Holmes waited until Watson's breathing indicated he was well and truly asleep. Only then did he give vent to his frustration in rather jarring chords.

He still would not put it past Athelney Jones to arrest the pair of them, more on a lark than actual evidence. There was more danger of it now, now that he had information that he was not sharing with the police. If Jones caught wind of it!

Even if Jones had another attack of energy, Holmes could not see either himself or Watson being detained very long. The evidence was circumstantial at best. Moreover, Holmes had already made a name for himself at the Yard, and Watson, by token of association, was becoming rather well-known there also. The real danger of arrest lay in its inconvience and timing. Wiggins or another of the Irregulars could return with a favorable report with no one to report to. Their one-legged man with his aboriginal friend would get away scot-free.

Then there was the problem of the steam launch. Holmes had complete faith in the Irregulars but he knew it would be an arduous task to find one lone boat in the whole of London's waterways. Time was not on his side. While the Irregulars hunted, the boat and its occupants could disappear forever . . . taking the Agra treasure with them.

Holmes scowled slightly and his music grew more jarring. He could not resent the case itself but he did have misgivings about the client. That blonde slip of a woman had turned Watson's head, without question. No doubt that was why he had caught glimpse of them holding hands in the garden at Bartholomew Sholto's home. "Very attractive woman" indeed! Attractive, perhaps, but disruptive.

He stopped the bow at that thought. Disruptive? Indeed. Other female clients had come and gone, and though Watson may have commented upon them, none of them had threatened the way of life Holmes had come to enjoy.

Aye, that was the rub. Holmes played more slowly, more melancholy. He freely admitted he was a selfish man but he could not wish ill against a friend. Watson and Miss Morstan would be happy together. Holmes did not begrudge them that. He did, however, find the idea of breaking up of their little detection agency . . . disheartening.

Holmes played on, mulling over his reaction to the drama unfolding before him. Surely . . . surely he could not be . . . jealous? No! Jealous of what?

No, it was not jealousy, Holmes realized as he swooped on the strings with his bow. It was a melancholy longing to understand what it meant to be in love like that . . . perhaps, even, to experience that force which they say conquers all. Ignorance did not rest easily with him, it never had. And though he may make light of the softer emotions, Holmes knew he had never truly grasped love, romantic love, and all that it meant. It was . . . safer. He need never drive a woman he valued greatly out of her head with worry from his daredevil antics, and need never be driven out of his from worry over her safety.

Above all, he would never be in a position to reveal all of himself, warts and all, to another. He would never have to fear revulsion or ridicule that one risked with love. Watson had impressed Holmes with his courage in the face of danger but that was a little thing when he considered the courage it took to fall in love. He looked again at the sleeping man on the couch.

Of the two of them, Holmes could not help but think Watson was the far braver.