Author's note: To all who celebrate it, Happy Thanksgiving! To all who do not, enjoy the extra updates anyway!
Hopkins reminded himself not to fidget as he was lead into the office of one Chief Superintendent Clarence Dickens. He forced himself to stand straight and tall as he was left standing in front of the desk of a man who was currently going through a stack of papers as if completely unaware of the lowly Inspector waiting nervously for his superior to notice him.
Hopkins found himself swallowing back the urge to clear his throat and wondering if he had felt this nervous since his promotion to Inspector and subsequent assignment to work with Lestrade. He told himself that this man, Chief Superintendent though he may be, could not be any worse than dealing with Lestrade, or Gregson, or even Jones.
He wondered, then, why he was still so nervous.
He told himself that if the Chief Superintendent had called him here then he could at least not keep him waiting. Then he wondered if perhaps the Chef Superintendent were working on something that simply could not wait and that was why he was ignoring Hopkins.
Hopkins took a deep breath and took the plunge. "You wanted to see me, sir?" He asked. Chief Superintendent Dickens ignored him.
Hopkins had learned from working with Holmes how to wait with the best of them. He shifted to a more comfortable standing position, clasped his hands together in front of him, and settled himself to wait.
Hopkins reminded himself to be patient; this was, after all, the man responsible for Lestrade's reinstatement as Inspector with that fiasco with former Superintendent Crane. He stifled a sigh and continued waiting.
After what seemed an eternity, Chief Superintendent Dickens looked up. "Hopkins, is it?" He asked without so much as an apology for keeping the Inspector waiting.
Hopkins nodded. "Yes, sir. Inspector Stanley Hopkins." He confirmed.
"Have a seat." Dickens waved him to a chair. Hopkins dutifully accepted the offer, though by this point he would have preferred to remain standing. "How is Lestrade doing?" Dickens asked, instead of getting to the reason for the summons.
"He's delighted to be back." Hopkins replied, hoping he did not sound as uncertain or confused as he currently felt. He knew the Chief Superintendent had not called him here just to chat. "Frankly, sir, we're glad to have him back."
Dickens nodded casually, as if he and Hopkins were simply old chums discussing the weather. "You've heard that Marshall will not be coming back?" He asked.
Hopkins nodded. Marshall had been Superintendent before Crane. He had been injured, and Crane had been chosen to replace him while he recovered, though no one at the Yard had expected him to come back, and therefore no one had been surprised to hear he was not. "He has put in a number of years already, sir." He offered.
"We're looking for a replacement." Dickens told the Inspector. "Perhaps someone from the Yard itself this time."
"That might make the transition easier." Hopkins suggested cautiously, wondering all the while why it seemed like Dickens was looking for his opinion on the matter.
Dickens leaned back in his seat almost lazily. "I understand you were rather instrumental in keeping things from falling apart when Marshall was shot." He commented.
Hopkins shrugged. "I did my job." He said. All he had done was what needed doing.
For some reason the statement seemed to amuse Dickens. He almost smiled. It made Hopkins wary.
"You've also-ahem-been doing quite a bit to fill the gap left by Crane's absence, haven't you?"
Hopkins couldn't stop himself from rolling his eyes this time. "I do my job." He said, refusing to actually answer the question. "I'm sorry, but is there a point to this?"
Dickens was suddenly serious. "I'm looking for someone to replace Crane." He told the Inspector. "I've heard good things about you. I just wanted to meet you before I made my decision."
Hopkins frowned, not entirely sure what was going on. "Sir? He asked.
Dickens leaned forward in his seat, his expression earnest. "I'm promoting you, Stanley Hopkins, to Superintendent." He said.
Hopkins stared. His first thought was that this had to be some kind of joke, but none of the poeple he knew would have found this sort of thing funny. He swallowed nervously. "Me?" He managed, barely, not to squeak. Dickens nodded. He was smiling now. "Superintendent?" Hopkins was still trying to wrap his mind around the idea. He frowned at Dickens. "Why me?"
"You're the best choice." Dickens told him. "Now, Superintendent, I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to excuse me. I have a lot of work to get done and am nowhere near finishing it. We'll talk again before the week's out."
Dismissed, all Hopkins could do was retreat. He turned and stumbled his way out of the Chief Superintendent's office, still a bit shocked by what had just happened.
He didn't understand why it had been him. In the back of his mind he knew that Bradstreet neither wanted nor really had what it took for such a job, knew that Jones would likely sooner quit than accept such a position, and that Gregson hated paperwork with every fiber of his being, not a good trait to have in a Superintendent. He also knew, had known from the beginning that Lestrade, though he would have done an excellent job, would never rise past Inspector.
That, then, left Hopkins, and it reassured him a bit to realize that there weren't really other options.
A thought occurred to him as he reached the end of the hall.
He still had to break the news to the others that he would shortly be their superior.
Disclaimer: Sherlock and the boys do not belong to me.