Sorry for the long absence! Hiatus is over now, and I promise the other story is getting worked on as well.

Christmas of 1893 had been nothing special. In fact, he had spent the entirety of the day in his laboratory in Montpellier working on a particularly stubborn specimen, whose secrets had finally been torn out of it at about 3 AM on Boxing Day. Sherlock Holmes had never been a very avid merrymaker.

Still, the eve of the New Year should not go unmarked. Thus his present position at a rather uncomfortable desk, writing up yet another report for the Foreign Office on that matter in Khartoum. He paused for a moment, and checked the clock again. Ten till twelve.

He got up and stretched, wincing as the cramps worked themselves out. He went back to the chair, wrote a few more lines, checked the clock again. Three minutes till.

One hand reached into his pocket and pulled out a much-handled bit of paper. He read over the lines he had written, frowned, and crumpled it up. It went sailing through the air to join its brothers in the wastebasket. With a snarl he sank back into the chair and closed his eyes in gloomy meditation.

A clock nearby began to strike the hour, and distant cheers sounded. A faint smile creased his face, and without opening his eyes he began to whistle an old Scottish tune, lonely but oddly bright.