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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: 3,936 words.
Author's Notes: Here's a longer chapter with some big developments. I'd love to hear what you think if you're reading along! Many thanks to wesleysgirl for the beta. I plan to update next on Thursday. 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
by
EntreNous
**********




Chapter Six



"Tell me something lovely," Jim sang into his mobile when he answered Sebastian's ring.

In the far corner of the windowless room, the man Jim had just been having a little tête-à-tête with cried out as one of Jim's grunts smacked him across the mouth with a pipe.

Sebastian spoke even more rapidly than his usual brisk clip. "I'm at the Watson house. You said you didn't want him hurt. But--"

"Or there would be hell to pay!" Jim shouted, his face screwing up in anger. "Did you happen to forget I said that bit as well, you stupid cunt?"

At the sound of Jim bellowing, the man over in the corner slumped in his restraints and let out a pitiful gurgling sound. Meanwhile, the grunt who had been abusing him hesitated, his arm frozen mid-swing and delaying the next blow.

Sebastian, bless him, gave no such blatant sign of his own misgivings at Jim's outburst, though his slight pause on the line before continuing to report spoke volumes. "It happened quickly, right at the change of watch. Without someone stationed on the inside of the home, I can't see how it could have been entirely prevented. We've already put distractions in place to stall the situation as best we can. Now we're only awaiting specific instructions from you on how to handle the matter next."

"Stay where you are. I'm on my way." Jim pocketed the mobile. "Bring the car around," he told the grunt, who blinked at him dumbly before fidgeting with the pipe still in his hand.

In any other circumstances, Jim would have been delighted to rip into an underling who couldn't change tracks quickly, but right now he hadn't the patience. "The car," he said, deadly calm.

As soon as the man scrambled from the room, Jim shed his suit jacket and fumbled off his button-up shirt. The designer undershirt and finely wrought tailored trousers he still wore were a far cry from his usual teaching assistant garb. But accuracy in disguise was hardly his highest priority at the moment, not when John was in danger of the slightest additional bump or bruise from that abusive bastard of his father.

At the door Jim quickly turned to regard the man in the chair who had by now begun to shake violently in his bonds. "Aren't you lucky? With Daddy and the rest called out on something really important, you get a little extra time to think things over."

The man met Jim's gaze as best he could with his bleeding and battered face, but made only a choking sound in reply.

Jim tsked in disappointment. "Of course, considering my mood at the moment, if you're truly lucky you'll drown from your lungs filling with blood before I get back. Bye-bye!"



*~*~*~*~*
*



As he jogged round the side of the semi-detached Watson house to reach the back garden Jim spotted more than one neighboring house's curtains quickly pulled back and dropped.

When he got close enough to the house he could hear a woman's voice coming from inside, plaintive, while a man's lower register grunted occasional replies.

Jim immediately made his way over to where he knew he would find Sebastian stationed. His second-in-command stood obscured in the shadows, military-grade binoculars trained on an upper-storey window.

Sebastian didn't bother asking if Jim wanted the binoculars. He just handed them over and gestured to the upstairs rooms.

One window was lit up like a cheap shop front. Inside, a girl with long blond hair paced what must have been the length of the room as though distraught, appearing at the window at regular intervals. The other window was nearly dark, illuminated only slightly by what might have been a small desk lamp shining from the corner.

"Situation?"

"The confrontation happened quickly. Sunday nights have been quiet in the past, and we weren't expecting --"

"Save me your pitiful excuses."

Tightening his jaw a minuscule degree, Sebastian continued. "As soon as I saw David Watson pull his arm back to deliver the first blow, I signaled to begin the first of our distraction initiatives. Several minutes passed before Eddie could ring the doorbell in his courier disguise --"

"Remind me to make Eddie redundant after I have you break both his legs," Jim interrupted.

"-- and in that time, Watson landed two blows to his son's left cheek and twisted his right arm behind his back when John attempted to dodge him. When Eddie got Watson to answer the door, John left for his upstairs bedroom. His sister had already escaped to her room at the point the initial conflict began; she wasn't harmed at all."

"No, I'd wager she wasn't." Jim's eyes focused once more to the barely-lit window that must belong to John's bedroom. He wanted John out of there as soon as possible, but since that night they had seen the film together, the stakes had risen. Jim had anticipated accustoming John to the way of things in his real life even more gradually, but once again, John had surprised him by how quickly he arrived at where Jim wanted to point him. John's impulses toward him, to defend him, to protect him, to put his trust in Jim wholly, only added to the growing sense that Jim Moriarty wouldn't settle for coming to John Watson's rescue for only one night.

Orchestrating a longer arrangement to keep John by Jim's side could take a fair amount of finesse. Worried though he was, none of what he wanted in the long run would be served by acting before the moment had reached its crisis. He frowned and asked Sebastian, "And the mother?"

"Holly Watson stood back but didn't leave the room when her husband first hit his son. Since John went upstairs, she is apparently attempting to subdue her husband through bargaining and pleading. Though her husband threatened her after Eddie left the front door, subsequent blows have so far been avoided."

"Well, points for the thorough summary. Mind you, you're still running a rather large deficit at the moment."

When Sebastian failed to react to the implicit threat, Jim impatiently scanned the upper storey of the house again. He could see nothing new in the almost darkened room.

A second later in the room to the right, however, Harriet Watson began to seem more agitated. She sped her steps, making her hair whip around her as she changed directions to pace the length of the room. Seconds later, having apparently worked herself into a rage, she picked up an object and threw it, hitting a mirror on the wall.

The glass shattered.

Downstairs, the voices that had become subdued rose in volume: the man's slurred and angry, the woman's panicked and pitched higher than before.

Harriet froze for a moment, seemingly realizing she had attracted her father's inebriated attention. She grabbed a jacket and fled the room. Almost immediately afterward the front door slammed. They could hear her booted footsteps echoing down the quiet street as she ran.

"Now, there's our moment," Jim said under his breath before he began to stride toward the back door. Before Sebastian could catch up to him, he reached the threshold and began to pound against the wood.

There was a short cry from inside the house followed by silence.

A minute later, the door eased open.

"Ji -- Mr Moriarty," John said in a strained voice. He hovered at the door, the kitchen dark behind him, clearly stunned to find Jim standing in front of him. The bruise his father had left on his cheek was already beginning to bloom purple. His eyes focused on Sebastian for just a moment before he shifted his attention back to Jim. "What are you doing here?"

Jim widened his eyes as if in shock. "Never mind that, John. Look at you: you're hurt!"

John's hand flew to his cheek. "Oh. That. It's, erm. I'm fine, really -- just a small accident earlier --"

"John, please. I won't ask you to tell me what's happened if you're not comfortable saying." Jim made sure to employ his finest regretful Daddy-knows-best expression before he continued, "But for now I think it's important that you come with me."

"Come with you?" John echoed. He licked his lips nervously. When his gaze again shifted to Sebastian, who continued to stand impassively, he paused. His brow furrowed as he searched Sebastian's face as if trying to place how he might know him.

"Who the hell are you talking to?" David Watson demanded as he suddenly joined his son at the door.

He stood slightly taller than his son (and Jim bet that he lorded every last centimeter over John), with darker hair but nearly the same eyes. The drink and failure in his life had taken their toll on his countenance: he looked at least a decade older than Jim knew him to be from the information Sebastian had gathered. There was none of the kindness, none of the spark, none of the playfulness he saw in John in this vile disappointment of a human being.

After barely glancing over at Jim, Sebastian subtly relaxed his ready stance and rolled his shoulders slightly, transforming into far less of a visible threat with only a minor adjustment of his body. With a tiny alteration, he let his weight fall on his back foot, bringing him a bit behind Jim and more in shadow than light.

While John pressed his lips together and schooled his expression into something blank, obviously so as to placate his father, Jim instantly mustered a bright smile: friendly, conciliatory.

John turned warily to his father before starting introductions in a determinedly composed tone. "Dad, this is Mr Moriarty. He's one of my instructors at school, the assistant instructor in Literature. Mr Moriarty, this is my dad, David Watson."

"Bit late to be popping round to your students' homes," David Watson said gruffly. He looked at Sebastian and apparently dismissed him as inconsequential at once, turning to focus solely on Jim. "You lot making house calls now?"

"Nothing of the sort," Jim said, keeping his eyes wide and summoning a bit of nervousness into his tone. "But I thought if you wouldn't mind, I might have a word with you alone."

Watson gave them a hard look before he scoffed and glared at his son. "Johnny, get out of here."

John sent an anxious look Jim's way. "But --"

"Go!" his father bit out.

Face pale, John backed up before leaving the kitchen.

"About your son John," Jim began.

From somewhere else in the house, a woman murmured. Jim thought he heard a hushed and reassuring reply from John as though he was soothing his mother.

When Watson regarded Jim again, his blue eyes were cold and full of rage. "Now, I don't know what game the likes of you thinks you're playing at, coming here so late sniffing round my boy. But I'm going to have to ask you to leave."

"Ah, but I'm afraid we can't do that," Jim said quickly, shouldering his way against the threshold and blocking Watson when he went to shut the door. "You see, I'm a bit concerned about leaving John here tonight." He motioned vaguely toward his own cheek at the exact spot where John bore his contusion.

"You're a bit concerned?" David Watson repeated, incredulously mocking Jim's tone. "What business is it of yours? He's home where he should be, and that's more than you deserve to know."

"If you could just humor me for a moment -- maybe we could talk a little ways away?" Jim asked. He grimaced slightly at Sebastian before gesturing to indicate Watson should precede him where they might speak with more privacy.

Watson rolled his eyes but followed, stepping fully outside past where Sebastian stood inoffensively by and walking to where Jim waited a few steps into the back garden.

"I've half a mind to call that headmaster at Johnny's school, see if he knows about your after-hours visits to your students," Watson said derisively.

Jim drew back a little, hand on his chest as if shaken by the suggestion, before he moved in and gave Watson a leering grin. "You know, you really ought to," he agreed, his voice conspiratorial. "Sweet boy like your son, trusting anyone who shows him a kindness; soooo dishy with that lovely little mouth and gorgeous fit body even if he hasn't realized it yet; neglected at home by his coward of a mother, abused by his brute of a father; and, what's more, bullied by his idiotic peers who don't like him acting so clever and hate him for being so very queer: he's awfully vulnerable for someone like me to swoop in and do exactly as I like."

Watson's jaw dropped. "The fuck are you on about?" he managed when he could speak again.

Jim dropped any last lingering pretense of harmlessness and geniality and leaned in close, his teeth bared and eyes wild with anger.

"What I'm telling you, David Watson, is I don't like you touching what's mine. So to keep that from happening again, I've found a rather neat little solution, expensive though it is saving the sorry arse of an idiot such as you. But I call it a good investment to make certain you'll never come near John again while I have anything to say about it."

"You're mental," Watson said. But though he spoke sharply, but he had begun to look uneasy.

"Possibly," Jim conceded. "Still, we're talking about you now. So what I'd love to know is how did you manage to rack up such immense gambling debts in between all the drinking yourself half to death?" He spread his hands expansively. "Such an accomplishment -- most men wouldn't have been able to find the time! You really ought to have put those multi-tasking talents to better use. Say, earning enough to keep your family fed and clothed without your wife having to take a demanding second job while you waste your days on drink?"

For the first time that night, Watson looked truly shaken. "I don't need to stand here and listen to these fucking ridiculous claims and lies --"

"Oh, they're not lies, which you very well know. When I spoke to a certain Neil Cooper about managing your pesky arrears, he was more than happy to have someone else take responsibility for those piling-up unpaid sums. All that sport betting and those high-stakes card games really added up, didn't they? Too bad you never did recoup your losses! Anyway, I don't think you could have escaped him and his boys without some sort of payment soon. He certainly has some angry lads working for him; I really ought to see if any of them want to make a lateral move to my organization. That must be why you're spending less and less time sober. You're probably constantly agonizing the money will run out for good, wondering if you'll have to move your family out of town quickly, considering how you'll look in the end once they've really worked you over, smacking your son and wife so you can still pretend like you're still a big man while you wait for the last blow to fall --"

"Shut up," Watson said unsteadily.

Jim tapped a finger against his lower lip and made a moue of disappointment. "Hmm, this takes me back, really. My Da was an awful lot like you, you know." He slid his hands into his pockets and lifted his shoulders slightly, looking as if he were loath to say something very awkward. "Now, as it happens I am willing to be rather lenient in my expectations about repayment of that amount you owe."

Just for fun, Jim named the exact sum owed down to the penny so that he could watch Watson turn deathly pale. "Far more lenient than that nasty, dangerous Cooper would have been!" he continued. In fact, I might be persuaded to overlook the current debt entirely." He paused to open his mouth wide in feigned shock. "Wouldn't that just solve every one of your problems? That's of course provided you don't give me any trouble in what I'm after. Simple little agreement really, and we'd be square! If you want to start spiraling down into debt again afterward, why, that's your own business, isn't it?"

As Jim cheerfully continued to lay out his terms for essentially acquiring John Watson on a permanent basis, Sebastian, the gem that he was, responded to the shift in tone and drew himself up back to his customary pose of quiet menace and coiled threat.

When Watson looked around him wildly, most likely reeling from what Jim had told him, he startled as if seeing Sebastian for the first time. To be fair, Watson seemed very likely still half-drunk and quite bewildered at finding himself in the middle of this high-stakes negotiation.

"How do I know --" Watson began gruffly.

"That I'm telling the truth? Dear me, that is a dilemma! Tell you what, I'll make it very easy for you," Jim said, exaggerated false sympathy playing on his features. "I'll have my man over there -- friend of mine who likes to help out with some of my little pet projects -- give you a lift to go talk to Cooper. Cooper will be sure to set you straight about how I'm your new master. Of course, I can't guarantee old Neil won't have his lads take a few swings at you even if he's essentially handed you over to me on a platter. He is a feisty sort. Ugh, break-ups are sooo hard, aren't they? Some men just go out of their heads!"

Watson's eyes skittered over to Sebastian and then back again to Jim. Jim could see the moment when the light clicked on in Watson's dim little mind: a dull panic washed over his face before he took on a mulish expression.

"There's no need for that," Watson said hastily. He'd obviously decided to get a bit of his own back, widening his stance a little and tipping his chin up to make himself appear taller. It mirrored John's determined pose a little, but had none of its actual strength. No, this was a sniveling little animal backed into a corner making a last desperate posture to protect only itself. "The boy's a burden on us anyway. No doubt he would have left home soon enough without so much as a by your leave, the ungrateful little shit. What do I care if he decides to go with you now?"

"Oh, you're just the worst sort, aren't you?" Jim said sadly. "Never even occurred to you to offer up yourself in exchange to save him, did it? Or to try and broker another deal that doesn't leave one of your family members entirely at my mercy? Oh no, not you; you're perfectly willing to give up your baby boy to wipe away your debt."

"What do you want?" Watson said, losing his braggadocio all at once and sounding utterly confused and half-desperate.

"What a fantastic question!" Jim beamed at him. "So many things, really. But for now, I'd like you to show me exactly how you hit your son."

Watson hesitated, obviously unclear on what he should do.

So Jim tilted his head out, presenting his own left cheek and giving it a brisk tap. "Right there, if you please. I know you know how to do it; you've had plenty of practice!" He could see Watson curl and uncurl his fist, but when no contact resulted, Jim rolled his eyes. "Come now, it's hardly a bad bargain -- just your only son and one of your fists to my face in exchange for finding yourself an entirely free man come morning. Chop chop!" When Watson kept right on dithering, Jim snarled out, "Now, you fucking idiot!"

Finally David Watson managed to overcome the muddle clouding his tiny insect brain and let fly a punch that made Jim stagger back.

Up to that point they had been having their chat in the shadows -- impossible that way for anyone from the house to see either of their expressions or gestures. But now Jim let himself stumble and fall to the ground in the spill of artificial light cast from the back door. Anyone who cared to spy what was going on from Chez Watson would be able to see the rather violent results of the conversation quite easily.

Sure enough, he heard John give a wordless cry of shock and horror from within the house. He obviously left at a sprint, because scant moments later he hurried over to where Jim remained sprawled on the ground.

"Oh my god, oh god, what the fuck did you do to him?" John asked, his voice breaking as he knelt, half-gathering Jim into his arms, and looked accusingly at his father.

"This ponce thinks he can pay for you," David Watson bawled out unwisely.

Jim met Sebastian's eyes where he hovered just beyond the little knot of their grouping, and Sebastian came forward unobtrusively to stand behind Watson.

Jim moaned as if in great pain, and John clutched him tighter, closer. He touched Jim's face gently before smoothing back the hair that had fallen into his eyes. "Christ, Jim. I am so sorry --" He left off, overcome, and carefully slid his left hand to cradle the back of Jim's head with steady fingers.

"John," Jim murmured. He moved as if to say something more but winced to give the impression he was unable to continue.

In the next house over, a light in a small window clicked on and then just as quickly was switched off.

"He asked me to hit him, the freak --" Watson sputtered.

"You fucking liar," John choked out, a sob in his throat. "Just stay away from him -- stay away from both of us!" Turning to Jim, he murmured, "Jim, do you think you can stand? We need to get you away from here."

"I'm all right," Jim breathed out heavily, struggling to get to his feet. He let himself lean against John when John rushed to support his weight.

"How did you get here?" John asked anxiously. "Did you drive over?"

Jim met Sebastian's eyes where he stood a few steps behind Watson. Sebastian shrugged and took his own key from his pocket, letting it fall to the ground.

"Borrowed a mate's car," Jim confirmed, extending a shaky hand to point to where the key lay. "Over there, it fell when your dad --" He let the words taper off, shaking his head.

"It's okay, it's all going to be okay," John soothed him. He helped Jim over to the spot Jim indicated and scooped up the key, glaring at his dad as if daring him to say anything more.

Fortunately, Sebastian had approached Watson and murmured something to him. There was the value of having a really top-notch second-in-command; Jim had no doubt Sebastian would soon provide a neat little lesson on the value of discretion and obeying one's betters.

However he had begun to state the matter, it must have gotten through even Watson's thick intoxicated skull. For as John began to help Jim round to the front of the house to fetch Sebastian's car, David Watson stayed quiet, even through the series of dull thuds that meant Sebastian was capably driving the point home.



*~*~*~*~* Chapter 7 *~*~*~*~*

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
brunettepet
Mar. 31st, 2014 09:07 pm (UTC)
Well, Moriarty has adroitly maneuvered John out of the clutches of his violent, alcoholic loser father right into his clever clutches and somehow John thinks he's saving his crush from his father's brutality. I'm looking forward to seeing how John reacts to his changed circumstances in the harsh light of day. His world has just been turned upside down and he has no idea.
entrenous88
Apr. 1st, 2014 06:26 pm (UTC)
That's certainly the impression John has gained; whether the harsh light of day will put paid to that or whether something else will prevail in his impressions of Jim will become clearer as we continue. Thank you!
sparrow2000
Apr. 12th, 2014 07:10 pm (UTC)
"he's awfully vulnerable for someone like me to swoop in and do exactly as I like." Wow, and there the gloves came right off, and the awful thing is, part of me actually cheered. You are a twisty, twisty author making me feel like that.

So now Jim has John, I'm both horrified and desperately intrigued as to what might happen now.
entrenous88
Apr. 13th, 2014 12:02 pm (UTC)
and the awful thing is, part of me actually cheered.
You know I'm beaming at my computer screen right now! :D I definitely want readers to root for their relationship at the same time that they feel uneasy about the insidious maneuverings taking place to achieve that relationship.

It's marvelous to hear you're intrigued at this stage! Thank you!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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