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Joan was mad at him. There was no doubt about it.
He was pretty pissed at himself too.
Eager to uncover the next clue, Sherlock had taken off from the crime scene, not bothering to look behind. He then proceeded to ignore Joan's calls and texts for the past 5 hours, only texting back when she mentioned to call Gregson.
When he finally returned home with the case solved, he found a moody Joan watching TV in the sad excuse they had for a living room.
"I figured it out Joan, the murderer was the-"
"The neighbor yes," she cut him off, turning the television off as she rose to her feet. "Gregson called to let me know."
Joan left her blanket on the couch and walked past him towards the stairs.
"Don't you want me to do the spit test?" he asked tentatively, reaching for the swab. "I was out for more than three hours."
She was already up the stairs and even if she heard him, she made no indication of doing so. She came down moments later with her bag in hand and a determined look on her face.
"Where you off too?" he asked, curiosity getting the best of him.
"Out." Joan slipped into her coat and slammed the front door.
Yep. She's mad at me.
"Oh don't look at me like that Angus!" He exclaimed, grabbing a hold of the head, "Everything is different with her here."
He sat on the couch and turned on the TV, hoping that some dull show would take his mind off Joan and the guilt gnawing away at the pit of his stomach that he was trying to ignore. After surfing the channels a couple of times, he switched the TV off and dropped the remote. He wandered towards the kitchen/lab ready to work on some mad experiment when he realized that it wasn't much fun without Joan giving him funny looks and putting out his fires.
I'm gonna miss her when she's gone.
He ignored the voice in his head that shrieked in triumph for getting to the root of his problem. The sixth week was approaching fast, and he wasn't thrilled about it.
"Well it's not like we're friends, though is it." He told Angus. "She'll leave, find another train wreck to fix and move on with her life."
But I won't. Not really.
It would take weeks to take the 'Joan' out of the apartment. She was in every crevice, every nook and cranny of the decrepit building. From the sweater she left on his desk, to the mugs that occupied the once empty drawers in the kitchen. The apartment was officially a home but only because Joan had made it so, without her, it would be nothing. The house would be lonely.
I'll be lonely.
Sherlock was content with being alone. After all, seeing everyone as who they really were had its costs, but just because he was content with being alone didn't mean he was happy being lonely. With Joan, he wasn't lonely. Not at all.
He was out the door before he was able to process what he was doing. There was one place where Joan frequented even if Sherlock was in no mood to accompany her. The small café stood at the corner of a crowded street, three blocks over. It closed late, so even as the clock struck 11 pm it was full of people. Joan sat with her back to the door talking to man in an expensive grey suit, an old colleague no doubt. Sherlock could hear their chatter from the door.
As he made his way to her table, he stopped dead in his tracks when himself being mentioned.
"Anyways that's work for me, so what's new with you? This guy you're babysitting, what's his deal?" The man asked, taking a drink from his coffee. "I mean, what was his addiction?"
"You know I won't tell you so stop asking." Joan snapped defensively. "And I'm his companion not babysitter."
"Wow there calm down, no need to get defensive. I was just curious that's all." He played with his cup and eyed Joan with a smile. "I mean, you're almost done with that crack head righ-?"
Joan's fist made contact with the man's face; the sound resonated around the café.
"How dare you?" She rose to her feet, a look of disgust on her face. "He's my friend, so don't you dare use that term to describe him."
The stunned patrons looked from Joan to the man. Sherlock was able to slip out of the café unnoticed while Joan paid for her drink, and the man sheepishly rubbed his jaw.
"How was the coffee?"
"Fucks sake Sherlock don't do that!" Joan stepped into the living room while clutching her chest. She collapsed on the couch and handed over a pastry box.
Sherlock sniffed it and smiled in delight. He took a bite out of the blueberry muffin and gave her a muffled thank you.
"You're welcome." She made to stand from the couch but was stopped when his hands met hers.
"I'm sorry Watson." He whispered, putting the muffin aside. "Honestly, I should have answered your calls instead of running off like that."
"I was worried, Sherlock," Joan whispered. "You could've gotten hurt or worst."
Sherlock stayed silent, fearing his cracking voice would give him away.
After some moments Joan laughed and turned towards him. "I don't know how I'm gonna do this you know."
"Do what?" Sherlock asked confused.
"Leave all of this." She waved her hand around the room. "You do realize that I'll never meet anyone half as interesting as you, right?"
"Never," he shook his head smugly, "Not in a million years."
Resting her head on the couch, Joan closed her eyes and frowned. Suddenly, she felt her soft blanket being wrapped around her, Sherlock still by her side.
"Then stay." He whispered hopefully. "Don't leave."
Don't leave me.
With a smile, she opened her eyes and wrapped her blanket around Sherlock too. She reached for the remote control and turned on the TV. Still feeling Sherlock's eyes on her, she turned and simply answered:
It was 7 in the morning when Sherlock woke up. He was tucked under Joan's arm, and she was still fast asleep.
That's when he remembered he was no longer alone.