John gets so desperate with pain after the Fall. He even decides to go to the parts of town where he knows he can score the kind of drugs that will make it stop. Make it all stop, maybe, if he takes enough, or gets a bad batch.

At first he barely notices the homeless man huddled against the far wall. But as he draws closer he sees something familiar, something indescribably sad in the tall, slumped frame, the bearded face, the downcast eyes.

John slips a gloved hand into the pocket of his hunting jacket and grasps the fifty-pound note he’d planned to use for the drugs. Squaring his shoulders, he approaches the ragged man, his military stride back for the first time in months.

A handmade sign sitting on the stranger’s blanket reads “Wounded in action, nowhere to turn.” There is a cup with a few coins beside it.  The man doesn’t move or look up.

John leans down and places the money in the man’s worn wool mitten. “Here, mate,” He says in a low voice. “Just… use some of that for food, alright?” 

The man’s head stays bowed, but he closes his hand around the banknote and holds it to his chest. “Thank you,” he rasps.  ”You saved my life, sir.”

Emotion wells up in John’s chest, though he can’t say why. Tears sting his eyes, and he fights them back, something he’s quite used to doing these days. His voice barely wavers when he replies, “No…. no, I think you saved mine.”

John returns home, promising himself that he will not try to poison his mind and body with street drugs ever again.

He doesn’t know that Sherlock will keep that fifty-pound note with him, close to his heart, nearly every day of the next three years.

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