The flat at 221B Baker Street was far too quiet. How could a person get any sleep without jarring noises at random intervals? No pacing, no muttering, no slamming or thudding, no spontaneous violin music.

I may never enjoy listening to the violin again.

Even when I left, the silence followed me. Riding in a cab or walking down the street, I listened for footsteps beside mine, or obnoxious commentary. The only sound in London was the hollow echo of my solitude.

Perhaps I needed to get away for a while. New surroundings, a bit of time to try and process the last eighteen months. It sounded like a good idea. Why was I hesitating?

I spent a while staring at the Doctors Without Borders website, trying to force myself to come to a decision. I had every reason to go. I could spend some time out of the country, doing some good out in the world. Only one tiny, nagging thought: What if I'm needed here?

If I fled London in some attempt to distance myself from my grief, I would have to abandon Mrs. Hudson, and Molly, and anyone else who might happen to need me. No, I wasn't likely to hear from Mycroft, as he hardly ever bothered to respond to any of my texts, but somehow I felt reluctant even to leave him behind. I have friends here, a life here, and weird as any or all of it may be, every bit I owed to Sherlock Holmes.

Which brought me right back to the prospect of leaving London for a while. I was persuading myself in circles now.

My phone chimed for my attention, interrupting my internal debate. Why did my heart leap every time I received a text message? I felt like an idiot. Every time.

This particular text came from Greg Lestrade. Cold beer and Portal 2?

I knew he was trying to distract me from my grief, or perhaps break through my crushing loneliness. Either way, I appreciated the effort, and the offer sounded good anyhow. I replied to the text and shut down my computer.

Larger decisions could wait a little longer.