“So, will you tell me why we aren’t at the big meeting with Gregson, Bell, the inspectors from Scotland Yard and the jerks from INTERPOL?” Joan asked, moving the beam of the flashlight around as she followed Sherlock around the shipping containers that were forming a maze in the warehouse.
“Because, Watson, we were presented with a clue that we, as private consultants, can follow up on in the grey edges of legality that they cannot,” Sherlock said, looking at a number on a container and then moving forward. “It is vastly more important than yet another meeting.”
“But we’ll be working with the people from the Yard. We should at least meet them,” Joan said.
Sherlock scoffed. “You meet one Yarder, you’ve met them all. This Lestrade will be no different than the other one, who I had thought was different than the rest, but I was sorely mistaken.” There was a tinge of bitterness in his voice that Joan could note he was trying to cover up by sounding indifferent to it all, sounding blasé, but it didn’t quite work. She wasn’t going to comment on it. They didn’t talk about London, or his brother, or any of that. It was easier.
She simply followed him around, absently itching at the wrist with her soul mate counter on it. She hadn’t mentioned that it’s countdown was getting lower. She knew Sherlock’s had stopped when he had met Moriarty, and then restarted at her “death” and stopped again when he met Fiona, which was unusual, and he’d been obsessively reading everything he could in his spare time on everything about the soul mate counters. She wasn’t about to tell him hers was nearly down to zero and thankfully it was cold enough that long sleeves were fashionable so she could cover it up. The less he saw it, the fewer questions he would have. She didn’t want to be pestered about it.
She’d been perfectly content to never have a soul mate, to be honest. When she was a surgeon, she was so concerned with her career that love had never really factored into things. She’d had a few somewhat serious relationships, but she knew eventually the men would find their real soulmates and they would leave and she would be okay with that. After the death of her patient and her change in careers, she’d seen people sink into the depths of addiction for all sorts of reasons, but the worst were those who lost their soulmates. She resolved then not to look for hers. She knew she wouldn’t sink so low as they had, but she didn’t want to deal with such an ache, with such a hole in her heart if, Heaven forbid, she outlived the person meant for her.
Especially after she met Sherlock. She saw what knowing Moriarty was one of his soulmates did to him, knowing he was tied to her, and still knowing he had another one out there. The way he was with Fiona, though...it gave her hope. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if she got her own soul mate.
But she worried what would happen to him if he lost Fiona. She really hoped he didn’t fall down into that deep, dark hole again where no one could pull him back out. He didn’t deserve that.
A triumphant “A-ha!” pulled her out of her thoughts, and she turned to Sherlock to see him standing in front of a shipping container, presenting it to her as if it were a priceless work of art. “Yeah?” she asked.
“Our scene of crime,” he said with a wide smile on his face.
She shined her flashlight over the shipping container and spotted flecks of what could be red paint or could be dried blood on it, and then pressed the flashlight into Sherlock’s hand and pulled out her cell phone. “Who do you think will be happier to get out of that meeting, Gregson or Bell?”
“Bell, but tell him to bring Gregson and the Yarders. I think we should stay on their good side, I suppose.” He held the flashlight over her mobile screen. “Tell them to come up with an excuse to leave the INTERPOL interlopers at the office. Let them be on the outside for once.”
Joan grinned a bit at that as she dialed Bell’s number. Hopefully they’d all get along. Well, maybe all of them except the INTERPOL guys. Those guys were first class assholes. Worse than the FBI. Any chance she could get to ditch them, the better. She put the phone to her ear once she pulled up Bell and then gave Sherlock a grin. “Hey, Marcus? We’ve got a surprise for you...”