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Title: Someone to Notice
Author: EntreNous (entrenous88)
Fandom: BBC Sherlock
Pairing: Jim Moriarty/John Watson
Rating: Explicit
Disclaimer: All Sherlock characters herein are the property of Steven Moffatt, Mark Gatiss, the BBC, and of course ACD. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warnings: highlight to read **Minor Violence, Age Difference, Student-Teacher Relationship**
Chapter Word Count: 2,867 words.
Author's Notes: Many thanks to wesleysgirl for the beta. Next update should happen on Monday. Read this chapter below or at AO3.
Summary: While training to be a secondary school teacher (and pursuing some rather illegal activities outside of the classroom), Jim Moriarty takes a keen interest in shy, bullied teenager John Watson.

Someone to Notice

Chapter Five

When the weekend arrived Jim made his excuses to Molly when she ventured to wonder whether they should make plans. He shook his head regretfully, exclaiming about all the marking he simply had to get done.

She fell over herself to assure him it was fine they weren't going to have time to spend with each other, even as she looked uncertain and disappointed when he offered only vague promises to make it up to her.

He gave her a huge smile on leaving, mostly because at this point he counted himself almost done with her tiresome gawking gazes and irksome stilted conversation. It was a lovely bit of providence: Sebastian had stumbled across a key source a few days back, a disgruntled former player in this little scheme they were unraveling. Even better, he was an outright idiot who happened to fancy himself rather a clever bargainer. With Jim's help and egging on, they'd been able to gather some essential information by the week's end.

Rather messy business, that. Jim had regretfully disposed of one of his favorite suits afterward. Unfortunately it seemed some stains were simply too stubborn to treat properly.

Anyway, poor Molly had been made rather redundant by the new developments. As for the last crucial files Jim suspected he could find in Mrs. Flanders' locked-tight classroom, well. With them so close to the end of the matter, he was prepared to get those tidbits by other methods, ones that didn't require him to listen to nattering on about cats and insecurities and whether a fourth date meant things might be serious (though it was perfectly okay if they weren't, she didn't mean to press at all!).

So it was with a light heart and a spring in his step that he set out for the theater hosting the film festival that Saturday night. He found a seat in the empty back row. From his position so close to the door, Jim readily spotted John trudging in by himself, his shoulder bag slung across his back.

Most of the patrons milling around or already in their seats were older residents of the town, done up for their outing in smart cardigans and sensible trousers or skirts. John stood out easily among them in his scuffed trainers and taped glasses, his faded jeans torn at the knees. A slimmer fitting jumper than he typically wore, a striped top, peeked out at the sleeves of his secondhand jacket. As he scanned the rows of seats before him, he held on to the strap of that familiar fraying cloth school bag to his chest like a lifeline.

Jim kept silent as he leaned over the seat in front of him, taking a moment to appreciate John's gait, a strange little mix of hesitancy and determination. Obviously John sensed he didn't belong there entirely, not with the little cinema's art-house atmosphere and solidly middle-class elders occupying the space. Yet there was that underlying sureness of step that could be coaxed to the fore with a little hard work. And for certain pet projects, Jim really didn't mind getting his hands dirty.

He didn't let John get more than a few steps further down the aisle before he sent a boiled sweet lobbing through the air to clip him on the ear.

John looked around, annoyance and confusion warring on his appealing face. Then he spotted Jim, and his pretty lips parted in surprise.

Jim made a show of placing a finger on his lips with a flourish, as though shushing him dramatically. Then he pointed his finger at John slyly and beckoned him with it.

John grinned, though he did look hastily to his left and right, to check whether he was being observed. Then he casually made his way back up the aisle, heading into the row just ahead of Jim and taking the seat immediately to the left in front of him.

"Nice cap," John said with a smile, rolling his eyes at the touristy "London" cap Jim had donned before he'd arrived at the theater.

"Do you like it? It's my disguise," Jim told him, giving him a wicked smile.

John snorted and then turned to face front. Not much time passed, however, before he shifted to present his profile with his head tipped down, as though riffling through his bag. He cleared his throat and murmured, "Thought you said we shouldn't spend time with each other."

"Ugh, you're right, I did! Showing up here tonight anyway makes me look sooooo changeable! Still, I couldn't help myself." Jim had leaned in to whisper, letting himself breathe the words in John's ear.

John shivered ever so slightly. "I don't want you to lose your job, Mr Moriarty," he muttered. His eyes flickered over to Jim and just as quickly darted away.

No matter that no one even was observing them. But Jim could have crooned with pleasure at how readily John took to trying to cover their assignation with all those little covert gestures and poses, just as if he really was hiding a secret meeting from prying eyes. Of course he wasn't doing the best job of it, but as with so many of John's cautious inclinations, oh, the potential was there.

"I won't," Jim whispered. "I mean, not until I want to lose it, and then it won't be a moment too soon."

At this John shot him a confused look, and Jim made a show of smiling widely. John's cheeks flushed and he gave a nervous laugh before he again turned round.

"I just thought," Jim said, looking up to make it seem he might have been speaking aloud to himself, "That I might take in a film. As luck would have it, somehow I came across this flyer. So if I happen to run into a student I know at such a spontaneous outing, it's not as though we could have thought to arrange it beforehand, is it?"

The house lights went down and the audience quieted.

"I think Mr Miller would say that's just semantics," John tossed over his shoulder when the opening credits played. His face glowed in the play of light from the screen as he smiled, and Jim had to hold back from reaching forward to stroke the flush on his gorgeous cheek and coo over that impish grin.

"Good thing Mr Miller isn't here, then," Jim countered.

"Yeah." John leaned back in his seat, still turned to the side. Given how far Jim had leaned forward, it wouldn't be hard for their lips to meet.

It wasn't time for that just yet. But they were further along than they had been at the start, weren't they?

"At times like this, I rather think you ought to call me Jim instead of Mr Moriarty."

"You mean when we're alone together and we're not supposed to be?" John asked. His lips twitched in a suppressed smile, almost flirtatious and arch but clearly still nervous about trying that sort of thing out.

"Especially then," Jim said with a wink, his low voice conspiratorial. He squeezed John's shoulder and, when he pulled away, let his knuckles stroke across the nape of John's neck.

The slight gasp John made was audible during a moment of silence. Someone several rows ahead of them turned to make irritated shushing sounds.

"No talking during the film," Jim whispered in John's ear, a hair's breadth away from actually brushing his lips against the soft lobe. He watched with delight as John shivered again.


"Thanks for these," Jim said, gesturing to the container of chips he held as they walked along the deserted downtown street.

"Well, I would have paid for your ticket if you'd let me, so." John scratched the back of his neck sheepishly. "Least I could do, and all that."

When Jim wordlessly offered him a chip from the cone of greasy paper, John grinned, hunching his shoulders in the damp night air. "Nope, already had mine."

"But I like to share," Jim protested. "Well, that's not true actually," he confided, tilting his head to the side in consideration. "I quite like having the things I really want all to myself."

John laughed outright at that.

"But I like sharing with you," Jim wheedled, holding the chips out again and bumping John's shoulder with his own.

John said nothing, but he took one anyway, smiling to himself as he ate it. He kept pace with Jim, matching his stride as he had done since they left the shop, their footsteps the only ones sounding out in the isolated area.

As they made their way, however, someone else came into view, a man stumbling along drunkenly across the street in the opposite direction. After slowing to a shambling sway, he muttered under his breath as he gradually came to a full stop to watch Jim and John's progress.

Obviously anyone trying to avoid trouble would have kept their face averted from this potentially hostile new arrival and surreptitiously quickened their steps.

When Jim met the man's eyes and sent an arch smile his way, the drunkard's expression turned sour. After the briefest of pauses the stranger changed direction to track their steps from a distance.

John hadn't noticed the silent exchange between Jim and their inebriated stalker. But it took only a few seconds for him to spot the man now more obviously following them. "Ah, Christ," he muttered.

"All right?" Jim asked John in a normal voice. He pressed his shoulder to John's again, as though he hadn't seen anything unusual, leaning a bit more obviously into him this time.

"Fucking poofs!" the man still shadowing them from across the way called out suddenly. "Oi! I'm talking to the two of you!"

"Let's turn back," John said in a rush. "We passed a bus stop; there might be people waiting there now."

"Okay," Jim agreed, making his eyes go wide and worried at John's fretful expression. They turned together, still keeping pace, and the man swore at them, also quickly changing direction.

"You've got some fucking nerve, prancing around here," the man shouted. He'd stepped off the kerb, now only a few meters away on the road.

"Fuck off," Jim called suddenly. He stepped forward, keeping John behind him.

"Fucking hell, don't say anything to him," John pleaded under his breath. He tugged at Jim's arm to come along even as their aggressive shadow bawled out, "What did you just say to me, you little ponce?"

"I said: Fuck. Off." Jim turned to face the heckling man. "Go on ahead," he urged John in an undertone, prodding him in the shoulder to continue alone.

"Not without you," John disagreed, the fear clear in his voice as the man charged over to them.

"Run, John," Jim hissed, letting John hear a frantic note weaving into his words.

John set his chin and widened his stance as he planted his feet with determination. "Only if you come too!"

"I'll show you how we do things round here," the man announced in a growl, now only steps away from Jim and already drawing his fist back.

When Jim twisted forward and slammed his elbow into the man's windpipe first, their pursuer staggered back in surprise and pain.

"Jesus," John choked out, stumbling back a few steps in shock.

Meanwhile Jim rushed at the man and gripped his shoulders before he drove a knee hard into his groin. When the man crumpled and fell to the side, a strained whinge the only sound from his throat, Jim hauled back and kicked three times at his gut while he writhed in pain.

"Oh god, stop," John blurted, trying to pull Jim back by his shoulders. "Let's get out of here before someone else comes!"

With one final kick to the man's stomach, Jim turned and grabbed John's hand, pulling him into a run alongside him.

They pounded along the pavement, struggling to keep up with one another until they reached a more crowded area.

"Stop. Catch your breath," Jim ordered, gently leading John to a quiet alley in the middle of the bustle and propping him against the brick wall.

John nodded and braced his hands on his knees, panting hard.

Just beyond their little alcove, people spilled out of pubs, wandering around with lit cigarettes in their hands or clustered in chattering groups clutching sweating pints.

"You okay?" Jim asked after a short while.

"I --" John looked at him and immediately looked away as he straightened. "You really went after that bloke," he said, his voice strained.

"Self-defense, John." Jim stood loosely, his hands relaxed at his sides, and made sure to keep his voice soothing and even. "The sort they teach in those classes we spoke about. Remember?"

"Yeah, but. He didn't even get to throw a punch." John shook his head and stepped to the side, shifting himself away from Jim. "I'm not saying he wasn't an arsehole, or that he didn't deserve everything he got, but --"

"He would have, though. You heard what he said, how he looked. I know I don't have to tell you what it's like to have to fight back when someone's threatening you or someone you care for," Jim said softly.

John slowly nodded, still looking troubled.

"Well." Jim let his expression go impassive, something he'd never done before in front of John. "Sometimes we don't wait to see what the other bloke might do. Sometimes we cut people off before they can even try to hurt us." He openly regarded John, waiting to see how he'd take this.

John frowned at him before he shifted his eyes downward. "It just seemed a little, I don't know, extreme." His words were stilted, as if he were forcing himself to speak out, like a little child adamant about speaking the truth despite knowing he would be scolded for what he said. "Taking him down that way, how you kept at him once he was on the ground--"

"Do you know what he might have done to us? To you?" Jim gave in to an urge that had tugged at him for weeks and cradled John's jaw in his right hand. "John, I couldn't let anyone hurt you."

John looked up at him, startled, his sea-blue eyes fixed on Jim like he had just found in him a still point in an unsteady world. "No?" he asked, his voice strained.

Jim didn't have to pretend to let a rush of affection heat his gaze. "If I had my way, I'd never let anyone so much as get close enough to try."

"I feel that way," John blurted. "That -- I won't let anyone hurt you either." John's gaze dropped to Jim's mouth, and he bit his lower lip.

"I'm honored." Still cupping John's face reverently, Jim let his tongue dart out to lick his dry lips.

When John surged forward to kiss him, Jim was ready. He grunted as though in surprise, freezing for a second as John joined their mouths with inexperienced clumsy presses of lips. A beat later, he let himself clutch John close and take control, enticing his mouth open and tilting his head just so, making the kiss more and more heated until he was devouring John's small desperate cries.

Just as he prepared to pull back and stammer out something about how they couldn't do this, or he refused to take advantage, John wrenched his head back, gasping and trembling.

"John," Jim whispered. "I--"

"I'm so sorry," John said brokenly. "I know you can get in real trouble if -- I didn't think -- fuck, I'm sorry."

"There's nothing to be sorry for." He leaned forward enough to touch their foreheads together for a second before drawing back. The marvelous rush of realization that thrummed through him forced him to close his eyes as he pulled away. He hadn't yet expected to find John's impulse to protect him kicking in so quickly, particularly when John was so overwhelmed at this first kiss.

"Shh, it's okay," he said hurriedly when he saw John's distraught expression. "I shouldn't have kissed you back, but --" He ran shaky fingers through his hair and cleared his throat. Slowly heaving a sigh, he took a single step back, leaving John alone and slumped against the wall.

For a moment, neither of them spoke.

"I'd never tell anyone," John promised.

Jim shook his head. "I'd never suspect you would. I trust you."

"I trust you, too," John quickly echoed. "If we weren't in this situation," he continued hesitantly. "With your job, and what people might say if they found out. If you weren't -- and I wasn't. Do you think maybe, would we --" He trailed off, looking distressed.

Jim let his lips part, and a wistful look flit over his face. Then he pressed his mouth briefly into a thin line before he forced an awkward laugh. "Dangerous talk, that, John Watson."

John gave a jerky nod in response.

"Come on," Jim said, subdued as he briefly grasped John's upper arm before quickly letting go. "We should see about getting you home."

*~*~*~*~* Chapter Six *~*~*~*~*


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 31st, 2014 08:46 pm (UTC)
Moriarty's cleverly pulling John into a web of intimate secrets shared, one not!date, one not!gay bashing and one kiss at a time. He's got the boy hooked. Now what?
Apr. 1st, 2014 06:24 pm (UTC)
That's absolutely true, that Jim's luring John in tighter and tighter as they go. Thanks for the comment!
Apr. 12th, 2014 06:16 pm (UTC)
God, Moriarty really is a spider spinning his web, pulling John in and binding him tighter and tighter. Everything could be explained away logically if need be, and yet everything is so off but John just can't see it.

Rather messy business, that. Jim had regretfully disposed of one of his favorite suits afterward. Unfortunately it seemed some stains were simply too stubborn to treat properly. Ugg, that Jim all over, nicety and ruthless practicality in one terrifying package.
Apr. 13th, 2014 12:00 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you pointed out that moment; I really loved creating all the little instances of Jim's ruthlessness in the story even as he carefully cultivates his relationship with John. Thank you!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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