by Mad Maudlin
There was an art, John had learned, to giving statements to Scotland Yard, one that Sherlock could tailor to the day, the time, and their exact interlocutor. There were things they couldn't exactly say directly, or rather, things that Lestrade (or Gregson or Dimmock on so on) couldn't know—things that technically qualified as tampering with evidence, impersonating an officer of the law, unlawful enchantment and so on. But it couldn't be obvious that they were hiding anything, so to talk around the less savory details they had to embroider the boring ones, a sort of verbal sleight of hand that John was still getting the hang of. He took his cues from Sherlock, mostly, especially when it came to writing things up on the blog—and if that meant a few non sequiturs, if he occasionally came off as a bit dim in the telling, well, at least neither of them had gone to prison yet.
They were wrapping up with Lestrade after the Blakely case, and he hadn't asked any pointed questions about their methods and they hadn't volunteered anything incriminating; John was looking forward to a large meal, a hot bath and bed, in roughly that order, and if he was lucky at least one of those would involve Sherlock in some capacity.
(They hadn't actually talked about anything...well, ever, really, except for the start of Lupercalia; that had been weeks ago, and the mating season was long over, and somehow Sherlock kept finding his way into John's arms, into his bed. Maybe it was naïve to expect a reader to talk about anything, but John wasn't going to push him into anything, least of all a declaration that John himself wasn't sure he was ready to hear.)
So when the DI said, "Er, Dr. Watson, if I could just have a word...?" John was wrong-footed, and may have actually pouted a little for a moment before pulling himself together. If this was about the case, he had to keep to the script.
But Sherlock's brows lowered for a moment, and then he snorted. "Oh, really, Detective inspector," he declared, and then flounced out without another word, leaving John standing awkwardly by his chair with his jacket in his hand. Okay.
Lestrade flinched, and then sat down again, so John had to sit as well. "Is there something the matter?" he asked, wondering what Lestrade could want—this had been Sherlock's case from beginning to end, with John merely along to encourage him and stop him walking into traffic mid-deduction. And the entire system of handling the police rested on the assumption that they wouldn't ask if they didn't really want to know.
"No, no," Lestrade said, and looked down at the pen he was toying with. "It's just...er."
"Er?" John echoed.
"You and Sherlock," Lestrade said, and glanced up briefly before returning his attention to the pen.
Oh. Oh. John sat up a little straighter, thinking quickly. Lestrade had noticed, obviously, during Lupercalia—it was surprising that more people hadn't noticed, actually. But this was the first he'd said anything, the first anyone had said—and it was one thing to not-talk about it just between the two of them, and Mrs. Hudson had assumed they were shagging from the moment they moved in, but something about this made it seem strangely...real, in a way. "Is this going to be a problem?" he asked warily.
"Of course not, don't be daft," Lestrade said firmly—he wasn't just fiddling with the pen, he was trying to keep his eyes averted on purpose, as if John might snarl and snap at him for raising the subject. John recognized the tactic from too many people who'd read a pamphlet or two on werewolf body language. "You're both grown men, you can do what you like."
"Some people wouldn't see it that way," John said; he'd hear all he cared to about sodomy and bestiality over the years.
"Yeah, well, I do." Lestrade made eye contact again, the human way, and John was able to relax a little. "I just wanted to make sure...y'know...I mean, since I met him, Sherlock's closest relationship has been with that violin of his."
John blinked, coming to the point sideways. "Inspector, if this is where you warn me not to break his heart, I'm pretty sure I'm getting that talk from his brother one of these days, and no offense, but he's much scarier than you."
Lestrade actually laughed at that. "Yeah, good luck with that one."
"So if you're not going to threaten to break my legs..." John prompted after a moment, because he still wasn't sure of the actual point of this beyond keeping him from the food-bath-sleep trifecta.
"Maybe I'm offering to break his legs," Lestrade said. "If he's being a git. Or at least knock some sense into him, if it comes to it."
For a minute, John was thrown. "That...is probably the most touching threat of violence I've ever heard, Inspector," he finally stammer, which drew another laugh from Lestrade. "Seriously. Thank you. I think."
"Just looking out for my friends," Lestrade said, and now he was genuinely avoiding John's eyes, embarrassed; he coughed a little like he needed to clear his throat. "Now, go on, before he gets himself into trouble."
John stood, but found himself lingering for a moment, uncertain of what to say that wouldn't embarrass them both any further. "I mean it. Thanks for...understanding." Understanding even when I don't.
Lestrade gave him a thin smile. "Any time, Doctor."
He found Sherlock waiting for him outside New Scotland Yard, nose to his Blackberry. "I've sent word ahead to Sushi Ichiban," he said as soon as John was within earshot. "Our order will be waiting for us when we arrive. One of everything, hold the wasabi."
"Thanks," John said. Probably Sherlock already knew what the conversation with Lestrade had been about—or at least the gist of it. Probably it didn't matter if John said anything.
He gave Sherlock's wrist a squeeze anyway, and whatever Sherlock might've picked up through layers of wool and linen, it made him smile. "All is well with Detective Inspector Mother Hen, now, I presume."
"Pretty much," John agreed, and waved frantically for a cab.