She's tired. So tired she can barely see straight and she thinks, I could really use a drink, and so she tells him, "I could really use a drink," which is stupid because she's his sober companion and he's an addict barely out of rehab, and she shouldn't be saying things like that. He leans in close and whispers conspiratorially, "To tell you the truth, Ms. Watson, so could I," and then she's laughing like this is the funniest thing she's ever heard, and he's laughing like he's happy for once, and she doesn't know why but she leans in and presses the tip of her finger to the tip of his nose, and she's laughing all over again.
And she thinks, This is what I miss most about Ty. Because it's not the sex, and it's not the dinners together or the opera or Mets games with a hot dog and a cold beer on a week night - no, what she misses is having a friend, because she doesn't have friends, she has clients and former co-workers and an ex she still loves more than she can possibly stand, and she has Sherlock-sodding-Holmes, who'd applaud her correct use of the word he taught her just the other day, and who would tell her he understood.
"It has its costs." She stares at him and wonders how many pieces there are to the puzzle of him.
She wants to ask him, wants to pin him down and make him tell her, but that would be admitting defeat, or cheating, and she wants to win this fair and square, because this is a game, it's always been a game between them. She wants to say, Are you alone? But instead she asks, "Are you lonely?" and he just looks at her and licks his lips and says, "Sometimes," and she nods because she knows what he means, she knows what it's like to be lonely and alone, and she thinks about Ty again and wonders what he's doing right then.
"You should call him, Watson."
She looks at him as they lay on the floor together, not touching but close to it, and she wants to do just as he says, wants to jump up and leave the cold case with it's pictures on the wall and the ceiling (she isn't sure how he managed those ones, and she doesn't want to know, because it's the mystery of the thing that makes it so much fun) and she wants to grab her phone, Speed Dial One, because Ty's always been One and he'll never be anything else and no one else will ever be One.
Instead, she looks back at the ceiling and asks, "It happened in London, didn't it? Irene. Her death," and he looks at the ceiling and says, "You weren't supposed to mention it again, we had an agreement," and she sighs and asks, "Can we pretend we're drunk, since we can't really be," and he says, "What would that help?"
It wouldn't help anything. Being drunk wouldn't help, either. But she says, "I get really talkative when I'm drunk. I ask questions I shouldn't. And then I feel badly about them," and he says, "Do you feel bad now, for asking that question?" and she answers him honestly, "No. I'm curious."
He laughs then, soft and sad and not at all like their earlier laughter, and she misses that already, which is a bit premature she thinks, but it's no less true.
"I miss him."
He looks over at her then, and she keeps staring at the ceiling and pretends she isn't crying, because if she can't pretend she's drunk then she can pretend she's still holding it together.
"Tell me about him, then."
And she does. She tells him about Sunday mornings when she didn't have a shift at the hospital, where they'd stay in their pyjamas all day. Ty would walk to the deli on the corner and get fresh bagels, cream cheese, and the best coffee you'd ever dream of. He always paid with a twenty, and left the remaining nine dollars in the tip jar - because Ty was caring and so magnanimous she wondered how he ever had money to pay his rent or keep his car running. It was one of the best things about him.
She tells him about coming home from an overnight shift at five-fucking-a.m. to see Ty flipping pancakes in the kitchen, the paper opened and folded to the international news section for her, a tall smoothie sitting next to a plate. She'd kiss Ty, kiss him so hard he'd almost burn the breakfast. They'd laugh and talk and eat and shower, and she'd crawl into the still warm bed and he'd kiss her forehead. The door would close and she'd fall asleep, and she'd wake up to the sound of it opening again.
She tells him about date nights that ended in arguments, and arguments that ended in sex. She tells him about stupid phone conversations and meaningless chit chat, and she tells him about the ring she found the last morning they were together.
"You ran away then, because you were scared."
She frowns, and says, "I wasn't scared," and he says, "No other reason for you to have run from it, then, is there," and she swallows and says, "Fine, I was scared, marriage scares me."
"Because of your parents. Your father had an affair, you're afraid it would have happened to you two. And you're not entirely certain which of your parents is to blame for their own affair-" and she rolls over quickly, props herself up, and almost growls at him, "My dad was with someone else. It's his fault."
And Sherlock looks at her and says, "But you wonder if your mother pushed him away. If he had the affair because she was uninterested in him," and Joan opens her mouth, closes it again, and lays back down. She looks at the ceiling and says, "Sometimes I hate how good you are at this," and he says, "Sometimes, so do I."
She smiles, and reaches out, finds his hand. He turns it over, and laces their fingers together.
"We're a good team, Watson."
"Yeah." She looks back at him and smiles and says, "For what it's worth..." and he smiles too and says, "Yes, you're my best friend too," and then he squeezes her hand once and lets go, and they lay on the floor and look at the ceiling.
"I'll call him tomorrow."
"Good. Now, I need to focus."
She closes her eyes and listens to him as he goes over the details of the case.
It felt good to have a friend again.