out punishment, Sir...” I say breathlessly, and squeeze my eyes shut tightly.

 

 

“I’m glad you appreciate my inventiveness. It’s a challenge, coming up with ways to hurt you when most of your body is still recovering from last time.”

You’re starting to sweat, and can’t seem to decide whether you should move or stay still.

It really is a beautiful sight. I’m relishing it.

 

 

I’m breathing in and out raggedly, feeling the ginger root oils absorbed into my soft tissues... clearly a rectum is not meant for such substances, and it’s heating up like it’s been stung by a spicy jellyfish. I’m sweating... my eyes are watering... every cell in my body feels infused by ginger... I can smell it, taste it on my tongue...

it’s torturous but the other side of this is that something’s been inserted into me by you... which is hot... and you’re staring at my naked body in restraints... so hot... the nipple clamps are frightfully painful, but then... I’m a fucking masochist, aren’t I? So... hot...

My cock begins to twitch... oh god, you fucker... not now...

not now...

And little Seb ignores my pleading, and perks up to stand erect proudly.

I’m horny as hell, which makes my internal muscles squeeze against the ginger root and ohh... god...

once again my head falls back, and I’m straining at the cuffs, making animal sounds in my throat.

Jesus...” I mutter, trying not to whimper. “How much longer?? Sir...”

 

 

"Twenty-four minutes, my dear. Don't worry, I'm not getting bored, it's quite an enchanting view."

I watch you pant and struggle for another ten minutes, then decide to up the ante a bit. You're going to be in a world of pain from top to bottom, Tiger...

"Lift your foot." I nudge your ankle backwards.

 

 

My heart starts to race. My eyes lock with yours.

Fuck...

not...

again...

My foot lifts slowly, but I look at you pleadingly.

“The other one is just healing now, Sir...”

 

 

"I know, Tiger," I respond. Aw, you think I'm going to cut this one too? Oh bless you... raising it so obediently, expecting to be cut open... fearing it, but unable to not follow my order.

No honey, that's for *special* occasions. Maybe on our anniversary...

I walk around, lift your foot up higher, push the toes towards the floor, so it's nice and taut. Get my cane out of the bag. "Hold still, Tiger..." I lash it down across the sole of your foot.

 

 

My eyes are shut as you move my foot into the position you want. I feel my heart start to pound, and my muscles steel themselves for that level of pain. I’m not usually troubled too much by pain, but this... my body definitely has an opinion about it. I had never experienced anything quite like that. God, you’re such a sadist, oh shit, it’s happening, it’s happening, it’s-

loud shout, blunt pain, panic, confusion... not a knife. With effort, I focus on steadying my heart rate, breathing... and ok, adrenaline, thank you very much, but there will be neither fight nor flight for the time being... kindly piss off.

I look back, panting and perspiring. You stare back at me, looking so pleased. I can’t help but shake my head.

“Your Tiger won’t be - forgetting this lesson - any time soon, Sir...” I say hoarsely, and groan.

 

 

"He won't, I know..." We had the crying out, good. I lash again, you cry out again, but less loud this time - you knew what was coming, and you didn't expect a knife.

Two lashes, in quick succession.

 

 

My muscles are trembling... my knees are weakening... the combination of ginger and nipple clamps and the cane is out of this world...

“Oh... fuck... me...” I groan softly.

 

 

“I might, if you’re good...” I muse.

“Two more, Sebastian... hold tight...”

I lash down again, and again. Six angry weals stand out on the sole of your foot. The last one overlaps one of the other ones, and you curse loudly.

 

 

Fuck... I’m trying desperately to keep tears from springing to my eyes... but with the last two lashes, I feel a prickle of wetness that I quickly blink back.

Why is it I’ve gone through much worse in the army and in battle, and others were barely aware that I was injured... but with you it’s an effort not to start bloody weeping?

God... you really know how to work me, how to strike those tender spots for maximum impact and minimal damage...

I look up and realize I’m practically hanging from the beam and the restraints. I try to shift my weight onto my foot - my knee buckles, and I curse. Weak as a sleepy kitten... that’s what you do to me…

 

 

You’re collapsing in your restraints... already... so beautiful, my dear.

That’s alright. I can think terms of endearment when you’re like this. You are impressively gorgeous when you’re losing the battle for self-control.

I walk back, look at your face. Ah... tears. I love tears. As long as they’re tears of pain and the pain is caused by me.

I sit back down. A few more minutes, my Tiger...

Actually...

I get back up, get a cushion from the sofa, put it on the ground in front of you, grab your cock, put my mouth on it.

 

 

You’re staring at me, taking in my expression, noticing my teary eyes of course... and looking pleased as hell about my state.

Which you then sit down to observe further.

Sadist...

The foot that you lashed is lowered to the ground, stinging like a fucker... I wince as I shift, the pain flaring through me, the ginger radiating burning heat...

You eye me, considering. Then you come back towards me, and... ohh, what are you -

I watch as you kneel on a pillow and then...

My eyes close, and I let out a groan of pleasure as you suck me. Suddenly I stiffen.

Every wave of pleasure is making me clench down on the ginger, and ohh... god...

I let out a strangled moan as you lick and suck me, staring up at me with glittering eyes...

 

 

How much sensation is too much, Tiger? The weals on your foot, the burning in your arse, the pain in your nipples, now me on your cock...

You’re staring at me wild-eyed. I stop my eager sucking to lick for a bit, from your base to the tip, little butterfly kisses to your head, tiny licks, then back to taking you in deep... getting you to the edge of orgasm, then slowing down again.

 

 

Oh god, oh god... your attention to my cock is making me so fucking delirious, in moments I almost forget about the burning and pain at various insanely sensitive points of my body... almost and also... not even fucking close. Reminders come screaming back, leaving me gasping at the mad fusing of pain and pleasure you’re inflicting onto my body... you’re leaving your mark so indelibly, just the thought of being with someone else is a joke... how could I ever have ordinary sex with an ordinary person again?

who could even come close this level of intensity??

my head falls back at the realization of how thoroughly you’ve made me yours...

my absolute surrender to it…

the warring sensations of pleasure and pain that have become one overwhelming, intoxicating spectrum of feeling...

I gasp and groan frantically, as I move closer and closer to the edge...

and then...

I’m looking down at you, panting and shivering, as you slow down.

Shit...

of course... this is punishment, but it’s also a lesson and a test and I don’t want to fail again...

I won’t... no matter how frustrated I get, no matter how much you mess with my head... hah... I smile faintly, and then a deep, husky laugh escapes me.

“Oh god - Sir...” I breathe, my voice barely audible. “Oh - holy - fuck-“

 

 

And that’s thirty minutes.

I kiss the tip of your cock, then get up. Kiss your mouth greedily, release the nipple clamps. You gasp in pain as the blood rushes back inside. I wait five seconds, then put them back on. You moan into my mouth so beautifully... and tears appear in your eyes, again, this time spilling out onto your cheeks.

I lift them off again, put them on the table, then walk around you and gently pull the ginger root out of you, head to the wastepaper basket and drop it in there, then look back to take in your state.

 

 

My eyes are tightly shut at the sensations coursing through me as the sources of pain and burning are removed... I hear you walk away over my ragged breathing. God... this feels like going mad slowly... how long before I feel some semblance of normal again? My utter horniness isn’t helping any. My cock is painfully hard and hot against my abdomen... twitching and longing for your attention... and absolutely desperate for release. God, at this point I’m so hypersensitive I think I could come if you touched my arm. When your footsteps return, my eyelids flutter open.

I don’t think I can take much more of this...

I pull myself up straighter, and wince at the pain in my foot, the strained muscles in my shoulders and arms, the shrieking pain radiating from my nipples, and the throbbing burning in my arse...

I stare at you, and let out a shuddering breath.

 

 

So utterly spent... and I hardly lifted a finger.

You're looking at me desperately, your breath shallow, sweat on your forehead.

I stroke your face, wipe the tears that spilled onto your cheeks, move close, look deeply into your eyes. They're grey, with hints of green and gold on the edges.

A final test.

"Tell me Sebastian... do you want to come?"

 

 

I stare into your eyes, feeling lost in you, so utterly lost...

“God... you know I do...” I whisper, feeling something sweep over us and between us. It nearly knocks me off my feet, light-headed and trembling as I am...

But then - I think there’s more to the answer than that.

“If you allow it, Sir...” I murmur. “Then fuck, yes, I want to come...”

 

 

Test failed.

"I know you do, Tiger... but you have to learn that your orgasm is a gift from me, to be bestowed when I want it to be. Which is not yet... And I'm not going to tell you when it will be. It may be today... it may not be. But whenever it is, you will be grateful. And you will not whine and be angry until then.

Do we have an understanding?"

 

 

My heart sinks. I really thought I had it...

I feel like I’ve failed you, somehow... disappointed you. I exhale long and slow.

“We’re in accord, Sir. I thought in the moment it was all I wanted, more than anything in the world... but I was mistaken...” I stare at you intently. “As ever, Sir... I’m yours...”

 

 

Good Tiger. You're learning.

I realize we're still staring into each other's eyes, our faces so close - if this were a film, we'd be kissing in a moment, while music swelled to a crescendo. But this isn't a film. And we have kissed. And there's absolutely no need to do it again.

The distance between us decreases. My lips brush yours. So smooth, such a contrast with the rough stubble around them. And then my head moves sideways, my lips close on yours, my tongue comes out, tasting, testing your lips - what is goin