Disclaimer: Well, I do own this version...

Author's Note: For the first time, I'm entering a challenge. Huzzah! I tried to use as many phrases from the original novel as possible, but I can't possibly copy Doyle's style. Also, there is hardly any angst. Sorry.

"Well, well!" said he coolly as he scrambled to the surface. "I guess you have been one too many for me, Mr. Holmes. Saw through my game, I suppose, and played me for a sucker from the first. Well, sir, I hand it to you; you have me beat and --"

In an instant he had whisked out a revolver from his breast and had fired two shots. I felt a sudden hot sear as if a red-hot iron had been pressed to my thigh. My vision blurred. A sharp sound mingled with the thud of my knees hitting the floor. Then my friend's arms were round me, and he was leading me to a chair.

"Holmes! Holmes!"

Contrary to the note of – panic? surely not – I heard in Watson's voice, I was slowly feeling somewhat better. My vision cleared shortly, and I was stunned to see an unfamiliar expression on his face. I was more than accustomed to his concern, even apprehension, but I had never seen my Boswell display the absolute terror he wore on his face now. Shot or no, my only desire now was to change my friend's expression to anything less distressed.

"I am all right, Watson," I assured him. I was pleased to hear how steady my voice was.

Before I could fully process what he was doing, he had ripped up my trousers with his pocket-knife.

"You are right," he cried with an immense sigh of relief. "It's a mere scratch. Even so, where is my medical bag?"

I waved off his concern.

"Call the Yard, Watson. I daresay it won't be entirely unexpected."

With a look of exasperation (one I was infinitely more familiar with), he left the room to do as I had said. Careful of my injury, I leaned over to pick up my revolver… and stiffened. So, I realized: that vague sound that had penetrated the pain earlier had been a gunshot. When Watson returned, I was still staring at the body of Killer Evans.

"You shot him," I said, bewildered.

"I did," he agreed evenly. His voice held neither remorse nor defensiveness.

There was nothing to say to that. I wondered, had it been Watson who had been shot… I stopped the thought before my ever-active brain began to conjure the scene. Still, I wondered whether I would have handled the matter differently in Watson's place.

Two minutes later, Bradstreet arrived with two constables. With his slow, but fairly accurate sense of reasoning, he looked at the villain's body, then at my wound, and finally at Watson's completely calm expression.

"He shot first," Watson explained.

If I am any judge, Bradstreet didn't doubt him for a second.