"John, how are you doing?"

John gazes out the window of Ella's office. He think's it's a pretty drab view. He wishes there was a city scene he can just get lost in watching. Instead, there is tree and that is about it. A very lone tree surrounded by nothing.

"John, you called this meeting." John stops thinking about the dull tree and looks at Ella.

Fire Her. She's got it the wrong way around.

John snorts to himself, remembering that night, looks at his left hand. It hasn't stopped twitching on and off for the past five months. When had it stopped? Well, chasing the mad cabbie, meeting Mycroft and that damn umbrella and the Chinese afterward. Now that was some good Chinese with Sherlock poking chopstick at his own dumpling. He feels a chuckle escape.

"It's nice to hear you laugh, John. You look better, are you feeling better?" She asks again.

John doesn't think he looks better. He has dropped one stone in the past three months. He thinks he looks like hell.


He had woken up yesterday with a massive headache. There had been a buzzing sound that John couldn't place. He racks his brain. He laying on the rug below the couch. He wasn't prone to headaches except of course when he drinks. He glanced around, but couldn't seem to find a bottle nearby. The buzzing had continued. He had listened for a few seconds and turned his eyes to under the couch. His mobile was lighting up the bottom of the couch. He had went to grasp for it but failed.

"Short arms," he grunted. He dragged himself closer to the couch. The phone had continued to buzz.

"Hang on!" He shouted at the noise.

He had stretched his fingers and pulled the phone out from under the couch.

"Hello?" He answered, sounding a bit frustrated.

"Well hello to you too." It was Lestrade.

"Sorry, but did we have a night of drinking?" John sat up slowly, resting his back against the couch with one hand still holding the phone.

"No. You just did. Still, glad you're alive."

"Thanks for that. How bad was I?" He questioned.

"Not terrible-" A pause. "Well, not if you think going into Scotland Yard and almost breaking Anderson's wrist is a bad thing."

"What?" John had now pushed himself onto the couch, which his body had now thanked him for doing.

"Jesus, really?"

"Yes don't worry about it."


"I would avoid the Yard for a little bit."

John had laughed, letting his free hand drag through the cushions of the couch. "You think?" He then groaned. "Shit. Greg, I still need to do that statement you-I mean the Yard- wanted for on the record."

"Yeah, you'll get around to it." A laugh from the other end of the phone. "I think we might need another recreational activity."

John's free hand had hit something hard. He pulled the item out. A bottle of scotch. John had scrunched his nose. He hated scotch. However his old flatmate did not. He gazed at the empty bottle.

"I agree."


"You honestly think I look better?"

Ella nods. "Yes, yes I do."

He laughs and he knows she doesn't get why so he elaborates. She doesn't know about the Scotland Yard incident. John hasn't seen Ella in about three months. He had been avoiding her, avoiding the truth that he indeed had a problem and if ever he needed an indicator, this was it. As much as he disliked Anderson, his goal in life was not to cause physical harm to people.

"You know, he said I should I fire you."

Ella taps her pen against her paper, looking at him. "Who?"

"His brother, Mycroft." The words are dipping with disgust just at saying the name.

"Whose brother?"

"Sherlock's." He says as fidgets in her chair. It's nothing like his chair back in Baker Street where he sinks into the comfort. This one lookscomfortable, but it is actually hard and firm and it makes him sit straight, unable to slump and feel safe. It feels like he is awaiting punishment like he had in grade school in those wooden chairs by the headmaster's office.

"And why should you fire me?"

"Because-" he squirms again. "Because you think I have PTSD. I don't." She raises her eyebrows at him, but he continues onward. "You think I had trust issues. Well how about this? I trusted a man who was brilliant and dangerous."

"Well that does seem to be a trust issue." She murmurs and then says a little firmer and clearer this time, "John, you do have PTSD."

"No I bloody don't." He doesn't elaborate, but flexes his left hand that he had been clenching. Ella questions his defiance.

"If you think I'm bad at my job, why don't you switch-"

"Because the only person who actually knew what was wrong with me is dead-"

"I don't believe his brother is dea-"

"Not who I am talking about," John says through gritted teeth. He shakes off his anger and continues.

"I might as well pay you to listen to me. Talking to a person makes me look less insane than talking to a skull." He feels his mouth turn upward, remembering Sherlock saying the same thing to him when they first met. "Anyway," He lets the smile disappear, hoping Ella didn't see it. He looks to the lone tree outside. "You don't tense, you don't cry or shout at me when you hear his name. You are just like a skull. Nice and empty. Except now I look a little more sane."

She doesn't move to write anything down on her paper. She just intertwines her fingers together and gazes as John.

"Well -"

"Well what? That's all you can say?"

"I'm glad you can express this with me."

"Forget it!" John grumbles. He springs out of the chair, but Ella watches him. "I hate those fucking chairs too!"

John storms out, wanting to find the nearest place to throw a punch.