Lestrade finally kisses him over the paris-brest. Bits of pastry cling to their lips and Sherlock tastes of vanilla and almond. The crinkling of Very Important Paperwork beneath his clutching fingers pulls him out of the moment. He's still in the office. Gregson is complaining about coffee somewhere down the hall. Donovan's filling out forms on her computer, pop music playing quietly on her iTunes. Oh God, he closed the blinds, right? Yes. Good. Damn modern interior design and its infatuation with clear partitions instead of good old-fashioned walls.
Sherlock doesn't look too put out by his inattention. He fishes around in the delivery box and pulls out a strawberry, biting into it thoughtfully. Lestrade tears his eyes away from red on red as Sherlock offers him the other half. Feeling suddenly daring, he wraps his hand around Sherlock's, bringing it to his mouth. He's rewarded with a laugh and a strawberry on his tongue.
“Come by after the shop closes tomorrow,” Sherlock says. “I've a new recipe I want you to taste.”
Lestrade wants to say something about hoping it has a lot of sugar, but isn't sure their relationship is ready for innuendo quite that pathetic.
It starts with Lestrade's ex-wife Linda and the ill-conceived Anniversary Cake. Remembering important dates, he learns, is generally more meaningful when you're still married. He ends up eating the cake alone in his flat, which would have been more depressing if the confection hadn't been so incredibly delicious.
The bakery is more expensive than he likes, but he goes back the next morning before heading to the Yard. Nothing boosts post-encounter-with-ex gloominess like fancy coffee and a pastry, he reasons.
The kindly old woman who'd sold him the cake isn't there, replaced by a curly-haired man. Said man takes one look at him and says: “Reunion with your wife didn't work out? You're certainly not here because the Yard has started paying attention to my calls.”
Lestrade stares at him with his mouth slightly open. “I... would like a croissant and a medium coffee, thanks.” Clearly the best response is to pretend the baker didn't say anything at all.
The man's mouth twitches. “Fair enough. Cream, two sugars?”
“Detective Inspector Lestrade. Sherlock Holmes. Your picture is in the paper frequently.”
“Oh,” He's not sure if he's flattered or unnerved. It feels odd; he's never been recognized in the street before. “I wasn't aware the Times had reported on how I take my coffee.”
Holmes sniffs. “I can always tell.”
“And what calls, exactly?”
He sighs. “The Smith robbery – it was her ex-boyfriend. The Robinson murder was actually a suicide. The burglaries in Clerkenwell were all committed by the same person.” He sets a white box on the counter and puts a tissue-wrapped croissant into it. “These cases would all be closed if any attention at all had been given to the tips I've phoned in.”
“Mr. Holmes, I assure you, we consider each tip equally important-”
The man rolls his eyes like a teenager. “Here's your coffee. “
Lestrade pays, certain he's being overcharged, and makes his way to the Yard. At least he's not thinking about Linda anymore.
On a whim, he checks up on the odd baker's tips and closes three stagnating cases. Needless to say, he makes Hudson's Confections a regular stop on his way to work.
They almost kiss over the cinnamon biscuits. Lestrade drops one, and when he stands up Sherlock has leaned over the counter, and now their mouths are unexpectedly close together. They both move away quickly and never mention the incident again, but Lestrade thinks about it for days.
It's not like he's never looked at a man before, but he hasn't been out with anyone at all since Linda. Sex and all that – he's not sixteen anymore. It doesn't rule his every thought. Well, not most of them.
And Sherlock is – striking. He's noticed before, but not really noticed. He's younger than Lestrade. How young? he wonders. God, I never asked. I don't know anything about him. Tall. Good at baking. Incredibly good at solving cases from odd bits he picks up from the paper or news reports on the telly. Nice mouth. Long fingers.
It doesn't hurt to fantasize a bit, he decides. It's a perfectly normal and healthy thing to do.
John Watson is the catalyst he needs. He's a new assistant at the bakery and much better at dealing with customers than Sherlock.
He's also apparently living with Sherlock.
“Oh,” Lestrade says when this fact is dropped casually into a conversation. He holds a danish loosely in his right hand. “So you two are...?”
Sherlock is busy piping cream into eclairs. There's a tiny smear of chocolate on his cheek. “We two are what?”
“Er. You know. Together?” Lestrade stuffs half of his pastry into his mouth so he can't say anything else.
Sherlock just looks up at him, confused. “I needed someone to help with the rent.”
“Oh, good.” He spits crumbs everywhere in his relief. “You're not dating.”
“God,” John Watson groans, walking through with a tray of bread. “Why does everyone think that?”
“Why do you care?” Sherlock asks, looking at Lestrade through his eyelashes.
“Just making conversation,” he says, and flees.
He really should have known better. Someone who can solve murders through a four hundred word article in the Times is obviously more than capable of noticing when he's attracted the romantic interest of a certain divorced Detective Inspector.
Sherlock starts delivering baked goods to him at Scotland Yard. He shows up in Lestrade's office one afternoon, apparently having gotten his way past security with the careful application of chocolate mousse and a tin of biscuits. Worst of all, Sherlock isn't wearing the bakery uniform on these visits; instead he looks as slender and put-together as a model in designer suits that have to cost more than an average baker can afford.
He touches Lestrade, sometimes. Nothing more than innocent brushes of fingers while handing him a box. Distractingly, Sherlock makes a habit of sitting on his desk and rifling through his – confidential, goddammit – files while Lestrade eats cake and tries not to look like an infatuated schoolboy.
So they kiss, finally.
Lestrade goes back to Hudson's Confections and Sherlock feeds him hazelnut cream on a silver spoon and beams when he says it's the best thing he's ever tasted.