This is my entry to Challenge 010 at Watson's Woes...This is set in my AU John Watson, Police Surgeon universe.
It won Mod's Choice and nearly placed in the voting.
The differences that make it AU:
My Watson is a man with a gift for empathy, and who possesses a innate instinct that some would say borders on psychic ability. He is also a VERY dangerous man!
The partnership between Holmes and Watson is more equal, as a matter of fact Watson and Holmes are the Great Detective.
Lestrade and Watson have as deep a friendship as the one he has with Holmes, and as a result Holmes is trying to be friendlier because of it.
Watson is a far more enigmatic man than the characture of himself he writes in the Strand accounts. He's a man who enjoys keeping things close to his chest. He is far more deceptive than ACD cannon as a result.
The plot bunny that created this story is this. In the Police Surgeon series Watson shows a remarkable gift for understanding intent and motive, and drawing accurate conclusions based on very little fact. This gift flies in the face of EVERYTHING that Sherlock Holmes believes and there would have been conflict had this unique talent been revealed so what were the circumstances that force Watson to show his hand...and what was Holmes's reaction. How far would Watson have gone to prove his point?
Well here is my entry. I hope you like it.
Juxtaposition: to place two or more things together, especially in order to suggest a link between them or emphasize the contrast between them
Two men sitting in an abandoned barn, across from a decrepit mansion deep in the oldest section of West End London, have a conversation about the night everything changed...and nearly ended.
"It was a singular moment in my existence, I tell you Lestrade," Holmes remarked, his face lit orange by the light of the match he used to heat the bowl of his pipe, "I discovered three things that night that altered my course for the remainder of my days."
Lestrade stretched out his legs on the hay bale from which he was perched with a view of the overgrown grounds. "Please, go on."
Holmes's silhouetted figure nodded toward their partner who was obliviously napping across the room, with Holmes's overcoat under his head, and Lestrade's draped over the rest of him, additions that he would have protested if he had not been so deeply involved in slumber, one of his two partner's least argumentative collaborations.
"It was the moment that I discovered the actual existence of that nebulous "sixth sense" that I had long scoffed at, it was the occasion that I realized that in Watson, I had a truly singular partner, one irreplaceable," Holmes continued.
His eyes glittered in the coals as he puffed in a drag. "It was also the juxtaposition in which I realized that if our yon mutual friend, now resting under our care, were ever to go over to criminal pursuits; he would be by far the deadliest opponent I have ever faced."
To Holmes's unexpressed relief, Lestrade did not scoff, but merely nodded his agreement. "I have seen the man do miraculous things, Holmes, perceive situations and intents without concrete evidence to draw from, form fool proof plans on hunches and sheer instinct that boggled the mind, walk into battles with the deadliest men imaginable and come back out victorious. The thought of him taking those singular abilities to criminal pursuits is a daunting thought indeed, however, I feel I must ask, do you include Moriarty in that list of most lethal adversaries?"
"I do," Holmes replied inclining his head in agreement. "As a matter of fact, if it had been Watson I faced at Reichenbach, we would not be having this conversation."
Lestrade contemplated those words, then ventured. "He would have dispatched you?"
Holmes's eyes rested on their quietly snoring compatriot. "Watson would have found a way to win, he would have gone further than Moriarty, been far more determined to come out the victor, once you make yourself his enemy, you lock into a course from which only one will emerge alive. With his unique perceptions and insight, mixed with the lethality of which you are no doubt aware him capable, and without that deep and abiding honour that permeates his very being...the resulting villain would be a nightmare no one person could subdue."
"You glimpsed this possibility?" Lestrade encouraged.
Holmes let out a chuckle. "I more than glimpsed it, I forced him to it, it nearly cost both of us our lives, and worse, our friendship..."
669 Dover Street, Mayfair: Circa early 1880's:
"Well come on now, Watson, quit dragging your heels," Holmes called out impatiently as he strolled toward the latest crime scene.
The Mayfair Firefly was nearby; he could feel it in his bones. This lethal arsonist had been his greatest opponent to date and he was nearing an end to the hunt. This last victim was the one who would provide the clue necessary to run the man to ground, it had to be, he had chased this monster from smoking corpse to burned personage just a step behind, the conclusion was at hand.
Watson, who had paused to pay the cabby, shot a glare in his direction, the man was in ill temper this evening, had been from the inception of this case truth be known, it was becoming extraordinarily irritating and causing Holmes to question their continued partnership.
Oh sure he was steady, lethal like few Holmes had ever seen with a firearm, could more than hold his own in a fair fight and had a solidity about his person even in the direst circumstances with the occasional perceptive question thrown in, but the truth was that few if any could keep up with Holmes and his intellect and just lately that disparity was grating on his nerves.
"If you depart a cab without paying, then you cease being a consultant for the Yard, and become it's quarry. It is called stealing a fare, and the constabulary frowns upon such actions," Watson grumbled as he caught up.
"Yes, yes, so you say, can we proceed, Doctor?"
"After you, Holmes, but do be careful, I have a bad feeling about this one."
Holmes barked a laugh. "Should I abandon actual fact for your emotional barometer; my dear Boswell, you will be the first informed."
He bustled off blissfully unaware of the glistening anger in Watson's hazel eyes as he followed.
Holmes descended upon the Inspector on sight. It turned out to be the tall Swede, Tobias Gregson.
"Hallo, Holmes, you have no excuses this one, we sealed the room, no one has passed that door since the body was found, I give you my guarantee."
"Actual competence from Scotland Yard, I should grow accustomed if this new policy tarries beyond tonight," Holmes remarked.
Gregson bristled but remained calm, his mustachios quivering in anger. "Very well, what resources do you need to proceed?"
"Just two of your most silent and unobtrusive constables to run my findings back to you, if you would stay ground level I would be appreciative, there's a chap," Holmes informed with a dismissive wave of his hand.
Gregson snapped his fingers to two PC's nearby and indicated them to follow Holmes as the amateur detective made his way to the door, so engrossed that he did not see Watson's hesitation before proceeding in his wake.
The boarding house was well appointed like most on this street and in this district, two stories and well built, gas equipped with veranda for the second story dwellers, which their victim was. Algernon Windborne was found by a neighbour after she smelled the odour of cooked meat coming from the adjacent quarters, since cooking in the rooms was forbidden she went to chid him, his door was unlocked but she had to force it open after he would not reply to her panicked entreaties. She found the nearest constable on the streets below, she was completely hysterical.
All of Mayfair knew of these grisly arson deaths, so the constable immediately sealed up the room and made sure no one entered until Sherlock Holmes could be summoned.
Holmes bounded up the stairs, his energy high, olfactory senses alive with data.
The door was rigged with a strange sort of spring attachment; he investigated the outside carefully, and then broke the seal waving everyone back as he slipped into the room. The mechanism on the door held his attentions for moment or two until he determined that it was irrelevant.
After he was certain that there were no more clues that could be gleaned from the sealed state of the room, he waved his companions inside instructing them to keep their hands to themselves while he investigated the body.
Watson glanced around, and suddenly tensed. He glanced down at the body as Holmes began his assessment in the harsh glow of the gas lamps turned on full.
He studied the body over Holmes's shoulder with panicked eyes, then he walked around the room his eyes taking in the extent.
"What is it, Watson, you are distracting me from the work, we've had this discussion."
"We need to leave...now."
Holmes glared at him, his temper rising. "If you wish to leave, then by all means, go, I have no further patience for your mania."
Watson took another gander around the room, his tension rising. "It may already be too late, if the oxygen shifts one more degree we will be done for."
"What are you babbling about?" Holmes growled as he made his feet.
"Look around, Holmes, the light level in this room has risen twice since we entered," Watson replied indicating the lighting.
"It's a simple gas flare up that happens when the oxygen levels in a room change, it will equalize, my God man, have you learned nothing of my methods?"
Watson went from tense to that cold efficiency that Holmes had seen in the man more than once. His eyes took on that emptiness that indicated that the doctor was no longer at the fore; he was speaking to the soldier.
"We need to figure out a way out of this room without adding to the oxygen, or this will end badly," he insisted. He pointed down to the curled up blackened corpse. "Because that is the Mayfair Firefly, and this room is his trap."
Holmes was so taken aback by that bold declaration that he actually asked. "Trap? For whom?"
"You, dear Holmes, he set this trap for you."
Present Day Deep in the West End:
"Had Watson ever done anything like that before?" Lestrade inquired.
Holmes fell silent. "Nothing that blatant, he would ask astute questions that led me to paths I might have discounted otherwise, he had an ability to know when an attack was coming, but I just assumed that was battlefield instinct, making leaps of deduction without factual evidence, was a new wrinkle to be sure."
"But it all led to the same place, that Watson is a man of unique ability," Lestrade insisted.
"I could not see that possibility, because it counteracted everything I believed about how the world worked," Holmes replied. "If I were to acknowledge the existence of that one sense more than the five known, I would have had to rewrite my philosophies. I worked hard to establish them, I was not about to leave them behind without a fight."
Lestrade slipped his legs off and sat on the edge of the bale, leaning forward his eyes intent. "As it happens, that fight was with Watson."
Holmes smiled; it was a wry twist of the lip. "Fortunately for us both, Watson does not lose easily; he will take it as far as necessary. No one can match his nerve."
"Not even you?"
Holmes shrugged. "So it would appear."
669 Dover Street, Mayfair: Circa early 1880's:
"Preposterous," Holmes bellowed.
He pointed at the younger constable. "Go tell Gregson to remove Watson from this crime scene; the man is experiencing some sort of psychotic break."
The young man went to reach for the door when there was a gunshot and chips of wood gouged inches from his outstretched hand. "Back into the room, constable, there's a lad," Watson called. Holmes did not even see him pull his gun; it was in his hand before the detective could move.
"No one opens that door," Watson informed in the eerily calm voice he used when things had gone to violence.
Holmes was not impressed. "You are proving my hypothesis."
"Use your eyes, Holmes, take in the entire space...Stop being so blasted hyper-focused on one detail at a time and look at the whole bloody room!" Watson instructed his eyes on the two PC's now looking at each other in alarm.
Holmes was not about to be ordered about, not even by this crazy veteran that he had nearly come to call friend, the closest he had ever come to making that mistake.
"Watson, deduction is my bailiwick," he informed in his most patient and careful tone, "are you assuming that I have not done just that as soon as I entered?"
Watson's eyes flicked to Holmes. "Evidently, you've missed a few details."
"There are no clues to indicate that this is a trap!" Holmes persisted.
Watson smiled, but it was not pleasant. "And the absence of clues is not a clue in and of itself? I believe you mentioned that to me more than once."
"Using my own words against me, is there no depth to which you will not sink?" Holmes grumbled.
There was a sudden banging on the door.
"Holmes, Gregson here, I believe I heard a gunshot, do you need assistance?"
"Inform the Inspector, that he should evacuate the building, and to be safe the two adjacent structures as well and that the fire wagon should be summoned, and the gas main to this building cut immediately," Watson instructed the older PC.
He raised the gun and lowered it eye level with the man for emphasis. "Mind me now."
The PC went to the door and gave Gregson, Watson's instructions; they heard the inspector bustle off to fulfil his duty.
Holmes decided on a different tact. "So, tell me why you feel that Algernon Windborne is the Firefly?"
"We don't have time for this," Watson remarked with a sigh.
Holmes showed him his empty hands. "Perhaps if you lead me through your reasoning, however flawed, then I might be convinced of our peril enough to aid you instead of oppose."
Watson shook his head in exasperation. "I know this man, I've never met him but I know him," Watson began, "look at the right arm on the corpse, remember when I asked you if this man could possibly be handicapped in some manner, his arm the way it is curled in on itself is not from the new fire damage, it is from an old severe burn injury, I saw injuries like that working in India with tribes that had fire rituals of manhood. This one would have occurred early in life, such an injury would have warped his mind and caused a fascination with fire, there have been conjectures on your part that he was a talented chemist, and someone who was seeking glory and fame, what better reputation than to go up thought your last victim, taking the great Sherlock Holmes with you, that way your legend never ends, they will always wonder who you are, you would haunt nightmares for years!"
"Sheer conjecture, but do go on, why is this "trap" tailored for me?" Holmes replied unimpressed.
Watson swallowed his ire and pointed to the door. "He knows your methods, the first thing you insist upon at any crime scene is that it be left intact with no disturbance, the way that door is rigged ensures that the oxygen level in this room is maintained until such a time as you arrive, then when it is opened up for your investigation the influx of air triggers the same mysterious chemical that he has been using at the other scenes, that formula of his own invention. The primary ingredient is phosphorus which burns white. The gas lamps are far brighter now than when we first entered, as the phosphorus placed within begins to react to the air it gets brighter, we have moments before it triggers some sort of chemical reaction bursting the bulbs and igniting the gas feeding back through the lines."
Holmes was beginning to believe, but he schooled his features to remain sceptical. "Why do you think this is the Firefly and not some red herring he left for bait? You have failed to mention."
Watson let out a cry of exasparation. "Everybody he has left behind was damaged by fire leading up to this point, so now you have a new body with similar fire damage to look at so you will ignore the arm," he pointed at the corpse, "there were no cries of pain, not like at the other scenes, so this "victim" did not suffer, why spare this poor soul the same anguish that he inflicted upon the other victims, unless he had a personal stake in this one not suffering? He has combed the floors, wiped down all the surfaces, no personal effects apparent, no clues left to deduce his true identity or your peril."
Holmes felt the first prickling of alarm, but still he felt a need to persist. "These "facts" you are providing are still insufficient to support your hypothesis, there are no concrete clues to support that this man is the killer."
"Check the wastebasket, there is a discarded shattered syringe in the bottom; from the shards you will see a solution residue, from the dosage line, the amount was a fatal overdose," Watson replied, "this man died with no pain because he was dead before the flame took him. That alteration in modus is alarming is it not?"
Holmes went to look.
A sudden movement from the PC's was nixed when Watson drew the hammer back on the revolver with an ominous click. "There are four lives at stake here, one or two less improves our chances, am I understood?" The two cowed policemen nodded as they raised their hands.
Holmes looked up from the wastebasket, his eyes met Watson's showing that he had discovered the gravity of the situation.
"We need to leave immediately," Holmes informed the constables.
Both men relaxed as Watson holstered his gun. "Brilliant deduction, Holmes, your methods are flawless as usual," Watson remarked in a tone dry as the Afghanistan summer.
Holmes and Watson began to work together on the solution, as the room became ever brighter, a low hiss emanating from the lamps.
"The carpet beneath the body was not immolated, perhaps it is fire-retardant," Watson speculated.
Holmes glanced at the referenced item then at the heavy curtains over the window. The veranda was just outside, but it was accessed by a door out in the hallway.
"The rug could offer some protection from the flames but the force of the blast would be deadly, however, we can use the diving bell principle, by draping the rug over the curtain rod as we slip out the window."
Watson did not hesitate or debate; he yanked the carpet out from under the body unceremoniously dumping it onto the floor. "Sorry, dear boy, we have more need of this than you at the moment."
Holmes pulled up a chair and accepted the offered rug, he attempted to drape it over the baluster so that it dangled against the window creating a makeshift airlock, but it would not stay.
"Go, I'll hold it in place," he ordered.
Watson glared at him. "Like hell."
"Go!" Holmes bellowed, "I'll leave as soon as you are free."
Watson nodded for the other two men to proceed, he began undressing the bedding and tying the sheets and the fitted sheet together, while the two constables slipped out.
Windborne's treachery became even more apparent when the veranda nearly gave way, fortunately the two PC's were able to hug the ledge and head to the down spout at the corner.
"Diabolical," Holmes murmured, "if he was not dooming me to a fiery end I might actually feel admiration for the mind at work."
"Did they get clear?" Watson inquired as he tied the blanket to the two sheets.
"They just descended the spout just now, you need to depart, Watson, I am sincerely sorry I did not listen sooner," Holmes said in the way of apologia.
Watson tied off the sheets on the heavy four post bed, then wrapped the end around his waist, threading through one leg then another in a makeshift harness.
The first bulb popped and the hissing became louder.
"Leave now! Watson, at least one of us will survive," Holmes demanded.
Watson paused in his work, studying the length of sheeting, and then turned to Holmes. "Come on down, Holmes I would shake your hand before the end is upon us."
Holmes nodded his agreement, and did as he was bidden.
However, instead of approaching, Watson's eyes narrowed, and he said, "sorry about the sore ribs, Holmes."
"Wha..." Holmes managed before Watson crossed the room in a feat of amazing speed and tackled him through the window pulling the rug after them, they landed on the faulty veranda and as it collapsed the sheeting pulled tight and they descended with the arch, Watson's arms locked around his middle like a vise as the entire top floor of the building exploded outward with a white flash of heat and wood propelled carnage, the sheets gave way just before they hit the ground and the momentum carried them forward in a heap of arms and legs.
Holmes was having trouble breathing as the tackle did indeed damage his ribs.
Watson was entangled and under him, but the man managed to make his feet and tugged Holmes to his, with a wince of his bad shoulder. "Move!" he hissed as he pulled Holmes after him, Holmes caught on and soon they were both sprinting at best speed just as the bottom floor followed the top in a shower of timber and glass, blowing them both forward.
Holmes's perceptions went fuzzy for a bit as a piece of board hit the back of his head. He felt two strong hands exploring his skull with gentle fingers. "Good thing your head is the hardest part of you, you'll recover."
Then the hands were gone after resting him on a folded coat.
He faded in and out for a little while longer, seeing scenes of constables running back and forth, fire personel trailing hoses from the river, the pump wagon going full capacity, he sat up feeling dizziness lingering and saw Gregson a few steps away, directing some of the efforts and keeping the crowds back.
"Inspector Gregson!" he called after clearing his voice twice.
The towering Swede left appointed one of the milling constables to watch the crowd and made his way over. "Good to see you're awake, Watson said you'd be fine, and to leave you be, I tell you, Holmes if we hadn't evacuated and cut the gas main this whole block would be a smoking crater, might have had another 66'," he said as he helped Holmes to his feet.
"Where's Watson?" Holmes managed to croak.
Gregson looked confused. "He told me to keep an eye on you, that he was going to see about helping with any first aid, he was just over there a minute or two ago."
He pointed over to a PC with a bandaged arm, but the man was standing alone.
"Where did he get off too now?" Gregson remarked.
He's gone...and who can blame him? Holmes thought with a grim realization.
Present Day Deep in the West End:
"Obviously, you two patched things up," Lestrade remarked, lighting another cigarette.
Holmes nodded. "It was nearly a week later, the two constables that narrowly escaped gave full credit to me instead of the man to whom it was due, when I asked them why, they told me that Watson had entreated them that he did not want any credit, and also told them to tell me not to look for him."
"But you did of course," Lestrade remarked with a wry smile.
Holmes chuckled. "Oh he knew I would, but I think he wanted a few days to himself to calm down."
"So he sent no word for close to a week?"
"Not to me, but Mrs. Hudson got a letter expressing his apology for being absent, asking her to hold all his meals until further notice," Holmes replied.
Lestrade watched the other man's eyes; he saw a haunted look there. "You thought he was not coming back."
Holmes sighed. "Why would he, Lestrade, I had all but called him fool, forced him to use martial force to control the room, argued with him until we barely escaped with our lives. I had no reasonable expectation that he would ever return."
"No logical reason for him to continue in your company?" Lestrade prompted.
Holmes grimaced. "Once again, my head told me that it was over, that the one man worthy of an equal partnership with me had justifiably quit my company just as I finally figured out what a commodity he was. I was a self made man, born with a modest gift that I had spent years of my life honing to a razor's edge, and yet sitting across from me, hiding his true facility was a man with a rare instinct, something visceral and indefinable, a capacity for empathy and insight which cannot be learned, and I fought with him over the jam each morning blissfully unaware. Could you blame him for leaving, when he was finally forced to reveal the scope of his talent, I argued with him nearly into oblivion. Such was my own obsession."
Lestrade pondered his words, and then asked, "Where did you find him?"
Holmes's eyes found his sleeping partner emanating low snores that he would deny later; there was a fondness apparent even in the dim light. "I found him in a charity ward, helping the poor like he was doing all day today, where else?"
St. Mary's Free Clinic for the Wayward: Shoreditch Circa early 1880's:
Holmes was in his navy peacoat, buried under gray whiskers and a gravelly voice. "Percy Minerver, Her Majesties Royal Navy, retired, need the doc to look at me ribs, think I took a blow on'em," he told the harried nurse.
"Wait your turn, there's a cot over there," she informed with a jerk of her head.
He rested on the cot indicated, with a well acted shuffle and groan.
His eyes found a familiar figure working with a dirty rough young man three cots down, in an apron, coat off, shirtsleeves rolled up, limping and favoring his shoulder. The youth he was working on had an entourage of like soot coated layabouts watching and jeering him good naturedly from the side. Watson let them go until he needed silence, then turned and gave them a stare that caused them to go quiet.
Holmes had to chuckle, he had seen that particular look more than once, but he was of course immune.
"You've got a fracture, my friend, I need to set it, the pain is going to be very pervasive, and so I'll administer an anaesthetic beforehand," Watson informed as he reached for the supplies.
"No medicine doc, it's just pain, I can handle it," the young man insisted glancing over at his mates.
Watson sighed. "Alright, but I want you to listen to the sound of my voice, very carefully," he said in a soothing tone, the tenor and pitch altered in a way that Holmes recognized.
The old boy is familair with hypnosis? What else does he know that I am unaware, do I even know who I drank coffee with over a paper every morning?
"Pain is just conversing nerve endings, having a chat with your brain, you can ignore the chatter just like you would ignore someone nagging, just tune it out, imagine you are a rock in the middle of a stream, the water is pain but you are a stone and it rolls over you and around you but it cannot penetrate," Watson said with a gentle tone, the young man relaxed and concentrated on the voice all the while Watson was feeling of the bone, suddenly he gave the arm a jerk and a twist, the young man nearly cried out, but still in a semi-trance the pain diminished as Watson began to wrap the arm.
Watson turned to the cowed group of onlookers. "Baron here is one tough bloke, did you see that?"
They all nodded, and he finished with the lad's arm, and the boy walked out with more prestige than he walked in. Holmes found that he was touched by his flatmate's attention to more than the medical.
Watson washed his hands in a basin not more than four steps from Holmes.
"So you found me," he said as he dried his fingers. He turned to Holmes with a irritated look. "I appreciate you showing restraint for at least this long."
Holmes pulled off the wig, whiskers and fake nose. "Can I ask how you figured it out?"
Watson tossed the towel into a hamper and crossed his arms, leaning against the counter. "Can we get this over with; I have people here who need me."
"Where did you learn hypnosis assisted surgery?" Holmes inquired because his mind was blank about what he needed to say.
Watson's expression never altered. "Tripoli, one long month, nothing to do, is that what you wanted to ask?"
Holmes shook his head. "I don't know how to approach this; I have had no experience in these matters."
"So, just say what comes to mind," Watson remarked in that same even tone.
Holmes grew frustrated. "I don't know what's on my bloody mind, that's the difficulty, you have me so far out of frame that I cannot cogitate how to proceed."
"Tell me what you want, we'll start with that," Watson stated.
Holmes closed his eyes and rubbed his temples. "I want you to come home, I want you to be my partner, and I want you to forgive me for being such a narrow minded imbecile...I...I...want..."
Watson watched him silently struggle before venturing, "You want?"
"I want you to stay my friend," Holmes finished.
Watson was silent for a few moments after that bald admission, then he shrugged. "I'll give it some thought."
Holmes felt let down. He had never ventured that far out into emotion before; to be rebuffed at this point was devastating. "I'll leave you to your work."
He began to walk away when Watson called out. "Leave the light on, and see if Mrs. Hudson will leave something in the grate, I'll be in late."
Holmes kept his back turned so Watson would not see the happy smile that had overtaken his face. "You may consider it done."
He waited until he was a few blocks away in the cab before he let out a whoop that disturbed all the local mangy curs into a barking frenzy.
Present Day Deep in the West End:
"We have not always agreed since then, but I have learned to trust his word, he does not give it lightly...and his...instincts...no matter what my logical brain tells me," Holmes finished.
The silence stretched out between them, suddenly Watson's gun was in his hand, and his eyes had not even opened before he had it cocked. "Someone's coming, the way he's driving those horses, I think its Bertram Clary."
Lestrade and Holmes prepared for the coming conflict as Watson stared at the two coats that he had under his head and on his person.
"What's the meaning of this, you two decide to use me as a coat rack?"
Lestrade shrugged. "You were not good for anything else at the moment."
Holmes nodded agreement. "We had to stifle the snoring some way."
"I do not snore!" Watson shot back as he tossed them their coats.
Holmes and Lestrade exchanged a glance. "Yes you do," they said in unison.
They shared one of the few companionable smiles they had ever passed and followed the grumbling Doctor out into the night.
Thoughts: Watson has just challenged everything that Holmes believes about how the world works...very few people easily convinced when their core beliefs are challenged, I think Holmes would be worse than most. So if he appears argumentative and obtuse bare in mind that I write a very human Holmes who does not always come out on top...especially were Watson is involved!
Thanks for reading!