The days just keep flying by. It’s as if I’m watching a carousel spinning around and around and around, and even though the backdrop changes, even though the day drifts into night into day again, and even though people get on and off the ride and drift through their humdrum little lives, it’s the same lights that keep flashing, the same wheels that keep turning, the same songs that keep playing in constant repetition and ultimately,
nothing ever changes, and nothing ever will.
I wondered how many days it had been since Sebastian died, so I checked the calender in the kitchen. It was only upon looking at the dates spread out before me that I realised that I didn’t even know what day it was, nevermind the date. It then dawned on me that I didn’t know the date, the actual date, that Sebastian died.
I am a bad person. I haven’t even arranged a funeral… Isn’t that what people do? There’s no body, though. There’s no conclusive proof that he is dead, and even if there was, he never actually told me what to do if he died. I don’t know where his family live, or if he even has a family. I don’t have any numbers to call. I don’t know how to arrange a funeral. The last time I arranged one was in the late 80s when my mother died, and even then the authorities did most of the heavy lifting.
What would I even do at this hypothetical funeral? Would I shake hands with his family and apologise for their loss, or would they be apologising for mine? Would he be buried or cremated? What would he wear? What would I wear? Would I stand and say a few words in front of everyone - deliver a eulogy? Say the things I never said?
You were a dick. You were a selfish, aggressive, often downright abusive, irritating dick. I hated everything about you. I hated the way you left cigarette stubs everywhere and used my coffee mugs and plates as ash trays. I hated the way you smoked in my flat, period. I hated the way you insisted on dressing like a soldier with your giant boots and combats, even though this isn’t sunny Afghanistan, it’s rainy England and you were a hitman, not an actionman. I hated the way you were always so over protective over me, how you’d shoot our clients down if they dared to threaten me with violence. I lost count of how many times I told you that I was tough, that I could take it, so why didn’t you ever listen to me? Damnit, Sebastian. Why didn’t you listen to me? I told you not to get killed.
You didn’t listen to me, and now look at us.
You’re dead and I’m…
Is it okay to tell someone that you love them in a eulogy?
Wherever you are, Sebastian, I hope that it’s a better place than this one, and I hope that you are happier than I am. I don’t know where your next journey will take you, but I ask that you make sure you aren’t walking too fast, otherwise I might not be able to catch up with you.
I hope I get to see you again soon.
I broke your favourite mug today, Seb.
You know how I get when I’m stressed. I thought I’d rearrange the kitchen to distract myself. I was cleaning out the cupboard with all the coffee mugs and tea cups in it, and it fell.
I spent two hours trying to put it back together again, but the pieces were too small and some were missing. I just kind of thought fuck it, it’s not as if you’ll ever use it again. There’s no point in crying over spilt milk, right?
That would make what I am doing right now pretty damn pointless.
I was in the kitchen earlier today, humming while I made myself a nice, hot cup of coffee. I placed a spoonful of insant in the cup and waited for the kettle to boil. My eyelids felt heavy - I haven’t been sleeping much lately - so I let them fall closed as I drummed my fingers against the counter.
Suddenly, a warm pair of arms embraced me from behind, crossing over my stomach, hands resting against my hips. A soft, low voice rumbled in my ear.
“Where’s mine?” Sebastian asked, pressing a gentle kiss to the side of my neck. His touch was one of warmth and comfort, and I felt myself melting into it.
Then I remembered. My eyes snapped open and I spun around in shock, only to find that no one was there. Of course no one was there, because Sebastian is dead.
My own head is playing tricks on me, which should absolutely terrify me. I’m going insane, I’m losing my most valuable asset - my mind. However, the only thing I can think about is how much I deeply regret having opened my eyes…
I should have kept them shut. That way, Sebastian might not have disappeared quite so soon.
I miss him so fucking much. Ugh. I disgust myself.
I used to think that I was so alone.
I lashed out at the world, killed anyone who ever hurt me because there was no one else to make it stop. I started with Carl Powers.
I turned to a life of crime, found all the little holes in the system and exploited them to my benefit, making huge amounts of money in the process.
I found Sebastian Moran and paid him to kill for me, hired him as my personal hitman and, eventually, my live-in bodyguard.. Someone who I could trust, someone who could keep me safe.
I sought out Sherlock Holmes, a man just like myself; a man who was clever, cold, lonely…
I thought I had finally found the answer. I played our little game, blew things up and created puzzles for his brilliant mind to solve. Finally, I felt like there was someone who understood, someone who could make sense of my thought processes, who knew exactly why I did the things that I did, because his motivations were exactly the same. For the first time in a long time, I felt less alone than I had ever felt in my life.
But then Sebastian died, and suddenly, I knew what being alone really felt like.
Perhaps one of the the worst things is the permanent feeling of blood on my hands, all… Warm and wet and disgusting. I remember cradling your head in my lap and trying to put the pieces of you back together, pleading for you to just come back to me. I didn’t care that there were bullets flying past my head. I didn’t care that the police were closing in on me. I didn’t care that my shirt was McQueen and cost more than your entire outfit.
I can still feel it, hot and sticky against my hands. I feel like everything I touch is marred with bloody handprints, as if your blood is transferred to everything my hands come into even the briefest of contact with. I feel like people look at my hands and think “holy shit, Jim, your hands are covered in blood”. Which is ridiculous, because they aren’t.
I feel like people can see me.
I’ve scrubbed my hands red raw more than once. There is no blood on my hands, not a single drop. There isn’t. There isn’t. There isn’t.
Except there is, Sebastian, and there is so fucking much of it.
I don’t know what to do with myself.
I feel like the rug has been pulled from under my feet, or like the floor has disappeared while I was standing on it and now I just keep falling and falling and falling and it’s such a long way down.
I have seen people die. I have killed people. I have often found myself at least partially responsible for the deaths of others.
Admittedly, I’ve never really been affected by death. My father’s death was a blessing, Carl Powers’ death was a relief. My mother is in a secure unit, but there’s barely anything left of her and she might as well be dead.
They all end up dead.
I feel like I’m dead.
I’ve killed because I have had to kill, and I can’t afford to feel regretful or guilty about it. I don’t have the time nor the patience and frankly, I just don’t care enough. If I did, I’d be out of a job.
People die, of course people die, because that’s what people do.
…But this is the first time in my life that I have ever mourned one of them.
After waking up, it took me a while to get my shit together. I stared at Sebastian’s empty pillow for a long time, wanting nothing more than to go back into my head, back into the dream world where Sebastian was.
I’ve never really been one for having dreams before. Aside from the odd nightmare, they have always alluded me, and I have always considered them to be a waste of important brain power. Dreams are what normal people use to make their little lives that bit more interesting, or to make sense of the trivial happenings of their boring existances. I have never had the need for such a vice. Well, not until now, anyway.
It would seem that when I dream, I can see Sebastian. It’s probably quite unhealthy, actually. I am, in effect, deluding myself into believing that he’s still here. Fantasising about dead people still being alive, sending text messages to ghosts, all while shooting up on class A’s… People get locked up for this shit. Though to be fair to myself, none of it even comes close to the craziest shit I have ever done.
What I wouldn’t give for Sebastian to be laying next to me, stinking up my sheets with the fowl stench of tobacco, rambling on about car parts and guns, or making sly comments about my height. It’s ridiculous, really. It’s not as if we were ever attached at the hip in the first place. He kept his old flat, and spent most nights there because apparently, it’s not acceptable to play the piano at 3 in the morning.
I respectfully disagree.
I mean, the piano is relaxing - especially if you play something soft and slow. He always used to whinge about it. He’d call it ‘depressive shite’ and tell me to ‘shut the fuck up and go to sleep’. Then I discovered the BeeGees, and he still wasn’t happy. He was always into that rock ‘n ‘roll tripe. I mean, what exactly was he after, heavy metal Moriarty? Should I have invested in an electric guitar and grown out my hair, started wearing jeans that sat half way down my arse and worn beanie hats indoors? No, Sebastian, no. Bad Sebastian.
He played the guitar. Apparently, he’d learned it when he was bored over in Afghanistan. He had this rubbish, chipped acoustic thing and I used to make fun of him, tell him that the guitar ‘wasn’t a real instrument’ and that he ‘had no class’. In truth, the one time I caught him playing and singing along to ‘Moon River’ (LOL, by the way, I knew that making him watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s was a good idea), I was utterly mesmorised and completely stunned. It was gorgeous. Fuck my piano. I’d burn it if it meant that I could hear that again.
I don’t even know how to describe our relationship. It worked. He was there when I needed him, and I was there when he needed me.
… Well, until the end, when I stood by as a bullet ricocheted through his skull. It all comes back to that in the end, really. All the time we spent together, all the things we did… It all ended in that one moment, and no matter how badly I want it, there’s just no going back.
I rolled over in bed, tiredly flopping my arm to Sebastian’s side of the bed. He wasn’t there, and his space was cold. I immediately snapped open my eyes, only to find that the sheets remained untouched and that his pillow was still smooth. I panicked briefly, wondering where he was and why he wasn’t there with me, but then the door creaked open. I turned my head slowly, watching him walk into the room and around the bed.
He looked gorgeous. He was wearing those tatty old combats of his, the ones that I have always hated, slung low on his hips, and nothing else. I allowed my eyes to wander over his broad frame, down the array of scars that ran right down his torso, courtesy of the tiger that he’d taken out in India, a long before I met him. A cigarette hung loosely from his lips, making the room smell like an ash tray. I didn’t mind, though. I decided I’d let it go, just that one time.
He sat on the edge of the bed while he finished smoking, and I couldn’t resist reaching out my hand and tracing it over the warm skin of his back. He turned around at me and smiled, raising an eyebrow. “Is there something wrong, Boss?” He asked in that rough, low rumble of his. I blinked, smiling at him, and told him that no, nothing was wrong. In fact, everything was perfect. He chuckled and stubbed out what was left of his cigarette, tossing it in the bin before crawling across the bed toward me.
He loomed over me, leaning down so that our noses were side by side, touching, with our lips just inches apart.
He smelt so good. It was a scent that was totally, utterly Sebastian. His cologne, probably something that I chose for him, mingled with the scent of his sweat, with the scent of Afghan tobacco and gun polish. . You would think that those things would join together to form a frankly disgusting smell, but they didn’t. In fact, I have never smelt anything as intoxicating in my entire life, and it completely took over my senses, dizzying in its intensity.
I ran my hands over his chest, feeling every single scar ripple under my fingertips. Beautiful, I thought. He closed the gap between us, pressing his lips against mine with a rough tenderness that was uniquely Sebastian. I parted my lips and deepened the kiss without hesitation, my movements full of need, desperate to taste more of him, to be closer to him. I brought my hands up and tangled them in his hair as his arms enveloped me, kept me protected and safe. His body slid against mine and he was warm, gentle and comforting.
He pulled away, and we found ourselves sharing an intense stare, gazing into each other’s eyes.
“I love you.” I said softly. “I fucking love you, ‘Bastian, and I’m sorry that I never told you that.”
My eyes watered, blurring my vision. I couldn’t stand it anymore, so I blinked away the tears. When I opened my eyes, everything was suddenly dark. I reached out for him, trying to seek him out in the darkness, but there was nothing there but cold air.
I gasped as I woke up, jolting up and turning to his side of the bed, utterly terrified and praying that I’d find him there, ready to soothe my nerves, to told me close to his chest and tell me that everything would be alright, that I was safe because he was there, and that he’d never let anything hurt me.
But the bed was empty, because Sebastian is dead.
I can’t begin to tell you how bizarre it is to have your supposed arch nemesis sitting at your kitchen table (after witnessing you endure a drug-fuelled nervous breakdown, no less), stoking his thumb over your hand and telling you that everything is going to be okay.
No it fucking isn’t. Sebastian is dead. Everything isn’t going to be okay.
I watch his hand for a moment. His movements are slow and smooth, gentle, though I suspect calculated. The skin on the pads of his hands is surprisingly soft, completely unlike Seb’s rough, calloused, soldier’s hands. Despite this, it’s nice and strangely relaxing. Odd, how such a simple gesture could have such a soothing effect. It doesn’t make any sense, though, because Sherlock Holmes is a sociopath, and offering comfort to criminals who don’t deserve it is not what sociopaths do.
Sherlock shouldn’t be here. He shouldn’t be anywhere near here. Well, not unless he intends to put a bullet in my face or have me locked up for all the atrocities I have committed over the years. But that doesn’t seem to be his intention, and I don’t understand. I don’t understand what he wants from me.
I pull my hand away from his, tightening it into a fist. I don’t want to look at him, I really can’t deal with him deducing me, or whatever the hell it is that he does, right now. More to the point, I’m not keen on catching sight of the pity that is probably residing in his eyes, or worst still, the disgust. And he must be disgusted. I would be. I am. Jim Moriarty isn’t sentimental; Jim Moriarty is a heartless monster who doesn’t get psychotically depressed just because his body guard bit it.
“Stop it.” I order, glaring at the table.
“Stop what?” He asks, pulling his hand back uncomfortably.
“This. Stop this. I don’t know what you’re playing at, what kind of sick experiment this is to you, but stop it. I don’t have the energy for this.” I don’t know what I’m asking for, really. Leave me alone, get out of my flat? I don’t want to play anymore? I don’t. Despite this, there’s part of me that wants him to stay, wants him to do that comforting thing with his hands again… But I’m not an idiot, nor am I naive enough to believe that this is anything other than some kind of game to him.
“Jim…” He says slowly, reaching his hand towards my own again. I slap him away at first, but he doesn’t give in and I find my hand being crushed in his as he speaks, forcing me to look at him. “I won’t let you do this to yourself.”
“Do what?” I demand, glowering at him, trying to identify exactly what’s going on behind those pretty blue eyes.
“Don’t play the fool, Jim. You’re better than that.” He snaps, “I’m not going to let you kill yourself.” His eyes narrow as he stares me down. I flinch at his words, and it takes me a moment to compose myself before I am able to respond.
“Why?” I ask quietly, before clearing my throat. “Why does it matter to you?”
It’s a perfectly good question, I think. Why does it matter to him whether I live or die? Surely, in the grand scheme of things, it’s better for everyone if I just disappear? I’m not going to sit here and cry about my feelings; I’m not going to make a scene. I’m not even going to take anyone with me. I’ll be the last person I kill. It’s quite poetic, really.
He doesn’t answer right away, rather opting to look at me with this shocked, disbelieving expression on his face. I smirk, “Oh, Sherlock. Am I disappointing you?” I spit coldly, dragging my hand out of his, “Am I confusing you? I bet I am. I bet you don’t understand this at all, do you? Sherlock Holmes, sociopath. You see, but you don’t understand. It must be so hard for you.” I hiss, my anger getting the better of me. “You have no fucking idea.” I fold my arms and slouch back in my chair, putting as much space between myself and him as possible before I break his neck.
He sighs, rubbing the bridge of his nose in frustration. The smug little prick. “You asked me what I would have done if it had been John who had died, rather than Sebastian…” He says slowly, in surrender. “Fine. If it were John, I would be devastated. I would be unable to function properly.” He breathes out heavily, awkwardly looking down at his hands as he absently picks at his thumbnail. “I would probably lose the will to live. I’d need someone to step in and hold the pieces of me together while I couldn’t.”
He finally looks at me, I mean, really looks at me.
“As it stands, I am the only person left in the world who can possibly hope to understand what you are going through, and I intend to be that someone for you.”
I blink, somewhat taken aback. Is he saying he wants to help me? To ‘hold the pieces of me together’? I honestly don’t think he can. The pieces of me are already scattered across the floor like the fragments of a jigsaw puzzle, except a great number of the little shapes that are supposed to slot together are bent or missing altogether.
Though I suppose, in the end, I have nothing left to lose, do I? I nod and stand up, leaning heavily on the table as I do so. “Fine. But you’re sleeping on the couch.” I mumble, before heading to my room because fuck, I feel like shit and I really need to sleep this off.