The Unseen Factor

John and Ivy

John's days had begun to blur together since Sherlock's death. Get up, dressed, coffee, go to work, sleep it cycled over and over. Work was dull but it paid the bills. Honestly he was not sure how much longer he could continue his dull thankless existence.

How sad it must appear if other people truly knew his state of mind. He could survive the cruelties of war where hundreds of men die on a regular basis, but the death of one man in London he. . .

He could not bare it.

Over the past two months John began collecting pills; ones that were dropped, lost or forgotten, nothing that would be truly missed. He now had quite a collection that would do the job when the monotony became too much.

Today was his day off and John decided to go out for coffee just to get out of the flat. Before he could sip his coffee he collided into another person.

"I'm so sorry sir!" The young woman said trying to soak up the remnants of coffee from John's shirt despite the fact that most of the coffee had landed on her. She seemed very nervous. "Are you alright?"

As the woman tried to clean up the mess John was able to observe her. She was youngish, looking fresh out of school with fair skin and natural blond hair that was kept in a messy side bun, much like how Molly often did her hair, from which John could see she stuck a pencil in it. Her features were slightly angular which were offset but the oval spectacles she had perched on her nose.

"Please, I'm fine." John insisted hoping she the woman would stop. "Really, I am."

"Not burned or anything?" She asked looking at him with uncertainty.

"Not burned or anything," John offered a feeble smile. He was not sure how successful it was in alleviating the woman's nervousness. He remembered how he could easily fall into some conversation with any woman; it would have been at this point that the woman would have given him her number after they laughed and joked at the situation. But John seemed to have lost that ability after his friend's death.

"Hi," She said suddenly holding out her hand snapping John out of his thoughts; she looked like she did not know what else to do. "I'm Ivy Meshle and this has to be the strangest way to meet a person."

John shook her hand to show her no harm was done and he could not help but smile. "John Watson."

"Could I get you another cup?" Ivy asked nervously.

"Would it put you at ease if I said 'yes'?" John asked.

"Absolutely." She blurted out. She was already searching out her purse for change.

Soon enough Ivy and John both had another cup of coffee and were walking down the street talking.

"Dr. Ragostin is a good employer. He basically gives me the run of the office when he's not there." Ivy said before taking another sip. "Which is a lot, come to think of it."

"You don't get overwhelmed?" John asked. "It sounds like you practically work alone."

"Sometimes I do." She confessed with a small smile. "But he taught me very well. Right now we have been hired to find a family heirloom of a war memento from the Crimean War."

"What's the memento?"

"A bullet-riddled leg-bone signed by the field doctor who had amputated it." Ivy said and John just gaped at her. She raised her hands in mock surrender."I've learned not to question people in regards to their sentimentality towards their things; especially the unusual objects."

"I won't argue with that." John chuckled then stopped. He had laughed and he had meant it; it felt a little odd since he had not done that in what seemed like an eternity. Suddenly all the times he laughed with Sherlock came flooding into his mind.

"You alright?" Ivy asked when she noticed John had become somber. "Something I said?"

"No, it''s been awhile since I've had a good time." John explained as best he could.

"I see," Ivy said nervously but her face showed that she did not. She looked at John thoughtfully biting her lower lip thinking about what to say next."Have you ever heard the phrase 'memento mori'?"

"No," John answered honestly.

"It's a Latin phrase roughly translated 'Remember that you must die'." She explained.

"That's a bit morbid." He remarked not knowing where Ivy was going with it.

"Dates back to the Medieval era and quite popular." Ivy smiled. "Dr. Ragostin explained to me that it's not as morbid as it sounds. It was a way to remind people that this life will end but we should not forget to live it. As Dr. Ragostin says 'Memento vivere', which roughly translates to 'Remember to live'."

John looked at her dumbly, not sure what to say. When Ivy saw how John was looking at her she turned red.

"There I go again!" She laughed nervously. "Dr. Ragostin says that I ramble too much. Sorry."

"No, it's alright." John assured the girl adding a smile. "It's an interesting fact."

Ivy smiled at John and was about to say something else but her phone rang. She quickly looked at the text she received.

"Duty calls," She announced putting away her phone. "It was a pleasure meeting you John."

John smiled again as they shook hands. "Thank you for the coffee."

"Thank you for not yelling." She flashed a nervous smile. John was tempted to ask for her number, but thought against it. She was young, just starting out in the world; she should not have to worry about John's problems.

They parted way, each with a smile on their faces. John felt better than he had in months. It was not until he returned to his flat that he realized that the bottle of pills was no longer in his pocket. He did not get angry or upset, much to his surprise. He was relieved if anything.

"'Remember to live'." He quoted. "Worth a shot."

He reached for his phone and dialed a number he had not touch in a long while.

"Mike, it's John." He said into the phone, a small smile was beginning to form. "Yes, I know it's been a while. I was wondering if you would like to go for a pint. . ."

The flustered nervous girl walked quickly back to the hotel where she was staying. With each step her posture became straighter and her manner more confidant. Locking the door of the room behind her made her way to the bathroom and took the small object on the counter. She looked at the bottle with the assorted medication as she removed her blond wig and sighed.

Enola Holmes did not mean to run into John Watson that day. She was making a delivery, a simple in and out job, no fuss or muss. But then she saw how down right sad the man looked she jumped in just hoping to lighten his day.

John did not notice the lift as she was cleaning up her intentional mess of coffee from his shirt. She guessed she should have been surprised to find the pills in his pocket, not that she was really looking for them, she just did it out of habit.

The more Enola thought about it the more she realized that she was not surprised. Wilhelm had told her how John had looked at the burial. Even at a distance it was clear how deep of a depression the doctor had already fallen into. She had seen many of the Lehrer's clients in a similar depression when they think they have hit rock bottom.

It amazed Enola how fast John had hit bottom in two months, she could only hope that she got him in a more positive mindset that when they began talking. She wondered if she should tell either of her brothers about John's suicidal thoughts. But she ultimately decided against it. As far as she could tell John trusted and liked Mycroft just as about as far as he could throw him and Sherlock, besides not knowing where he was at the moment, would run back to London and undo all he was working on.

She dare not think of what would have happen to Sherlock if John had indeed take best not dwell on it. Either way it would not have been good for anyone.

No, Enola would not tell her brothers, at least not yet.

There was someone in London who owed her a favor. A rather life indebting one at that and that person could pay it back by keeping an eye on John Watson. At the moment that was all Enola could really do for him.

To clarify, Ivy Meshle is a pseudonym that Enola uses in the books, and Dr. Ragostin is the fictitious employer, a professional finder of things, that Ivy works for. The bit about the leg bone is also from the books.

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