So this is another fic written for Em which was the second thing I wrote before settlingn on the last. Anyways hope you enjoy this angsty little one shot.
The coffee shop is unusually unpopulated for the middle of the day but Sherlock believes that may be due to the large accumulation of police outside the glass windows. Just from his spot alone he can see Bell crouching next to what he assumes is a footprint of a size thirteen work boot, according to reading the detective's lips.
"Are you going to tell me why we're standing in the middle of the coffee shop or am I just supposed to play a guessing game," Watson's voice beside him is strained, likely due to her own lack of coffee. With the steadily building snow and fresh crime scene of an abduction their evidence would disappear rather quickly with accumulation.
"It is finals season is it not Watson?" He turns to her with a pursed look on his face. He knows the answer because of course he does. She knows he knows the answer but she submits nonetheless. He blames it on her energy. If she'd become more efficient with her sleeping patterns then maybe she wouldn't be so tired.
"Yes. College kids are taking their finals before winter break, why?"
He nods with confirmation striding to the glass window where a small poster hangs.
24 hour service for our college students facing finals week. The paper proclaims in grotesque neon and slanted letters. "A consumerism trap if there ever was one. Plenty of libraries in the area but college students flock to shops like these for bants rather than studying for claims that the coffee will help them. In reality, they are using less product and more milk and sugar to give that placebo kick of energy needed without wasting money or precious inventory."
"Is there a point to this rant?"
"Jessica Clemmons was taken from this sidewalk and precisely 4:51 in the morning. It is 5:23 and I believe if we ask around we will find records of a student or students that were in this shop at the time of the abduction."
"That was an incredibly long winded way of saying we're looking for witnesses, even for you." She deadpans. "Give me your card."
"Honestly, Watson I thought I taught you better than to rob a man in a highly populated area."
"I could have just picked your pocket. Besides, it's your turn to buy coffee."
"I thought it was Bell's turn," Nonetheless he shuffles in his wallet and pulls out his plain blue credit card and passing it to her delicate fingers.
"Nope." She smiles turning on her heel. He can't help the fond eye roll as she walks away the clicking on tiles marking her journey to the counter. He focuses his attention again on the crime scene at hand. So far the only evidence is the footprint and any potential witness. However, due to the late hour and the lack of effective streetlamps he seriously doubts they're going to get a description off of anyone there. If they're lucky they might get a vehicle description but even that feels like a longshot.
He watches Bell reach down and pick something out of the snow. He frowns in realization that it's the ring he'd seen in Jessica Clemmons' instagram feed. Recently engaged with a unique Emerald ring, now found abandoned in the snow with no owner in sight. He'd instantly ruled out the fiancee upon arrival, unless he was a sociopathic actor he sorely doubts that what he's telling is anything less than the truth.
Being New York she could have very well been a random victim. In the wrong place at the wrong time, so the television proclaims. However, Sherlock does not believe in random attacks. From what he could gather from her social medias Jessica is a highly successful lawyer working on a rather controversial case. While he loathes the likes of a person who can defend a blatantly guilty man, she's on the right side of the law this time. At least, he's fairly sure from the twenty minute summary he was able to read on the car ride here. Any number of people would be enemies with this woman including previous those of previous cases. Truthfully, they have their work cut out for them on this one.
"Have you mastered the art of reading minds yet?" He blinks rapidly as he'd not heard Watson's footsteps. He turns his head finding her eyes sparkling with mischief. It's remarkable that even the thought of coffee has her in an entirely different mood than she'd left in.
"Not yet. Although it would make this case remarkably easier for the both of us."
"If it was easy then you'd be bored and that's not good for anyone."
"Quite right." He pulls a chair out by the window for Watson while they wait. She shrugs her coat and scarf off, delicately placing the articles over the chair before she seats. Her eyes focus in on the fiancee, likely partaking in some lip reading of her own. "So what'd you get me?"
"Your usual. Black with a teaspoon of honey and a side of cream for filling to your liking."
"What if I was feeling adventurous?" He tests with a single eyebrow raised.
"You're not. You're wearing your plain black socks today and you had a choice between your plaid scarf and your grey one, but you chose the grey."
"The plaid still smells of aquarium water."
"Which wouldn't have happened if you didn't jump into a dolphin tank without warning."
"I sincerely doubt warning you of my actions would have stopped me or prevented my scarf from smelling like fish."
She narrows her eyes and he knows he's made a good point there. "I'll have Mrs. Hudson take it to the dry cleaners with my dress I wore that day."
"Thank you." He nods. "For the coffee and the offer." She grins passing back his card which he then places back into his wallet where it belongs.
"Did I miss anything?"
Before he can surmise his initial thoughts a voice rings out from behind the counter. "Americano for Marcus, black with honey for Sherlock, skim milk latte for Joan."
"Not feeling adventurous either I see." She shrugs pushing her chair out to receive the order. Just as she grabs the holder the voice rings out again.
"Whole milk latte for Andrew." It's like watching a disaster in slow motion. Watson's eyes glaze over first, her mind shutting off the present. In two steps he's in front of her, catching the cups as they loosen from her fingers. Some people who noticed his abrupt movement are watching now.
Watson's breath is beginning to become labored so with one hand he scoops up her coat and scarf, and the other hand still balancing the carrier drives her outside into the cold. He passes the coffees off to the first officer he sees with a command to wait there until he returns. He briefly hears Marcus's protests as he steers her away but his step doesn't even falter. He waits until they're in a relatively private location secured between two buildings before turning to her.
He places the coat over her shoulders first. "Watson," When she doesn't respond he takes her hand and places it on his chest. It wasn't a common practice between them, so much contact, however he'd dealt with a fair share of flashbacks when training Kitty. "If you can hear me, match your respirations to mine." His fingers cover hers, making sure she doesn't pull herself away and takes a deep breath. He holds it for seven seconds before exhaling. It takes approximately eight breaths before Watson slips into his rhythm. Her eyes are just beginning to clear when a look of shame sweeps over her face.
"I'm fine." She mutters pulling her coat tighter with her free hand.
"Do you wish to go home?"
"No." Her answer is a little more forceful than what's needed. "I'm sorry. It's just that it's been years since-"
"The last flashback." He finishes for her. "I know."
"Can we get back to the case?" She asks, her meek demeanor is buried likely not to be seen again for quite a while. Although he doubts this exchange will go without discussion later on.
"Of course Watson." A small smile graces her lips. He wonders perhaps there were more flashbacks than he knew of. A recovery from that so quick… It's not common unless one's adapt to having them. He's not sure what possesses him but he leans in pressing a soft kiss to her temple. Rather than shock or tensing up, he feels Watson relax into the embrace with her fingers curling into the front of his coat. He breathes in slowly taking in the scent of her lavender shampoo.
Marcus shares a knowing look with him when they emerge once again from behind the brick wall. Barked orders from the detective shushes any rumorous chatter spreading like ashes across the scene.
They settle back into their roles like clockwork to find out who took Jessica Clemmons.