Jim knew what Sebastian was gesturing to, knew from his latent observation of the hospital room when he’d walked in. A wheelchair. Just sitting, unobtrusive, silent, screaming. He couldn’t turn his head and look at it now. If he turned his head now, his stiff porcelain neck would crack, would break, would shatter. Something was shattering, somewhere. Was it inside? Widening cracks.
He put the water glass down quickly, before it drowned him.
He swallowed, throat dry suddenly. This was impossible. This could not happen.
“I…” What? I’m sorry? I don’t believe you? I won’t let you? I’ll kill everyone in this hospital, everyone in this city if this is real? He took a deep breath, attempting to re-inflate his lungs, make himself breathe again. “The report said 10% chance of regaining mobility.” Sort of. Some mobility. Limited mobility. He read Italian. He wished he didn’t.
Jim was prepared to live in the 10%.
Because he was not in any way prepared for this…outcome, this thing, this feeling of being crushed somehow, deep in his chest (what was this? He didn’t even understand what hurt, why it hurt, what was this?). This was not real. This was not his reality. It was a possibility, of course. Every risk was a possibility, every job could end badly. Accidents happened, had to be figured in. Guns jammed, cars could make sudden lefthand turns and crush someone crossing the street. Food poisoning. Drug overdoses. Rabies. A million thousand possibilities of things gone wrong, but they never ended like this in his mind. Not for Sebastian. The man was untouchable, sacrosanct, safe. There was no scenario in which Sebastian Moran was damaged.
“When we get back to England, we’ll get a second opinion.” A third, fourth, tenth. However many it took. Because this could not happen. He licked his lips, trying to hear past the pounding of his heart in his ears, because that was the only sound now.
“That’s optimistic, boss.” Sebastian said, almost gently, his eyes still on the ceiling. He could hear the glass shatter around the illusion that Sebastian would wait a few days and then walk out of here, a little battered but fine. How many times had that happened? A stray shot, a stab wound? Nothing as serious as this. Nothing could ever compare to this. Idly Sebastian wondered if Jim would take a knife to his chest to mark up the mirror images of the bullet wounds over his sternum and across his torso.
These things happened. Sebastian knew that. It was a risk he took going into the jungle, it was the dangers he faced during the war, it was something that he engaged with on a daily basis during his time with Jim Moriarty. He had seen worse things happen, he had seen bigger messes, stronger reactions, dirtier clean up jobs - one was still visible on his face and under his messy hair. This was the reality of his life, and he was unwilling to pin so much hope or really any on the vague figure of ten per-cent.
Sebastian literally bit his tongue to keep himself from responding sharply. How did he expect Jim to react? Someone had just touched his favorite playing. Not only that, touched and taken and broken it. A second opinion wouldn’t change anything at all.
“If you’d like boss.” Sebastian said softly.