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.

Chapter 9

Sherlock found himself (sadly) habitually visiting the greasy spoon café that neighboured their apartment. He wasn't drawn there because of their sterling customer service (this may have been a personal opinion, but Sherlock would label it sterling, as long as the waitress didn't make idle chit-chat or mess his order up) or "award-winning sandwiches" (he wondered just what kind of awards their were for sandwiches), but because of the sandy haired ex-army doctor that had started frequenting the grimy place.

Sherlock had realised after a few visits that he looked quite creepy going to a café without anything to do, so he started writing up some of the cases. He makes notes when he meets clients, and surprisingly he finds that it makes everything neater and a little bit easier. So now when he goes to the café he does so with a large stack of paper.

He sits and writes and watches. John no longer drinks coffee; instead he drinks a mixture of things ranging from hot earl grey to mint tea. Sherlock has managed to associate John's mood with his beverage. Mint tea equates to a good mood, happy, cheery, proud etc. Earl Grey makes an appearance on particularly melancholic days. It's these days that Sherlock finds the hardest. He so wants to comfort John. Or talk to him. To find out what is bothering him.

It's on an Earl Grey day that John sits quite close to Sherlock's table.

"Weather's crap today."

Normally Sherlock would not grace such a comment with acknowledgement, let alone an answer. But this is John, and he is Sherlock. And John is the exception to most of his rules, including his 'small-talk' rule.

"Hmmm, it's meant to get a bit better by the end of the week, I think. Or maybe it was snow at the end of the week. I honestly can't remember."

John looks at him with a look of surprise on his face

"You can't remember whether it's getting better or going to snow? What kind of forecast were you watching?" he asks jokingly

"Obviously the wrong one."

Sherlock likes the easy banter between them. It makes things a bit simpler. Maybe he can act as if this is the first time he has met John too.

"Do you mind?" John asks gesturing to the seat opposite Sherlock.

"By all means go ahead."

John sits down and shuffles a bit. He takes a sip out of the chipped mug.

"That looks like some heavy stuff you're doing there." he nods his head towards the pile of papers in front of Sherlock.

Sherlock looks at his own work, he is half way through writing down some chemical symbols; he finished writing up his last case yesterday, so now he has moved on to his new hobby. Numbers and arrows that seem to be splayed across the page in no particular patter soften the regiment chemical symbols that dominate the paper: toxins and viruses and poisons. He has yet to figure out the exact formula for the poison that is burning John's memories away.

"Just research"

"Really? What did you do at university?"


"Natural sciences"


"Is Cambridge nice? I've heard stories of course, but is it all it's cracked up to be?"

"Oh it's nice. But you have to be careful; it's a bit of a clique culture, pack mentality if you will: they all watch each other's backs. You can't get away with anything."

It's later, much later that Sherlock replays the conversation in his head. They had made a little more small talk about science before going their separate ways. Sherlock can't believe he missed it before, but at the same time he is happy he did miss it, because if he had noticed he would have made a fuss and ruined the moment.

Is Cambridge nice?

The words reverberate through his skull. He hadn't said anything about Cambridge. Hadn't even hinted towards where he went to university. But John had remembered something. Maybe not who he was, or how they knew each other but that didn't matter. John had remembered. Sherlock may or may not have spent the rest of the evening grinning ear to ear.

Thanks for reading. Very close to the end now, cheers to those who have stuck with this ;)