Waiting in the car while Mr Holmes interrogated his brother's new chum, Andrea scrolled through the texts that had begun to arrive in response to her inquiries, like swallows returning home for the winter.
Her ex, Timothy, had had the clever idea to reach out to some of his Army buddies who'd served in Afghanistan. And while Mr Holmes had unparalleled access to official information, Andrea knew there was nothing like informal networks for getting access to the really useful dirt on someone. Timothy had come through like a champion, passing on some interesting nuggets.
A slight rise in the emotional temperature of the room caused her to glance up; Mr Holmes was examining the Doctor's left hand for some reason, turning it over as if demonstrating an obscure scientific principle to the hand's owner. She could see from the set of Doctor Watson's shoulders that he was struggling to not tear his hand away, smack Mr Holmes across the face, then run off, psychosomatic dickey leg or no psychosomatic dickey leg.
Once Mr Holmes had ambled away in one of his less convincing performances of insouciance and Andrea had the rattled Watson in the car, she continued managing her data streams and wondering if Timothy's intel would play out; a run-in with Mr Holmes in one of his more spritely moments would knock the resolve out of most men.
While she waited for Watson to pick up his rather meagre kit at the hostel, she challenged her ex to a bet that he (wise man) refused to pick up. By the time they arrived at Baker Street, Watson seemed to have settled a bit, and she wondered if she could have perhaps offered Timothy more tempting odds.
“Listen, your boss – any chance you could not tell him this is where I went?”
“Sure.” In some alternate universe where I don't work for the most powerful man in Britain.
“You’ve told him already, haven’t you?”
You think he doesn't know where his brother lives? Were you even paying attention? “Yeah.” She began to wonder when he'd make his predicted move so that she could just shoot him down and get home to the leftover chicken tikka masala waiting for her. For a man whose reputation had preceded him to Afghanistan and back, Watson was pretty slow off the mark. She knew it wasn't her that was the issue; perhaps Mr Holmes had rattled him more than she'd thought.
“Hey, um—do you ever get any free time?”
“Oh, yeah. Lots.” None of which I'm wasting on an unemployed ex-Army doctor who asks me out as an afterthought, to be number 4357 in a series of meaningless conquests.
Watson seemed to have no idea what to make of that. Had he expected her to fall on him in relief?
And yet he still wasn't moving. She didn't remember his medical records mentioning a head injury, so she gave a meaningful glance in the direction of 221 Baker Street. “'Bye,” she said, putting as much of a shove in her tone as she thought she could get away with.
Watson finally got out of the car and stumped up to the door of his new home, seeming to be blithely unaware of what exactly he was getting himself in for.
The moment the car pulled away, Andrea swiped him from her mind and with an internal groan, opened a newly-arrived text from Mr Holmes. It seemed that the leftover chicken tikka masala was going to have to wait.