Anote: For Xin, who wanted a Mary story.

Chapter 32- her favorite smile

Face shining with excitement, Sherlock burst through the front door of John's apartment. "JOHN! JOHN!'



abandoned dinner.

John's keys on the table.

When no one answered his call, the newly reinstated consulting detective pounded up the stairs, 'we have a new case; a new case! Dead body in the park, no footprints! Come, John and bring your revolver!'

Sherlock flung open the bedroom door but jumped back just as quickly, when Mary shrieked and tried to cover herself with the bed sheets.

'GET OUT!' her soon to be fiancé roared needlessly as Sherlock stumbled away, crashing into the opposite wall in the process.

Ow! Stupid transport!

However, Sherlock quickly regained his balance and looked up just in time to have the door slammed in his face.

In the dark silence that suddenly enveloped him, the detective panted nosily; trying to recover his breath from his mad, happy dash from a few blocks away at their old place in Baker Street. Gently, he lay his forehead against the cool wall; reflexively facing away from the room he had been turned away from. He and John had come to an non-verbal agreement of sorts in terms of their abandoned consulting practice, but never in a million years did Sherlock think he would ever get use to this.

Defeated and suddenly depressed, the young man groaned miserably, clenching his fists to resist the sudden urge to hit the wall in frustration.

Nothing he did or said to John, seemed to be quite right anymore.


Why? Why? Why?!

Of course he knew why, and John knew why and everyone else knew why ...but still, the prickly question of why, relentlessly rolled around, over and over in his head like a big ball of tumbleweed in a desert.

He should leave.


If John found him loitering out here, he would be yelled at. Mary might even get out her hairbrush and smack him for intruding yet again, because that's what young ladies did when they were upset, didn't they? But Sherlock didn't move. Standing there in the cold darkness, it was remarkably easy to pretend that this wasn't his life, and that all of the events for the last two years had happened to someone else.

Sherlock straightened up quickly when he heard the door behind him open.

'I'm sorry!' he bawled out, almost desperately. 'I'm sorry that I am such a giant pain. I don't know how many times I can say ...'

The detective broke off in mid sentence, when he suddenly became aware that he was surrounded by a floral perfume. A gentle hand on his arms tugged, and slowly he turned.

'Hello,' he said stupidly, after a pause.

'Hello,' Mary replied softly in return, 'A new case? How wonderful. John is just getting dressed.'

The two of them stood staring at each other, Mary comfortable and Sherlock fidgeting with the edge of his blue scarf, thankful that no hard wooden hairbrushes were in sight.

'I'll call next time,' he hastened to inform her; as he stuck his hand in his trouser pocket and gripped John's house key tightly in his fist.

'You don't have to call,' she insisted in a firm but causal tone, which was at odds with how startled she was a moment ago to be caught in the nude by the detective. 'We wouldn't have given you a key, if we wanted you to call in advance, but a knock would be nice. I am glad you are here. If you hadn't come by soon, I would have gone across to you.'

Sherlock, relieved that she hadn't asked back for his key now frowned, trying to wrap his mind around the I'm glad you are here remark. 'Didn't John give you my number?'

Now it was Mary who fidgeted; twisting her hands restlessly in the belt of her dressing gown.




'What's wrong?' Sherlock blurted out

Quickly she shook her head, placing her fingers against his lips in a quieting gesture.

Briefly, they looked towards the closed door.

'He's still having the nightmares?' Sherlock murmured in a rhetorical way.

'Twice this week he's run out of bed to make sure you were still here,' she reported with a pained look.

Sherlock stared off in the distance, 'he didn't come up.'

'He said he heard you through the window on the violin.'

That much was true. In this state of limbo, when he was attempting to salvage the few relationships of some importance, he was having trouble sleeping again. The music was the only non judgmental and loyal companion he apparently had left. Mycroft had tried to warn him that things had changed and to be gentle with what he had remaining, but Sherlock never imagined anything like this. He could never forget the look on the man's face that first night at the restaurant. Again, Sherlock wondered what he was putting his friend through by suddenly showing up like this? He had a fair idea of the images that John saw whenever, the doctor closed his eyes.

Sherlock squeezed her small palm.

'Thank you for telling me,' he said, pretending to be supremely confident as he studied some point over her head, 'I'll just have another little chat with him and get this all sorted out.'

Mary's heart ached for the two former best friends, who didn't know how to be around each other. Thank goodness for a new case! They might not be able to talk to each other, but they could work, and in so doing hopefully build back trust, one proverbial brick at a time.

'If you had to define a promise, how would you say it?' Mary suddenly asked out of the blue.

This time Sherlock turned to her with a curious look, which she returned with a patient smile.

'A promise is when you say you will do something and you do it, no matter the cost.' he answered her when no explanation seemed forthcoming.

'And will you take care of my good doctor?' she then asked quietly as she looked into grey blue eyes which were dulled by pain, exhaustion and unpleasant memories that she speculated may cause him to have his own share of nightmares.

'Of course I will take care of him,' Sherlock said automatically, before he slowly smiled at her; the smile that made his mouth crinkle around the corners, in short, her absolutely favorite smile. 'I promise, Mary.'

There was forgiveness in her manner; forgiveness for pain that she too had suffered by being in a relationship with John. In a way, this shared pain caused from his long absence and fake death, bond her to him almost as much as it did John.

Hesitantly, he reached across and touched the side of her face with his fingertips.

'And do take care of yourself too,' she added. Sherlock stiffened and tried to pull away, as she stood up on tip toe and brushed her lips over his.

'And what is this,' John inquired as he came up from behind them, shrugging on his dark jacket, 'leaving me for the good looking bloke? My heart is crushed.'

'Don't be absurd, John!' Sherlock snapped sharply in alarm; still not fully re-acclimatized as yet, to being around the type of people who casually teased and hugged and kissed to show affection and love. As a result, the detective grabbed Mary comically by the tops of her shoulders and shoved her rather inelegantly into the doctor's arms. 'Here you go.'

The couple laughed loudly as they stumbled on their feet; trying to get their limbs untangled. Sherlock rolled his eyes and sprang forward to grab them by their arms to ensure they didn't fall; which lead to the three of them standing in a loose circle.

'Good night, my dear' John said as he cuddled her briefly, 'don't wait up for me; go get some sleep. Sherlock has no concept of time, especially when a dead body is involved.'

'Good night, Dr. Watson,' she replied. 'I love you.'

Sherlock was so close, he couldn't help but stare.

Eagerly he looked all he wanted as the two kissed, marveling at the way John immediately relaxed and closed his eyes and how Mary did the same; softly curling her arms around her lover's neck. It was nice and oddly comforting to watch, but Sherlock found this kissing put one in an extremely vulnerable position. Any old body could come up and conk John on the back of his head, while he was so distracted. Perhaps Mary was right in asking him to keep an eye on John.

Sherlock nodded, resolving to not only pay careful attention to her request, but to also knock on all their doors in the future.