Sebastian didn’t respond to the question immediately, nodding once and then gesturing that he should take it. He hadn’t even noticed that the flowers had dropped until he heard it and even then he frowned and wondered why he hadn’t caught them earlier. They were fresh and in bloom, and falling had left some of their perfume on his hand. The smell of them were drifting up and Sebastian wondered if this was some terrible joke he had missed.
He swallowed once and licked his lips before staring at a point just to the left of Jim’s face. He had only heard this two days before. Just out of his coma he had this entire situation explained to him by the doctor. Two bullets, one tore through the bottom of a lung, the other hit his spine, burned or lacerated most of the nerves, causing severe nerve damage that had been deemed by the hospital specialists as beyond repair. He watched Jim shift slightly, cross his legs, act as if everything was alright and Jim even had the nerve to smile at him and fuck it all if there wasn’t a wheelchair in the back corner of the room just on the other side of the door so when Jim entered he wouldn’t have seen it if he hadn’t turned around to look.
Sebastian ran a hand through his hair again and looked down at the report he had put in his lap. It was all right there. He knew Jim could speak Italian, he knew that the man wasn’t just asking for his personal opinion. Fuck.
“That’s where I’m going to be for a while.” Sebastian said, looking over at Jim and nodding at the chair. He hadn’t come to terms with it, not at all, not yet, not really. He licked his lips and shifted again, awkward without his hips helping him or his feet to press against the mattress. Strange and gangly with his too-long limbs and half of them not moving.
“The bullet-” He stopped and looked away, his hairline itching, the wounds breaking his back again.
“It went through some important nerves, boss.” His voice slowed down and his mouth worked at the inside of his cheek before he smiled and laughed awkwardly, his voice cracking. The silence was a terrible trembling. How was he supposed to fill it. ‘I can’t use my legs’. ‘I’m paralyzed’. ‘I’m never going to walk again’. All of those lines felt like some cheap plot twist from a soap opera. What else was there to say? Those were the facts.
“Ha.” The exhale was a small snort through his nose and he shrugged as he looked up to stare at the ceiling. “I guess you won’t have to worry about being woken up at five in the morning anymore.”
Jim knew what Sebastian was gesturing to, knew from his latent observation of the hospital room when he’d walked in. A wheelchair. Just sitting, unobtrusive, silent, screaming. He couldn’t turn his head and look at it now. If he turned his head now, his stiff porcelain neck would crack, would break, would shatter. Something was shattering, somewhere. Was it inside? Widening cracks.
He put the water glass down quickly, before it drowned him.
He swallowed, throat dry suddenly. This was impossible. This could not happen.
“I…” What? I’m sorry? I don’t believe you? I won’t let you? I’ll kill everyone in this hospital, everyone in this city if this is real? He took a deep breath, attempting to re-inflate his lungs, make himself breathe again. “The report said 10% chance of regaining mobility.” Sort of. Some mobility. Limited mobility. He read Italian. He wished he didn’t.
Jim was prepared to live in the 10%.
Because he was not in any way prepared for this…outcome, this thing, this feeling of being crushed somehow, deep in his chest (what was this? He didn’t even understand what hurt, why it hurt, what was this?). This was not real. This was not his reality. It was a possibility, of course. Every risk was a possibility, every job could end badly. Accidents happened, had to be figured in. Guns jammed, cars could make sudden lefthand turns and crush someone crossing the street. Food poisoning. Drug overdoses. Rabies. A million thousand possibilities of things gone wrong, but they never ended like this in his mind. Not for Sebastian. The man was untouchable, sacrosanct, safe. There was no scenario in which Sebastian Moran was damaged.
“When we get back to England, we’ll get a second opinion.” A third, fourth, tenth. However many it took. Because this could not happen. He licked his lips, trying to hear past the pounding of his heart in his ears, because that was the only sound now.
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