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Take Two

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John Watson's world had stopped turning when his best friend ripped himself from reality. He knew the pressure of the whole of London turning on him was probably a bit of a blow, but Sherlock Holmes have never really seemed to care before. Publicity, he had let on, was a curse and a person's image in the public eye should be as inconspicuous as possible in order to get things done. But he supposed that's where it had finally struck him. If the public didn't believe him, even the police who still valued his opinion weren't allowed to either.

And as much as John knew it killed the man, without the police cooperation, he really couldn't do all the work he wanted.

So John supposed he understood. It hadn't made sense for Sherlock to lie to him at the end, the man was an idiot for thinking John would ever believe he had fabricated Moriarty's existence, and John was sure the great Sherlock Holmes was stronger than to commit suicide.

Whatever the reason that pushed him off the ledge that day, John had sworn he would never forgive him. Then spent a great deal of time being angry with himself for even thinking that way. Then planning out detailed lists of everything he would have done and said if Sherlock miraculously strode back into his life, playing the violin or shooting holes in the wall.

He honestly found himself missing the gunshots and exploding kitchen experiments.

Which is what lead to his dilema about going back to the flat at all.

After a nice holiday away, which the hospital was very nice to grant him after the tragic events, and a long bout of self reflection that would have made a monk proud, John decided to continue his residency at 221b. He told himself it was more for Mrs. Hudson's sake than his own and had to struggle with himself over the fact that being able to sleep in Sherlock's bed had NOT swayed him to stay. He hadn't even entertained the thought of wrapping Sherlock's coat around a pillow and laying beside it in bed. Nor had he taken to wearing the man's scarf around and bringing it up around his face to inhale the scent.

He did, however, realize none of these things were actually helping him cope. If anything, he seemed to be having a harder time than before. So he decided therapy might be something he could get back into.

The first thing his therapist recommended was a new hobby.

"The blogging was good. It helped you out a lot. But seeing as the idea of it seems to be attached to memories of Mr. Holmes, finding a new hobby wouldn't be a bad idea either." She shifted in her seat and looked down at the notes in her lap as John fidgeted with the scarf around his neck. It was warm but he had already displayed reluctance to taking it off when she had asked if he was too warm. "You could continue to use the blog for your own personal life, if you want, or I could help you find a new hobby."

As it turns out, finding a new activity to entertain yourself as a distraction from the loss of your best friend is a lot harder than John really had wanted it to be. He most certainly wasn't going to take up stamp collecting or scrapbooking and every other suggestion seemed to be exactly as mundane and boring as the aforementioned.

John had realized while shuffling awkwardly down the aisles of a local hobby store, as per her recommendation, that excitement was one of the things his life was severely lacking in when Sherlock had gone. He mulled over the thought while staring into the void just past the assortment of blue paints. Perhaps if he could fill his empty days and nights with something more engaging, it might bodily wrench him from the deep trenches of depression currently encompassing his being.

His solution came to him in the form of a colleague leaving from St. Bart's. One of the doctors he worked with, not closingly enough to really even remember the man's name, was transferring hospitals and opening up a position in the A&E. John knew it would probably get filled quickly and it didn't honestly take him much thought to consider the change it would make in his life. Late nights being busy with patients, the rush of actual emergencies instead of the dullness of giving check ups and flu shots. This seemed to be a godsend and John jumped at the chance the second the other doctor had signed his departure papers.

It was probably not the healthiest decision in hindsight, being more on the side of extreme denial as opposed to real acceptance, but it kept him busy and for that he was exceptionally grateful.

What he had never expected, in a million years, was to see a patient brought in on gurney absolutely fleeing the earth from a heroin overdose. Now don't get him wrong, drug overdoses weren't exactly an uncommon thing in the heart of London, but this particular patient made him almost drop his clipboard.

His heart hammered so loudly in chest, he couldn't even hear the nurse's debriefing of the man's symptoms. The man was obviously in a bad way and John could tell by the paleness of his skin, he had been for quite awhile, but John's eye couldn't leave his face.

If John hadn't seen Sherlock Holmes die with his own eyes, he would have bet selling every organ in his body to the black market that this was him, dying again. It seemed as though the veil of the mortal world was pulled back and John could catch a glimpse into the afterlife. The same slender face, dark hair, high cheekbones, John's entire being screamed out to thrust himself forward but he was simultaneously frozen in place.

It wasn't until the nurse yelled a quick "DR. WATSON." beside his head that he snapped back to reality and enabled him to take another look. Upon closer inspection he began to notice subtle differences between this man and the detective who had commandeered his life. He mentally kicked himself at how quick he had jumped to the insane conclusion and made an internal note to attempt to stop chasing ghosts.

But nonetheless, something about this Sherlock look-a-like made him feel something stir deep inside his chest. A determination rushed forward and John was overcome with the overwhelming feeling to protect this man at all costs. As he prepared himself to treat the spectre made solid, he realized he had a distinct impression on what exactly was happening.

The universe was giving him a second chance.