Dean sat in Tilly's flat with a cup of tea and realised that what he knew made absolutely no difference to him. He watched her watering her plants and realised that this was Tilly, past, present, tears, laughter, and all. Would it come out in dribs and drabs from her? All in one torrential gush? That would make no difference either, just as Marie had banked on.
“Here look.” She handed Dean a letter. “If my dad comes anywhere near me, I've to hand this into a solicitor to make it final. Mr. Babcock said he can do it within hours.”
“I think you've done the right thing, although I don't think he'll bother you.” Dean nodded.
“Me either, after you told him to sod off.” Tilly grinned and Dean went red. “I heard you. I walked straight past you on the way to the toilets but you were too busy ranting to notice. I didn't say anything incase I started crying like a big drip.” Tilly laughed. “Thanks, Dean. He needed told and you told him. I shouldn't have contacted the old fart to begin with, I know that now. You sorted it out for me.” She kissed Dean's cheek.
“Well I told you I'd be here.” Dean shrugged. “I'm pretty good at sorting stuff out if you ask me to.”
“Dean, I know.” Tilly said quietly.
“Know what?” Dean asked warily.
“I know that you know.” Tilly nodded.
“Do I say you know that I know that you know what?” Dean laughed.
“I know which files you've been reading in the office on the ward.”
“Ah right.” Dean winced. Nice one Marie. “And what did you deduce from that, Sherlock?”
First of all, that you were checking up on me. But I dismissed that idea, Watson. You had the file of Grace Miller on the table, closed of course, in full view of me. Only a very cruel person would check up on me then let me know he was doing so in such a crass fashion. I'd worked with you long enough to know that you're not a cruel man.”
“No, not cruel, just a careless clod.” Dean sighed.
“That was my second notion. Again I dismissed it because I know you aren't careless when it comes to your job, you're a professional. That only left one option. When you've eliminated the impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. You hadn't finished the notes and you didn't know who Grace Miller really was.” Tilly took a bow.
“Spot on.” Dean nodded and smiled. “And what's more, I didn't know until about an hour ago.”
“O ... oh! I thought you'd found out last night, you know? Before we ... I ... oh heck.” Tilly panicked.
“Tilly it makes no difference.” Dean laughed. “Honestly it doesn't. Do I look bothered?”
“Well ... no. I thought you must have finished the notes by then.” Tilly muttered. “Bah! Slow reader! Well I thought you were just going to ooze away nicely, you know? With me being screwed up in the head and a drip too. So I ... um ... carted you off to bed as a desperation move. Hell I'm a trollop.” Tilly flinched and Dean snorted a laugh. “It's not funny.” Tilly tried to keep a straight, serious face. “Why aren't you bothered? I'd be bothered if someone told me they used to be six people. Two of them were men!” Tilly jibbered.
“Oi! Shh.” Dean stood up and grabbed Tilly's hands. He got the feeling he was going to have to do this quite often. “Babbling! No? I like all six of you so shut up.”
“Even though I was being ... Lynnish ... last night?” Tilly chewed her lip and Dean burst out laughing. “I wasn't Lynne, don't get me wrong. I know all about that now. Bah! Stop laughing at me. It's my way of describing things. Piss off Hawthorn.” Tilly laughed too.
“Tilly I'd rather you were Lynnish than Benish and god forbid if you'd got Markish. It's actually quite remarkable that you can refer to it like that.” Dean said truthfully.
“Yes well folk look at me weird when I tell then to sod off before I get Markish on their arses. I've never been able to laugh about it until now.” Tilly smiled.
“Well it was no laughing matter, Tilly. We aren't laughing at it, we're laughing because it's dealt with and not an issue any more. No walls.”
“No walls.” Tilly fully agreed.
Marie sat in the records office with David Pearson.
“OK, we can lock this up now.” Marie was leaning on the cabinet, smiling.
“Yep. Seventeen years after it was opened.” Dave watched Marie sign her name at the bottom of a paper, then she handed it to him.
Case Notes. GRACE MILLER/MATHILDA MARSDEN.
Ten years after Tilly was discharged from hospital, Dave and I think it's time to close this properly.
It's been two years since Tilly brought down her final wall and that's all thanks to Dr. Dean Hawthorn being not a Doctor, but one of the finest men I've ever had the pleasure of knowing.
Dean and Tilly were married last week and the door was firmly locked on any shadows that could possibly haunt Tilly.
Seventeen years down the line, and Tilly finally sees herself as other people see her, as Dean sees her. She's a strong, beautiful, well adjusted woman and not the emotional and scarred burden she once saw herself as.
No one has ever tackled the Grace Miller Saga as part of an exam, no one except Dean Hawthorn. Dean passed with honours, in more ways than one, in my opinion. No one else will ever have the opportunity to tackle it now. Because it now involves the wife of a Doctor, it's officially classified as restricted.
You did it Tilly. I'm so very, very proud of you.
Dave smiled and added his own signature alongside Marie's. The case was put away, locked, and labelled with love and pride.
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