The police station got hit hard in the night. Letters drip across the windows and plaster, sharp, angry red and fluorescent, hopeful yellow.

Moriarty was real.

I believe in Sherlock Holmes.

Dimmock steps up to the building, touching his fingertips to the graffiti. A bit of yellow flakes off and he stares hard at it, raising it in front of his eyes. He swears it's the precise shade that he'd seen ages back, streaked across the eyes of a painting. That was the first time he'd met Sherlock Holmes. The man had been arrogant, infuriating, snobbish; within a minute the DI had wanted to sock him in the face.

But he'd also been brilliant, unraveling the complex case far faster than Dimmock could even properly process everything, but even then not without difficulty. What he did wasn't a parlor trick, nor could it have been some grand scheme. And by the end of it the Detective had grown considerably on the DI.

He'd read the paper that morning while he waited for his coffee to brew. It featured the same recycled headlines that had been emblazoning front pages for months – this was a full blown scandal. Another Client Steps Forward with her Shocking Account of Deception by Sherlock Holmes. He got halfway through the article before crumpling up the paper and stuffing it into the bin. Almost immediately after his phone buzzed insistently against his thigh; his communication with Lestrade had only increased since the man had been demoted.

You've seen the papers?

Yes. Still on about it.

I feel horrible.

Dimmock had sighed, dragged a hand through his hair. Lestrade took a huge hit – salary cut with the demotion, barely a thread of a chance of redeeming himself to the Chief, and his wife had broken it off for good. He said the worst of it was losing his friend and watching his name crumble to bits.

A car door snaps shut behind Dimmock and the former DI steps up beside him, standing up straight as his dark eyes rove over the paint. He digs around in his pockets, then raises his phone.

"What are you doing?" Dimmock leans over and Lestrade tilts the screen towards him, graffiti captured in pixels.

"Thought John might like to see. They'll be washing it off within the hour." Lestrade grins as he taps away at his phone before tucking it back into his pocket. "Makes me feel a bit better, seeing these everywhere. Isn't that terrible? Probably good I'm not an Inspector anymore."

"Worse for me. I am an inspector." They glance at one another then hide their faces, attempting to muffle their laughter. "We should… probably go. Bit suspicious, giggling at graffiti like this. Wouldn't want you losing even more rank, would we?"

Lestrade nods, and as they step past the scrawled letters Dimmock trails his fingers across the yellow once more, some of the hope of it seeping in through his fingertips.