Disclaimer:I own nothing of the Moffat/Gatiss world of Sherlock, nor do I own anything of Sir ACD's world of Sherlock. The views expressed do not reflect my own views and are not designed to offend or hurt.

Summary: Because Sherlock wanted to be there when everything fell apart even though he knew that he wouldn't be able to pick up the pieces and glue them back together. But he could try to sweep them into a neat pile, and relinquish the adhesive to someone who could use it.

Warning: Angst by the bucket load.

Now I wouldn't normally put a music recommendation at the start of a chapter, but I recently heard Ryan Star's (aptly named) song 'Losing your Memory' and I fell in love with it! (I can hear the voices: "Really? You've only just heard it? It's been out for like For-eh-vaaarrrr!") I really recommend you listen to it, if you haven't already, especially with this chapter.

youtu. be /5Lt _ lFTBrNI (remove all spaces)

The damage is done

The police are coming too slow now

I would have died

I would have loved you all my life

Remember the day

'Cause this is what dreams should always be

I just want to stay

I just want to keep this dream in me

-Ryan Star "Losing your Memory"

Chapter 10

The smell of coffee is powerful and obtrusive as Sherlock makes his way to the back of the café, sitting down in his regular spot. He has become a regular at this place, much to his distaste.

He sets down the mug in his left hand, and pulls a face at the dark liquid inside. He doesn't know why he does it, it stopped being sophisticated a long time ago now, but there is something about it that reminds him of his time with John, the façade they both lived. It's painful, but in a satisfying way, like removing a splinter.

He drinks fairly quickly, like someone in a rush. But that is confusing, why would anyone sit in when they could just get a take-out if they were in a hurry? He is not reading a book, or playing on a phone or laptop.

He doesn't even have a companion.

Its nearly eleven o' clock when he checks his watch, he then stands up abruptly and starts to leave. The door opens and another customer is just making his way into the café. It might seem that the two know each other, they might even greet each other but that is not the case.

He doesn't like coffee, not anymore, he knows that much. Maybe in another life he lived off the stuff out of necessity. But that has faded far from his mind now.

He doesn't know why he gravitates towards this place, but the small, independent grime of Speedy's sandwich bar and café pulls him in and sometimes he just can't stop himself from entering the compact greasy-spoon café. It has become something of a routine now, and he likes the regularity of it. Sunday mornings. 11 o'clock.

It comes as a shock, quite suddenly: all ebony and ice, the two men collide. Papers go everywhere, as both it would seem are carrying an inordinate amount of paperwork for a Sunday morning. Both of them bend down to retrieve the papers, and silence is broken only by shuffling, mumbles and crumpling paper.

They stand up; straighten out simultaneously. One brushes imaginary lint off his trousers and inspect his shoes for a beat, the pattern of scuffs entertains him far more than it should. A throat clears, and they both look up, startled out of their reprieve, though this cough was not designed to catch attention. This is a genuine cough.

They just stand there, each waiting for the other to move. It's getting uncomfortable; the staring has gone on for too long.

And then the spell is broken, but it isn't the lanky one with the scarf and the dramatic coat that breaches the silence, but the sandy haired one.

"Can I help you?" the tone is rude, or it's trying to be rude. But the man just seems too nice, too polite, to ever be rude.

The other man takes a moment to process the words and when they finally sink in the reaction is bizarre. His eyebrows leap into his hairline, as if he is genuinely surprised and somewhat offended by the tone of the blonde man. But then his lips twitch, not much, but enough. And finally this develops into a small smile. But it doesn't feel malicious, he's not laughing at the man, it's more like he has just figured out something amazing and feels he should share this moment with someone, but at the same time is quite unsure whom he could share it with.

He's giddy with his success.

"See that girl there with the red hair? Go and buy her a drink for me. Talk to her, the family dog has just died, and her boyfriend is cheating on her. She likes decaf lattes, full fat."

He rattles this off at an amazing pace. Then he lowers his voice, steps closer to him, murmurs into his ear.

"And thank you, but no, you can't help me. Thanks for everything, and I mean everything."

And then the tall one swept out with a dramatic flourish.

For a reason that John Watson can't quite figure out he heeds the strange man's advice and finds himself sitting across from a young red headed woman. Her book is long forgotten and they are talking and laughing about something quite mundane.

When she looks at her watch and makes to rush off, she offers to leave her number. John accepts and then she is searching for a pen and something to write on. The pen is found easily, but there seems to be a distinct lack of anything that could be written on. In the end John searches his coat pockets for some scrap of paper.

He pulls out a business card that he doesn't remember ever taking, and flips it over a few times in his hand.

"Can I write it on that?"

He hesitates and looks at the card. Flips it over and reads the card again.

"Um. Sorry…sorry, no it-it's quite important" he doesn't understand his answer, just like he doesn't know where the card has come from. He gets out his wallet and slides it carefully into the slot normally reserved for a photo, facing out so he can see what is written on it. In his wallet he finds another piece of paper for her to write on. She does so and then hurries off.

When John leaves the café he also leaves her number sitting on the table. No longer interested.

He considers his response to the strange business card for the next few days and comes to the conclusion that the card probably wouldn't have caught his attention if not for the scrawl that's written jauntily across the middle in blue ink. It's looks like just a squiggle, not even a word, but John can make out the letters when he concentrates: the writing almost looks familiar. There's just one small word that makes the whole thing unique, he wonders who wrote it. But that's a silly line of thought because, logically, the person who wrote it would be the person whose name is on the card.

Maybe he would look them up one day; it would be interesting to find out what a 'consulting detective' did. But maybe he wouldn't have time. All he knew was that for some reason the card seemed precious.

Although John never did look up the mysterious consulting detective, he never really felt that he had missed out. In fact it seemed entirely wrong to try to track down the person and solve the conundrum. The enigma was what made it special.

It was some years later that John Watson opened his wallet to find that the business card was no longer there. John felt hurt, and a little bit betrayed by that inanimate piece of card, which made him question his sanity for a moment.

His companion of so many years had just gone: disappeared.

John never did find the card; he looked and looked but it was to no avail.

Despite this, what was on the card: the typeface, the style, the punctuation, the words were the last things that fled John's mind when poison and age had robbed it of everything else. It was the last thing he held onto.

Sherlock Holmes.


Consulting detective.

That's it! Thanks for reading and reviewing, it's been great to have you along with me for this! You guys are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! and your feedback has made my day more than once. Check out my other stories if you haven't already.

Much love to y'all.