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The bench was cold as you watched him disappear, and the coffee in your hands shivered like ice cubes before you pulled yourself from your stupor and headed to your car.
The sun had fallen from the sky, and the tears you realized you had been crying had frozen onto the cheeks of your face.
Driving home was an auto-piloted move. You didn’t remember anything until you pulled into the complex of your town-home, only to remember that you had mentioned to a nurse earlier that you needed to go grocery shopping.
So you pulled back out of your space and headed down the block.
You grabbed a random assortment of things, everything from basics to toiletries to random recipes that popped into your head.
But you had a random craving for Thai take-out, and you knew exactly what to order.
After getting home and unloading your groceries, you open yourself up a bottle of wine after ordering yourself an order of Tom Kha Kai and Khao Pad.
The last meal you had ever eaten with Sherlock.
You chugged your first glass of wine, desperate to erase the eyes of a man that you had wholly believed had forgotten about you, and you quickly sipped on the second one as you found yourself flopping onto your couch.
It wasn’t until you were steadying yourself to pour a third glass that you heard your doorbell ring.
Settling your glass down and meandering over your door, you grab the money set out on the side table as you throw open the door.
But the man standing before you wasn’t a delivery guy.
Staring through your alcohol-glazed eyes, your lips part in shock as Sherlock stares intently right at you.
“How do you-”
“I saw you at the grocery store,” Sherlock interrupts as his head bobs up and down with vigor. “You looked…quite downtrodden. And in a daze.”
Your fogged eyes slowly meander down his body before finding their way back up to his eyes.
Those studying eyes…
“Did you drive home in such a daze?” Sherlock asks.
But before you could answer, your stomach let out a piercing growl.
“I believe you might be in need of this,” Sherlock offers as he holds up the plastic bag full of food for you.
“How much do I owe you?” you ask as you take the bag from him and let it fall to your side.
“Three years,” Sherlock says.
The answer caught your attention as a bit of your pity-drunken haze begins to lift.
“But,” Sherlock interjects as you part your lips to speak, “I shall settle for some of your rice and a bit of your conversation.”
Stepping aside as his words rally in your head, you shut and lock your door as Sherlock studies your living quarters.
“You shouldn’t have to settle,” you blurt out as your eyes whip to his face.
His blank stare turned towards you as he sat his hips back onto the back of your couch.
“I never do,” he states coolly.
“Then why are you here?” you ask.
“You believe that, because I am here, I am settling,” he states.
“You could have…conversation…with anyone,” you shoot back.
“Is that what we are talking about?” Sherlock asks.
“Is what what we are talking about?” you ask as your face contorts in confusion.
“Conversation,” Sherlock answers.
“Yes…?” you question.
Your mind was whirling and you had lost track of your intended meanings to things.
But all Sherlock did was wait patiently until you could gather your thoughts.
“What I mean is, why are you here? You could be anywhere, with any number of people that I’m sure care for you greatly like I do.”
“Like you do,” Sherlock states.
“Did,” you correct.
But all Sherlock does is blink at you.
“Why are you here?” you ask, becoming flustered and frustrated.
“Because I saw you at the grocer’s and I wanted to make sure you were alright,” Sherlock states lowly.
“Well, I’m fine,” you state.
“I beg to differ,” Sherlock offers.
“I’ll be better once I eat,” you state.
“Same here,” Sherlock muses.
You got the distinct feeling that he was enjoying the banter more than he let on.
Scurrying past him as you make your way for your kitchen, you begin divvying up the rest of the wine and prepping him some rice in a bowl as you feel his eyes slowly carve deep circles into your back.
You knew first-hand of Sherlock’s incredible deduction skills, and you didn’t want to let on anymore than he had already seen.
But the feeling of watching him walk away was eating at your core, and you couldn’t not address it any longer.
“It hurt,” you start.
“What hurt?” Sherlock asks as he reaches for his glass of wine.
“Watching you walk away. It, uh…it hurt,” you breathe.
The silence that descended was deafening.
“I can’t imagine what it must have been like to wake up and just have me gone, if watching you walk away knowing I had no claim to you felt like it did.”
“I never had any claim on you, Y/N,” Sherlock says.
“You know what I mean,” you sigh.
And he did.
He knew exactly what you meant.
“I meant when I told you I was sorry,” you murmur lowly.
“I know,” Sherlock answers.
“Then why are you here?” you breathe as you turn towards him, “And don’t give me some crap about the grocery store and following me home.”
One thing he never gave you enough credit for was your ability to know when he was lying.
And as he locked his eyes onto yours, he took in a deep breath through his nose.
“It wasn’t a lie that I saw you at the store, nor was it a lie that I was worried about your mental state whilst you were there. But…”
You brought your wine glass to your lips as you wait for him to gather his thoughts.
“…seeing you in that hospital. It…reminded me. Of us. Of…things. Of happier times.”
“Are you not happy now?” you inquire.
“It is a different sort of happiness,” he remarks.
“And when you followed me home from the store…?” you trail off.
“I found myself wanting to make whatever it was that was bothering you better.”
The answer even shocked you.
“Really?” you smirk above your wine glass. “Sherlock Holmes wanted to save the damsel in distress?”
“You are no damsel. This entire situation is of your own doing. I merely wanted to make sure you were alright,” he counters.
“By being my knight in shining armor,” you tease.
“No,” he states.
“And showing up on my doorstep with all of the solutions to my problems,” you snark.
“Not at all,” Sherlock bites as he bobs his head.
“And scoop me in your arms and fly me away to a place where only the good times roll,” you playfully sigh.
“Well…” Sherlock drags out.
“Maybe not the last part,” he murmurs as he takes a sip of his wine.
Your joking demeanor quickly softened as you studied his posture.
He was vulnerable.
Sherlock was standing in your home, and he was vulnerable.
So, you knew exactly what do you.
“Still hungry?” you ask as you reach around and grab his bowl of rice.
“Most certainly,” he says as he takes it from you.
And the two of you sat on your couch and conversed for rest of the evening.