“Hmm.” Sherlock slumped against Lestrade’s doorway, and drew a tapered finger along the one unusual item there.
Lestrade sighed, turning the key in the lock. This was why he tried to avoid bringing people back to his place: awkward questions, assumptions he didn’t want to have to bother with. But the case that Sherlock had so unexpectedly solved for them--solved despite being obviously stoned out of his mind--had been deep in the East End, far closer to Lestrade’s flat than to Sherlock’s current miserable digs. And Lestrade’s team might have been willing to turn a blind eye to the way Sherlock had been reeling around the crime scene, pupils blown wide, face pale as death, but Lestrade had decided their new consultant needed at least one coffee, probably three, before he went home.
So Lestrade put a brave face on it now, and said, “It’s a—“
“I know what it is,” said Sherlock, words slurring just the tiniest bit. Of course he did, smug bastard. Knew everything, he did.
“If you say, funny, you don’t look Jewish, I will throw you back down those stairs right now,” Lestrade told him tersely.
“I wasn’t going to say that.” But Sherlock kept his fey, drugged eyes on Lestrade, as if he were deducing something, even so.
“My Gran made me put it up,” Lestrade muttered self-consciously, deciding not to mention that his grandmother, may she rest in peace, had died three years ago, and he hadn’t taken it down. He took Sherlock’s elbow and tugged him into the flat. “Come on, then—coffee.”
He gently pushed Sherlock down on the sofa with an admonition to stay put, and headed into the kitchen to put the kettle on, getting out the French press he rarely used for himself. On impulse, he popped some bread into the toaster and dug out a packet of biscuits. Sherlock was skin and bones these days—he should have something to soak up whatever was circulating through his system.
When he made his way back into the sitting room, however, he saw that Sherlock hadn’t stayed put at all. He was, instead, making a restless circuit of the room, his nervous, elegant hands skimming over Lestrade’s books, the meager collections of stuff on the end tables.
“Ah,” Sherlock breathed, coming to rest in front of the mantle, and lifting one of the objects there for a closer view. “This is interesting.”
Lestrade felt his own hands clench around the tray he was carrying. He wasn’t sure he wanted Sherlock to touch that, to ask him questions about it. The encounter felt all at once too personal, too intimate. It had been a mistake to bring him here.
But he put the tray down and schooled his voice to neutrality. “It’s a Kiddush cup. For blessings. Also my Gran’s.”
“Mmmm.” Sherlock replaced the cup and picked up its pair. “I’ve never seen a matched set before.”
“They’re for a bride and groom. A wedding present—in France, before the war.” Lestrade moved closer, feeling oddly protective of the cups.
“This one is damaged,” Sherlock said, turning it over in his hands, identifying the dents and ineradicable traces of tarnish on the silver. “Stored underwater, perhaps, and recovered hastily.”
“How did you—?“ But now that he was nearer, Lestrade could see the light in Sherlock’s eyes as he tried to discover the hidden story of the goblet, the care with which he held it. And, perhaps because of that, he found he didn’t mind telling the story as much as he had thought he would. “Yes. They sent the children ahead, and bundled all the family valuables down the well of an old friend with land in the country. My grandmother got out, over the mountains to Vichy, then England. My grandfather waited too long. When she finally went back, the silver was still there, but he was gone. Auschwitz, we think.”
“I’m sorry,” Sherlock raised his eyes from the cup and focused them on Lestrade.
“It’s an old story.” Lestrade shrugged. “We were luckier than many.” He ran his own finger along the rim of the cup still on the mantle. The pair probably should have gone to his sister Ruth and her new husband when his Gran died. But he’d always fancied them, and his family had indulged him. He liked to think of them biding their time in the murky water, glinting dully, believing against hope that they’d be saved.
Sherlock carefully replaced the cup he was holding next to its mate and did a surprising thing. He lifted his hand to Lestrade’s face, brushing over the ridge of his brow, down his nose, and across the knob of his chin, as if, like the cups, Lestrade held mysteries he needed to touch to understand.
Lestrade shivered involuntarily. It wasn’t an unpleasant sensation, having Sherlock’s hands on him. Quite the opposite, in fact.
“What?” he asked “Are you going to practice some kind phrenology now? Tell me I exhibit the characteristics of my race?”
“Oh, no,” Sherlock murmured, the pad of his thumb smoothing over Lestrade’s bottom lip. “Ascertaining something much more individual. I think your religion is not the only you don’t talk about at work.”
And then, without Lestrade really knowing how it happened, they were kissing. He could taste the dregs of the day on Sherlock, the inebriated pliancy of his lips, his tongue. He felt intoxicated by proxy, and he couldn’t help pushing into it, grasping Sherlock’s thin arms to bring them closer.
His pocket buzzed. With a sigh, he took out his phone and looked at it.
“I’m needed,” he said, and then surprised himself by adding, “but—stay, please. Eat. I shan’t be long.”
With a self-satisfied smile, Sherlock nodded. He took the nearly forgotten cup of coffee and a piece of toast, and sprawled on the sofa like the world’s skinniest lion.
Lestrade brushed his fingers over the mezuzah on his way out, brought them to his lips.