I was back at the park the next day, grimly waiting to see if he'd come back, and also for more free coffee. The sky burned blue overhead, but the wind still bit with the needle teeth of a young puppy and I was glad I'd brought my jacket. My hands blushed red with cold, and I wrapped them greedily around my mug of coffee, soaking up the warmth. My eyes were fixed on the coffee stand, where volunteers muttered sympathetically and handed out hot beverages with wide smiles.

I wasn't sure why I needed to see him. In fact I was getting mixed up in something that a) I was completely clueless about, and b) could be dangerous, or c) both. This man evidently had something to hide if he'd go as far as faking his own death.

A shift of movement caught my eye, the movement of someone who didn't want to be seen. A figure huddled in a ripped coat and baggy trousers shuffled through clusters of people, head down, hands in pockets like everyone else. But he stuck to the fringes of the crowd. That was his mistake. Everyone knew it was safer closer to the centre - we all looked out for each other, and it was warmer. Also the coffee table was in the middle, and those closest to the table of hot drinks were guaranteed to get their fair share. Something I'd learned on my first day. Out on the edges, it was colder, with no shelter from brisk winds, and we were more at risk from jeers and hoots, and the occasional projectile if we were unlucky. When I was new to this, I'd had the misfortune to get whacked in the face by a wooden clothes hanger. I still had the scar.

"Gotcha," I muttered, slipping out of my seat. I gulped my coffee as quickly as possible, swearing under my breath as it scalded my tongue and the back of my throat. If he was watching me, and was a proper detective, he'd know I was acting, but it couldn't be helped. I ambled over to a bin, tossed the cup in, and then made my way to a queue, squeezing in just after he did.

I couldn't be sure. It might not be him. But I had to know. This thing had me by the throat, and was getting tighter and tighter.

I tapped him on the shoulder. "Excuse me?"

He turned around, and I met the fierce gaze of two grey eyes. "What do you want?" His voice came out muffled by a scarf wrapped around the lower half of his face.

I leaned in. "Aren't you supposed to be dead?" I enquired casually.

His eyes remained fixed on me, cold, emotionless. Then his eyebrows suddenly twisted up in confusion. "I don't know what you mean." He sounded hurt, like he was about to burst into tears. His accent had changed too. It was a exceedingly bad attempt at a strong Scottish accent.

I was caught by surprise for a moment, before I heard the accent. That was when his disguise fell to pieces. I rolled my eyes. "Please. I know a false Scottish accent when I hear one."

His face fell back to an emotionless mask, and the accent vanished. "Impressive. For an idiot."

"Thanks." I'd never met him, but I already knew his main trait was arrogance.

A trace of surprise flickered in his eyes. He'd expected a rise out of me, expected me to take the bait. I felt warm with smugness.

"You're still supposed to be dead," I said.

He pulled the scarf down, revealing the rest of his face. It was definitely him; there was no mistaking the angular cheekbones, the disdainful twist of his lips. "You read the newspapers I suppose."

"Yes," I said, surprised.

He sighed. "Of course you have. Everyone has."

By that time we were at the front of the queue, so we collected our coffee. He began to walk off, away from me.

"Wait!" I didn't know what I was expecting. An explanation?

He turned, annoyed. "What do you want? To know how I did it? To know if I'm a fraud? Some proof that you can go running off to the papers with?"

"I don't know." It came out so easily. "I only just heard of you yesterday. When I saw you. When I read some old newspapers. I'm just curious."

"Of course you are," he said bitterly. "Everyone always is." "Curiosity kind of your job," I countered.

"Curiosity is kind of your job," I countered.

He looked peeved that I'd come up with an answer. "Well, I did say curiosity comes to everyone. And I am one, much as I loathe to admit it."

"Well why are you here then, in London? Someone will recognise you." I smirked. "In fact, I did."

"I like London. Anyway, that's the genius of my disguise." He tapped his coat. "No one looks too closely at a homeless person, out of discomfort and embarrassment. No one likes to be reminded of poverty."

"That woman got pretty close to recognizing you."

"Oh, you saw that. She got close, but that doesn't mean she struck gold."

There was a moment's pause.

"Where are you staying?"

He looked a little confused, just a flicker in the eyes that was reflected in the slight wrinkling of his brow. "Sorry?"

"Where are you staying? Because you can't have been sleeping rough. You'll have a house somewhere, or a friend…"

"What makes you say that?" He raised an eyebrow in a contemptuous challenge.

"You don't smell." He scowled.

He scowled.

"Hey, just because I've learned a trick or two," I said indignantly. "You have to learn how to read people if you want to survive on the streets of London. Know who to avoid, and who definitely to avoid. Know who'll spare a few coins, and who will willingly give a five-pound note if you beg in just the right tone of voice. Which cafes will most certainly call the police if you loiter around their front, or back door. Which figure lurking in the shadows might have a switchblade smuggled up their sleeve, and know how to handle it."

He snorted, unimpressed. "That's basic common sense."

"Fine. Whatever." His arrogance was really beginning to grate my nerves. Eventually, they'd start to snap, and make a hole in my overall blanket of indifference. "But you are staying somewhere."

He sighed. "If you must know, I'm staying with a friend. Well, I say friend…"

"They'd have to be a very good friend if they could live with your frankly astoundingly-huge attitude."

He grimaced a little. "She has developed something akin to an infatuation with me."

"Well no wonder she lets you stay with her." I grinned in amusement about how clueless this guy seemed to be.

"What do you mean?"

I stared at him, eyebrows furrowed in evident confusion. His eyes fought to grasp my meaning from my own.

I choked down a giggle. "Isn't it obvious? She's probably… y' know… trying to get into your pants?"

Horror ghosted across his face as he struggled for words, possibly for the first time in his life. "Don't be so vulgar," he finally snapped.

"Don't be so British," I retorted. And then, after a brief afterthought, "or childish."

"That's pretty rich coming from an actual child." He drew himself up. "Molly and I are co-workers. I merely needed her assistance for my… trick."

"So go on. How did you do it? How would you even go about surviving a several storey fall?"

He seemed to consider for a moment, teetering on the possibility of actually giving me an answer. I attempted to keep my face straight. It wasn't like this was a moment I'd been anticipating; in fact I could barely wait for my second cup of coffee. But talking to this Sherlock Holmes, it had opened a window, through which I could glimpse a new world, not necessarily better, but definitely a whole lot more exciting, lurking under the bright plastic exterior of London.

His face broke into a sly smile. "A little sleight of hand," he chuckled, before turning on his heel and striding off briskly.

"Oh come on!" I called out in frustration. "That's all you're going to give me? Seriously?"

He twisted back around, still chuckling dryly. "I didn't know you cared so much."

"Well, I do." If I thought my remark was going to get me anywhere, I was sorely mistaken. He just laughed quietly to himself.

Then he said, "Ask around. Bring up Sherlock Holmes a little more. Maybe that'll give you some answers." And with that he strode away, coat flapping behind him as his legs ate up the pavement. I thought I heard him call "Laters!" over his shoulder, but it was so faint that I couldn't even be sure that it wasn't the product of an overactive imagination.

I was left standing alone on the crisp grass, coat pulled up around my chin, hands shoved deep in my pockets. Eyes hovering on the spot where he'd just been standing. Two large indents left in the grass were all that was left.

I didn't know why I cared so much; the sudden flow of disappointment unnerved me so that I didn't even want to know. Instead, I shook myself from my reverie with a shudder, and made my way across the grass for another cup of coffee.