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Of Dogs and Dead Consulting Detectives

Chapter Text

Looking back, John guessed things started to improve the day he decided to take the long route through the park after a rather stressful day at work. It had been over a year since the incident that cost him the life of his best friend Sherlock Holmes. Life of course had gone on, no matter for how many weeks the former army doctor wished for the world to hold its breath until that one, fervently desired miracle happened and returned his best friend to him.

It never came to pass of course and while he still continued mourning for months following, he decided that at least the world did not need to know how much his heart was still broken by the loss. Therefore John Watson forced himself back into life, back into that dull existence where nothing would ever happen to him. A month after they carried Sherlock to his grave, he moved back into Baker Street. He helped Mrs. Hudson to pack a lot of Sherlock's things for the charity she mentioned before. Some few like the skull, the microscope or even some of Sherlock's favourite clothes that John could not bear to part from he kept for himself, hidden in a deep corner inside his wardrobe.

Sometimes, when the night was especially dark and his loneliness particularly unbearable he tended to dug them out, sitting on his bed surrounded by all the small things, basking in the memories of Sherlock and him they represented until the sun came up to announce a new day. Then he would put all the little treasures back into the boxes, hide them inside the little corner in the wardrobe, put on his happy smile and get ready for work, pretending for the world that he was indeed moving on.

When the first anniversary of a year since Sherlock's death arrived, John was fully back into life. He found work in a hospital three months ago, though he suspected Mycroft had his hand in the unexpected acceptance of his application. At the beginning he considered to decline the job, out of spite. He had never fully forgiven the older Holmes' involvement in Sherlock's discreditation. However, in the end he decided against turning down the job because it would have been unfair to Mrs. Hudson.

Unemployed and alone he had been unable to pay the full rent, yet the good soul refused to accept John's cancellation of the rental contract while at the same time not allowing a stranger to apply as flatmate to the former army doctor. The ease in the rent the old woman granted him had been not much of a problem at the beginning. But even when she said nothing to him, lately John noticed the signs that the financial disadvantage was catching up with her. He was not blind after all and he had a good teacher who taught him to not just see but to observe.

Therefore, when John got accepted in the hospital and suspected Mycroft behind it all, he resisted the urge to simply walk out and got to work instead. He paid off the full rent, even though at the beginning Mrs. Hudson certainly protested.

Of course with work keeping him busy, John soon started to live some kind of life. The pain of the loss he felt at the beginning eased with time. However, one year after Sherlock's death John knew he would never fully heal. He already suspected from the very beginning that his relationship with the consulting detective had been different from anything he had had before and now, one year past of his loss, his suspicions were confirmed.

He lost friends and comrades before in the army, during his stay in Afghanistan. He certainly remembered his first weeks back in London, when he was still dreaming of the war, of being shot, of friends dying. He remembered waking up in the middle of the night with a start, his mind fixed on the one or other friend and the sudden realisation that they were dead, as if it just occurred to him that moment, as if he had not known already when he witnessed their deaths in the front line.

However, those fits faded with time. Time passed and in the end they were simply his friends, fondly remembered. Not so much happened in case of Sherlock Holmes. Even a year after his best friend's death, John sometimes lay awake in the middle of the night, not thinking of anything, when all of a sudden, just when he was about to fall asleep, the realisation struck him like thunder. He was dead! His best friend, Sherlock Holmes was dead! It played like a mantra inside his head.

Sometimes those episodes happened even during day. A ride in the tube to work, when he was still waking up from getting out of bed too early. He would sit there, his mind mulling over nothing when all of the sudden his body flinched and he was wide awake, his mind stuck on the one single thought: Sherlock was dead!

Admittedly those occurrences lessened after months and even if they happened, at least John did not have to fight tears when he was surrounded by a crowd, away from the safety of his bedroom. Even if that meant he had to fall back on his military training, spending the rest of the day with his back ram straight and his face in an emotionless mask. However, inside he still felt a deep sadness every time it happened and while he was able to downplay it on the outside, he mostly ended up feeling depressed for the rest of the day.

Which was exactly what happened this day, hence his decision to seek isolation and distraction in Regents Park instead of going home where he knew he would be lost to his thoughts. John went into the park to watch people, observing them instead of seeing, making his conclusions about their behaviour and life. Of course he was aware what a far cry from the real genius he was.

Truth to be told, John was certain that had Sherlock been standing beside him, listening to his deductions, he would have shown him that small, superior little smile that told the doctor his friend was proud of his tries, but that while he still overlooked all the obvious signs, nevertheless it was certainly entertaining.

Oh how often John had done this in the beginning while deep inside wishing Sherlock would suddenly walk up to him, shaking his head and tell him how poor his performance had been. And then he would straighten before launching into his very own stream of deductions, stealing the former army doctor's thunder. And John would not have cared. He would have watched his best friend glowing in the spotlight while he admired his skills, letting the consulting detective bask in his praise.

Nowadays he thankfully did not end up in fits of bitterness after awakening from silly wishful thinking. It was a small comfort that all John now felt was sad amusement as he remembered his best friend's reactions fondly. And of course he was aware that his way of coping, the fact that he was still not over Sherlock's death, was not usual.

Not that anyone noticed anything being wrong with him. Who should, after all? Lately the former army doctor had few friends left. And those he had he saw even less. Mrs. Hudson of course was a given; she certainly did not allow him to isolate himself completely, not with inviting him for tea three times a week at least. But with one year already gone by, he suspected she saw their tea time as a little ritual now, something they became too fond of to break up. Especially since John sometimes was the one inviting her over instead of her having to drag him down to take a break.

The next in line was Mike Stamford. His old school friend from Bart's still took him out drinking now and then, though he had learned early on to never speak about Sherlock Holmes in John's presence. The one point Mike had going for him was the fact that he was one of the few who believed in Sherlock Holmes. It was the only time he had talked about the consulting detective a month after it happened.

"People are idiots, to believe the newspapers", Mike told John with surprising passion in his usually easy going voice. "Hell, the newspapers are idiots for printing it in first place. What do they know about Sherlock Holmes? Of course, we don't know him either, truth to be told, but if there is one thing I am certain it's that he never was a fraud, John."

That night John ended up dangerously drunk before getting into a fist fight with some other occupants of the pub they had been staying at. One of the many reasons why Mike learned to never mention Sherlock again in his presence, even now when they spent their pub time laughing and rowing in good friendly fashion with a controlled amount of beer shared between them.

His third, and if he was honest with himself, final friend left, was also his most complicated. Greg Lestrade and he had always gotten off well. From the moment they met, they realised they could share in the pain and the brilliance that was Sherlock Holmes. The D.I. and John spent even more evenings in a pub drinking their beer than he did with Mike Stamford, talking about the latest case Sherlock had - of course - solved brilliantly.

But Greg was the one who had been forced to arrest Sherlock, one of the many events that finally lead to the Consulting Detective jumping from a roof to his death. John knew it was irrational, far more so than his anger at Mycroft who should have known better. Yet, he could not help the small ounce of betrayal he felt over the Detective Inspector's actions in the aftermath.

Greg had known about his feelings, even if he never voiced them, and kept his distance out of respect. Maybe this would have been the first step to a rift forming between the two men, destroying their friendship. However ironically enough it was Greg being forced to arrest John one day that caused their friendship to mend over an unusual deal.

The former army doctor had been called to the police for questioning. Nothing drastic, at least he was not supposed to be a suspect, just a witness as the police started to unroll the first of many cases Sherlock had had a hand in closing.

Even though nearly every question felt like an insult to Sherlock's honour, John had been admirable keeping his temper in check. He swallowed every insult he wanted to throw at the unfamiliar detective questioning him. Yet he never got tired of forcefully emphasising with each word that Sherlock Holmes was NO FRAUD.

The detective didn't get it, of course. He was a fool anyway, they all were. They did not know Sherlock, so why should they act any different? The detective was mild mannered, simulating understanding, telling John that it was only natural to defend the one who he thought of as friend, even if he did betray and fool him.

In the end the only thing he accomplished was making the police believe he was an idiot, too blinded to see behind the mask of a swindler. Therefore John had already been in an especially foul mood when he ran into Greg, Anderson and Donovan on the floor on his way out of the interview room.

The Detective Inspector greeted him politely. Anderson scrunched his face, though he said nothing. It was Donovan who made the mistake of opening her mouth. John could not remember for the life of him her exact words. He remembered shreds like "I told you so", "you are an idiot" or "he was a damn fraud, when will you open your eyes." At that point Greg was telling her off rather strongly. But it was too late.

For the first time he could remember, John Watson had given in to the urge to hit a woman. Well mannered and raised as he was, he always restrained himself, reminding him of his good manners even when he met more than enough women that got on his nerves. But this had never been about him, this was about Sherlock. Her words hurt him, might have hurt his best friend, adding another reason for the jump. Simply put, her words were the last straw in a straining day where he already endured enough insults on his friend's behalf - he saw red.

When he looked back on it later, John could not deny that there was also a good portion of self loathing in his actions because he regretted never telling her off before; Sherlock of course had a sharp tongue and was never fully blameless in her dislike of him. It always seemed as if his best friend did not care about the sneers and the insults, but maybe, just maybe he had cared somewhere deep, deep inside his soul.

No matter the reason, the end result was the same. John found himself shouting insults at the shocked woman, the only reason he had not touched her being Greg and two more police officers who came out of nowhere, holding him down. Greg later told him there had been five, but two had been taken down by the former army doctor, who could not even remember it. He had had eyes for Sally only, his rage burning bright red. From that moment on there had been no love lost between the two of them.

John was arrested a whole night for attempted assault to a police officer. He did not know if it was Greg or Mycroft meddling in the shadows that bailed him out, but it was the D.I. who came in the morning to release him from his cell.

"For god's sake, John, what were you thinking?" Greg shouted, anger at himself and the doctor boiling over. John shrugged, his anger spent, leaving him feeling hollow and not caring about anything at all.

"I understand you of course, I really do", the Detective Inspector continued, "but you can't just go around hitting every man or woman that insults Sherlock just because they believe all that nonsense. Especially not if the woman happens to be a police officer."

"So what?" John countered sourly, shrugging his shoulders in an uncaring way. "I can, to an extent, understand other people, those who don't know Sherlock. But Donovan should have known better, she SAW his brilliance, Greg, even if he was never very tactful."

"God beware if there had ever been anyone less caring about social manners", the D.I. added with a rueful grin before sighing. "Look John, I know you're angry with me too and I certainly don't resent your feelings in this matter. They should have known better. Sherlock is no fraud, god help me where were days I doubted he was even human. But the sad truth is they had been envious for years while the rest simply believes what those fucking reporters wrote down. Without proof, they will never know better, and hitting a police officer won't change their opinion."

"So what are you suggesting?" John had asked with still a rather sour mood, though no longer aimed at the D.I. For a moment Greg looked surprised about his own words, before he seemed to realise that he indeed had a plan forming in his mind.

"Let's find the proof then, shall we?" he asked John rather boldly. "We cannot bring Sherlock back to life, but we sure as hell can try to clear his reputation, his memory. How does that sound to you, John?"

For a moment, he had felt a glimmer of hope, a spark of his stubborn nature, his will to fight. But it went just as quickly as it came when he realised one thing.

"How should we ever accomplish this alone, Greg?" John asked, voice tired. "You might be part of the police force, but don't tell me you are not already in enough trouble with the accusations of helping Sherlock all these years. And yes, I know about that, I can read the paper and I am not deaf."

Greg looked stunned before his faced hardened.

"My name has been cleared, Mycroft intervened", the Detective Inspector admitted before he added in a softer voice. "Besides we are not alone. Have you taken a look at your blog lately, John?"

The surprise he felt about the question must have shown on his face because Greg send him a small, painful smirk.

"I guess not or you would have noticed all those nice entries about the people who express their belief in Sherlock Holmes. I also know that neither his homeless network nor most of his former clients believe for a second what the papers have been printing."

"You've already started to investigate", John realised with a start and for the first time he felt awake, even alive. His blood roused, singing with the idea of a chance to clear his best friend's name.

"Yes, I have", was Greg's only answer and it was the start of a beautiful renewing of their friendship. Since that day, John and Greg had been working nonstop to prove every accusation any police officer or newspaper reporter made, to be false. Their work went on slowly, the stones put in their path by the people who disliked Sherlock for one reason or another not helping, but after one year John knew they had accomplished at least small victories, even if the memory of his best friend was still far from being cleared.

Sighing deeply, the former army doctor found himself thrown back into the present, sitting on a bench in the middle of Regents Park. He could not even remember how he got there, but it did not matter too much to him anyway. This occurred every now and again still and he could not help it at all.

Still partly lost in his thoughts, John never noticed the movements of the figure even thought it happened right in front of him in plain sight. By the time he realised something was occurring, it was already too late. The former army doctor had just enough time for his mind to register "dog" before something furry, warm and strong crashed into his body with a happy yap.

The dog, that 'attacked' him was of average high, not too big but also not small enough that he was unable to feel the weight of the animal as it sat down right in his lap, where it happily started to lick and sniff his face in a way of greeting.

Getting over his shock, John attempted to fight off the gestures of affection with hands and by trying to move his head away. It was a lost cause, of course.

"Woah, where the hell did you come from?" he wondered aloud after he finally gave up and allowed his attacker to sniff and lick him up too its heart's content. "Where is your owner?"

Finally pulling away, the dog jumped down to the ground where it began to affectionately rub its head against the former army doctor's knee. John took the moment of freedom to look around, hoping for some furious or maybe embarrassed human to run up, taking claim of the dog. But there was no one.

He saw a dark haired mother rolling her buggy along, happily chatting into her mobile phone, an old man feeding the birds in the park and a little bit further he was just able to make out a jogger with ginger hair doing his rounds. No one looked as if they were particularly worried about their dog getting affectionate with a stranger.

Feeling a bit lost he looked back towards the dog, now sitting well behaved in front of his feet, gazing at him exceptionally.

"Did you run away?" John asked again, though he could not help feeling stupid for talking to the dog at all. It was not like it could speak now was it? To his great astonishment, the dog jumped up to its four legs and let out two loud barks, tail waving eagerly as though in answer to his words. Blinking he stared at the animal with confusion written all over his face.

"Sorry, but I don't think I understand dog language", he joked weakly, letting out a small smile. The dog became restless, moving two or three steps, right, turning, stopping, then taking small steps again into the other direction. Once more the dog let out a bark, eyes lingering on John before stepping back and forth once more.

"Huh, do you want something from me?" the former army doctor wondered, already feeling more than silly about this. "Well, maybe we should take a small walk and see if we can pick up your owner somewhere, hm? Someone must be missing you terribly, I suppose."

He stood up and the dog immediately stood at attention, body language as eager as a dog could look.

"Well, let's go then, shall we?"

Again he felt really silly. As if a foreign dog would simply follow the commands it could not understand. But to his great surprise the animal did indeed follow him step by step. Sometimes it ran off to sniff here and there but it always returned to John with a bark and an eager tongue lolling out of its mouth, demanding pets and affectionate caresses.

Before he even knew it, he was enjoying the little stroll with his new found friend. He did not even notice how his mind had been taken out of his dark thoughts down memory lane. Instead he tried to see if and what kind of commands the dog would listen to.

They walked around until they reached the end of the park, nearing the streets. Here the doctor started to get nervous because he was unsure how much he could control the animal that was not used to his person, without a leash. Deciding it was safer to go back to the park and maybe consider calling animal shelter, he turned. But the dog did not follow.

Instead it sat down on its hind legs, looking at the doctor rather expectantly. John frowned, unsure what exactly might be wrong now.

"Well, come on, don't you want to go back to the nice, green park?" he wondered, but the dog stood up all of the sudden and walked forward in the direction of where he could hear cars and people. It stopped once more however, when it sensed John not following. The former army doctor was frowning, unsure how to handle the situation. He did not dare to take a step in direction of the streets, least the dog might take that as an invitation to continue its way towards danger.

On the other hand, he was of course afraid the dog might decide to do just that anyway if it got bored of John not following. Deciding to try for a third option, he crouched down where he stood, holding out a hand.

"Come here, dog", he ordered softly, trying for an enticing tone, before smacking his tongue. "Come to me, be a good dog!"

The animal seemed to hesitate, looking towards the main street twice, before it came to a decision. Barking like mad, the dog stormed towards him, crashing against his body where he was still crouching, nearly throwing him to the ground. John laughed, as the dog eagerly buried its head between his arms and his pockets as if seeking for affection or maybe a treat. He stroke the soft fur, already celebrating his victory when all of the sudden the dog pulled away, turned and ran right to the place it had stood last when John tried to tempt it away from danger.

He heard a whine followed by a growl, but it took the former army doctor a moment before he realised why exactly the dog was not barking as it had done before. There in its snout the animal held a wallet, a wallet that looked suspiciously familiar. Eyes widening John patted the pocked of his jacket that was supposed to hold his purse only to have his worst fears confirmed.

"My wallet!" he shouted, face becoming pale. His purse contained everything, from money to identification and he really did not fancy the idea of having to replace all his valuable cards just because a dog turned out to be a pickpocket.

"Oh you must be kidding me", he muttered before addressing the dog in a loud, strained voice. "Come on now, give me my wallet back!"

John held out his hand, taking a small step forward. The dog raised its tail, waving it eagerly, but it did not move. Smacking his tongue once more, waving his hands in invitation, he made another step forward. The dog's tail did not stop waving happily, but the animal itself took a first step back. John stopped for a second, hesitant, but when he watched how the dog took another step backwards anyway, its eyes focused on him.

Throwing caution to the wind, John stormed forward, hoping to get the dog by surprise. Luck was not on his side, however. Before he was able to reach the animal, it let out a yowl that sounded surprisingly eager and it turned and ran - straight towards the main street. John followed hard on its paws.

The former army doctor forgot everything else. His world narrowed down to the running dog, just a small part stayed slightly alert of his surroundings, keeping him from running into people or cars. He chased the dog over dangerous streets, both of them staying surprisingly in one piece. They went down tube stations, through dark and narrow alleys and over fences the dog could squeeze through while John had to climb most of them to follow.

He lost track of time, did not even wonder how it could be that he was able to follow the dog for so long when it should have been obvious that dogs usually had much more stamina and could run a lot faster than humans. Nothing of those facts mattered, however. The doctor simply kept his eyes on the dog and chased until finally, finally, what felt like hours, the dog all of the sudden stopped. It turned towards John, tail still waving and waited for him to slow down.

He stopped a few feet away from the animal, gasping for breath and unsure if it would run again if he came any closer. Instead, the dog simply sat down, looking at John expectantly. The former army doctor closed the gap and took his wallet with a sigh of relief. It was not until his hands grabbed the purse the dog willingly gave back to him that John suddenly realised that beneath his heavy breathing and exhaustion his heart was racing and his blood was singing in a rather familiar way.

Eyes wide in disbelief he stared down at the friendly dog, still sitting by his feet, looking up to him rather adoringly. That was until all of the sudden a sharp whistle disturbed the silence of the evening, causing the dog's head to perk up in attention. Tongue lolling out, the animal stood up and barked to John once before all of the sudden turning and running away, leaving the stunned man behind.

Everything happened so quickly that it never even occurred to the doctor to look around and search for the one who had let out the whistle, the one who seemed to be the owner of the dog. The dog who, for the first time after Sherlock's death, caused him to feel the adrenaline of a hunt, to feel alive as he only ever had when running besides his best friend, chasing murderers through the streets of London.

John stood there, in front of his home, eyes gazing after where the dog had vanished for a long, long time.


John never really knew what exactly happened that time he met the dog. But strangely enough, the next days found him yearning to return to Regents Park to see if the dog would be there again. He was unable to manage it though, because he had nightshifts coupled with some nasty mass accidents owing to the weekend. The work left him exhausted, too tired to take a detour through a park at half past four in the morning.

It was not until four days later that he was able to leave work in the early evening, feeling awake enough to consider the detour. To be honest he did not expect the dog to be there. After all, it had been days since they met and who knew why exactly the animal had been at that park all alone in first place. However, strangely enough he could not get rid of the feeling as if the owner had been nearby all the time.

When he arrived at the park the former army doctor was still slightly disappointed once he indeed did not see the dog anywhere. He had even taken the time before he went to work that morning to look up the race, finding out that his friend was an English Pointer. There were other people with their dogs walking by, though definitely different breeds. Some families were taking their excited kids towards the playground nearby and he believed he recognised the ginger haired jogger from last time, but sadly enough there was no familiar English Pointer.

Sighing in defeat John slumped down on the bank he sat last time, his gaze on the ground. Of course he did not expect the dog to be there, but still, he could not help the small hope he'd held. Sighing once more he decided there was nothing he could do but to face this was a once in a lifetime adventure and go home. Before he even started to rise from his seat, however he heard a loud bark, one he was already familiar with. Turning around he saw the English Pointer racing towards him from the other side of the meadow. John did not even realise he was grinning like a loon until the dog threw itself against his legs, barking like crazy, tail thumping in happiness.

"There you are", John exclaimed merrily, scratching the dog behind its ears. "And here I really thought I would never see you again. Did you miss me?"

The dog butted its head against his hands before running circles around him, barking nonstop. It took a long time for both of them to calm down but when they did, John was ready to walk around with his new friend as he had last time. And again he was looking out for the owner. However instead of thinking the English Pointer to be lost or out on its own as he had last time, John had the strange feeling that the owner was very much aware of the dog's whereabouts. Which seemed a strange occurrence in itself.

John had some time to think about what happened and he realised that with the chase he had with the dog it seemed a bit fishy that all of the sudden the owner turned up and ordered the dog to come. Of course, maybe the dog lived nearby and simply was satisfied to lead him close to make a point of something. However, the place John ended up at after the chase was only two streets away from Baker Street and with how often he walked around in the past he was sure he would remember a dog like this English Pointer living nearby.

For now it was not the most important mystery, however. For now John was strangely happy to see the dog again and walk with it through the park, curious to see what would happen. It didn't come as a big surprise when they reached the end of the park and the dog once more did not wish to turn back. It sat down, right at the entrance, looking at John, barking twice in demand. When the former army doctor hesitated to follow, the dog stood once more, staring. John had a strange hunch he knew exactly what this meant.

"You are not stealing my wallet again, okay?" he demanded warily, one hand vanishing in the pocket of his jacket where he kept his purse. The dog seemed to hesitate a moment before all of the sudden it stormed forward, attacking the doctor just as it had last time. Since John still had a strong grip on his wallet, the English Pointer was unable to get that one. Instead it found something else in the other pocket he forgot to protect.

Groaning, John looked at his phone held between the dog's teeth, wondering if it would even work when all was said and done. Sighing and shaking his head he decided to count his sheep when he got them. Besides, he found himself strangely excited, grinning at the English Pointer that was looking expectantly for his first move. Adrenaline coursed through his veins and without warning he dashed forward, starting the chase.

The pursue that followed was in a sense just like last time, and yet it was nothing like it at all. Where the dog last time dashed left from the park to the main street, it now ran right. They took a totally different route from there on. Also, while John had worried for his wallet during their last chase, he this time had the feeling the dog never planned to not give his phone back to him, therefore he was not really worried. At least not more than the thought of the device still working when it was returned to him.

However, even if he was not worried for his mobile phone, John still felt the urge to catch the cheeky animal, to be the one to get the upper hand. He could feel the adrenaline of the chasing pumping through him, letting him forget everything else. He did not know how much time past since the run started. He did not know where he was. He only saw the English Pointer running ahead, leading him through small streets, dark alleys and this time even through private grounds, though some of them were thankfully vacated.

When the dog finally stopped, John was very much out of breath again, and his body felt tired and covered in sweat. Yet he could not deny that he had not felt this awake for a long time, his heart still beating away on adrenaline.

"All right, mate, give it to me", John requested when he was sure the dog was not planning of being chased further. The English Pointer allowed him to take his mobile phone readily enough, tail waving eagerly.

"I bet you expect praise for your stunts, don't you?" the doctor wondered unperturbed, his lips twitching towards a smile. "Well, I am not sure if that is proper dog education, honestly."

Behind him John could hear a door being opened, but he did not really care until all of the sudden a rather familiar voice addressed him.

"John, when did you get a dog?"

Turning around, eyes wide it was only now that the former army doctor realised where he was. The familiar sight of Speedy's cafe right next to the door where he lived sat innocently in his line of sight. Mrs. Hudson was standing right inside the door to 221B Baker Street, a look of surprise on her face. But already, the elder woman seemed to be enchanted by the friendly English Pointer because she held out a hand towards the dog.

"Well and who are you, deary? John, you should have told me you got yourself a companion, after all shouldn't I as your landlady first give you permission to keep a dog in the flat?" she tried to sound stern, but already the soft smile on her lips betrayed her intentions as she greeted the happy dog who had come closer to demand petting from the old lady.

"Uhm, but Mrs. Hudson, that's not my dog", John stammered, his mind still reeling from the shock of the realisation that the dog had lead him right home on their wild chase through London. Before he could utter another word, however, two sharp whistles sounded through the streets and the dog cocked its ears. Barking at the two occupants of 221B it turned and ran up the street until it vanished behind a corner.

John, this time not as shocked as he had been after his first chase, took the time to look around the street for the one person who could have whistled, but there was no one there. Baker Street was looking back at him in its usual, busy evening hustle and bustle. Moreover with the English Pointer long gone, even all trace of the dog had vanished.