Disclaimer: I do not own Shirley Holmes or any other characters associated with her on the show. I'm just playing around with them for the fun of it! The song, "Hanging By a Moment" is by Lifehouse – not particularly my favourite, but for some reason it seemed appropriate here.
She's not here.
All around him people bustled about, checking tickets, itineraries and handheld luggage, and saying their final goodbyes to loved ones. The last call for passengers echoed in his ears as he stood up and faced the dozen or so people who had come to see him off.
And all he could think of was, She's not here.
Mechanically, he responded to their well-wishing and hugged or patted each one in turn. Somewhere in the back of his mind he knew that he shouldn't have expected her to show up. Didn't she tell him that she wouldn't be able to make it? Didn't she congratulate him as heartily as the others did? Didn't she part with her most precious possession, her journal, a symbol of everything they shared?
And yet, a small voice whispered through the wall of indifference he had so carefully set up in the last few days:
Didn't she care?
Alicia handed him the small rucksack he was to carry with him on the plane. She watched him carefully, her brown eyes exuding an intelligence and understanding so rarely seen by others. Her traditionally perky features were tinged with empathy for this boy who was about to embark on a whole new adventure.
She drew him into a warm hug and whispered knowingly, "You know her better than I do, Bo. She'll be here. She's a Holmes."
The glazed emptiness in his eyes cleared for a second, then he sighed and turned towards the small tunnel that led to the plane; towards a new land, and a new life; a life without Shirley.
Halfway into the tunnel, he paused and rearranged his face into what he hoped would be a cheery smile. Then he turned around and waved goodbye to his friends. The ones who actually bothered to come, he thought bitterly. He realised that he didn't and wouldn't, even for a moment, believe that Shirley had an "important case" that needed attending to. The knowledge that she had avoided him at a time when he needed her the most pained him to a level that surprised his stubborn heart.
Going to the Ukraine had been the biggest decision of his life, and even now, he looked to this new path he was taking with not a little trepidation. He felt like an adventurer the night he told his parents about his plans. He felt nothing but complete exhilaration and pride in the days leading up to his departure. But now, he realised with growing fear, each step towards the plane was another step away from home.
Away from everything he had come to know and love.
Desperate for changingStarving for truth
Closer to where I started chasing after you
Tendrils of warm sunset crept through the single window at the far wall of the tunnel, inviting him to round the corner towards the entrance of the plane.
How could he leave like this? How could he just leave without saying goodbye to the one person in his life who stood in that unique position of a tried and tested friendship? She probably didn't even know how much their friendship had kept him steady and focused away from the foolhardy life he sought to leave behind.
She was his saviour.
His best friend.
He turned the corner. Immediately, he froze. His desperate, yearning gaze met those of his best friend, saviour... and, as they stood locked in the moment, he realised with a pang... she was no less than his other half.
And she was here.
I'm falling even more in love with you
Letting go of all I've held onto
I'm standing here until you make me move
I'm hanging by a moment here with you
I'm living for the only thing i know
I'm running and not quite sure where to go
I don't know what I'm diving into
I'm hanging by a moment here with you
"Hi," was all she could say.
"Hi," said a voice, not quite his own.
"You never had a case." It was definitely not a question. He watched her curiously as part of the emotional mask she usually wore slowly slipped. She wasn't about to give herself away so easily though. She was a Holmes, after all.
"What do you mean?" she quipped; amused, despite the churning in her stomach and the ache in her chest.
He allowed the corner of his mouth to twitch, relishing this rare 'turn of the tables'.
"Well, there's a small brown leaf in your hair – the type usually found on the trees in your backyard. I'm guessing you've been sitting in your favourite one, the one at the far end. There are grass clippings all over your hair – your lawn was mowed just yesterday – which probably means that you've been trying to teach Watson to roll over. Again. And," he continued, quietly, "you're still wearing the necklace I gave you at my farewell party..."
She dropped her hands from where she had been subconsciously fiddling with it.
"...which, added to the fact that you've taken off all your other jewellery, means that although you've had something on your mind recently, it wasn't a case."
She opened her mouth to deny it, but to her surprise, she confirmed it instead. "You're quick to catch on," she murmured.
"Just an observation."
They both smiled. An echo of times passed, when the world was more comfortable and they lived only minutes away. She was standing before him with that pure, unaffected look of delight that seemed strangely familiar, til he realised that it was the same look she had after their first adventure together.
They made an odd pair: the poor, ex-gang member and street rat who worked in a fish shop, and the refined rich girl, daughter of a diplomat, great-grand-niece of the immortal Sherlock Holmes. Initially drawn by a similar inclinationfor trouble, the two had evolved into an unbreakable team, forging invisible bonds that grew deeper than what they let on.
Forgetting all I'm lacking
I'll take your invitation
You take all of me
Suddenly, he didn't want an apology or an explanation or a long-winded speech. Suddenly, he realised that it would be a long time before he'd ever sift through a Russian agent's household garbage again, or get another phone call at two in the morning to catch cat burglars, or eat a dozen vegie burgers, or play mathematical genius on a quiz show, or jump out of a burning building. Of course, if he really wanted to, he could. But it wouldn't be the same because... because...
"You won't be there," he choked out.
She must've come to the same realisation for, at the same moment, they both snapped. Bo's bag dropped to the floor. He pulled his best friend into a desperate embrace as her arms locked around him. He swallowed hard and thought his heart would melt when he felt warm tears tickle his neck. She whispered, "I will be." And it was all he needed to hear.
They stood like that for a long time, until the sky turned a deeper shade of orange and their hearts were beating in time with each other.
She started to raise her head for a final goodbye when something undefinable emerged between them. Slowly, but surely, it grew steadily stronger. Soon, Bo found himself gazing into the bright, curious eyes of the Holmes he thought he always knew. He wondered how her face got so close, and how their lips were only inches apart, and why he wanted to close that gap. Finally, giving in to the force that commanded him, he bent his head forward, touching her soft lips with his own.
It was the gentlest kiss either of them had ever experienced. But it sent sparks in Bo's head. He started to lean closer to explore this new path their relationship had taken. As she nervously began to respond in kind, the door to the plane squeaked open and they jumped apart.
A slim, demure flight attendant glanced at their pink cheeks, visibly amused. She eyed them both knowingly, and said, "Ms Holmes, I'm afraid we cannot delay the flight much longer." Shirley stammered a response and the lady slipped away discreetly.
She turned hesitatingly to Bo, afraid of the consequences of their actions. Adding to her ever-growing surprise, she found him staring right back, a little stunned, but, to her relief, no indication that he was about to make a break for the door.
"So...what happens now?" he said, meditatively, the beginnings of a smile on the corner of his mouth.
Her own eyebrows creased in thought. "I guess we just...see what happens."
"Hmm. Sounds like a whole new mystery to me," he said, grinning. A mystery, he added to himself, that I wouldn't mind being a part of.
He picked up his bag and headed for the door. He could sense her shaking her head at the unforseen turn of events. After all they'd been through, she was simply amazed that it had turned out so...pleasantly.
"Don't worry," she called out after him, "we'll figure it out."
He looked over his shoulder once more at the warm, hopeful smile that matched his own, and the steady, blue eyes that he had grown to love. And as he turned into the plane, a bounce to his step and a flutter in his belly, he had to admit...she was right.
Desperate for changing
Starving for truth
Closer to where I started chasing after you
Well, this little critter has been festering in my head for about four bloomin' years so I finally decided to put it down in writing. It hasn't been beta'd, so please, pretty please give me some comments – good or bad, deep breath I can take it...:o)