This is my first fic post-Reichenbach. I've just been sort of reeling since then. I thought the episode was fantastic, but I wish we had gotten to see the reactions of other people to Sherlock's death. Particularly Lestrade. So, obviously, I had to write something. I'm not 100% content with how it turned out, but I like it overall.

I don't own Sherlock. The original stories belonged to Arthur Conan Doyle. The reincarnation belongs to Gatiss and Moffat. I'm not nearly as clever as any of them.

Also, if you have a moment, please review and let me know what you think. It means so much to me!

If anyone asked Detective Inspector Gregory Lestrade about it while he was on the job, he always said Sherlock Holmes was a fraud. He wasn't proud of saying it, but he needed a job so his soon-to-be ex-wife could bleed him dry more effectively. He never believed a word of it, though. There were just things that had to be said. Mycroft Holmes, who had ensured that he still had a job after the Rich Brook scandal broke out, insisted that everything Sherlock had accomplished throughout the years was a lie. He told him to believe it, so he acted as though he did. But Greg had never really trusted Mycroft Holmes.

Things were different these days. Sherlock, of course, was absent. But so where many of the most daring crimes in England, so the police force as a whole barely seemed to acknowledge the gap. Greg honestly thought he was the only one at Scotland Yard who remembered—and missed—the great Sherlock Holmes.

Up until he heard the news that Sherlock had committed suicide, he had assumed that everything would turn out fine. Sherlock had resisted arrest, created a hostage situation, and had been accused of being a criminal mastermind. And Greg had not been even remotely worried about him. He had assumed that the elder Holmes brother would simply find a way to make the mess with the arrest-gone-wrong to disappear, and as for that Rich Brook fellow, he couldn't believe he existed. Greg had children. Children whose mother let the telly be their babysitter. If Rich Brook had been a kids TV host, he would have known about it.

But then Sherlock had died. After the fact, it seemed only obvious that he would not be able to survive a ruined reputation—his ego would not allow it. That didn't make the death any easier to bear. Greg visited the grave every couple of days, after work was over. It was only in those quiet moments in the grave yard that he could let himself admit that he believed every word Sherlock Holmes had said—except those last words, in which he called himself a liar.

"Hey, there was a case that—hell, what am I saying, you wouldn't care," he raised his eyes from the shining black tombstone which he had been staring at as if he needed a confession out of it. "It was the son, for the inheritance. He confessed as soon as we found the gun in his house. Couldn't cover his tracks if his life depended on it. You would have hated it. I hated it."

Life without Sherlock was dull. Not only because crimes had taken a decided turn for the simplistic, but because life had as well. There was no more careful watching, no more concentrated efforts just to keep him alive. Granted, in the past couple of years that duty had been handed over, largely, to John Watson, but Greg still possessively looked for any sign on the world's only consulting detective that he was not sleeping enough, or not eating enough, or—God forbid—killing himself with drugs. There were no more random kidnappings from Mycroft Holmes, combined with quiet threats that if Sherlock wasn't cared for properly then the whole nation would go to hell. There was no one there to keep them sharp with biting insults and cruel statements. No one for Greg to hate and love so much simultaneously. No one for him to protect and work to improve.

"I think even Donovan and Anderson—" he couldn't finish his thought. It sounded like sacrilege, talking about those two in the presence of Sherlock—of what was left of Sherlock. "Maybe not. I guess you would see right through that," he stared at the name engraved on the stone, desperately imploring a dead man to give him answers. "Was it like that everywhere you went, your whole damn life? Did they all hate you?" he imagined Sherlock, a university student, despised by everyone he met, because his mind had the indecency to be brilliant—because they couldn't understand him and he certainly couldn't understand them. "It's a pity."

He meant that. Not so much for Sherlock as for everyone else. He bit violently at his lower lip and tried not to hate the whole human race. He still couldn't wrap his mind around the newspaper articles that had headlines like "Amateur Sleuth turns out to be Professional Criminal," but he realized that the whole ordeal would not have been surprising to Sherlock. Sherlock Holmes, the most brilliant man Greg had ever known. Sherlock Holmes, mistrusted and disliked by everyone, his whole life. Sherlock Holmes, the most arrogant man in the world, who had somehow remained content letting Greg get all the credit when cases were closed. "You saw what they were," he mused to the tombstone. "You knew what they saw in you. You were afraid of them, weren't you?" Greg shook his head. "I guess I owe you an apology," he continued quietly. "I said once that you were a great man, and that one day you might be a good one. I should have known that no one would give you that chance."

Greg didn't like being praised for things he didn't—couldn't—do. He had insisted on making Sherlock's name known. He had thought that the attention would amuse and divert that great mind, and they were always looking for new ways to amuse and divert Sherlock. He had been trying to help, and unable to see why Sherlock was uncomfortable in front of the cameras, uneasy about being photographed and begged for interviews.

What must it have been like, waiting for the other shoe to drop, as it always, always did?

"I'm so sorry, Sherlock. I'm so sorry."

Greg had talked himself into silence, so he ran a quick hand over the onyx tombstone and turned to walk away. He wasn't sure who he would be when he left the cemetery. He was supposed to be the repentant officer who felt foolish for being taken in by Sherlock Holmes. But in reality he was only repentant to Sherlock Holmes—for being taken in by the rest of the world.