John wrote up a fictional version of the pool scene on his blog, in order to spare Sherlock's feelings, and also because he really didn't want to type the words out. Ever. He remembered with chills Irene Adler's advice once they began looking for Sherlock: "Given the state he'll probably be in, Doctor Watson, you will want to go in first."

Sherlock alternated between acting as though the entire incident had not happened and snapping at anyone who suggested it might have, to near-catatonia where he would sit with his knees to his chest, wearing his coat indoors, and staring at the wall. The only fussing he seemed willing to tolerate was Mrs. Hudson's new habit of inundating him with baked goodies and pots of tea.

"You don't eat enough, Sherlock," she would say.

"Mm," he'd reply, but rewarding her with at least a few nibbles on the most recent treat.

John didn't fuss. He had never been good at that, in any case, more of a pat-them-on-the-back-and-make-a-joke type when it came to bedside manner. "Would you like to go to therapy today?"


"All right, then, I'll cancel it." He remembered how much he'd hated being forced to see his own therapist and had resolved never to nag Sherlock about seeing his.

Three weeks after Sherlock's rescue, and Sherlock took up a new case, one John ended up calling "The Breakdancing Men". John was glad and did everything he could to be helpful. He'd never cared much for Freud, but he agreed with the statement that the only lasting cures in the end were work and love.

About that. Three weeks and two days after Sherlock's rescue, the night after Sherlock solved the mystery, John woke with a start to see Sherlock wrapped in a sheet and sitting on the end of John's bed. "You make a lot of noise when you sleep," Sherlock said. "Do I do that?"

"These days, yes." It twisted something in John's chest to hear the moaned don't touch me don't touch me please leave me alone get off please don't touch, a litany Sherlock had kept up every time he slept.


"Is there a particular reason you're in my room at this hour?"

"I woke up. And it occurred to me that you haven't been dating anyone recently."

"Been a bit busy." In the darkened silence, John took a risk and added, quietly, "You're more important than that, anyway."

Sherlock looked at him. He seemed...confused? "Does that - does that mean - you want to have - do you see me as -"

"Oh no. God, no. Someone can be the most important, exasperating, damnably amazing and fantastic git that ever walked into someone else's life without them having to feel that way about each other. Not that it never crossed my mind, but you're not like that. Towards anyone, as far as I can see. Which is fine. I promise."

Perhaps Sherlock smiled a little. Perhaps not. "Darling John," he breathed, ghosting a hand over John's cheek. Then he headed back downstairs to his own room.

Epilogue: 2017

The department head of mathematics at a university in Auckland (that shall remain nameless to protect the guilty) pushed his wheelchair towards where he always hung his jacket at the beginning of a lecture. He cleared his throat and spoke in the direction of where he could hear his aide breathing and shuffling papers. "If you have any trouble with the grading, Kitty, you know my mobile number."

"Yes, Professor. Will your husband be picking you up, or would you like a lift home?"

"Cab for Professor Conan-Doyle," rumbled a rich, distinctive baritone from the door.

It was always difficult to tell what the tiny, genius war hero of a professor was thinking, with his eye sockets hidden behind a special pair of mirrored aviator sunglasses, his sing-song lilt of a voice, and his biting sarcasm toward anyone whom he thought patronizing.

Miss Katherine Winter gathered up her things. "Goodnight then, Professor."


Once they were alone, Sherlock approached Jim, looking him up and down. "Mycroft was thorough indeed. Careful, you're backing into a wall."

"How did you find me?"

"Some of your students have a Facebook fan page devoted to their favorite professor. Apparently quite a few fancy you. How heartwarming - a intelligence agent wounded in Afghanistan becoming a highly respected maths instructor despite now being both blind and paraplegic. I'm surprised it hasn't been made into a film."

"There were offers. I turned them down."


"What do you want, Sherlock?"

"I'm here for a consultation. I'm trying to take down a chapter of the Yakuza that has overstepped their bounds, and though we most likely both loathe each other to the very core of our beings, you know the criminal underworld like nobody else. And I know you've been aching for the game."

Jim laughed. "How very sentimental."