Author's note: Several people who read my story 'Beekeeping' asked for a piece with Lestrade finding out about Holmes' retirement, and I like to please you guys as much as I can (you're such great readers, especially when you review), so here you go.
221B Baker Street was a complete and utter mess when Lestrade was shown inside. "John?" He ventured uncertainly. It looked almost as if the place had been ransacked.
"Here!" Watson called from the approximate direction of the sitting room. "Never mind the mess, come on in!"
Lestrade obliged, weaving his way past half filled boxes and miscellaneous furniture, until finally he reached the sitting room, where Watson and Holmes were currently involved in trying to sort Holmes' chemistry apparatus and pack it into yet another box.
"I am moving." Holmes announce, rather unnecessarily, and perhaps a trifle uncertainly. "Away from London." He added, before Lestrade could ask where.
Lestrade raised an eyebrow and considered the poorly packed box on the floor while he waited for the other man to say more.
"I'm moving to the country." Holmes added after a moment, and Lestrade knelt down by the box and started organizing the items that had been haphazardly thrown into it.
A few minutes went by, with Lestrade carefully packing away various beakers and test tubes and the like as Holmes and Watson handed them to him. The chemistry table was clean and they had moved on to Holmes' desk before the man spoke again.
"I'm retiring." Holmes announced anxiously, and Lestrade paused for a moment before relieving Watson's hand of its burden.
"Surely you've thought of it yourself." Holmes pointed out uncertainly.
"I have." Lestrade agreed slowly. "Gregson retired. So did Jones. And Bradstreet. And I've been there longer than they have."
Holmes nodded, as if reassured. "Well then. It's not an absurd notion." He declared.
Lestrade supposed it wasn't. Unexpected, certainly. Unlikely. Not absurd.
It was another reminder of the years that had passed and of the changes that those passing years had brought. Holmes was younger than Lestrade. Most of the people he knew were.
"Any idea how you're going to keep that active mind of yours occupied?" Lestrade managed to ask. He was only half joking.
Holmes grinned sheepishly. His newest interest had already been met with one skeptical response. "Beekeeping." He said.
Lestrade blinked. "Beekeeping." He repeated, to be certain he had heard the other man properly.
Holmes nodded, and Lestrade noticed the slight glitter of excitement in his eyes. "Yes. Beekeeping."
It would have been surprising, had Lestrade not recently given up on being very surprised at anything Holmes said or did. He was simply too unique and surprising of an individual to be surprising once you accepted how surprising the man could regularly be.
Allowing his thoughts to twist and loop about like that made Lestrade's head hurt, though, so he tried not to dwell on it overmuch, and just determined not to be very surprised by the man.
He realized belatedly that Holmes was waiting for some sort of actual response, and not just to the question of beekeeping. Lestrade was not entirely certain what that response should be.
He finally settled on an answer that was neutral without blatantly ignoring those things spoken of. :Keep in touch then, will you, Mr. Holmes?" He said, and Holmes chuckled and continued packing as if a weight had been lifted from his shoulders.
"Keep an eye on Watson for me." Holmes replied lightly, a few minutes later. "You know how stubborn he can be."
Lestrade nodded while Watson rolled his eyes. "Lizzie would have my hide if I didn't anyway." The Inspector informed Holmes solemnly, and the three men shared a smile over the truth of the statement.
"We'll miss you, Holmes." Lestrade finally said, frankly, as they finished the last of the packing and took their customary places, Holmes and Watson in the armchairs and Lestrade on the couch, one last time.
Holmes half smiled at the declaration; Lestrade was speaking of more than just his assistance at Scotland Yard, and he knew it.
"It's been a long time." He conceded.
"A very long time since the Whittaker murder." Lestrade agreed.
"Whittaker?" Holmes replied uncertainly, frowning.
"That was the murdered man's name." Lestrade replied. "It was the middle of the night, you accused the Yard of inefficiency and wanted to know if I was the one who had let the crime scene get so trampled about. Then you examined the room, presented your evidence, and named the murderer. I had never seen anything like it."
Holmes chuckled at the memory as he went for his pipe. "I must admit I didn't think I'd ever see you again. After that case, or after the next one. What was it? Stolen jewelry?"
"Lady Theresa's diamond necklace was stolen by her doctor." Lestrade answered promptly. The man never forgot any of his cases, or the people involved. "That was my favorite case." He added sarcastically. Remembering Watson's presence, he explained himself. "The Superintendent told me off twice for involving Holmes on the case, and never mind the opinions he expressed regarding my intelligence, ability, and competence."
Holmes had the decency to look uncomfortable. "I didn't know you were lectured twice." He commented.
Lestrade shrugged. "You missed the dressing down I received in front of almost the whole of Scotland Yard." He told the man with the ease of one who has had a long time to come to terms with an unpleasant experience.
They settled into silence, then, a silence that was both comfortable and companionable. They would spend Holmes' last evening at Baker Street in that way, simply enjoying each other's company. Lestrade would head home later that night, and Holmes would be on his way in the morning, but for now it was just another evening spent in the presence of one's friends.
Disclaimer: Sherlock and the boys do not belong to me.