It’s too easy to go to 221b these days, even though I won’t go anywhere near the place. Even here, miles away, I avoid crossing Baker Street. I don’t drop by, I don’t visit, though Mrs Hudson invites me back whenever we speak. I don’t think she really expects me to accept.
The tea, once they bring it, is hot. The cup nearly burns my fingers. I let it sit, steaming, and wait.
Mrs Hudson may have rented the flat out by now, I don’t know. I can’t quite picture anyone else living there. She must have patched up the bullet holes, at least. New wallpaper, maybe. I don’t want to see that.
I’m early, I know. Harry’s always late. I glance at my watch, rock back and forth on the chair. One leg is too short. It slaps against the tile and makes me feel as if I might tip over. That's something, at least. Something to keep me paying attention.
Sitting alone with nothing to do is dangerous. My resistance to the pull of 221b is weakest at times like this.
The waitress is blonde and pretty. A little young for me, admittedly. Still: a good distraction. She leans over to pick up some cups and plates, and I can see the pink edging of her bra. A perfect view of her cleavage down the front of her uniform shirt. An excellent distraction. I smile at her, but she pretends she doesn’t see me. I can take a hint.
The scratched surface of the table reminds me; the marks on the teak from some experiment of Sherlock’s, his casual destruction of property. And I feel the pull of the memory. That cluttered sitting room with the harpoon in the corner, our two chairs facing each other, and the recently-dusted mantelpiece. It’s always too close.
Everything still makes sense in that room, and he’s still sitting there.
I’m back to one particular day. It wasn’t a remarkable day. Just him and me, waiting for the next case. Nothing special. I don’t know why I remember it at all, really.
It’s 221b as it was, more or less. It smells familiar, just as it should, as if he never left: toast, plastic bags, agar, and dry cleaning. It’s home. I’m anxious, and you’re ignoring me. I run my finger along the mark on the table. I wasn’t here when it happened; you never told me what you did. It looks like a knife mark. Could have been anything; we have a lot of sharp objects in the flat.
A lot of things happen here when I’m not around to witness them. I left you alone with Irene Adler because I thought she was going to kiss you. Maybe she did. You never said.
Harry arrives late. Very late; nearly half an hour. She’s carrying a paper shopping bag that she stows under her chair. She’s talking: something about the weather, her shoes, the tube. Explaining herself. It takes a lot of concentration to leave 221b. I focus on the lines on her face, and notice that she’s getting older. Of course she is: so am I. It’s what people do. Her hands are shaking. I wonder if she’s had a drink. She probably has. She probably wants another. She talks. I try and listen.
I can’t stop thinking about Irene Adler. There's a constant argument we're having in my head, and it's annoying me. The things she said: that Sherlock and I are a couple. It’s ridiculous, and untrue, but I can’t stop thinking about it. She shut me up with a simple, yes, you are, and I had nothing to say back. I can always count on my brain to come up with a useless rebuttal days afterwards, but not this time. Dammit. It’s bothering me. I want it settled. It’s silly.
This should be obvious: we don’t sleep together. The ultimate argument: surely that one wins. We don’t sleep together, we never have. Definesleep, define together. We don’t have sex with each other, we don’t kiss. I can’t even imagine how that would go. Oh, wait: yes, I can.