I just miss Zelda.
It’s good you’re giving her better food.
oi. ‘ve only ever been givin’ her the best food, girly.
wouldn’t have t’miss her if y’let me smuggle her into your room.
man. i jus’ bought ten pound of the best fuckin’ dog food there is the other day.
she better be doin’ great.
An entire morning of running around London, completing bits here and there from the stack of new assignments that the boss had sent through over the last couple of days. Jobs and job preparation—-surveillance, paperwork, inventory—-and transit around London, which had taken up at least half the morning, the reminder of which drew a disgruntled curse from Sebastian’s lips.
Of course, the chaos of the morning errands would open him up for an almost free afternoon. Silver lining.
Exiting the small run-down building, he melded seamlessly into the flow of pedestrians making their way up the street, pulling off his gloves and slipping them into the pocket of his coat.
It was only when he emerged into an almost deserted street a couple of minutes later that the man—-seeming almost hungover, judging by the way he rocked unsteadily from side to side as he recovered his sense of balance— walked straight into him.
Sebastian had managed to get a grip on the handle of his duffel before it threatened to slip off his shoulder. Luckily. If he hadn’t, there’d be hell to pay.
Hell. And money.
"Are you? You look like you’re about to fall on your face any second now, mate."
He’d run into enough people today, fair enough, but none of those had been quite as — well, huge this far. Or at least he’d still have felt fairly comfortable picking up a fight with any of the previous ones, even in the state he was in now - but that definitely wasn’t the case with this one. He’d not actually bumped into him, though, right? Just grazed his shoulder a bit? They were all good?
There was a moment of silence that had Shinwell inspecting his opposite, as if he was trying to figure out whether he already knew him - and how likely it was that this guy would actually catch him, should Shinwell just fall asleep right there and then. He estimated an optimistic 0.5 percent.
"Not my face. Always go f’the arse, mate. Safer that way."
[ it’s the accent that catches her attention first.
then come the words, spoken sarcastically and almost condescendingly. it raises her hackles and curls her lips in a sneer.
who does he think he is?
will she move?
she turns instead, retreating back a step until she’s almost running into him, and she stares up at him with wide eyes, expression bordering on maniacal, if not for the affronted turn of her mouth. ]
It was only when she turned that he realised that, yep, that was a girl he’d just had a go at. A rather disgruntled girl, by the looks of it. He hadn’t really expected a reaction, let alone such an indignant one, and the fact that she was suddenly even closer than before, staring up at him as if she was ready to throw a punch any second now, left him rather dumbstruck there. Some people really were pretty fucking touchy, weren’t they? Jesus Christ. He only wanted a godforsaken nap.
Blinking down at her, it took a moment for his confusion to pass, only to be replaced by a very charming sense of “I don’t fucking care”. His voice was just as quiet and monotonous as before, and he didn’t step back as he repeated, very slowly, as if he was trying to explain gravity to a kindergartner:
"Move. You. Are y’gonna?"
Sebastian made a sound in the back of his throat that passed for something akin to agreement. He settled back in his chair a little, considering that employing Shinwell Johnson had been a very good decision indeed. Whether he was motivated by fear or was just good at what he did plain and simple, he was getting what Sebastian wanted done and getting it done quick. There was no need to keep him stalling any longer.
"Right, well, I’ll let you get on with it then. Let me know about the address soon as, yeah?" He glanced at his watch. "Don’t call within the hour though. Any time after that."
He hung up before Shinwell had the chance to respond and got to his feet, stretching, shoulders relaxing as though already anticipating his mattress.
And just like that, he’d hung up on him. Shinwell kept walking with the phone still pressed to his ear for at least another ten seconds - just to make sure - before he lowered it, very slowly, to check the time. One hour from now. Alright. He could do that. No reason to hyperventilate at all.
It took him just under twenty minutes to get to the address he’d been given, and it was a good thing he’d chosen to drive rather than taking public transport, because without the road to focus on, he’d surely have gone mad. He didn’t want to think about how things would proceed if Edwards wasn’t there, after all. How long this whole thing could go on before Moran decided enough was enough. What ‘enough’ would actually mean for him in this case.
The house was inconspicuous enough. A terraced house hidden among rows and rows of terraced houses wasn’t likely to rouse suspicion, and the old geezer who was registered as its resident had no connection to Edwards whatsoever. Senile, Shinwell had found out. Didn’t even have a single clue who was living upstairs, because he couldn’t actually take the stairs anymore, anyway. Not exactly ingenious, but it was certainly doing the trick. Well, had been. Until now.
Shinwell was careful picking the lock. No use startling the poor old man. All he needed was a good look at the first floor, and he’d be off on his way.
And true enough, there he was. From where Shinwell was crouching at the top of the stairs, he could barely make him out, but he’d been staring at photos of him for long enough now to be sure: Adam Edwards, in the flesh. Scribbling away on some sort of notepad. Dressed in what appeared to be a faded onesie. Right.
Shinwell was out the back door as fast as possible; and not only because the house smelled of impending death (and cabbage).
He checked the time again. 53 minutes.
Fuck it. As he hit the call button, his hands weren’t shaking at all. (Maybe a little bit.)
Jim had spent most of the previous day planning. Not just the meeting, but everything that would come after it. Sebastian’s connection to Shinwell and, distantly, to Sherlock had been unforeseen. Certainly a fortunate development, but that he hadn’t picked up on it sooner annoyed him. Tracking Sherlock for years and still he hadn’t picked up every facet, every detail. With any luck, this friend of his employee would fill in a few of the blanks.
Shortly before he left for Sebastian’s house, perhaps better called a palace, he checked Sherlock’s website. Nothing new of import, and there hadn’t been for some time. Anonymously he left a comment, begging for something new, and went on his way.
For this particular meeting, Jim chose to drive himself. A simple worn sedan with an interior smelling of cigarettes - the very brand he smoked not so long ago. The nostalgia all but forced him to make a pit stop. He bought only one pack and smoked the rest of the way over. His body now unaccustomed to nicotine, the adrenaline felt odd in his system. He should have taken his time.
As planned, he arrived at the house after Shinwell. He tugged at the hem of his dark pullover—this time one that fit him—and as he got out of the car. Though Jim had brought his key with him, he knocked on the front door. Better to let the man think he had equal or better footing.
Now, he hadn’t particularly been looking forward to this. It wasn’t like he didn’t trust Moran (well), but something about the man’s suggestion (command) that he meet up with this ‘business contact’ of his had been highly suspicious. Maybe it was the fact that it had been followed almost immediately by an unusually generous dinner donation. Or maybe it had just been something about the wording. Shinwell distinctly remembered balls and paperweights being mentioned.
Not that that would have been the first time.
Still, that general “the fuck’s even going on” feeling left him somewhat wary. Against his nature, he even arrived (almost) on time. Didn’t spend too much time rummaging in Sebastian’s fridge. Made sure not to stray too far away from the front entrance, in case he missed the guy who’d decide the future of his testicles.
When he did finally hear a knock, he was probably a little too pleased with himself for having caught that right away. Small victories. (This would go just fine.)
He wasn’t sure what he’d been expecting, really, but what he saw upon opening the door surely wasn’t it. Huh. Not intimidating at all. Shinwell relaxed visibly and leaned against the door frame much as if this had been his own home. “Jim, is it?”