He was beyond late and he knew that quite well. But he did not speed up his pace any as he made his way down the street, trying not to observe the many lives passing around him, insignificant to him, at least for the moment. It could make even Sherlock dizzy at the sheer amount of information forcing itself upon his senses. It was one of the reasons why drugs had their first appeal to him, that dulling of the senses from mundane and unimportant facts... among dulling other things he thought best left unfelt.

So as he made his way, he focused his always working brain as inward as he could without walking into the other people around him. Deciding he had a near perfect understanding of the newest case that had been placed before him, he instead chose to think upon the still quite puzzling Joan Watson.

When he first had heard of her coming into his life, he had thought she would be quite a bother. He knew he was going to stay sober, and his opinion was the only one that matter, or so he though at that time. He hoped to scare the ex-doctor away, or at least make sure she left him well enough alone until her time watching him was up.

Instead he found himself caring, even hoping, for the woman and her fiery demeanor to give her opinion. He wanted see how her mind was shifting, changing, expanding, just from observing his own actions. The way she both accepted him,and yet questioned and scolded him, all in one moment. The way she expected him to be more, while being in awe of what he had already achieved.

But most of all, he appreciated the partnership, one that he might dare to even call friendship, that had grown between them. The trust and loyalty that was starting to sprout from it was something he was not used to. And as he entered the café, he fought the relieved smile, for he was very late, at the sight of her sitting, gaze directed out the window.

Sitting at her table got her attention, and his took the mouth swab without a second thought, smirk coming to his lips. Then he launched into the explanation of case, watching her expressions as she tried to place the facts in the right order. After his finished, he finally said what he had been wanting to as soon as he sat, but made sure none the less to state in an uncaring Holmes like manner. "Sorry to have kept you, Watson."

As she gave her customized Watson scolding, she shrugged to show how much she really cared about his tardiness as they stood to take on the newest foe to the New York populace. And again he found he had to keep his face schooled, this time from the frown that wanted to form at the thought of her nearing departure from his life.

A/N: I'm not quite as happy with this one as with my first, but I hope you enjoyed it! And thanks for reading!