Title: Faith Comes in Moments

Chapter Seven: Found

AN: I'm sorry. I'm not even going to try to avoid the things that you guys are throwing at me. I know. I am a bad, bad person for leaving you for so long on a cliffhanger.

So here's another one.



It was hot.

But that was usual, to be expected even, when one was in India. Especially in the jungle. In the city, or the market you could get away with a breeze every now and then, or at least escape the sun under the protection of an awning over a stall of some sort. But the jungle, even with its seemingly endless canopy of trees, was still hot. The fact that life could sustain itself here sometimes surprised Sebastian. That there was an ecosystem, a food chain, or, if he was feeling particularly military, he'd call it a chain of command, was amazing. The jungle forced out the weaklings, and if it didn't, only let them stay to be food for the strongest. And even then, they didn't last long. It was a glorious free for all, survival of the fittest, Darwinism in action.

And Sebastian couldn't get enough of it.

He stalked through the brush on hunter's feet, rifle strapped loosely across his back, ready to drop, aim, and fire at a moment's notice. He was looking for it. He was always looking.

But it was quiet. Jungles were never quiet. There was always something screaming, or buzzing, or rustling. It was the first tip off that this was a dream. He'd had it before, recurring, especially after Afghanistan. Nothing new. The psychiatrist had said it was part of PTSD, but he'd known better. That wasn't it at all.

It was his reminder that nothing would ever come close to the tigers, especially not his time in Afghanistan. Men had been easy to kill, but tigers...

He'd been among his own when he'd been hunting the tigers.

India had been his...place. Almost dying underneath a wounded tigress, the warm huff huff of her breath as she'd breathed her last, staring him down, with his knife buried in her heart had been the culmination of everything he'd ever been through up until that point. It had been beautiful.

The men he'd been camping with had found him half dead almost an hour later, mad with blood loss, babbling incoherently about respect, and fate, and death. They'd had to drag him away from under the beast, carry him back to the village to get the medical attention he'd so desperately needed, but didn't want. He remembered thinking that if he could die like that tiger, he'd be happy. Someday. If he was lucky enough.

However, this wasn't India. This was a stupid recurring dream that he couldn't get out of his bloody head. But at least he was sleeping. It was probably the most sleep he'd gotten since Jim had died, seeing as he'd spent those first few weeks relearning his roots as an alcoholic insomniac. The easy rapidity that it had come back to him would have been disturbing if he'd cared enough to think about it.

And it was so quiet.

He walked past a fern, eyes constantly sweeping his surroundings for the tell tale signs of the predator. This was old. He remembered this part. In a few more steps, he'd see the swish of a tail out of the corner of his eye and crouch behind a bush, soundlessly swing the rifle from off his back, aim, and fire, causing the tiger to lunge at him despite the bullet in its side, and ending with him stabbing it in the heart. Just a few more paces and it would happen.

Two steps.

Three steps.

A clearing.

Sebastian blinked. This was new. Where was the bush? Where was the tiger? What kind of trick was his subconscious trying to pull on him? Might as well find out.

He steps into the clearing, tensing as he hears a crunch behind him, and he turns.

"Oh Seb," Jim says, a fond grin plastered on his face. "When will you learn that nothing is as sure as you think it is?"

Sebastian is jolted awake by the screeching of his ringtone, sheets covered in sweat, and panting as the remains of the dream peel off of him like layers of skin, leaving him feeling raw and exposed.

Jim just couldn't fucking leave him alone, could he? His memory already haunted his every waking hour, couldn't he just be left alone with his tigers while he was sleeping, let him escape.

The answer was, of course, no and cruel in every way that Jim Moriarty could be.

Seb stays in bed, blinking at the cracks in the ceiling of the shitty flat he'd rented once he'd been sure Jim wasn't going to come back. Moving out had been hard, but necessary. There was no way he'd been able to stay in the flat they'd shared. Too many ghosts lived there for him to be comfortable anymore, and it didn't feel right staying anyway. The flat had been Jim's when he'd moved in, and the flat would stay Jim's even though he was gone.

His ringtone starts again to the sounds of I will Survive by Gloria Gaynor. Jim had changed it before Seb had left for Russia and locked it that way, successfully halting any ideas Seb had had about changing it, the bastard. He turns, picking it up and looking at the number. It was one he didn't recognize, but it wasn't an eight hundred number so it could have been anyone. He sighs and answers it.



Seb blinks. The voice on the other end is too familiar, too painfully familiar to be who he thinks it is.

"I'm at the flat. I need you."

Who else did he know whose voice had that same up and down lilt to it, even now when it sounded hoarse and tired, lacking some of the vigor he remembered it having months ago, that night before he'd left for a business deal that hadn't even existed in Russia.

A breath, then, in a voice sounding needier and more vulnerable than he could ever remember his name being said.

"Sebastian, please."

Who else could it have possibly been?

"Give me ten minutes."