While Sherlock battled against himself, life went on outside. London never stopped moving, never stopped breathing, the people a beating heart keeping the city alive. The soul of the city could never be stilled, not even for Sherlock Holmes.
D.I Lestrade was still in his position at Scotland Yard, working ever harder in his grief. Without the consulting detective to pick up the pieces where the police could not, he could not afford to let his remorse get to him. So he set his mouth in a hard line and kept going.
Sergeant Donovan had transferred to the Manchester branch soon after Sherlock's fall; guilt, Lestrade reasoned. Anderson had become an insufferable Sherlock fanatic - coming up with more and more ridiculous theories everyday. And Lestrade sat through it all, alone in his office while life went on.
All the evidence pointed towards Sherlock having been a fraud, a fake. Lestrade did not know what to believe. He had started thinking of the anomalous man as a friend since Baskerville. But then the thing with Moriarty/Brook had started, and the rest, as they say, was history. He did not believe Sherlock had conned them, but could come up with no other plausible explanation.
He sighed into the emptiness of the Yard at night. After a particularly puzzling murder-suicide, he had faced the gruelling task of the paperwork, a mountainous stack that had had him longing for home. He had called it a night when his vision had started to blur and he had trouble keeping his eyes open. He fumbled with the key when he finally closed the small side door, freedom from the stifling restraints of work. He stepped into the cool night air, wind ruffling his silvery hair. No wonder he was tired, he thought sleepily, his watch showed it was almost midnight.
He stood in the glare of the streetlights, just watching the city breathing. Normally, his day was so busy that he had no time to stop, to collect his thoughts and relax. Even when he retreated to his flat, he was either too tired to unwind, or too tense from the days work. Lestrade put a lot of pressure on himself, but he was tired, so tired. His flat didn't feel like home, his work didn't hold the same interest for him anymore. He didn't know what to do, who to turn to.
A sigh escaped him, swallowed up by the darkening sky. Gregory Lestrade was not a giver-upper. He had not moved up the rungs to become a D.I by feeling sorry for himself. He stood a moment longer, inhaling the cool night air, revelling in the noise of the night - London was never quiet. A shake of the head cleared his mind as he strode purposefully towards his car. His trusty BMW was a constant in his life; one he was quite attached to.
Just before he could unlock the car, the distinctive ringtone of his phone rang out loud in the quietness of the car park. It was a relatively new phone; his wife (ex-wife, he reminded himself, having finally found freedom after a messy divorce - damn Sherlock for having been right. No. No thoughts of Sherlock now) having thrown his old one across the room in a fit of rage.
He fished the mobile out of his pocket, confused. Who would be calling him now?
The screen lit up his face. He almost dropped the object as he saw the caller ID.
It couldn't be.
Who could have got hold of that phone?
A dead man calling.