Author's note: Here it is, the last chapter. More later.
I don't own anything, please review.
Betson said nothing until the ambulance arrived and let himself be taken away, the PC at his side. Greg had made absolutely clear that there was to be always at least one policeman at his side.
While they were waiting, John insisted on cleaning and bandaging his wound, using the first aid kit from the police car they had arrived in. Greg didn't protest; he knew the doctor felt better if he could look after his friends himself.
He watched the ambulance drive away and sighed, bracing himself for what he had to do next.
Sherlock knew what he was thinking, of course. He wouldn't have been the world's only consulting detective if he didn't.
"Should I come with you?" he asked behind him, and Greg turned around to find him and John standing next to each other and looking at him.
He shook his head. "No, this is something I have to do on my own." He hesitated, the added, "And afterwards, we could..."
"No need" Sherlock interrupted him. "I assure you I understand – "
"Sherlock, please" the DI insisted, and the consulting detective shrugged and nodded. He would speak to Sherlock again about their fight; he couldn't allow anything, not even subconscious resentment, to mar their friendship.
Before that, he had to talk to Dowling, though. It wouldn't be right to let a lawyer or prosecutor tell him he had been exonerated. It would be the coward's way out (like the one Hopkins had taken, but he didn't want to think about that now).
So he took the police car, Sherlock and John insisting they would take a cab. It didn't take long to drive to Pentonville, and he was immediately shown into the visiting room. Dowling was brought in a few minutes later.
Greg cleared his throat. "Mr. Dowling – there have been some new developments."
"Oh?" Dowling asked, looking bored. "Have you finally found out that I was innocent?"
"As a matter of fact, yes" Greg replied and watched as Dowling's expression changed into one of shock.
"You were framed by the true killer, a man named Jason Beston" he explained, and wondered if he could be spared to tell him about Hopkins. Probably not. He would find out anyway. "He used one of my colleagues to – "
"Hopkins?" Dowling interrupted.
Greg nodded, surprised. "Yes. How did you know?"
Dowling shrugged. "He always seemed more convinced that I was guilty than you".
They sat in silence for a few moments, until Dowling asked, "What happens now?".
"As soon as I leave here, I'll call the Chief Superintendent – he will make sure you are released as soon as possible. You will, of course, get pecuniary remuneration, although I am aware that it won't bring back the last twelve years". He waited for a moment, then he added, "I'm sorry". It wasn't much and it would never be enough, but he owed him an apology.
Dowling shrugged. "I may be in shock – let's face it, I am, that's a lot to take in – but I know that my car keys at the crime scene where pretty damning evidence. And it was brave of you to come and tell me yourself."
Greg smiled a half-smile and wanted to stand up, when Dowling inquired, "And Hopkins? What – "
"He shot himself after I had confronted him with the truth" Greg answered matter-of-factly.
Dowling didn't say anything anymore, and Greg stood up. "Goodbye, Mr. Dowling. I wish you all the best". And he definitely wished the man would not commit any other crimes. Maybe he would take the second change offered to him.
Dowling nodded. "Goodbye, Inspector".
Greg left Pentonville and drove to the Yard. He wanted to talk to Sherlock, but he had to discuss the case with the Chief Superintendent first.
And there was something else he needed to do.
He went to the Chief Superintendent, not even bothering to knock, and told him what had happened. The other man looked at his torn and bloody coat.
"Looks like a close call". Greg told himself that it was imagining the disappointment in the man's voice-
"It was" he confirmed. "Without Sherlock and John, I wouldn't be standing here".
The Chief Superintendent chose to say nothing, and Greg, who decided he'd had enough of sitting in his office, stood up, saying, "I will have the reports at your desk as soon as possible. Good day to you, sir".
He had almost reached the door when the other man cleared his throat and said, "Good job".
Greg didn't answer and left the office.
He took the elevator to the third floor, where his and Dimmock's offices were situated. Donavan was waiting for him and he remembered, not without a pang of guilt, that he hadn't called her.
By now, she knew what had happened, of course, and he saw her eyes resting on his arm.
"A graze. John cleaned it". She nodded, then asked, "And he and Sherlock – "
"They're fine" he answered, and she gave him a real smile. He smiled back.
She then bit her lip, her smile disappearing and said, keeping her voice down, "DI Dimmock hasn't left his office since he came back, sir. Apparently he only waited for the forensic team and then returned. He hasn't spoken to anyone."
Greg nodded. "I've got it".
He made his way to the younger DI's office and knocked. He waited for the feeble "Enter" and found Dimmock in his chair, his face in his hands.
"I'm sorry" he said, because there was no need to say something else; they both knew why he was here.
Dimmock looked up and nodded, taking a deep breath. "I didn't think he'd be the type" he said, slowly. "But I also didn't think he'd – "
"He was a good police officer who yielded to the temptation of making things easy" Greg replied. "It has happened to others before him".
Dimmock nodded again and stood up, slowly walking to the window and looking out. Then he turned around. "Did you – "
"No, no" Greg hastened to reply, "The Chief Superintendent decided you should be the one to arrest him. I couldn't convince him otherwise. You might have noticed, but he doesn't particularly like me".
Dimmock smiled a weak smile. "I don't think he likes me much either."
"You believed in Sherlock. It's to be expected."
Dimmock shrugged his shoulders. "It's a fair price for his help – he solved a case for me last week in five minutes."
Greg knew all about the case – Sherlock had told him it was "disgustingly easy" – but chose to say nothing.
"I'll be fine, though" Dimmock suddenly announced. "No need to check up on me, s- Lestrade".
Greg smiled. "I knew. I just wanted to make sure". He turned around and left, saying before he opened the door, "Oh, and it's "Greg". Not "sir" or "Lestrade"".
He heard Dimmock chuckle behind him and went to the elevators. He knew where Sherlock would be.
On the way to St. Bart's, he bought a packet of cigarettes.
Sherlock was waiting for him on the roof, as he had thought.
He gave him the packet. "Don' tell John, please. I'll never hear the end of it".
"I wouldn't think of it" Sherlock answered and took out a cigarette, offering another to Greg, who took it without hesitation.
He had purchased a lighter too, and lit both of them.
They stood there, looking over London, smoking quietly, until Greg said, "Sherlock. About our fight. Please, don't interrupt me" he said, when he saw Sherlock opening his mouth.
"I know you don't think it important, but I do. I don't think you are a freak, I never have. I will never forgive myself for what I said."
Sherlock looked at him, a question in his eyes. "Sentiment?"
"Sentiment" Greg confirmed.
Sherlock smiled. "How about we take it for what it was – a mistake – and never talk about it again?"
"Fine by me" Greg said, and answered the smile with one of his own.
They stayed there for the next two hours, talking about cases or nothing, looking over the city and smoking.
And, if his throat felt raw the next day and John called to complain because "He could smell the smoke on Sherlock", Greg couldn't have cared less.
Because being friends with the world's only consulting detective made it all worth it, in the end.
Author's note: That's it. Please tell me what you thought – I feel it's somehow different from my other stories, more... clinical, cold, perhaps? I don't know.
I hope you liked it and have a wonderful day.