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Thorny Decisions

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Watson sunk in misery upon his bed, curling up as much as his aching leg would allow. How could he have blundered so badly? He knew he mumbled sometimes and occasionally bent Holmes plans, but this was deplorable!

He had been so focused on treating Lestrade’s head wound that, not only had he permitted the villain from escaping, but far worse. He had aided the criminals by opening the door and calling a taxi.

Yes, he hadn’t known the man was the crazed madman, but he should have observed the obvious scuffs on the man’s shoes and the languid nature of one under the clasp of opiates.

Watson shivered as he recalled Holmes’ disappointment.

No, it was not good enough. Watson wiped away his tears, ashamed of losing control. He was slowing down too much and imperilling Holmes’ cases.

He would simply have to leave.

Holmes would find another companion; one more suited to his adventures, not a fool like Watson.

His heart ached painfully at the thought and images arose in Watson’s mind.

Long walks through London in congenial silence, arms linked. Aimless chatter or said companion listening to Holmes’ stories and wit with awe.

Holmes finally succumbing to the man’s charms and kissing-

No.

Watson stopped his errant thoughts and perverted desires. That was another reason to leave his dear friend – to save Holmes from Watson’s increasing unnatural urges to love him in a way a man loved a woman.

Watson did not truly believe his love was evil, but he knew society did and would not dream of damaging Holmes or Holmes’ reputation and freedom.

Decision made and knowing Holmes would be busy at the station for a while Watson struggled to his feet.  Every movement was agony; his joints were stiff after his awkward position on the bed and his leg was a fierce white fire.

Unbuttoning his trousers Watson grimaced at the sight. His leg already weakened by the bullet from the war had suffered a blow from the villain when he and Holmes had eventually caught up with the rascal.

The bone fortunately did not break, but the bruising was extensive and he had been unable to stand. Holmes had been worried, but was forced to leave Watson behind.

He had encouraged Holmes to do so and even then Watson had realised they could not continue their partnership in the same fashion. With Holmes dashing away with a black expression – probably due to Watson’s clumsiness - Watson had waited for rescue.

It arrived in the form of a weaving Lestrade and five burly constables. Lestrade had sent three on when Watson had explained the situation and despite the doctor’s protests had the remaining two assist him to safety.

Thus was he bungling the case and holding men from their duty.

Ever more morose, Watson tended to his leg. He had already treated his beaten leg with alcohol and iodine for the small gashes that the stick had opened. Now he re-applied both and fresh bandages.

The smell of the rubbing alcohol and iodine were comforting, for they reminded Watson of his days of practice with it mixture of memories good, bad and somewhere in-between.

Inhaling the scents Watson continued until…there! His leg would hold up until he reached his destination.

Glancing about Watson elected to pack lightly and send for the rest of his belongings, best to make a clean break of it.

First Watson repacked his Gladstone Bag, taking as much of his supplies as possible. Second he hobbled to the shared bathroom and smiled as he saw Holmes’ shaving kit and hair oil. How often he had watched Holmes or jumped in surprise when the man had appeared fresh and cat-like in his cleanliness, or garbed in a disguise that had Watson floundering.

“Stop this old boy,” whispered Watson around the lump in his throat. Brushing aside the wet prickling the corner of his eyes Watson retrieved his shaving kit and returned to his room.

He couldn’t reach his suitcase so settled for a small carry-case. He squeezed in his shaving kit, two shirts, undergarments, two waistcoats and socks and two ties. Well, he would have to manage.

Two trips later he had dropped his bags in the living room, called his good friend who was sympathetic concerned and willing to house Watson.

“Until you both resolve this old chap.”

“I am afraid it is beyond mending Derek.”

“Oh surely not! From everything I hear of in the papers and your tales, Mr Holmes will forgive you and come running over to fetch you home. But we’ll see you. I shall wait up for you.”

Watson replaced the receiver feeling nauseous. He was leaving just in time then if the papers were talking about how ‘inseparable’ they were.

Then called a taxi.

Sighing, Watson donned his coat and hat, for it would be better to be ready considering he could barely walk. Sitting with his leg stretched out Watson and placed his cane on his lap.

As he waited Watson shut his eyes from exhaustion and pain. He had not dared to take anything as he feared he would be unable to reach Derek’s conscious.

He heard footsteps on the stairs and was fighting to rise in a daze when the door was opened and an incredulous voice shattered the melancholy hush of the living quarters.

“Watson, what’s the meaning of this?”