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"Sherlock! Yoo-hoo, are you here?" Mrs Hudson's voice came from the stairs, and Sherlock rolled his eyes. "Sherlock!"

"I'm up, Mrs Hudson," he answered. Why did the woman always require stating the obvious as an answer?

She stuck her head through the door, and smiled to him. There was clearly a client waiting for him, judging by the happy expression on the woman's face - she always announced them as if giving him a gift, and he couldn't argue with such attitude. He was properly in need of one these days. The slight nervousness also indicated the client was familiar, and even perhaps some sentiment was involved, and he sighed. He'd prefer some gruesome murder, or a nice serial killer.

"Sherlock, I have a client waiting for you, but… It is my poor friend's daughter… from long before, poor Ludivine, such a tragedy! And I have to ask you for a favour, Sherlock..." The woman clucked and clucked, and Sherlock curled his upper lip in irritation.

"Yes, yes, yes! I will play nice, and will try not to hurt the poor girl's feelings..."

"Oh, Sherlock, please do! You can be so abrupt sometimes." Mrs Hudson tut-tutted, and disappeared at the staircase. Sherlock sighed again. A murder, a nice triple murder, was it too much to ask?

The client was a young woman, around twenty five. Considering the slender build, and the pale skin of a redhead, perhaps older. The eyes had a calm, mellow expression, though. An interesting combination of youthful appearance and old eyes. Irrelevant. Angular face, no makeup, hair in a braid. Stylish, yet dull clothes. Good quality, not too expensive. No nail varnish. Strong hands, looked after, short nails, but soft skin; early stages of arthritis in the joints of long fingers. Paper cuts.

"Mr Holmes?" The woman stood by the entrance, and he pointed at the client chair. Slight Irish accent, hidden under the upper received pronunciation. Irregularity in the vowels. Self-taught? Attempting to seem more posh than she is?

"Hello. How can I help you?" She sat down, and placed her backpack under the chair. Familiar gesture. University for many years. Tense posture, fidgeting fingers. Nervous? No, embarassed.

"Mr Holmes, my name is Wren Leary. I have a matter to ask you about, but it is rather trivial, and of sentimental nature, and I'm worried..."

"That I will dismiss it and perhaps ridicule you cruelly?" he asked, and her eyes widened. Pupils dilated, immediate colouring of the cheeks. Easily blushing. "That's why you asked Mrs Hudson for reference, although you despise your parentage, and your mother's previous association with Mr Hudson's cartel. You tried to protect yourself, although it pained you to be looked at as your mother's daughter."

He expected shock. The usual set of physical reactions would be paleness, slacking jaw - and then realisation and emotions kicked in. Some chose disbelief, sometimes suspicion that he had somehow cheated. There was always indignation, sometimes anger.

Ms Wren Leary tilted her head to the side studying him. Interesting. That was clearly a trained reaction. Not jumping at the first conclusion, not letting her first emotional response control her. High intellect? IQ perhaps higher than 140? Her face was burning nonetheless, one couldn't control the blood flow after all. John expressed admiration then, the first time. Shut up.

"That is… fascinating." She paused, searching for the right words. "How did you know?" 76% of people asked how. 67.5% of them would try to hide the signs in the future trying to avoid others guessing the same. They were in no danger, of course. No one could do what he did.

"Mrs Hudson mentioned that you were the daughter of a friend from long ago. That would be her exotic dancing, bookkeeping times, in her husband's drug cartel. You are a librarian, in dull unattractive clothes, faking an upper class accent. You wouldn't want to be associated with a woman with the aforementioned past. Also, your mother's name. Ludivine. Clearly French. You use your father's surname, Irish. Clearly father's, considering the red hair and the freckles. Thus, you emancipated from your mother."

She dropped her eyes to the floor, and he noticed the regularity of breathing. Measured inhales, prolonged exhales. Anxiety therapy technique. Highly functional OCD?

"My mother was indeed an exotic dancer. A stripper, I believe, is a more appropriate word." The voice was sharp and tense. "She met my father, who was a police officer, and an abusive alcoholic. They were quite a pair. Both died early, I was a teen. I am indeed a librarian. I assumed you guessed by the badge around the neck." And by the paper cuts. But that had been excessive. Was he getting sloppy? John would say he was showing off. Shut up. "Everything's quite right..." When she was nervous, the old, less privileged accent would become more prominent. The long fingers intertwined. Hands not shaking. With her level of anxiousness, considering an amount of adrenaline pumping into her blood - quite an achievement.

"I assumed you would disparage my case from the start, and I did ask Mrs Hudson for reference. Can't say it did much." That was clearly sarcasm. Perfectly executed, by the way. Irrelevant.

She jerked her chin up and glared at him. Sectoral heterochromia iridis. Eyes both green and hazel. Brighter spikes of colouration around pupils.

"Will you treat me better if I return the favour, Mr Holmes? I do not take critical remarks well, I tend to have panic attacks after unpleasant conversations. If I analyse you the same way, will you treat me with more respect?"

Silence rang in the room. He stared at her. Her cheekbones flamed even more furiously, and he assumed that hadn't been a thought through statement. She then bit into her bottom lip. Nervous habit. Clearly, that happens often. A careless remark, hardly under her control. Interesting. Irrelevant? Yes, but still interesting.

"Please, do." He dismissively waved his hand in the air. She looked him over, but he immediately doubted her skill. She was skipping the details he would note, such as the clothes, and the stains on his jacket, but looked at his face attentively. There was nothing to see there, he was in full control of his expression.

"You're lonely. And in emotional pain. All the time. You were a lonely child. But there's a streak of martyrdom in you. You have an older brother, right? That's not a deduction, Mrs Hudson mentioned your brother. So you had a sibling, and I would assume he cares for you. You wouldn't have survived otherwise. You are too self-destructive. But you prefer to think you are completely alone, because it allows you to feel sorry for yourself. You had a friend, but he or she is gone now. Not dead, you are not devastated. I assume they moved on, and it pains you. You feel betrayed, left behind. Again, it doesn't have to be this way, but you are enjoying your suffering too much to actually try to fix it."

She exhaled and looked into his eyes, "How did I do?"

Sherlock swallowed the knot in his throat, and threw one leg over another. His hands were not shaking, that would be preposterous. John's wedding's in two weeks. Shut up!

"You failed miserably." He gave her a sly smile. "All of this is nothing but emotional palaver. You haven't gathered any information, and..."

"And yet, I am right," she interrupted, and their eyes locked again. She held his gaze, but then she blinked, and smiled to him softly. "I am no detective, Mr Holmes. If I were one, I wouldn't need your help, would I? But I know a man in pain when I see one."

"Do you claim to read minds? Oh no, wait, it's aura reading, isn't it?" He gasped theatrically, and flailed his hands. "How are my chakras?" He realised he was sneering, but he couldn't stop. Of course, her words had not affected him! That would be… inconceivable! For that he would need to have emotions to have them compromised.

"Goodness, no. I believe in this New Age rubbish no more than you. I'm just an empath."

Sherlock snorted scornfully.

"Empaths don't exist. It's a sentimental notion of sci-fi reading females."

"I unconsciously read body language with the speed that my own mind doesn't register, Mr Holmes. That is the current scientific explanation of my ability. So, it seems as if I read minds and intuite, but in reality I just do the same as you do, but it's just faster. And you also throw longing looks at the empty armchair across from you."

Sherlock tried to refrain, but his eyes once again fell on John's chair. He really should have moved it. And should've gotten rid of the stupid Union Jack cushion.

"If indeed you do do what I do, but faster..." He added venom in his tone, to emphasize how ridiculous her ideas were. "Then why are you here?"

"Because someone comes to my flat almost every night, while I'm at work, and searches it, trying to leave no traces. Also three weeks ago, I met the man of my dreams, who disappeared in the middle of the same night, out of my bed, and I haven't heard anything from him ever since. So, I want you to investigate the break-ins... and find a certain John Thorington."

To be continued...


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{Romance webserial: Dr. T Series

Summary: Wren Leary, a young biochem student is placed before a choice: Will it be Philip Durinson, the self-assured ball of sunshine and a uni stud, or his cantankerous and mistrusting uncle, John Thorington? The first one is her friend, the second one regrets that night in the tent. Wrennie is in a pickle.}

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{my first novel

inspired by the story initially written here}

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Renee Miller is a reclusive web designer who, after several hours of delirium from flu, wakes up to find a stranger in boxer briefs standing in her bathroom.

John is an archaeologist who finds himself stuck in a stranger's flat in a snowstorm.

Frozen in her neat and clean world of highly functional anxieties and her history of childhood trauma, Renee is perhaps the worst possible host for her flatmate's boyfriend's colleague. Yet, while the fervent gush of life that is John Greaves disrupts her carefully guarded existence, Renee finds herself gradually yearning for more.

Is John the first breath of Spring in her frigid world?