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Title: Stars
Rating: R
Fandom: Sherlock BBC
Characters: Jim Moriarty
Summary: "Oh, I don't think that matters, do you?" A rather sinister look. "I know who you are, though."
Status: Incomplete - Chapter 3/?

Chapter One - Kidnapped
Chapter Two - Bodyguard

The meeting flew by once Jim's attention had been captured by the ongoing saga of the slipping wig. He appeared to be locked in a constant battle against the urge to giggle, the sight of which was testing even Seb's practiced stoicism. It wasn't long before the meeting was over and as soon as they were out in the corridor, they were both overcome by laughter.

"Why did you point it out? I was so sure I was going to get into trouble for laughing!" Jim asked his bodyguard, sniggering.

"I'm sorry, sir - but I do think you'd have been in more trouble if you'd fallen asleep," Seb replied, having composed himself until he had his usual look of smug amusement. "What are we doing now?"

Jim looked sheepish. It was 12.15pm, so his eleven o'clock KitKat was seriously overdue, but he couldn't think of a way to explain this without sounding about five years old. Instead, he opted to start walking back to the office, though he supposed he would have to explain eventually when Seb noticed the pattern to his snacking habits.

Seb was back on the sofa again, observing Jim as before. The KitKat seemed to be devoured quickly, but not particularly neatly. Seb rose to his feet and approached Jim, then reached out a hand to brush the crumbs from the front of the smaller man's suit. This close, he could see a few crumbs on Jim's lips too and it was quite the internal debate as to whether he could get away with wiping them off. In the end, he settled for yes as the answer, reaching a hand out and wiping the crumbs away with his thumb.

Jim had started to blush a little when the crumbs were removed from his suit, but this turned to a rather bright shade of red when the thumb touched his lips. He was terribly inexperienced for a twenty-three-year-old, having only kissed one person - once - and nothing more, so this contact was something he wasn't at all used to. Most people found him to be rather odd and didn't bother with him, so having someone touching his face was unfamiliar territory. "Th-thank you," he stammered, not meeting Seb's eyes.

He couldn't be sure, but Seb was rather under the impression that he was about to melt. This kid is adorable! With his best warm smile, he answered, "Not a problem, sir.

"Please, call me Jim," was the response, though still no eye contact. At this point, Jim's stomach decided to interrupt by rumbling, clearly not satisfied with only chocolate when it was nearly lunch time.

Seb grinned. "Want to go for some lunch?"

~~~~~

Twenty minutes later, they were in a little cafe just round the corner, sitting at a table by the window while they waited for their food. Jim was looking out the window, being distracted constantly by every little thing that happened to move. Seb thanked the waitress when the food arrived and Jim finally turned back to face him as he started to eat.

"So, where exactly are you from?" he asked through a mouthful of egg and chips.

Seb finished chewing before he opened his mouth. “My parents are from Cork, but I grew up in Dublin. You did too, by the sounds of it.”

Jim nodded, filling his mouth up again. “Yeah, I was born in Navan but we moved just after I was born, since my ma and da were from Dublin.”

Seb tried his best to ignore the food gradually making its way all round the table and Jim’s face, as well as the fact he’d referred to his parents in the past tense. “I went to a wedding in Navan once. I’ve never been that drunk before or since.”

Jim giggled and shoveled even more food in, leaving Seb wondering where exactly it was all going, what with Jim being so skinny.

Once they’d finished eating, they started to walk back towards the office. They were both smoking, and Seb found his mind was wandering to thoughts of what was underneath Jim’s suit when Jim spoke again.

“So, have you always been a bodyguard?”

“No, I was in the army. Invalided out though, about two years ago.”

“Oh. Were you badly hurt then?”

“Yeah, I was in a coma for two weeks. They were pretty sure I was going to die, I think. But no one gets rid of me that easily.” Seb flashed a cheeky smile which turned into a bit of a laugh as Jim giggled again and blushed. He wanted this explanation to be enough, so that he’d never have to go into the details – but from what he’d already seen of Jim, the younger man’s mind was almost constantly buzzing and curious, so he didn’t hold out much hope of keeping it secret for terribly long. Perhaps, it would be better if he told him on his own terms, rather than having it dragged out later.

~~~~~

That night, Jim was chilling out at home when his phone vibrated. He reached across to the end table to pick it up, smiling when he saw who the message was from.

S: Six bullet wounds – upper arm, shoulder blade, lower back x2, buttock, thigh, all on the right side.

Jim’s face fell and he sat there, lost in thought for a good five minutes before he could reply. His brain seemed to be arguing with itself, unable to choose between sympathy for Seb’s suffering, fear of a man who chose to put himself in that kind of danger and a strange sort of arousal at the thought of the scars left behind. His response wouldn’t change anything, no matter what he said, but he still deliberated over it for a long time before replying.

J: I’m glad you didn’t die. And actually, that’s kind of hot.


It was rather a brave answer by Jim’s standards and he was almost tempted to trash his phone so he couldn’t get a reply, but he held onto his phone and tried to focus on the television. A few minutes passed before it buzzed again.

S: Maybe I’ll show you one day, if you’re nice to me. ;) Goodnight x


Jim found he couldn’t stop grinning for the rest of the evening.

~~~~~

Over the next couple of weeks, Jim was able to draw out the details of Seb’s life up until the present day. Seb had been at a Catholic school until he left at sixteen to join the army, and had been a corporal when he’d decided to try for the SAS. He’d passed selection first time and had ended up as a sniper due to his aim. He’d been in position and ready to fire when an “x-ray” - Jim had seen too many films and knew exactly what that was – had managed to sneak up behind him and fire before another of Seb’s troop had been able to stop him.

One bullet had passed straight through his shoulder, but the other five had to be removed surgically and there had been a degree of internal damage. He’d been in a coma for two weeks and three days, but he’d managed to pull through. However, the recovery process was long, particularly as the incident had only served to worsen the previously-undiagnosed PTSD he’d been struggling with already. He was given an honourable discharge and had gone back to live with his parents in Ireland while he was in therapy, both for his physical and mental state.

A year later, he’d moved to London to start again. No one really wanted to hire the ex-sniper with the scary look in his eyes, so he’d had to get creative. He managed to let the right people know that he wasn’t necessarily looking for entirely legal work – and had been rather surprised to be offered a job as a bodyguard for a government official. It had worked out well, until he was caught having sex with the official’s secretary – also the official’s mistress – on her desk, at which point he’d been re-assigned to Jim.

Jim loved to hear about Seb’s exploits but he was sure he couldn’t avoid explaining about his own life forever. He was right, because when Seb suggested they went to eat after the last meeting of the day over-ran, the questions started.

“So what about you, then? You haven’t said much about what you did before this?” Seb asked as he ate.

Jim sighed, wondering if he could get away with a summary. “Nothing much – school, went to university early, degree, PhD, worked in a clothes shop.”

Seb raised an eyebrow. “And how exactly did you get from the clothes shop to such a good position in one step?”

“I… there was an incident. Well, I was arrested for hacking. I wasn’t really hacking though, not in a bad way!” He took a sip of his drink and continued. “I just know that the government are rubbish at actually getting information out about space things – new star discoveries and such, you know? So I thought if I could get access to their files, I could find things out earlier. They weren’t too happy about that and I was arrested, only someone sort of kidnapped me and tied me up. And then offered me a job!”

Seb laughed at the look on Jim’s face that suggested he still couldn’t believe it had actually happened. “I suppose it makes sense, when you think about it – you have good hacking skills, they need someone to change details for them to cover things up. And you need me in case anyone thinks you’re on the wrong side.”

“Yeah. I don’t think I could fight anyone off, really.” With a laugh, Jim hoped he’d reached the end of Seb’s curiosity, but it wasn’t to be.

“How old are you? If you don’t mind me asking.”

“Twenty-three. And a half, if that matters. How about you?”

“I’ll be twenty-six in a couple of weeks. I know you said you went to uni early, but how on earth have you got a PhD already?”

“Long story, one I’m not sure is suitable for this restaurant…”

“Come back to mine after this, then.”

“I can’t, it’s… it’s something terrible.”

“I’m sure I’ve done much worse. Please?”

~~~~~

Jim was shaking as he sat on Seb’s couch, waiting for the man to bring tea through. He attempted to take note of everything in the room to distract himself from the conversation he was about to have. It almost seemed safe to tell Seb, he reasoned. Seb had probably killed a lot of people in the SAS – if anyone would understand, it would be him.

Seb returned with the tea and sat down next to Jim, frowning slightly when he saw how scared and small Jim looked. The smaller man had his legs crossed and clutched his mug with both hands, sipping cautiously as he prepared to tell his story.

He began by talking about his parents. The three of them lived together in a little house in Dublin. His mother spoiled him rotten and never shouted, even when he broke things or made a mess during his “experiments”. She knew she had a gifted child and encouraged him to read as much as possible, often using up all the space on her own library ticket as well, just to keep him supplied with constant stimulation. She understood that he was very sensitive and often deep in thought, so she treated him very gently and tried to make sure he was never upset.

When he was seven, his dad needed to move for his work, so they’d moved to Brighton. Jim was picked on because of his accent, because his glasses made him look like a geek, because his knowledge made him seem like he was trying to be superior and because his attempts to describe the vivid images in his head made him seem weird, unfocussed and like he never really had a point. It progressed to bullying pretty quickly, especially where a certain group of boys from the year above were concerned.

Jim hid it pretty well. After all, they tended to punch or kick him in the stomach, where his mother would never see. The physical stuff was nothing compared to their words, anyway. They called him names, insulted him and laughed. They were always laughing. Carl was the worst, he laughed all the time.

Swimming lessons were compulsory for his class once Jim was ten, which made him spend the first three days of the new school year trying to pick up an injury that would excuse him. He couldn't swim and he knew that this would make the bullies even worse, but no matter how hard he tried he couldn't seem to break any bones or cut anything. Thursday arrived, with their lesson at the same time as some of the older boys. Seeing Jim being placed into the non-swimmers group provided some excellent ammunition for the worst of them, Carl Powers. Carl got some of his friends to cause a distraction, then held Jim's head under the water until he couldn't struggle any more. He'd only just let go in time for Jim to lift his head and gasp for air, seconds before he would have passed out. The teacher hadn't even noticed as the older boy waded away, laughing.

It was alright for Carl. He could swim. In fact, he was on a swimming team which took part in a lot of competitions. While Jim splashed around in the shallow end as he tried to stay afloat, Carl and his friends were swimming lengths up and down the pool. It was only after the third attempt to drown Jim that the bullying got back to his mother – there was nothing he could do to hide the bruising on his neck where Carl had tried to strangle him.

The next thing Jim knew, his mother was dead. She’d been driving up to the school to demand they did something about it when her car had slid on black ice and been hit head-on by a lorry. Jim had gone into school the next day anyway, but he’d only made it through until morning break before it finally sank in. He’d gone to his hiding spot, a pitch-black corner under the stairs at the end of the building, where he curled up and cried his heart out. Carl and his friends had managed to find Jim and dragged him out, laughing as they showed everyone how Jim was a big cry-baby. Carl hadn’t even shown any remorse when a teacher had explained the situation.

In his home hiding spot, the cupboard under the stairs, Jim read the newspaper in silence that night, save for the occasional sniffle or dripping of tears onto the paper. His father hadn’t come to find him, hadn’t even left his bedroom since he’d come home from the hospital. Jim wasn’t allowed to see his mother – her injuries were so bad that they thought Jim might be even more traumatised if he saw her. As he sat in the cupboard, he had a thought. She’d been driving to the school to sort out the bullying. Was it his fault? He was almost ready to believe it, when he realised it wasn’t his fault at all. It was all Carl’s fault. If Carl hadn’t been bullying him, he would never have had the bruises, his mother wouldn’t have seen them and she would never have gone out.

Jim wanted Carl to hurt too. He wrote down all of his ideas but none of them were just quite right. Then, a few weeks after the funeral, he read an article. It detailed a poisoning, of sorts, using a toxin that was a relatively recent discovery. For a moment, Jim thought of Carl dying painfully from the toxin and was shocked at himself, but he couldn’t shake the image.

It was surprisingly easy to arrange. The eczema cream idea was a stroke of genius, if he did say himself. He’d created another relatively harmless chemical in one of his experiments and it had flaked and peeled the skin of his hand. All he had to do was let it happen again and the doctor was only too happy to prescribe the same cream – Jim had said it had wonderful results for “a friend at school” and the doctor had agreed. Swapping the tubes was the hardest part. All he had to do then was sign up to go and support the swimming team in London.

Jim had blacked out for the whole thing, only coming to his senses as he sat in his cupboard that night, rocking slightly as he sobbed and clutched the trainers he couldn’t remember taking. He couldn’t bear to be near himself, knowing what he’d done. It was as though something had taken over his mind and left him cold and clinical throughout, letting him kill someone without realising it was wrong until it was too late to do anything.

His father had found him several hours later, standing naked in the garden in the rain. The doctors had put it down to the stress of his mother’s death, treated him for mild hypothermia and then let him go, with an appointment for some counselling. His father thought it would be best if they moved to London, for a fresh start and to be nearer his wife’s grave. He’d heard Jim speaking to her at night and felt his son would do better if he could visit his mother when he needed to. She’d been buried next to her mother in north London, so that’s where they went.

After that, Jim had decided there would be no more bullying. He started wearing contacts instead of glasses and adopted an accent that would help him fit in. He worked hard at his new school and they recognised he was well beyond the level of his classmates, so they moved him up to the appropriate level straight away. He’d been ready for university at sixteen, though he’d made the mistake of coming out to his dad shortly before he left to move into halls. He wasn’t gay, not completely – perhaps a five on the Kinsey Scale, he thought – but that didn’t seem to matter. The money for his education had come from his grandfather’s will, so it couldn’t be taken away from him, but his father no longer wished to think of him as his son.

University was quite liberating for Jim. He was free to do whatever he wanted and because he was studying “Physics with Astronomy & Space Science”, he wasn’t the biggest geek in his classes by a long way. In fact, by physics-student standards, he was practically cool – he had a part-time job and always had the latest consoles and video games. At eighteen, he changed his name by deed poll, taking on his mother’s maiden name to become James Moriarty. He’d pretty much aced his degree and had no trouble finding an opportunity to do his PhD, settling on Astronomy & Astrophysics. He moved into a dingy basement flat, which suited him just fine because it was quiet and dark. He worked in a supermarket and a clothes shop, cramming in his studying wherever he could, until he’d finished his PhD and had found a job in a better clothes shop that paid more.

“And that’s it, really, until I got this job,” he finished, tears still staining his cheeks but the relief evident in his whole being.

Seb had cried with Jim throughout the story, especially the part about his mother. He knew he should feel something about the fact Jim had killed a classmate, but he wasn’t sure he’d have behaved any differently and it had obviously been a horrific experience for Jim. He understood the blackout thing – his brain had often blanked out the more unpleasant experiences in his job, leaving him with gaping holes in his memory of the time he spent in the SAS. Occasionally, he’d get flashes of images his mind had allowed to slip through, such as when a civilian had been shot by accident. It hadn’t been his shot, but the image remained.

“Oh, Jim...” he whispered, stroking Jim’s cheek and catching fresh tears with his thumb. He discarded his mug on the coffee table and pulled Jim into his arms, holding him close as he kissed the top of his head.

They stayed like this for a while, silent except for the occasional snuffle from Jim or whispered reassurance from Seb. When they eventually pulled apart, Jim reached down for his discarded suit jacket and brought out a pen. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to take it. I do that sometimes...” Looking down, he held the pen out.

Seb accepted it and lifted Jim’s chin with the other hand. “It’s okay.” He smiled, wondering briefly if that’s why Jim had taken Carl’s trainers. “Now, I was thinking... perhaps you might like to see my scars.”

~~~~~

Jim woke up quite early the next morning, wrapped around his bodyguard exactly as they’d fallen asleep. He’d always heard that you shouldn’t expect much of your first time because it would never live up to your expectations, but now he was pretty sure that had been made up by someone who was bitter about their own first time. It had been a little uncomfortable at first, but it had soon got better and the fact they were both still slightly sticky was evidence enough that it had been more than good.

He was already in the shower by the time Seb got up, but that didn’t seem to stop Seb from getting into the shower too. “Morning, beautiful,” Seb whispered. Jim couldn’t help looking forward to work a lot more after that.

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April 2012

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