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Facing the Past

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John lasted a year before he cut the few ties he had and volunteered overseas. He returned to London only after all the publicity had passed and he thought he could cope. He took up general practice again and settled in for the rest of his "life after Sherlock".

That had been the plan anyway.

The girl approached him as he left the surgery. She was fidgeting nervously and John's first impression was junkie. It wasn't until she got closer he recognised her as one of Sherlock's former homeless network.

"Doc, you gotta come... 'e said not to but 'e's 'urt real bad."

"Who is? Who's hurt?"

She plucked at his sleeve, clearly agitated. "'e shouldn't've tried to stop 'em. I said but 'e wouldn' listen and one of 'em 'ad a knife. You gotta come, please."

John relented. "Ok, show me where."

She led him to a cardboard camp under a bridge and a bundle of blood-stained blankets. John carefully rolled over the figure inside them and almost cried out in shock.

It was older, thinner, paler and hidden under a ragged scruffy beard but there was no mistaking the face; John knew it far too well.

"Oh, Greg. What the hell happened to you?"

The girl slipped away, passing and silently acknowledging another taller figure, watching his friend's back...