Thoughts wizzed through Greg's head as he leaned against the counter top, sipping tea and watching Joan work, too many thoughts to adequately process. He fleetingly wondered if this was how Sherlock had felt at his worst, too much data to process...or not enough.
Enjoying the comfortable silence that developed between them, Greg tried to sort out what he was feeling. Had she known, he wondered, how he felt, how he could potentially feel about her? As long as that lanky git had been alive there had been a barrier; a tacit understanding that nothing else would happen, that Sherlock came first in Joan's eyes and she would dash off after him at a moments notice because that's what they did. They were a team, albeit an odd one, and Greg was on the periphery of it, a catalyst but not part of it.
He had wished he was closer, many times. They were all damaged in some way, and they understood, they didn't judge, they never commented, well, apart from to put Greg straight when he tried to ignjore the truth of a situation, but Sherlock always seemed to figure he was doing the right thing. He never commented maliciously, if you discounted his comments toward his brother. He had never been anything but truthful toward Greg, and even when he wasn't, it was by ommission rather than a direct lie.
Joan had always been decent, honest and caring, wrapped in a compact sturdy frame that was stronger than it looked but still very feminine, and more determined and stubborn than Greg would have imagined. She weathered life, she was a survivor, like him. Stubborn enough to send life packing if it got in the way. To see her on the edge of that, on the brink of not surviving, sent an unwelcome flash of fear through him.
Greg's mind served him up a conclusion then, one he was determined to see through. He had lost his wife, then Sherlock and almost his career. There was no way in Hell he was going to lose Joan too. If she wanted friendship, she would have it. If she wanted more, well, she could have that too.
"So, what kind of music floats your boat then?" Greg asked, as casually as he could manage.