Author's note: I'm not sure what brought this on. Reading Bartimus Crotchety's take on Watson's time spent as a Police Surgeon, perhaps, possibly a review that commented that Inspector Lestrade seemed on friendlier terms than Inspector Gregson. I don't really know. But for better or worse, here it is.
"Honestly, I don't know what you see in the man, Lestrade." Gregson commented as we paused to watch the Doctor limp down the street. He should have called a cab.
I resisted the urge to roll my eyes. "Holmes obviously thought there was something to him." I retorted. "He would not have kept him around otherwise."
Gregson smiled tolerantly. "He kept the doctor around because of his almost imperturbable nature. Because the doctor was easygoing to a fault, kept to himself, and above all, put up with him."
I shook my head. It was more than that, I was sure of it. I had learned much of the man over the years since our first meeting, and had discovered that he was not someone to be simply dismissed, even now, as grief bowed his head and back and he looked much as wasted as he had all those years ago coming back from the war.
Gregson sighed. "Yes, he lost a close companion. Yes, he lost his wife. Yes, he seems to be completely lost and in need of purpose, of some reason to live. But pity, Lestrade, is not a good reason to offer the man a job with the force."
I growled. It was not merely pity, while he had certainly never been another Sherlock Holmes, the doctor himself had not been unintelligent. I honestly felt, if the doctor could focus on the job, that he would be an asset to the Yard. And if it helped steady the man as he dealt with his problems, then…
Gregson was demanding my attention again. "Just because you don't know how to relate to someone outside of business, doesn't mean-"
"That's enough, Inspector." I cut him off sharply. It was true I wanted to help the doctor, and that I hadn't the slightest idea how. It was true that I was not the most skilled when it came to social situations; I had barely managed to convince my wife to marry me. "You should know by now that I do not offer positions lightly, not to anyone. The doctor may not be on Mr. Holmes level, but you know as well as I do that he is immensely skilled in his own field." He had also, I had noticed, seemed to pick up on Sherlock's methods over the years. He would be a good addition to the force, if he could pull himself together, and it had always seemed to me that as long as the doctor had something to do, he could keep himself going out of sheer will, if nothing else/
"Sure." Gregson replied coolly. "Look, don't think I don't care that the man's grieving. But I don't think this is the right solution. Go talk to him or something, but to offer him a job-"
"The man is more than qualified for the job." I cut Gregson off again. "And should he prove unable to handle it the responsibility will lie with me."
Gregson scowled. "That's what I'm afraid of, Giles."
I forced a smile, knowing how much it had cost him to admit to that. Neither of us cared for the other, and had each been out to prove our own superiority in those first years. We would never be friends, I knew, but we had learned to work with each other and even to appreciate working with someone whose methods and mannerisms we were familiar, not to mention the knowledge that we could each trust the other to watch our backs.
"I know what I'm doing, Tobias." I assured him. "But thank you for your concern."
He sighed. "All right, I can see that you do." He conceded, leaving me to head back to his office. I watched him go, my thoughts turning back to the broken man who had limped his way down the street.
I had told Gregson I knew what I was doing; I desperately wished that it had been the truth.
Disclaimer: Sherlock Holmes and company do not belong to me.