Things never change.
That was a common phrase around the yard, still in use in 2035. For the officers who had been around as recruits in early 2010 it was almost a motto, as they would speak this in hushed voices to the new officers as they came in. There was Anderson who was still as sullen as ever, had grown a beard and still shockingly a ladies’ man, even though this time there was no wife to cheat on. There was Sally Donovan who was still very bossy, though now as chief inspector she had a good reason to be so. There was Greg Lestrade, now retired, but who still was the only person in Scotland Yard who could deal with Sherlock Holmes without losing all of his self worth in a pint two hours after talking to the man.
Maybe that’s why he was the one, despite no longer being employed by the yard, to tell Holmes that Doctor Watson’s body was missing.
The day wasn’t even remarkable when he got the call. It wasn’t raining buckets like it seems to be in every sad movie ever made, nor was it so bright and sunny that it seemed to mock those who had lost a dear friend. No, it was simply a regular day in London; somewhat cloudy with a chill. It seemed cruel since for such a tragic event that the day should be so unremarkable.
The call Lestrade had gotten when Watson died unlike when his body went missing wasn’t exactly a surprise. Dr. Watson had gone from being a doctor to a patient around two years ago. Cancer, the bloody bastard. His prognosis wasn’t great; they gave him around 3 months or so depending on how treatment went. The doctors seemed to think he was already a dead man walking. Then again it wouldn’t have been the first time people underestimated John Watson.
The man was many things, but a fighter took up a big part.
So he passed three mouths, hit the forth out of the ball park, and shot the fifth so far that it was never seen again.
The man could have fought the war on his own if he needed to; a one man army made out of grit, tea and jumpers.
He didn’t have to though.
The horrible things said about Sherlock Holmes tended to lean truthfully but the statement that he had no heart was a lie. The whole Yard could see it, after the explosion decades ago where the man had not shouted out to find their attacker, but instead screamed John until his voice was horse. It showed up when Sherlock returned from his own ‘death’ to ask Lestrade in private how he could help John after Mary’s death. The sheer pale that covered his face when Lestrade said John’s nightmares were back was enough of a sign for him. It showed like a flashing light when the man was shot; Sherlock had dissolved into a panic, almost killed the assailant, and then kissed his “colleague" in a way that could not be seen as a slightly friendly gesture.
They had never believed him for a minute but the yard at least tried to act surprised. Sally even called him freak afterwords so he wouldn't look so red in the face.
So when Sherlock took care of his ailing ‘flatmate’ few were surprised. He helped the man get to and from Barts, kept him busy by talking about cases in his hospital room, and getting him a bucket for some of chemo’s nasty after effects. Greg could remember the man’s smile when he entered the flat to find Sherlock had drawn a face on a thing with a beard and dubbed it Anderson. Anderson hadn't been amused.
That smile had only gotten bigger when the man had been declared in remission. They had a party at the yard afterwords. It was the only time Lestrade could remember where Sherlock really ate some cake. His good mood shone everywhere like a giant lantern.
It had faded as quickly as soon as he was told it was back. Back to fight a war that no army could win.
It hadn’t been hopeless from the start. Sure, the results were grim, but John had pulled back from those before. He had survived everything from explosions, kidnappings, to war itself. No one thought it would get it this time. Sherlock had even been planing on bying a house in Sussex to retire in a few years to relax with John. Beekeeping was his plan.
So when it did they were at a loss on how to break the news to Sherlock. Just in the middle of the night when Sherlock had been on a run for a book John wanted his slight fever turned into a death sentence. Sherlock had gotten back just in time to watch him slip away.
John had always been Sherlock’s messenger of anything upsetting; a job bestowed on him by the Yard a few months after he became the man’s flat mate. He was the one who had to tell Sherlock that Jim had escaped as he lay in his hospital bed, that Mycroft had been killed in a hit in run of all things, the one who told him that Mrs. Hudson had passed a few years ago. As a doctor he could deliver bad news easily, his heart adding an extra help because when he said he was sorry he meant it.
Lestrade was almost positive if John could have given news of Sherlock’s ‘death’ at the falls to himself, the man would have suffered half the pain.
He was just as positive that he was the only man who could tell Sherlock that his best friend’s (really husband, if the two weren’t so thick to refuse marriage and labels) body had vanished out of the morgue on his watch.
Lestrade was almost tempted to walk into 22 Baker with a bullet proof vest on if he knew Sherlock wouldn’t be able to tell the moment he walked in.
Really, the yard had no excuse. The body of Doctor John Watson, veteran, unofficial yarder, doctor, and friend had vanished right out of the morgue at the most unseemly time of night. It was horrific; god knows what anyone would want with it, and the funeral was this weekend. He would call his best man to help him track him down; if it wasn’t for the fact his best man was currently morning the loss of his only love (which sounds cheesy to anyone who didn’t know them, but all the Yarder’s agreed that was the best description of the two).
He opened the door, using the key Sherlock had given him to stop his random drug busts a few years back. He figured the flat would be in disarray, but surprisingly it was no more chaotic than usual. In fact it was a little cleaner than most days; Sherlock had pretty much been living at the hospital with John until yesterday morning when he died. The man’s pale face of shock and horror was still painted under Lestrade’s eyes.
“Sherlock?” His voice was soft, trying to show he wasn’t a threat. There was no response but a whimper that came from Gladstone the pug that Sherlock and John owned. They had gotten is from a case; the yarders joked that it was as close as those two would get to having children until John was in remission, and Sherlock didn’t make the flat a toxic zone.
That had been then. There would be no kids now, as Lestrade knew for a fact.
“Hey bud,” he said, bending down to scratch the pug’s ear. It gave off a small wine, rubbing its’ short fur against Lestrade’s hand. He pulled it back to give another pat until he saw the small red patch of blood that was all too real to the old detective.
He didn’t think after that, merely he ran up to Sherlock’s room, dialing 999 as he waited. The door was locked; kicking it open only took a few seconds.
He had solved one problem; the body of one Doctor Watson was on the bed, perfectly fine as dead bodies go.
A new one had risen though; right next to him with a bullet in his heart was one Sherlock Holmes.
It took him a few good minutes before his detective side came in and he slowly made his way to the bodies. Hands shaking, he grabbed the note that was in Sherlock’s non gun holding hand. He had an idea of what it said before he read it.
“Bury us in the same coffin. John has nightmares and I don't want him to sleep alone."
Lestrade took a deep breath and collapsed to the floor, trying not to cry.
As the sirens rang, and the yard grew closer, Greg Lestrade closed his eyes with a deep sigh, doing his best to keep composed. He didn’t see Sherlock’s face this time, however. Instead he saw an old image, one of John close to remission two years back in a deep sleep in his hospital bed. Right beside him was Sherlock, stretched out over the chairs hands with the doctor entwined. Lestrade thought of asking him to go home and get some sleep on a proper bed but John had started to scream in his sleep. With that Sherlock quickly grasped his hand tight and soon minutes later the nightmares ceased.
The next day Sherlock had simply said, “The man has nightmares of a battle field. I deduced that having a comrade in arms might help.”
It would the same story Lestrade told at their funeral.
The funeral of the two greatest men he had ever known.