Lestrade's life was officially shot to Hell. It was a broken record on constant repeat.

Wake up. It was never a fun thing to do. Ever since losing Sherlock and his job, Lestrade rarely ever felt the urge to get out of bed in a hurry.

Track down the newspaper. It depended on if he had visitors over. If it was Anthea, it would be on the coffee table. With Mrs. Hudson, it would be on the kitchen counter, preferrably hidden under something where it wouldn't be in plain sight. With John, you never knew. The more probable places to look would be, crumpled up in the garbage bin, in the shredder of Lestrade's office, or burnt to cinders in the kitchen sink. It all depended on how malicious the journalist would be.

After reading the paper, he'd check his e-mail. There were always many people asking after Sherlock's details, sometimes it would be concerned friends, sometimes just bored and curious ones. Nevertheless, Lestrade always set aside time to dutifully trash them with prejudice, leaving them unread. In reality, he checked his mail just to read the mails from his family. His parents rarely watched TV or read the newspaper unless someone told them Lestrade was on. Maisie sent him encouraging mails at least every day with assurances that their parents still didn't know about Sherlock, or Lestrade's dismissal from the force yet. Well, Mum had a feeling something wasn't right, she had her mother's intuition going for her after all.

After that, Lestrade would usually stop by Baker Street to see how John and Mrs. Hudson were holding up.

They hadn't gathered the courage to move any of Sherlock's things yet. John could hardly stand to live in the flat without Sherlock, but couldn't bear the thought of living in there with Sherlock's ghost.

They would always set the table or make tea with one set or cup too many. If either of them noticed that Lestrade occassionally invited Anthea to fill in the extra space, they didn't say anything. But Mrs. Hudson would get that grateful look in her eye and Anthea would find it harder to find excuses not to show up.

John walked around with a cane again and the bags under his eyes darkened with every day.

After visiting Baker Street, there was nothing in particular to be done. Lestrade usually spent the rest of his day cooped up in his flat, at a pub, or at St. Bart's. There was always alot of action at St. Bart's since Sherlock's 'death'. Lestrade never really liked going there, but he did. It pulled his feet toward itself like a magnet.

He was not the only one to visit.

Molly took to calling Lestrade every time she heard that John was on the roof of St. Bart's. She kept track of who came and went. At least once every three days was John. Once a week, with or without John, it was Lestrade. Mrs. Hudson brought flowers once, and only once. Dimmock came with every case and stole glances at the stairway leading to the roof but he never went.

Mycroft never went out on the roof, he never even walked into the hospital. But he did stand on the pavement where Sherlock met the ground. The roof held no interest for him. It was on the ground that all the hidden drama occured, after all.

It worried Lestrade sometimes, when John visited the roof. He could imagine what he'd be thinking. What if he had stayed with Sherlock instead of going to see Mrs. Hudson? What if he had gone up to the roof with Sherlock to meet Moriarty? Could he have stopped Sherlock in time before he threw himself to his death? Would Sherlock say goodbye to his face?

Would he have died if John had stayed?

Lestrade knew it must hurt John to go to the roof but the man was a soldier through and through. He'd always tell himself he could handle it, buck up, you can do it. And he was always wrong.

Molly called Lestrade in today. John was lingering on the roof for far too long for her liking. She was growing concerned, so Lestrade came.

"Nice day out." he remarked dryly when he stepped out onto the roof.

He didn't see John at first, but he heard a hurried sniff. "Go away, Greg." John croaked back.

Lestrade's eyes fell closed. John was crying. Again. "John-..."

"Just-...!" John choked on his own words. "Please, ...just go." The grieving man was sitting on the roof, curled up against the spot where Sherlock had jumped from.

The wind whistled through both their clothes, filling them with a harsh chill. "Lets go in, John, it's cold." Lestrade said flatly.

"You go in." John sighed. "I'll be a few more minutes."

"No, John." Lestrade shook his head firmly. "Now. Please."

John turned his head away and pretended he didn't hear Lestrade. Lestrade just raised his gaze Heavenwards with a long-suffering expression and sat down on the concrete to wait the man out.

They sat in silence for a long time. The day was slipping away from them and the sun was just beginning to set.

"He was a magnificent man, wasn't he, Greg?" John sighed at length.

"Yeah, he was." Lestrade nodded slowly.

"Before I met him, life was just so... slow. 'Dull', Sherlock would call it. Get up, go through the motions, see my therapist, go to sleep. Rinse and repeat." John rubbed his face. "And then Stamford introduced me to Him. He had his brilliant moments, and his more negative traits, but - uh - to be perfectly honest, he was a hard man to hate."

Lestrade snorted. "I know what you mean."

"He was... infuriating, rude, and arrogant... but he was just so... so brilliant." John coughed out a laugh. "Like the bloody Doctor Who."

"Hm, 'Rude and not ginger'." Lestrade joked back.

"Exactly." John crossed his arms over his knees. "And then he had to go on, and on, with his Looks and his cool coat tricks, the bloody cheekbones..." Lestrade laughed and John smiled back sadly. "How can you not love a man like that?"

They fell silent again and Lestrade had to remind himself that John had not lost only his friend and flatmate but something much more when Sherlock jumped.

"Do you ever wonder?" John asked, breaking the silence.

"Wonder...?" Lestrade parrotted.

"What Sherlock was thinking when he did... it." John sniffed and rubbed a hand over his tear-swollen face. "When he-... jumped. I do, sometimes."

Lestrade kept his mouth shut and waited for John to continue. This was a subject that both of them avoided like it was the plague. This was the first time they spoke of the Fall.

"He was crying, you know. When he stood up here and-..." John winced at the raw memory. "He wasn't a fraud, Greg. We knew that... and he knew we knew that. Why did he try to make us believe something that wasn't true?"

He sounded like a lost little boy. Sometimes it was hard to remember that John had killed people. He looked at Lestrade so hopefully, searching. Lestrade shook his head. "I don't have all the answers, John. God, I wish I did."

John raked his fingers through his short hair and let out a humorless chuckle as he stared over the edge as if caught in some kind of hypnotic trance. "Sometimes I think it's not such a bad idea."

It made Lestrade want to run across to where John sat, shake him violently by his collar and shout 'Sherlock's not dead you bloody idiot! He's alive!' But he didn't.

"Well, it bloody well is!" he snapped instead. "Don't-... don't say that. Ever. Jesus, John, ... just, please."

John looked suitably scolded. He ducked his head like a guilty child. "...Sorry." He took a deep breath. "It's just-... I miss him, you know?"

Lestrade bit his tongue. "We all do, John."

"I just feel like being here can- can bring him back somehow, but I know that's just wishful thinking." John moaned into his hands. "Wishful thinking, but I just can't stop myself from coming here. I know Mrs. Hudson hates it when I do, thinks next I'm not coming back."

Lestrade pressed his lips together. "But you are," John looked at him, "arn't you? Going to come back, I mean."

John swallowed and nodded. "'Course."

Lestrade allowed a small, relieved smile and felt like he could finally breathe again. "Good. Because, I don't know what I'd do if you didn't. I'm trying to be strong, John, for Mrs. Hudson, for Molly, for you, but... I'm not that strong."

John huffed out a choked breath as he leaned back, staring up at the colouring sky. "I think Sherlock and Donovan thought you're the bravest, strongest person they knew."

"Past tense because obviously they hadn't met you, yet." Lestrade quipped.

They exchanged glances and released small chuckles. It was... it wasn't good, the situation they were in. It was horrible, and agonizing, but sometimes things would get a little better. Like thieves, they stole little laughs and smiles when they could.

They wern't 'good', they wern't even 'alright', ... but that was okay too. They were okay. And they had hope that it was going to get better.

"Let's not come here anymore, John." Lestrade sighed to his friend with a note of finalty.

"Only if you don't." John shot back.

"Hm, okay." Lestrade grunted.

John blew out a long sigh as if exhaling the poison tormenting his system. "Let's go home."

Lestrade nodded. "Let's."

Lestrade stared at his phone thinking. Then he flipped it open and scrolled down to Dimmock's phone number contemplatively. Then he pressed the call button.

"Dimmock." the man on the other end grunted. "What's up?"

"I need your help, Dimmock." Lestrade grimaced. "And I think you'll not like the reason."

"Oh, no. That's never a good thing." Dimmock groaned. "What can I do you for, anyway?"

"I need everything Scotland Yard has on the Holmes/Moriarty case." Lestrade heard Dimmock choking on something on the other end. "They've closed down the investigation, Dimmock, they won't miss the files... probably."

"Lestrade..." Dimmock tried to reason.

"I know, I know! I shouldn't get into it, and all that... But I just can't not, you know?" Lestrade moaned in despair.

Dimmock huffed. "Once a copper..."

"Damned for a lifetime." Lestrade cut Dimmock off morosely.

Dimmock laughed a little at that. "Alright. I'll see what I can do."

"Thanks, Dimmock. I owe you one."

Lestrade hung up and put his phone down. Sherlock had asked him not to investigate, but he also wanted Lestrade to understand a little of the situation. He wanted Lestrade to look after John and keep him safe, but he didn't want Lestrade to tell him he was alive. Headache-inducing contradictions, all of it.

He could only ask one thing or the other of Lestrade. And Lestrade felt the need to investigate the case. He was a copper. He just couldn't leave it alone, could he? He was just a man, after all, and susceptible to temptation.

He straightened up, hands on his hips, and wondered how he was going to hide a case board in here from John and Mrs. Hudson.

In the meantime, he wondered where on earth Mycroft was. He dialled the man and waited.

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