The first thing Sherlock notices about a person is usually the most important. The first thing he notices about Lestrade is his wedding ring.
“I'm not a hero,” says Sherlock after the first case they solve together, “and it's better that you don't treat me like I am.”
“What's your fondest childhood memory?” asks Sherlock, strung out on coffee and cocaine.
“I was sent away to boarding school,” says Lestrade.
They never speak of childhood again.
Sherlock spots Lestrade from the corner of his eye, a blur of rigid propriety amidst the chaos of the crowd. He's only distracted for a moment, but that's long enough for his opponent's right hook to catch him in the jaw. He'll have to speak to Lestrade about coming here; he can't afford to make mistakes.
“I know it's late,” says Lestrade, “and I'm sorry.”
He's propped in the doorway of Sherlock's flat, smelling of whiskey and dripping with rainwater.
His wedding ring is missing.
Sherlock lets him inside.
The storm lasts through the weekend.
Lestrade doesn't go home.
Sherlock doesn't ask him to.
“You?” asks Lestrade incredulously. “You're afraid of flying?”
Sherlock eyes the plane suspiciously, checking for any obvious signs of damage. “You would be too, Detective Inspector, if you'd met the men who designed that.”
“You sound a bloody mess, Sherlock,” says Lestrade, his voice muffled behind the door. “If you won't let anyone look after you properly, then at least eat this sodding soup.”
“It's just a cold,” grumbles Sherlock, then pauses. “What kind of soup?”
“Haven't you ever been in love?” asks Lestrade. He's wearing his wedding ring again, and there's a strand of red hair on his collar.
Sherlock stares at the hair for a moment, then turns back to his laptop and says, “No.”
They drink whiskey to celebrate their tenth case, alone in a pub on Christmas Eve. It's snowing and Lestrade seems happy. He lifts his glass to Sherlock and says, “To your brilliance.”
'You should go home to your wife,' is what Sherlock should say, but what he actually says is, “It was obvious.”