When Lestrade did finally regain consciousness, he was still too worn to do much more than peer around nervously when he realized he was in a hospital, and sigh in relief when he caught sight of me nearby.
"They got him." I offered before he could remember to worry about the man who had tried to kill him. He blinked, then he realized what I was talking about. "You fainted." I added, when he looked as if he were considering trying to sit up.
He colored ever so slightly, but I wasn't going to let it go just yet. "It's no surprise, though it did give us a bit of a fright at first, Lestrade. After all, you have been running around London like a lunatic when by all accounts you shouldn't even be out of bed. You're lucky it didn't happen sooner, or at a worse time."
He sighed again, and tried to glare at me, but didn't argue.
"You are staying in bed." I told him. "This bed, specifically, until you're recovered enough to be up. That is, until I think you've recovered enough to be up."
Another attempted glare.
I fixed Lestrade with a glare of my own. "And don't even think about trying to get up. You may be an Inspector, but here a doctor's word will go farther. If I say you need to stay in bed for a week, without visitors, especially those that are work-related, and that you need quiet and rest, then you could threaten to arrest them and they still wouldn't let you up." I paused for a second before continuing. "Then again, perhaps I should just tell them you need sleep. Then I wouldn't have to worry about you trying to sneak out of bed while no one's looking."
I had half expected a weak protest that he didn't sneak, or a half hearted threat to the effect of 'you wouldn't dare.' I did not expect the reaction he offered.
I received a soft groan in reply. "I'd rather not be drugged, please." He mumbled. "I'll stay in bed."
I wasn't sure whether to be relieved or worried. "All right, then." I said. "But if I hear of one bit of trouble from you…"
I would have to be satisfied with that, as the man already seemed to be dozing off. I stopped to speak with Mills about the Inspector before I left, and he assured me it would be no trouble keeping him here, and wondered if I would be checking in on him.
"I certainly will." I told him. "I'd prefer he didn't have any visitors, at least for a day or two. Not until he looks like he can handle them."
Mills nodded. "Should I send someone to inform his family of his whereabouts?"
I shook my head. "I'll take care of that, but thank you."
I returned to the Yard to find it considerably calmer than it had been since the attack on Marshall. Hopkins was there, apparently drifting around the room, coffee in hand, occasionally stopping to speak with someone or other.
He caught sight of me and excused himself from his conversation before heading my way. "Doctor Watson." He greeted me warmly enough.
"You look tired." I said, and the Inspector shrugged.
"Aren't we all?" He asked. "Things are just starting to settle back down. It helps that we can say the man responsible has been arrested."
"I imagine it does." I agreed.
"You take Lestrade home?" Hopkins asked after a second's hesitation.
I shook my head. "He's still at the hospital. I didn't think he needed to be moved." Hopkins looked worried. "He's just pushed himself too far, Hopkins." I tried to reassure the lad. "He shouldn't really have been out of bed in the first place, let alone working. I thought it better to leave him there for a few days to recuperate."
Hopkins nodded. "I don't think anybody realized just how bad off he was, Doctor, or Gregson wouldn't have sent for him. I'll certainly pass the word on; nobody here will bother him."
"I appreciate that." I told him. "Are the other Inspectors back yet?"
Hopkins shrugged. "I told them nothing exciting was happening here, and they went home to bed." He offered lightly. That meant that he had been left to hold the fort here. No wonder he looked so tired. He must have noticed my scrutiny then, for he grinned and chuckled.
"I'm alright, Dr. Watson. A little bit tired, but not nearly so as the others." I must have looked skeptical, for he continued. "I don't sleep that much anyway, you know. Why do you think they like to take me along on stake-outs?"
I had seen him the morning after one such stake-out; while Bradstreet had been yawning his head off and Jones had been snapping at anyone who looked at him wrong, Hopkins had looked almost unaffected by their all night vigil.
I let the matter go, and turned to something else that was weighing on my mind. "So who is this Crane?" I asked.
Hopkins' expression was suddenly carefully neutral. "Marshall's temporary replacement." He told me warily. "Or his permanent, if Marshall doesn't return."
"They wouldn't choose someone who's already here?" I wondered.
"Like who?" There was an edge to the question I couldn't quite identify.
I wasn't sure myself. "One of the more experienced Inspectors?" I suggested. "Lestrade, perhaps?" Hopkins laughed; it wasn't a nice laugh either. It put me a bit on the defensive. "Lestrade would be more than capable of doing the job." I insisted.
"Oh, certainly." Hopkins agreed, no longer laughing. "He'd do an excellent job, no doubt. But it'll never happen."
"Why?" I asked, curious.
Hopkins looked me over. "You'd have to ask him that, Doctor." He said at last. "But I'll tell you this, the man's lucky to still have his job after that incident."
Hopkins nodded. "There was a lot of pressure for him to quit, and a few threats that he would be fired if he didn't. It's a miracle he came out of the business with as few scars as he did."
I left not long after, puzzling over that last bit of conversation, though it was unlikely that I would actually get a chance to ask Lestrade about it soon. It was, of course, even less likely that the man would actually tell me what had happened.
I stopped by Lestrade's home long enough to explain the situation to his wife, then continued on my way home. I did not ask her about the story Hopkins had refused to share; she might have told me, but I did not feel comfortable going behind the man's back concerning something that one of his fellow Inspectors knew about but refused to speak of.
I realized, as I headed inside, that I had been distracted from asking anything else about Marshall's replacement. I wondered if that had been Hopkins' intent.
Disclaimer: Sherlock and the boys do not belong to me.