Chapter One; The Return of Maria

It had been a long day. Her therapist has insisted that she stay longer today, only to hover over her and watch her as she had stared blankly at the laptop screen. She was supposed to be writing a blog about everything that happened to her.

"Nothing ever happens to me," Maria murmured dully to the laptop before she shut it with a snap. She sighed, and then slowly rose to her feet, leaving the laptop on the table before hobbling her way into the small kitchen of her small apartment. She'd just been discharged from the line in Afghanistan, though she wasn't sure if she was glad to be home or not. On the battle field, she'd learnt to be on her guard, but here in the heart of London, was there need to be afraid.

'Damn my leg,' Maria thought, grimacing slightly. Her therapist had chalked it up to 'it was all in her head' and 'trauma'. She didn't believe a word of it though. She ruffled through a cupboard or two before realising, she needed to go shopping. She was not used to being on her own again and not having food ready for her when she needed it. Sighing she grabbed her purse and limped her way to the door.

Maria wasn't long in the store, she only grabbed a few essentials before making her way back out onto the street. That was when she bumped into someone she didn't expect.

"David," She said with a grin hugging the man.

"So you're back in this neck of the woods huh?" David said patting her on the back. He offered to walk, so she offered to talk. So they chatted as they walked along the London streets back towards her apartment. However halfway, David stopped her.

"I just happen to have a colleague that is looking for a roommate," He said, at hearing the news she was looking for a cheaper place to live. Maria looked at him.

"Really?"

"Yes. I can take you to meet them now," He declared and she quickly agreed. Someone cheaper to live would make her life a whole lot easier. David called a cab and they made their way over to…

"Your colleague works here?" Maria asked, seeing the morgue in front of her as she got out of the cab.

"Well…not really….all will be explained shortly," David said with a smile as he led her inside.

"How long has he been dead?" The man asked to the small mousy woman standing beside him. She looked down at her clipboard and pushed her glasses further back onto her face.

"Two hour at least," She said, avoiding blabbering on. She knew he hated it when people blabbered on. The man inspected the body from afar for a moment.

"Right, I'll start with the riding crop," Sherlock Holmes said before looking up at the sound of the door opening.

"It's right in here," David said, holding the door open for Maria so she could hobble in. The minute she stepped in the door, Sherlock's eyes locked onto her. It was like stepping back into a memory, a childhood memory.

"Maria." The name left his lips in a whisper, eyes scanning her face and her figure. She looked the same as the last time he had seen her, still a fiery redhead with those sparkling blue eyes that gave away as much as they hid from the world. Her stance, her posture, all the things he would ask her later, for now he could only stare. A smile came to her face.

"Sherlock Holmes. Somehow I'm not surprised to find you here," Maria said with a small shake of her head before Sherlock had pulled her into his arms, holding her close into his chest.