When Sherlock was transported from the endless Mind Palace staircase back into consciousness for a third time, there wasn’t a sudden brightness of surgical light or the worried voice of John to dominate his perception, and his senses were informing him of a different surrounding.

Sight: remained to be assessed. Smell: of plastic – nasal oxygen cannula. Touch: odd, mostly numb, but something, something warm and soft in contact with his left hand.

He forced his heavy eyelids open and felt a surge of adrenaline tightening his chest. It helped clear the fuzziness in his mind.

He hadn’t been in the proximity of her face since their intimacy in the heat of Karachi, and he’d dared not hope to be presented with that privilege again. Not even when, consequent of a turn of fate, he did chance upon her elegant form, her steps light and swift ahead of him in the Montenegrin streets. Compelled by a momentary weakness, he'd followed her and found out where she lived. But not even then, at his lowest ebb, towards the end of The Fall, did he break his resolve and ring her doorbell.

Yet here she was, The Woman, in London where she shouldn’t be. By his side. She was never one to let anything draw to a close with a grand finale directed by someone else, and of course this time it was her who flew across the world, when the news broke that the Consulting Detective was found in Magnussen’s office, on the verge of becoming past tense.

Her makeup was flawless, without the merest hint of any smudge. But there was a single, small, semi-dried water spot on the bed sheet beside his forearm, he observed.

“..and The Woman will cry..” Ah. So she did. And the current level of morphine meant for his bullet wound was no longer sufficient to alleviate the ache in his chest.

Seconds of locked gaze and maintained silence, and her expression shifted as she briefly glanced down – at her small hand gently holding his. For a moment he thought she was going to retract it, but instead of moving her hand, she spoke evenly, “Look how much your pulse rate’s just accelerated. Heart still going strong, I see.”

Her smirk didn’t reach her eyes.

No mention was made of what had transpired in Karachi, or what paths they’d each been treading through since.

No comment was given regarding the implication of the slight change in her slender figure, or the inconspicuous mark on her ring finger.

No answer was offered explaining her trip across the Atlantic Ocean, no excuse crafted for the rose and card. No reassurance was stated, no promise sworn. Nor any sign that either of them intended to meet again.

Now wasn’t the time.

“Do calm yourself, dear. Mrs Watson will be expecting to see a heavily sedated patient when she slips in to request your discretion. Which reminds me, the window route is no longer under CCTV surveillance, and I estimate will remain in its current state for another 11 hours, give or take. You’re welcome.” Her parting words rolled off her tongue with the nonchalance of someone remarking upon the serenity of the night, as she stood from the edge of his hospital bed, and he wondered just how much she knew. About Mary. About Magnussen.

She quirked an eyebrow as she gave him a final, pointed look before turning to leave.

Be careful and stay alive, will you?

He pursed his lips, not breaking their piercing eye contact.

And you.


I hope I was there when you sing on the stage. I know that I always hear you sing but seeing you performing in a crowd of people is a different kind of feeling for me. Isn’t that nice? I am watching you and you are trying to find me in a sea of people where they’re screaming your name, saying how well you sing, or having those smile in their faces. And I am just watching you, smiling, mouthing the words ‘I love you’ once your eyes meet mine, while crying my heart out from how bless I am for having someone like you. But the thing is, I’m right over here, inside this dark room of mine while having these thoughts in my mind, and I can’t do anything to be there to see you.