The Blonde

The Key

She touched her necklace again. She'd done it twice since they sat down at the corner booth by the window. Once, when a man in a brown overcoat walked through the door and again when a woman sitting near them talked about an appointment she had on Monday with her doctor. A man. A doctor. He remembered the name in her phone. The Doctor. Did the key have something to do with him?

"Who is The Doctor?" Sherlock asked.

She froze with her cup to her lips. The name was important. She lowered the cup.

"Sorry?" she asked.

"The Doctor. The name's listed in your contacts on your mobile."

She glanced out the window as she sat her cup down, her free hand reaching up to touch her necklace for a third time.

"A friend."

No. This Doctor wasn't simply a friend. There was more to it than that.

"More than a friend I'd say."

She looked at him and he could see…pain. A deep wound. One that hadn't quite healed.

"He was."

Was? Was he dead? No. There was separation, but of a different sort. Something else happened.

"He's the one who gave you the key," Sherlock deduced.

She dropped her hand as if she suddenly realized what she was doing.

"Yes."

"You said the key was also connected to James."

"In a way it is."

"Was James connected to the Doctor?"

"Yes."

Her replies were short, telling him that she didn't want to talk about it, but he needed answers. It was the only way he'd unravel her mystery.

"How?"

"James was his…" she seemed to be searching for the right word, "…twin."

"His twin?"

"They were identical."

James and this doctor were twins? There was more to the story then she was letting on. If they'd been identical twins she wouldn't have had that searching look in her eyes, as if she wasn't quite sure how to describe him. They might've been identical, but there was something else to the story.

"Why do you call him The Doctor?"

"Because that's what he's called."

"Do you know his name?"

"No," she replied, but for the first time her eyes became guarded. If she did know she wasn't about to reveal it.

There were only a few reasons why someone would keep their name hidden. Was he a criminal? Spy? Intelligence? And if so what did that make her?

"How did you meet?"

"He saved my life."

That let out criminal. At least, the vast majority of them. Spy? Doubtful, but still possible. Intelligence? Possibly, but most of them wouldn't risk their lives for just anyone. Her clothes were posh, but he hadn't seen her before she appeared in his flat, which meant that she wasn't terribly important.

"What does he do for a living?"

"He travels."

Abroad? The way she said the word seemed to mean a great distance.

"Travels?"

"And helps people."

Helps people? That could mean any number of things.

"A foreign aid worker?"

"A bit like that. Yeah."

At that moment her dinner arrived and their conversation died down. He gazed out the window mulling over everything he learned.

He wasn't sure what her key unlocked, but it had belonged to man who went by the alias The Doctor. He saved her life and she fell in love with him.

Love. It was nothing more than a dangerous disadvantage. Something Irene Adler had proven to him. A lesson, it seemed, Ms. Tyler had also learned, but perhaps hadn't learned from.

Something happened between her and this Doctor. He could read that from the pain in her eyes. And yet, when he asked about the man's name she wasn't willing to give it up. She was still protecting him.

"Want one?" she asked, breaking his concentration.

He glanced at her. She was offering him a chip.

"No, thank you," he dismissed.

He didn't take to being pulled out of his thoughts, especially for something as ordinary as eating.

"You do eat, don't you?"

"Occasionally."

"Occasionally?" she asked, raising her eyebrows.

"When I'm not working a case."

"Are you working a case now?"

He was, in a way. He was trying to work out who she was, how she appeared in his flat, and why she'd done it, but he wasn't about to share that information with her.

"Not at the moment."

"All right then." She offered him the chip. "Chip?"

"I'm not hungry."

He waved his hand dismissively.

"When's the last time you ate?"

"Yesterday. Perhaps."

"Yesterday?"

"I believe so. Yes."

He turned his attention out the window, hoping she'd drop the subject.

"What was it?" she asked.

"What was what?" he inquired, glancing at her.

"You said you ate yesterday. What did you eat?"

"I don't recall."

He turned his attention back to the street outside the window.

"You don't remember because you probably didn't eat anything. I'll tell you what, if you order something I won't have to feed you."

He looked at her. She was smiling, but it was her eyes that told him she was serious and her hand…the one holding the chip.

"Fine," he snapped, motioning to their server.

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