"Oh, hello, Mr. Holmes. What can I do for you?"
"I was here just a moment ago, Lestrade; don't you remember?"
"Oh yes. Where were you, then?"
"Your housekeeper gave me a plate of soup for you."
"I don't have a housekeeper."
"You don't, eh? Then where you do suppose I got the soup from?"
"H'm! None of your riddles, Mr. Holmes! You're too clever for me. No, I'm not hungry, thanks anyway."
"You're getting to be skin and bones. I will not have anyway outdoing me in gauntness; that's my specialty. So it would seem at least, from Watson's writings."
"Ah, yes. And what has that fellow been doing these days?"
"Lestrade—I've told you so many times—"
"Well, he's on holiday."
"A long one?"
"I wish he'd come back, I miss him."
"Get that soup away from me! I don't want it. You wouldn't make me eat it, would you? You wouldn't do that?"
"No, no, of course not. Never mind that. Have you given any more thought about books? Any books you'd like me to get for you?"
"No. Anyway you can't go out in the endless night."
"But…what is the endless night?"
"It's the night that's been going on for ages. I can't remember the last time it was day…"
"But it is day—"
"No, no, it's night. If it was day, the curtains would be open, I would be out of bed and tracking down criminals. And that reminds me, you shouldn't be here."
"If we're both here, who will keep London safe?"
"Oh, someone, I dare say. There were people before us and there will be people after us. We're not so indispensable as one might think."
"Hmph. Well, that may be. But there's one thing I know, Mr. Holmes, one thing for certain!"
"And what is that?"
"Confound it. I forgot."
"It's somewhere in your brain-attic, you'll find it directly…meanwhile, I'll fetch another blanket."
"What—how the devil did you know I was cold?"
"Here, lift your arms."
"You're an amazing man."
"You flatter me. Warmer now? Excellent. Are you sure you won't take a little soup?"
"I'm sure. Where's Watson, again?"
"Back in Sussex."
"And what was that impressive sigh for?"
"I'm tired, Mr. Holmes."
"Close your eyes, then."
"That would be too dark."
"There's nothing intrinsically bad about darkness, Lestrade; it is only that evil likes to hide there. But nothing can harm you now, don't you see, because I'm right here. And my eyes are open."
"Ah, that's a fine thing. Did you know you're a very kind man?"
"I don't think so, no."
"Well, you are. You won't leave?"
"Not 'til you want me to. Good lord, your hands are freezing."
"I'm used to it. Say, what if we're both asleep, having the same dream at the same time? Wouldn't that be strange?"
"It would indeed. Now close your eyes."
"All right, but one question first!"
"Certainly, one question." Holmes's voice was soft, and he kept his eyes on the retired inspector while he walked with the aide of a cane to the light switch. "And then you really should get some rest."
"Well, where is Watson?"
"I told you; he's back in Baker Street."
"Oh! of course. He couldn't be anywhere else, I suppose."
"No." Holmes dimmed the lights. "He couldn't. Now go to sleep."