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Amnesty#2: Those Who Wander
Eliot, Leaf
Title: Those Who Wander
Author: the_aleator
Rating: PG
Characters: Watson, Holmes & mentions of Lestrade
Verse: ACD/Granada
Word count: 578
A/N: Amnesty #2: A mistake with consequences. Title taken from J.R.R. Tolkien.
Warnings:  Note - unbetaed and unedited & completely rushed
Summary: Watson faces the aftermath of a dreadful mistake, but all is not lost.

Those Who Wander

The slight, wavering hands reached out from the huddled form in the rocking chair, and grasped him about the neck in a solemn embrace.

“I am so very gay to see you, John.” The lilting baritone addressed him, and Watson drew back to examine his dear friend carefully. The grey eyes were much the same, though it was a childish spark of joy that lit them now, not the deepest complexities of man’s understanding. The hands, the frame, all the sharp indignities of a unique face, all were much the same, yet Watson knew they could never be so again.

“Hello Holmes.” He said softly, and rebuked himself at the childish confusion on Holmes’ thin face. “Sherlock.” He interjected, placing one hand on the quilt covered knee. “How are you today?”

“The same as yesterday, and the day before, and no doubt the same as tomorrow, and the week after.” Holmes grinned, almost petulantly, and drew a small, though intricate, carved wooden puzzle from beneath his blanket. “But I’ve this to play with now, which the good knight Galahad brought for me.” Holmes pronounced, spinning the wooden box in his thin fingers, as Watson looked on, almost weeping though composed.

The fact that Holmes drew such pleasure from Lestrade’s first name almost, but not quite made up for the knowledge that he could no longer remember anything else, and grew positively sulky at any presumed substitution.

“You are not bored, then?” Watson questioned, taking a sip of his tea. The thin face ducked up to look at him with puzzlement, and then the slight lips drew back in a contented smile.

“Of course not, John. I’ve so much to do, you see. How could one be bored with such a world?” Holmes rejoiced, patting one hand on the slim volume of MacDonald beside him. Watson shut his eyes at the sight, for here was the great mind that had awed the whole globe, whose frantic energy and ravaging skill could have brought empires to their knees, diminished to reading children’s stories, and regarding them as the entirety of the world.

The dark scar that ended at Holmes’ temple, and circled half the circumference of his head no longer inspired guilt in him as it once had, for he had no more strength to hold himself to the crime. It had been a mistake, a dreadful one to be sure, but in the sharp bitter blood of the aftermath, could he hold himself at fault for it?

Lestrade said nay, but somewhere in the dark recesses of his soul, there was sufficient shame to make a hangman’s noose just long enough to hang himself, but short enough to choke.

“I am very glad that you are happy, Holmes.” Watson said slowly, and was surprised to find himself genuinely glad at the prospect.

“Why ever should I not be? I have my books, and my puzzles. And if that were not enough, you come to visit me, John.” Holmes said, and his ensuing smile reached his grey eyes, and set them to sparkling, and Watson thought that it might even have reached his soul.

Slowly, he reached for Holmes’ wandering hand, and clasped it in his own, in wonderment as much as friendship, for such a dreadful mistake had cost Holmes so much, and yet….

He had never seen him so happy, or so at peace, and who could say what that was worth?

He didn’t dare.

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Wow. So many questions, both for the reader and for Watson.

Beautiful, happy-sad fic. Oh my.

Lovely. I can feel the contrasting emotions at work in Watson.

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