A twinkling of bells above the door reclaimed Sherlock from her thoughts as she sat staring unfocused towards the window. A gust of wind swiped at the curtains near the front of the cafe, and the heavy rain tried it's best to follow the newest customer into the store. Sherlock paid them no mind, and reached for the delicate china cup in front of her. To her dismay, the Jasmine tea she had looked forward to had gone cold in her mental absence. She sighed. More time must have passed in her mind palace than she had anticipated. And yet, she was still soaking wet. Drops of water landed on the wooden table from her waterlogged blue blouse as she set the tea cup back on its coaster. Her dress skirt was not much better, and she didn't have to look down to know that her navy trench coat was creating a puddle where it hung on the back of her chair. Sherlock turned back to the window and considered both her reflection and the rain. What was the use of being a magician if she could not use her powers for convenience?
Paris during a storm was a dynamic distortion of images in motion, though no doubt sounds, smells, and texture added to the chaos past the flimsy glass barrier. Tiny rivulets of muted cityscape flowed down the window panes into the waiting grills of sewers along the roads. The people on the streets were shadowy waifs, ephemeral and eternally drowning as they traveled on mosaics of cobblestone and concrete. Against this thunderous backdrop Paris could be exciting, quaint, maybe even romantic, but right now Sherlock found it all very dull. And wet, of course. She had been on her way back to her apartment from an afternoon of museums, galleries, and magnificent landmarks. It was now nearing evening, and she was loathed to be trapped by this torrential downpour when she could be at home, adding her notes to her study of magics and working on her illusions. Sherlock was tempted at this point to just walk out in a giant air bubble, but she knew it was too dramatic and careless, even for her. Besides, Mycroft would never let her hear the end of it; she was always going on about how people were all goldfish, imagine seeing Sherlock walking around in her very own reverse fishbowl. But as it was, She could not bear to wait idly any longer, the feeling of waterlogged had begun to spread to her brain and that was unacceptable. With another sigh, Sherlock turned her attention to the interior of the coffee shop and its occupants as she cautiously began to dry her clothes with a light breeze under the table. She would be heading out into the rain again soon, but she refused to walk out of here as a human puddle.
To the restaurant's benefit, the cozy little establishment was a comfortable respite, it's warmth made even more appealing in contrast to the harsh weather. Men and women sat across circular tables ensconced in dim lamplight like partners intermingling on the dance floor. Intricate, carved wooden panel walls between the floor-length windows added to the ballroom feel. Servers periodically appeared and disappeared from the folds of a large velvet curtain covering the back of the room with trays and glasses, so what lay behind must be the kitchen. The atmosphere was casual but tasteful, and soft jazz drifted from a hidden gramophone. Sherlock gestured at the nearest attendant for a warmer refill of her beverage, and casually crossed her legs, allowing a little extra breeze to catch on her dress skirt with the motion. She allowed her gaze to drift over the other customers while she waited, toes wriggling in relief as water finally cleared a little from inside her heels. In the background a more familiar song came on...
Stars shining bright above you
Night breezes seem to whisper "I love you"
...A middle-aged woman sipping sparkling water (frugal, or financially restricted) at a table to her left, leg angled towards the empty chair in front of her (waiting). Comfortable well-worn clothing and purse indicate likely meeting a long-time lover or a close friend, boring,
Birds singing in the sycamore trees
Dream a little dream of me
...A young couple further back in the corner shared a wine and a cheese platter, the male is fidgeting and nervous (ring in jacket inner pocket, left over his heart, cliche), the female excited (she probably saw it beforehand) - proposal, dated for a short while, boring,
Say nighty-night and kiss me
Just hold me tight and tell me you'll miss me
...A woman (same age with an error range of 2 years) seated alone at a table across the room, figure partially obscured by the newspapers in her hand (most likely from the stand across the road), only blond hair visible behind the pages she perused and a steaming mug of homemade tea beside a croissant on the table, borin- wait, no. Interesting.
While I'm alone and blue as can be
Dream a little dream of me...
Sherlock blinked in surprise, the fabric of her blouse sleeves fluttering for a fraction of a second as her attention shifted from air drying them. Why did she stop? What had caught her attention? She examined the evidence again. Her age, lack of company (single), the newspaper, hair colour, beverage, nothing seemed out of place. Normal. Boring. Except Sherlock had subconsciously determined that something was out of plac- the newspaper! A second look confirmed it. The newspaper was completely dry and unfolded. The woman had to have bought it from the stand across the road recently, and yet it shouldn't be possible for it to be untouched by water even if she had transportation, not with the wind as it was. The mug too seemed strange. The homemade tea was steaming hot, but it was very unlikely that any insulation would've been sufficient after traveling in this weather, and then being left in the open. Her jacket and shoes were completely clean and dry, no mud or water splatters to be seen. Stranger and stranger. It was almost as if -
No, she was being ridiculous. Normally Sherlock would never dismiss her deductions so carelessly, but the chances of her meeting another elemental were so negligible they frankly did not even warrant consideration. She was an elemental, a true magician, the only one in the world, and that was that.
The waiter had returned with another cup of Jasmine tea, but Sherlock ignored it and reached for her wallet. She was dry enough, and clearly tired. The storm was unrelenting but at least she would be able to use her skills freely at home. Drying off would only take a few seconds instead of minutes of slight of hand. She stood up, put on her trench coat, and grabbed her umbrella from among the multitudes in stand before heading out the door.
Sherlock mentally braced herself against the cold and wet, wrapping her collar up high against her neck and clutching the umbrella tightly. Luckily it seemed the wind had died down a bit and she walked quickly towards her apartment, only a few minutes away. As she turned the corner, a faint voice called out in the distance. Looking back the streets were empty save for a few runners on their way home like her, so Sherlock kept walking. But the voice slowly became louder.
"Excuse me...excuse me Miss!" Sherlock frowned, puzzled, and turned back. Had she perhaps forgotten something at the shop? Her view was mostly obscured by the rain and the top of the umbrella, but she recognized the figure rounding the distance as the blond haired woman from the shop. The shoes and jacket were identical, though they now had normal water splatters from the rain. Her newspaper, now drenched, was clutched under one arm which also held her mug. Her hair and face were obscured under...Sherlock's umbrella. Sherlock's eyes widened, and then looked closely at the umbrella she was currently using. The wooden handle was similar and the colours were the same, but upon closer inspection there were patterns carved into the wood, and the grip was slightly thicker. But that was the least of what surprised her. Sherlock had assumed that the wind had died down, but that was not true at all. Around her the rain was tossed about and hit the ground at ever changing oblique angles, and yet not a single drop seemed to reach under the dome of the umbrella. Her clothing and shoes were unruffled and dry. She reached out with her hand, sure enough, beyond the boundary of the canopy her hand was immediately drenched, wind and rain combing through her fingers. Yet a clean, straight line demarcated the dry area of the umbrella - one that was ever so slightly greater than its circumference. Sherlock wanted to laugh out loud. Fascinating.
Sherlock looked up to find the woman with her umbrella stopped in front of her, mug still steaming hot in her hands. She angled Sherlock's umbrella out of the way to reveal her blonde hair (now wet), and shockingly warm caramel eyes which seem to twinkle at Sherlock like the brass bells above the cafe doorway had lifetimes ago. Beautiful - the thought came unbidden, and Sherlock blushed at her reaction as the woman offered her hand.
"Hello, my name is Joanna. I'm terribly sorry to bother you, but it seems you have my umbrella."