He's got to be in Hell.
Because he hasn't worn jeans this high-waisted and tight since his misspent teenage years, and he's standing on Paul's Walk and there's no Millennium Bridge. He looks to his right and sees Blackfriars Bridge, and to his left there's Southwark, but no modern steel bridge in front of him.
He was just in an alley in Whitechapel, pinned down with John and Sherlock, yelling into his radio for backup that wasn't going to come. He was holding Sherlock still while John dug a bullet out of Sherlock's leg. And then John had jerked and gone white, and Greg had heard what sounded like an explosion in his ear, and then - he woke up here.
This makes no sense.
"Oh, you're not that dense, Lestrade," a familiar voice drawls, and Sherlock is standing next to him. "Shared reality. No Millennium Bridge plus an advert for an Atari 2600 equals 1984. It looks like 80's London because we want it to look like 80's London."
Sherlock, who is slouching uncomfortably in a button-down shirt, skinny red tie, and grey trousers. Sherlock, who bled out in his and John's arms not two minutes ago. Sherlock, who is notably free of any bullet holes.
Greg pulls Sherlock to him before he can protest, feeling a soft laugh rumble through the younger man.
"Are we-?" Greg asks, and Sherlock nods.
"Quite dead. Shouldn't be a shock - we knew we weren't making it out of that ambush."
Strangely, he isn't upset. He's made peace with the probability that he would die in the line of duty a long time ago; you don't last long as a copper if you don't. And as for Sherlock? Well, it's been seven very long years, but Sherlock was ready to overdose on cocaine or jump in front of a bullet or fall off a ledge chasing a suspect or get himself blown up by a psychopath. Dying has never bothered him the way it has other people.
"Least we took out a couple of the bastards with us," another voice says, and John appears on Sherlock's other side, hands clean of blood and his Browning tucked into his waistband. While he seems to have kept his jumper, he's wearing white jeans and, to Greg's deep amusement, Air Jordans.
They both embrace John. Greg doesn't miss the relieved look on Sherlock's face - one which is probably mirrored on his own - and they look out over the Thames to where the stars, impossibly, are spread out above them.
You don't see stars in London.
"Fascinating," Sherlock says, looking up. "Whose contribution to the allegory is this?"
John looks over at Greg, a familiar exasperated expression on his face. "Any idea what he's on about?"
"Claims we're in an allegory, a shared reality, whatever that is," Greg replies. "Never heard of it myself."
"Me either," John says.
Sherlock whirls in irritation, but the effect is lost without the Belstaff coat. Instead, he just looks a bit ridiculous.
"Because you were probably both skivving off uni and playing rugby when you were supposed to be studying Plato's Allegory of the Cave." At their duel blank looks, he heaves out a put-upon sigh and continues. "People are, in essence, chained to the wall of a cave for all eternity. Their brains interpret the shadows on the wall as reality, when in fact, they must break away in order to experience true reality. I suspect we've broken away."
There is a tall man in a trenchcoat and glasses standing by the barrier to the river, and Greg is sure he wasn't there before.
"Blimey," he says to Sherlock in a deeply amused voice. "I'm impressed. Plato, and an accurate interpretation of him at that. Dead wrong, though."
"And how's that?" John asks, instinctively moving between Sherlock and the man and drawing his weapon. "Don't recall asking your input."
The man laughs, low and nasty, as if he'd like nothing more than to rip John's tongue out.
"Protective, are we? But not a copper. That's a soldier's weapon you're holding and a soldier's injury you've got to your shoulder and leg. Never liked soldiers, myself. No atheists in foxholes, right?"
"How am I wrong?" Sherlock asks, eyebrow raised, unafraid.
Greg steps to his left to block Sherlock as well, taking him by the shoulder. "Just leave it."
"You, though," the man says to Greg, eyes dark and cold behind his glasses. "You're a fellow policeman. Late of Her Majesty's Constabulary, can't be above a Detective Inspector even though you should have made Chief years ago. Too good at your job, mate, could spot you a mile away. Not one of mine, and you know, I don't even begrudge you. Man like you? Nothing in you to burn. Good on you."
Greg feels chilled, that old expression of someone having walked over his grave ringing uncomfortably true. The man looks harmless - simple grey Crombie coat, darker charcoal suit, two-button jacket and tie done immaculately, horn-rimmed glasses perched on his nose, hair curling boyishly over one eye - but there's something under the surface that makes Greg want to hit him.
"You've said nothing to them I couldn't deduce myself, and you've yet to answer my question. How is my analysis wrong?"
The man turns to Sherlock, a smile spreading across his face. "You want me to tell you about yourself more than you want to know why you're wrong."
"Why not both?" Sherlock challenges, and fuck all, it's Moriarty all over again.
"Greedy," the man chides, and Sherlock's hands ball into fists. Greg keeps a calming hand on his shoulder. "All right. You, I've watched for a long time. People with a death wish are always entertaining - the cocaine was pedestrian, but the detective work was inspired. Almost had you a few times. You might have even seen me during that overdose in Islington, before your brother played hero. Not that it'll do him much good, man's got a bulls-eye on his soul the size of the London Eye. But that brain of yours, brilliant as it is, is still just human. You're limited by your own mortality, because what you don't understand and what you can never understand is that you're still in the cave. You humans always will be."
"Christ, don't you ever shut your gob for five minutes?"
Greg, Sherlock, and John turn around to see another man, this one in a black coat, snakeskin boots, and messy blonde hair, cigarette dangling from his lip. Greg thinks he looks familiar, even the Mancunian in his voice sounds like Greg's heard it before.
The first man laughs again, but it's like nails down a chalkboard. "Gene, your timing is as impeccable as ever."
"What're you here for anyway, Keats? You know they're mine. All three. Not a spot on any of their souls."
Keats, as he's apparently called, rolls his eyes. "You remember one time out of hundreds and suddenly you're the expert in damnation? Really more my territory, wouldn't you say?"
Gene makes his way over to them, reaching out a steady hand to lower John's weapon.
"Don't waste the bullet, son," he says, sliding between John and Greg to face Keats. "It doesn't take a public-school education to see that this tosser's just fishing. He hasn't gotten a soul in months, so he gets bored. Piss off and go scratch your boss's arse or something useful."
Keats adjusts his tie and looks pointedly at Sherlock. "His soul isn't lily-white. Don't be so sure they'll let him in. If they don't, Sherlock, you know where to find me. I've got all the cases you'd care to solve and murder victims coming out my ears. You might find something interesting."
Greg knows Sherlock's tempted, but he stays where he is, Greg's hand on his shoulder, John's on his arm. He looks at each of them in turn, and the desire to know is there, but so is the thing they always see - acceptance. His place is with them.
"No?" Keats asks. "Very well. Try your luck. See you around, Gene."
Keats fades into the evening mist, and Gene spits on the ground where he had stood. "Sodding pillock. Sorest loser you'll ever find. Come on, you lot - pub time."
"Pub?" John echoes, confused.
"Pub," Gene says decisively. "Because that's what you do at the end of a hard day. Isn't that right, Inspector?"
"Foil a blag, go to the boozer," Greg says, and he isn't sure why. "Best idea I've heard in a while. I'm in."
"A pint wouldn't be bad," John admits. "Sherlock?"
"I loathe pubs. Too noisy, and the beer's always piss."
Gene huffs, affronted. "Oi! Nothing wrong with the beer, princess."
They look to Sherlock, who sighs in surrender. "Oh, fine. Pub it is."
"This way," Gene says, heading off toward a blue Victorian-looking building.
Greg's never been to the Railway Arms before, but with Sherlock and John by his side, it'll be an adventure.