The moonlight further illuminated the glow radiating off Holmes while he examined the success of his work. The crushed Napoleon laid upon the cold stone while the man responsible laid a few feet away, thrashing beneath the restraint of Lestrade’s men.
“If you will come around to Baker Street tomorrow-“ Holmes paused and glanced at his watch. “Tonight…” He tapped his finger against his side like someone who had forgotten something.
He turned to look at me, and I watched as the deductions entered his mind. I knew all too well what he was seeing as he had explained, much to my embarrassment, the signs of my fatigue before. Leaning more on left leg than usual, eyes slightly lidded, shoulders rounded. I straightened my spine and pulled my shoulders back towards one another to take on the appearance of the solder he knew.
A guilty smile graced Holmes’s lips as he dropped his eyes to the leg. That, I could not help. He turned back to Lestrade, “Yes, if you will come around to Baker Street tonight at 6 o’clock, I hope to show you that you still have not grasped the full meaning of this business.”
Lestrade answered, but Holmes dismissed it by taking my arm and leading me to a hansom at the back of the house.
“And now, Watson, I commend you the universal answer to almost all problems.”
“What’s that, Holmes?”
I let out a short, exasperated laugh. “Nice of you to permit me such basic human necessities while the adrenaline of the case has given me the energy to stay awake.”
I felt his arm rest on my shoulders as he relaxed my weight onto his body. I stretched my legs in front of us so that I could sink into my seat and put my head on his chest. He held me tighter and rested his head onto mine.
“It seems to me that I recall a publishing in The Strand that detailed a military doctor much like yourself and his ability to sleep anywhere.”
In this position, with my ear so close to his body, his voice sounded octaves deeper. The protective gravel in his words, unspoken but present, lulled me further into him and away from the case.
“Did that publication also happen to include a consulting detective that kept him awake at all hours of the night?”
I felt his lips, now pressed to my hair, shift into a smile. “Perhaps.”
With the opposing rhythms of his heart and the hooves on the pavement, the lullaby of our surroundings deceived me into sleep. I don’t know how long I laid against Holmes, who was as far as I knew, completely unmoving for the entirety of the trip.
I awoke when the movement of the carriage stopped, like a cradle that had nestled me within. I remained still, mustering the nerve to leave the warmth that encompassed me. Holmes dropped his head so that his lips grazed my ear.
“Here we are. To bed with you, my good man.”