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That New Agency Nurse

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It was a grim story, and a familiar one. Mrs. Johnson had a black eye, a broken cheekbone, two sprained ribs, and multiple sets of fingerprint-sized bruises on her arms that Sher – that were enough to provide forensic evidence.

John left her talking quietly to the latest agency nurse in the exam room, whilst he went to fetch a domestic violence support service referral.

There was a shriek of, "Stop, you can't –" from the receptionist, a bellow, "Thought you could hide here, you little bitch," and then a crash echoed through the clinic as John ran back down the hall, heart beating combat-quick.

A split-second assessment outside the exam room door revealed nothing but quiet sobbing. Mouth dry, John slammed open the door, stumbling to a halt as he found Mary bent over Mr. Johnson, who was in an unconscious heap on the floor. Mrs. Johnson was curled in a ball on the exam table, crying.

Mary looked up at him. "Dr. Watson, I … did a bit of self-defense in uni. Amazing how it all comes back," she said, awkwardly punching the air. It would have looked ridiculous if not for the huge man crumpled at her feet and the dangerous glint in her eye.

'Good shot.' 'Yes, must have been, through that window.'

"Good shot," John echoed, hearing wedding bells.