Big thanks to medcat, my beta!

My mind was blown.

There was no other way to think of it. Mary, my Mary, had been cheating on me with a carriage driver for seven months, one more month than we had been married. I had given up a tremendous amount for her: my small practice in my Baker Street flat was abandoned for a larger one nearer to our new home, I worked myself to the quick, supporting her suddenly extravagant life style, and I gave up Holmes almost entirely. I had rarely seen him in the past six months, rarely indulged in one of our adventures, and each time he had remarked that I was graying faster than himself, and that it was, in all probability, my over-heavy workload that was turning my hair. And it was all for nothing. Walking in on them shattered my heart, walking in on them while at my office shattered my restraint.

I grabbed her beau by his collar and delivered one blow that crushed his nose and fractured his zygomatic arch. Mary tried to pull me off him, crying that I didn't understand, that she had been lonely. In a stony voice, I informed her that divorce papers would arrive in the morning.

"How could you leave me so easily, John? Didn't you love me?" she had yelled, gripping my arm.

"I do love you, Mary, but I will be used no longer." was my hawkish response as I pushed the driver aside.

Soon after, I stood on the curb across the street from my old home in the London rain, unable to move. Would Holmes allow me to once again reside there after months of neglecting him? I decided there was nothing for it, I would have to brave what awaited me inside. I knocked on the door and waited for an answer.

"Doctor!" Mrs. Hudson had exclaimed when the door was opened, "It's been too long!"

"Indeed," I said rather guiltily as she took my hat and coat.

"And look at you, soaking wet! Come in, come in! Mr. Holmes will be back soon, you just go up to the sitting room, and I'll bring up some tea." I mounted the stairs with infinite weariness, counting them, and coming up with seventeen of them, like just as Holmes had informed me years ago. Entering the sitting room, I found it still hadn't changed from my last visit; a pipe on the table, papers strewn about, and my old chair quite untouched. I settled into the aforementioned chair, clothes dampening the fabric, and awaited the tea.

Moments later, I heard footsteps and the clatter of dishes and the opening of the door. I turned to thank Mrs. Hudson, but in her place stood a very soggy Holmes. "To what do I owe this pleasant visit, old boy?"

"Do I need a reason to visit my old haunts?" Holmes must have heard something bitter in my voice.

"You were finally able to deduce it for yourself, Watson?"

"You knew?" I could feel my restraint cracking again.

"Well, of course, a blind man could see it." said he, crossing the room and placing the tea set on the table covered in papers as if we were discussing the climate.

"And you did not think it necessary to inform me of my wife's indiscretions?"

"No, I knew you'd discern the truth at some point." I stood up quickly, fists clenched.

"Did I have to 'discern' its existence on my desk in my practice!?" I was yelling now, shaking. Holmes froze.

"Your office? I knew she was a bit tactless…"

"BUT I DID NOT!!!" I seized Holmes by his collar and pulling until he was a hair's breadth away, "and you said nothing!"

"Would you have listened?" Holmes didn't try to fight me, or get free, but stood there and looked rather supercilious.

"If I hadn't, you could have made me believe! I've followed you to damnation and back, AND YOU DID NOT INFORM ME MY WIFE WAS CHEATING!" I let go of his collar, then stumbled back, shocked at how angry I had become. I spun around and marched towards the door; too many betrayals in one day for one man.

"Watson!" I did not stop, could not stop, but I had no notion of where I was going; I was out on the street without remembering having opened the door. It was still raining, a reflection upon my mood, and bitingly cold without my hat or coat. "Watson!"

"Be gone, Holmes" a hansom was at the curb, and I climbed in yelling, "The station," before it took off. I should have known he'd do something dangerous, like hop on the back in a storm, but it wasn't until I had gotten out of the carriage and paid the driver did I see Holmes stepping off the back.

"I…regret that my actions hurt you," I didn't look at him, still too angry, too afraid that I would strike him.

"But you do not regret your actions themselves?"

"Of course not," and that, my readers, was the final straw. I lashed out, which he seemed to expect by the way he blocked my haymaker. What he didn't calculate for was the force I put behind it, and stumbled back.

"Of course not! Why would the Great Sherlock Holmes have anything to regret?"

"She is only a woman," still, he was unconcerned.

"YOU'RE NOT HUMAN!" I screamed.

"You wish to strike me?"


"Then do it, if you're man enough," I struck him, hard, and allowed me. "Very good, old man."


"No, no, Watson," he cleaned the blood from the corner of his mouth, "Feeling more stable, my friend?"

"Yes, Holmes," but I was feeling horrid. "Why did you block my first cuff, if you wished for the strike?"

"You weren't angry enough, Watson, you needed to be pushed just a little bit further. There are no hard feelings, old chap. You needed that." I lowered my head to hide a tear at the loss of Mary and the shame of assaulting a dear friend. "Let's allow bygones to be bygones and return to our home for tea." and I agreed. I moved back in that day, and continued Investigating with my comrade for many years.