A/N: I was supposed to be writing an English paper. Writing this was far more interesting. It's rather intriguing, writing for a character that has no frame of reference. Anyway, hope you enjoy!
John had officially moved out of 221B Baker Street a month after Sherlock's death, largely because without a roommate John simply couldn't afford to continue living there by himself. Surprisingly, Mycroft had rather generously offered to continue paying the other half of the rent (John had suspected at the time that he still felt guilty about revealing Sherlock's life to Moriarty), but the fact remained that there were simply too many memories of Sherlock at Baker Street. Consequently, John had relocated to a tiny flat on the outskirts of London finding a job at a small hospital nearby, effectively distancing himself from any and all places or people that would remind him of the consulting detective. He had made no effort to keep in contact with any of his old acquaintances, though Mrs. Hudson occasionally still sent him letters along with care packages containing biscuits or whatever it was she happened to be baking (there had been one memorable time she had mailed him a pie, which had miraculously remained intact). The fact that John never replied to anything she sent didn't seem to deter her much.
The one thing his self-imposed isolation did little to influence was John's frequent trips to visit Sherlock's grave. It had become a weekly habit of his, and he went no matter how busy his week had been or how bad the weather was. He had seen very few others, though he had run into Lestrade there a couple of times (both times had been rather awkward, neither of them quite sure what to say to the other). So naturally it came as a bit of a surprise to John when he approached Sherlock's tombstone one day only to find someone already standing there.
Sebastian Moran was not, as a general rule, a very sentimental person. As a professional sniper, it would have been extremely detrimental to his career to spend excessive amounts of time agonizing over every death he encountered (especially seeing as most of the death he had seen he had brought about himself). But Sebastian found himself unable to dismiss Jim Moriarty's death the same way he had disregarded countless others. Jim Moriarty had been different. Jim Moriarty had been so very human. Of course, he had also been an insane, brilliant, sadistic, borderline bi-polar madman who liked to blow people up when he was bored, but he had been so much more than that. There was Jim Moriarty, consulting criminal mastermind, but then there had also been Jim Moriarty, the genius mathematics professor whose greatest pleasure was helping a student finally understand an equation or concept. There had been Jim Moriarty, the man who liked Jammie Dodgers, jazz music, spearmint gum, cats, fantasy novels, and the color green. There had been Jim Moriarty, the man who had helped Sebastian find purpose in his life again after being sent back, injured, from Afghanistan.
And it hurt a lot more than Sebastian expected that there was nothing to commemorate that man's life.
Since there was no grave for him to visit, Sebastian had to settle for the closest thing he could get: the tombstone of Jim's arch nemesis Sherlock Holmes. It was the closest thing he had to proof that Jim Moriarty had ever existed. When he found himself feeling exceptionally emotional he would drop by the cemetery, which is where he found himself on the six month anniversary of Jim's death.
John hung back trying to figure out if he had any reason to know the man standing at Sherlock's grave. He got the feeling he had seen the man somewhere before, though he couldn't figure out why exactly. The man was well over six feet tall with brown hair cut military style, making John wonder if he had possibly ever met him while serving in the army, though he doubted it. John remembered all of the soldiers he had served with and this man had definitely not been one of them.
As if sensing his presence, the man turned, tensing when he spotted John looking at him, though he quickly relaxed, face shifting to a politely puzzled expression. John moved forward to introduce himself, hoping that maybe the man's name would jog hiss memory somehow.
"Hi, I'm John Watson," he said extending his hand. The man stared at him for a second before shaking his hand.
"Sebastian Moran," the man offered in return and John was a bit disappointed that he didn't recognize the name.
"Did you know Sherlock, then?" he asked, part of him still trying to figure out who exactly Sebastian Moran was, part of him genuinely curious.
"You could say that," the man replied. "Don't think he knew who I was, though." The man continued, a wry smile tugging at his lips.
"Yeah, he wasn't the friendliest bloke in the world, was he?" John said, finding himself returning the smile.
"No, he really wasn't," Sebastian agreed. "To be completely honest I wasn't actually here for him," he admitted, looking a bit sheepish. "A… friend of mine died around the same time."
"Oh, sorry to hear that," John said. Sebastian waved off his apology and they lapsed into silence, both staring at the grave in front of them.
Sebastian could sense someone staring at him, a sixth sense born from both life in the army and life as a criminal. He turned, feeling his body stiffen as he recognized the person to be none other than John Watson. He forced himself to loosen up, arranging his features into a look of confusion, trying to remember that Watson had no reason to recognize him. He felt himself actually beginning to relax as it became clear that Watson had no idea who he was and soon he found himself enjoying a companionable silence with the doctor as they both remembered the men they had lost, though Sebastian suspected it wouldn't be nearly as comfortable if Watson knew that Sebastian had once had a sniper rifle pointed at his head while Jim had strapped him to a bomb.
"So, this friend of yours," Watson began, breaking the silence. "Were you particularly close?"
Sebastian though about it for a moment. Jim didn't really have 'friends'. He had clients, colleagues, and employees, among other things, but he didn't feel right categorizing himself as just an employee. "I think I was the only person he considered a friend," he replied truthfully after another moment's pause.
Watson nodded. "I think I know the feeling." Sebastian remembered Jim commenting on Holmes' unusual relationship with Watson, often coming up with unusual labels for it when he was bored, his favorite being 'platonic life partners'.
"If you don't mind my asking, how did he die?" Watson asked, distracting Sebastian from his memories of the consulting criminal.
"Killed himself," Sebastian answered, voice clipped. He didn't particularly enjoy the mental images that inevitably followed when he thought about Jim's suicide.
"Oh," Watson managed rather awkwardly. Then something seemed to click in his mind and Sebastian could see him beginning to put the clues together.
"I'm sorry about Sherlock," he threw out, in a somewhat desperate attempt to distract the doctor from figuring out that he was associated with Jim. Slowing his words down he continued, "When I read about his suicide, I was surprised. He seemed like a great man."
"He might even have been a good one," Watson murmured and Sebastian gave an inward sigh of relief that the diversion worked. After a few more moments of neither man saying anything, Watson spoke up in an attempt to steer the conversation away from Sherlock's death, which Sebastian was only too happy to allow. "Were you ever a soldier?"
"Yes. I was a sniper in Afghanistan," Sebastian replied, immediately regretting that he just admitted his profession.
"I was stationed there, too," Watson remarked, looking surprised at the coincidence.
"I know," Sebastian told him. The doctor gave him a quizzical look. "I used to enjoy reading your blog," he admitted with a small smile.
"Ah," Watson responded, looking rather pleased at that. "Always nice to meet a fan."
"Always nice to meet an author," Sebastian replied before checking his watch and realizing he was about to be late for a job.
"Late for something?" Watson inquired.
"Yes, actually," Sebastian nodded, "Sorry to cut this short, but my work won't do itself. Maybe I'll see you around, though, yeah?" He turned to leave, not waiting for the doctor to reply. As he began walking, he heard Watson call out.
"See you, then!"
John lingered at the grave for a while, though admittedly his thoughts were farther from Sherlock and closer to one Sebastian Moran. There was something nagging at the back of his mind. Moran had admitted to being a sniper, and while there was nothing inherently suspicious about being a sniper (John was friends with one, in fact), there was something about this particular sniper that set off a warning in John's head. The only thing he kept coming back to was the friend Moran had mentioned. He had been described as someone who didn't have many friends apparently. Someone who had committed suicide around the same time Sherlock had. Someone who may have a connection to Sherlock, considering that his friend was visiting Sherlock's grave.
Suddenly everything clicked and John's stomach gave an unpleasant lurch.
Moriarty. Sebastian Moran had been at the cemetery because of Moriarty. John had just had a conversation with a man who considered himself to be Moriarty's friend, and who also happened to be a military-trained sniper.
John groaned, sinking onto the ground. He had a feeling that his life was about to get complicated again.
Sebastian got out of a taxi, case in hand. He went to the nearest building, an abandoned row of flats. Moving to the closest one, he easily picked the lock and went straight up to the roof. Once there, he set the case next to the edge and opened it, revealing his AWSM. He assembled the rifle quickly and easily, well used to the motions by now. As his hands worked, he found his mind wandering, thinking about John Watson as well as Sherlock Holmes and Jim Moriarty. He wondered if Watson had figured out the friend he had been talking about had been Jim. He hoped so. Watson had proven surprisingly good company, and Sebastian figured it could be fun to see where their acquaintanceship could end up going. He would hate to have to continue lying to the man.
Once his sniper rifle was fully assembled he focused his thoughts and crouched down, stabling his weapon on the ledge of the roof. Looking through the sight, he aimed the barrel at the office building opposite from him. He allowed himself a smile as his target came into view. Nothing like a bit of murder to make his day complete.
A/N: I actually did a little bit of research into sniper rifles to write that last part, though it's probably not noticeable at all. The Arctic Warfare Super Magnum was the rifle used by CoH Craig Harrison (of the U.K.!) when he made the longest kill shot recorded (2,475 m).
Also, I only did a minimal amount of editing since it is 3 a.m., and I really do have an English paper that needs to be completed, so sorry if it's a bit rushed.
So, love it? Hate it? Want to hire a sniper to shoot me through the head with .338 Lapua Magnum cartridge for writing it? (Yes, I obviously have sniper rifles on the brain.) Let me know!
-badgermushroom out! :d