"Here you are, you great big lump," Greg said, pulling the first item out of his knapsack. He reached into the cardboard box he'd pulled out and grabbed a single circular patch, setting it down on the grave site as he knelt.
"Now, who gave you a carton?" Greg reproached, shaking his head, wondering if Mycroft had placed the carton of cigarettes there. "You'd think they didn't care about your health or your sticktoitiveness. I mean, sure you're dead, but that's no excuse."
He returned his focus to the knapsack. "We found a missing kid today," he said to the grave, to Sherlock. "Even without you, we get by." Greg pulled a poster for the missing child out of the backpack and laid it on the ground, using the carton of cigarettes as a paper weight. "There, see?"
Greg shifted foward, leaning over the poster slightly, heedless of the mud getting on his jeans. "I got a clue from your website, you know. So, actually, I guess you're still hanging over my head." He paused thoughtfully. "And my heart. God."
He sat up properly. "You stupid sod," he said, affection shining through his tone. "I loved you. You must have known, too, I mean, look at you. I'd have done anything for you. I'm still doing more than most," he pointed out, looking at the grave site, which held a few other things he'd brought since Sherlock had died.
Greg ran fingers through his hair, shaking his head. "John gave me some of the old badges you took from me, you know? I want you to have one. This one's for you, to keep."
He paused, listening to the faint sound of a bird in one of the closer trees. "You did know, didn't you? I hope you did. I want you to have known, despite the ego," he said, voice becoming harsh and quiet, "despite how it would've made me even more vulnerable to be used by you, like with poor Molly Hooper. I wish that you'd known I thought you were special. In the end," he said with a swallow, "I did think you were a good man."
He bowed his head, feeling tears form. "You didn't have to end it, really. Anything, even the worst stories about you, we could have weathered together, if you'd have liked." He opened his eyes, tears leaking a bit. The damp of the air, the grey of the sky, they felt like they were inside of him.
He sighed, reaching into the box of patches for one to put on his own arm. He'd just placed it when he heard the clearing of a throat. He turned to look over his shoulder.
His teary eyes widened. Either he'd snapped, the nicotine patch was full of something that wasn't nicotine, or Sherlock Holmes had never died.
A familiar, long-fingered hand in its worn-in glove was offered to Greg and, through tear-clouded vision, he turned about on his knees, accepting the help, allowing Sherlock to raise him to his feet unsteadily. Then, Sherlock braced him with a hand at each of his shoulders.
"Alright?" Sherlock asked, a gentle concern falling over his face, creasing his brow.
"If you're a dream, or...or even if you aren't, give us a kiss," Greg said, and, much to his surprise, Sherlock cautiously did.
Sherlock's hands cupped Greg's cheeks and he narrowed his eyes for a moment in scrutiny before leaning in. Eyes still open, he pressed his lips to Greg's.
It didn't stay so simple. It grew messy, and Sherlock groaned and tugged Greg closer, and Greg gripped at Sherlock's shoulders. And then they parted and stood in the consistent grey, holding onto each other.
"You keep coming here and leaving things," Sherlock said a bit breathlessly. "I'd never caught you at it, though."
"First time for everythin'," Greg said huskily, staring at Sherlock.
"I mostly assumed you felt for me in a paternal sort of way. So, this," he gestured with his hand between them, "is...different."
Greg smiled. "And I thought I was one of the few lucky people you just tolerated, and mainly because I brought you cases. And for other reasons too, though, like the fact I'm not as annoying as Anderson and I don't call you freak all the time," Greg teased.
"Inspector, if you said 'freak', I'd hardly mind. Anyway, I only came to visit my grave."
"I know that. I'm not stupid," Greg grinned.
"I didn't come to be back, I mean," said Sherlock softly.
Greg's face fell. "But you can't. You can't go away again."
"Actually, Inspector, you'll find I can," Sherlock said with an arched brow.
"But...don't, though!" said Greg. He shoved his hands into his pockets. "Can't you come back, even for me? What are you up to? Why would you fake a suicide?"
"You know why."
Greg sighed. "Moriarty."
Sherlock's lip curled. "That's the one."
"Well, meet me again," Greg said with a hint of desperation. "Just text me. Not all the time, no, but...when you feel like the time is right for us to meet, just for a second, I'll come running."
Sherlock looked at him in mild surprise. "You will, won't you?"
"Yes," Greg said firmly. "I really will. You're incredibly important, you know." He let the notion hang heavy between them.
Sherlock hesitated, taking a moment to identify the species of the birds making noise near them. That done, he tried to make himself say it.
"Next time...next time can...." Sherlock trailed off, coughed, schooled his expression back into something that wasn't overrun with sentiment. Never mind.
"What? Anything, just name it!" Greg said, pulling one of his hands out of his pocket to find Sherlock's gloved hand, tugging it close, holding it against his chest in sincerity. "You can trust me with it."
Sherlock reddened a bit, eyeing the place where Greg's heart was, as if he could see it through the shirt and flesh and bone. "I'd like...I'd rather like one of those...the donuts."
Once upon a time, in the days when Sherlock had no John Watson to sort him out, Greg used to get Sherlock a specific type of donut from Greg's favorite shop. Lemon, just as sour as Sherlock, as he'd told him the first time. He hadn't really expected Sherlock to actually appreciate the donut and not-in-so-many-words express his appreciation. It had been a routine, after that, in a time before ex-army doctors and jumps off St. Bart's.
"Really?! Well. It's been a good while, hasn't it?" Greg stared in awe at Sherlock. "You weren't just humoring me, then."
Sherlock looked away, walked away, staring at his own tombstone before reaching out to brush his fingers over the smooth top. "You teased me, so it's your fault." He took in a breath and blew it out audibly. "You linked them to you so that they weren't just any donut anymore, Lestrade. They were sour like me, then, and you'd noticed my sourness, and, really, they aren't even that sour, which means I'm not that sour. So, of course I'd like them."
Greg stepped forward toward Sherlock's turned back, taking his chances by wrapping his arms around Sherlock's middle, resting his cheek against the scratchiness of the coat covering Sherlock's shoulders.
"You can take that badge with you, if you want. Piece of me to keep close."
Sherlock tilted his head, considering it. No, it was too dangerous. "Maybe just the box of patches."
Greg didn't let go of Sherlock for a good, long moment. "You're a good man," he finally said, pulling away. He bent and reached down for the half-empty box of patches, pulling his note-taking pen out of his pocket and writing a message on the inside flap of the cardboard box's lid.
Sherlock turned around, leaning back against the stone a bit, watching curiously.
Greg shut the box and handed it to him. "Do I get another kiss before you run off to be a sour old hero again?"
Sherlock gave him another intense kiss that warmed Greg down to his bones.
"Be strong, Lestrade," Sherlock said. He smiled softly, then turned. Lestrade watched Sherlock walk away, kept watching him until he was out of sight. He closed his knapsack and slipped it back over his right shoulder, staring at the tributes to Sherlock that now amounted to sentimental litter. He began to head back to his car, eyes wide with the whirring of his thoughts.
Sherlock needed a patch to think. His own box was out, with no hope of a trip to the shops possible before his next move had to be made, so he'd have to open Lestrade's box, which was something he'd been reluctant to do. Greg's were, after all, a gift, and gifts were special.
Sherlock peered inside the half-empty box, opening the flap, viewing Lestrade's message to him.
Wish I could be as close to you as one of these. Don't do anything stupid.
- Greg Lestrade
Sherlock wondered if smiling about nicotine patches and the idea of the touch of a DI's fingers on his forearm counted as stupid.
He cradled the box against his chest, closing his eyes and remembering the sweet taste of lemon.