It was fortunate for Inspector Lestrade that Gregson had no qualms whatsoever about kicking open the front door of the murderer and his wife's house.
They were in the sitting room, all three of them. The sitting room was a wreck.
The wife was unconscious in the floor, a bloody gash in her forehead.
The husband had been trying to knock Lestrade's skull in with the poker from the fire. The end of said poker was currently in the wall, and the husband had recently given up on that idea and grabbed Lestrade by the throat and slammed him against the wall. The Inspector was currently pinned to said wall and turning purple as he struggled against the larger man.
"I suggest you put him down." Gregson called out coolly as he knelt and picked up Lestrade's discarded revolver. He leveled it at the husband.
The husband dropped Lestrade, who crumpled to the ground, gasping for breath, and decided to try to run. Gregson calmly fired a shot that clipped his arm, and the man froze.
The Inspector wasted little time in cuffing him. Then he shoved him onto the couch. "Sit down." He ordered. "And if you so much as move a muscle, I'll shoot you and not think twice about it. See if Lestrade's still alive, will you Holmes?" This last was directed at me, as Gregson turned his attention to the lady.
Lestrade was staggering to his feet. "I'm fine." He panted. He winced, and his hand went to the opposite shoulder. "Thanks to you two. What are you doing here?"
"Saving your life, arresting your murderer, doing your job." Gregson retorted. "What happened to the wife?"
"He backhanded her. She fell and hit her head." Lestrade replied. "How did you know to come here?"
"I didn't. Your amateur detective did." Gregson shot back. "I don't know how he knew."
Lestrade turned to me. "What changed your mind, Mr. Holmes?" He wanted to know.
"I found the article in the paper after you left." I told him.
Gregson blinked and looked up at me. "You figured out who the murderer was and that Lestrade's life was in danger from the report in the paper?" He demanded.
Lestrade rolled his eyes. "I don't insist on asking the man for help because it makes me look good." He snapped.
Gregson shot the other Inspector a look. "Superintendent's an idiot, then. Not to want to involve him."
"You think?" Lestrade sneered. "Go take your arrest in, I'll make sure the wife's alright. I don't want to have to spend any more time around the lout than I have to."
Gregson growled. "What about Holmes?"
"Leave him here. You don't want the Superintendent to see him wandering about the Yard, do you?" Lestrade retorted quickly.
Gregson sighed. "He saved your life, Lestrade."
"Yes, and he's identified a murderer, a jewel thief, and stopped that fellow that was kidnapping and murdering young girls as well, and I'm not supposed to 'encourage' him. Never mind that he succeeded where the Yard had failed." Lestrade was glowering as he and Gregson roused the woman. "Take him with you if you want, or don't, but get that lunatic away from me."
Gregson smiled at me, amused by the outburst. "Come on then, Holmes. And you." He informed the husband darkly. Then he turned back to Lestrade. "Did you pay him last time?"
Lestrade turned red and pretended not to have heard. Gregson looked satisfied.
"I'll cover it this time." He offered as he led us out the door.
"Cover it?" I asked.
"Your fee." Gregson replied shortly, as if I should already know. "How much did he pay you last time? Not much, I'd wager. The man has a family to worry about."
I felt slow. Stupid. Was Gregson actually suggesting…?
Gregson groaned. "Do you want me to spell it out for you?" He asked impatiently. "Lestrade is not about to let some girl die or a murderer escape on account of the Superintendent's stupidity. He's also not going to expect you to help us for nothing. He also has a wife and children at home, so he can't afford to pay you the regular fee out of his own pocket." He eyed me doubtfully. "I thought you were supposed to be a genius."
He reached into his pocket. "Here. I can't really afford to give you the regular fee either, but we don't expect you to work for free." He shoved the money into my hand and left me gaping after him in front of the house.
Disclaimer: Sherlock and the boys at the Yard do not belong to me.