Lestrade watched Dr. Watson and Sherlock walk away from the scene, giggling like best mates. He had seen them talking together across the street, Sherlock offering the doctor a rare sincere, sympathetic smile. Lestrade himself had been favored with one of those smiles possibly three or four times in five years. He suspected Dr. Watson might also be favored with something else tonight. Maybe a kiss? Lucky bastard. Lestrade couldn’t help but feel the chill in the air more acutely and a sudden hollowness as he saw the doctor lean toward Sherlock for another private joke as they kept walking.
The lights from the ambulance hit Lestrade’s peripheral vision as it pulled out onto the street to move the cabbie’s body back to the hospital to be autopsied, tagged, and prepped for the morgue. Memories of so many ambulances, so many crime scenes. And although he tried not to let the memory surface, Lestrade could not help but recall his own first kiss from Sherlock, on similar night, years ago.
There had been a killing, of course. But that night one of Lestrade’s men had landed in hospital and Lestrade had gone to wait for the surgery to end, to be there to greet the parents. The poor kid had no girlfriend or boyfriend to wait and fret. So Lestrade sat slouched in a green vinyl chair, thumbing through a year-old magazine, when he heard quick, loud footsteps coming towards him on the spotless tile floor. He looked up and saw that young man—the handsome, pale young man with the unruly hair and a penchant for theatrical entrances and exits. The one who kept showing up at crime scenes and sometimes stood outside the Yard, waiting to pounce on Lestrade and steal his cigarettes. Full of questions about cases, this kid. Questions Lestrade was not at liberty to answer—but answer them he did after awhile, just to shut the lunatic up. And after a few meetings, the lunatic was also full of answers. Little remarks and snide asides that would lead Lestrade to re-examine a piece of evidence or question a suspect along different lines—and would, more often than not, bring about a solid resolution and conviction.
But now the young man had a pained, anxious look in his eyes. Lestrade wondered what had happened, and stood up to say hello, thinking perhaps he might need to show the bloke how to find the nurse’s station. Maybe he had a friend or relative in the hospital? But almost instantly, as Lestrade extended his hand to pat the young man on the arm, that pained, anxious look disappeared.
“Oh, you’re all right, are you?” the young man asked, pulling his arm swiftly away, recoiling from the solicitous touch.
“Yes, yes, I’m fine. I’m just waiting for one of my guys to get out of surgery. Should be another half hour, I think. But he’s going to be okay—just talked to the doctor a few minutes ago. What are you doing here this late? Do you need any help finding anyone?
“What? Oh no, no. I was just looking for you. They said—that woman—Donovan—she said you’d gone to hospital in an ambulance, so I . . . never mind.”
Lestrade remembered feeling a little flutter of affection in his chest before reaching into his pocket and pulling out his cigarettes, motioning for the young man to join him outside in the car park for a smoke.
“Look, if we’re going to keep meeting like this, you have to at least tell me your name, okay?”
“It’s Sherlock. Sherlock Holmes.”
Lestrade chuckled. “Unusual, but it fits you, I think. So I’ll call you Sherlock, then, and you can call me . . . “
“I’ll call you Lestrade, obviously. At least there’s a little music in that name. Greg, Gregory—too flat and plain. Like a monk's name. I'm deleting it.”
Lestrade laughed out loud and nodded, taking a long final drag on his cigarette before stubbing it out on the pavement. “Okay, Sherlock. You’re right—Greg is pretty plain. But you’ll find that fits me well, unfortunately. You can call me whatever you want, as long as you keep showing up occasionally with those brilliant ideas to help us plain monkish folk out.” Lestrade smiled and winked at Sherlock, patting him on the shoulder before turning to walk back into the hospital.
But he didn’t get far before Sherlock closed his fingers around Lestrade’s forearm, crushing the fabric of his gray jacket, and pulling the D.I. around so they were facing each other. Sherlock squinted, as if seeking a clue or some inadvertent revelation of a suspect’s true character. Then the young man brushed his full lips across Lestrade’s—sweeping first from the left, and then from the right—so lightly that there was barely any friction at all.
Sherlock hovered a breath away, waiting until Lestrade closed his eyes and leaned forward before pressing another kiss on him. Much more friction, more pressure, more warmth this time.
Lestrade soon could feel Sherlock’s tongue licking and measuring his. He could smell cigarettes and oranges on Sherlock’s moist breath as it warmed his cheek, then his temple, then his eyelids. Now Sherlock’s teeth grazed Lestrade’s neck, as if to take a bite. But he stopped short of cannibalism this time. Lestrade got the feeling he might not always be so lucky. Instead of the bite, Sherlock placed one long-boned hand along the right side of Lestrade’s face, steadying it, while the other hand—well just two fingers, really—traced the edge of Lestrade’s collar before disappearing a few inches into his shirt, fingertips caressing neck and clavicle.
Lestrade was a plain and simple man yes, but not monkish. So he stepped closer and placed his arms around Sherlock’s waist, lifting his own face up to kiss the soft strange lips again. But Sherlock slid away from the embrace.
Lestrade had felt the young man’s heart beating rapidly, and was sure he sensed desire in his quickening pulse. But then he was gone. And it was months before their next kiss, which led to a much more satisfying ending, if Lestrade recalled correctly. And of course, he recalled every detail.
Now, shaking himself out of the memory, Lestrade watched Sherlock and the doctor disappearing around a corner.
“Good evening, Detective Inspector Lestrade. I see you have once again got my brother involved in a dangerous situation.”
Lestrade put his notebook and pen away in his pocket and nodded at Mycroft. “Mr. Holmes. Yes, well, he gets himself involved, but you’re right about the danger. He got lucky tonight. I think that new friend of his must be on your radar by now, right? What do you make of him?”
Mycroft looked down and tapped his umbrella lightly on the pavement, then looked up at Lestrade through his eyelashes, head slightly tilted, smiling in the manner of someone who might be trying to flirt, but didn't quite know how. “I think that they are going to be a good pair. Fine colleagues. And I think you may find yourself in need of a new friend for conversation and . . . companionship. Why don’t you let me give you a lift home, Detective Inspector?”
Lestrade shrugged his shoulders, trying to shake off the little sense of melancholy the evening had brought. He followed Mycroft to his ridiculous big black car, noting—not for the first time—the pleasing shape of the other Holmes brother’s shoulders and the adorable curve of his arse.