"Welcome back, Doctor." Mrs. Hudson greeted me as she took my hat and coat. "The Inspector stopped by earlier; I believe he's still up there with Mr. Holmes." She meant Lestrade, of course. With the other Inspectors she invariably used their name along with their title. What made Lestrade the exception was something I had not yet figure out, but guessed was somehow related to her uncanny awareness of when the man had been too busy to eat and consequent appearance with a tray.

"Thank you, Mrs. Hudson." I said as I headed up the stairs.

"You're quite welcome, young man." She replied, leading me to once again wonder how old our land lady was, and how old she thought I was.

The sitting room was very quiet. Suspiciously quiet, in fact. I paused at the door, straining my ears for some sound to indicate that Holmes and Lestrade were, in fact, in there. I heard nothing.

I opened the door and took a wary step inside the sitting room, wondering at the same time if Holmes and Lestrade had not simply gone out without Mrs. Hudson's knowledge.

Holmes had not; the man was seated in his armchair beside the fireplace, puffing away contentedly on his pipe. He nodded to me in acknowledgment of my return, but remained where he was.

Lestrade was still here as well; from his seat on the couch he had to turn his head to see who Holmes had nodded to.

"Doctor." Lestrade greeted me before checking his watch. He noted the time, and stood. "I did not realize it was that late." He said, more to me than to Holmes. "I'm afraid I must be getting on. Good day, Doctor, Mr. Holmes."

He excused himself, leaving me standing there uncertainly.

"Did he come about a case?" I finally asked, but it had been too quiet in the room for that. Holmes shook his head, confirming my thoughts. I tried to think of another reason Lestrade would stop by. He had not come to see me, or he would not have left as I returned.

A thought occurred to me.

Was it possible that Lestrade had simply come to visit Holmes? They had worked together for years, and in spite of the inevitable insults and arguments that came with the two being on the same case, they still did. It was possible there was more to their mutual tolerance for each other than simply the solving of the case, which meant, in turn, that it was possible that Lestrade had simply come to visit.

It was certainly unlikely. Possible, but unlikely.

Holmes was looking thoughtful. "Do you know," he said, startling me out of my thoughts, "Lestrade was here for two hours, and was actually quiet for most of it?"

"What did he want?" I asked, my curiosity roused even further. Holmes shrugged.

"Nothing, as far as I could tell." He said. "He stopped by, said hello, asked if I were busy, and when I waved him to a seat he sat down and just sat there. It was a rather refreshing change of pace; O was half expecting him to try to talk my ear off."

I resisted the urge to smile. It appeared that Lestrade had come by just to visit.

It also seemed that he could understand Holmes' appreciation of silence in a companion.

Disclaimer: Sherlock and the boys do not belong to me.