Three days after The Reichenbach fall…

Vauxhall arches

Sapphire sat with the library books pilled around her. So what she was homeless, well she could be living in an orphanage but she hated it there. So she was fine with where she was. She was deep into "Frankenstein" when a pair of posh black shoes came into her view. Her immediate thought "Great police".

"I haven't stolen the books they are from the library. I will…"

Sapphire had looked up at this point and realised that the man in front of her was not a police officer, but someone she recognised. Okay well she didn't know this man personally but she had seen him in the paper.

"Evening. Sherlock Holmes. So, I was right."

She calmly said. For a second a look of horror and shock fell across Sherlock's face. But it quickly regained composure.

"How do you know?" he had changed slightly since he appeared in the newspaper his hair had been dyed a dark rusty brown, and stubble had started to form on his chin and cheekbones.

"Just because I live on the street doesn't mean I don't read the newspaper."

Sapphire sharply spitted out. Sherlock chuckled at this comment, "I can see that" staring at the books piled around her, "It's just that no one else has recognised me."

Sapphire gave him a look of shock, "Really? It's not hard to tell. Tall man, dressed in an expensive suit and shoes, unshaven for about, I would say 3 days, hanging around Vauxhall Arches. And events that have happened in the last 3 days that could coincide with you, is the so called death of the fake detective Mr Sherlock Holmes."

Sherlock just stood there looking at the child, she couldn't have been more than 15, but here she was reading books from the local library living on the streets.

"And you're a runaway." Sherlock stated. Sapphire just sat there and burst into laughter.

"Wow! It took the great Sherlock Holmes to figure out I am a runaway!" She barely got her words out between the fits of laughter she was in. Sherlock didn't see the funny side of it. Eventually Sapphire composed herself.

"Sit down already, you're making me feel uneasy, plus you're making the place look untidy." For a moment Sherlock considered his options, but sitting with the child seemed his best option at that moment.

Sherlock looked at the child, she had medium length brown hair in tight curls, very pale skin with deep crimson cheeks, and deep dark blue eyes. Her clothes were clean and neat, and she had a locket around her neck saying "Mum" on the same chain a 2 wedding rings, and mans and a woman's. So she was just any run away, but an orphaned runaway.

"How long since they died?" Sherlock asked with a calm tone looking straight ahead not even looking at her.

"So you are as good as the newspapers say you are! They have been dead for 6 months now. It is horrible there, in the orphanage, they don't understand me call me a freak and a loner, just because I spend most my time with a head buried in a book, and can complete school work in 10 minutes. To be honest it was just like being at school. I was fed up with the teasing there I didn't need to have it when I left school as well so I ran away. So I am not going back, if you tell the cops I am here and I will hurt you."

Sherlock laughed.

"I am not joking." He glanced at her, her face told him all, she wasn't joking.

"So are you going to tell me your name?" Sherlock asked, realising he still didn't know it. Sapphire turned and smiled at him.

"Finally. Sapphire, Sapphire Doyle."

With that comment she turned and looked away from Sherlock burying her head back into her book."No wonder she is called Sapphire" Sherlock thought, remembering her deep blue eyes. Sherlock was exhausted, he hadn't slept in 3 days, looking at Sapphire reminded him somehow of John, and felt the same connection he did with her as he had felt with John, the feeling that he should never leave her side. But this he also had a strange feeling one he hadn't felt before, a feeling that he needed to watch over this girl the same way a father would. Night fell as he sat and watched he finish her book, and fall asleep with her head resting on his shoulders.

The next morning Sherlock woke, to find Sapphire missing. Her books were still there but some were missing. He looked at his watch, 9:30. He came to the conclusion she had gone for breakfast, a growing girl at this time in the morning would need food, plus at this time in the morning it was what normal people did. He sat and looked at the pile of books that remained. He was shocked to see what stories this girl was reading; Bronte, Dickens Shakespeare, H.G Wells, and Darwin. Any normal girl her age he expected to be into that "Twilight" craze or soppy love stories. "Strange, aren't I?" Sherlock turned to see Sapphire standing behind him, with more books. She stood there giggling at his shocked expression.

"I thought you went to get yourself some breakfast", Sherlock said, looking at her.

"Well not exactly. I went to the library, like I do every morning. But on the way back I got you a doughnut. I don't eat breakfast."

She handed him a small brown paper bag with a sugar doughnut in. Sherlock looked at it, wanting to throw it into the nearest bin, but he looked at Sapphire. She was smiling at him, he couldn't hurt her feelings he had hurt enough people already. "Thank you", with a slight sickly feeling he took the doughnut out, and ate it despite the fact it was only Wednesday, and he didn't need to eat for a couple of days.

Sapphire sat back down added the new books onto the pile. And picked up "War of the Worlds", Sherlock looked closely at the books, there was 2, 3, no 4 different library stickers.

"Four different libraries?" Sherlock exclaimed.

Sapphire looked up from her book, looked between the books and Sherlock.

"Yes, of course. A library only lets you take out 4 at a time. So I go to a different library each day, the Barbican, Shoe Lane, Guildhall and City Business library." She smiled at herself and went back to her book.

Sherlock watched her read for hours, he watched her, as time passed he began to think of John. He needed to go back to him. But he couldn't he was being buried later that afternoon. Perhaps he could go the cemetery, see how John and Mrs Hudson were coping. At that thought he made up his mind, he rose from his place on the concrete, Sapphire looked up from her book.

"Where are you going? Are you coming back? I am sorry I don't make good company, do I? I will stop reading if you want."

A look of panic passed over her face, Sherlock felt sorry for her. He looked into her eyes and spoke the truth, "No, no don't worry. It is fine, you make great company. I am just going to visit a friend. I will be back later tonight. I promise."

For the first time in years Sherlock smiled, as he turned to leave. Sapphire's face returned to its pleasant expression, as she returned to her book.