It did not take deductive reasoning to deduce that Watson had a tiring day. Apparently also a trying one, based on the large brandy that was now precariously angled in his hand. The various stains on his shirt sleeves certainly confirmed it. He was quietly dozing, the only sounds coming from the crackling fire and his soft snoring. His face deeply shadowed by the warm light of the fire. I studied him for a moment before crossing the room to remove the glass from his unconscious fingers. I downed it in one placing the empty glass upon the end table and returned to my seat across from him, lighting my pipe.

I must admit I was to an extant staring. Mentally taking notes and placing them in the good doctors file within my mind. The sweet taste of tobacco filled my lungs while the facts and other evidence from the case at hand organized itself around the smoke. A change was coming, soon. I could not help, but illogically wish that the events I somewhat was counting on occurring would happen in a more fair way. At least for the sake of the man before me.

Watson looked fairly peaceful, but his face was stilled creased as if he was worried. Perhaps he too could sense the change that would be upon us in a few short weeks. The lines of sleep deepening the lines of his face, incurred from the trials of life, unfairly aging him beyond his years. I swept my eyes down his face to his chest where I found myself focusing on the rise and falls of his breathing before my own breathes matched his.

I remembered the old saying "If you love them let them go", but I cannot help but wonder if that does little to justify the actions I will have to take. It all seems somehow selfish and cruel, but I cannot stop the inevitable. It is for his safety I rationalized and Mary's. At least she would be there for him when I could not. I suppose that was some comfort.

You will be taking apart of him, my mind thought the thing I dared not. This was true, I knew it. Mary only offered him so much... it is for the best.

Rather I be lost, then lose him. He is a soldier. He will and can endure where others cannot. However, I worried what worth the piece I'll be taking holds with in my Watson and if I will change him forever. Time is part of what I cannot account for. How long will I be gone? What will transpire in my absence? A somewhat disturbing thought crossed my mind:

Mary could bare a child.

Surely that is not the first time such a thought plagued me, marriage being as it is. Though, it was a possibility that would mean I would lose him irrevocably no matter how short my absence.

I shook my head rubbing my brow as I continued puffing on my pipe. My eyes were still transfixed upon Watson, but glazed and more a kin to looking threw him whilst lost in thought.

A small jerk of movement and loud yawn stirred me from my thoughts.

"Holmes?" Watson inquired groggily blinking at me, a gentle smile upon his lips. A brief smirk twitched my lips not gracing my eyes and I was thankful for the dim light, for sometimes I myself did not want to keep up a charade.

"What time is it?" He asked me.

"About one, my dear."

"Mhmmm." He nodded rising toward the door, before stopping beside my chair. "Come to bed." His voice was soft, tinged with sleep. I looked up at him, his kind tired eyes assuming my answer would be no. He put his hand upon the side of my face and brushed his thumb over my lips, before turning to leave. I stopped him, pulling him down for a rough kiss my eyes crushed closed with the weight of all my present thoughts.

"Do not stay up too late." Watson said, his hand upon my shoulder as he again turned to leave.

I cleared my throat. "Wait." I said rising, he just smiled and led me by the hand towards the bedroom. I knew I was not going to sleep that night, but I did not want to be alone at the moment.

I leaned in the doorway my arms crossed as Watson clumsily removed his shoes and shirt his mind fogged by sleep and I could not help but smile, as pained as it was, for this was to be just another pleasant flash in the file that would have to suffice. He dropped his shirt to the floor and stopped to give me a chaste kiss before getting into the bed. I lingered a moment longer at the door before crawling in to join him. We adjusted slightly to fit more comfortably; Watson was curled on his side away from me his head resting upon my upper arm while my other arm gripped his shoulder.

I could tell by his breathing that he was all ready drifting off and I leaned in to rest my head in the crook of his neck my eyes burning holes in the wallpaper as the flood of thoughts began again.

This could be good for strengthening myself, I have become fairly dependent. You have an addictive personality, my mind interjected. The endless pipe smoke, pots of coffee and the 7% solution. Each vice, past and otherwise, passed quickly through my mind. If not him, someone else could fill the space. I blinked hard banishing that thought, which would never happen.

"Holmes, you don't have to stay if you do not wish to sleep." Watson whispered half asleep.

My thumb rubbed circles on his upper arm. "Shh, do not worry yourself dear Watson." He nodded sinking deeper into the covers before turning in my arms, our faces meters apart and his hand curling into my shirt.

I studied him once again, committing every line and nuance to memory; until he was fully asleep. I ran my hand briefly through his hair before slipping gently from his grasp. My mind was too racked up to lie idle in peace and quiet.