A/N: I'd love some feedback on this. I'll admit it was somewhat hastily written. It helped me work through the recent death of a friend of mine, so I guess it's somewhat therapy.
The retired Detective Inspector slowly looked through the photographs of the crime scene. He studied the m carefully with a long-practiced eye. Yes, it hurt, but he was able to separate his emotions from his familiar professionalism. And, below the hurt he was immensely grateful. Grateful to D.I. Donovan for honoring the request of a long-time friend and colleague. Because truthfully, he had no right to access these images. But it was necessary, and Donovan had made it happen for him. Although, he thought to himself, he had a feeling that a certain former government employee would have also made it happen for him, if he had needed to call on him. There wasn't a doubt in Lestrade's mind that Mr. Mycroft Holmes was already in possession of everything Lestrade was currently examining. Although Mycroft Holmes was also "retired" one never truly left such a position as he held.
After a long time and study Lestrade finally felt that it was time and that he was ready. He picked up his favorite pen and began to write...
I have been asked to write a reminiscence of my late friends and colleagues Mr. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. The shock of their deaths a few weeks ago has lessened some, and now I feel it is a good time for myself and the public to take stock of what we have lost.
It goes without saying that the two of them have the undying gratitude of the dozens, if not hundreds, of people who owe them their lives. Maybe not always in a literal sense, but countless reputations and careers were saved through their efforts in addition to the physical rescues they accomplished.
In addition, a grateful public can look at twenty-five years of criminal careers that have been cut short by their efforts. Countless acts of cruelty and mayhem have been prevented, all because these two men risked everything, time and again, to prevent criminal success. I am told by the publishers of this paper that my article will be followed by a timeline of their accomplishments. Please take the time to read through it. There will be events everyone is sure to remember, as well as some that have been forgotten in our ever increasingly faster-paced world.
They did have their failures as well. They were just men, after all. Clever, resourceful, brave men, but still, subject to failure as we all are. I can assure you, they tasted failure just as bitterly as every one of us does. Perhaps even more so, as failure often meant a life lost, a family destroyed. The two of them never forgot any of them. They were added to the storehouse of burdens and regrets that I could see were always with them. I know this, because every officer of the law does the same thing, carries the same burdens. Just because they were not acting in an official capacity, it did not lessen their sense of responsibility to those they served.
Their last failure cost them their lives. But, was it truly a failure? They were able to stop the serial killer they had set out to stop. In their last moments, they knew that the man would never kill another victim. I know that brought them comfort as they breathed their last.
I have been asked, by certain members of the press (who ought to be ashamed) to comment on the position of the bodies of Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson when they were discovered and what it might reveal about the "true nature of their relationship." My only comment is this: What does it matter? Why are we so obsessed over what people do in the privacy of their homes? We are nearly halfway through the 21st century, isn't it time that we grow up and mind our own business? I will go on record as saying (because I'm sure that neither of the men involved would have a problem with me stating this) that yes, they loved each other. Anyone who knew them knew that. Beyond that, it was no business of mine and certainly no one else's. And a final warning: the next person who asks me to comment about their personal lives will not receive such a polite response as I've given here.
I want to close this with a reminiscence of my first experience with the two of them. The one that started it all. Many of these details have never before been made public. Dr. Watson had just met Mr. Holmes and was moving in with him to what would become their life-long residence on Baker Street. Holmes was working with me on the case that Watson later called "A Study in Pink." Holmes, Watson and I were at the Baker Street flat when Holmes figured out the killer, who had actually come to Baker Street match wits with him. Holmes left with the killer, with his then immature faith in his infallibility. Shortly after Holmes disappeared, I left. Abandoned at the flat, Watson deduced the truth of what had happened and set off after Holmes and the murderer.
Later, after I arrived on the scene of the attempted murder of Holmes, but what turned out to be the death of the killer, I attempted to interview Holmes about what had happened. Holmes started to describe who it could have been that shot the murdering cab driver, but suddenly stopped. His eyes were fixated on a figure beyond the caution tape: John Watson. Holmes hastily told me to disregard his description and said that he needed to discuss "the rent." When I acquiesced, Holmes hurried over to Watson and they engaged in an intense, intimate conversation. It hit me then: military service, acclimatized to violence, nerves of steel, strong moral principle... Of course, Watson had killed the killer. I had already been around the doctor enough to know that he fit the description, and Holmes' insistence that I disregard it was all the proof I needed. So why did I not go and arrest Watson on the spot? It was because of what happened next: the two had begun to wander off still talking. Then they stopped and I heard Watson clearly say, "Because you're an idiot!" I caught my breath. Such an utterance to Holmes would cause him to ruthlessly destroy whomever would dare say such a thing. I waited during that split second for the razors of Holmes' genius to cut Watson to ribbons. And instead, Holmes smiled. Not just smiled, but smiled with a warmth and affection I had never seen him ever display. Holmes said something I couldn't hear, and they continued walking away.
The encounter left me stunned. I knew what my official duty was, but the law does not always serve the cause of Justice. What justice could be served by arresting and ruining the reputation of a good man? A good man who was clearly needed? A good man who would be prevented from doing more good in the world if he were branded as a criminal for saving the life of his new-found friend? So I was silent and did nothing. And I have never had cause to regret that decision. In fact, I think it was one of the best I've ever made.
Rest in peace, my friends. You will be missed...
Lestrade wearily put down his pen. He rubbed his eyes, looked at the clock, and knew he should call it a night. He was exhausted. Nothing he had ever done had ever drained him like putting those words to paper. He knew it was only a rough draft and would need to be revised several times, but not tonight. But he was not quite ready to go to bed...not quite ready...
Lestrade picked up one photo that he had spent the most time studying. It hurt, oh how it hurt, but it also brought him comfort as well. After having read the reports and studying all the other photos, Lestrade knew how this last photo had come to pass.
It was John, of course, who had made the kill shot. John, with his nerves of steel and excellent marksmanship. Not that Sherlock wasn't handy with a gun, but Sherlock would have been mortally wounded by the killer already and would not have been capable of making the kill.
So there were the bodies of his friends, huddled together against the wall of the abandoned house, like so many other abandoned houses they had investigated over the years. It would have seemed almost familiar to them.
Somehow, John had been able to gather the longer form of Sherlock into him, surrounding him with his shorter, sturdier form. Lestrade could see the makeshift bandages he had made to try and staunch the flow of Sherlock's blood. Too little, too late.
Sherlock's head rested against John's chest, and John's head rested in Sherlock's familiar curls, sprinkled now with a bit of grey. They both wore expressions of complete peace and contentment. Lestrade felt some measure of joy to know that the last thing Sherlock heard in this world was the sound of John's heart.
John...Lestrade's own heart twisted in his chest a little. He hadn't suffered as devastating a wound as Sherlock had. He might have survived. He was a fighter. Lestrade felt that he COULD have survived...if he had wanted to. But instead, he chose to let go. It hurt a little to think that maybe Lestrade would not have had to lose both of them. But he understood...no...no judgment...it had to be...it was right, somehow...he couldn't question it. It hurt, but it also felt right.
Lestrade put the photo down, closed his eyes, and finally allowed himself to cry.