The first time Lestrade sees Sherlock Holmes, instead of just receiving a pivotal text or e-mail that manages to solve everything, there's been a kidnapping. Lestrade is beyond frustrated: his whole team has been working on finding the missing girl for four hours. They still don't have anything to go on.
"Not true," the man who walks into Lestrade's office says. "You're swimming in facts. Tell them to me."
"Look, Mr. Holmes."
"Sherlock, you've no business being here, and there's no way I'm going to let you intrude on an ongoing investigation."
"If you don't, then you might not find that little girl. I'm the only one who can help, and you need me."
Lestrade bristles, but Claire Ryder needs any scrap of help she can get, and Sherlock's e-mails have proven that he's not likely to hurt the investigation.
"The missing girl is seven years old. Her name-"
"Doesn't matter. Where was she abducted from? What is her situation with her parents? Are they divorced? You're sure this was an isolated case?"
Sherlock continues on in that matter, insulting the police and snapping at the poor girl's parents, undoing all the work Donovan had done to calm them down.
Somehow, though, Sherlock manages to unravel the whole chain of events to figure out it was the husband's sister, who didn't trust her brother's wife with the child with the ongoing divorce. It was a mess, but better than it could have been, and knowing the truth Lestrade is almost able to feel silly about the amount of panic he had undergone.
He gathers himself together enough to find Sherlock before he vanishes. "Thank you," Lestrade says.
Sherlock shrugs. "It was fun enough."
Lestrade stares as Sherlock walks away. He can't begrudge Sherlock his good mood, he himself almost gave into the urge to give the man a hug, but there's something off about Sherlock's interactions with people.
Lestrade has known Sherlock for eight months before he thinks about going to him for something not related to help with a case. It's just, sergeant Eric Morgan is dead, killed in the line of duty, and Lestrade can't help blaming himself. He knows it's stupid, but it would be selfish to expect anyone to reassure him that that wasn't the case, not when they just finished up the reception after the poor man's funeral.
Still, there is one man Lestrade knows he can go to, and he doesn't even feel bad about knocking on Sherlock's door.
Sherlock gives him one glance when he opens the door before he's pulling Lestrade inside his flat. "Funerals are even worse when it's raining, I've always thought."
Lestrade blinks. He's barely noticed the rain. "I'm sorry. I must be getting mud all over."
"Don't worry about it." Sherlock waves a hand. "There's unlikely to be anything in the mud that's chemically reactive with what I have in the flat." He picks the book off the seat of his chair as he folds himself into it.
That hadn't been one of Lestrade's worries before, but it definitely is now. He gestures at his shoes. "I'll just take them off now, shall I?"
Lestrade stands awkwardly for a while after that, wondering whether Sherlock has forgotten him or if he's so unused to people that he thinks this is the way to treat guests. Then again, maybe it's for the best that Sherlock hasn't asked him what he's doing here, since he doesn't necessarily have an answer that Sherlock will understand.
Lestrade shifts, contemplating plopping into a chair himself, and Sherlock looks up from his book. "There isn't a way you could have prevented it."
Lestrade had thought that was the reassurance he wanted, but it doesn't sit well with him. "You can't know that."
"It's written all over your face," Sherlock says.
"If there was anything else you could have done, you would have." From anyone else it would sound like a deliberate attempt to comfort or to patronise. From Sherlock it sounds dismissive.
"I'm pleased you think so."
Sherlock shrugs. "Not good enough?"
"No, not quite."
"You're looking for a distraction, then."
Lestrade doesn't bother to ask Sherlock how he came to that conclusion; he recognises as soon as Sherlock says it that he's right.
"I don't know how well I'll do as one. I'm a bit busy at the moment."
Lestrade takes his time in responding. "You'll do just fine," Lestrade says, watching as Sherlock licks his lips absently before turning another page.
Lestrade finds himself at Sherlock's place the first day he has off after making the promise to himself that he would quit smoking. He isn't quite sure how it happens, but it seems easiest to just go with the flow and see if Sherlock will let him in.
Sherlock does, and it takes him a single once-over to find the heart of the problem. "Drug withdrawal, always nasty."
If Lestrade weren't so caught up in the desire that sends his fingers itching towards his pocket for a cigarette he won't find he might note something curious about the tone of Sherlock's voice. As it is, it seems perfectly normal that Sherlock would have had issues of his own with addiction. "Are you going to help or not?"
Sherlock frowns at Lestrade like he's a puzzle. "I take it you don't just want me to suggest a patch."
"I've already got one. It's not the nicotine, it's the feeling that my hands need to be doing something."
Sherlock steeples his hands together elegantly. "Right. So you're looking for another distraction. But this time, you'll be less bothered when you find it. Good." Without another comment he breaks his hands apart to step forward and push his lips to Lestrade's.
Lestrade blinks in surprise and steps back.
Sherlock frowns back at him.
Lestrade knows how observant Sherlock is, and can't imagine that Sherlock has missed Lestrade's own attraction to him. Which makes this a worrying development, because Lestrade hasn't noticed any signs that the attraction is mutual.
"To be fair, you're not even an eighth as observant as I am," Sherlock says.
"I prefer my conversations, like most other aspects of my relationships with other people, to be two-sided," Lestrade remarks.
"I'll try to bear that in mind. In general I've found that kissing someone works fairly well as an indication of interest. At least, in my observations of people."
"Your observations." Lestrade probably shouldn't find that as hot as he does. He's never had a thing about defiling people before.
"Yes. In general, though, parroting information back to the person who said it doesn't work very well as a sign that you've deduced something of relevance."
"It works when I'm talking to you."
Sherlock's grin flashes for a second before vanishing. "I suppose it does."
He doesn't seem tempted to say anything further, and it occurs to Lestrade that he stepped away from Sherlock, which might matter. He steps back in, and Sherlock leans forward with a murmur that might be, "Finally," before they're kissing.
Lestrade tilts his head to change the angle of the kiss, and it's suddenly so much better. The next time he has to pull back for air, though, he pulls back more than necessary.
Sherlock sighs. "Again with the insistence on communication," he mutters.
"I need to know whether you'd like more time to pass before I presume to infringe upon your bedroom."
Sherlock, damn him, doesn't seem to have any problems untangling the sentence. His answer, however, leaves Lestrade feeling charitable again. "No. Strictly speaking, I'd have been fine with less time too."
Lestrade nods, relieved, and lets Sherlock tug him into the bedroom.
Once they get there, Sherlock pauses. Lestrade remembers what he'd said previously and catches Sherlock in a kiss. It's meant to be reassuring but somehow turns very hungry very quickly. Lestrade reaches for Sherlock's belt buckle and undoes it before sinking with to his knees, taking Sherlock's trousers and pants with him.
Lestrade glances up, expecting Sherlock to say something clever, possibly about distractions or cigarettes, but Sherlock is just staring at him, his eyes dark.
The next time it happens, Lestrade is just lonely. Sherlock doesn't do emotional connections, Lestrade's known that since before he entered into his relationship with the man, but Lestrade does. There are times when a case isn't particularly bad, but he still needs someone to reassure him that life goes on, that it has to.
For all his flaws, and Lestrade has never blinded himself to Sherlock's flaws, he can always tell when Lestrade needs something, instead of just wanting it.
Lestrade doesn't think he's ever had Sherlock's full attention on him, not the way the cases do, but even just having a quarter of Sherlock's attention can be electric. Particularly when that quarter is focused on ridding them both of the clothes that keep getting in the way.
"I want you to fuck me," Sherlock says.
Lestrade's teeth catch on the hickey he'd been so intent on putting on Sherlock's neck. "Are you sure?" Lestrade asks.
Sherlock actually manages to look both disappointed and debauched. "Do I look like a man who's not entirely sure of what he wants?"
"Yes." Lestrade knows how much Sherlock hates it when he lies to him, and Sherlock always figures it out.
"Oh. I'm not."
"I'd figured," Lestrade says. "You've not changed your mind?"
"Of course not," Sherlock replies, then, "Bedroom, now."
Lestrade has just wrapped up a particularly interesting case, and he's sure it's one Sherlock would have found fascinating. It hadn't occurred to Lestrade during the case to call for Sherlock, because that isn't how it works. Sherlock always comes to them, offering advice.
It's therefore not desire or need that has Lestrade knocking on Sherlock's door at three in the morning, knowing that Sherlock will be awake, but worry.
Sherlock opens the door, looking paler than normal, and like he hasn't eaten in days. Lestrade checks his pupils first.
"I'm clean," Sherlock says, but he doesn't follow it up with an exasperated sigh, so Lestrade grabs his wrist to check his pulse. It's fast, but not racing, and Lestrade has just convinced himself to believe Sherlock when he suddenly finds himself supporting Sherlock's weight.
"When was the last time you ate?"
"A full meal, I presume you mean. Yesterday. Or the day before. Assuming we're not going with an automatic new day just because it's after midnight." Only Sherlock would bother to continue to gesture when he's relying on someone else to hold him up.
"And slept?" Lestrade growls.
Lestrade sets Sherlock into a chair, noticing as he does so how much Sherlock has to work to resist sinking into it.
"You probably don't want to look in the fridge," Sherlock says as Lestrade heads in that direction.
"Is there anywhere in your kitchen it is safe to look?" he asks.
"Not really, no."
Lestrade weighs the fact that it's ridiculously easy to make pasta against the likelihood that he'll find something rather different in the cupboards and sighs. "I'll order a takeaway, shall I?"
"There're menus somewhere." Sherlock is slurring his words now, and Lestrade wonders if maybe he should be prioritising sleep over food after all.
"You need a nanny," Lestrade mutters after he's placed the order for the food.
"What was that?" Sherlock calls back.
Lestrade returns to the chair Sherlock is sprawled across and indulges himself in stroking Sherlock's hair. "You need a flatmate," Lestrade says. "Someone who will at least make sure you take care of yourself."
"You don't want that role." Lestrade can't tell anything from Sherlock's tone of voice. He wishes he knew whether Sherlock is hurt or has already figured out Lestrade's reasoning and will be offended if Lestrade explains.
"I'm too selfish to be any good at it," Lestrade says, and is forced to leave the conversation there in favour of collecting the takeaway and feeding it to Sherlock.
"John's not home," Sherlock says when he greets Lestrade at the door of the apartment.
"That's good," Lestrade says. Sherlock is always much less awkward about the two of them when he doesn't feel like he might be judged.
"Really, there's no need to be jealous of John,"
"I'm not jealous," Lestrade replies. "I'd just rather not disturb him."
"Planning to be loud, are you?" Sherlock asks, winking.
"Why, has Mrs. Hudson gone out as well?"
Sherlock looks more catlike than usual as he nods smugly.
"Let's make some noise then," Lestrade murmurs, leaning forward into Sherlock's personal space and starting work on divesting him of his shirt.
"If you were-"
"If I were what?" Lestrade snaps. There are times he deludes himself that he can keep up with Sherlock, but never after an orgasm, particularly not one as good as that had been.
"Jealous." At least Sherlock has patience with him.
"Then that might be all right."
Lestrade knows Sherlock well enough to know that when he says might he means it. Sherlock hasn't figured everything out about how he feels about Lestrade. It's stunning, the heady rush that realisation gives him. "I'm not jealous, though," Lestrade says.
"No?" Sherlock is, at the very least, acting disappointed. It could easily be either one of his games or just the way he always is when he comes to the wrong conclusion.
"I trust you." Lestrade wonders as he says it if he's gone too far, but Sherlock looks oddly pleased.
"A satisfactory alternative to jealousy, and a significantly less problematic one," Sherlock says.
Lestrade kisses the smug look off of him.
The quiet rap on his door, only barely audible, is all the warning Lestrade has before the door to his flat swings open, despite having been carefully locked. Lestrade swallows his first thought before he completes it: of course Sherlock knows where he lives.
"You need a better set of locks," Sherlock says, breezing into Lestrade's apartment. Lestrade can only imagine how much more Sherlock is learning about him with every book on his bookshelf, every mark on the wall.
"Of course," Lestrade says. "However, I do believe you're the only person to break into my apartment, and I don't feel any need to keep you out."
Sherlock winces, and Lestrade tries not to be hurt. He knows how Sherlock can be about people feeling attached.
"You have to be here for some reason."
"Very good," Sherlock says in that tone of voice that practically spits his disdain.
"It wasn't an observation, it was a question."
"Funny, I seem to recall learning that most questions have question marks at the end. As opposed to full stops."
Lestrade sighs. "Indulge me?"
"Always, my dear Inspector." Sherlock purrs it.
"What are you doing here? Besides insuring my personal safety."
"Mostly that," Sherlock says. "There are things afoot, and I would hate to see you hurt." Lestrade is pretty sure that Sherlock wants to add a because of me to the end of his sentence, and he wonders what's stopping him.
"Because I care." It takes Lestrade too long to figure out that Sherlock's not being sarcastic, that the biting tone is because the words are hard to say. By the time he's there, Sherlock isn't anymore, having departed as quickly as he came. Lestrade can hear the click of his locks being reset.