Beautiful Love

Beautiful Love

Sherlock didn't particularly care for beauty; it was of no use to him and in the end would only serve as a distraction from what was really important. It was a fact he had proven time and time again that when given the choice he would ignore all that is beautiful in search for the answer to the question at hand. She was both. A girl whose splendor went unmatched and never once failed to turn every head that passed. Even now he could see them stop to stare at her; all hips and bounce with a halo of flames cascading down her back as she walked up to his door.

An allure un-compared, he thought as the doorbell rang out through the flat, the answer to his every question.

She walked into his home without waiting for invitation when Mrs. Hudson opened the door. True to her character she ignored the elder who began to lecture her about respecting other people's home. John joined Mrs. Hudson in her berating of the girl. This may be where they do their business but it was also their home and how dare she just barge her way in.

She didn't pay them any mind. Her eyes were on him. Standing in the window seal with his back to her like something out of a romance novel; dark features and pale skin, soul grabbing eyes that captured here even through the reflection off glass.

"Save your breath," Sherlock sighed as he turned to face the three of them, "She's not listening anyway."

"Paying attention was never a strong suit of mine," She smiled as he was hit with the full impact of her eyes. Those deep and fathomless blue orbs dragging him to the ocean floor where he saw all the beauty it had to offer. Her eyes were like looking into another world and he couldn't turn away.

John glanced between them, "Sorry am I missing something? Do you two know each other?"

"You're missing a life time, John," his lips flickered into what almost looked like a smile. "This is Aimi Pennie, the girl who taught me the perils of falling in love."

"Wait-" John looked concerned, "So-"

Aimi smiled, "I was Sherlock Holmes first love."

"William Sherlock Scott Holmes," he the last to introduce himself to the class on the first day of secondary school. "Please call me Sherlock-"

"Your name is William," a voice scoffed from the back.

He turned to look at the girl as the rest of the class giggled, "I am aware."

"Who the hell goes by their middle name?" she demanded raising an eyebrow, "Are you some posh spoiled brat?"


"That means yes." More laughter echoed in the room.

Sherlock let out a frustrated sigh, "My parents have always called me Sherlock-"

"What kind of name is that anyway?" she persisted, "Sher-lock, it's ridicules that's what it is."

"Tonya, enough," the teacher said in a bored tone.

"Whatever," she rolled her eyes, leaning back in her seat.

"I don't really mind," he said turning back the front, "She's just upset because my uniform is brand new and the one she's wearing is third generation hand-me-downs." There were more giggles as he continued. "Or, perhaps it's because her mother is pregnant again even though they can barely afford the three-no, four children already in the household. She definitely won't be getting the puppy she wanted for Christmas. Or maybe it's the fact that her alcoholic father threw up in her backpack this morning before she got on the bus."

The room was quiet now and Sherlock took his seat. He could almost feel Tonya's furry drilling a hole in the back of his head. He shouldn't have done that, he thought as the teacher began the lessons. Tonya would make him pay later and given her height and weight advantage over him he calculated a lot of pain.

A flash of red drew his eyes to the small window in the door and a small frown crossed his features. A girl was walking towards his classroom, her hair reflecting the florescent lights above her looked as if the whole school was burning. She is pretty, he thought as she continued her approach, but surly she is in the grade above…? She had to be, she was too developed compared to the other girls in his class. They all still looked like children while there was nothing childlike about her. Round hips and large breasts created an almost perfect hour glass figure that memorized him as she walked into the room.

"Sorry I'm late," she smiled, handing the teacher her note

"Don't lie, Miss…." She glanced over the paper, "…Pennie, it's unbecoming of a young lady."

"Whatever you say Madam Teacher lady," she shrugged.

"It Mrs. Ma-"

The girl silenced her with the rise of one smooth eyebrow, "I really don't care."

The teacher's eyes narrowed "Don't be rude."

"Yes, Ma'am!" the girl mock saluted her and Sherlock could see the teacher grind her teeth together.

"Since you couldn't be bothered to be here for introductions you will stand here and tell the class your name and something about yourself." She said evenly but everyone could see the annoyance clear on her face.

"The horror," she said with a small roll of her eyes before turning to face the class. "My name is Aimi Pennie and I will be breaking each and every one of your hearts this year. This is, of course, regardless of your age, gender, or sexual orientations."

"How can you do that?" Sherlock raised an eyebrow as he spoke above the out cries and denial from the rest of the class, "If someone is gay, how can you break their heart?"

Her eyes turn on him, a smirk pulling at the corner of her lips, "There is more than one way to break a heart. You just have to find the faults."

Yes, Aimi was brilliant and beautiful from a young age. She knew it too. That year he watched her break the heart of every student in his home room and then she left the teacher crying at her desk on the last day of school. Brilliant, beautiful, and completely merciless.

"What are you doing here?" he asked her as she took a seat in his chair.

"Just visiting," she grinned, crossing one long leg over the other

"Don't lie, Aimi."

"Whatever you say Mister Detective Sir," she said with a wicked wag of her eyebrow.

There was moment of silence and then Sherlock sighed in annoyance, "Are you going to answer my question or will I be forced to leave the room, allowing John to begin the thousand and one questions he's been preparing since your arrival."

"I need your help."

"Of course you do," he said simply.

"Don't say it like that Sherlock," she pretended to pout.

"You were always getting into trouble, Aimi."

"Yet, who would have blindly followed me into it?"

"Anyone that knew you."

She paused, her lips curling into a small smile, "Including you?"

He gave her a soft smile of his own, "Especially me."

"What were you saying in class?" he asked, approaching the girl in the lunch room.

She looked up from her group of friends to raise an eyebrow, "Sorry, who are you?"

"Sherlock Holmes," he introduced himself, "I'm in your home room class."


"You were saying something about faults," he continued, "in class this morning. I was hoping you would explain to me what you meant."

She raised an eyebrow, "are you dumb? What's not to get? Faults run underground across the earth's crust. When they collide they make earthquakes, when they separate they make volcanos-"

"Actually you're wrong," he stopped her, "on all accounts. Faults don't collide or separate, they are the space between the plates of the Earth. I thought I would do you the kindness of correcting you now since the teacher didn't when you told him this morning."

"Fuck off, Holmes," she growled and he blinked in surprise.

"You're angry- why are you angry? I'm helping you."

"You're not helping asshole," one of her friends spat as all the girls stood up. "Do you like making people feel stupid?"

"I wasn't-"

"This is why you have no friend," another one rolled her eyes and they walked away leaving Sherlock standing there dumbfounded. How had that gone so wrong? He thought setting his tray down at the table they had just vacated.

"Smooth, Casanova," someone giggled, sliding into the seat across from him.

His eyes went wide, "Aimi?"

"I see that summer didn't magically cure what an awkward little fuck you are," she said taking the apple from his tray.

He eyed her suspiciously, "Why are you here?"

"I felt pity for the poor boy who tried so hard to talk to the pretty girl," she smiled around the apple, "Only to crash and burn in a brilliant tail spin the likes of which have never been seen."

He looked away, "I don't know what you're talking about."

"Sherlock we are both too smart to try lying to each other," she said tipping her head to the side, "I'll be honest and so will you."

His eyes narrowed, "You can't tell me what to do. I'm not a child."

"Oh really?" she raised one smooth eyebrow, "because I seem to remember a little boy telling me I couldn't break the hearts of our homosexual classmates."

He blinked in surprise, "You remember that?"

"Of course," she took another bite of the apple, "You are the only one to respond with something other than protest and denial. That's why I know you're not like the rest of them. It's also why I spared you."

"Spared me?" he questioned.

"I didn't break your heart."


"So," she pursed her lips, "I've never spared anyone, you should be grateful."

"I should be grateful like that girl was when I tried to help her?" he asked and she smirked.


"So what were you saying that day?" he asked her, "Every heart can be broken…"

"…You just have to find the faults," she finished, "What of it?"

"What did you mean by that?"

She took another bite, "Why do you want to know?"

He weighed his response, "Call it a constant question I've had for more than a year now."

She weighed her response, "No."

He frowned, "No?"

"You wouldn't understand it," she said standing up. "There for it's not worth the effort to try and explain it to you."

"Hey- wait!" he shouted as she walked away without another word in his direction

"What kind of trouble are you in?" John asked, drawing her attention back to him, "that the police can't help with, I mean."

"I'm in the business of breaking hearts Doctor Watson," She smirked as she tore her eyes away from Sherlock, "And there are few people in this world capable of handling such emotion properly any more. I make enemies. Someone is stalking me."

His eyes narrowed, "Breaking Hearts? How is that a business?"

"You'd be surprised how profitable it actually is," She winked.

"I'm sure but what do you actually do?" he persisted and she let out a short breath.

"People pay me to interfere in the lives of their loved ones," she explained. "I adopt whatever role the mark needs me to be and act accordingly. A friend, a lover, a mother, or whoever; from there I can be a force of drive and make them want to achieve to earn a girl like me. Or I can become a symbol of the darker things in life, showing them what happens to a pretty face when they fall too far down the wrong path."

"You play puppet master," his displeasure clear on his face, "You toy with lives."

"And get paid an awful lot of money to do so," She said, her lips curled into a devilish grin that made him see red. She didn't care about the people she toyed with. As long as she got paid collateral damage didn't matter.

"Do you have a list?" Sherlock asked, breaking the tension.

"A list?"

"Of your past marks," he continued.

"Her marks?" John demanded, "You think they would want anything to do with her after she's done with them?"

She rolled her eyes, "How do you tolerate his silly questions?"

"By answering them," he said plainly and she sighed in annoyance.

"The idea, Doctor Watson, is that they never find out they were played for fools," she said shortly. "What's the point if they learn the truth? Without my influence they would go back to their old ways and everyone's efforts would be for moot."

"Someone did," Sherlock said and her eyes snapped back to him. "Someone found out about your business, otherwise you wouldn't be so scared."

"Scared?" John looked at the girl, "She doesn't look scared."

"Oh, John," Sherlock sighed, closing his eyes. "She is terrified."

Aimi only smiled.

"Sherlock Holmes," a smooth voice rolled across the room. He looked up lazily, half-hooded eyes searching the darken hall of the house he was in. "I didn't know you partook."

"Aimi," he smiled idly.

"It's been a long time, Sherlock," she said kneeling on the ground beside the sofa he was lying across. Age, he thought, only made her more beautiful; long red hair draped around her like a silhouette of sparks as those eyes drown him in the deepest parts of the ocean. She was fire and water embodied and he, he was intoxicated by her.

"What are you doing here?" he asked struggling to sit up. She placed a hand on his bicep to support him.

"Same as you," she smiled softly as her head tipped to the side, "Indulging in one of the few things on Earth that can slow my ever racing mind."

He looked at her and frowned, "You do this too?"

She shrugged, "More or less."

"How much less?"

"Less needles," she smirked, helping him to his feet. "More tea."

He raised an eyebrow, "What?"

Aimi laughed, her small hand tugging on his, "Come on, I'll show you."

John left them shortly thereafter, unable to stomach much more of the woman. That left Aimi and Sherlock alone in the flat while the night dragged on around them. He just couldn't believe the pure beauty of her. All she was did was sit there, back straight, legs crossed, her hands looked to be made of flawless porcelain as the lay across the arms of his chair. He pondered, for a moment, how much time she must put into looking like that. Time that could otherwise be spent doing something more useful he supposed but then again she was in a very different profession than he was.

She smiled at him, "You look puzzled."

"You have always puzzled me."

Her smiled faltered, "Why are you helping me?"

He raised an eyebrow, "You asked for help-"

"You know what I mean," she said with a pointed look.

His eyes turned to the fire place, "People are prone to irrational behavior where emotions are involved."

"And…" she trailed off; Crossing the distance between the two chairs so she was kneeling on the ground in front of him. Her hands gripped the cushion on either side of his thighs as she leaned into his space. Their faces were only inches apart, her breath rolled across his skin, smelling of vanilla and mint. Blue eyes, so wide and vulnerable, looked into his soul and pulled it into the vastness of space. There were stars in those eyes, a whole other world of mystic and wonder and Sherlock, oh Sherlock was captivated. "…are your emotions involved?"

His lips flickered into a smile, one hand reaching up to stroke her cheek. Her skin was so warm as she curled her face into his palm. His mouth felt dry as he opened it to speak. He sighed closing it again, how was it after all these years he was still so awkward around her?

"Sherlock?" she questioned drawing his attention back to her. "I'm going to kiss you now."

His eyes widened just a fraction, just enough to notice. "O-okay."

She stretched up as he leaned in. Small smiles gracing two pairs of lips as they landed on each other so sweetly yet filled with a passion that spanned their lifetimes. For she was fire, he thought as he guided her into his lap. Their kisses evolving from pure childlike brushes to her lips burning his as their tongues rolled over one anthers. He was scared with her touch and reveled in the heat of her, her body pressed against him, her hair like flames falling over them as he ran his fingers through their silk.

And then her lips left his, blazing a trail down his cheek to his neck where she marked him as hers and he groaned into the darkened flat.

Much of the night was fuzzy after she whisked him away for a cup of rather awful tea. What he did remember centered on one thing. Aimi's laugh as he complied about the tea. The dance she did when someone began playing unnamed pop music somewhere in the house. The sound of her voice as it echoed off the wall while she argued with someone around the corner from him. The feeling of her perfectly done nails as they ran through his dirty sweat covered hair. He vaguely remembered asking for a shower and how she laughed in amusement. Her laugh, like the rest of her, was a thing of beauty. Clear bells ringing while the Angles sang their hymns of hope… and damnation.

A few hours later he woke up to silence. No bells, no yelling and no fingers running through his hair as he slept.

"Aimi…" he groaned out, trying to sit up and look for her. She's gone, he thought, gone again without a word. Disappearing like an apparition into the night; a beautiful and fleeting mirage, an essence of smoke to disappear with the slightest touch and not even a whisper of a farewell to be heard. She never said goodbye, he thought, why does she never say goodbye?

"You slept off the best parts," her voice trickled in from the darkness as he turned to see her sitting in a chair across the room. He barely saw her, the glow of the huge round window drown her in silver, smothering her fire until she was almost unrecognizable. Aimi had always made a point of standing tall even with her short stature but as she sat there, her knees pressed to her chest and the moonlight raining down upon her, she had never looked so small.

He blinked, trying to regain the breath that had vanished from his lungs. "What kind of tea was that?" he croaked out, leaning against his arm rest as if trying to get closer to her.

"Poppy tea," she said in a petite voice, those blue eyes never deterring from the midnight sky. Sherlock couldn't believe what he saw for she was a painting come to life. All red and pink cloaked in the most brilliant blues and silvers. How was she real? He wondered as he stood up. How could she possibly be real? "Less needles but has a pleasant effect."

He stumbled against the couch and fell back into his seat, "How long do these effect last?"

"Twelve hours," she reasoned, "give or take a few. By that logic we still have a time of serenity before the world comes knocking and life goes on for us both."

"What does that mean?" he asked, bracing himself against the arm as he struggled back to his feet. "Are you going to disappear again?"

"It means we should go for a walk," she said looking at him finally, a smile pulling across her lips but her eyes were vacant of any joy. "Come Sherlock, I know just the place."

He smiled as he leaned into her warm body as she led him through the house, "I'll follow you anywhere, Aimi."

Her voice was so soft he almost couldn't hear it crack as she whispered into the empty street, "…I know, Sherlock, I know…"

Aimi tipped her head back, her eyes catching his as a sad smile flickered across her lips. That smile was a wave of ice washing over him. For she was water, he thought cupping her cheek again. She was everything beautiful in this world and she was the answer to his every question.

Every question… except maybe one.

"Why did you leave?"

That same sad smile ghosted across her lips as her eyes raked over his face, desperately taking in his image like she would never see him again. "Sherlock…"

"I've had many theories over the years," he continued, his head tipping to the side as he leaned back in his chair, "But nothing conclusive. And our paths so rarely cross I haven't had the chance to ask before now."

She blinked, a tear running down her cheek, "Brilliant, awkward, and impossible, Sherlock Holmes… you really don't know?"

"I wouldn't ask if I did."

She shook her head, "Why I left is complex and insane but at the core there is one reason above all the others. I left you, Sherlock… because I was afraid."

Sherlock walked behind me slowly as we wondered along the River Thames. In all my years, though few they may be, I had never been so compromised. I had always been so proud, so above them all, but as we walked through the cool summer night I felt so small. It was like my world was suddenly coming into perspective and at the heart of it-

"Where are we going?"

The corners of my lips flickered into a smile, "You have all of London locked away in that head of yours, where do you think we're going?"

"Too many possibilities to tell."

I laughed, "Give it a guess."

"Somerset House."

I stopped on the sidewalk and turned to look at him. My god he was beautiful. Standing in the moonlight which poured down like a silver silhouette. He was so dark otherwise; a dark disheveled t-shirt, black sweatpants, and dark curls still falling perfectly into place even though they were covered in dry sweat and dirt from the drug house. Fair skin flawlessly stretched over the smooth mussels of his arms and chest. But those eyes, oh his eyes, how endless they were. Like the silver that enveloped him they shined, a thousand million stars died to give those eyes their light and I was consumed by it.

How could he be real? I wondered as I took a hesitant step towards him, how could he possibly be real? This creature, the embodiment of the night and the stars, how was he with in my reach when I… oh how I didn't deserve him. All I did was hurt people; Sherlock had so much to offer the world.

And I'd be damned if I didn't set him on that path.

"How did you know?" I asked running my hands down his forearms until our fingers interlocked. A coy smile spreading across my lips as our bodies pressed together.

"I know your family, in part, owns the House," he said, looking down at me with a drunken smile, "thus giving you access to it even at the late hour as it is."

Time to laugh, I thought as I shook my head and chuckled quietly, "I swear you're too smart for your own good."

"I try," he smirked and I giggled again.

Turning back around, I kept hold of one of his hands; grasping it behind my back as I lead him further down the street. With my back to him it was easier; I didn't have to keep up the happy face or the seducing smile. I was free to franticly blink back the tears, I couldn't let them fall. Not yet.

We reached the house and the guards let us in with disapproving looks towards me. Instead of giving them a wink like I had in the past I looked away and lead Sherlock further into the house. I don't know what they were thinking, but they were probably right.

I walked him into the courtyard. A picnic table was set up near the fountains, on it an assortment of snack foods rested beside two towels. I glance back at him, my happy face returning.

"What are we doing?" he asked with a small frown.

"Sherlock," I smirked turning towards him as I let go of his hand. "Come play with me." I gave him a playful grin, my eyes locked with his as I walked backwards across the courtyard. He raised an eyebrow and I smirked, my hands crossing in front of me to grasp them hem of my blouse. I toyed with it a moment, watching the lust grow in his eyes, before pulling it up over my head and tossing it aside.

Sherlock started walking towards me, a slow easy pace to match my own as I continued to strip. I undid the button of my jeans, slowly dragging the zipper down while those silver eyes raked over my body. I paused, slowly sliding the tight fabric off my smooth legs and kicking it aside. When I stood back up he was in front of me, one long finger out stretched to touch, just touch, the vibrant red bow that decorated the valley between my breast.

"Beautiful," he whispered, his head tipping to the side as hungry eyes traced the curves of my form. That finger, leaving the bow on my bra, brushed ever so lightly down my stomach to the matching ribbon woven into the hem of my boy shorts.

"Aimi?" he whispered, his eyes snapping to mine and I could feel the breath vanish from my lungs.


"I'm going to kiss you now."

I blinked, my eyes widening a fraction, "O-okay." His hands came up, long fingers gently cupping my head as his thumb stroked my cheek. I was lost in his eyes. Hooded silver orbs had never been so beautiful, so full of starlight and majesty, as to devour my very soul before his lips brushed mine.

It was the smallest of butterfly kisses but my heart- oh my heart, seemed to stop all together. This moment, this one moment in all my life could be described as nothing less than perfect. And it is this one perfect moment that made everything I was about to do worth it.

For Sherlock could feel the poison on his lips. I could see his sense of balance slipping away as he collapsed in my arms and I slowly sank to the cold stone ground with him.

"Aimi?" he questioned, his eyes searching for me without seeing.

"Shhhh," I hushed him.

"What's happening?"

"We are kissing in the moonlight," I whispered, my fingers stroking his curls, "Our bodies are pressed together… we make love Sherlock."

He smiled weakly, "That makes me happy."

"It makes me happy too."

"Why do you sound so sad?"

I gave him a weak smile that he couldn't see, "Because when you wake up I won't be there. You'll be alone with no note or way to find me. I don't know if you'll see me again."

"Why?" he frowned reaching up for me, "Why can't you stay?"

I rested my forehead against his; he was so warm the drug coursing through his system. He was beyond the point of suggestion; from here on he would remember nothing.

There was no damage for the truth to do now.

"Do you remember when we were children," I started, my eyes rising to the endless stars above us. "You had a question I never answered."

"What are the faults?" he whispered, his eyes slowly blinking towards a close.

"Everyone has them," I said. "Predisposed people or personality traits that can cause the most damage to their emotional state- things that will break their heart with maximum efficiency. I found, at a young age, that I was exceedingly good at identifying these faults in the people I crossed paths with."

"So you broke their hearts…"

"It made me cold," I sighed, turning my gaze back down to him, "and cruel. And then the notion that I was without faults filled my mind. The foolish arrogance of a child who knows nothing else, for if I could not be hurt then what was there to stop me from hurting everyone else?"

His eyes were closed now, the drug slowing dragging him into a deep slumber.

"You are my one and only fault, Sherlock," I breathed as I pressed my forehead to his once again. My lips hovering only inches from his, "You are the one person in all the world that can hurt me. So in a selfish act of preservation I must hurt you before you can hurt me…" He didn't hear me but that didn't matter. I admitted what I refused to admit. I spoke words that once caught in my throat. And as I sat there, holding him in my arms, I felt the weight of my confession fall from my shoulders.

"That's all very touching," another voice sighed from the shadows, "But have you done what I'm paying you for? Have you broken his heart?"

I raised my eyes as he walked across the courtyard, "It is done…Mycroft."

"That's not really what you wanted to ask…" she sighed, her eyes falling to the white cotton of his shirt. "…is it?"

He took a short breath, "Not really, no."

She smiled but there was no joy in it, "Ask me now."

"Did you ever care about me?"

"Of course I did."

"You had a funny way of showing it."

She gave him a lifeless shrug, "I didn't really know how. All my relationships were business, never pleasure and… I was so afraid. Consumed by fear I fell into habits I'd long since perfected. Leaving, without a word or a goodbye, was self-preservation. It kept me safe from the unknown, from you."

"There is a flaw in your reasoning."


"Relationships and emotions are not exactly my area of expertise either."

"And what a site we would have been," She mused, "You're dazed, I'm confused. The blind leading the deaf and no one knows where we're going. How could we have ever made that work?"

"By trying."

Her smile was sad; a small hand cupped his cheek as her head tipped to the side, "You were always so optimistic."

"Actually I'm quite logical." He said standing up, forcing her to her feet with him. "If you want something you do everything you can to obtain it. That's how it works but you-" he turned away from her in anger.

"I what?" she asked taking a step forward. "What Sherlock?"

"You gave up," he said in a low voice. "You surrendered before the battle began-"

"I did," she agreed. "I didn't try to make it work. I just let it go."


"It's too complicated an answer."

"I'm not that little boy in the lunch room," he scoffed turning to face her. "I think I can keep up."

"I know, but…" She shook her head, "I just can't."

"Get out."

"I'll email you a list of my past marks."

And then she left.

|~|One Month Later|~|

Sherlock sat down in his chair and closed his eyes.

"Sherlock." He opened them again to see her kneeling on the ground in front of him. Her hands gripped either side of the cushion, vanilla and mint flooding his sense as she leaned into him. She was beautiful, long red hair falling around her in a silhouette of fire, those big blue eyes full of flawless bemusement as a smile flickered across her face.

"Hello, Aimi."

"I thought you would never forgive me," she admitted, tipping forward onto the balls of her bare feet.

"In light of recent events I've found the capacity." He said standing up. Aimi sat back on her heals, blue stars gazing at him through impossibly long lashes as she gave him a small smile.

"What recent events?" she asked placing one small hand on his thigh.

He rolled his eyes as he grabbed her hand, helping her to her feet. She smirked and twirled in a circle before him, the loose skirt of her black dress flaring out before she pulled her body tight against his. His arms wrapped around her on instinct, sliding into place like a puzzle coming together. Her smirk turned into a blissful grin as her hands slid around to the back of his neck, toying with the curls there. "Lestrade called me in for a case the other day."

"Oh course," her head tipped to the left, "he's so lost without you, it's sad really."

"He can hold his own," he said raising his hand. Long piano fingers trailed up her side and grazed across the exposed skin of her arm until they enveloped her small hand. "Follow me."

"Where are we going?" she leaned into his arm as they walked.

"I need to put something away," he opened the door to the hall to reveal a long corridor stretching into the distance.

She frowned, "Wait- what the hell just happened?"

"Oh, I should probably have mentioned," he gestured around, "This is my mind palace."

"Really?" she withdrew her hand and looked around in awe, "It's amazing!"

"Of course it is," he walked past her and she jogged to catch up.

"What are we doing here?"

"I told you," he turned a corner, "I need to put something away."

"Sorting away another fact," she grinned, "Sherlock Holmes, you have a beautiful mind."

"A woman was murdered," he said suddenly and her smile faltered, "Killed by a former lover unable to cope with their separation."

"Not an unusual tale unfortunately," she sighed, "I told you before, not many can properly handle the emotions that accompany a broken heart."

"You would know."

Her lips twitched up, "I would."

Sherlock stopped in his tracks; Aimi continued a few paces before stopping as well. "You are beautiful."

"I should hope so," she shrugged, "With all the work I put into looking like this-"

"No," he cut her off and her eyes widened in surprise, "that's not what I mean. You, Aimi, you are beautiful, beautiful love. And I couldn't be more privileged to know you."

She smiled and nodded her head slowly, her gaze falling to her feet. "The woman who died, it was me… wasn't it?"


She nodded again, "When you said you were putting something away…"

"Your memory is distracting me from finding who did this." he put a hand on her shoulder. "And I must find them, Aimi."


"That's it?" he raised an eyebrow, "You're not angry?"

"Why should I be?"

"If I had done more," he began, "worked harder-"

"If I hadn't broken their heart," she said with a thoughtful look, "If their family hadn't hired me or heard about my services through friends. If I hadn't started my business or if long ago I had chosen a different path and never hurt anyone." Her eyes returned to his as she cupped his face. "We can play the what-if game forever if you'd like, it'll be a fantastic waist of everyone's time and in the end… it will amount to nothing."

"You're dead, why are you acting indifferent?" he asked.

"Because I'm not dead," she smiled softly, "not really."

He raised an eyebrow, "You faked your death? How do people keep faking their death-"

"No, Sherlock," she laughed, "I mean I live on in you."

He scoffed, "the over used sentiment of living on in another's heart-"

"Will you shut up for two minutes while I explain," she said pressing the tips of her fingers over his mouth. "Look at me, Sherlock, what am I?" he moved to speak and she pressed harder against his lips, "A memory, a fact you are sorting away in your mind. You could have deleted me a simpler way to be rid of a ghost but you chose to put me away. I live, Sherlock, because you will it so."

He pulled her hand away from his mouth and held it over his heart. His head tipping to the side as his thumb caressed the back of her hand. "Aimi…"

She smiled with tears in her eyes, "Not only that. You are keeping only the best of me; saving only the good that I have done it this world when I have put forth so much bad. I am a memory, only a shell of who I was but you've made me the best possible shell and for that I am eternally grateful, Sherlock."

He started to speak but she shook her head, "There is nothing more to say, except perhaps…" her eyes met his just before she threw her arms around his neck. Slowly his arms wrapped around her waist, holding her almost as tightly as she held him. He could feel her smile against his skin, the shaky breath that stirred the sensitive hairs on his neck as she whispered, "Goodbye."