Actions

Work Header

The Adventure of the Dying Detective Inspector

Chapter Text

The flu struck fast. Lestrade left the Yard at six-thirty in the evening with nothing more than a headache and a tickle in his throat that barely registered as an annoyance. By the time he got to Baker Street, the chills were setting in, but even then he didn’t think much about it; it was ruddy cold out, wasn’t it? Nothing unusual there. The flat was dark and empty, and that was a disappointment; John was almost always back from the surgery by this hour. Lestrade’s mobile buzzed as he was fumbling for the light switch.

Working late, bad flu going around
Order something for me, will you?
Chinese tonight maybe?

He sighed, and went to rummage through the drawer of dogeared takeaway menus, trying to ignore the alarm bells that had started up in his brain at the words bad flu going around. Fucking hell. Surely not. He was shivering steadily now, but that was easily explained; the flat was like a freezer. Must be a window open somewhere--one of Sherlock’s godforsaken experiments, no doubt. Lestrade found the menu from the Chinese place they liked, the one with the really excellent potstickers that--no, oh hell, his stomach gave a cold jolt of revulsion and he had to put the menu down and walk away.

John was going to kill him.

He went over to the sofa and wrapped the throw around his shoulders, kicking off his shoes and curling up with his head on the armrest. He was exhausted; that was half his problem, no doubt. Maybe a bit of a lie-down would get him back to normal. If he could only just get warm...

*

“Oh, no. No. I can’t believe this. Not you, too!”

Lestrade startled awake, thoroughly disoriented, wondering what godawful thing Sherlock had left lying around to get John into a tizzy this time. It took him nearly a full minute of confused blinking before he registered that John was addressing him, and another minute to figure out where he was and how he’d got there and why everything felt so hot and bright and painful and surreal. “Sorry, yeah,” he said. “Think I’m coming down with something.”

John gave a long sighing groan, something between disgust and despair, and collapsed in the nearest armchair with his head in his hands. “Twelve hours I’ve been at it, without a break, without a bite to eat, and I end up coming home to yet another case? God. I could slit my own throat. And I don’t suppose you managed to order the takeaway, either,” he accused.

Lestrade shook his head, which made the room start to spin. He shut his eyes quickly and burrowed back down into the throw. “Sorry,” he mumbled again. He wasn’t sure whether to feel contrite or nettled. He could see how it would be a hell of a thing to come home to after a long hard day of dealing with more of the same.

“No, I’m sorry,” John said after a moment, still sounding dismal. “You probably feel rotten and it’s not your fault and I’m being horrible to you. I’ll be properly sympathetic in a moment, just--give me two minutes to feel ridiculously sorry for myself for what I’ve been through today. One minute.” He paused, leaning his head back against the chair and closing his eyes for a moment, then sat forward again. “There, I’ve finished. Come on then, sit up a bit, let me have a look at you. When did it start?”

“Fuck off,” Lestrade mumbled. “Go and order your takeaway. ’M not your patient.”

John gave a disbelieving laugh. “Oh, right. And you can’t even be one of the easy ones, no, right, of course. That, that’s just lovely. That takes the biscuit. Do you honestly--”

“Fuck off,” Lestrade repeated with feeling, the words scalding his sore throat like lava. He threw off the blanket, got to his feet, and started unsteadily towards the door.

“Hey, hey, come back here.” John jumped up and led him back to the sofa, pushing him down firmly by the shoulders. “What are you doing? You can’t go anywhere.”

“I want my own bed. And I can take care of myself, thanks. I’m not, I didn’t, I wouldn’t have come round here at all, if I’d--”

“Well, you’re here now. And just as well; if you’d gone home, I’d have had to go over to your place, and I really think it might have killed me tonight.”

If he’d gone home, Lestrade thought, he’d never have been so stupid as to let John know he was ill at all, and the whole thing would have been a non-issue.

“Go back to sleep,” John told him, his voice placating now. “Maybe you’ll just have a mild bout of it; you don’t look too terrible. You should’ve seen some of the sorry cases that came crawling in today--I had to send them straight over to A&E. Look, I’m going to order some food. I’m an evil bastard on an empty stomach. Soup for you?”

“Yeah, please,” Lestrade said, though he had no intention of eating anything ever again. He shut his eyes, as much to avoid John’s fond worried look as anything else, but the minute his eyelids dropped he succumbed to another wave of dizzy exhaustion and found himself unable to open them again.

 

*

“Thirty-nine-point-oh,” John announced the next morning, frowning at the thermometer. “Christ. So much for a mild bout.”

“That’s not so bad,” Lestrade said defensively. He only vaguely remembered getting up the stairs and into John’s bed the night before; he’d protested a great deal about having to change into pyjamas, he seemed to recall, but apparently he hadn’t won that argument.

“At seven-thirty in the morning?” John swiped a hand down his face and sighed. “And I’ve absolutely got to go in today; there’s probably a queue outside the surgery already.”

“Well, go, then. I have had flu before, you know. And somehow managed to live well into my forties before I even met you. I think I can just about survive a day in bed on my own.”

“Hmm.” John pressed two fingers to Lestrade’s carotid pulse for a minute, looking thoughtful, then prodded gently at his belly. “Any cramping? Nausea?”

“No and no.” Lestrade pushed him away. “And I’m going to punch you if you don’t leave me alone. It’s no fun playing doctor when you actually feel like crap.”

John smiled faintly. “All right. I’ll call and check on you whenever I can get away. And I think Sherlock’s downstairs, if you--”

“No,” Lestrade said with a shudder, turning his back and huddling up under the duvet again. “Oh, God. Perhaps I’d better go home after all.”

“Go on,” John suggested. “Try it. I could do with a laugh right now.”

Lestrade shot a hand out from under the covers and forked a V at him without turning around. He drifted off again to the comforting sounds of John getting ready for work.

*

It was a wretched, wretched day. Lestrade honestly couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt this ill. He tossed and turned all morning and into the afternoon, miserable with aches and disoriented by the fever, exhausted but unable to sleep except in fitful dozes. He longed for the dubious distraction of daytime television, but it seemed too much effort to drag himself down the stairs, and, anyway, Sherlock would be lurking about, no doubt doing all kinds of horrible things Lestrade wouldn’t want to witness.

As the hours passed and his temperature rose, the shadows in the room took on weight and substance, until he fancied he could see them moving, hear them whispering in words he could almost make out. It was equally fascinating and disturbing. Perhaps a bit more disturbing. He shifted restlessly on the pillows, turning his back on a particularly malevolent-seeming shadow cast by the radiator. Just then, a dark presence in the corner shifted, stretched, and took on a familiar face.

Christ, Sherlock,” Lestrade said in a hoarse whisper, his heart racing. “Don’t do that. You just scared the--how long have you been sitting there?”

“A while,” Sherlock admitted.

“Well, don’t. It’s fucking creepy.”

“What, I’m not allowed to watch over an ill friend?” Sherlock sounded hurt.

“Bollocks. You weren’t watching over me, you were watching me. You’re still watching me. Cut it out, I just told you. I’m in no mood to be observed.”

“You were muttering to yourself a few moments ago. I thought perhaps--but you seem fairly lucid now.” Sherlock came close to the edge of the bed and surveyed him critically, head tilted, hands in his pockets.

“Well, you don’t have to sound so disappointed about it,” Lestrade said, taken aback.

“It’s for a case. Very timely, in fact. I’ve been thinking--”

Lestrade’s mobile rang, and Sherlock reached over and picked it up. “Sherlock speaking.” He flopped down on the bed next to Lestrade, who moved over to make room. “Are you? Oh. Yes, he’s right here. No, he’s awake. I don’t know, let me see.” He reached over and put a palm to Lestrade’s forehead. Lestrade batted him away, indignantly. “Quite warm,” Sherlock said. “Yes, the thermometer’s right here on the table. Use any means necessary to obtain a reading, I take it?”

“Oh, for God’s sake.” Lestrade sat up, reaching over him. “How bloody juvenile can you get. Give me that.” He turned on the instrument and put it under his tongue, then lay back down and shut his eyes.

Sherlock took it from him when it beeped. “Thirty-eight point thr...ee,” he said to his phone. Lestrade frowned; that didn’t sound quite right. “Yes, of course. No. No, I don’t think so. All right.” Another pause. “All right, I said. Good heavens, John. You never fuss this much over me when I’m ill. No, I know, I know. Do you want to speak to him?”

Lestrade took the phone. “I’ve got to stay late again,” John told him, sounding very unhappy. “It’s desperate around here and there’s absolutely no one else to cover evening hours this week. How are you bearing up?”

Lestrade wasn’t sure, but he proceeded to give what he hoped was a passable imitation of someone who was laid up with a mild fever, capable of watching television and making tea and toast for himself. Luckily, it was a brief conversation.

“How are you bearing up?” he remembered to ask.

“Oh, fine,” John sighed. “I never catch anything. More’s the pity. I’d love an excuse to come home and crawl in next to you, right now.”

“Yeah, it’s great fun,” Lestrade told him. “I think Sherlock’s planning to use me in some sort of mind-control medical experiment.”

John gave a tired-sounding laugh. “He would, wouldn’t he? Well, you know where I keep the Sig; you have my permission to use it, if necessary. Only if absolutely necessary, though. It’ll make a terrible mess and I don’t imagine the Yard will be at all understanding, even if it is self-defence.”

“I’m not sure I’m joking, actually,” Lestrade said, but John had already hung up. He passed the phone back to Sherlock, who put it back on the table and turned back to gaze at him with bright interest.

“Go away,” Lestrade rasped. “Or I’ll...” He tried to think of a threat he might be capable of following through with, in his current condition.

Sherlock raised his eyebrows, waiting, looking tolerantly amused and insufferable and annoyingly, unforgivably healthy.

“Breathe on you,” Lestrade finished finally. “Bugger off and let me die in peace.”

“Oh, come on. I’m not actually evil, you know. I am planning to look after you. It’s just a wonderfully opportune time for me to make some first-hand observations on the psychological effects of a high fever. And you’re fine, really.”

“Am I?” Lestrade tried to remember a time when he’d felt less fine outside of a hospital bed.

“Well, basically. You are awfully hot at the moment. Thirty-nine point nine; I’m impressed you can carry on any kind of conversation at all.”

“You lied to John?” Lestrade asked, feeling light-headed and unreal. The shivers were setting in again.

“He’d only worry unnecessarily. ” Sherlock fished a small notebook from his pocket and began jotting down some notes. “Are you experiencing any visual disturbances right now?”

“Give me the phone back,” said Lestrade. “I’m calling my sister. She’ll pick me up.”

“You’re overreacting,” Sherlock told him, patiently, moving the phone out of his reach, without looking up from his notebook. “And still mostly in your senses, it would seem. But it’s only been about seven hours since your last dose of paracetamol, going by what John told me before he left for work this morning; another hour or so might--”

“Wait.” Lestrade wasn’t sure he’d heard that right. “Seven hours? But...the dosage is every four, isn’t it? What time is it, anyhow?”

Sherlock made an impatient gesture. “I can’t gather any useful information if we keep altering the results with medication. Tell me: do you feel as though your perceptions of reality have significantly changed in any way over the past thirty to sixty minutes?”

“Sherlock.” Lestrade grabbed hold of his wrist, stopping his writing hand. “Look. Look at me. I am miserable here.”

Sherlock looked. At last he put down his notebook, reached for the paracetamol bottle, and wordlessly shook him out a dose.

“Thanks,” said Lestrade, and when he’d swallowed the pills he pointedly turned his back and curled up to wait it out until they took effect. He was vaguely aware of Sherlock leaving the room, moving about the flat. Eventually, when his teeth had stopped chattering and his eyeballs no longer felt as though there were about to melt in their sockets, he shifted, cautiously, and found that mere existence was no longer entirely excruciating. He cleared his throat, which felt like a cracked and rocky landscape, parched beyond any hope of repair.

“There’s Lucozade on the table next to you,” Sherlock said from the armchair across the room. “You don’t like the original flavour, it reminds you of your childhood illnesses, but I’m afraid it’s all they had at the shop, and you should probably drink some fluids, if you can.”

Lestrade shot a quick glare at him, but he pushed himself up on an elbow and swallowed as much of the stuff as he could. There was a dish of half-melted ice cream on the table next to the glass--coffee ice cream, his favourite, which he supposed was as close to an apology as Sherlock was capable of giving.

“I’ll tell you about the case I’m working on, shall I?” Sherlock offered, leaning forward in the chair with his fingers steepled, still watching him much too intently.

“Oh, why the hell not,” Lestrade sighed, and took a spoonful of the ice cream, which slid down his throat, blissfully cold and sweet.

Sherlock smiled, tucked his feet up beneath him, and launched into it. It made almost no sense to Lestrade, but at least at the moment he had a decent excuse for failing to keep up.

“He killed his own nephew?” he said at one point, incredulous. “And now he’s--I’m sorry, he’s sent you what in the post? Where do you find these characters, Sherlock? Also, isn’t this a matter for the HPA? You’re talking about germ warfare here!”

“He’s merely a madman with a rudimentary basement laboratory and delusions of grandeur,” Sherlock said, with a shrug. “The public has nothing to fear, trust me. And the contents of the package he sent me were harmless--well, nearly harmless. Almost certainly not fatal. Anyway I’ve definitely neutralised them.”

Lestrade pushed his half-full ice cream bowl aside at the thought of almost certainly not fatal substances being neutralised in the kitchen it had come from. Also-- “Isn’t John the one who usually brings up your post?” he said uneasily. “Supposing he’d--”

“The package was addressed to me,” Sherlock said. “Though I do take your point. Anyway, he didn’t. Supposing you had, is the question,” he added slowly, as if something had just occurred to him. “Ah.” He tilted his chin toward the ceiling, eyes scanning back and forth as if he were reading the solution there. “Of course, that would work. Much simpler than my original idea, in fact.” He looked down again, focusing his gaze sharply on Lestrade. “It won’t even require much in the way of make-up, this way. Don’t you agree?”

“Sorry, I don’t follow.” Lestrade was beginning to feel dizzy again. “And don’t call me an idiot,” he added sharply. “I’d have trouble following the plot of a Teletubbies episode right now.”

“It’s nearly that simple,” Sherlock told him. “But all right. I’ll explain.”

*

It was very late before John made it home that evening. Lestrade didn’t hear him come in, wasn’t aware of his presence at all until he woke up at the feeling of cold air on his skin as his t-shirt was lifted up, and something colder still was pressed against his back. He shivered. “Do we need to have another conversation about non-consensual medical procedures?” he murmured without opening his eyes.

“Shut up and breathe,” John told him. “Please,” he added as an afterthought. “Good, you’re all right,” he said after another minute. “I’ve been worrying all day. This flu’s a killer. I saw a twenty-five-year-old this evening who-- You know what? Never mind. God, I’m glad to be home.” He collapsed half on top of Lestrade, burying his face in his neck. “Did you get along OK with Sherlock? Didn’t have to kill him and stuff his body under the floorboards?”

“Mmnh. He wants to use me as bait to entrap a small-time biological weapons manufacturer tomorrow,” Lestrade said.

“Does he? That’s typical,” John said, sounding nearly asleep already. “You’ll have to let me know how it goes. I’m doing another double shift tomorrow; Sarah’s gone down with it now. You’re still much too warm. Do you need any--” He gave a jaw-cracking yawn. “--thing? Are you drinking enough? Have you eaten anything?”

“I’m OK,” Lestrade said. Well, there’d been the ice cream. “You?”

John said something unintelligible into the pillow that trailed off in a snore.

*

Sherlock was delighted when he came in to check on Lestrade late the next morning, after John had left again. “You look wretched,” he announced, which was exactly what John had told him, but in a much less pleased tone of voice. “You could definitely be in the last stages of dengue fever. Paint a rash on you and you’ll be ready for action.”

“Is that what I’m supposed to have? Wait--this bloke Smith sent you dengue fever in the post?”

“Well, attempted to. Trace amounts of it. You’d have to inject pure strains of the virus directly into the bloodstream, the way he did to his nephew, to make it anything like lethal. He’s a lunatic, I told you. But he thinks he did--there’s the thing. If I email him in a panic, he’ll be at the door to gloat over his success within the hour, wait and see.”

"Why did I agree to this?" Lestrade wondered out loud, as Sherlock proceeded to perch cross-legged on the bed next to him and use the tip of a paintbrush to dapple crimson dye in pinpoints all over his throat and upper chest.

"Because it's exciting and you haven’t become a complete stick-in-the-mud yet?" Sherlock suggested, absorbed in his own handiwork. "Tilt your chin up, so I can do the underside. And don't talk. You'll blur."

“Tickles,” Lestrade complained, without moving his jaw. He supposed it was more exciting than flipping television channels all day and trying not to think about how much his head ached. Also, this Smith character certainly needed to be apprehended, if what Sherlock said was true, and there was a kind of gratification in being able to do his job even while on sick leave.

And, if he were honest with himself, it was always a bit of a thrill to get to play the straight man with Sherlock on a case. To have Sherlock need him for once, and not John. Perhaps it was mad, but he even liked it that Sherlock seemed to have so little regard for his health and safety here. The way John had looked at him that morning made him feel...old. Old and fragile.

“There,” Sherlock said, leaning back and surveying Lestrade with pride and satisfaction and not even a touch of concern. “And you’re getting all glassy-eyed and hollow-looking, too--it’s perfect, I’d never be able to simulate it half so well. Skip the afternoon paracetamol dose today and you should be a feverish wreck by nightfall. Just don’t try to overdo the delirious raving; you’re not a good enough actor, you’ll end up sounding silly. Vague and lethargic will have to do. Right, you may as well grab a nap now, I’ll wake you when he’s on his way. This one’s going to go brilliantly, I can tell.”

*

In fact, it all went almost as far from brilliantly as it was possible for it to go.

“Lestrade. Come on, it’s time. Wake up. Lestrade?”

Someone was shaking him. Sherlock was shaking him. “Fuck off,” Lestrade said. “No deal.”

“No, you can’t--Lestrade. You have to wake up now. Can you--oh, God, this is a bit more verisimilitude than I’d hoped for. Come on, Smith is on his way over, I need you to be able to arrest him. Lestrade!”

Ow. Cut it out, Sherlock. I’m--Christ, I’m awake, what do you want?” Lestrade focused, with difficulty. Sherlock had him by the shoulders, was peering at him anxiously. Lestrade tried to turn away, but Sherlock grasped his chin with long cold fingers, forcing him to make eye contact.

“The plan, Lestrade. Culverton Smith, self-styled expert in tropical diseases. You’re going to help me arrest him in less than half an hour. Yes? Come on, wake up!” He snapped his fingers an inch from Lestrade’s face.

“I am awake, you bastard,” Lestrade snarled. “All right, all right, I remember. Dengue fever.”

“Yes,” Sherlock said, his features seeming to melt slightly with relief. “Good. Excellent. You’re ready?”

“I don’t really have dengue fever, do I?” Lestrade wondered, which was apparently the wrong thing to say, as it made Sherlock’s face go all sharp and alarmed again. “I didn’t catch it from the ice cream? I do feel bloody awful.”

“You’ve got flu,” Sherlock said, sounding utterly defeated. “Oh, not good. All right. I’ll phone John--he’s going to murder me, incidentally--but I can’t do it yet; you can hang on for just a bit, can’t you? I’ll have to get another officer in to do the arrest, but that’s--”

"No, I can do it, I can do it," Lestrade insisted. "Don't call John, we'll never hear the end of it. Just...give me a minute, I just need a minute. I'll be fine."

Sherlock looked doubtful. "You're sure?" he said, and Lestrade said that he was, and when Sherlock had left the room, he closed his eyes and became hopelessly confused again.

*

Culverton Smith was one of the resourceful and well-prepared variety of lunatics. He was not amused to discover that his scheme had missed its mark; he wanted Sherlock dead, not distressed. He was also very determined and much stronger than he looked, despite his age, and so was able to catch Sherlock off guard. Or so Lestrade was able to surmise after the fact. When it all kicked off, the only thing he was really aware of was that there was a violent struggle going on in front of his eyes, and that it didn’t appear to be going at all well for Sherlock.

Lestrade wasn’t sure how the Sig had made it into his hands--he didn’t remember getting it out from the box where it slept malevolently under the bed--but it seemed like a good time for it to be there. It would have been better if he hadn’t been trembling quite so much, he knew, and if he’d been able to focus his vision more precisely on the thrashing figures before him, but he still wasn’t entirely sure this wasn’t a dream, so he wasn’t as concerned as he might have been. He pointed the weapon.

And then John walked into the room, so it had to be a dream, or possibly a hallucination.

"What--" John said, and then went absolutely still, and Lestrade watched with sudden detached clarity and saw John take it all in: the struggle on the floor, the white-haired snarling madman; the hypodermic pressed to Sherlock's throat, the tip of its needle just denting his skin; and finally Lestrade, sitting up in bed with a wildly shaking pistol in his hands.

John took a step towards him. "Greg," he said, which was surprising, because John almost never used his first name, only when--well, really very rarely, and Lestrade looked down and saw to his horror that the gun had ended up pointed at John, somehow. He dropped it instantly, and John scooped it up and aimed it in one beautiful, elegant motion and fired a warning shot into the floor and, when that didn't have any effect, he stepped forward and clubbed Smith once on the head, viciously hard, with the handle of the gun. The figures on the floor separated, and there was a sobbing, panting almost-silence.

“I’m not dreaming this, am I,” Lestrade said, finally, when no one else spoke.

John went to Lestrade first, which was shamefully gratifying, considering that he might just have killed a man and that Sherlock could very well have been injected with God-knows-what, as well as having been choked almost senseless. He sat next to Lestrade on the bed and touched his throat, gently; his fingertips came away red. “Fuck, am I bleeding?” Lestrade asked, bewildered. “Oh. No, that’s the rash.”

“The rash,” John said.

“Dengue fever. I don’t really have it,” he said hurriedly. “I don’t think. Sherlock gave it to me. With paint. I’m almost sure that part actually happened. I’m not explaining this very well. Is Sherlock all right? He’s got a, a needle stuck in his neck--”

John turned to look, and then put his hand over his eyes for a bit. “And that bloke I just brought down, that’s the--what did you say last night? Small-time biological weapons manufacturer?”

“Yeah.”

“Yeah.” John sighed heavily. “Sherlock?” he said loudly. “Are you dead? If so, you will be saving yourself a lot of pain and me a lot of trouble right now. You may want to think before you answer.”

*

The ensuing pandemonium of phone calls and sirens and emergency vehicles and decontamination procedures was epic, as Lestrade’s nephews would say, and Lestrade was actually glad to escape it all in one of the ambulances, early on. (John insisted. He didn’t dare argue.) They all spent some time in hospital after that, as a matter of fact. Culverton Smith was put in restraints and treated for concussion before being carted off to a secure hospital. He hadn’t managed to depress the plunger on the syringe that he’d used to attack Sherlock, but Sherlock was given batteries of blood tests, just the same, and kept in isolation overnight while the needle and its contents were analysed. He didn’t dare argue either, apparently, though Lestrade bet it half killed him that he wasn’t going to get to perform the forensics investigation himself.

Lestrade was only mildly dehydrated and felt miraculously better after a couple of hours on an IV drip, but John wouldn’t even consider taking him back home until his temperature had stopped spiking up into the kind of numbers that gave him a cardiac arrest just to think about, he said. In the meantime, John announced, he was going back to 221B on his own, to sleep in uninterrupted silence for a minimum of twenty-four hours, and after that he’d see if he felt like talking to either of them ever again.

Sherlock dropped by to visit Lestrade late the next afternoon. He was wearing his normal clothes and looked perfectly ordinary--ordinary for Sherlock--except for the neat white bandage on his neck and the fact that he wasn’t able to make eye contact with Lestrade at all.

"You've been cleared, then?" Lestrade asked him. "That's good. Surprised you're still hanging around. Or are you afraid to go home and face John?"

"A bit," Sherlock admitted.

"He'll forgive us. Eventually."

"You, maybe," Sherlock said. "He was downright unpleasant when I spoke to him this morning. It's going to be a while, I'm afraid."

"Oh," said Lestrade. "Still, good thing he happened to come home at the time he did, eh?"

"He didn't just happen to." Sherlock was startled into looking directly at him for the first time. "I texted him our emergency code. When I came into your room with Smith and couldn't get a word of sense out of you--I panicked."

"Did you?" Lestrade tried to remember, and came up with a few hazy flashes. "I'm touched. I’d have thought you were acting."

"I was." Sherlock looked cross. "Mostly. At first. I thought you were acting. I was wondering how you'd managed to get so good at it. When I realised you weren't, I texted John--"

"And Smith saw you do it?" Lestrade guessed. "And then it was all up. That's when he attacked."

"He would have, anyway. Doesn't matter. But I'm sorry for involving you," Sherlock said stiffly, as though he'd rehearsed it. Probably he had. "It was terribly reckless of me, and--oh!" He ducked as Lestrade lobbed a paper cup at his head. "What's that for?"

"Being sorry," said Lestrade. "Don't.”

He’d never had an apology from Sherlock before. He’d have thought it would be a moment of triumph, to finally hear the word sorry from the man who was never wrong--but now he realised that it was the last thing on Earth he wanted.

Sherlock cocked his head, giving him a considering sort of look, and then broke into a half grin. “All right. Not sorry.” He picked up the cup and tossed it back at Lestrade. “Can I be glad you’re not dead, at least?” he said, and turned to go.

“I suppose,” said Lestrade. “Likewise,” he called after him, and they left it at that.