lightconductor: (let me tell you this)
[personal profile] lightconductor
More AU, following up on this scene here.

The purchase of Watson's old practice was done with, and it was a strange thing to be free like this again. It was one more way it was like the old days, before the island, before Switzerland, before Mary... he and Holmes and the cases and nothing else. Except, of course, this was better now. And the sale had gone surprisingly well, too. Watson had feared that it would not sell, that he would be stuck with the practice for weeks and months, had wondered whether frequent nights spent at Baker street while he was supposed to be living elsewhere would look suspicious, and what his housekeeper might think of his sudden decision to abandon his career for a return to his bachelor days.

He was at least a little sorry to say goodbye to it, actually. That he would no longer come into a room and be caught in an intense, painful sense of memory, remembering Mary and her illness in late pregnancy and how horribly empty the house and his life had been after he'd lost her... it was both a blessing and a tragedy, to no longer have that.

But the sale had, after all, gone well. Extremely so. It hadn't been long at all before a young doctor, name of Verner, had inquired. Watson had named a price, had set it as high as he dared, too high to be acceptable, and had fully expected Verner to barter him down. That was the done thing. Instead, Verner had shrugged and considered it and accepted the price without further delay.

It was lucky, it was a great windfall, and Watson knew better than to question it too much.

Some weeks after he had abandoned his practice to the care of young Dr. Verner, though, Watson had found himself in that neighbourhood running errands, and thought to check in and see if a book he had been unable to locate had merely been left behind. This had, in fact, been the case, and Verner had the book ready, commenting that he had intended to send it round to Watson at the soonest opportunity.

Watson liked Verner, thin and Gallic-featured and witty, and he'd stopped to chat for a minute or two before continuing home. At last, he said, "I fear I've taken too much of your time, Doctor. I should be getting along, at any rate. It was a pleasure speaking with you."

"Take care of yourself, Dr. Watson," Verner answered. "And do pass my regards along to Sherlock."

Watson had been almost out the door, but he stopped suddenly at this, and turned. He was well-used to people passing greeting along to Holmes through him, and not necessarily from people who even knew the famed detective. There was nothing unusual about that. But no one referred to Holmes that way, with the notable exception of Mycroft Holmes, because what else was he to call his brother?

"I beg your pardon," Watson said, frowning faintly and attempting not to, "but are you acquainted with Holmes?"

Verner had immediately realised he had uttered an indiscretion, and had gone quite pale. He had stuttered a little and stammered, but had at last, under pressure, confessed the entire story.

Roughly a half hour later, Watson was climbing the seventeen steps up to their rooms in Baker street, fighting waves of anger and failing. He burst into the sitting room, gave a small exhalation of satisfaction to see Holmes there at his desk, and he shut the door behind him before stalking over. He laid his hand heavily on Holmes's shoulder. "Holmes," he growled out. "I do believe we need to talk."
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