Sherlock bbc is property of bbc, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss.
My undying gratitude goes to Arthur Conan Doyle.

Ex ante:
This story is a follow up to my previous twoshot Problem Site. Please read that one fist. This OS won't make sense otherwise.

English isn't my first language. I'm trying to improve my language skills here so please don't be shy and leave me a review. :-)

I owe a very big Thank You to don'tlikehugs18. She did the beta-work for this fic and it's so much better because of her.


London in winter is mostly associated with cold rain and greyness. But even if this stereotype does fit John's mood these days, Mother Nature had other ideas. It has been a bright, sunny day with a sky so blue you would have been able to drown in it. John has spent the afternoon sitting on one of the benches in the nearby park, enjoying the cold, crisp air and watching the day go by. It was a bit too quiet for his taste, but still better than sitting at home, watching Sherlock brooding over his current case with the typical single-mindedness he shows on these occasions.

The first, hesitant snowflakes earlier this afternoon came as a bit of a surprise and now that it has gotten dark they still dance merrily in the yellow light of the street lamps. John stares absently out of the cab's window. The atmosphere in 221b Baker Street has been a bit strained lately and he is glad that Greg Lestrade called earlier, asking if he was interested in meeting him at their usual hideout. The blonde doctor didn't even have to think about it. He is glad for the opportunity to get out of the chaotic flat he shares with Sherlock Holmes. Usually he doesn't mind the mess Sherlock creates during his amazing bouts of deduction, but the enormous amount of crime scene pictures, (borrowed) evidence, charts and reference papers have been a bit too much. Especially since Sherlock seems to be determined to keep him out of the investigation. John feels a dull throb of anger when he thinks about this.
The Consulting Detective has been remarkably reserved since John was injured on a case a few weeks ago. But then, perhaps his caution is justified on a certain level. John's anger vaporizes. He remembers vividly how he lost control after a searing pain had gripped his shoulder. How everything suddenly got buried under heat and sand and pain pain pain and act! And then there had been Sherlock's eyes. Guarded, cautious, like he was dealing with a wild animal. The expression on his friend's face that night has shaken John to the core and left him with an icy feeling that follows him into his nightmares frequently.

"We're there, gov," announces the cabby with his heavily accented voice. John blinks to get rid those mental images and pays before he exits the black car. The pain in his thigh flares when he straightens his leg. John takes a moment to press his knuckles into the aching muscle before he walks down North Gower Street. His limp is bothering him again, but he hasn't brought his cane. Perhaps it's pride that made him leave the walking aid at home, but if John is honest with himself he has to admit that he is stalling. His slower gait gives him the opportunity to think. Greg's suggestion to meet tonight has a certain purpose and John is well aware of that.

The doctor hesitates when he finally reaches his destination. The dark wooden door looks inviting, but he doesn't go in yet. John has been avoiding Greg these last few weeks. He knows exactly what the DI wants to talk about. It's something he is not so keen to discuss. Especially not with a civilian. People who have never seen the ugly face of war just cannot understand how it takes possession of you and invades every last nook and cranny of your being. How it takes over your mind again and again, makes your eyes go blank and your fingers twitch because they search for the handle of a sidearm. After what happened with McKay, John probably resembles a loaded gun in Lestrade's eyes, ready to go off at a moment's notice. He knows that Greg has to know. Needs to know.
And with that thought at the back of his mind John finally enters the pub.


The silver haired police man looks up when the door to the pub opens. John Watson enters the establishment with a noticeable limp and his hazel eyes sweep over the tables, searching. He looks tired and the sling he still has to wear gives him a slightly mismatched appearance under his black coat.
Lestrade gives a short, low whistle to get his attention and the other man makes his way over to his table.

"Hello Greg. Sorry I'm late." John shrugs out of his coat with practiced ease. He is definitely moving past the stage of really needing his sling and it's starting to show. "It's absolutely crazy out there." The blond doctor collapses into the wooden chair with the attitude of the truly exhausted.

Lestrade snorts into his beer. It seems that the other man hasn't been aware of the fact that they're already well into Advent season. He holds up a hand to order a new round for himself and the doctor. The pint in front of him is nearly finished. Well, he did get here early.

"Does that really surprise you?" It's the second week of December and downtown London is positively crawling with overexcited Christmas shoppers.

John huffs. "It shouldn't, eh? Since I moved in with Sherlock, I have somehow developed a tendency to forget about such trivial things like weekends or holidays." A small sigh. "I wonder what that says about me."

"That Sherlock is rubbing off on you?" A waitress brings their order and the two men pause to take a sip of the cool beverage. "That man tends to bring out the best in us," he grins in good natured sarcasm.

"Yes, great. A self-proclaimed sociopath and hot headed egomaniac. Quite a role model I found myself here. My psychiatrist would be absolutely overjoyed," grouses John. Greg frowns. It seems Sherlock Holmes is an explosive topic tonight.
John threads his fingers though his snow-wet hair to get it out of his face. It's been cut recently and now it's significantly shorter than his usual style, standing up in tousled blonde spikes. The new look takes some of the softness out of his face giving him a more business like appearance, but it suits him.

Greg shrugs. "I've learned to stay clear of shrinks and the likes over the years. Most of the time they're more trouble than they're worth."

"I'll drink to that." John lifts his glass and promptly follows his own announcement.

"Cheers then."

It's been a while since they had the opportunity to indulge in one of their infrequent pub nights. They try to meet up at least twice a month, but John's life has been absolutely crazy since he has met his eccentric flat mate and Greg hasn't been keeping regular hours either.

Three weeks have passed since the case of the Murray twins was wrapped up, twenty-three days since John was admitted to King's College Hospital with a bout of internal bleeding and a broken shoulder blade.

They haven't had a chance to really talk since then. A string of nasty murders is keeping the DI on his toes. Sherlock is involved in the investigation, of course. But he has been reluctant to include his friend and flat mate since John isn't fully recovered yet.

Sherlock's firm refusal to take John with him has led to quite a few spectacular rows within the confines of 221b Baker Street and since the good doctor isn't able to work at the surgery either, boredom has made him almost desperate enough to peel the paper of the walls by now. The pain in his right leg has returned with a vengeance and the forced limp is making him highly irritable. Unfortunately, Sherlock has little patience with an attitude like that, especially when he is working, and navigating the Baker Street flat has become the equivalent of finding one's way though a minefield. At night. Under fire.

So when Lestrade called earlier that afternoon John positively jumped at the prospect of a quiet night out.

Greg is glad that he is able to provide a bit of a distraction for the blonde doctor. During the months since John first tagged along behind Sherlock (surprising the entire team that was working at the crime scene at Lauriston Gardens), the man has become a friend in his own right. And Greg has never been one to leave a friend hanging.

However, he has to admit that their meeting tonight isn't entirely selfless on his part. An irritable John inevitably leads to a cranky Sherlock and well… Greg has to work with the Consulting Detective quite regularly these days. His current case is grating on his nerves with the persistence of a dentist's drill and he hasn't the strength to deal with Sherlock's sulks on top of that.

His second reason is a bit more delicate, and it's connected to John on a very personal level. John going overboard at the end of the Murray investigation weighs quite heavily on Greg's mind. He tried to talk to Sherlock about it, but the Consulting Detective just brushed him off mumbling something about "not case related," "flashback" and "no longer relevant."

Greg himself is not so sure about that. He has done his homework. Nightmares, flashbacks, an aggressive demeanour and hyper-vigilance are common symptoms for PTSD patients. It's hard to estimate how badly John is affected, but he did witness the results of John's explosive reaction after McKay had injured his shoulder.

Greg has to admit that he had been quite impressed by the professional choke hold the doctor had used on their suspect and, if it hadn't been for the knife digging into the man's neck, he might've even congratulated him.

They were lucky that it had been Donovan who had accompanied him that evening. Sally has a soft spot for the (perhaps not so) mild-mannered doctor and it's just because of that, that she's willing to go along with Greg's version of the nights events. A bashed in nose, a broken wrist, an array of quite spectacular bruises and a neck wound that was obviously caused by a knife, are a bit much to write off as casualties of self-defense. Nonetheless, between the four of them they had been able to make up a believable back story for the Superintendent.

Sally is been avoiding him since she ultimately agreed to help him out with this dilemma and this has led to a few awkward moments at work. She has made it crystal clear that he can't expect any more favours of that sort. But Greg is actually okay with that. Donovan is a very good officer, no matter what Sherlock says. She is committed to her job and she has the right instincts. Helping them like that – lying to their superiors – could cause her a lot of problems, set back her career even.

They have come dangerously close to crossing a line here. Hell, they did cross it. In all his time working with Sherlock, Greg has been forced to bend the rules more than once, and he has done so willingly. But in those cases it had been his decision, his sole responsibility, and there have never been casualties before. As an officer of the police force, it's his duty to act with a responsible and objective mind. He is obliged to protect his colleagues, the victims and the possible suspects from harm. In this regard he has failed spectacularly.

Even though it was for a friend, the words of his official report had turned to ashes in his mouth and he can only hope that it has been worth it.

But this isn't the end of Greg's problems. McKay is absolutely seething. They have made themselves an enemy here, especially John. It's a given that McKay will go to prison for a long time, but Greg is determined to keep an eye on him. It wouldn't be the first time that a convict uses his or her connections to get revenge and this guy seems the type to try.

"What's the matter? You're awfully quiet tonight." It's just when John speaks, that Greg realizes he has been staring.

He blinks and concentrates on the other man's face. "I'm sorry. It's just… just an awful lot I have to deal with at the moment." Greg runs his hands over his face with a tired sigh.

John empties his pint and pushes the glass to the centre of the table. "Hm. Is it the case? Sherlock doesn't tell me much," and at this point a touch of bitterness creeps into his voice, "but what he tells me sounds pretty nasty."

"We're dealing with a really sick bastard here, John. Rape, mutilation, murder. None of his victims has been older than twenty. The youngest was a fourteen year old girl." He stares at his pint with a forlorn gaze.


"Yeah. The kids get to me the most, you know?" John nods and given his time in Afghanistan he probably does. "They never stand a chance."

One of the waitresses brings a new round to their table. Neither of them had to ask for it. They are well known here and the staff knows what to expect from them.

Silence stretches between them, each lost in his own gloomy thoughts. They must be a really sorry sight. Christmas is not even two weeks away, but at the moment Greg is glad about the lack of cheerful decorations in this pub. The familiar half-light and the comfortable oak-coloured interior have a calming effect on the DI. It has always been like this. After long days and taxing cases, he would just come around, sit in a quiet corner and allow his mind to leave all that behind. It's an almost cathartic ritual that had allowed him to leave his burdens at the Yard.

It had been a spontaneous decision to share this place with John Watson. But he'd never had a reason to regret it.

He sighs and finally addresses the topic that's been bothering him these past few weeks. "John, I have to talk to you about something."

The other man looks at him with guarded eyes. He doesn't say anything; just sits there, waiting.

"It's about what you did with McKay. This… flashback you had that night." Greg shakes his head with a frustrated huff. "Okay. This is actually more difficult than I thought."

John still stares. He is obviously not going to help him with his. Bastard.

All right. Apparently it's time to speak plain English. "Listen, John. Don't get me wrong, but I have to know where I stand with you here."


John watches in silence at Greg pondering his thoughts over the half empty pint he holds between both hands. He can see the gears ticking inside the man's head and it's obvious when Lestrade finally decides on a course of action.

"John, I have to talk to you about something." John's insides tense like a tightly coiled spring. He looks at Greg with carefully guarded eyes. This is what he was waiting for.

"It's about what you did with McKay. This… flashback you had that night." He sounds frustrated, but he is obviously determined to continue. "Okay. This is actually more difficult than I thought."

At this John has to bite the inside of his cheek to reign in a humourless laugh, but he knows better than to show a reaction to this impulsive exclamation. Greg wouldn't appreciate it. So he just sits there and waits until the other man sorts himself out.

When Greg finally continues it's clear that his professional side has won the argument against the fatherly friend that lurks somewhere inside. "Listen, John. Don't get me wrong, but I have to know where I stand with you here."

In a certain way it's a relief to hear this clear-cut demand. It reminds John of his days in active duty; precise, short, commanding. He is honestly surprised when his first, instinctive reaction is to lower his eyes. Hell, John has been an officer in his own right and he is used to stand up for himself, but he has to make a conscious effort to still his hands when his fingers start to play with the hem of his brown cardigan. He wills himself to return Lestrade's stare and his eyes start to burn when he fails to blink in the process.

"I was wondering when you'd bring this up," he says.

Greg's face is serious when he continues. "You have to try to understand my position in this. I'm in somewhat of a predicament here. There is only so much I can cover up with the Yard and you did quite a number on that man." The DI interlaces the fingers of his hands in a nervous gesture and John's eyes dart downwards before he snaps them up again.
"I need to know if I can trust you not to lose it again when you're confronted with a similar situation. And that's not unlikely considering your tendency to follow Sherlock into the thick of things."

This more or less open declaration of distrust hurts and John really hopes that he is able to stop this feeling from showing on his face. But a tiny flicker of guilt in Lestrade's eyes shows that his poker face has finally deserted him. John's back is ramrod straight. He takes a deep breath and puffs it out to steady his voice.
"I can't promise you that." He can't because he knows exactly what he is capable of and that is perhaps a bit more than a doctor of the RAMC should be able to do. John hopes that his tone of voice conveys how sorry he is. Sorry for the loss of control that got them into this dilemma in the first place.

"That was not the answer I was hoping for." Greg sounds disappointed and John feels how the blame for this settles firmly on his shoulders. But he can't just stop being who he is. It's impossible to simply deprogram the battlefield reflexes he has honed for more than a dozen years. And a small, selfish part of him refuses to feel guilty for a set of skills he has always been proud of in the past.

"I know." John's answer is slightly delayed. His gaze is glued to the surface of the table and the fingers of his right hand draw a random pattern though the condensation that has collected at the base of his glass. "But it's not like I could control it."
He hesitates again. It's never been easy for him to talk about the time right after he was shot. Partly because he honestly doesn't remember. But what deters him the most are the feelings that had wrecked him back then; the nearly overwhelming bouts of depression and fear. The feeling of being useless and the great abyss that came with the knowledge that some unknown sniper had ripped his life, his career and his future to shreds leaving him with nothing but bleakness.

In the end the words just tumble out of his mouth and John steadfastly refuses to think about what he is actually saying. "I used to have… episodes like that after I was shot. Just much more intense." Violent outbursts that made them restrain him so he couldn't hurt them, or himself, in his fever induced delusions."It was like my body wanted to react, but wasn't able to. My mind was running around in circles, going nowhere. It's a terrible feeling to lose yourself like that." His fingers rake though his hair in a helpless gesture. "I was heavily medicated during those weeks. Morphine mostly. It's a known effect that opiates cause hallucinations but... I didn't have trouble with this after they took me off the meds. Ever. I wouldn't be here if I thought that I would be a danger to anyone," he concludes, feeling utterly drained.

John doesn't look up, so he misses the thoughtful gaze Greg bestows upon him. "Do you think you are? A danger, I mean."

This question pulls him back from the brink of emotional exhaustion with a sudden jerk. John looks up but his eyes are absolutely empty, unseeing. Because the answer to this question is Yes! Yes of course I am! He might be trained to heal, but his medical knowledge gives him an intimate awareness of how to take a human body apart. And what medicine cannot provide him with, his advanced combat training more than makes up for.

The blonde sighs unhappily. Sherlock's words echo in his mind like a lighthouse in a stormy night. 'Because I know you. I know you are a good man John, so stop selling yourself so damn short.' But is he really? He is not so sure of that himself. John's memory supplies him with crystal clear images, detailed memories of the missions they have completed. Not all of them were entirely legal, but they were necessary in the end. Afghanistan, Bosnia, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Korea… And here he has to suppress a shudder.
The rush, the adrenaline and the danger have left him with a set of finely honed reflexes and survival instincts. Ticking like a well oiled machine up to the day he suddenly lost control.

In the end he just shrugs. "Could be."

And he hopes to God that Lestrade is oblivious to his train of thoughts.


Greg watches with rapt attention how the different emotions flit over John's face. The intensity of some of them is frightening. He chooses his next words carefully. "You have started to doubt yourself, right?" He nods when John actually flinches.
"You've lost your faith in yourself, your body, your mind. And that states more about you than you probably know. You're just human, John. Like the rest of us. And humans are allowed to doubt, are allowed to have weaknesses."

A questioning gaze meets Greg's eyes and now that he has John's attention the man takes the time to finish his pint before he continues, trying to bring himself into the right frame of mind for this conversation. A few years ago Greg had a little heart-to-heart with a young officer just after she had to kill a man in self-defence. It doesn't happen often that a cop has to resort to lethal force and no one is immune to the fallout that inevitably follows such an event. Now he tries to recall the words he told her back then. Greg doesn't question that John has seen, experienced and dealt with a lot of unpleasant things during his years in active duty, but in spite of all that he has a feeling that the younger man could use a piece of helpful advice anyway.

"Let me tell you something, lad." John huffs at that, but since Greg is almost ten years his senior he lets it slide. "I joined the police force almost twenty-five years ago and in all this time I've learned something very important. What really defines us is not so much what we do, but why we do it. The way I see it, McKay attacked you and you reacted accordingly. I can't exactly approve of what you did to that bugger, but honestly he deserved what he got."

At this point John tries to interject something, but the other man doesn't give him the opportunity to do so. "I'm not finished yet. The point here is that nobody would have been able to stop you if you'd really wanted to harm him. But you didn't. And I do agree with Sherlock's assessment that you saved his life acting like you did. I can't actually think of a better motivation. So how about you stop wallowing in self-pity and pull yourself together?"


For a few seconds John looks completely baffled. Greg's words ring absolutely true, but in so many more ways than he obviously intended. For one surreal moment, John has the impression that the two of them are leading totally different conversations. But that doesn't mean he can't appreciate the effort. He blinks, and when a young woman puts a fresh beer in front of him he thanks her with an absentminded gesture.

"Okay... I'm having some sort of weird Star Wars moment here." He shakes his head, but when he looks up at Greg there's actually a small smile pulling at the corners of his mouth. "Because what you just said, that sounded very much like you trying to... whammy me with The Force. So, do I have to call you Obi-Wan from now on?"

Greg gives him an amused grin. "It's Master Obi-Wan, actually. But since you're a knight in your own right, Obi-Wan will do."


The strained atmosphere has drained away like someone's pulled the plug in a bathtub. It surprises Greg time and time again what a few well-placed words are able to accomplish. A rueful grin settles on his features when he thinks about this. It's a lesson he's learned from his ex-wife actually and it's a lesson he learned well.

"But seriously, John. Talk to somebody about your problems from time to time. Talk to me, or even Sherlock, or… hell, that's why you have this shrink of yours."

John releases an amused snort at that one. "Sure."

"Why do you go anyway?" asks Lestrade with a curious frown.


"I mean, you don't want to go to those therapy sessions. I may not be Sherlock, but that's kind of obvious."

The doctor shrugs lopsidedly. "Army pays for them. And they're part of my re-evaluation schedule, actually."

Greg puts his elbows on the table and leans forward. "Re-evaluation? I thought you were discharged."

John nods in confirmation. "Until further notice. I have to line up for an annual physical and psychological check-up to verify my fitness for military service…or lack thereof."

"So that means there is a possibility that they'll take you back?" Greg leans back into his chair with an air of surprise. "I thought you were out for good."

"It's not that easy. The military supported me during my studies. They put a lot of time and money in my training and, since they're always short on qualified medical personnel, they're rather reluctant to let me go. But I don't see me going back in the near future."

"And why is that?"

"Physical and psychological fitness, remember?" John sighs. "It's not that I wouldn't be willing to go back, I'm just not ready yet."

"Hm." Greg fiddles with his pint, a thoughtful expression on his face. "You would just leave everything behind? What about Sherlock? I thought… You're important to him. You know that, right."

There is a strange expression in John's eyes and for a short moment he looks like he is going to protest, but then he says simply, "Yes, I do. But going back to active duty doesn't necessarily mean that I would have to leave the country, or even London. There are enough bases in the vicinity. I wouldn't even have to move. It's just... sometimes I miss the camaraderie, the feeling of being part of a team, of something bigger. Can you understand that?"

Greg nods. "I think I do. Couldn't have been easy; to be ripped out of all that so suddenly."

"It wasn't." Watson's shoulders sag noticeably. "But the war is something I can do without."

"So, no more missions to Afghanistan then?"

John shakes his head with a serious expression. "Well, Afghanistan is hardly the only hotspot these days, but no. That is one thing I've really left behind. I've been shot down once and I'm not that eager to give them an opportunity for a second try."

"Yeah. I can understand that." Greg gestures at John's shoulder. "How did that happen? If you don't mind me asking."

John sits back in his chair and crosses his arms in front of his chest. His teeth are worrying is lower lip unconsciously. It's a very defensive posture and Greg is honestly surprised when he does indeed get an answer.

"It was during Operation Panther's Claw in 2009. The Zafar 2 campaign to be exact. We were engaged in a fire fight with the Taliban near Yatimchay. That's a small village south of Musa Qala." The Persian names roll quite naturally from John's tongue. "They knew we were coming. Apparently one of the locals translating for us at Lashkar Gah PRT leaked information to one of their Warlords. Our losses were severe; dozens of men got wounded…"

"They got you while you were tending to a patient," assumes Greg. "Why didn't you wear a vest?"

John smiles a little. "Nothing that heroic, I'm afraid. I was just trying to find a covered position to return fire. And I did wear a vest. None of us were stupid enough to try and go out there without body armour. But even a flak jacket can't help you if you're hit with an APCR."


"Stands for Armour Piercing, Composite Rigid. This kind of ammunition was developed during World War II, specially designed to pierce though body armour and the like." John's body tenses in visible discomfort. "The bullet went right through the jacket and my shoulder, caught itself in the breast plate. I was lucky the sniper who picked me out was a bit of a slacker. Two inches to the right and it would have been 'Good night, John Watson.'" John downs the rest of his beer. It's his third and his speech is already starting to slur a bit. On a normal day his tolerance for alcohol is higher than that, and Greg wonders for a minute if he is still on pain meds. But then he gives a mental shrug. The man is approaching forty. He is his own keeper.

"That does really sound like you where one hell of a lucky bastard." Greg regards his friend carefully, but he can find no trace of the self-discriminating mood he witnessed earlier.

"Guess so. Had a few friends who didn't make it home again. Did you know that the Taliban have put a bounty on everyone and everything wearing a red cross? Take out a soldier and you've downed one man. Take out a medic and there is no one left to tend to the wounded and they die anyway."

There is a strange gleam in John's eyes. Anger? Survivor's guilt, perhaps? "No I didn't know that." Greg isn't really surprised by that fact. He knows that war is an unfair, bloody business. He has seen his own share of unnecessary violence during his days as a police man. But he is well aware that their experiences cannot be compared. "What about the Geneva Conventions? They prohibit attacks on medical personnel and transports." He knows the answer to that, but he is asking anyway.

The look John favours him with isn't exactly flattering. "If the Taliban played by the rules, they would have lost this war already. Actually, they're quite creative when it came to picking us apart. Lost a mate to an IED hidden in a pack of cigarettes. Can you imagine that?" John hesitates, a far away expression on his face. "One day they blasted an MC truck right out of the middle of a convoy using nothing more than two metal tins, two sheets of paper and a few meters un-insulated wire." He stops for a moment and ads, "And explosives of course."

"That sounds horrible." And Greg really means it. These were the nasty little details that never made it to the news. A dangerous reality for those fighting in this far away war. "I'm sorry."

"It's not your fault." John pinches the bridge of his nose with the fingers of his right hand. He groans and his whole body seems to fold into itself when he sinks deeper into his chair. "I'm absolutely done. I think I should go home now."

Greg nods and gestures for the bill. It doesn't take long and just a few minutes later they are able to flag down a cab. Their first stop will definitely be Baker Street. It's much nearer than Greg's own little flat and John looks like he is going to keel over any minute now. His head rests against the cool window and he doesn't even flinch when they hit the occasional pot-hole.

They sit in companionable silence while the vehicle drives though the darkened, almost deserted streets. It's still snowing and the pavement starts to show the first signs of a delicate white coating.

After a while John lifts his head and speaks up: "Thank you for talking to me, Greg. It did help."

Lestrade smirks. "Not a problem. Especially since you did most of the talking."

The answer makes John laugh a little. "Well, thank you for listening then."

"You're welcome. Any time." And Greg is absolutely sincere when he says that.

The cab stops in front of 221b and John pays his share of the fee. "Good night then. See you around?"

Greg nods. "Sure. Are you okay, John?" His eyes examine the other man but John has collected himself enough to give nothing more away.

The blonde man shakes his head. "No. Not really." A small smile. "But I will be."

"Okay." Greg takes those words for what they are. Not exactly a promise but something that comes very close. "Take care."

John closes the cab's door and Lestrade waits till he disappears limping into the building before he tells the cabbie to take him home. Tomorrow he'll have a word or two with a certain Consulting Detective. But that is a battle for another day.