Brandon gets home from work that evening, feeling as though he’s been hit by a small truck. Office work is infinitely more tiring than killing people, and it’s a symptom of how exhausted he is that he even allows himself to make that comparison.
Shrugging off his jacket, he walks to the kitchen and pours a glass of whiskey, downing it at once, followed immediately by another, and pours a third.
He’s at a dangerous point and he knows it. This tired, he’s vulnerable to anything his mind decides to throw at him. He needs to shut it out, shut everything out. Alcohol is good, but far too slow.
Glass in hand, Brandon moves to the bathroom, ignoring the pale, drawn face of the bastard in front of him - which is just as well, cause the fucker’s ignoring him too. He pulls open the medicine cabinet, pushing aside toothpaste and aftershave to find… nothing.
Brandon frowns, checking the other shelves. He still had plenty, last he checked. Did he blackout and forget? His frown turns from one of bewilderment to irritation, and he returns to the living room, grabbing the bottle on his way.
Fuck it, he’s doing this the hard way.
In the evening, Jim sits on the couch, drinking red wine.
His habits of alcohol consumption didn’t change - and why should they?
Red wine for relaxation; heavy and slightly sour taste had a wonderful ability to slow down the mind.
Whiskey for unsuccessful cases; part of reasons the criminal had whiskey on those occasions were whiskey glasses perfectly suitable for throwing at walls; or at people.
And then, vodka - for dealing with the past. Just, basically, kill it in the emptiness that the clear liquid left after itself.
Right now, Jim Moriarty wants to sink in the velvety warmth, without wandering in his memories.
After a while, he picks up his phone and looks at the dark screen, not really expecting anything. Except the fact that he’s bored and some kind of social interaction might amuse him.
[text message to B.]
There a book on your coffee table. Open it. Page 112.
Diamond life, lover boy
He move in space with minimum waste and maximum joy
City lights and business nights
When you require streetcar desire for higher heights
No place for beginners or sensitive hearts
When sentiment is left to chance
No place to be ending but somewhere to start
No need to ask
He’s a smooth operator
Smooth operator, smooth operator
Sebastian has clicked the song onto his iPhone as he headed back to the flat that he was currently holding in London. Jim had picked that over a hotel while they were in town this time, between business ventures, and that was fine for Moran. It made no difference to him — but then, he didn’t let himself care about all that much. Except having a high-maintenance house guest was the reason he was out on a Saturday gathering ridiculous assortment of groceries: peanut butter, tapioca pudding, some stupid organic, fair-trade coffee that Jim liked. Actually, that was a bit of a thing he didn’t understand — who could coffee, which was a fucking plant, be anything but organic. It grew in a field, didn’t it? Wasn’t that the definition of something being organic? Where else would it come from, some bionic bean-popping science-y…bin? Sebastian pictured it a bit like a popcorn popper that magically sprouted coffee beans from thin air. Non-organic coffee beans.
It was a bit funny, really, that fucking peanut butter had put him in mind of a Sade song, and now that song was making him think so much about Jim. It suited him, Moran thought as he stuck his hand into the pocket of his vest to fiddle with the volume and push it up a notch or two. He had a hunch that Jim wasn’t just teasing about fucking either, which put a bit of a spring to his step as he jumped up the last few steps and let himself into his flat.
“Oi!” He called, dropping the bags just instead the door and bending to fish out the peanut butter. He swept the rest of the bag’s contents to the side with a sweep of his foot and surveyed the empty living room. The apartment really wasn’t that big, so if Sebastian couldn’t see Jim the only other place he could be was tucked away in the bedroom. Moran snickered. “Getting started without me, are you?”
Face to face, each classic case
We shadow box and double cross
Yet need the chase
A license to love, insurance to hold
Melts all your memories and change into gold
His eyes are like angels but his heart is cold
No need to ask
He’s a smooth operator…
The sniper pulled the phone from his pocket and hit stop on the music before plucking the earbuds off. He hit his shoulder against the side of the bedroom door to push it open and, half into the room, he tossed the plastic jar of smoothly ground peanuts to the bed. It landed just inches from where Moriarty lay reclined. Sebastian smirked at the sight of him, and dropped his hands to his waist, standing with his hips slightly jutted in Jim’s direction.
“Peanut butter — as thou hath commanded, King Napoleon.”
Jim’s eyes snapped open as he heard the door creak. He thought he probably should remind Sebastian that it should be fixed, but then… he can deal with it later.
"Napoleon was an emperor," the criminal said, sitting up straight and stretching, his voice slightly hoarse after the nap he took, "But that hardly mattered when they sent him off to some island."
Jim eyed the sniper with a smirk and picked up the phone to read through messages again.
"Peanut butter involved, you say? Make me a toast, maybe?"
I’m not a genius. Genius is a very big word, I’m just a person that knows what he likes. Someone who can identify good work, that’s all. I identified yours and what you do. Art for art’s sake, like Oscar Wilde said, that’s what it is. People who dabble, you know, those that leap in with no idea of what they’re doing — you can always tell. They leave the edges of their canvases unpainted or they don’t properly frame the work. Sloppy, it’s sloppy. Not with you though.
I can almost look past the consequences, not quite. It does help that you’re not in New York. There is a distance.
You make me think of Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’. Just a thought.
Sherlock smiled a touch at Jim’s gesture. It didn’t matter to him how Moriarty might have sorted out how he liked his coffee, there was easily hundreds of different ways he could have sorted it. What mattered though, just a little bit to him, was that Jim remembered. He could only assume that Moriarty had a brain like his own which meant that important an irrelevant things would just be forgotten — and in that, there was a compliment. Then again, Jim was different and intricate and detailed even if he favoured simplicity.
“Thank you, he murmured after the girl had gone to follow the Irishman’s instructions. He leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms over his chest, considering the validity of Moriarty’s claim he wanted to travel.
“Is that why you’re here?” Sherlock doubted it, but if they were pretending to be old friends who remembered how they liked each other’s coffee, he could play along. Jim liked to make people play along, make them do as he says even if he doesn’t say it out loud. Holmes has always rather liked that little crease in Moriarty’s personality. He was almost envious of how well Jim handled control.
And maybe that was because all Sherlock really liked to do with control was lose it. He’d throw himself into his work — or, once upon a time, into drugs — because it was so much better than being responsible for himself. He turned his magnifying glass upon the world because it kept him from looking inward with too much scrutiny. And maybe that, maybe that, was why Jim made him squirm internally even now. Maybe he couldn’t deny how similar they were and how much they said about each other. He’d never cared all that much for mirrors, and he didn’t care much for the fact that extensively, Jim was one.
“I really don’t think I can blame you, it certainly is a beautiful city.” His eyebrows curved, sinking a bit closer to the bridge of his nose. “It would be a shame if anything was to happen to it.”
Jim leaned back on his chair and glanced at his hands - a scrape on the side of his left hand was still healing, and the man let out a quiet sigh.
"I came here because I knew you’d end up here - eventually. And I have all the time in the world now, as I’m not just as busy as I was before."
Jim looked at Sherlock with that special kind of fondness, appreciating the fact that the detective was trying to care about his current surroundings, the architecture, the city - it was almost like Holmes’s apathy concerning the solar system - he didn’t really care, but could still appreciate it.
Moriarty’s lips curved into a small smile, when he noticed his fingers twitch a bit, ready to reach for the phone any second to check for incoming messages that would promise some fun - usually some chaos. Or maybe more than a little bit of mayhem.
"For now, I’m not intending to do anything to the city, if you’re so concerned - I don’t think people at the city hall can afford building another church right now," the smaller man grins.
The phone on the table is dead quiet and the consulting criminal doesn’t regret it - he’d turn it off anyway - just as he did the last time on the hospital’s roof.
Jesus, Jim, is there an unfollow button on this thing? You and your new boyfriend are making me seriously reconsider that burrito I had for lunch because when I ate it I didn’t expect it would be popping up again later.
Christ Almighty and all the saints.
Oh my God, Sebastian, are you jealous, or something?
Also I thought you didn’t like burrito.
Even if you could, I wouldn’t understand. I don’t like the idea of an audience myself, I never have. I don’t like being looked at, that’s all. Or the attention. I
t makes me want to be ill, in fact.But that’s the thing about art — one doesn’t have to be an artist to appreciate the talent and the message and the craftmanship. The talent, Mr. Jim Moriarty, which you have in bucket loads.
I’m a critic, perhaps. You can consider me an art critic, if you like.
I’d love to think that you’re a genius.
But if you prefer to be an art critic - I’ll make sure then that you have an opportunity to observe and criticize, and appreciate my art, Mr Holmes.
You like the attention. No one else sees it, no one else sees you and you pretend that that’s fine and that going unnoticed suits you because of your business but it doesn’t. No one likes to be ignored, no one likes to do all the hard work if no one is going to give them any credit.
Art isn’t art until someone sees it. Until someone sees it and it matters and it moves them and it moved me.
So you can see the artist behind a masterpiece.
There are no words good enough to describe my longing for a proper audience… I’m truly flattered.
They drip honey on the walls occasionally. Less convenient, that.
Like the police, for you, I imagine. Not always convenient. Not always a problem either, are they. No.
Not an internet cafe, give me some credit. I’m a detective, that’s all, and you’re interesting. =)
Police is worse than bees, tbh. It must be a nuisance to you as well - not always (never, in fact, oops) flexible, are they? I like detectives! And detective stories, too <3
Yes. No. Not really — it doesn’t but I knew it was you. Not your name exactly because that would be too simple, but… Footprints, you see. Everyone leaves them — particularly in the sand, when they think they’ll be washed away, but yours weren’t.
Jim Moriarty. Quite the business you have for yourself in London, isn’t it? Enterprise. Very good. Very impressive.
Almost an art with you, isn’t it? And it should be. That’s good.
Did I forget to log out at the Internet-cafe, or something?
But thank you.
I like your bees. And you always have honey for tea - that’s very convenient.
I suppose you’re not sorry - I wouldn’t be. And I don’t really say anything to those who are about to die - I’m neither a doctor nor a preacher. Did my name come up in Google results?