DCI Vera Stanhope walked through the corridors of Northumberland Hospital and made her way down to the mortuary where she found her old friend Doctor William "Billy" Cartwright in the middle of a post mortem on the latest murder victim. She would have bought DS Joe Ashworth with her but he was busy prepping for the Inspector exams so he couldn't tear himself away for the moment. Vera had practically urged the younger man to go for promotion because Kenny and most of the others weren't too keen on promotion at the moment.

Vera knocked on the door of the morgue to get Billy's attention. Billy saw her and looked up then he waved and beckoned her in. Vera entered and noticed that the slabs were full with bodies.

"Christ I thought it was just the one body you've got more than a few to deal with here pet". Vera remarked glancing at the bodies wrapped in sheets. "Bunch of other morgues being closed for repair love and various bodies are off sick". Billy replied not looking up from his clipboard. Vera smirked "When you say bodies you don't mean this lot". Billy returned the smirk and replied that the extra "customers" were going to be looked after by someone else soon.

After giving Vera the results of the latest autopsy report Billy decided to break the ice and reveal the news he had kept under wraps for a whole month.

"Thing is pet I'm not getting any younger, I'm not as sharp as I used to be, the wife feels I should slow down for a bit because she's thinking of chucking her job in and I hardly see the kids less than I want to so I've decided to pack it all in".

Vera was quite perplexed by this. "Bit drastic innit pet I know your bairns are getting on a bit and I know your missus wishes you were at home more but still as far as being old goes you're only as old as you feel as me old DI used to say".

Billy smiled " That sharp mind of yours will be one of the things I'll miss Luv" he said. " It's not just me own decision or Wendy's idea The powers above have been on at me to reduce the old working hours and take a teaching job for young minds but there's no way I'm nurse maiding bloody students". "Sink or swim hmm"? asked Vera. Billy shrugged "Half of that lot cant even tell the difference between a stethoscope and a syringe much less a body". He said inclining his head at the extra bodies on the other slabs.

After a moment Vera said "Well if you're sure love it won't be the same without you I've already lost Holly I hate to lose you too." "Ah I won't be far" came the reply I'll drop in now and again for the ol pint and gossip." "Aye well no hanging up yeh scrubs and gloves till we've wrapped this case up eh"? said Vera with a chuckle.

"Scouts honour pet" Billy said giving a mock salute. Vera chuckled, patted the pathologist's arm and walked out the morgue.

After The Case

"Cheers mate" DC Kenny Lockhart said clinking his glass with Billy's as they and most of the team from Vera's unit sat in the pub having a retirement do for Billy. "Thanks for this folks" Billy replied feeling more gratified and somewhat sad to be leaving but excited at the same time. Vera obviously hadn't showed up at the pub as she preferred to catch up with the paperwork signing off on the finished case and arrest of some thug who committed the murder. As usual she kept to herself at lot and didn't really mix with anyone anymore apart from having dinner with Joe and his sexy wife Celine whenever she could get away.

"So Doctor Cartwright" asked DC Rebecca "Shep" Shepard in a mock news reporter voice "Now that you're retired and taken the lump sum how are you going to spend it?" Billy grinned "Haven't thought that far pet I might take up fly fishing or go skydiving". "Skydiving"? repeated Kenny with an amused grin. "You're scared of heights". The entire group started laughing loudly DC Bethan Whelan nearly spilled her G and T over Joe who had just got off the phone to Celine.

"Sorry Billy the missus needs me home to put Fran down" Joe said sadly "Ah no worries lad" Billy said "Give the bairns a kiss goodnight from their Uncle Billy". "That has to be the most disturbing idea ever" remarked DC Mark Edwards who had just left the Uniform division. "Sounds bloody illegal too". The entire group laughed again thinking the young green wet behind the ears DC was joking.

"Still mate best of luck to yeh and don't blow the lump sum too fast okay". Joe said grinning raising his beer bottle. The rest of the group finished with a loud "Cheers" in unison.

"CHEERS" The whole team yelled

THE END