A/N: I'll start out by being blunt. This fic is a collaboration between myself and KatXValentine. It's also our first Sherlock Holmes fanfic. We're stepping waaaay out of the box with this one, so be patient and any questions you have will be answered in time. Happy reading!

Better Than Before


Trotting around the city at this hour definitely is not a good idea. The weather is cool and damp and the sun hasn't even risen in the sky yet. Curse the military for putting such an idea into the head of a young soldier. Jogging in a foreign place in this day in age is not a good idea for a young woman with a limp. I tell her so but she ignores me, as usual, like she's pretending I haven't known her for 24 years.

She's stubborn; very stubborn, in fact. Full of that damn Irish pride that I hate so much, with a hint of Scottish arrogance. Why the hell would the two nationalities ever mix, you ask? Your guess is as good as mine, and I wish my old friend were still around so he could come up with an absurd reasoning.

She takes a right and nearly falls into a pothole. Stupid, stupid girl.

I watch as she falls to the ground and glares at the evil concrete. She looks up at me with that pathetic look that is so familiar, yet so distant to me… The look my friend used to use to try and make me feel bad for catching him in the act of something… That was usually along the lines of breaking into my office and stealing my medical supplies.

"Why are you looking at me like that," I finally ask her.

She gestures wildly at the pothole, like a person flailing their arms to stay afloat in the ocean, and punches me in the leg. I don't know how it's possible for her to actually hit me… I mean, I am dead, after all.

"What the bloody hell was that for?" I shout.

She sighs and looks around. After 24 years, I really don't understand why she bothers anymore.

"You didn't warn me about the pothole, John. You're acting like a skittish poodle and it's really starting to irk me. What are you so afraid of?"

I smack myself in the forehead and run my hand down my face. Honestly, could she get any more arrogant?

"I'm acting like a skittish poodle because I actually care about your safety, Mackenzie. You're a 24-year-old young woman with a bum knee running around New York City at 6:30 in the morning. Don't you think there's a reason to worry?"

She smirks, just like my old friend would, and shakes her head in amusement.

"Oh, John. Where would I be without you?" She asks, sarcasm oozing out of her tone.

I. Hate. Sarcasm.

"Dead..?" I offer.

"John Hamish Watson! Aren't you supposed to be a gentleman?"

The use of my full name is utterly ineffective and, therefore, quite useless. I never reacted to it, not even when Mother tried to scold me. It always made me smile and this time was no different.

"Oh, Mackenzie… Why bother being a gentleman when it's so out of style? Men hit their girlfriend's everyday now, my dear. The only 'nice' men out there are the ones that float the other way."

She laughs at my choice of words.

"You have such a strange way of wording things, John,"

She looks across the street and tilts her head to the side like a confused dog. She looks at me, studying every single detail about my clothes, and then returns her eyes to the other side of the street.

"John… Do you know that man?" She asks and nudges her head – oh, how adorable. She refuses to point – in the direction of what appears to be a man from the same era as me.

He has dark out of control hair that seems to defy all laws of gravity. His arms are tucked behind his back as he walks around. He's actually pacing in front of what appears to be a pub. The grayish-blue suit he's wearing is extremely familiar to my eyes… So is the way he turns as he's walking – one foot planted on the ground, the other takes a step forward and pivots. He must notice somebody is looking at him, so he turns and glances my way. We lock eyes for a mere moment. I feel my heart leap into my throat.

It is him. It is Sherlock Holmes.