Sherlock ignored his mother as she called after him. He left it to Mycroft to explain. He had other business here.
He crossed the yard, out the gate, and on to the rather unkempt grounds beyond. There was no path, but he knew the way. He'd been here – done this – before.
The first time there had still been dozens of hives. Grandmere explained the custom to him, declaring it ridiculous even as she told the bees of her husband's passing.
“We don't do it because it means something to them. Nor to the dead. We do it for us. Telling them is only acknowledging the truth aloud. It helps us to move on. To face it and focus on what remains, on what comes next.”
He'd been alone the second time, after Redbeard. There were only a handful of hives then.
He hadn't come when Ford had been killed, and regretted it still.
There was still one hive in the clearing.
Sherlock took off a glove and laid his bare hand on the wooden box. It hummed under his fingertips.
“I'm dead,” he whispered. “Suicide. He believes it, which makes it true. True enough to hide behind, at any rate. There is work to do, to keep them safe. When it is done, if should I survive … I will come back.”