A/n: Commercial break! Sort of. Hope you don't mind a quick break from the arc. ^^

"Watson! Come to visit, have you? Sit down, and let us have a talk."

I approached the old armchair, only to feel my smile grow stiff and uncertain.

Holmes shook his head in mock despair. "You'd never know there was room for more than one person in this flat. Dear me, how my papers and books take over. Just pour us some brandy while I excavate your armchair."

"No trouble at all," I said with a light laugh, stepping to the sideboard. I tried on different smiles, studying my reflection in the polished wood as Holmes worked busily.

"I don't think I'm ready for brandy," I decided suddenly, turning round. "I'd rather see my old room."

"Watson I'd rather you—not do that. It may not be as you remember."

"Oh come now Holmes, I just want to see it."

"Very well; you may as well know, then, that I've converted it to a storage room. There's very little to see except boxes, and the window is boarded up. Nothing to see at all, really." Holmes gazed at nothing, and for a moment the despair was not mock.

I returned quietly to the sideboard and poured us both a drink. We sat together a long time, and I absorbed the truth.

He could not bear the empty spaces I'd left behind.