Lestrade left after getting a call, telling John to have Sherlock give him a ring when he found something. Not if, when, this was Sherlock after all. Molly busied herself returning the woman's body to one of the drawers.
John watched the interplay between his best friend and the woman who rented the flat under theirs. He'd never seen his friend act so…human. Well, human for Sherlock. He wasn't falling all over himself like a school boy with a crush and he wasn't drowning her in complements or asking her on a date, but he was allowing her to stand next to him and touch the lab equipment. More than that he was actually interacting with her while he was working. That was something that just didn't happen.
"Who is she…this friend of yours?" Molly asked, coming up to stand next to him.
"What do you mean?" John asked, glancing at Molly.
He knew she had a thing for Sherlock. Or, at least, she used to. She was dating some bloke called Adam…Winters? Walters? Something like that. He'd only seen the guy once, last month, when he stopped by to take her to lunch. He was a doctor, moved to town recently to take care of his aging mother, and he owned a green parakeet. All Sherlock's deductions.
"What does she do for a living?"
"Oh…um…she's between jobs at the moment. Just moved to town."
"But you've known her for a long time."
"Old friends, yeah."
"And Sherlock met her when?"
"Two days ago. Why?"
This was starting to feel more like an inquisition than a friendly conversation.
"So," John said, rubbing the back of his neck and trying to figure out how he could steer the conversation to something less about the flirting that was going on at the other end of the room. "How's Adam?"
"Adam?" Molly asked, distractedly. "Oh, he's fine."
"Been spending a lot of time with his mother. She hasn't been doing well."
"I'm sorry to hear that."
John mentally kicked himself. He'd managed to take the conversation from bad to worse in a manner of seconds. He glanced at his best friend. Rose bumped Sherlock's shoulder playfully and he…smiled? Did he actually just smile? John would definitely bring that up later.
"Two days?" Molly asked in disbelief.
"A lot can happen in two day," John said.
Rose joined them as Sherlock carried the Petri dish over to one of the forensic microscopes.
"I don't know about you two, but I'm starving and it looks like this might take a while. Do you want to pop out with me and grab some takeout?" she asked.
"Sure," John said. "I haven't had lunch yet and it's not like there's a lot to do around here."
"Molly?" she asked.
"Actually, I have some work to get back to," the pathologist said.
She hadn't been rude, but she hadn't been exactly nice either. John gave Molly a questioning glance, but she looked away.
"I understand," Rose said. "We'll bring you back something."
She either hadn't heard the abruptness in Molly's voice or she was choosing to ignore it. Rose took John's arm and led him out of the room. They walked through the hospital and out the main doors, but as they started down the street John decided that if he was going to talk to her, something he'd been wrestling with ever since he realized what was going on with his friend, then now was as good a time as any.
"What are your intentions with Sherlock?" he asked.
She raised her eyebrows.
"Sorry?" she asked.
John stopped and looked at her.
"He's my friend, my best friend, and I don't want to see him get hurt." Again, but he didn't voice that.
"And you think I'd hurt him?"
He didn't think she would. At least, not on purpose, but there were things she didn't know.
"No, not intentionally, but Sherlock's…not like other people."
"That's obvious, yeah?"
Yes, so why did she treat him like he was? Most people resented him or grudgingly put up with him because they needed his help. There was Mrs. Hudson, Lestrade, and Molly, but Sherlock helped Mrs. Hudson with a case, he helped Lestrade with multiple cases and Molly…well, that was an entirely different matter.
"Do you care about him?" John finally asked.
"I care about both of you," she replied.
He wasn't sure if she was trying to avoid the question or if she didn't understand what she met.
"Not as a friend, that's not what I mean."
She dropped her smile and he could see something in her eyes, but he couldn't tell what it was.
"I…I haven't really known him that long."
"And he hasn't known you that long, but he's different around you."
Her brows drew together as if she was trying to figure out what he was talking about.
He sighed. He'd have to come out and say it and hope it didn't get back to his friend, but it was the only way to make her understand.
"He cares about you."
"And that just doesn't happen…with him I mean. There was only one other woman I've seen him change around, but that was…something else…not the same as he is around you. You make him…I don't know…more human."
Her eyes grew distant and now he could see what she'd been hiding. Pain. Why would…and then he remembered. James. He glanced at the ring on her finger. Not a wedding ring, according to Sherlock, but still important enough for her to keep it close.
"I…care about him," she replied.
She said they might've gotten married, but sometimes things didn't work out. The way she said that made him think it'd been a long time, but it seemed she was better at hiding her feelings that she let on.
"But not in the same way?" John asked.
"I…I don't know…I guess he reminds me of someone."
And there it was.
"Someone you were in love with?"
She glanced away as if remembering something…or someone.
"Him…and the Doctor."
There was that doctor again.
"The Doctor? You were in love with both of them?"
He could tell that talking about them upset her, but Sherlock was his friend and he wasn't about to let his friend get hurt all over again.
"What are you not telling me?"
"I…" she caught his eye and seemed to realize that he wasn't going to accept it's complicated for an answer. She sighed. "The Doctor came first. If it wasn't for him I wouldn't be standing here right now."
"What do you mean?"
She smiled at some long ago memory.
"The first day I met him he saved my life. I'm not sure if I fell in love with him at that moment or if that came later, but I knew I wanted to help him. To stay with him. Travel with him."
"Help him how?"
"He…travels around and helps people."
"Like he helped you by saving your life?"
He knew there was more to it than traveling and helping people, but he decided to let that go for now.
"That's where…it gets complicated." She glanced at him, but he needed to know so he waited. "We were separated. I was…stuck in a place I couldn't leave and he couldn't get to me."
She was being evasive and he wasn't quite sure why, but it sounded like she was taken somewhere…a foreign country perhaps…and she was detained and this doctor couldn't get to her.
"He left you alone in a strange place? Did he try to get you out?"
"He couldn't. Like I said, it's complicated. I tried to get out though. To get back to him. It took two years, but I finally managed it."
There was more to the story than she was letting on. She was giving him the highlights, which was fine for now, but he'd like to find out where she was, how she got there, and why that doctor couldn't get to her. The bit that stuck out was the fact that she spent two years trying to get back to this doctor. Two years! If she made it back to him then where was he?
"Where is he now?"
"Traveling and helping people I suppose. That's what he does."
"If you spent two years getting back to him then why aren't you with him?"
"There was…" She averted her gaze, but he could see the pain in her eyes. "…a battle…" A battle? "We won, but there was a price." What the hell did that mean? What sort of battle? "I had to go back and James had to stay with me."
"You had to go back? To that place you were kept in? Were you captured and taken back?"
A soldier. He could see it now. Not the same as he'd been, but similar.
"No, it's…" He thought she was going to say complicated and maybe she was, but she changed her mind. "It wasn't a prison in the sense you're thinking, but it might as well have been since I was suck there with no way to get out, but I had my mum and my dad so that was something." She gave him a smile, trying to indicate that having her family there made it all right, but to John it didn't. "I was with The Doctor during the battle and at the end James did something that went against everything he stood for and because of that The Doctor thought he was too dangerous to be left on his own. So, he took us back there."
"So he left James with you?" John asked, already knowing the answer.
"Because he needed me."
"This Doctor sounds like a bloody arse," John fumed.
"He thought he was doing the right thing," she protested.
"By leaving you with someone too dangerous to be left on his own? No, more than that, by trapping you with him because you couldn't leave!"
"John," she said, putting her hand on his arm. "You don't understand. It's more complicated than that."
Rose's phone chimed, indicating she had a message, but she ignored it.
"It doesn't sound complicated at all! You worked for two years to get back to a man you loved. You fought beside him. Then he dumps you back off where you started with someone he deemed too dangerous to be left on his own! I'd like to meet this doctor of yours," John yelled.
"There are things you don't understand."
Her phone chimed again.
Oh, he understood perfectly. He'd met arrogant pricks in his time, but for someone to treat another person, especially one who obviously cared for them, that way was enough to…yes, he'd definitely like to meet this doctor and the first thing he'd do was punch him square in the jaw.
Rose's phone chimed again. She gave him an apologetic look as she pulled it out and read the text, but John was too busy thinking about wrapping his hands around the Doctor's throat if he ever got the pleasure of meeting him. When he glanced at her he noticed that her eyes seemed guarded, not afraid, but worried? She gazed down the street as if she was looking for someone.
"Something wrong?" he asked.
She stuffed her phone into her pocket.
"No, sorry, just…thought I saw someone."
She gave him a smile.
"Who was it?" he asked, nodding toward her mobile.
"Oh, um, just someone I met. We better hurry or Sherlock will have the case solved before we get back, if he hasn't solved it already," she said, taking his arm and pulling him down the street.
He knew she was trying to keep him from getting back to their conversation, which was fine. He had the answer he was looking for along with an idea of what she'd been through. As soon as he could he was going to sit down and have a nice long chat with Sherlock.
Thank you to all my brilliant readers!
If you have time reviews are always welcome. :)