beauty consultation

Not only did I get to meet @ushiiwakas today for the first time, I also got to chat with the wonderfully talented @consulting-cannibal and thank her properly for this thing, which I of course love and treasure. Thank you for being so nice to someone so nervous, Scout!! <3

3

dorks

Beauty and The Consulting Criminal

A/N: So this is what my life has came to…writing a beauty and the beast AU because I live and breathe Jimstrade. Thank you to @adorablebadger for the inspiration and for the mental image of Greg in a dress….that’s never leaving my mind.

Okay so I’m starting a bit into the film and twisted it a bit so you know how it goes France, belle, Belles dad goes wandering, she finds him, does a swap, stays with the beast they fall in love sooo lets take it off where they are all happy and then Sherlock/gaston comes in to (almost) fuck it up.

I’ve not indicated if Greg is wearing a dress or not…I’m leaving that to your imagination 😉

———————

Jim bashfully looked up at Greg with a shy smile as he sat there happily reading a book at the dining table. Jim didn’t think these feeling were possible, for him anyway. He was falling for Greg more and more each day, as much as it petrified him it filled him with happiness at the same time.

But how could the person in front of him fall in love with a beast?

Jim swallowed hard and sadly sighed to himself. Greg heard and frowned “Is everything alright?” He asked in that sickly sweet voice that Jim wanted to listen to until the day he died. Jim felt a pressure on top of his hand and looked down finding Greg’s on top of his. The warmth from the contact ignited Jim’s body with hope, happiness and…love.

“Course it is” he reassured Greg with a smile and he went back to finishing reading. Greg looked up at Jim through his eyelashes and sent him an adoring smile but the beast didn’t notice. Jim didn’t notice a lot of things Greg did, he’d constantly praise Jim or say admiring things about him. There was that one time where he hit him in the face with balls…snowballs…after it had fell to the ground and left a soft, white blanket over the gardens.

Greg opened his mouth to say something before an uproar from outside caused the two to rise from their seats and look out from the castle windows at the crowd that had gathered, chanting for the blood of the beast and clutching into glowing orange torches. Greg worryingly grabbed onto Jim as his heart started to palpitate in his chest. He was worried, he was petrified, he loved Jim and didn’t want anything terrible to happen.

Admittedly at first Greg didn’t believe he could fall for such a monster but after spending time with Jim, Greg saw passed the façade and realised that Jim was a sweet, caring, lovable person.

Jim scanned the crowed and say the man who screamed that he was the one that was going to end the beast. Sherlock. He stood there with his smaller, goofy so called sidekick John. Jim turned to Greg with the heaviest of hearts “This isn’t your fight” he told Greg who’s eyes narrowed.

“I’m not leaving your side Jim” Greg stood his ground. Jim couldn’t let anything happen to the man he had fallen in love with so he locked him in a room whilst he went to Sherlock.

Greg screamed and pounded his fist against the door begging Jim to come back but it was too late. Greg rushed to the window, passing a wilting rose, finding Jim and Sherlock on the balcony just underneath where he was. Greg climbed down a vine and rushed to Jim’s side just as he tossed Sherlock. But Greg’s stomach dropped when he saw a trail of blood on the tiles “J-Jim?” He softly whispered out and fell to his knees beside the slowly dying beast.

“I’m sorry Greg” Jim weakly spoke out as his mouth started to dry.

“No, you don’t have to be…please just…Jim?” He asked with tears welling in his eyes “Jim wake up!” He frantically shook the lifeless beast in front of him in an attempt to wake him “Please Jim…I didn’t even tell you that…I love you” Greg buried his face into Jim’s furry chest while sobbing as his heart began to shatter.

That’s when the remarkable happened. The fur disappeared, Jim’s chest began to slowly rise up and down again and Greg could hear his heartbeat once again. Greg’s head snapped up and he watched Jim’s eyes flutter open. He was immensely handsome, it took Greg’s breath away.

“I love you too, Greg” Jim smiled and cupped Greg’s face before those lips crashed together. Tears of happiness welled in their eyes as they passionately pressed their lips together, melting into one another from the slightest of touches. “Uh…Greg?” Jim awkwardly choked out.

“Yeah?” Greg asked with concern laced in his voice.

“Can we continue kissing once I put some clothes on?” Jim asked with a laugh and Greg sat up off of him with his cheeks turning a bright shade of red.

“Course we can, you don’t even have to ask”.

The two had broken the curse the witch had placed on Jim, they married in the castle with all of the land watching as they proclaimed their love to one another and of course, they both lived happily ever after.

———————

(I’m tagging some people that I know want to read this 😁)

@jim-notdead-moriarty @adorablebadger @imayjustbejamesmoriarty

so.

I’ll start with the sad news first which is i ripped out my nose ring on accident while cleaning my face (a rarity tbh. i am ashamed but also depressed and stressed so i don’t care.) AND I COULDN’T FUCKING FIND THE INSIDE HOLE AND MY NOSE SWELLED UP LIKE A BALLOON. ANYWAY I GAVE UP AND THE FUCKING HOLE HEALED IN 8 HOUR

YES

8

HOURS

I HAD IT FOR SIX MONTHS AND I FEEL BETRAYED. 

jfc. i knew they healed quickly but FUCK I DIDN’T REALIZE HOW QUICKLY. 

moving on.

My good news is that I got the beauty consultant job at my work AND I AM SO PSYCHED. I hate WHERE I work because my managers…..well that’s another story for another time. 

But I’m happy that I got this job because I feel it will suit me perfectly. I’m hoping anyway. 

Buying expensive products!

A lot of the times we assume just because a product is expensive it is more likely to work or be of better quality. However this isn’t always the case, sometimes you’re just paying for the brand name sadly. When it comes to beauty products, because there are so many, it can become a little pricey. Not everyone would like all their make up high end and realistically not everyone can afford to do that. I certainly can’t.

So I thought I’d make a post on what do when considering an expensive product.

10 things to consider before buying something expensive…

1) Research. Look at this product you’re getting. Is it worth it? Especially skincare related and foundations and such. Does it contain something that may irritate you? Is it for your skin type? I can’t stress enough how essential that is. Spending £40 on a small product that won’t work for you? That’s not okay, my dearies.

2) Reviews. Reviews are the most reliable things to go off. What have people said? Are most of the reviews positive? I personally try read all reviews and I most definitely take the bad ones in to account. Look at pros and cons.

3) Do not be phased by YouTubers. As brutally honest as I can be, half the time they’re being sponsored to say good things about products. Look at blogs, youtubers that show you a before and after difference. (Again referring to skincare, and more facial stuff) Look for proof!

4) Discount codes and sales. Wait a while don’t blow all your money on makeup as much as you want to. Being an English student I’ve got many books to pay for and other necessities. Sites such as BeautyBay and FeelUnique always have sales.

5) Try the product. Or swatch it. Go to a beauty counter and look for the product. This is more related to foundation colours and lipstick colours. Does that lipstick wash you out? Is that foundation too light or dark? Is it for your skin type?

6) Relating to number 5, ask a beauty consultant. Yes this is scary, I’m very shy myself. But go for it. Go when it’s quiet when they’re practically bothering people. They know the products like the back of their hands. Explain your situation or event and they’ll help. (For foundations they’ll give a small tester you can use, perfect before buying a product. I know dior does this, but asking someone never hurt you)

7) Look around. I can’t stress this enough. There are so many products to select from. You don’t have to rush because that product is being hyped. Especially if you’re a student or can’t be blowing money like a billionaire.

8) Need or want? Do you really need this product? I understand lipstick collections and such. Trust me I’m obsessed. But if this is different ask yourself ‘Are you buying this product cos you need it or want it?’

9) Is there an alternative? A dupe perhaps, that does the exact same thing and gives the same results but at a lower price? 

10) Lastly, do you have a product way to similar? I do this way too much. Buy something I practically already have. Bad habits die hard. So those are my 10 tips for buying expensive products you haven’t bought before. Hope they help you out or make you more cautious. 

In no way am I hating, but if you have been saving up for something and it disappoints you, you’d be upset by that. Here’s what I do before buying something I haven’t bought before. 

Side note -

This is a different post but a needed post. Thank you for the continuous support I’ve been getting. It means so much idek how to word it. Make sure to like, comment, reblog or something LOL. I’m open to criticism. 

- A xoxo

Giving Chase

‘Molly!’

Holding her voluminous skirts up, Molly ignored the desperate shout behind her and pressed on. Her bare feet slapped the pavement and she ignored the blatant stares of passerby gawking at the teary, muddied bride running down the London street.

A black car screeched to a stop at the corner in front of her.

Molly gasped and stumbled to a halt. The back window rolled down and revealed the face of a stoic Mycroft.

‘Miss Hooper, please get in. I believe there has been a misunder-’

His words were drowned out by a woman’s angry shout behind her.

Wide eyed and confused, Molly looked back over her shoulder. People were being shoved left and right as Sherlock bounded after her, his morning suit disheveled and the bowtie undone.

She looked back at Mycroft.

Her face must have given her away her intentions. The sound of his door opening coincided with the swish of her skirts as she turned and bolted away from both brothers. Mycroft’s curse rang in her ears as she darted through the crowd.

Where she was going, she didn’t know. But she knew she had to get away.

She couldn’t, she wouldn’t, marry a man who didn’t love her.

She wouldn’t marry Sherlock Holmes.

oOo

Three Months Previously

Sherlock burst into the lab with his usual aplomb. ‘Molly, I require your hand.’

Wrinkling her nose as she peered through the microscope, Molly put her experimental thoughts on hold and mentally ran through their inventory.

‘I can give you a left hand of a 44-year-old man. But we’re a bit short on appendages this week.’

When he didn’t acknowledge her offering, she looked over at the door and drew back in surprise to find him looming over her.

‘I require your hand,’ he clarified with a distinct sigh of frustration.

Molly looked at her hand then back at him and smiled cheekily. ‘Sorry, Sherlock. But I’m not quite done with it yet.’

He rolled his eyes. ‘Don’t make jokes, Molly.’

Hurt flashed through her and her smile dropped.

‘No, no, wait,’ Sherlock sighed and ran his hand through his hair. ‘I just meant right now, don’t make jokes now. Not when I’m trying to be serious and propose.’

Instantly, Molly froze.

‘I-I-I’m sorry,’ she forced a laugh. ‘I thought you just said-’

‘Propose. Yes.’ It wasn’t until he held an open velvet box under her nose, a beautiful diamond ring, classy and simply, just what she’d always imagined adorning the finger of her left hand, that it sunk in.

What followed was nearly two hours of back and forth between a dubious Molly and an exasperated Sherlock. Eventually, worn down from all his logical reasons, Molly accepted his suit.

But it was with a heavy heart that she slipped the ring on her own finger as Sherlock left in his usual abrupt fashion.

She loved Sherlock. He… cared for her.

That was all that she needed.

Right?

oOo

Present Day

It was only by a stroke of luck… or divine intervention… that Molly was able to lose her tails. She’d ducked into a shop and the Holmes brothers, expecting her to dart out the back, had passed her hiding spot behind the counter of the friendly old woman. While they scrambled to deduce where she’d gone, Molly had rushed out the way she’d come and slipped away in a passing cab.

The sweet, older cabbie had taken one look at his passenger, her torn and dirtied wedding gown and tear-stained cheeks, and quietly turned off the meter.

‘Need to be alone for a bit, love?’

Molly sniffed and wiped her face. ‘Know a place? Somewhere even the British government couldn’t find me?’

His wrinkled brow furrowed for a moment before he smiled. ‘I know just the place.’

oOo

It took him three hours to track her down.

Three hours of mind-numbing panic and heartache.

He had finally accepted love as a strength and he wasn’t about to let it slip away because of his own stupid mistake. The only person that made pursuing what he once considered a weakness worthwhile was hurting and it was his fault.

A cabbie, one of his network, had texted him hours after he’d dropped the runaway bride off. In addition to the address of an old estate on the edge of London, the old man had added a stern admonition.

You don’t deserve her, Mr Holmes. But she loves you fiercely and deserves to be loved as fiercely in return. Cherish her.

Sherlock’s hands were shaking and his heart pounding as he walked down the garden path. Little solar lights lit the cobblestone pathway leading him toward the willow tree by a small lake. The moonlight shimmered across the water and he could make out Molly’s silhouetted profile in between the hanging branches, sitting on the bench swing. Her elegant updo had come undone and her hair hung in loose curls down her back. The dress, the beautiful lace dress that hugged all her perfectly proportional curves in all the right places, brushed the ground in a gentle whisper as she swayed back and forth.

He accidentally kicked a few stones and she turned toward the sound.

The tear tracks on her face punched him in the gut. She didn’t seem surprised to seem him. Just overwhelmingly sad.

He had to fix this.

Closing the distance between them, he knelt in front of her and took her hands in his.

‘Sherlock, please, just go-’ She couldn’t finish as a tired sob bubbled out and a fresh wave of tears coursed down her cheeks.

‘Molly, there is something I need to say. Before you write me off, will you let me explain?’ He waited for her nod, albeit reluctantly, before he continued. ‘I went about this completely the wrong way. I let my mind speak for my heart and I neglected to tell you the most important reason why we should marry.’

He let go of her right hand and reached up to thumb away the tears from her cheek. Her eyes watched him warily, hopefully.

‘I foolishly thought all the logical reasons would be enough to convince you of my desire to marry you. But they weren’t. Nor should they be.’ He took a deep breath. ‘I want to marry you because you are the love of my life, Molly Hooper. I love you. So utterly and completely that before I realised it, you had stolen my heart from me.’

He reached into the inner pocket of his morning suit and pulled out three rings. Their wedding bands and her engagement ring. He held out the diamond and looked at her with all the love and adoration he felt. ‘Will you accept me as your husband? Allow me to love you, protect you, share a life with you? Have beautiful, brown-eyed brilliant Consulting Pathologists with you?’

oOo

What?

What?

Molly gaped down at the love of her life, on bended knee, asking her in the most romantic way to marry him, to build a family and a life with him. She searched for any sign of deception, but couldn’t find any. Just love.

Yes.

Say yes!

Tears filled her eyes again, but this time of happiness, and she nodded her head. She could only keep nodding as Sherlock beamed and slid the ring on her finger.

He stood and pulled her to her feet. Her arms slid around his waist and she tilted her head back to look up at him. ‘I love you, too. But you already knew that, didn’t you.’

‘I did. But it is reassuring to hear.’ Sherlock smiled. He took a moment to wipe away the remnants of her tears and admire the beauty of her smile before bending down to brush his lips against hers. Pulling back, their breaths mingling, he whispered once more, ‘I love you.’

Molly closed her eyes and smiled. ‘I’ll never tire of hearing that.’

Sherlock pulled her closer and rested his forehead against hers.

‘And I’ll never tire of saying it.’

Break Even (a Sherlock Mini Bang presentation) by Inchells and Burning_Up_A_Sun

For the second time in his life, Doctor John Watson’s future changed in a split second. The first time, a bullet ripped through his left shoulder, ending his career as a soldier doctor. The hospital patched him up and sent him back to civilian life. The second time ripped his heart, watching his best friend plummet from the roof of Saint Bartholomew’s. No hospital could heal Sherlock, or patch John up and send him back to his life. Two people died that day; it’s just that one still walked the streets.

The graveside funeral, Mrs. Hudson holding him up. Mycroft dropping a handful of earth onto the elegant, hand-carved coffin. Sherlock would have hated it. All that money to lie unseen in the ground. He was more the “cremate me and scatter my ashes off the London Eye.” For a month, John sat in their flat contemplating the merits of coffins versus Ferris wheels. In the second month, he switched to contemplating rooftop versus Sig Sauer. By the third month, he’d decided. His gun was the better choice.

“John Watson!” Mrs. Hudson snapped, standing in the doorway. She’d stomped up the 17 stairs, slammed open the door and called his name, but he hadn’t heard. John stared at the Sig in his lap. Mrs. Hudson wrestled it away from him; shamefully, she took him in one move.

“John, this isn’t good. Sherlock wouldn’t have wanted this for you,” she said, looking at his gun in her hand.

“We’ll never really know what he would have wanted, will we?” He mocked her, too hurt to even be kind.

“I love you both, and I always will, but you can not go on here.” She drew the ottoman next to him and looked in his eyes. “Move out.”

“What. The. Fuck?”



Her best withering stare told him to watch his language. “You can’t live with a ghost and not become a ghost. Life is for the living, John. Mrs. Mulroney owns 224, caddy-corner from here. She just renovated because of some damage from the bomb before Sherl…” The last flat would be John’s if he wanted it. It was only one bedroom and wouldn’t fit everything from this home, but it would be a fresh start.

“Thank you Mrs. Hudson,” he mustered the strength to hug her before she left. “I’ll follow up tomorrow.” He almost meant it.

~ ~ ~

After 8 hours at the clinic the next day, John focused on his two interests as he walked home: Need beer. Want my gun. Maybe tonight would be the night he manned up and ended his pain because the alcohol wasn’t working any more.

“Dr. Watson! Happy to see you! Did you come to look at the flat?” A woman’s voice, rough from years of whiskey and unfiltered cigarettes, greeted him. She stopped sweeping her sidewalk. Landlady then. What was her name? Mulligan? Mooney? Mulroney. Impossibly old but still arresting. He could see the 1940’s beauty under the white hair and red lipstick, the same outrageous shade as her dress.


“Yes, I was,” he lied, knowing the beer, the gun and the ghost at home held more allure than a new start ever would.

Mrs. Mulroney’s building had suffered collateral damage from Moriarty’s “Carl Powers” bomb that was the beginning of The End. Instead of a vacation, she actually used the insurance money on repairing the building. John smelled paint and pine lumber and sheet rock dust in the lobby. The lift took them to flat D.

As Mrs. Hudson warned, the flat was significantly smaller than their–his–current flat. The living area would allow a love seat and possibly an arm chair. Not much more. It led to an open kitchen–light and bright with the late afternoon streaming through the window landing where a bistro table could go. He saw himself relaxing there, working the crossword puzzle and sipping his tea. He walked down the short hallway to the only bedroom. Standing in the doorway, he imagined a new bed–maybe he would just leave everything behind. Start new. And that oversized window–a luxury in a bedroom in the city. Something about sunlight pouring through that window lifted his spirit. For the first time in three months, he felt something stronger than the call of the Sig Sauer.

“Well, this could be very nice. Very nice indeed,” he said to his new landlady, who had a swath of construction dust on her backside. “I’ll take it.” They agreed on a ‘sooner rather than later’ date, and because Mrs. Hudson recommended the Doctor so highly (and it never hurts to have a doctor in the building), Mrs. Mulroney agreed to forego the deposits and credit checks. This weekend, Doctor John Watson would try to leave his past behind.

~ ~ ~

Late Sunday afternoon, when he could find no more excuses, John packed what was his; it filled few boxes, and he couldn’t bare to take many of Sherlock’s things. The violin. His favorite blue silk dressing gown. The Union Jack pillow. That was all. The rest Mycroft could deal with. John had no stomach for sorting through the books, the science equipment, and really, not the fridge. He gathered the files and random case notes from their adventures. Maybe at some point in the future, he would write about Sherlock, when he could say the name and not feel pain in his soul.

Mrs. Hudson refused John’s keys for the building’s front door as he left. “This will always be your home. He loved you, you know. I saw it on his face every day.” She stepped back and took his face in her hands. “Do not waste a day you have left, wallowing in loss. Live in his honor.”

She hugged him and John wiped her tear-stained face with his thumb. He closed the door on his life with Sherlock and 221.

Late Sunday afternoon, John stood in the doorway of 224D, his mouth agape. A furnished flat greeted him. He wandered through his new home–couch suitable for laying against and napping. A flat screen TV over the fireplace. Stocked kitchen cabinets. A refrigerator that held no body parts but actual food. Comfortable bedroom with filled linen closet. John’s phone jangled its text message alert. “I have taken liberties—MH.” John never doubted who was responsible. For once, he thanked Mycroft Holmes instead of cursing him.


He rattled around, storing his clothes in the bureau and closet, trying to avoid the overwhelming silence. He switched on the telly but without Sherlock’s snarky comments, it provided no relief. This beautiful flat. His beautiful new flat. It was missing one thing. One sarcastic, obnoxious, brilliant, irritating, beautiful, consulting detective thing.

This night, he allowed himself to acknowledge the truth. He had loved Sherlock. Was in love with Sherlock.

When his best friend lay dead on the pavement and John begged him to live. When his best friend lay in the ground and John begged him to stop it, just stop this. All those times he insisted, “I’m not actually gay…We’re not a couple…He’s not my date…” he should have followed the song in his soul, of happiness and contentment and laughter. But now, it was too late.

He went to bed and attempted to ignore the lullaby of alcohol and guns and hanging by scarf. When he finally fell asleep, he dreamed he screamed 'I love you’ as Sherlock’s body crashed against the sidewalk. Over and over.

~ ~ ~

After the wretched night’s sleep, John knew he had to change. He couldn’t take the silence again. The clinic piped music into the exam rooms; maybe music would ease the deafening silence in the flat. It wasn’t all dreck like Sherlock had claimed. He stopped at a shop after work and purchased a radio/iPod player. John found the one spot in the flat that allowed him to hear the music the best. The Bose took its new home on the end table in the living room.

Music played almost every minute John was home. He played it during morning tea and while he prepared dinner. When he folded his laundry or dusted his tidy bookshelves and empty coffee table. He listened to almost any music, but rule 1: this radio would never. Ever. Play classical music. Not Vivaldi. Or Beethoven. Especially not Bach.

The music brightened the days at work and at home. He sang with the piped in music; to the delight of his colleagues, his voice was pleasant, deep and most importantly, on key. They complimented and encouraged him. Some evenings, he even let them convince him to go to Karaoke night with 'the gang’. It was enjoyable and helped John forget. And beat the hell out of staying home.

Toward the end of a particularly long and busy shift, John took a deep breath and entered the exam room.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Salisbury. How are you this fine afternoon?” Dr. Watson asked, willing this to go well and quickly. Mr. Salisbury was a frequent flier. Lonely and alone, he came to the clinic every few weeks with a new complaint.

“Well, Doc, if I were fine, I wouldn’t be here, now would I?” He launched into a list of complaints, which John knew from experience would take no fewer than 10 minutes. Standing at the examination table, he pretended to listen, instead focusing on the background music.

I’m still alive but I’m barely breathing
Just praying to a God that I don’t believe in
'Cause I got time while she got freedom
'Cause when a heart breaks, no, it don’t break even…

…What am I suppose to do when the best part of me was always you?
And what am I supposed to say when I’m all choked up and you’re okay?

John stumbled to the chair and collapsed, straining to hear to the lyrics. Every ounce of loss and love for Sherlock washed back over him.

“Are you listening to me, Dr. Watson? I think you’re not listening,” Salisbury nagged, and continued his colorful description of his hacking, productive cough as John staggered out of the room. He found the clinic director and mumbled something about nausea, grabbed his coat and stumbled out. He walked blindly past the Tube station as he tried to google the song on his iPhone, but he had been too overwhelmed by the emotion to remember the lyrics.

When he got home, he flipped on the laptop. While he waited, John put the kettle on. His cup of tea shook as he tried to remember any lyrics he could. Google led him to YouTube, which led him to The Script. He listened to the song over and over, sobbing for Sherlock and lost love and forfeited opportunities.

“You amazing arse. I’m still chasing you, and you’re not even here,” John scrubbed his face with the heel of his hands. He was done crying.

That night as he tried to sleep, John thought about the man he loved. The ginger brown hair with the unruly curls. What would the have felt like under his fingers? Stroking the sharp cheekbones. Tracing the cupid’s bow lips with his fingers.

Not for the first time, John gave in to more intimate thoughts of time they could have spent together. His cock pushed insistently at the cotton pants, but that was it, wasn’t it. He could wank to a memory or get on with life. John rolled over, punched the pillows, and ignored his nagging body. He fell into a troubled sleep of falling bodies and gravestones and rain and music. He awoke exhausted but ready to go back to work. At least his face looked like he hadn’t lied about being ill.

As he left his building to head to the Tube, John said, “Mrs. Hudson, you said I couldn’t live with a ghost and not become one. That I needed to live. You were right. As usual.” He saluted her building and plugged himself into his iPhone. Today it would be Cabin Pressure radio episodes instead of music. Something to laugh by.

~ ~ ~

In accordance with his new decisions to live his life, John dated. Although no one would ever be Sherlock, John invited women out for dinner and dancing, and hopefully, some enthusiastic shagging. It always started off well. Flirting. A cuddle in a restaurant booth. Home to his. No one to intrude or insist that John were needed elsewhere. The first few dates were fine.

He vented to Lestrade at one of their weekly pub nights. “They want to 'know me’… 'Know’ my soul,” John said, accenting his rant with air quotes. “They want to 'feel’ my pain. 'Heal' my pain. All I want is a good shag.” He wanted a companion, a friend. With benefits. Not a life partner.

~ ~ ~
On the first anniversary of his best friend’s passing, John stood at the pub with Greg and pounded back beer after beer, drowning his thoughts while telling funny stories. When they parted at midnight, Greg went home, but John found another pub, which had karaoke night.

'Cause he’s moved on while I’m still grieving
And when a heart breaks, no, it don’t break even…

The next morning, John woke up on the floor of his flat. He’d finally passed out wrapped in his best friend’s blue silk dressing gown with the navy cashmere scarf around his neck. He assumed, from the damp patch of the scarf, that there had been tears. And plenty of them. When he could think without it hurting, John resolved again–the tears had to stop. Sherlock was gone. Twelve months gone. He peeled himself off the floor, folded the robe and scarf and packed them away on the top shelf of the closet.

Maybe twelve months was a healing mark, John thought. He casually dated. Met Lestrade for pub night each week. Pasted on a smile at work. Saw patients. Joined the lunch chats. At home, he gave in to his frown, saw no one, listened to BBC radio, ate when he was hungry and went to bed. The days turned into weeks into months, until one day John realized the he looked forward to the “forced” lunch conversations. His coworkers were fun and funny. Drinks out on Friday nights. Karaoke nights. Groups of friends were okay. A group was good.

He never spoke of Sherlock or his blog at work. Since he no longer posted, John saw no need to discuss it and no one asked. He was completely shocked when he received a private message.

Dr. Watson,

I am a huge fan of Mr. Holmes’ work and all that you both achieved. As you can see from my email address, I write for the Hampshire Hot Spot. To be honest, I rewrite press releases and cover rich women’s social events. But I am a proper writer, with a college degree from the U. of Georgia in the US. If you ever decide to write about Mr. Holmes or the cases you solved, I’d be happy to ghost write or even, dare I say, co-write with you.

With Warmest Regards,
Mary Morstan

At first, John dismissed her as another hanger-on, but the young lady (and he did mean young. According to the website, she was under 30) presented several great ideas and had publishing contacts. He agreed to meet her at Speedy’s for coffee. It would only take a few minutes to figure out if she were a nutter.

John waited for her at that first meeting. And waited. And fumed. He checked his phone for messages. 'Too much technology exists for people to be late and not let someone know,’ he thought, and checked his phone again. After 45 minutes, John paid for his coffees and had made it as far as the sidewalk when he was almost knocked over by a whirlwind in a skirt and heels. It was only Mary’s most earnest apologies that stopped him from telling her off and leaving.


“I am truly sorry,” she said as she bought coffee for John and herself. She seemed sincere. “No matter how early I leave, I am just one of those people who is always late,” she said with a laugh. Quite a nice smile. Wide and warm and it reached her eyes. With John mollified, she launched into her life story–Semester abroad in London from an American college and moved to England as soon as she graduated. Five years here now. 

John did not want to like her. She had been late, dammit. But she still had that southern drawl. And she was blonde, and hot, and funny. And full of life–something he had been looking for. And hot.

They met several times more to discuss writing a Sherlock Holmes case book, detailing the man and his abilities. Each time, they spoke less about the book and more about themselves. She’d leave with a peck on the cheek, a quick hug but no lingering touches. John hesitated to suggest anything more. Yet each time they parted, he thought more about her, her laugh, her touch, and less about the work.

John spent his days at the clinic, laughing with his colleagues. He spent his evenings either with them, or writing his manuscript, or meeting with Mary to discuss the writing. He laughed more and sang more, and each day grieved for Sherlock less. When he realized the anniversary of Sherlock’s passing was near, John emailed Mary.

Hi Mary,
I hope this won’t seem too forward. I’ve enjoyed the time we’ve spent chatting. Thursday is the second anniversary of Sherlock’s death, and I was wondering

Just. No. That sounded more pitiful than hopeful. Thank God for delete keys.

Dear Mary,
Although we’ve met several times, we’ve never actually shared a meal. I was wondering

“Seriously? Am I 15?” Delete. Delete. Delete.

Dear Mary,
Instead of coffee, would you like to go to dinner with me on Thursday? I know a wonderful restaurant around the corner from Baker Street. The food is excellent, and it’s quiet enough to chat. Later in the evenings, there’s a band if you’d like to dance.
~~John

John,
Love to! I’m off Friday. If I could kip on your sofa, we wouldn’t even need to worry about how much we drank!
~M.

He couldn’t have expected a more promising response! And maybe 'sofa’ was a euphemism for shag. He needed one too. His left arm was tired. A nice dinner, maybe a walk, some conversation. She was already planning on staying the night. Maybe she would agree that his bed would be more comfortable than the couch. He was too old for her to be interested beyond a one-time shag, but for the love of God, he was Three Continents Watson. He had a certain skill that kept the women happy.

“What do you think, Sherlock?” John asked the flat as he readied to meet Mary. “I look alright. Even you would have to agree…not even wearing a jumper!” he said, as he locked the door and left for their 7:30:203

The Thai fusion restaurant offered upscale dining with quiet atmosphere for those who wished to chat during their meal. Before 7:30 the hostess escorted John to his table where he awaited Mary’s arrival.

John played his new favorite game, “What Time Will Mary Show?” She averaged 20 minutes late. Because it was a proper date, he guessed 7:45. Fifteen minutes late seemed right. He sipped his water, deciding to order the wine when Mary arrived. While he waited, he deduced the other guests in the restaurant. He had picked up a lot of pointers from Sherlock– what to look for, how to observe.

Worn down heels on sensible black shoes; bloke’s either a police officer or a postal delivery person. Didn’t carry himself like an officer though, and paid no attention to surroundings. Postal worker then. Young woman with hair curled and sprayed, dress not too fancy but not casual. Right hand touched her date at every chance she got. He moved in closer. Lovers on a tryst? No…the white spot on her left shoulder gave them away as new parents who hired a sitter and got out for a night of dinner–and possibly whatever John hoped for, too.

Couple at the next table. John immediately noticed their hair. Both were impossibly blonde– the honey blonde from California or Florida travel brochures and impossibly tanned for June in London. Americans or just returned from the tropics? Judging from her husband’s tanned hands (wedding rings), John thought vacation. Sherlock would have deduced whether it had been Ibiza or Honolulu or the Bahamas by the angle of tan on the forearm or something equally as ridiculous.



The woman caught John’s attention. Certainly beautiful, but she seemed familiar to him. From the clinic today? The sinus infection? The pregnancy scare? He felt like he knew her, that he should recognize her. John closed his eyes and used one of Sherlock’s memory tricks; he tried to associate a scent, or a sound, or a location with her. Smoke. Why smoke? Had he seen any smoke inhalation patients?

Twenty minutes gone, and Mary still hadn’t shown. No text or voicemail. He hoped that maybe he and Mary might make a go of this –she was intelligent and clever and wove great stories to make him laugh, but this inability to be on time could be a deal breaker.

The man had the longest, most delicate fingers John had ever seen. Like a surgeon’s or a Pianist. They looked soft. Were they calloused on the finger pads like a musician’s? His hair looked more Los Angeles and a shade longer than fashionable for London men these days.

The husband and wife had their heads together, whispering. Sherlock always said that whispering was worth straining to hear…John caught the word 'gun’ but Mary arrived, amid her usual stream of apologies. John stood, kissed her cheek and offered her his chair, choosing the one closer to the couple at the next table.

Mary reached for his hand and laid hers over it, apologizing yet again in her sultry, southern drawl. She leaned in, and said quietly, “Are you deducing again?” John nodded and with his eyes, pointed to his right. She kept her head close to his and her voice low. Her warm breath on his neck, on his ear, brought him back to them and tonight.

John leaned in closer, his cheek touching hers, to look like they were nuzzling instead of whispering. Maybe actually nuzzling would be a good idea.

“Do you think they’re Hollywood?” she asked. “They look like movie stars!”

“She looks really familiar to me, like I know her,” John said, his face creased in thought. “She must have been a patient. I’ll be right back.” Before Mary could tell him how monumentally intrusive (and stupid) it was, John walked up to the table and introduced himself.

“I beg your pardon and hope you’ll forgive the intrusion. I’m Dr. John Watson. I work at a clinic near St. Bart’s. You look so familiar, but I can’t place you. Did I see you at the clinic this week?” John tried for 'genuinely earnest’ instead of 'creepy stalker.’ He hoped it was working.

“It’s no intrusion at all! Jennifer Cabrarra and my husband Christopher,” the woman said, extending her hand to the doctor. Her American accent was ridiculously thick, making their names sound like Jen-uh-fuh and Chris-ta-fuh. New York? “We just landed today. You guys are all so nice here in London. In New York, no one would even make eye contact let alone come up to your table and say hi.” New Yawk. John cringed at the accent.

“My apologies, madam,” he said. He turned to the gentleman, who’d angled his face down and away as John had come to the table. John extended his hand to the man, almost certain now that was a movie star. “Dr John Watson. I apologize again for interrupting your evening.”

“Never a problem,” the voice said thick with same accent as hers. It sounded more like “Neva uh problim.” For some reason, John had expected the man’s voice to be deep and gruff, but it was higher, less than memorable. He shook John’s hand, but never looked up. His too long fringe hung over his face, partially obscuring his eyes.

“I really must ask, now that I’ve already intruded,” John pushed, tilting his head to try to get a better look. “Are you an American movie star? My date and I have a bet. I–” John stopped.

Dead.

“Oh my God. Sherlock. It’s you.”

“What are you’re talking about,” the man asked, his brown eyes staring into John’s.

“Oh. My. Fucking. God. Sherlock. I lived with you for a year and a half. I know how your face moves. How your eyes look, even if you have colored contact lenses in.” It took all John had to stay upright as his knees buckled.

“Would you keep your voice down?” the man demanded in a thick New York accent. “First, we’re in a nice restaurant trying to eat. Second, I don’t really want anyone to know I’m here.”
“I can’t fucking believe you’re alive. Two years.” He turned to the woman. “And you. Of course…you’re Irene Adler. Of course…Smoke.” He laughed humorlessly as the two thoughts connected. “Is that what this was all about? You faked your death so you could find her and get married?”

“What are you talking about?” Cabrerra asked. John realized how ridiculous their bleached blonde hair, and their tans and thick accents were.

'Cause he’s moved on while I’m still grieving
And when a heart breaks no it don’t break even

“Dr. Watson, can I talk to you in private,” Cabrerra said, pulling John by the elbow toward the corridor near the bathrooms. “Listen to me. If I were this Sherlock Holmes you knew, would I do this?” Still holding onto Watson’s elbow, the man moved closer and leaned down. His lips tentatively met John’s and when John didn’t pull away, he parted his lips slightly, and traced John’s bottom lip with his tongue. John knew, in that moment, what Sherlock was saying. That he was home.

John pulled away and looked into the man’s brown eyes. “If I were the John Watson you knew, would I do this?” He threw a punch, almost shattering Sherlock’s left cheekbone, but definitely breaking his nose. Sherlock collapsed to the floor and the momentum of the follow-through landed John on top of him.

“Why did you choose her over me, Sherlock,” John pummeled Sherlock’s too thin body with his fists. “And why did you lie to me. You could have just told me.”

Sherlock held John’s head to his chest, allowing the punches to still land, while he tried to explain quickly. “Moriarty put a price on your head: my death for your life. I faked my death so I could hunt down Moriarty’s snipers. Irene owed me her life, and I forced her to help me. There’s one last sniper in London. Then Irene will be gone, and I’ll be back. If you’ll have me.” His voice trailed off, knowing John would never allow him back.

Sherlock released his hold on John and tried to stand up. John looked into the eyes he’d dreamed of for two years. “Come home.” And with a sweet kiss to his best friend’s lips, he told Sherlock about love and dreams and a future together.

A slow clap echoed through the bathroom corridor. “Congratulations,” a female voice sneered. European accent. John looked over his shoulder, and saw Mary Morstan walking toward them. “Lovers. How nice. How about some Romeo and Juliet, my friends?”

“Did she tell you she was a reporter, John? From Georgia?” Sherlock taunted as he scrabbled to stand. “She’s no southern belle. She is Moriarty’s last sniper, trained on you.”

As Sherlock spoke, Mary withdrew her knife from her ankle sheath. She aimed for Sherlock’s throat but the knife struck his right shoulder when Sherlock shifted. Thinking only to protect Sherlock, John reached toward the back of his waistband, drawing his Sig. Without hesitation and too fast to think, he shot the sniper through the heart. Clean shot. She crumpled to the floor. He turned back to Sherlock, to examine the knife wound and the broken nose, to touch his love, to reassure himself Sherlock was still there.


To no one’s surprise, Mycroft Holmes appeared in the corridor. “I have already contacted Lestrade about this unfortunate incident and have asked him to expedite an ambulance,” he announced, with little worry and no surprise. “Thankfully you brought your gun, John.”

“Where is she?” Sherlock asked, his voice strained from pain.

“Gone,” Mycroft answered. “Her survival instincts compelled her to run before the police arrived. I have no doubt that she is in a flea ridden motel somewhere with a bottle of hair dye and colored contact lenses. And Sherlock… honey blonde? You are not a Spring,” Mycroft sniffed with distaste. “You would have been better with a chestnut ginger, something closer to the Winter that you are.” With that, he returned to the dining area to await the police.

“Are you alright? In much pain? I really don’t want to pull the knife out, baby. I don’t have any of the proper supplies,” John rambled as his fingers gently explored the wound.

“John,” Sherlock’s face seemed paler, more tired, deeply lined. From the wound or from the two years? “Please forgive me. What I did…how I hurt you…was unforgivable. I know that. I…”

John kissed Sherlock’s cheek lightly, avoiding his injuries. Tonight would be spent in the A&E without doubt. But together. They would be together.

“Shhh. You’re still alive. You’re breathing. I prayed to God so many times for this. Nothing else matters now. I promise.”