When he meets the man in the bar he doesn’t bother to ask his name. It’s too late for that, or too early, and he’s still too trapped in grief – misty, clinging and so painful that he’d take a thousand knife cuts over it any day (and he suspects, when he’s briefly sober enough to think, that the other would too).
The man is blonde, tall (a hair taller than Sherlock, and he’d wonder when he started measuring all others against the de- departed man but he thinks that he already knows the answer). Kisses with teeth but no tongue, pins him up against the wall without a single question. Fucks him there – slowly and steadily.
…And neither of them comment when they both start to cry.
When he gets the man back to his flat (his and Sherlock’s flat, his and Sherlock’s flat) he insists wordlessly on the bed this time – since his back is still scratched. The man assents, with a low grunt – proves himself all muscle under his dark clothes, scarred like he’s been through so many battles in his time.
A soldier, as he half suspected back in the alley. And the man fucks like a soldier too – hard and fast, sharp and absently careful. Holding himself up even as he comes with a rough roar (like a tiger, fierce and free, and by some of his scars he wonders if this man has killed tigers).
…They lie in bed afterwards, stewing in their own sweat (and guilt, always guilt).
He doesn’t feel quite comfortable falling asleep with the man, even if he has recognized a fellow soldier (there’s danger in those eyes), and so he stays awake as he dresses. Nods when the man explains that he can find his own way to the door, gives the ghost of a smile when the other man mentions walking back to his own.
“Do you want a lift?” He asks (and the ‘do’ may be his third word of the night at most) with no intention of following through.
…And, so, is gratified when the man only shakes his head and smiles, “best if I go on my own. And thanks for the fuck.”
He nods again, watches the man leave before curling up in the sweaty sheets and staring out of his window (he can’t see much but it’s better than nothing). He feels well fucked, well used – there are bruises patterning his hips, ones that’ll probably turn purple in the morning. He fingers them absently, wishes that Sherlock had left them there.
Wishes that Sherlock-
…He only spends the briefest thought on who the other man was missing as he cries himself to sleep.
And then doesn’t think of him for several years more, several long painful years, until Sherlock returns and they reunite and it’s all perfect and brilliant and wonderful and amazing-
And he meets the man’s eyes as Lestrade claps cuffs on his wrists and freezes absolutely dead.