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Before He Goes

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Our public reunion after two years apart was a hurried affair, with Von Bork and Martha present. We were able to take a more leisurely pace with our private one at Claridge's Hotel.

We awoke before eight, which gave us plenty of time to make ourselves and the room look decent before Martha was expected with her report. While I was dressing, Holmes was heading to the mirror with shaving kit in hand.

He was going to shave off that horrible goatee and thus be finally rid of his undercover persona, but I had other plans. I made my way to him and embraced him from behind, my voice still husky from sleep. "Wait, Holmes. I need Mr. Altamont to stay a little longer."

A mischievous and hungry glint sparkled in the reflection of my beloved's eyes, and his voice changed from his deep warm tone to a flat American growl. "Really, Doc? I hadn't figured a guy like you'd be keen on a dangerous spy like me."

I fondly rolled my eyes at him and gave him a peck on the nape of his neck before releasing him and making my way to my blank journal on the desk. "Not like that. This last case might never be published, but I want it for my own records, and I need him to explain all that ridiculous American slang to me before he's purged from your lumber room."