Inspiration for the title:

Yours is the cloth, mine is the hand that sews time,
His is the force that lies within.
Ours is the fire, all the warmth we can find.
He is a feather in the wind

- All of my Love, Led Zeppelin


Prologue

A cigarette dangles between two long fingers. His hands have gotten thin lately, Seb notices, twirling the unlit fag between his knuckles as he observes the emphasized bones. His wrists are so skinny. He sighs, sweeping a free hand through his unkempt hair. It makes sense. He hasn't been eating much over the last few years. How long has it been? Almost three years, pipes a voice in his head. Its tone is sing-song and familiar. Seb closes his eyes. A beautifully demented smile is swimming in his head again, and his heart feels heavy with its image.

Nearly always, the face haunts Seb's mind. He feels trapped by it, captured by its lingering presence. Oh, he knows it's not really there. He's not fucking crazy or anything. Jesus. Snorting, he lights the cigarette with a flourish, and inhales deeply. He holds the breath in for a long time, savoring the the fantastic pulse of tobacco in his lungs before exhaling. The warm relaxation floods him, and he stands calmly to gaze out the window. The street is fairly crowded today.

Sebastian had situated himself here in this flat on Baker Street nearly three years ago on Jim's order. Sometimes Jim stayed with him, and they'd watch 221b together with quiet interest. Sometimes Jim's arms slipped around Seb's square shoulders while he discussed his plans, and sometimes Seb would moan at the breath on the back of his neck as he loaded his rifle. But those days are over now, and with a great heave, Seb pushes the memories from his mind.

It was Jim's last order to him: to reside here, to keep his aim fixed on the ex-army doctor, and to kill him if Holmes did commit suicide. The detective had done it, of course, but without a word from Jim, Seb still refused to leave his station. At first, he had battled with himself about it, furious with his own sentiment. But over the years, he had come to accept that he felt obliged to stay here out of resentful loyalty. Jim had set him up well here, anyway. Seb is now so well off that he doesn't even need to work to keep himself living here comfortably. He thanks Jim every morning and every night for the life he has, and spends his days watching crap telly, glaring bitterly out his window, and polishing the smooth metal of his gun over and over again until it shines.

He takes another long pull on his cigarette, and it sizzles in the quiet empty flat. Evening is settling over the street. Long dark shadows stretch across the pavement as the sun sets, and Seb lets out a satisfying puff of smoke through the open window. He is settled on the window sill, one leg pulled up to his chest so he can rest an arm on his knee as he flicks ash into the street below. The little glow of the cigarette fades just as the darkness settles, and with a great sigh, Seb heaves himself from his position to serve himself dinner. Frozen dinner, of course. He remembers, as he does nearly every evening, the way it felt to lounge on the sofa while Jim cooked. One would never think Jim was ever the type to wear an apron, but he was. He was so many things, and unexpected was the quality in him that Seb misses most.

While his dinner turns slowly in the microwave, Seb pours himself a generous glass of scotch. Anything to ease the erasure of his memories. Anything to help him forget Jim's absence- the man had been not just his boss, but also his only friend in the world. Frowning, he watches the artificial light dance on the amber liquid as it swirls, and he scratches his stubbly chin. Another cigarette. Yes. That would round out this meal perfectly. He exits the kitchen, the machine beeping behind him to alert him to his hot meal. He approaches the side table where he'd left the box, and draws from the carton another cigarette. He sets it between his lips and reaches for the lighter. As the end catches alight and he clicks the lighter closed, he wafts dazedly to the window again out of habit.

His heart experiences a drop. No. No, no, no. It couldn't be. Absolutely not. Sherlock Holmes is dead. Sherlock Holmes had thrown himself from the roof of St. Bart's. Seb is sure of it. He'd seen the body from across the street, and seen John Watson's certain grief. There is no way that the tall dark man in the glasses and the layered jumpers could be him. Yet a flash of those eyes gave Seb serious uncertainty. The man does look rather like Holmes, but he really can't be sure. The disguise (if it is ne) is fairly good, and he's wearing glasses which cover the distinct Holmes eyes.

Sebastian's chest is hammering, and it's bloody painful. If Holmes is alive, then Seb's original command, to take out John Watson, still stands. He reaches for his rifle as the homeless-looking version of Sherlock Holmes opens the door of 221b and enters swiftly. Damn it. If that was really him... but Seb can't be sure. He needs more proof. He may be ruthless as all hell, but any impulsiveness in this mission would have upset Jim, and he can't... he just can't bare to think that...

He sets himself up at the window sill, his rifle poised and his eyes mad with obsessed rage, and watches 221b silently, just waiting for another look at this guy; waiting for the proof he needs to shoot Watson dead. His dinner sits abandoned in the microwave, which beeps every few minutes in a futile attempt to remind Sebastian Moran to keep living his life.


Warning: This story is gonna get super fluffy and then super depressing. No. Seriously. Don't fucking read it if you don't like depressing. Let me know what you think, though!