The brownstone was nearly dark when she let herself in after midnight, save for one light in the kitchen. She knew he had waited up for her to talk.
Not that her evening had gone badly. It had gone the opposite of badly, actually. If it had been a date she’d have immediately started planning for a second or maybe even a third one. Joan wasn’t the type to have really a considered a woman as a potential partner but there was something about Sally that made her feel completely at ease in a way no one else had. She couldn’t think of a time she’d felt so relaxed or...happy.
She wanted Sally to stay here for a while but she knew if anything Sherlock would have the case wrapped up within a matter of days, if not hours, and there would be no reason for it. Ships passing in the night, that would be all they would be, and that was a thought that saddened her and put a damper on the evening, and if Sherlock made her dwell on that she might resort to smacking him upside the head or punching him in the arm and making sure it hurt.
She went into the kitchen and saw that Sherlock had the good kettle full of water and the good tea set out. Not the one he used for English tea; no, it was one of the Japanese tea sets when they wanted green tea. And he had set it all up for a traditional Japanese tea service. It was almost like he knew she would want something calm tonight.
He began to serve them tea at the counter, which was the only thing abnormal about it all. “She’s your soul mate, you know,” he said when he was done.
Joan looked at him with wide eyes. “What?” she asked.
He nodded towards her wrist. “Look at your wrist. I check your wrist when you’re asleep and I knew you’d meet your soul mate tonight, and even while I was addressing the imbeciles from Interpol and Gregson and Marcus and Lestrade, I knew that when you went off to talk to Detective Sergeant Donovan your timer would have run out.”
Joan gave him a mild glare and pulled back her sleeves to look at her wrist, seeing that it indeed did read 00:00:00. She let the sleeves of her shirt and coat fall back and then slowly picked up her cup, blowing off the steam of her tea. “We’re going to be separated by an ocean again as soon as you solve this case,” she said quietly.
“I can put it off for a few days,” he said.
Joan looked at him. “What?”
“The killer has already left. He’s not in the United States or in England, but he’ll be back in four days. He needs to retrieve the last of his payment for his wicked deeds. There are other people we need to catch, and that will keep us busy enough, and thus give you and your Detective Sergeant time to get to know each other better and worry about that ocean a little later.” Sherlock picked up his own cup. “I may not seem like a romantic, but there is a little warmth left in my dry, shriveled heart.”
“That’s bull,” Joan said with a smile. “Like you really have a dry, shriveled heart. You are such a bad liar.”
Sherlock gave her a small grin. “Perhaps that was a small understatement.” He took a sip of his tea. “There have been many soul mates who have been through worse than having an ocean separate them. I am sure the two of you will come up with an adequate solution.”
“That’s if we even like each other,” Joan said.
“You were at the pub for four ours. How strong was the urge to go to Donovan’s hotel room instead of coming back home?” Sherlock asked, raising an eyebrow. Joan bit her lip and then gave a small laugh. “My point exactly. There is a very mutual attraction, I believe. You will overcome hardships, and you will be fine. I do not have faith in much, but with all of the research I have done in this matter, I have faith in the way the soul mate bond works. Even when it’s not convenient, it is always true.”
Her smile turned sympathetic. “You still miss her?”
He nodded. “I do, though I try not to. She will forever be my soul mate. We are linked for eternity. He had more tea. “I can’t bring myself to hate her, even after all she’s done.”
Joan set her tea down and set a hand on his arm, squeezing sympathetically. “Maybe one day it will sort itself out.”
“Perhaps.” He nodded to her tea. “Enjoy your tea and then rest. We have a busy day’s work ahead of us tomorrow.”
“Alright,” she said, removing her arm and picking up her tea again. The two stood there in comfortable silence, sipping their tea, and she was glad that she had him in her life, even if it was inconvenient at times.