A/N: OMG. OMG. I AM SO SORRY. LEGIT. MY BAD. Please read my rant at the bottom? I don't want to start off with excuses, so read 'em at the end!

Thank you, and here's my chapter 3! Thank you to my dearest RobinRocks for betareading this.

Chapter 3

That next morning, Holmes and I went to the scene of the crime. He was in a mood—one that he didn'tfrequently have, if at all. It was a good mood and I liked it, although it would be a complete falsehood to assume that I was still a bit angry over the events following Inspector Lestrade's visit. For unfathomable reasons I could not remain angry at him, per se; the fact is that although I was unbelievably peeved at the thought of his scheming since before yesterday, I would have scoffed in the face of someone who told me that he was on the other side of the law.

Holmes was behaving normally. Not normally for him— since my vision of normal was now permanently skewed after being in his presence ad under his influence for so long—but normal for a person in everyday polite society. For example; he did not borrow my clothing without asking (though he did ask and when I said no, he did not protest), eat like a madman, stare at me though I had been doing absolutely nothing to be suspicious of, play the violin at ungodly hours (and it some serious convincing from me that seven o'clock and earlier was considered ungodly—for he was a light, infrequent sleeper and I was not one for the mornings) or whatever else it is Sherlock Holmes did as a person that I would not expect from any other human being.

However, as much as I appreciated his not angering me on purpose— it felt off. That was the extent of the severe psychological trauma that I must have developed over time with his friendship. I was so unused to normalcy to the point, that when it returned, it startled me.

That afternoon, Holmes and I were going to the scene of the crime to check to see if it was indeed Irene Adler that we should be chasing after instead of some other nameless female thief; assuming, of course, that the suspect was female according to our witness, Lestrade. Holmes had told me that should we have evidence that it was Adler who stole the statue, we would have to search for her. He did not have high hopes regarding that, since she was as masterful at escape as Holmes was at capture.

His low expectations were out-of-character and quite a surprise. He never assumed that the criminal would get away, forcing me to consider again if indeed they were in cahoots. I kept his pessimism in mind.

Holmes shrugged on his jacket, looking at me expectantly.

"Shall I call for a cab?"

"Indeed, thank you." I nodded, finishing up my coffee from our breakfast. He left the room, shutting the door behind him with a click.

I departed the room a few minutes thereafter, not before making sure Holmes didn't leave the stove on.

He was standing out on the street, hailing the cab. He turned to me and smiled broadly.

"I suppose it was only a matter of time before our Inspector got himself into a predicament like this."

I couldn't help returning his smile.

"Well, you know how bright he is."

Holmes snorted and we climbed into the cab. I looked in his direction but he would not meet my gaze.

"Say it is Adler," I began, shifting the weight from my bad leg to the other. He looked up at me, gesturing for me to continue.

"How exactly will you go about finding her? She escapes you time after time; and you know as well as I do that you're not going to be able to get her even if you are able to retrieve the object."

Holmes groaned.

"No, no, no. I've never once had to go out and arrest her. Now that I might very well have to, you can be assured I will not stop until I do."

I scoffed, looking at him seriously.

"Quite,"

The detective crossed his arms, returning his attention back outside the window to downtown London.

"You're awfully pessimistic today, despite my best efforts."

His offense was almost funny and I cracked a smile that he returned.

It took the two of us another fifteen minutes to get to the Victoria and Albert Museum. Lestrade was waiting for us at the entrance, looking rather antsy as he fiddled with his fingers. Holmes just walked past him with purpose, gesturing for Lestrade and myself to follow.

Holmes asked the Inspector a series of questions that he had not asked the previous night when he first came for our aid. I was listening vaguely, thinking of the story I would inevitably write as a result of this case and how Adler would escape his clutches, assuming of course that the robbery wasn't his doing to keep me from my lovely and still slightly ill fiancée.

Speaking of Mary, I felt the strong urge to go see her, if only just to see if she was doing fine. Perhaps I would go after Holmes did his detective work, though it would definitely put him in a black mood. At the same time, whom to go to should be an obvious choice. Logically, I should choose to visit Mary. She is my fiancée, as I have stated many times, and she could still be ill. Holmes liked making that choice difficult.

Holmes' voice snapped me out of my musings. We were obviously in the room in where the statue had been stolen, for it did not take a man of Holmes' caliber to notice that there was a stand in the focal point in the room with nothing on it—the perfect size for a statue that could only be about ten centimeters tall and about six wide.

"Watson," Holmes called. "Care to hand me my magnifying glass?"

I knew he'd forget it. Sighing, I reached into my jacket pocket and withdrew it, handing it to him.

"Did you see something that could incriminate Adler?" I asked as I looked over his shoulder to see what had grabbed his attention. Lestrade, by this point, had been rather rudely shooed off the premises by Holmes, who apparently insisted that since Lestrade was the accused, it would be against his morals to let him near the crime scene.

"I might have, indeed," he replied, looking at the podium where the statue had been placed. Squinting, he peered into the glass, before smirking. "Aha."

Holmes produced one single, curly strand of brunette hair and held it between his fingers.

"Observe,"

I looked at the hair and slowly—obvious enough so that Holmes could catch it, looked to the top of his head suspiciously.

He had the gall to bark a laugh. "Oh, Watson, this isn't my hair. Look at it more closely. It is a different shade of brown and the curl is more heavily pronounced. My hair is starting to be a lot more grey than brown. You will recall, also, that I have an alibi. I was with you at the time of the theft."

I was reluctant to admit, but he was correct. Holmes handed back to me the magnifying glass and went to observe the base of the podium.

Immediately after I wordlessly accused him, I felt a wave of guilt hit my stomach. Did I want my friend to be guilty? It was rather horrid of me in all actuality and I wanted to apologize for it. Then I remembered that he was making the remarks about irony and decided just to be spiteful and just go on.

It was Holmes' fault, and only his, that he disliked my Mary Morstan. I am sure he could have appreciated and liked her if she wasn't my fiancée. He was a selfish man, that Holmes. I knew it from the beginning and didn't even expect to stay so long with him in his—our apartment at 221B. As much as I wanted to in the beginning, I just could not bring myself to leave.

A wave of nostalgia made me smile for little reason. When we had met and moved in together, despite his quirks that normally would have clashed not-so-brilliantly with my ways of doing things, I regarded him as a god amongst men. His intelligence and brilliance could not be given any more justice than that.

If I do remember correctly, for it had been years ago (my published work A Study in Scarlet gives more information about my next point),I had thought that Holmes' 'powers', for lack of a better or more fitting term, were just as incredible as his limits. Essentially, Holmes would cast aside any information that had little to do with his detective work or knowledge of chemistry. I was shocked initially but Holmes is unlike any man I have ever met. More of a machine in regards to his limits and powers, in fact.

I studied him as he scrutinized the scene, slowly coming out of my reverie. He was whistling; a habit that he took up occasionally.

He is a man, not a machine. Other than what he absolutely needs to think, there always has to be something on his mind that Holmes might not want but be unable and reluctantly unwilling to cast away. Perhaps was it thoughts of his Adler? Or was there a person he had to whom I had not been introduced?

I am a romantic by nature so I assume the only thoughts in Holmes' head that keep his heart beating and brain pulsing as opposed to the cold, level indifference of a machine would be something as silly to him as love or affection.

Even if not, it did make me smile to think that there might be a person in Holmes' life that makes the everyday world seem bearable at the worst of times.

I always had thought that perhaps there was another reason why we seemed like we could not live with each other and were unable to live without each other than factoring in that we are and always will be the best of friends.

Absently, I looked down to where he was crouched next to the podium and just spoke aloud a thought that had just taken me and I felt a bit awful for not thinking of it sooner.

"I am going to check on Mary today."

His eyes narrowed and he pulled a brief look of contempt that lasted only for a moment before turning to face me, his face now showing the epitome of amicability.

"May I inquire as to when?"

"Whenever we are finished here for today, I suppose. Shall we have the midday meal together? I can visit her afterwards."

His face showed nonchalance but his brown eyes sparkled with what could only be delight.

"That sounds perfectly fine to me. Think of where you would like to go and we shall."

I smiled at him genuinely to see him in such a bright mood again after losing it for that brief second when I had brought up Mary Morstan.

"Do you smell something?" Holmes asked suddenly, nose in the air in the way that reminded me endearingly of a bloodhound.

"No," I replied honestly, looking at him curiously. "Do you?"

"I smell the woman's Parisian perfume. You'd think she wouldn't leave a trace so obvious behind, especially since it has been a day…" he continued muttering to himself, cursing her nature and, knowing him, probably all of womankind.

I just laughed and rolled my eyes.

Oh Holmes.

"I believe there is a very high possibility that she wants you to find her."

The detective snorted and brushed off the comment with a wave of his right hand.

"Ridiculous."

"Not so!" I disagreed, playfully smiling. "She quite likes you, does she not?"

Holmes gave a non-committal noise from the back of his pale throat.

"You cannot disagree, at any rate." I said.

"I can, even if it's only for the sake of disagreeing with you. I do not do it often but it isn't often I argue with you over matters of the woman."

I laughed.

"Prove the hair isn't yours?"

"It isn't," He cleared his throat, looking faintly disconcerted. "I think I'm done here for the day. Shall we go to the lunch I promised?"

I checked my pocket watch for the time. It was only past one in the afternoon, and though I could have definitely spent two hours with Holmes, it was Mary who needed me right now.

"I am afraid I can't attend lunch with you after all." I shook my head, apologizing to him with my eyes. "If Mary feels well enough to not need me, I should be back at Baker Street before two," I hastened to assure him after he looked disappointed once again.

I shouldn't have felt like an antagonist, but I did.

He cleared his throat for the second time.

"I understand. I shall see you in a few hours?"

"Yes—unless, that is, Mary wishes for me to stay at her side. If that is the case, it is likely that I shall not return home until late tonight."

"You shouldn't spend so much time around ill people," he admonished me gently, letting a reluctant smile show on his lips.

"Then you should have talked me out of becoming a doctor."

Tipping my hat and smirking in his direction, I turned and walked out of the museum, not without looking at the other statues of Hindu gods and goddesses since I was there anyway and it was a rare occurrence when I went to museums.

In a normal circumstance, Holmes would have quite the trouble getting me out of the house to go to a museum. I usually find them to be on the dull side—the Bohemian, artistic blood runs through Holmes' veins, not mine—but it was difficult to not admire the craftsmanship of the statues.

Of the vast amount of statues of metals of varying value, I had learned one thing. There were eight forms of the goddess Laksmi, a facet of whom was stolen (allegedly) by Irene Adler.

If it were not that my love life was brought under scrutiny and not some other fellows', I would have agreed with Holmes about the irony of the one statue being stolen—one representing love, marriage, and the like.

However, I think it was a cruel joke, and not irony, that I hadn't been able to give much thought to obtaining the perfect ring for Mary or even giving her much thought at all in the past few days. Holmes took that limelight and for what?

Holmes' happiness—or at the very least, his contentedness—was that the primary thought on my mind right now?

I wouldn't lie to myself and say that my happiness and Holmes' happiness were two completely separate entities, where one can't interact with the other in any way, shape or form. No, when he was happy, I tended to also be happy. His black mood was almost as contagious as his glad one.

In that case, I am not unhappy at this moment in time. I could be happier—meaning, Mary could be well.

I am as happy around Holmes as I am around Mary.

Holmes might even argue that my wanting to leave, my wanting to be engaged, is the single cause for our discord. We never (well, rarely) argued before women came into our picture.

The only difference is a simple one: I am in love with Mary.

Sighing heavily, I hastened to exit the Victoria and Albert Museum, hailing a cab and heading to Mary's home, unwanted thoughts ringing through my head.

If I was as content with Holmes as I am with Mary…

I laughed aloud to myself. That isn't quite right at all. I was not in the middle of having doubts about my relationship with Mary—in fact, once she is returned to her full health, I was going to make sure I found the most perfect engagement ring.

After all, just because I was going to be married to Mary—it doesn't mean for a second that Holmes and I were breaking up our bond of friendship.

I would make sure that being Mary's husband and being Holmes' friend could be completely possible—in fact, easy.

Holmes, as much as I admire and to many extents adore you, I can't be a bachelor my whole life.


A/N: Again, I'm sorry. This was supposed to be out MONTHS ago. I SWEAR ON MY MOTHER'S GRAVE (she isn't dead yet, actually) that the next one will be soon. I won't lie, I did have a bit of a writer's block, but I plotted out the rest of this story and I'm talking to RobinRocks about what I should do exactly with the actual bits of slash.

Never EVER think I'm abandoning this little gem :) I like it too much! I have started school and it is killing me, so updates (again) will be infrequent, BUT THEY WILL HAPPEN. I PROMISE.

By the way, expect 7-8 chapters. Yeah. So.

If I can shamelessly plug *ahem* I've got a Sherlock Holmes / Iron Man crossover on my page, if you like Holmes and Iron Man put together (and slash and crack) PLEASE check it out!

Okay, Audilee out. XD