Author's Note:

D'ohhh boy. I know, I know, it's been months, and I am so soooorry! In all sincerity, college claimed first priority and then my muse refused to cooperate during free time. :( Made for some great SH art ( : / / astudyinsherlockiana . tumblr tagged / my-art ), but it wasn't so great for my poor novels.

On the upside (and forgive me for not posting the news sooner!), I now have a book published with MX Publishing! They accepted Have Yourself a Chaotic Little Christmas, and released it in December! : / / w w w . amazon Sherlock-Holmes-Yourself-Chaotic-Christmas /dp/ 1780923384/ref =cm_cr_pr_product_top (That link will take you to the paperback, but it's also available on Kindle.)

More fun stuff after the scene! Enjoy!

To my reviewers (who hopefully have not given up on this entirely!):

aragonite: I'll take "speechless"! "Speechless" is good! :)

Ennui Enigma: Oh, I had fun with that subtext, as you might imagine. Oo, so glad you love Moran's line about hunting—I think he could just as easily be termed "Predator" as "Tiger". *happy sigh* I have so much fun writing him… And I'm glad you liked the scene with Lestrade & Bradstreet! Thank you!

Azolean: I never did continue replying to your reviews. *sigh* I will do it someday… I do have the next message sitting somewhere on my hard drive… Oh, hey, no need to apologize! Sheesh, none at all! Glad you liked… well, let's make it a list, shall we? :) The scene w/ Mycroft & Sherlock, the "masochistic" line, the Tankerville sequence, Watson's characterization, Lestrade, Watson & Hayter… Squeeee, just thank you so much!

© 2013 by Aleine Skyfire.

All rights reserved.

==4. Compassion==

Characters: Gregson, Hopkins
Rating: T
Word Count: 540
Warnings: Secondary character angst, one profanity.
Setting: Sometime between the rescue and Christmas Eve.

It was past eleven. Gregson hated leaving the Yard so late, and the colder the night grew, the more he hated it. But this whole mess with Holmes and the Professor had the Yard in an uproar. They'd scarcely seen Patterson since the rescue, and Lestrade was more likely to be on Baker Street than in his office. This landed the majority of the administrative burden squarely on Gregson's shoulders.

Joy to the world.

He was approaching Ferret Face's office and noted golden light beneath the door. Odd… Lestrade had left early in the evening to check up on the Doctor… Gregson pushed the door open to find Stanley Hopkins sprawled in Lestrade's chair, his face drawn, pale, and haunted as he tilted his head up to meet Gregson's gaze.

Then Gregson remembered: Patterson had assigned Hopkins to the decoy murder case.

"Sergeant, why aren't you home yet?" Gregson said, gruff but not unkind.

The lad toyed listlessly with a sheaf of papers. "I found his family." His voice was hoarse, as if he'd been crying. Their young up-and-coming best and brightest was far too sensitive and compassionate for his own good—such emotions were luxuries you couldn't afford in Scotland Yard. Either you left that sensitivity behind you or you left the Yard. Lestrade and Bradstreet had the quality of being tough outside and ultimately tender inside without it breaking them—Doctor Watson was rather like that.

Hopkins hadn't yet found that balance.

Gregson waited.

"Took me weeks to find our doppelganger, himself," Hopkins eventually continued, his voice a bit stronger. "Clerk by the name of Thomas Whitsun. Quite plebian in origin, but he resembled Mr. Holmes enough for the Professor's men to work their magic." He looked as if he'd be sick. Gregson couldn't blame him—the corpse had been scarcely better than the handiwork of the Ripper. "Fell on hard times and right into the hands of the Moriarty Family. He became a clerk for them…" Hopkins nearly choked. "He did what they wanted! He was a good man, and he was a good worker! And they… they… dear God…"

He met Gregson's eyes, his own wide and haunted. "He had five little ones. Five. And now… not only do they not have a father, but they can never know what happened to him. Sir…" Those large, innocent blue eyes pleaded with Gregson to make some sense of it all.

Perhaps Patterson could, but this was beyond even Gregson's brain to comprehend.

"Let's get you home, lad," he said gently, moving over behind the desk and lifting Hopkins out of the chair. The boy felt light and nearly boneless, not protesting.

"Five," he murmured helplessly.

Gregson sighed. There was no mercy in their line of work: it made or broke a man, and there were no exceptions. "Let's get you home," he repeated, leading Hopkins out the door.

"Have papers… Patterson…"

"To hell with Patterson," Gregson said firmly. "He is out, Lestrade is out, so I am ordering you home, Sergeant. Come along, now." Hopkins didn't resist. If someday, he learned to turn his sympathy to righteous anger, as Lestrade and Bradstreet did, he would most certainly be one of their best.

Something to look forward to.

Author's Note:

I wasn't satisfied with the amount of screentime Gregson got in the original manuscript. His last speaking appearance was in Chapter 12 or 13, and that was unacceptable, given how major a character he was up to that point, if only because he provided a foil for Lestrade. I also wanted a bit more with Hopkins. Well… kill two birds with one stone and put them in a scene together? Yup, solution.

Writing the solution was a bit more difficult. But after having scribbled out the first paragraph in my notebook, typing out the rest was actually incredibly easy ("incredibly" given the trouble I've had writing anything of late).

According to my notes, I have two more bonus scenes to write: one between Bradstreet and Annie (because I don't have nearly enough of Bradstreet and I'd like to introduce Annie sooner than her scene with Mary), and one more Moriarty & Moran (discussing the Culverton Smith project, which is left a dangling end in the original manuscript). I almost feel now as if I could write those scenes soon, too—not to mention post the next installment of The Road to Reichenbach!

Aslan is on the move.

TBC… Please review…