Chapter 28: EPILOGUE


John decided to get some fresh air for the second time in a week; Sherlock was being insufferable today especially since Mycroft had shown up for his weekly visit. He had made the suggestion that John Watson go for a walk, he planned on having a long chat with his brother. So John set out with a paper in his hand and his mind on enjoying the beautiful weather.

He read over the world news, wars, natural disasters and political scandals, something caught his eye in particular. It seemed some South American drug Cartel leader had finally been captured. A picture of the burning compound which had been secret was shown at the top of the small article. John folded the paper frowning to himself, hadn't he just received a postcard this afternoon. He took it out of his pocket where he'd stuffed it. He had been in a hurry to get out the door before he strangled his bored flatmate and the irritating British Government.

The post card was from Brazil, it said; Greetings from Brazil!

Turning it over in handwriting he didn't recognize it simply said. 'In Arduis Fidelis.'(Faithful in adversity) John smiled that was the motto of RAMC, he knew Jesse's would have been 'Onward.' That was fitting, from one soldier to the next.

"John!" John turned hearing his name, but he didn't recognize the younger woman and she must be calling for a different John the way she looked past him. "Johnny!" she looked worried, as a doctor he'd seen plenty of parents in the A&E with that same look of distress and concern. He approached.

"Need some help? Did you lose something?"

"Yes, my son. He's only six. I turned around for a minute and-" she looked as if she was trying to keep her panic down, she was American. Oh dear probably a tourist, even more distressing to lose sight of your child in a foreign country. "His father and Uncle are looking at the other end. And they've already called the police. I hate the fuss but he's so adventurous."

"It's alright. Now. Just take a deep breath. What's he look like then? I'll help you. Maybe we can get another officer to help on this hunt." She eyed him warily.

"It's alright I know a few officers, I work with a detective inspector at Scotland yard-er the police." He pulled his visitors badge out of his pocket she briefly glanced at the picture, he could see she didn't even read the name but he understood she was in distress.

Visibly relieved she described her son. They walked along the path near the small duck pond, John knew it was a popular place for kids he'd often passed by seeing the children feeding the ducks or skipping rocks. A police officer was approaching and the distraught woman flagged him over. John continued to scan the duck pond area, he smiled catching sight of a young boy with brown hair and a blue sweater trying to coax a duck closer in hopes of petting it.

"You wouldn't happen to be John would you?" The good Doctor approached slowly, keeping his voice even. The young boy, stood up narrowing his eyes.

"Depends." The boy had no accent so maybe his mother was an American and his father was British.

"If you are, then your mummy is looking for you."

"Oops." He bit his lip "Was she very cross. I know I shouldn't run off, I just forgot she wasn't behind me. I was just on my way back."

John remembered how his own mother used to fly off the handle when he pulled a similar stunt.

"Best be going she's over by the bench talking to that officer."

"Oh-am I going to be arrested?" his eyes got big. "Are you a policeman?" John shook his head. "No, I'm a doctor. My name is John. But I do work with a very nice detective at Scotland Yard." He showed his name badge.

"Hey, that's my name!" he smiled brightly "Do they call you Johnny?"

"Not if I can help it." John replied.

"I hate it too." The boy took Johns hand. "What does the police need a doctor for?" He asked swinging his arm with John's.

"Oh lots of things." John started to steer him towards the still upset mother.

"I like policemen. They 're very helpful." the boy stated easily as if John didnt know that fact.

"Oh, is that what you want to be when you grow up? It's a noble profession." John kept pace with the young boy, without seeming threatening. These days it never looked good for a man his age to be chatting with a small boy that was of no relation.

"Oh, no. I'm going to be a soldier like my dad. Or a Doctor like my uncle."

John cracked a smile he remembered saying the same thing at this boys age. "You could always do both."

"You're right! My uncle is from America and he did both but now he makes noses." John thought he heard wrong but before he could ask the boys mother was running towards them.

"Oh! John!" The mother was pulling the boy into her arms, a crushing hug that made both John's wince.

"Are you alright? What have I said about running off! Your father and uncle are worried sick!" She stood up looking slightly embarrassed.

"Oh, Doctor. Fancy meeting you here. You on a case?" officer Licht smiled offering his hand. John took it warmly.

"No just out for a nice walk. Thought I'd help out."

The woman smiled brightly. "Thank you. For finding him-Doctor is it?"

"Uh, yes. I apologize. I should have introduced myself."

"His names John too!" the boy was tugging on his mothers arm. "But he doesn't care to be called Johnny." John couldn't help but ruffle the boys hair, kids at this age were so open and blatant with their words.

"Yes. That's right. John Watson."

"Did you say Doctor?" the woman looked at John as if he were about to sprout wings. She must have read the blog, and next question would be about Sherlock.

"Yes. That's right. Doctor Watson here helps us down at the Yard occasionally." Licht smiled brightly. "Well since the boys been found I'll be on my way." Licht gave the boy a serious look "And you Johnny boy try not to give your mum a scare." The young boy gave a tight smile but John could see he wanted to say something about being called Johnny. The woman was still starring at John to the point of discomfort.

" Well nice to meet you both. I better be off, I left my flatmate at home unsupervised and if I do that too long he'll usually get up to something."

"Wait." The woman grabbed his arm suddenly then she smiled brightly. "Please. My husband would like to thank you. I'm sure of it." She turned seeing two men starting words her she was waving frantically.

"Oh, it was nothing-I didn't even go to far to find him." John was already feeling uncomfortable.

"Best not to argue John, Dad says a man should never disagree with mum. She makes the dinner." The young boy whispered loud enough for John to hear and he had to stifle a laugh. The boy sounded so serious, and wise beyond his young years.

"You're a wise man John, a wise man indeed."

"Oh thank god!" the younger of the two men went to his son, kneeling down. John caught how he did so with a stiff leg, bad knee maybe. No matter the man was in fact British just as John guessed, no deduced he had an old war injury. Especially since the boy said his father was a soldier.

"Sorry." The boy was saying into his fathers shoulder.

"you mustn't run off like that you gave mummy a scare and not to mention your uncle and I." The boy made a very believable apologetic face.

John was ready to wave goodbye and hurry on his way, good deed for the day accomplished.

"Honey, this nice man helped find John." The younger man stood up slowly, he smiled easily, then his face went white. John thought he maybe stood up to fast.

"Doctor Watson?" The other man cut in.

"Oh, Doctor Bailey nice to meet you again. What a coincidence. This is your nephew?" It made sense now, Dr. Bailey was a plastic surgeon. Noses indeed, but why did everyone look at him as if he'd just offered them a winnig lottery ticket.

"Yes, he sure is. This is my sister Marybell, you've met my nephew Johnathan this is my brother in law-"he gestured to the younger man.

John was smiling easily, the younger man had to be 25 or 27 he couldn't be close to 30, why the hell did he seem so familiar? He'd met him before he was sure of it, and it hit him the way the man had a slight limp.

Afghanistan six years ago

"What's your name son?"

"Carter, sir Staff Sergeant Josh Carter."

"Well I'm a Doctor."
"Yes sir I know sir, Captain John Watson."

"Yes, and I out rank you. So I want you to listen. No! Stay with me!" The younger man nodded hearing the command.

"Sir, yes sir."

"That's right. I'm going stop this bleeding-"
"I cant die here, my wife's pregnant. I don't even know what she's having I promised I'd come home." John kept his jaw hard set.

"Listen to me Staff Sergeant Josh Carter, you aren't going to die here. Do you understand that's a damn order. I'm going to stop this bleeding."

"My leg will I still-"

"I will do the best I can. Hey, look at me. You will not die here. You are going to go home."

"Yes sir." He cringed. Captain Watson ducked down as several bullet hit to close for comfort, the young man was the only alive in the flipped humvee. John would mourn them later for now he had a life to save. "It's just if I-I die here she'll be all alone. I married her and brought her to London."

"All the more reason to keep breathing. Because I m not going to let you die."

John pulled out of the memory in a blink he finished Doctor Bailey's introduction. "Carter-Staff Sergeant Carter. What a coincidence." he smiled brightly offering his hand.

"It's just Josh now Captain." the veteran returned the firm handshake.

"Just John now."

John looked the younger man over. Besides a limp he looked happy and healthy. His young wife was wiping at her eyes and their son was staring up at him in awe.

"I had no idea, that you were the same John." Doctor Bailey swallowed the lump in his throat. This wasnt exactly the way he'd hoped for them to all meet. But he'd take it. And he had to remind himself, Texans don't cry.

He wanted to express to the Doctor just what he had done for his family. His sister was the only family Chris had, and that made Josh just as valuable. When Josh had returned injured but not as bad off as it could have been. Chris being a doctor that specialized in these things, knew good work when he saw it. So when Josh told him the story he committed the name to memory in hopes of one day tracking the man down.

The surgeon, had been in town visiting his family when Mycroft Holmes approached him out of the blue. Of course he knew Chris' reputation and somehow his connection, there was very little The British Government didn't know. It warmed the big hearted Texan to know the ex army Captain had good friends. Captain Watson was a hero, he deserved nothing less.

"How do you know each other?" Josh asked suddenly, finally releasing the Doctor's hand.

"Oh, Doctor Bailey dug a bullet out of my chest for me." John smiled easily.

"Yes, Doctor Watson here and his colleague consult for the Yard. Got into a bit of trouble. I just happened to be in town for a visit, so someone with a government office got a hold of me. I wish I would have known this was the same John Watson that my nephew was named for."

John stiffened looking down at the young boy who watched him curiously. "I would have maybe made the stitches prettier."

Doctor Watson had to laugh at the joke, he liked the Texan almost immediately and knowing Mycroft he picked the best surgeon and only the best. Mycroft never did anything half way.

The young women embraced him gently. Kissed his cheek, and John tried not to look too uncomfortable. Soldiers don't blush, or cry they don't.

"I've always wanted to meet you. You saved my husbands life."

Dr. Bailey could see the growing discomfort, despite the kind words and obvious gratitude he could see the Doctor wasn't a man that took praise so easily.

"So Doctor Watson. We never got to hear how you managed to get shot a few weeks ago. That should be an interesting story to hear. I guess you can never retire the soldier, even when you do the man. I say we owe this man a drink and he can tell us all about it!"

"Oh, I bet it's an exciting story. Why don't you come over for dinner." The younger women had her arm linked comfortably into his.

John was about to object but the young boy tugged on his arm he leaned over "Best not to argue. She makes the dinner." John smiled

"Well that said I would love too."