Another wad of paper hit the back of his head. The area around the hearth was littered with similar objects. Sherlock shook his head, picked up the paper, turned and hurled it back at her.
"I never realized just how immature of a woman you truly are." He bent his head and continued studying the documents strewn in a semi-circle on the floor around him.
From the sofa, Joan snorted “Yeah. I’m the immature one.” She talked while crunching yet another sheet of yellow notepaper between her hands, “This case makes absolutely no sense.” She pitched the paper ball and hit him hard between the shoulders.
He flinched. “Watson, I swear, if you hurl one more object at me, I’ll …”
"You’ll what? ….Leave?" Watson stared dead-eyed at him. He looked down at his hands and took his punishment. This behavior was so unlike her, he was unsure how to respond.
Contrary to his nature, he had recently initiated dialog between them about their problems. They had talked until they were blue in the face about all of it, the break up, the lack of trust, the resentment, Mycroft, Kitty, Andrew, even Clyde and the roosters, every inch of their problems were dissected and studied and discussed between them and still they ended up here where they started. She was angry, hurt and distrustful of him. And he understood why and took all the punishment she handed him - silences, cutting comments, and now throwing things at him. But it was not helping the situation between them. In fact, things had gotten worse since they were forced to work together by Gregson.
"Perhaps this is something that can’t be repaired," he spoke softly, not looking at her. His comment was met by silence. He hazarded a glance at her. She sat on the sofa, legs tucked under her. The rigidity of her pose his only signal of her emotional state.
He sat cross legged on the floor, his body now facing her. “Watson?” he tried to get her to respond.
She would not meet his gaze, choosing to look blankly out the front window rather than at him.
His frustration level rose, “This is all your fault, you know. You made your choices early on. You kept me at arms length since day one. You left first.”
Joan turned her head, her anger barely in control. “This again? How many times must I tell you. I was not leaving you or the partnership. I merely needed space, time, room to think. I needed to find who I am, who I wanted to be.”
"Rhetorical nonsense. You were leaving me, period. And besides, that’s not what I meant. ….You have this way about you - you keep everything to yourself. You didn’t share with me the story of your patient’s death until a good year and a half after we met. While you learned everything about me from boyhood injuries to the details of my romantic failures …. Why is that? Why are you so closed off? Is it just with me? Just with men? Is this why you and Andrew split? Hmm?" Sherlock had never been so direct and invasive with her. He was breathing fast and physically registering fear.
"This is absurd." Her voice sharp and controlled. Joan took the stack of documents from her lap and carefully placed them back in their folder. "You are making accusations to save yourself the embarrassment of admitting your mistakes."
"Oh, I’ve fully admitted what a foul and horrible friend I have been to you and I am willing to do my penance. But I am not willing to lose you." He tilted his head down for a second, staring at the floor and then lifted his eyes to meet her face.
The expression on her face was one of sadness and resignation. “This is something that will take more than words and penance to fix.” Joan broke free of Sherlock’s gaze, stood and gathered her sweater and files.
Joan turned and left the brownstone.