Although it was still fairly early in the evening the winter sky was dark, with only the building lights giving off a glow for the three of them. It was only 7:30 when Emma and Mister Holmes were carrying a slightly drunk John Watson between the two of them, making sure he didn't fall flat on his face. Emma was still a bit shaken up after that encounter with the tall pale man at the pub, but she wouldn't let Mister Holmes see that. She needed to prove to him, maybe more to herself, that she still was a valuable asset and not some damsel-in-distress twit. She tried to grab a cabbie but to no avail; the streets seemed to be void of the little black cars.
How did John manage to get all of those cabbies earlier? She thought to herself slightly annoyed, but she couldn't help but giggle at John's state. From what little amount of time she has spent with him John seemed as though he was the more responsible one out of the two roommates. He an almost the maternal figure, at least comparatively to Mister Holmes.
Now John was mumbling about something unintelligible, smiling all the while. The relatively two sober ones walked in silence for a good length of time while keeping an eye out for their surroundings.
"Did you recognize the man?" Mister Holmes asked Emma after a block or two of silent walking. She shook her no.
"I could just feel something wrong about him though," she replied, "When he took my hand to dance his grip was too tight and he wouldn't pass me off to other dancers. I think he meant to try and run off with me." She tried to pass it off as a joke, but got no rise from the detective. He looked beyond the top of the doctor's head.
"He is working for the Kosevos," he simply stated. Emma just sighed.
"Maybe? But maybe he isn't," she offered, struggling to keep John upright, "Maybe he was just a handsy pervert trying to cop a feel. Or he was just selfish." Mister Holmes shook his head, probably rolling his eyes at her.
"Why can't you take anything serious?" He asked her pointedly. Emma huffed, annoyed by the comment, "Why do you insist to make a joke out of everything?"
"Maybe it's because I don't feel the need to be serious all the time," she retorted, not bothering to look at him, "I shouldn't have to be. It's not like I don't know that he works for the Kosevos." She heard him sigh heavily, almost feeling his eyes roll as her own emotions rose.
"It's a defense mechanism," he shot back as if he knew the right answer, "Serious subjects make you uncomfortable, that's obvious enough. It's the same for most people so nothing special there. I believe-"
"And I believe that you shouldn't pry anymore, and that maybe you should just shut up. That in reality, it's none of your business how I deal with my problems." She replied, almost completely devoid of any emotions, "Was that serious enough for you, Mister Holmes?" He said nothing and that was enough of a response for Emma.
The three of them continued to walk home in silence after that exchange, but Emma's eye caught Mister Holmes more than once wanting to say something but then stopping himself. She kind of hope that what she said, he took it to heart, but it most likely fell on deaf ears.
Maybe that was a bit harsh though, she thought, second guessing herself. He's probably heard it all before; Emma couldn't possibly be the first one to be irritated by his complete lack of social decency. It was confusing to someone like herself who was empathetic to the utmost degree, how people like Mister Holmes, almost the exact opposite, went day to day not understanding anyone's feelings, much less their own. It must get lonely.
"How's your shoulder?" He finally managed to say. Emma was caught off guard; she had been preoccupied with her own thoughts. "I know in the store I was a bit rough."
"No," she exhaled, "It was my fault. I was the one who wanted to run off after the psychopath, after all." She paused, trying to swallow her pride like a horse pill, "I'm not sure what would have happened if you two didn't come. So, um, thank you for coming to my rescue."
"But I promise you that I'm not some nitwit. But you already knew that. You obviously know I can actually take care of myself. That I am more than capable of protecting myself. I mean, you found out how I got all those assholes back in America in the hospital." Emma found herself rambling now, a bad habit she acquired whenever she felt nervous or uncomfortable in situations. Then for the first time to Emma's knowledge, Mister Holmes let out a true laugh. There was a certain melodious ring to it and Emma enjoyed the sound, but she was still confused. "Why are you laughing at me? What did I say? What did I do?" He kept chuckling, John joining him, although he probably did not know why he was laughing. Mister Holmes stopped walking, forcing Emma to stop as well since John was the anchor between them.
"I'm not sure why," he thoughtfully said, "Maybe it's the beers, or something else but I just find you absolutely fascinating. You are completely spastic and yet you are sometimes incredibly insightful. Talking to you sometimes is very refreshing albeit a bit dizzying." Emma didn't know what to do with that information. Mister Holmes probably meant nothing by it; he was just being observant as per usual.
"I tend to have that effect on people," she said rather than trying to figure out Mister Holmes while trying to brush the feeling of butterflies in her stomach away.
Suddenly, they both heard feet pounding the pavement coming around the corner. Something in Emma's gut told her that they needed to either keep going or find somewhere to hide. "Mister Holmes," Emma asked, "How far away are we from the flat?" Mister Holmes was picking up what she was saying.
"About mile still. Where the hell are the bloody cabbies around here?" He said looking around, finding a bush nearby, "Follow me." They shuffled along quickly, trying to hide in the bushes. Getting John hidden with Mister Holmes' long figure in the greenery proved to be no easy feat Emma found, but somehow they managed; she was lucky to be small enough. Emma's ears burned trying to hear how many feet were just running towards them. They weren't too far off and from what she heard, they were maybe three or four sets of feet. She steadied her breathing hoping that whomever they were didn't see the three of them dive into the bushes.
The feet slowed down, nearing the bush where they were hiding. Emma could vaguely make out the shadows through the leaves. "Damn it," one of them said with a thick eastern European accent, "The blonde bitch is gone. And the two idiots with her."
"She couldn't just up and disappear. Are you sure you saw her and the two men go this way?" Another voiced asked, this time with a British accent, northern dialect if Emma's ears weren't mistaken, "We can't tell the boss we let her get away again. He'll wring our necks."
"She won't get away that easily, not after what she did to me in the pub," the first man said, a sneer in his voice. Emma smiled smugly.
Serves the asshole right, she thought to herself, but also noting that the man was indeed no good.
"And when I get my hands on her-"
"You know he wants her alive," a third mysterious voice said. It sounded very proper. The eastern European man scoffed.
"Do not say his name," the second voice said, cutting him off, "You don't know who might be listening, you idiot." Emma's heart was beating faster and faster now. Just thinking about Moriarty ran chills all over skin.
But, Emma chided herself, he is just a man. She could not let him have that sort of control over herself. That was what Moriarty wanted.
At that moment, Emma noticed John and he looked like he was going to be absolutely sick, probably from all of the jostling between walking him and shoving the poor bastard into the bushes. Emma looked at Mister Holmes who then looked at John, slightly swaying back and forth.
Oh shit, oh shit, Emma kept saying to herself trying to project her thoughts to him, Keep it together, John!
The doctor lurched forward, making the bush shake a bit. The shadows of the three men all turned sharply towards the bush they were crouched in. Emma knew she could take them, especially if Mister Holmes could help, but with John in his state, it was too dangerous to try in fear of leaving him alone and defenseless. The two of the held their breath, waiting for whatever happened next.
"Did you hear something?" The second man said. Emma dared not breathe.
"It's just the wind," the third man said. The man with the thick Eastern European accent laughed.
"Or maybe it is Moriarty coming to get you," he mocked, laughing cruelly, "Now come on, we need to find the girl." And with that, they started off running again, with both Emma and Mister Holmes finally being able to breath normally again and John finally vomiting in front of himself. Emma groaned as she made her way out of the bush basically dragging John behind her, careful to avoid the mess.
"Come on John," she cooed to him, "Let's get you home." He groaned a bit as he hung on to her while Mister Holmes made his way out of the bush, brushing the twigs and leaves off of his long pea-coat. He ruffled his curly mess of brown hair, and Emma couldn't help but notice how the moon light made him even more mysterious, and more handsome even. Emma couldn't help but stare at him; his features in the pale light almost looked etherial. Mister Holmes after brushing the last of the foliage off of him finally caught her staring.
"What?" He asked, "Do I still have twigs on me?" She stopped staring, shaking her head no.
"No," she fibbed, "I thought I saw something, but it was nothing. Don't worry. Now, let's get him back to your guys' place." Mister Holmes nodded taking the other side of John and they made their way, making sure to keep an eye out for anything or anyone else.
"Alright," Emma grunted while practically dumping John into his bed, "Off you go. Sweet dreams now." John mumbled something, his face buried in the pillow. Emma shook her head and turned him over so at least John wouldn't suffocate while sleeping off the rest of his drunken stupor. She walked lightly out of the room and shut the door behind her quietly as she could letting out a deep exhale of relief, and happy to be back inside since it was absolutely frigid that night. To Emma's surprise Mister Holmes had started a fire, stoking it with the metal spiked prod. The glow of the fire accentuated his high cheeks bones and there was a shine to his dark, curly hair.
He must have heard her come back into the living room for as soon as she got near the couch, he shot up from his crouching stance in front of the glow and turned to her. The two of them stared at each other for a couple of silent tense moments, and then Mister Holmes cleared his throat.
"I knew you were cold from being outside," he said gesturing to the fire behind him, "I could practically feel you shivering through John." Emma shrugged, settling herself down on the couch near the warmth. "Probably due to poor circulation." He remarked absently. Emma just shrugged again. The detective eyed her warily. "Why are you quiet? You're never quiet." She laughed softly.
"I'm tired Mister Holmes," she simply said, "Today took a lot out of me. It's not every day you have a psychopathic criminal master mind harass you in a department store dressing room."
"And oh, let's not forget the group of people who still want my head on a silver platter. It's better than a vacation in Fiji." She gathered her knees to her chest, staring at the fire. Mister Holmes tentatively walked to the couch and sat on the other side, leaving a little bit of a gap between the two of them. He turned towards her not saying anything but Emma could feel that he was trying to comfort her in his own strange way. The brooding detective began to close the gap a little more, placing his hand cautiously on her knee.
"There's that the fire and wit," he said a little awkwardly but with a slight smile and much to Emma's surprise she found herself smiling too. She began to relax a little more, releasing her death grip around her knees while he got a little closer to her. The butterflies began to return in her stomach and she could feel her cheeks going flushed again. Emma's mahogany eyes looked into Mister Holmes' grey-green eyes, who looked just as nervous as her while he leaned in closer. She didn't know why or how but she was leaning in too, her face just mere inches away from Mister Holmes'. She breathed him in; musky and urban. She smiled, her eyes warm.
Emma finally felt safe. For the first time in weeks Emma finally felt at ease and that she was able to be herself again, even just for a brief moment. She was a little surprised to think that Mister Holmes could evoke that feeling inside her
Just as his lips brushed against hers, there was the sound clumsy footsteps coming down the hall sending her back in to reality. Both Emma and Mister Holmes jumped away to the opposite sides of the couch; both Emma and Mister Holmes blushing profusely while John stumbled out into the living room. He gave the two of them a funny look.
"What did I just step into?" He asked sleepily. Emma and Mister Holmes looked at each other and then at John. Not anyone in the room had the faintest idea of what just happened, not even Mister Holmes.
"Nothing," the blushing detective replied curtly, getting up, "You are just tired and need to go back to bed." He got up and lead John back into his room, without so much saying a word to Emma. She turned to the fire with her knees back to her chest, confused and slightly hurt as she heard doors closing. She didn't know what to think or what to say or do, so all she did was give the bird towards Mister Holmes' door. She was too tired to do anything more.
Emma lied her head on the couch's pillows and began to drift off into a restless sleep, trying to forget whatever almost happened. She tried to blame the couple beers and the exhaustion, and once again tried to ignore the butterflies inside her stomach....