25/08/12 @ 10:34pm
■ distant spasms
■ here you go
■ this should do it
As Jim bit him Sebastian laughed, gasped a bit and fell back onto the bed, his arms shaking slightly as his breathing came out in half chuckles and sharp exhalations. He smiled though, closed his eyes and put his hands behind his head as Jim moved his mouth, lips, tongue over his sharp marks. Sebastian was hyper sensitive along his scars, even more so now that he could only focus on the upper half of them and he gasped when Jim’s teeth trailed along a few if the ones that stood out white along his side.
He moaned a bit as Jim’s mouth gently grazed over his burned side, his hands slipping to the top of Jim’s hair, almost pushing him down before he forgot, and then his hands fall to his sides and he groaned when Jim pulled down his trousers. He arched his back as much as he could, muscles flexing hard against his hips, ribs and spine, twisting to the side as his fingers clenched the too-soft comforter, almost ripping it in small places, something so soft that even his hands could tear it to shreds.
Then Jesus, Jim was there, (wasn’t he always there?) and Sebastian opened his eyes wide, taking in the wildness that was Jim Moriarty, a tempest more unpredictable than any storm. He was the ocean and Sebastian was the cliff and Moriarty was crashing down on him, the words coming out in dark tides and caressing him like the ebb and flow of the tides, pushing against him, pulling back, and if Sebastian was aroused he couldn’t feel it. He could feel his heart rate jump, his mouth suddenly dry at the suggestion, the shiver and goosebumps that exploded over his chest as Jim pressed the ice-cold knife to his skin.
Sebastian stared at Jim, mouth still parted, halfway through a gasp and a moan, the sound stuck in his throat, pinned by the knife on his chest. He had to close his eyes tilt his head back, get further away from Jim, as far as he could. No.
“Jim, please,” his breath came out slowly, a tide pool slipping under the waves, “not tonight.” The rain came pounding down.
Sebastian’s hands moved then, up Jim’s bare torso, over his arms, to his neck. He hurt so much so often, the badly mauled bundles of nerves in his back making aches appear all through his side, his spine. He hurt so much, during therapy and during rest. Breathing and eating and even moving, it hurt, it hurt, it hurt. His entire life was made of pain, of the breaks in between, the lulls and slack tides in between the extremes of his own pain. He didn’t need anything like that from Jim. He couldn’t take it. He’d break, shatter like the mugs when they crashed against hard surfaces.
“Jim I can’t, please,” He pulled Jim down, kissing him softly, then pressing their foreheads together, making no move to push away the knife in Jim’s hand, his mouth barely moving against Jim’s, hands cupping his face, sliding towards his hairline on his neck, thumbs just under Jim’s ears, pressing against his jaw, “take me this way, yeah? I can’t bleed anymore.”
Jim felt himself shatter instead at Sebastian’s words, something that was already cracked chipping away and letting water seep inside. He took a deep breath, lips moving slightly but without words, brushing against the other man’s mouth. He was held, immovably held by the force that was still Sebastian Moran, no matter how helpless the man himself felt.
The rain was suddenly inside his skull, behind his eyes, tears that would never wet his eyelashes but stayed there, hidden. Pouring into his head, down his throat.
He nodded, taking another shuddering breath past that imaginary water, agreeing before he could think, agreeing because it seemed impossible to continue now. His hand shook as he pulled the knife away, the very tip just knicking Sebastian’s shoulder by accident, the tiny wound caused by Jim’s hurry to avoid marking him. He hurt whatever he touched. Everyone has a baseline. His was pain.
The knife skittered along the floor when he flung it, clanging first against a bar on the abandoned wheelchair by the side of the bed. Jim was still nodding, hand tightly gripping Sebastian’s shoulder.
“Alright. Yes, alright. I’m not trying to hurt you, I’m not. It’s just…I just need to know that you want me.” He quieted himself, kissing Sebastian with the violence he’d dropped to the floor with the knife. Every part of his body was desire, was need, just need and there were no words, there was no way to say the things he wanted to say, whether the words were his or the words were from someone else’s poem or holy book or pornography. He couldn’t say them, not his name, not anything in English, Irish, Russian, Latin, nothing. There was no language he knew fluently that had the right words. He could create no sentences. No explanations.
Jim pulled back, hands on Sebastian’s face as wall, brushing his fingers along his lips, tracing his scars, pushing his hair back, thumb on his jaw.
“Mere shere.” And the accent was wrong, the pronunciation not native, just an attempt. A man trying so hard to do what he was supposed to be able to do. He kissed Sebastian again, closing his eyes tightly. And the rain was on the windows, the storm kept out just a little bit longer.
24/08/12 @ 07:47pm
■ distant spasms
■ i think they've moved past cute
■ it's moving right into the old obsession
As the lift slowly opened up Sebastian removed his arms from Jim but kept his face turned to the side, pressed up against the arch of Jims shoulders, his breath hot along the thin cotton of Jim’s shirt and he knew that the other man could feel him there. All of his muscles in his shoulders and arms were tense as he pushed forwards, Jim’s extra weight negligible with his harder body pressed against him. They went into the bedroom and Sebastian leaned down, pressed his lips to the curve of Jim’s spine, slipping forwards as Jim stood up.
Sebastian watched, eyes awed as Jim moved in all the ways he never would bend again and smiled through the kiss. It was as rough and as needy as before, desperate in how rushed Jim was, mouth to mouth. Jim’s hands lightly cupping the sides of Sebastian’s face, as if he could just command him to rise up and lo and behold, the saint would tear out the arrows in his back and stand. And Sebastian smiled anyway, head tilted up, neck straining upwards as Jim spoke.
Neruda, Shakespeare, that last one was from Julius Ceasar. He almost grinned as Jim’s face was illuminated by the storm outside, the look he knew from many nights with a man who at this moment, only wanted him.
“If every tempest brings such calms,” Sebastian muttered, wheeling himself to the bed, in front of Jims arms. He placed his hands on the bed and pushed himself on top of Jim, tilting him onto the bed and then, in another quick motion slid a hand in between Jim’s shoulders, moving him so that Jim was lying on top of Sebastian. “May the winds blow until the have wakened death.” Othello to Desdemona. Melodramatic, but Sebastian thought he could afford such things considering the state of the weather.
A flash and Sebastian sat up, sliding back on the bed, and as the thunder rolled through the house he reached out with one hand, hooking Jim behind the neck and kissing him hard. “Le gustaría que yo hablarte en lengüetas extrañas?” Sebastian could feel his amusement rumbling through his body, a soft purr that came out in the rolling r’s and tilde’s over the enye’s.
“¿Qué es la vida? Un frenesí. ¿Qué es la vida? Una ilusión,” Sebastian slipped out of his shirt, pulled it over his head and tossed it to the side, falling backwards without his arm behind him supporting his weight. He corrected himself and kissed Jim’s neck, his free hand deftly undoing the tie completely and his mouth still moving as his fingers unfastened the buttons slowl. “Una sombra, una ficción, y el mayor bien es pequeño: que toda la vida es sueño,”
He tugged the shirt off Jim’s shoulders, kissing collarbones and shoulderblades lightly as he did so, all with one hand. “Y los sueños.” His voice was husky as he slipped a hand down Jim’s pants and then up Jim’s under shirt, taking it off the other man in one smooth motion, his lips parting from Jim’s skin for a second before finding his lips again, Sebastian’s mouth moving over Jim’s as he spoke the final words of the soliloquy; “sueños son.”
He smiled then, kissing Jim and then laughed as outside the thunder roared.
It was like everything coming undone and being put back together again.
Jim let Sebastian move him, sliding to straddle the other man’s body again, watching him in every flash of cold lightning that lit the room. The words were familiar, the sounds rolling from Sebastian’s mouth smoothly, into his ears, his own throat when the man kissed him again. Smooth like the rain’s path down the windows; he still didn’t know what most of the words meant, but the sound of them, the knowledge that Sebastian’s voice was rougher, slightly irregular, the smooth syllables husky with want of him…
“Perhaps we communicate better when we use the words the other doesn’t know,” he murmured, smiling, bending down over the man’s body to speak against his mouth again. His dark hair was mussed by his quick undressing and he felt intensely the warm hands on his skin, felt the already forming bruises on his ribs. “Maybe we’re saying all sorts of things. Telling all manner of secrets.” He bent further to kiss the hollow of Sebastian’s throat, unable to stop himself, to keep his jaw from flexing, locking, teeth nearly meeting in that soft spot where neck met shoulder. His own mark, a bruise born to be deep and dark on the other man. Jim inhaled shakily, silent for a moment as the deep thunder outside spoke for him, the intensity seeming to rattle the mirrors against the walls, the silent words in the books on the shelves, the bed itself. It was a sudden cold fever of ugly desire, a need to touch, take everything that was Sebastian for himself. Because the thought of not having him was the naked rain alone, the brilliance of the lightning gone, the threat of the thunder silenced.
Jim ran his hands up Sebastian’s bare torso, fingers sliding over muscles more defined than he remembered, but scars that were precisely the same.
“The wound is the place,” he whispered hoarsely, “Where the light enters you.” In that moment, he didn’t remember where the quotation came from, but saw the words as though printed on his eyes. The criminal glanced up again to see Sebastian’s face as he curved his body; the line of light through the curtain break kindled green fire in Sebastian’s eyes and bleached Jim to the pallor of a madman. He trailed his mouth along each scar as he moved down Sebastian’s body, his teeth for the tiger’s claws, his tongue for the ones he’d made to match, his lips covering the other man’s damaged side. He pressed his body down against him, his own bare skin hardly marked, his scars so few and so nearly invisible. Really, only Sebastian’s hands would have been able to find them in the dark, to run a strong finger down that thin white line of lightning on his chest.
Jim continued to move down the other man’s body, fingers sliding to the waistband of Sebastian’s trousers, tugging them down over sharp hips to let the flashes of light show him that mark. He traced it out, his initials, the ones Sebastian could only half feel. Part ownership. The way he had matched and thereby negated the tiger’s marks. Jim couldn’t breathe for a moment, actually gasped, strained for a gulp of swallowed air.
As the thunder complained again, he was up by Sebastian’s face, eyes suddenly red-rimmed and wide, the small constant knife from his pocket out and in his hand, the flat of the chilly blade against Sebastian’s collar bone.
“Oh, God, Sebastian,” he moaned, voice cracking. “Let me do it again. I just have to…have you. You’re mine, and I…” He licked his lips, pausing. Ungraceful words, unpolished, unpracticed. The psychopath’s desperate, uncomfortable emotions, the obsession he didn’t have the vocabulary to understand or relate. “I can’t let it-I just want.” He turned the knife slightly, pressing but not cutting. “I need you to know.”
22/08/12 @ 10:43pm
■ distant spasms
■ i think they've moved past cute
■ it's moving right into the old obsession
Sebastian shifted, put one hand behind him, steadied himself against the torrent that was rushing away from Jim. He swallowed, his other hand clutching at the mans side and he knew he was pressing too hard against his skin, knew that he would leave dark bruises on the fair palette there. Sebastian groaned and it may have been the empty house moving alongside them, the thunder outside, any number of things that seemed so much more overwhelming than just Sebastian Moran stuck in a wheelchair.
There was Jim, right here, right in front of him, and his words were a deluge that carried Sebastian forwards, put his mouth on Jim’s neck as if he could memorize the vibrations of his throat and words as the other man spoke and the storm answered. What else could Sebastian do but press closer, lean and lose his balance before his hands backtracked his head knocked against the cabinet. He was out of breath, eyes open, mouth open, hands open against the stone of the countertops, pulled forwards by Jim’s words and those alone.
“I can’t exactly throw you over my shoulder,” Sebastian muttered, and he chuckled, had to laugh to keep from throwing Jim to the ground too, watching him shatter and bleed from a dozen or more places. The conquering hero. Laid low by just a few feet. Sebastian sat up, pressed his hands against Jim’s stomach, grabbed his shirt, pulled him down to kiss him, almost softly.
It was a trial getting Jim away from him, slipping down into his chair, careful not to tip the wheels over, fall to the glass that crunched under his enforced wheels. He reached up and tugged Jim onto his lap, patiently whispering in his ear to rearrange his station, before he slowly pushed both of them over to the elevator with the buttons down at his level, pressed the up and waited, wheeling them both into the elevator again. The doors slid shut as Sebastian pressed the ‘3’ and he wrapped his arms around Jim’s torso, pulling his back flush against Sebastian’s chest.
“I’m glad you’re here.” He murmured into the fabric, mouth pulling at the cotton, making the shirt ride up slightly. His husky voice dropped even lower, so soft it would be hard for even Jim to hear; “It’s all I want.”
Everything was movement and broken glass and Jim remembered his shoes were somewhere with all the shattered mugs and goblets. He laughed and leaned back against Sebastian’s body, wanting to feel him through the layers of shirts separating them. He remembered what it was like sitting on Sebastian’s lap a few times, teasing him, and he remembered the hard lines of the muscles in the sniper’s thighs tensing, pressing up against his own legs. Now there was nothing beneath him, but he could feel it behind him. The stronger, leaner muscles of Sebastian’s chest and stomach moving as he wheeled the chair along. Jim wondered how much more difficult his position as passenger was making the trip. He didn’t ask; he was uncharacteristically quiet as they waited for the lift to move.
Then he was held and it was more than just muscles. Jim closed his eyes as he heard Sebastian’s voice and he leaned his head forward. He could feel everything with disturbing clarity. The hot moist breath through the back of his shirt, seeming to go right into his lungs from behind. The almost frantic pounding of Sebastian’s heart behind him, as though it intended to shatter the other man’s ribs and then Jim’s. It would hurt and there would be blood and Sebastian’s mouth on his back, against the bones running down his own back, whole. They should be shattered too. He couldn’t hear the storm in the lift.
He took a deep breath when the doors finally opened and Sebastian moved them into the hallway. Jim didn’t say anything until they were in the bedroom, though.
“Alright, now I want inspiration.” He arched his back, letting himself smile, trying to inhale more of himself, to give himself more air, more words, more body. “Tell me what to say first. What do you want? Neruda?” He licked his lips, standing slowly. “’I have scarcely left you when you go in me, crystalline, or trembling, or uneasy, wounded by me.’”
He reached above his head as he faced Sebastian, stretching, looking disheveled with his shirt untucked and his shoes abandoned in the kitchen. Then the criminal looked down at the other man, licking his lips as he leaned down to kiss him. The kiss was violent, as though he would steal any of the words Sebastian could say.
“Or do you want something you don’t even quite understand?” His voice was rough. “Taibhríodh dom in aois coinlíochta, i mo leaba chúng sa tsuanlios aíochta, go rabhas i halla mór ag rince.”
He inhaled deeply again, his head moving back and forth slightly.
“Take me to bed, Sebastian. The storm is up, and all is on the hazard.” The room was dim and the lightning flashed, bright through the gaps in the curtains, flaring off mirrors and polished glass. He widened his eyes and backed up until he was sitting on the edge of Sebastian’s bed. He held his hands out, backlit by the storm. The look on his face was one from the past, it was the smile and the desire, teeth and eyebrows and dark dark eyes, that just wanted to possess all of Sebastian. The type of urgent need that had once made permanent marks on the other man’s body.
17/08/12 @ 11:58pm
■ distant spasms
■ they can be cute
He didn’t know where his hands were, his shoulders cruelly pressed against the cabinet, his linear scar just catching on the lip of the wood. Sebastian couldn’t imagine what Jim wanted from him now, didn’t understand why he was kept around if only for the simple pleasure of Jim having him and maybe, Sebastian realized, maybe just having him was enough.
Then Jim moved and Sebastian tried to shift with him, finding his thighs uncooperative grunted angrily and pulled at Jim’s shirt, untucking it completely, rushed and hurried and desperate for this attention. He tilted his head up, shifted, leaned against the other man, ignored everything else, eyes closed, hands slipping under Jim’s shirt and he pulled him closer, tried to push his hands into Jim’s torso, entwine his fingers with the ribs there, grab him and hold him too close to leave him again.
When Jim talked and his head lilted up like the Irish accent that was so familiar to Sebastian’s ear the ex-sniper moved his mouth from Jim’s to his neck, kissing him lightly there, holding him tight but barely biting, teasing the other man with dark breaths against his pulse and soft grazings against his jaw.
“Read to me.” Sebastian muttered into Jim’s mouth as he was pulled upwards again. “Anything you want. Tear out the pages after you finish. Tell me a story about one of our fucked up adventures. Remind me how fucking stupid we were. I don’t fucking care. Tell me all the stories you fucking know.” Sebastian was muttering, incoherent. “I just want to keep you here-” his hands tightened- “I just want you here for as long as you can keep talking to me. Breaking this bloody silence like thunder.”
He pulled away and stared at Jim, unsmiling. He couldn’t see anything but dark contours and barely there shapes. It began to rain softly outside, the only sound after the sudden shattering of mugs and glasses.
“It’s so fucking quiet without you.”
Jim let Sebastian’s hands move over him; there was nothing of his body that was unfamiliar to the man’s hands, no part of him that hadn’t been touched, kissed, bitten, known, that was the crux of it, he was so known to the tall man. There was no one else this familiar, no other hands his skin, his muscles, his bones and blood accepted like this. Their movements together were furtive, oddly secretive in in this house (both of their names on the deed, Sebastian Moran and Matthew Parker, that name that wasn’t a game anymore, not an identity to laugh in, but a name with PoA, long talks with surgeons, a name that endured those pitying looks and smiled to hide the real man underneath whose teeth were bared in resentment) where they could do anything they wanted because they were the only ones here. It was quiet, so damned quiet with the glass graveyard around them.
All Jim could hear was his own breathing quickened and Sebastian’s stifled grunt of annoyance, then the other man’s breath by his ear and the air going in and out of them was rough, the oxygen jagged and shattered as it crashed into the back of throats, plummeting into lungs, forced out again against throats and cheekbones as the two pressed closer. Jim held Sebastian up, to him, the faint tremble of strain seeming a noise on its own, everything building.
The criminal took a breath when Sebastian started talking and inhaled words, closing his eyes as he took them all in. He felt like he would choke on them, on the voice that was gruff and slightly unsteady, demanding his due. His right. His reward. Jim swallowed when Sebastian pulled back, feeling the words, some settling, some trapped in his windpipe, halfway up and halfway down. He felt them whistle when he inhaled, an aeolian harp in his throat.
He wasn’t smiling either. He licked his lips, hearing the rain. The one type of water sound he didn’t mind; he loved to sleep in storms. He looked down, feeling the intensity of Sebastian’s gaze; he looked up when a flash of lightning suddenly illuminated the other man’s face in a wash of blue white.They were both bleached of colour in the sudden light.
“I’ll talk. Ah, fuck, Sebastian…I’ll read and rhyme and recite until you want to strangle me to shut me up. What do you want? Swinburne? Rushdie? Edward Lear?” Jim’s voice was strangled and low, urgent and rushed. The usual highs and lows were absent. He felt Sebastian’s hands tighten on his sides, and he could almost hear bruises forming, the livid particular ovals that fingertips left. The creak of his ribs exhaling. “I’ll tell you about the Forty Holy Martyrs dying on the frozen lake by Sebaste, about the sounds you make under my mouth, about Cuchulain tying himself to the pillar with the crow goddess on his shoulder so he wouldn’t fall before his enemies even as he died.” He drew a harsh breath. “Bring me the books to destroy. I’ll lecture you on binomial theorum or when a waistcoat is acceptable.”
The thunder rumbled, closer to the house now. He tightened his hands on the back of Sebastian’s neck, moving them up to grip at his hair (Sebastian wore it a bit longer now, not as careful). He pulled his head back, leaning forward to kiss his throat, the long line of muscle and hidden arteries, life just there under his mouth, unable to stop himself biting.
“Take me upstairs. And I’ll remind you of running wild with Declan Haury in South America, or the first big mistake you made.” He held his breath. “You let me kiss you. And you know why you did? Because I talked you into it. God, Sebastian, it’s all I know how to do.” He spoke in a rush. “Take me upstairs. And I’ll do it. The thing I’m good at, for you.” The lightning flashed outside again, and the thunder followed it immediately. A storm directly overhead, the desperation of water lashing against the kitchen windows. “And you just hold me down and tell me to keep going. And I’ll stay.”
16/08/12 @ 08:56pm
■ distant spasms
■ they can be cute
Sebastian edged himself closer to Jim, keeping his mouth close to Jim’s skin, letting his words roll over the other mans neck and down his spine. His hand was just barely across Jim’s leg now, fingers just brushing against the inside of the opposite leg in a way that wasn’t really indicative of anything but contact. Sebastian could feel it too, could feel that this was different, that this didn’t matter and still seemed to have so much riding on this one small toss of a glass from a man who had mired the faces of nations.
He had to raise his other hand, gripping the underside of the cabinets as he leaned over towards Jim, nearly behind him, pressing against him. Sebastian was reminded that he couldn’t balance, that he needed the help of static objects but he wanted to get closer to Jim, wanted to have him there for as long as he could keep him. It was a bittersweet feeling whenever his former boss would visit if only because there was always that knowledge that soon he would leave again. Sebastian couldn’t keep Jim in Scotland, couldn’t keep anyone in Scotland except the hired staff.
The crash jerked Sebastian from the edge of his own small pit and he raised his head up, almost catlike, to see where Jim had sent the glass. He smiled a bit, and then chuckled and then, as Jim laughed, Sebastian turned away and covered his mouth, sitting up straighter.
“You could have thrown it behind you.” Sebastian suggested, moving slightly away from Jim, shifting again and getting his balance back as he tried to remember how he should move with his center of gravity still at some indeterminable point in between his pectorals and lower abdomen. He smiled when Jim pointed out his next target and reached up again, falling a little bit but catching himself, snagging a glass and leaning onto Jim for a second.
“No problem.” Sebastian reached up and hooked a mug instead, flicking the glass onto the floor instead. “More weight.” He said, raising the mug as an explanation and shifting slightly, trying to keep himself completely steady. It wasn’t that hard of a shot, the little plaque was about four inches by eight, and had three light switches on it. He had shot at similar targets from distances that far exceeded the twenty or so feet that separated him from this one now.
“Don’t touch me for a second, yeah?” Sebastian whispered softly, scooting away from Jim and narrowing his eyes. He was breathing slower, focusing his vision and pushing himself further on the counter before moving so there was no cabinet behind him, further away from Jim, sitting with just a small bit of his leg against the cold metal of the sink. He chewed on the inside of his cheek, breathed out, and in that small pause in between his inhale and exhale, threw the mug.
A second later the lights turned off and shards fell to the floor.
Sebastian laughed and leaned over, pulling Jim to him, grabbing him by the collar as Sebastian kissed the other man hard, their teeth clinking together as they kissed. He smiled , bit down on Jim’s lip and pulled away, kissing the Irishman’s temple as he laughed.
“I hope you don’t mind losing, Jim,” Sebastian muttered, “Because I believe I just soundly won that challenge.”
Jim watched Sebastian position himself, move himself, knowing his arms and shoulders were stronger now even than they’d been, the muscles leaner, more intense, long lines losing the softer tissues that had covered them in the past. Don’t touch him? It was hard not to. It had always been hard. He watched to make a quip, but he recognized each planned statement as not funny, not even remotely funny, or too small. It was better to stay silent. And listen to Sebastian breathe.
He pulled his knees up, sitting cross-legged beside his former sniper as the man chose his projectile with the mocking seriousness he reserved for weapons. And there was something real about it all, watching Sebastian’s weigh the heft of the mug, the darkness his eyes took on until the green was almost swallowed by an inner dark (‘in the forests of the night’ or something like that, right? Wasn’t that how it went?), his own dark eyes flicking from Sebastian’s chest to his mouth, feeling and wanting to taste the slower breaths. Keeping himself back was mortification. Sacrifice.
He’d seen Sebastian kill, stood beside him while he’d made shots others wouldn’t even attempt. And each time he held his breath, feeling his heart punch in his chest when the other man pulled the trigger. Feeling the sudden stab of jealousy for whomever Sebastian had just killed because of that intimacy, the electric shock of exclusivity in that moment. He thought he’d like to feel that someday. Not that he wanted to die yet, no! But there was something tempting in imagining a single full moment where he and Sebastian were the only two people in the world and all of their attention was on one another.
The criminal felt a little nauseated suddenly, and he didn’t know what he was feeling. It was only after the mug crashed into the light switch and the kitchen was suddenly dark as though the bulbs above them had joined the shattered glass on the floor that he realized what he’d been afraid of. Sebastian missing. A laugh built up, struggled up through him and was swallowed whole by the other man when Sebastian grabbed him to kiss him.
Jim kissed him back as though it was laughter, his hands on Sebastian’s shoulders pulling him close. He sat back a moment, looking at the way Sebastian’s face was highlighted in the dark room by the light coming in from the diningroom. He grinned viciously, a sudden flurry of movement, his white shirt half-untucked as he climbed into Sebastian’s lap, straddling his legs. They didn’t work, and it didn’t matter, because this was his spot. He wrapped his arms around Sebastian’s neck and pulled him close, pulling back slightly to balance them. He could feel the muscles in his thighs, up the center of his torso, in his neck, his shoulders, all of his unused muscles trying to be Sebastian’s muscles, trying to be what held him upright. He smiled, nipping at his bottom lip.
“Well, well…it seems your shooting accuracy has not been affected by the cold.” He tilted his head, thumbs brushing the back of Sebastian’s neck idly. Jim smiled, tilting his head up. A little challenge. “And you were a damned show off. Knocking out the lights even…” He nodded, the muscles in his stomach straining. It was a good feeling. Holding Sebastian close. Keeping him.
“So you win…I admit it. So you get your choice. I do what you say. I don’t give that up every day. Pick something good.” He pulled Sebastian a bit more so he could kiss him, feeling the heat in Sebastian on his mouth, wanting to kiss him and imaging blasting out the rest of the glass in the house, the window imploding, the etched front of the antique liquor cabinet collapsing, all of the sounds of shattering. Two men sitting in the dark surrounded by a sea of glass.
10/08/12 @ 01:11am
■ distant spasms
■ they can be cute
As Jim leaned on him Sebastian made sure to press against the back of the counter, shoulders spread, neck taunt. He didn’t want it to seem like it was difficult to balance but his center of gravity had shifted somewhere he had yet to properly determine and having another body to support wasn’t as easy as it was this time last year. He wasn’t complaining, this was a much better alternative than Jim pinching his leg or demanding rides about the house. They could have been anyone, honestly, just two people breaking glass and ceramic against stone, a cathartic remedy for all the pent up rage and frustration that they had.
Sebastian kept his hand and tongue still as he saw Jim concentrate on the tile, a small smile on his face as Jim took his time, aimed and then landed the mug nearly perfect. Sebastian laughed a little, the crack of the ceramic nothing like the clink of Jim’s teeth against his as Sebastian was kissed quite thoroughly by the other man, his laughter stolen from his throat as Jim pressed against him.
When Jim pulled away Sebastian followed for a few centimenters before he steadied himself and his gaze dropped to Jims hand. He smiled again and reached upwards, turning to see, before he pulled down a delicate red wine goblet with curved edges and a long, sturdy stem.
“Alright,” Seb looked around for a target, putting the glass in Jim’s open hand. ”That tile over there, with the dark stain, think you can get it?” He would have said it looked slightly brown, but he wasn’t sure of the exact color. Sebastian pointed over to a corner, about two meters further away from where they had been throwing the other cups.
“Safe money’s on your missing.” Sebastian whispered, leaning over towards Jim’s ear. He stayed there and kept talking, voice soft, “But I think you can do it, deep breathes again, just stay focused and imagine that there is nothing else in the world except that one single point. There’s nothing. Both eyes open, and you’re aware of all these fabrics and threads all around but there’s only one small point-“
Jim closed his fingers around the glass, feeling where Sebastian’s hand had already warmed the thin glass. This was a special set; there were only ten in the world and he’d chosen it so carefully, wanted these glasses to accent the other man’s kitchen. The odd bits of glass that weren’t warm felt like thin slivers of ice against his hand; his own skin didn’t seem to be doing anything to warm the glass.
When Sebastian leaned in close, his voice was not his new voice, not the dull apathy the man spoke with sometimes when Jim asked him about treatments and therapy and doctors. This wasn’t the voice that got tight sometimes when they were on the phone and Jim was setting up surgery and canceling a visit because something had come up in Cardiff and he really couldn’t just escape north right now. This was the voice he remembered, the voice that he sometimes heard at night. Sleeping alone now, all the time, the bed sheets endlessly cold and sterile, he could almost feel a finger running up the center of his back and waking every nerve and bone there. And that was the voice, the old voice, and it was so dangerous and he leaned back against Sebastian’s shoulder again, weighing the fragile glass in his hand. If he tightened his fingers, he could shatter it, drive shards of thin red glass into his palm.
His eyes slid half closed just listening to Sebastian’s voice.
He nodded slowly, smiling.
“I know you’re a betting man, but maybe this one you just won’t win.” He raised his eyebrows, watching the indicated tile as though it would challenge him.
Jim exhaled slowly, putting a ridiculous amount of concentration into this. This, throwing a bloody glass across the room as though this would make a difference anywhere in the world. Or even to them. He kicked his foot against the cabinet, the sound dull when his sock-covered heel hit the wood.
He let Sebastian’s words move him as he raised his hand again. His smile was slight, crooked, and seemed fixed in place rather than active. He exhaled slowly, then flung the glass, his eyes still on that dark spot on the other side of the room. An irregularly about to be made a crash site. He felt that he couldn’t miss, that the glass had no other option than to splinter into pieces exactly where he wanted it to.
And then suddenly he wanted to miss. Because he wanted to know what Sebastian would choose if he was given the chance to have Jim do whatever he wanted. It wasn’t like before, similar bets two years before, ending with one of them on his knees, or tied up with unique leather restraints, laughing, half-heartedly complaining. Before he’d even fully registered this thought, his wrist jerked slightly and the glass flew too far to the right and skidded as it shattered across the floor.
Jim actually stared after he threw it. Then he laughed, turning to look at Sebastian.
“I don’t think I could have been more off. But it’s not fair, all of it on me like this. How about we play one more round where you have to get involved. Sudden death. You hit that.” He tilted his head, pointing at the light switch on the far wall. “And then you win. Otherwise, you’re mine.”
07/08/12 @ 10:15pm
■ distant spasms
■ they can be cute
Shrugging, Sebastian leaned back a bit, watching JIm place the bet to nobody. Sebastian decided that he would go along with it, because why not? This was good and simple and easy as throwing glasses at the floor. It meant absolutely nothing and Sebastian leaned over pressing his shoulder against Jim’s just before the man put his cheek there. He smiled and glanced over at the Irishman, letting the other man talk instead of Sebastian and his terrible offhanded silences and misnomers.
His fingers reached out and he placed his hand on Jim’s outstretched knee, which was over his own thigh anyway. He couldn’t feel it but it felt better when his fingers were lightly pressed over his pants there.
“Deal. Okay take deep breaths.” Sebastian instructed as Jim did as he was told. “Easy, wait, throw in between-” and then Jim tossed the goblet, knocking it against a cabinet instead of the floor and Sebastian laughed, his hand wrapping around Jim’s thigh easily. He laughed and leaned over and kissed Jim’s temple and laughed into his hair, chuckling, before kissing him again and reaching up to grab another mug.
“I want you to try again, yeah?” Sebastian said, smiling and handing Jim a mug this time. “This has more weight to it.” The ex-sniper pointed at the tile, keeping his hand perfectly stead. “Just take it easy, take your time, okay? No rush at all, just deep easy breathes and focus on exactly where you want that thing to go.”
Jim grinned, eyebrows up high on his forehead. He ran a hand through his hair as Sebastian’s hand tightened on his leg for a moment. The sniper couldn’t feel his own thigh, and to him it must have been no different to squeeze his ex-boss’. But the consulting criminal felt it, relished it, Sebastian’s hand warm again after his sojourn into the garden. His own skin still felt cold after his short time outside; the house still felt cold to him from the doors having been open, all of autumn allowed into the quiet rooms. He set his chilled hand over Sebastian’s briefly, then laughed.
“Alright, so I do get a best two out of three.” He nodded slowly, mock seriously. He accepted the mug from the other man. He rolled it back and forth, hand to hand as he leaned against Sebastian. And he knew, somewhere in the back of his mind, that he shouldn’t do that anymore, that Sebastian’s balance wasn’t very good, but he felt so solid against him. He chewed his lip and watched Sebastian point, listened to the instructions that he knew in theory, but had rarely put into practice. When was the last time he had fired a gun? Sometimes he’d gone to the range with his sniper, knowing that he could have to protect himself some day. But that had always seemed so far off.
Now he laughed and nodded, holding the mug and taking a deep breath. Ridiculous, he told himself. You’re being stupid and ridiculous. And fucking happy. Do you get to be happy, Jimmy?
Yes, fuck you, he told himself grimly.
He took a deep breath, concentrating on the tile, on Sebastian’s hand, on the press of the man’s body along his side. His mouth quirked to the side and he threw the mug, crashing it down on the tile just slightly off center.
Jim raised his arms in triumph, turning to kiss Sebastian fiercely. He wrapped one arm around the other man’s neck when he thought he might be pushing him over.
“Alright, lovely! Now it’s a tie, Mr Moran…our fates hang in the balance.” He pulled back and held out his hand. “Hand me one more cup and name your final target.”
03/08/12 @ 08:52pm
■ distant spasms
■ they can be cute
When Jim laughed Sebastian had to look at the ground, run a hand through his hair and cover his mouth to hide his grin. Good. This was good. It wasn’t better, it wasn’t fixed, it was better than Sebastian lying on the grass outside the mansion in the dark. He swallowed down the rest of his laughter and reached up again, grabbing a mug and pointing at the tile Jim had described.
“Come on, that’s not a skull at all.” He said, teasing a bit as Jim slid down and grabbed the whiskey. He took the liquor and drank a small sip, wincing and placing the tiger-emblazoned cup next to his hip as he chewed on the inside of his cheek and narrowed his eyes. “It’s a set of antlers, I swear.” Sebastian noted cheekily, and with a flick of his hand, send the mug flying at the corner of the tile, neatly shattering over the gout.
“Six out of ten. Didn’t go nearly as far as the the wine glass.” Turning and reaching up Sebastian took down two more cups, this time just plain drinking cups so that every sort of set that had been ordered for the mansion would be set completely out of order. Narrowing his eyes again Sebastian threw the cup at the floor, hitting the second corner of the skull-antler tile and laughing a bit.
This was good. It must have seemed crazy, honestly, a pair of grown men sitting on a counter and throwing tableware at the ground and giggling. He didn’t care though, it was cathartic in a way, tossing these cups and mugs at the ground and hearing them break in a hundred places just to see the shards skitter to all corners of the kitchen. He laughed and before Jim could throw his cup Sebastian snatched it out of his hand and after a second tossed it at the third corner, hitting it perfectly.
“Let’s see if I can outline the whole thing, yeah? Bets, anyone?” Sebastian took another sip of his whiskey and pulled down another cup, taking only a few seconds to aim and then hitting the fourth corner, laughing loudly as he hit it perfectly. “Your turn.” Seb said, pulling down a wineglass. “Go for the center, right in the middle, yeah?”
Jim kicked his shoes off, pulling his feet up onto the counter to sit cross legged, shedding his jacket and dropping it to the floor as well. He wasn’t thinking, not really, of the times he had held his breath as he watched the sniper set up his shots, of the rush that ran up from his stomach through his chest, how he’d wanted to kiss him hard after the shot, to catch some of that passion, to taste it. The chuckle at the very back of Sebastian’s throat.
“You know I can’t throw for shite.” The criminal shook his head, licking his lips as he accepted the glass from the other man. “And if we bet on this, you’d get whatever you want.” He grinned, “On the other hand…since the odds are clearly not in my favour, I think I should get a rather good reward should I manage to actually get it.”
Jim knelt up, then moved so he was half sitting in Sebastian’s lap as he raised the glass. He kicked one of the jars into another as he shifted his balance, the thick glass clanking. Flour? Sugar? God knew. He didn’t care. He wanted to kick the canister off the counter, hear the sound that made on the tile.
“I need to be here, Sebastian. Hope I’m not in your line of vision. Otherwise I’ll never hit it.” He rested his cheek against the man’s shoulder for just a moment, so quickly that it could almost have been an accident. He glanced at Sebastian, biting his bottom lip as he smiled. Talking, talking, and smiling. Laughing. Filling the silence. The violin in the void. “You may want to get down a few more. I’m sort of wanting to place my bet on best two out of three. No, no. Alright, alright…if I hit the thing square, first try, I get you to do whatever I want. Anything I want. And if I miss…the reverse is true. I’ll do whatever you want.”
He smiled at Sebastian, eyes sliding to meet his, then looked down at his target again.
“I can do this, just the way you do.” He narrowed his eyes slightly, took a deep breath, then exhaled and threw the glass. It missed and crashed into the side of the island in the center of the kitchen. Jim laughed, half sitting back in Sebastian’s lap with his arm still raised.
“Well, fuck it all, it’s a good thing no one counts on me for that!”
■ distant spasms
■ this is perfect
■ thank you
Sebastian glanced over his shoulder as Jim walked by, pressed fingers against his shoulder, moved away. Swallowing his words, Sebastian smiled a little as he watched Jim move around the kitchen, obviously unfamiliar with the layout. He could have easily pointed the other man in the right direction but he didn’t know why he didn’t, instead choosing to watch Jim open up cabinets randomly. Sebastian wheeled over to the small cubboard where his supplies for tea and coffee were kept and pulled out a few packets, placing them on the counter next to the range.
The last thing Sebastian wanted was for Jim to get hurt. He bit back any of the other words that came to mind as Jim held onto a shelf and then accidentally dropped a mug on the floor. Sebastian saw it fall slowly and he jerked in his chair, as if he could still catch it. He knew that if he was mobile he would have been able to catch it. He probably would have been able to reach the mugs without Jim climbing up. Tilting his head up at Jim he smiled and wheeled over to the half-counter and then, hoisted himself up onto the granite, scooting towards the cup cabinet.
“Forget that and come here come here.” Sebastian said, smiling. He reached up into the cabinet and hooked one of the wine glasses, throwing it down from the shelf to the floor and staring at it, grinning. “We can provide our own percussion, yeah?”
Sebastian took another cup and threw it gently over to Jim.
“Give it a toss.”
Jim watched Sebastian with a slight smile, mouth pulled up more to the left. Wine glasses? But they were having…
He blinked and laughed almost explosively when Sebastian threw the glass, looking down to see the splinters on on the floor. They were almost invisible on the tile floor, but the sound they’d made dying still lingered in the air. He almost dropped his phone as he fumbled to catch the glass the other man threw to him.
“I think you’ve got the best angle for it.” He tucked his phone into his trouser pocket and walked over to the counter, making sure he stepped on the glass to feel it, hear it under his shoes. He slid his hand on Sebastian’s knee, not remembering for that moment that it wouldn’t be anything. And when he did remember, he just moved his hand to Sebastian’s chest. “Alright, leave me some room then.” He hopped up onto the counter beside the taller man, flinging the glass down in front of them.
“Alright, grab down another. Hit that tile, the one with the white bit that looks like a skull.” He tilted his head and laughed. “Alright, you have to look at it crooked to see it, but the skull is there. Just a minute.” He jumped down and walked over to pour whiskey into the two mugs, carrying them back. “Irish portions. Fuck the tea, hmm?” He handed the tiger mug to Sebastian. “Have a sip of that first. Then throw.” He sat down beside him again. “Don’t miss now. Cheers.” He tapped the mug against Sebastian’s.
02/08/12 @ 07:24pm
■ distant spasms
■ in addition to pancake feels
■ now i can have tea feels
Sebastian didn’t respond as Jim set up his chair, pulled it over, pulled the break down, pulled his eyes away from the wheels to Sebastian sitting up awkwardly on the grass. It was getting darker, not quickly, and it seemed all the shades of grey that defined his vision where becoming starker and more contrasted. He could clearly see the grass in between his legs and fingers, each spoke of his wheelchair, every line across Jim’s face. Everything seemed so much clearer with the storm rolling over the moors.
Taking Jim’s hand in his, Sebastian lifted himself into his chair, adjusting everything as soon as he was settled. He tried hard not to look at Jim as he did so, not wanting to see the other man pass his eyes over his lank frame that was getting skinner every month. Eventually there wouldn’t be much left to him but cheekbones and scars. Everything seemed more fragile, but Sebastian knew that he was just getting leaner, stronger, scarier even as he stayed still in his chair day after day.
It was the silence of the house that had been infused into him, each word dearly spent and swept away into the dark corners of the mansion. So he didn’t say anything about the strange, awkward ritual that came every time Sebastian wanted to simply move from his chair to a sofa, a bathtub, his own bed every night. He breathed out, not quite sighing through his nose and glanced up at Jim as the man spoke instead of him.
He swallowed down any other words as Jim began to push him. Sebastian didn’t usually like it when Jim did this; any other place would have been fine but this was his house, his property, shouldn’t he dictate his own movement?
The fingers of his left hand trailed over the wheels that moved of Jim’s volition and he supposed he could take being walked around like a dog right now. It rather suited his mood.
“Yeah.” He muttered softly, ignoring the chill that soaked through his shirt but shivering anyway, trying to forget the feeling of Jim’s hand in his hair and he closed his eyes, tilting his head back against the back of the seat, breathing in slowly as he was put into the library and the doors were shut. He was moved forwards a few inches before he grabbed hold of the tires sharply, burning his hand a big.
“Got it.” He didn’t turn around, heading towards the kitchen down the hall. “Tea, yeah?”
Once in the room he sent all the staff away, leaving out a uncooked chicken dinner and a huge pan of half-diced vegatables across various counters. He went to the stove with the range at his height now and put on a kettle, getting various utinsils and grabbing a nicely aged whiskey from the liquor cabinet, setting it on the table.
“I can’t reach the mugs.” Sebastian said softly, turning to look at Jim. “Do you mind?”
The consulting criminal snatched his hands back from the handles when Sebastian moved away from him sharply. Ah. So that was too much. He had a problem, he knew it. He could never tell that something would be bad until afterwards. After the joke wasn’t funny, after he’d done something wrong. And at that point, he couldn’t quite identify what was wrong, only that it was. There was something wrong with him, wasn’t there? He’d asked Nick that once. ‘Do you think there’s something wrong with us?’ He’d never asked Sebastian.
The whole house was quiet, after the scuffling of the staff was gone, with their soft-soled shoes and their murmurings that weren’t so soft. Had that bitch, the one who’d spoken so thoughtlessly earlier, actually noticed that Mr. Parker wasn’t wearing his ring? For some reason, that jarred him, that omission. He wasn’t sure why. He watched Sebastian move with ease in his own kitchen; he’d had the kitchen designed in two halves, one for the regular staff and then the lower portion for Sebastian. That kettle was old; he recognized it suddenly and placed it. It was from Sebastian’s old flat in London, his first flat when he’d returned from the army. Before he belonged to Jim. The kettle had shrieked the first time he’d struck him. It was bubbled along the first time he’d walked into the kitchen to see Sebastian working on his morning crossword. He’d leaned over the counter and just murmured “sixteen across is undulating.” No, that hadn’t been it. It had been twenty-six across and the word was ‘shattering.’ Yes. And he’d laughed and Sebastian had chewed the inside of his cheek for a moment before smiling and tossing the pencil down on the counter to face him, kiss him roughly, then just walk away to take the kettle off the range before it screamed at them.
“Mugs…sure.” He looked around, trying to remember on his own where they were kept. He lightly touched Sebastian’s shoulder as he passed him (he couldn’t stop it, this need to just touch him), then reached up to open one of the higher cabinets. He had to stand on tiptoe. What a stupid design. “Mm…no, that’s apparently a lot of paper towels.” He grinned down at Sebastian, then opened the next one. “Here we are.” He hooked his finger in one mug and pulled it down, setting it on the table.
“God, this has got to be old!” He turned it, looking at the tiger on the side. “You can use that one. Appropriate.” He walked back to the cupboard, trying to snag one of the other mug handles. They were all turned the wrong way. “I need a ladder!” He laughed, filling the silence. He hated that, how quiet it was. It made his head throb, made his mind pace along buzzing whispers. “Alright, don’t tell my mum that I’m doing this.”
He hoisted himself up onto the counter, standing up unsteadily and grabbing onto one of the lower shelves to keep his balance. He pulled out one of the mugs; as he did, the handle knocked one of the others and sent it hurtling down onto the floor. Jim winced, looking from the shards to Sebastian. Shatter. Mhilleadh.
“Sorry!” He climbed down. “I just seem rather good at breaking things, don’t I?” He widened his eyes and smiled as he set the other mug on the table, kicking the shards of the broken one out of the way. Someone could clean that mess up later. He dug one hand into his pocket, turning away from Sebastian as he pulled out the ring he wore in Scotland. So the staff knew he was Matt Parker. He spun it once with his thumb. When he turned back to Sebastian, he had his phone out. “We should put some music on, don’t you think?” Or you should talk to me, he thought. Make me stay, Sebastian.
Sebastian licked his lips slowly as Jim spoke, kept his mouth open and held his tongue as the man held his hand tightly. Go back in the morning. Well. That wasn’t unusual. What was the point in coming up here anyway? It wasn’t exactly relaxing. Sebastian pushed down a shiver as he realized just how cold he was. How long had he been out here? Most of the night, wasn’t it?
“Dunno boss.” Sebastian said, closing his eyes again, his hand limp in Jims. “I just wanted to get out of the house, I guess.” He didn’t see Jim smile, didn’t see the way that Jim looked at him because he hated that. He could hear the cicadas in the forest, the soft rumble of thunder across the moors. It would be raining soon. He swallowed and then opened his eyes again, looking at Jim.
“I just didn’t want to talk.” Sebastian struggled to sit up, slipping his hand out of Jims and using his arms to support his weight, his balance completely different without his hips and a quarter of his core to help him sit up. He gestured at the chair.
“Pull that over. We can get something to drink inside.”
Jim heard the thunder; his dark eyes slid sideways towards the flicker of lightning that lit the tops of the trees a bit afterwards. He counted slowly in his head before being able to react to anything. His mum had always had them do that, him and Jamie, when they were small. Count slowly, that’s how many miles away it was. He kept counting as Sebastian sat up. It seemed as though the thunder just didn’t come, didn’t follow the light. He needed it, felt the unanswered flashes building up. He couldn’t breathe until he heard it finally, the petulant grumble of the thunder far away. He turned towards Sebastian.
“Alright, good.” He stood up and pushed the chair over, setting the brake. He was good with it now, the little fiddly bits, what made the foot rests go up and down, unscrewing and changing the handles, folding the traveling chair, setting the brake. Knew all the screws and pins and bars the way he knew codes and locks and passwords. And he hated that he knew. He licked his lips as he looked down at Sebastian sitting on the ground. He’d helped the other man from the bed into the chair, or the other way. Small spaces, intimate spaces to cover. There was a flutter of anxiety in his stomach and he told himself it was just some sort of reaction to the electrical storm.
“Let’s go in then.” He held his hand out for Sebastian’s, the man’s even colder than his own for once. “Maybe…maybe you’ll feel like talking then.” He hated it, even as he said it, how desperate it sounded. There was a fear, an actual fear, that Sebastian would show him inside, have some tea, then tell him to leave. Or maybe he was just unsure of how to deal with this, this awkward lifting, straining, fighting in silence to get Sebastian back into the chair, Jim feeling it build up like the pressure between the lightning and the thunder, and he wanted to scream to release some of it. He and Sebastian were both out of breath, Sebastian settling himself and pulling away from Jim’s hands and the criminal feeling how physically weak he really was. How he could have let Sebastian fall, how his hands could have slipped at any time. And there was no clever game here, no computer programme that would have helped. Instead he watched Sebastian, holding his breath before finally licking his lips.
“Besides…with all that lightning, it’s probably going to storm soon.” He walked around behind the wheelchair, unlocking the brake. He touched Sebastian’s hair before wrapping his hands around the handles, starting to push him towards the open French doors of the library.
It had gotten dark far quicker than Sebastian had imagined it would. He had been been there for hours it seemed, staring and just thinking about how every day was the same and how every room was bigger and how nothing at all that he did really mattered at all, did it? He couldn’t move himself, he couldn’t help Jim, he couldn’t keep Jim from taking pills, he couldn’t do anything but read and lie down as a woman poked and proded and massaged him and asked,
‘Now, do you feel this?’
But lying in the ground he felt the grass bending under his neck, the chill of the air against his face, the wind through his clothing, he could feel everything around him and even in the open field he felt like every part of his was closing in on itself. He didn’t want to think anymore but he was shivering a little and getting uncomfortable. Frowning a bit Sebastian wondered how much longer he really wanted to stay prone on the ground when he was interrupted by his own name spoken in a hurried lilt.
“Hey.” Sebastian opened his eyes and turned his head, looking at Jim blankly. His hand was in a vice and he didn’t move to take it away from Jim. “I was expecting you last week.”
Jim took a sharp breath. The relief he’d felt when Sebastian opened his eyes was almost choked by the response he’d received. The lack of reaction in the other man’s eyes. For a brief, blinding moment he felt keenly unwelcome, unwanted, displaced. He licked his lips.
“Last week? Oh…Saturday.” He shrugged one shoulder. “You know how London gets. I thought I called to let you know.” He rolled his head to one side. “Well, we’ll just have that visit now. Unexpected, but I hope you’re still alright with a houseguest. If not, I’ll go back to London in the morning.” Saved his pride, those words, tried to ease the bit of gnawing in his stomach. He barely remembered that he’d said he would visit, but it seemed impossible when he considered the last time he’d been here. Nothing had changed; the trees had not started to change colour, and the house, as always, was identical. How had it been that long?
He still hadn’t released Sebastian’s hand, nor had his grip loosened at all. It was strange, this new thing, this intensity of absence. It was so hard to get here sometimes, to just leave London and come up north, though London wasn’t the same now, and though the empty liquor bottles disappeared from his rooms before he could count them, and he tossed the pill bottles into hotel garbage bins before he could really register how many there had been over how many nights, he knew that his nights were potentially more dangerous and he tried to slow his mind and keep it away from thinking too much. Sebastian wasn’t there to laugh with, to kiss, to fuck, to dress, to be annoyed with, to talk to, to watch, and he’d never realized how much of himself had come to depend on Sebastian just being there. No one else had ever been let into his life like that. And it wasn’t fucking fair to have that taken away now. But going up north was a sort of pain, to see Sebastian like this, to know there was nothing he could do, even as he scheduled surgeries and ordered more renovations to the house to make Sebastian’s life easier.
But he also felt calmer then, just sharing a bed, watching Sebastian breathe in his sleep, filling the house with noise, burning the food he was supposed to be making for lunch for both of them. It was strange and good and, while it lasted, seemed to make some things right. But how long could it last?
“How long have you been out here? I’ve been calling you for hours. Why didn’t you answer your phone?” he asked finally. He smiled, a bit crookedly. “It’s fucking cold out here. Can we go in and have tea and whiskey?”
■ distant spasms
■ also this novelled a bit
Sebastian wasn’t sure why he was comfortable allowing Jim to push him, but he didn’t offer a single word of protest as Jim led him past small curio shops and cafes. He didn’t even see the stares, just felt them brush by this upper arms as his gaze moved to a new window or table.
After lunch Sebastian suggested that they stay out just a while longer. He knew that Jim didn’t really want to keep this up, wanted to go home to London or drop Seb off at the Scotland house and then take a train home. He felt guilty suggesting it, but wanted to stay as far away from alone as he could, and that house Jim had outfitted was nothing but cold. But Jim smiled and pushed a hand through his hair and Sebastian kept his eyes on his knees for a few seconds as his boss stood and walked around and began to push him to the small bookstore they had seen before.
The Trial. He had never read it entire before but when they reached a back corner where Henry Jyoti turned into Amelia Kaarst and Sebastian realized that Kafka was a few feet above Jim’s head and if he had been standing it wouldn’t have been a problem.
He had turned the other way when Jim reached up and didn’t realize that the book had bounced off his thigh until he head it hit his armrest and then the ground. Glancing up Sebastian saw The Trial in Jim’s hands and reached down to grab the one on the ground, offering it to Jim and just barely smiling as he asked for a trade.
Sebastian could just hear the sound of something being torn as he went to pay for the book, ignoring it diligently but telling the man to keep the change when he handed over three ten pound notes.
Jim stayed with Sebastian for a few more days, organized consultations - next week, eight days- and then planned for the surgery in two months. Sebastian stared at his ledger and flipped idlly through the pages that had gone from covered in scribbles and notes about each day to when Jim wanted the surgery. Blank pages. It was like looking at a flipbook children made in second form, going from a dark gradient of dates times and names to next to nothing, the only regular notes were ‘PT’ in the corner three days a week.
He read The Trial twice before he realized he had watched the movie years before. A man in his squad had been a Kane aficionado and Sebastian was reminded of the man who had run through doors to find a way out. The third time he read the book he tore out a page after he had finished and slowly decimated the volume, leaving the paper on the ground as he went outside.
It was chilly - late September - but Sebastian pushed himself out of the chair and onto the ground, rolled so he was looking at the sky and closed his eyes, ignoring the tell-tale ring that indicated Jim was calling his phone.
All he wanted to do right now was sleep and pretend that the chill in his fingers wasn’t in his toes because they were already numb from the cold.
Jim didn’t realize it when three weeks had gone by and he hadn’t visited Sebastian, hadn’t been to Scotland. Which didn’t mean he hadn’t thought about it. Never referred to the country by name anymore; when he told Sebastian he was coming, by phone or text, he always just said he was coming ‘up north.’ He knew his new detail must have a name for his visits too. But he wasn’t interested in finding out what it was. His new bodyguard was just a name and a good shot. He didn’t care about anything else.
He wasn’t his new bodyguard. He was his temporary one.
And he woke up several times to find his phone full of texts he didn’t remember sending and things he didn’t recall ever telling Sebastian and he sat in the middle of the bedroom floor in London, scrolling and scrolling through the patient replies to the garbled messages he’d sent, the letters missing and crushed together and skewed.
‘ill fiw it. sebvatun i willl fx it’
‘it’s fine, boss. just go to bed, yeah?’
‘idontnow if youunderatnd. I just wangt yuou.’
‘i know. stop with the pills. please.’
And there it was, the empty pill bottle by his side. Jim raised his phone to throw the traitorous thing at the wall, imagining the confused letters tumbling down, bouncing out of the broken black casing. His mouth was dry and he could taste the word ‘want’ in the back of his throat. His fingers tightened around the phone and he looked at it again. It was evening; he’d thought it was morning. He pressed the button for Sebastian’s number, a direct line, a unique ring. And it rang out; no voice mail message. He tried again. Nothing. No answer. Impossible.
The criminal showered, a twitchy twenty minutes under water he didn’t want touching him. Tried Sebastian again. No answer. He didn’t call the house staff, didn’t bother. There was nothing that would work except Sebastian’s voice. Two and a half hours later he was walking through the house; it was no trouble chartering a plane.
Jim didn’t call his name; the house seemed to big and too quiet. And empty. No, none of the staff knew where Mister Moran was, but obviously he couldn’t get far…
He slapped the girl who made the comment, Miriam, and she should have known, but didn’t, that she’d be dead by next week. He passed her to walk into the library, the open French doors allowing the autumn into the room, stirring pages from a destroyed book he didn’t bother to bend down to note the title of.
He walked through the doors with quick steps, hands in shaking fists in his pockets (shaking? must have been the cold, which was a creeping thing up north, up here) that he walked the newly paved paths of the garden (wheelchairs don’t move well on gravel). It was true; he couldn’t get far. Where was he?
The lights that lined the paths made a gleaming line along the curve of the wheel and Jim thought his heart had actually stopped when he saw the dark outline of the body on the ground.
“Sebastian.” He felt his voice low, but it sounded high in his ears and he felt the dull impact of the pavement through his knees, running up his thighs, when he knelt next to the prone man, grabbing his hand. And Sebastian’s skin was ice cold; Jim almost bit through his lip when he opened his eyes.
“If I can’t handle it, I’ll tell you.”
There used to be days when Sebastian would run for ten kilometers and then be ready for a harsh fuck in the shower.
“Let’s just go downtown then. Go into wherever looks decent.” Sebastian’s tone wasn’t curt, not yet, but there was a definite petulance there that was nearly unknown to him. He swallowed and frowned, annoyed at himself for allowing the slip of his own tongue. He wasn’t that person. He was stronger than this. He sighed and glanced up at Jim.
“Sorry.” he said softly, chewing on the inside of his cheek. “I’m sorry. It’s fine. I’m fine. Let’s get some lunch, yeah?” Sebastian looked up again, smiling slightly. “We passed a few decent patios on the way over.”
The struggle into the car was the same, but Sebastian was getting better at doing it himself, sliding the arm rest down and then sliding the rest of him into the seat. One leg at a time. He frowned and nodded, politely thanking the nurses or aids or technicians or whomever they were that had so thoughtfully helped him into the seat. He stared at his knees, bent at a weird angle because his legs were so long and there wasn’t really ever enough space for a man of his height anywhere but the shotgun seat.
They sat in silence for only a few moments before Sebastian noticed a movement by his side and turned to look at Jim, his mouth suddenly crushed under the pressure of the other mans. His eyes widened and then closed as he lifted a hand to Jim’s jaw, his fingers just barely resting there as Jim shifted closer, sitting on his lap.
“Don’t worry about it.” Sebastian said, muttered, breathed into Jim’s mouth because he knew that Jim liked it when he could feel words in the back of his throat and against his teeth. His other hand clenched on the leather of the seat, a fist supporting him against the colossal weight of the criminal straddling his legs. “There’s-” he swallowed those words back and then suddenly moved forwards, hand wrapping around Jim’s neck as he kissed him harshly, urgently, leaning on his arm.
“Don’t worry about it, Jim.” Sebastian said, pulling away and then kissing him softly.
The criminal drank in the words Sebastian murmured past his lips, swallowed them. A sort of momentary benediction he could taste like rain (one of the only types of water he liked) and he kissed him again when the other man pushed forward as though there was a rush for this. As though they wouldn’t have time to do it again.
And he smiled to hear his name. That was a rarity, Sebastian using his given name. In any context. He ran his hand through the man’s hair (still trying to get used to the increase in length on the side), then tightened his fingers almost convulsively. Mine, his joints screamed as though the bones were sliding together, the muscles tightened strings with the word ‘mine’ drawn across them to echo the sentiment.
“Who’s worried?” he said airily, shrugging one shoulder as he sat back slightly. He knew, logically, in the back of his head, that Sebastian didn’t even feel this, his weight on his thighs. As though Jim wasn’t actually there. Terrifying.
When they reached a little stretch of cafes and shops, Jim ordered the driver to stop. And again checked his email on his phone while Sebastian was helped out of the car, back into the waiting chair. He wasn’t sure why he looked away. He wasn’t sure if it was because he had a difficult time watching or because he didn’t think Sebastian would want him to watch. He sent a text back to Nicky (‘No, I don’t think it’s a bad idea at all! It’s not like you’ve never crashed that sort of party before!’), then tucked the mobile back into his jeans pocket. The sun had disappeared behind clouds and he raised his sunglasses, wearing them on top of his head. He walked over to the chair, smiling crookedly.
“I figure we’ll just sort of…stroll. Pick a place as we go.” He didn’t bend down, crouch slightly, as he’d seen some people do to talk to Sebastian, as though he was a child in a buggy. He just looked down, as though they were in a hotel room, in a flat, and he’d just stood up while Sebastian remained sitting at the table, on the sofa, on the edge of the bed. As though he’d stand up any moment and just leave the damned chair by the car and they could walk to any one of these places.
The last night he’d slept in London before going north to meet Sebastian for this trip, he’d jerked off with his eyes tightly shut as if in pain, seeing the other man in his head, dancing. Just dancing. Moving, all of his muscles his to control, long and lean, faintly sweaty under bright lights.
He gestured with his chin to a place a little ways down.
“We should start there. Look how nice and pretentious their little chalk board out front is.”
Sandwiches with too much pesto, but they overtipped the waitress anyway because she identified the quotation Sebastian threw at her as Kafka. Avoided the car, the trip back to the hotel, the two stopped into a used book shop two doors down from the cafe. And Sebastian couldn’t reach the Kafka and Jim stood up tiptoe to grab it. He knocked another volume, something in pristine condition by an author he’d never heard of, down as he grabbed the Kafka. The unwanted book fell more quickly than the criminal could grab, and he winced when the sharp heavy corners hit Sebastian’s thighs.
And the only reaction was Sebastian holding the offending book out to him as he raised his eyebrows, smiling ruefully.
Jim nodded and accepted the other book, handing over the Kafka. And when Sebastian moved away, the wheels silent on the floor, the criminal viciously ripped the pages from the other K book and left the paper massacre on the floor as he followed after Sebastian.
Sebastian laced his fingers together, put them in his lap and let Jim wheel him into the elevator. He didn’t look up when Jim spoke to him, stared absently at the wall when the elevator doors closed and the air seemed to press down on him with impossible force. He swallowed and sighed as Jim pressed his fingers through his hairline, up the back of his broken neck, pushed his face down to his chest and Sebastian felt as if Jim’s hands were suddenly burning him, setting him alight, shooting pistons down his spine.
“The cafe,” Sebastian muttered, eyes closed as Jim clenched his fist and then removed his hand. Jesus, now he was too cold. In between extremes Sebastian would always choose the more intense feeling, wishing that Jim had kept his hand there. He glanced to the side as he was wheeled out of the lift, thinking about how strange it was to be moving and not be doing absolutely anything at all. He was completely in Jim’s hands.
Sebastian wasn’t used to looking up at people, certainly not on a day to day basis. Even in Scotland he hardly saw another person, and when he went out to the bookstore or the local deli it was easy to just assume a position at a table and pretend like the wheelchair was just another part of the furniture. Now, with all the nurses and doctors and technicians running by him, all looking important and necessary and needed somewhere right fucking now, it made him feel small. His six foot four frame usually allowed him to tower over people, look over their heads, see everything. Now he could hardly be considered eye-level with the reception desk they passed on the way out into the street.
“How long are we staying out?” He asked, digging out a pair of sunglasses and putting them on, looking around the curbside for their car.
Jim squinted against the harsh sunlight; he wasn’t a daytime creature, really. When he was awake during ‘normal business hours,’ he generally wasn’t outside in shops and doctors’ offices and cafes. New to him as it was new to Sebastian, really. Newer. Sebastian had at least always greeted every new day by going out into the world, waking up with the city every day on his runs. Jim had grumbled and turned over, if he’d woken up at all. When he was in Scotland now, they woke up together. It was strange.
He unhooked his own sunglasses from the front pocket on his shirt. Cheap ones, Matt Parker’s. The nose pad on the left side was bent slightly, and they never sat quite squarely on his face. Stupid.
“I don’t know…depends on what you want, really. I don’t want you to get too…” He licked his lips. “Tired. I mean. Traveling is such a pain in the arse. We’re not going north again until tomorrow. So whatever you want to do. I don’t have concrete plans.” And that was part of the problem, wasn’t it? He felt as though his plans were becoming less and less concrete as the days and months went on.
The driver pulled up, along with one of the aides. Again Jim felt that spike of hatred when they helped Sebastian into the car, then folded the chair to put it into the back. He looked at his phone, checked his messages, pressed his lips together, finally getting into the car when everything was settled. Looking over at the tall man once they were seated, he couldn’t not notice that he was a bit pale. He leaned forward to direct the driver to the cafe, then sat back again. He watched Sebastian’s profile as the car started moving, then climbed up to his knees on the seat, grabbing Sebastian’s face and turning it to kiss him as he crawled over to straddle one of his thighs. Even he, with his misfiring emotions and misunderstanding mind, knew that this didn’t fix anything, really. But he was always determined to try.