Greg Lestrade hadn't seen Sherlock Holmes in days. They were working a quadruple homicide, a case that was at least a nine on the detective's list, if not a ten, and when he showed up at the crime scene, dashing about and shouting out deductions like the genius he was, all was (for the most part) normal. Of course, no one could understand the detective's ramblings about the case, except for when Anderson would make a comment and he would shout back some sort of insult.
But then, there had been a phone call.
Sherlock had grumbled something about his brother being an insufferable prick, then answered the call with an equally bitter greeting. The call only lasted a few minutes, but it had been the most interesting and slightly unnerving few minutes of his life. Within the first thirty seconds, Sherlock had gone completely pale, then began saying things like 'why the hell did no one tell me when it happened', then 'how long' then 'send a car, I'll be waiting'. After he hung up, he didn't even look Greg in the eye before telling him he would be unavailable for an undetermined amount of time and to not send any cases down to him until he told him otherwise.
Then, he ran off. Just like that. And he hadn't been seen since.
Six days later, Greg had no idea what was awaiting him at 221B Baker St. as he climbed the seventeen steps up to the detective's flat, already weary. The landlady, Mrs. Hudson, had said the door was unlocked, so he could just go on up, as long as he didn't disturb them. Them? Sherlock has company? But, the old woman just went back to her own flat without answering the question. So, DI Lestrade carried on, stomping up the stairs to the detective's door.
"Sherlock? It's Lestrade, may I come in, please?" He called through the door after he knocked.
There was no response.
He knocked again. "Sherlock? Look, I just want to know you're alright."
Shaking his head, the DI pushed the door open, and looked around inside. The flat was a perfect inanimate embodiment of Sherlock Holmes; organized chaos. There were case files and papers and books all over the floor and tables, and presumably half empty tea mugs in various corners of the room (no plates of food, however, he would have to talk to Sherlock about his eating habits later, again), everything was a mess.
"Get out." Came a quiet, but gruff voice from the sofa.
Greg turned, and was alarmed to find himself staring down the barrel of a gun. He quickly held up his hands, furious at himself for leaving his own weapon in his car.
The man was lying on his back on the sofa, holding the gun in front of him as if it were an extension of his own arm. His hair was the color of sand and close cut, almost military regulation style, and his eyes that held the intensity of steal were light brown, and boring holes into the horrified Detective Inspector's face. He was shirtless, except for a mass of bandaged surrounding his left shoulder, the very one holding the gun, although, despite the obvious injury, his hand was perfectly steady. It didn't shake at all. His pants were actually standard military fatigues, although his feet were bare, but Lestrade could see the boots sitting off to the side by the sofa. The man, obviously a soldier, had been sleeping, and was now aiming a gun at Greg with no intention of putting it down. But, the most unnerving factor of all this was not the gun, was not the soldier himself (who was frankly terrifying), but it was, in fact, the consulting detective lying on top of the man brandishing a gun, sleeping away on the man's other shoulder, his arm wrapped around the soldier's lean, muscular torso. The soldier had his other arm wrapped around Sherlock's shoulders, keeping him in place.
In the five years that Greg Lestrade knew Sherlock Holmes, he had never once seen him sleep, except for the restless kips in the back of his squad car from the drugs, or the ones in hospital beds. But this was new. Sherlock was fast asleep on this soldier's chest, lightly snoring and occasionally nuzzling his curly mop deeper into the man's skin. He was completely calm, peaceful, and all evidence of tension seemed to be gone from his shoulders. He was dead to the world and completely oblivious to the action playing out in his living room.
"Who the hell are you?"
Greg's eyes flickered back to the solider with the gun. "My name is Detective Inspector Greg Lestrade." He replied, his voice just as stern.
The soldier's eyes softened significantly when he said his name, and the gun in his hand lowered just a bit, but not enough to relax the DI. "Get out." He said again, but kinder than the first time. "Please, I am begging you, just leave."
"Don't say a word, don't make a sound, just please leave." The soldier ordered, his voice still in a hushed whispered, although he was still every bit as intimidating. He kept his eyes fixed on Greg, and didn't move. "I know who you are, I know why you're here, and I thank you for everything you've done for him over the years, but right now, I'm asking you to please leave." He said again.
Greg swallowed hard as his eyes dropped to Sherlock for a fraction of a second. "Is he..." He kept his own voice quiet.
The soldier nodded once, curtly. "Sherlock is fine. But, he's been awake for nearly five days with that damn case of yours and because he's been taking care of me, and I only just got him to go to sleep, so if you wake him, I swear to God, I will shoot you dead. So please, for everyone's sake, just please leave. When he wakes up on his own terms, I will have him text you. But for now, get out."
The man's military voice bled through his already harsh whisper, and with the gun, and the sleeping detective, Greg decided it was best to listen to him, and leave. He nodded and took a step back.
The soldier slid the gun back between the cushions of the sofa underneath him, turned his head back toward the ceiling, and sighed. "Thank you, Detective Inspector." He murmured before closing his eyes.
As quickly and silently as he could manage, Greg slipped out of the flat and very quietly closed the unusually creaky door. Once outside, he tried to gather his own head. Obviously, that was the they that Mrs. Hudson had talked about, but that still didn't explain who the soldier was, nor why he was sleeping with Sherlock on the sofa. Obviously he was more than a friend, friends didn't exactly cuddle on the couch in the middle of the afternoon. So... Boyfriend? Lover? Both seemed unlikely to Greg, so maybe this was one of those experiments that he often conducted. But, even that didn't seem right.
Frustrated, Greg sighed and began to trudge back down the steps of 221B. Once back in his car, he ran his fingers through his hair in exasperation. He was getting too old for this.
Twenty two and a half hours later, Greg was still thinking about his encounter with the soldier in Sherlock's flat. He never had gotten a response from the detective, so he found himself worrying more and more as the days went on. The cop in him was telling him to go back to the flat, but the friend in him was telling him to leave it be.
In the end, the cop won.
Armed with his own weapon (as he wouldn't make the mistake of forgetting it a second time), he made his way back to Baker St. to check up. Mrs. Hudson let him in and said she would bring some tea and biscuits up, since he was certain they would need it.
Greg half jogged up the steps and knocked quietly on the door. "Sherlock? You home?" He called.
Within seconds, the door was opened, and he came face to face with the consulting detective himself. Greg tried not to show how relieved he was. Sherlock blinked. "Lestrade. Hello. What are you doing here?" He asked, sounding a bit confused and perhaps a little irritated, but that was nothing new.
The DI shrugged. "Just checking up on the case." He lied. "You okay?"
"Of course, why wouldn't I be?" He narrowed his eyes out of confusion.
"Well, I just-"
"Sherlock?" Came an all too familiar voice from the hallway.
Greg paused at the sound of the soldier's voice, but Sherlock only smiled. "Sorry, John, go back to bed, I won't be but a minute." He replied, his voice softer than Greg had ever heard before.
He heard the soldier sigh. "Don't keep guests in the doorway, you git, it's rude. Let whoever it is in."
The detective sighed and moved over, gesturing for Lestrade to come inside. The DI was shocked at how perfectly polite Sherlock was being. "Oh, um... Thank you." He responded, searching over the detective's shoulder to find the mystery soldier.
The soldier, apparently called John, was standing at the wall, rolling his eyes at the detective. He looked different than the last time Greg saw him; less combative. He was obviously still every bit the intimidating soldier, but he was somehow... Gentler. He had changed out of the military fatigues, and was now in a dark blue, button down shirt and jeans. Greg could still see the bandages under his shirt, and he could also see that the man was walking with a cane. He hadn't see the cane when he arrived the first time, but, yet, there it was. The soldier was a few inches shorter than Sherlock, but what he lacked in height, he made up for in muscle. He looked over at the DI, and flashed a smile. "Oh, hello." He said cheerfully, all traces of the previous day's hostility gone.
Greg cleared his throat. "Hello."
The detective beamed over at the man against the wall. "Lestrade, this is Dr. John Watson." Sherlock said, gesturing to the soldier. "John, this is-"
"Detective Inspector Greg Lestrade." He finished. "I know, we've met. Hello again."
Lestrade nodded at him.
Sherlock furrowed his eyebrows. "You've... Met?" He asked slowly, sounding a bit confused, and if Greg didn't know better, perhaps a bit jealous.
John nodded. "He came by yesterday when you were asleep. I made him leave." He explained.
"He also pointed a gun at me." Greg stated, although he wasn't exactly upset about it.
The soldier rubbed at the back of his neck apprehensively. "Yeah, sorry about that."
Sherlock rolled his eyes. "John just returned from military service in Afghanistan. He's still on high alert from the war, and having a cop barge into our flat while he's asleep is just as bad as having to wake up to enemies in a tent. It's a wonder he didn't shoot you."
"Sherlock." John hissed. The detective gave him a look, but shut up immediately, much to Lestrade's surprise. The soldier looked back up at Greg with an apologetic smile. "Look, I'm sorry about yesterday. I wasn't expecting the wake up call. I have to say, you did startle me a bit." He confessed.
Suddenly feeling guilty, Lestrade just waved him off. "Not at all, mate. I'm sorry I woke you."
John shrugged. "I had been sleeping too much anyway."
"No, you haven't." Sherlock protested quietly, almost like he was scolding the soldier. John looked to him, but said nothing. "You just got home, John, you need to rest. That shoulder isn't going to heal properly if you don't. The painkillers alone should be enough to make you sleep."
Greg raised an eyebrow. "Shoulder?"
"Got shot." John replied. Almost instinctively, he reached up and placed his hand over the bandages. "I was in the hospital in Zürich for a few weeks, then they sent me home. They've got me on some heavy duty painkillers, so I'm pretty out of it most of the time." The soldier spoke almost nonchalantly about the incident, but Greg could tell by the look in his eyes that it was hard to deal with being home.
But, the DI said nothing. It wasn't his place. Instead, he cleared his throat. "Well, thank you for your service."
The soldier grinned.
Everyone was cut off by the sound of Mrs. Hudson coming up the steps with a tray of biscuits for the men. She greeted Greg Lestrade and scolded Sherlock for the state of the place, but immediately began fussing about the army doctor who was starting to look drowsy again. "Oh, John, what are you doing out of bed, dear?" She exclaimed, sending a glare toward Sherlock.
The soldier chuckled and rolled his eyes, and Greg didn't miss how Sherlock seemed to beam a little bit at the man. "I'm fine, Mrs. Hudson, I need to get up and around once in a while. All of this rest is driving me mad." He replied, shuffling over to the red chair that Sherlock kept in the house.
Mrs. Hudson began prattling on about injuries and how they need to be well kept, and the whole time, Greg could see Sherlock was biting back some comment he desperately wanted to make, but with one look from John, he sighed, and kept it back. Greg was amazed. "Sherlock, dear, you need to put those experiments of yours away while John's healing!" The old woman glowered at the detective. "Heaven knows what's in here!"
John and Sherlock shared a look. "Oh, don't worry Mrs. Hudson, I'll be damned if I let my husband get sick." The detective said, smiling at the soldier with such love and adoration, it warmed the entire room.
"Husband?" Greg choked out, jerking forward a step out of surprise. The two men, as well as Mrs. Hudson, gazed over at him in surprise, although Sherlock seemed more proud than anything else. The DI glanced between them with his jaw on the ground and his eyes as wide as they would stretch. "You two are..."
Sherlock snorted. "It's obvious." He replied dully.
John, on the other hand, looked amused. "Well, he wasn't going to know if you never told him, you git." He said, rolling his eyes before turning to the baffled Detective Inspector, who was now leaning up again the wall for support. "Sorry, Greg."
"No, no, no, it's... Fine, I just... Didn't expect it."
The detective scoffed and took a seat in the black leather chair in front of John. "Oh, please, Lestrade, it isn't that complex. You might think love is a mystery to me, but it isn't. John and I have been together since uni, which is why I always ignored or shut down any romantic interest from anyone else. John's been away for a quite a few years, but I went to the base every few months to see him, since it was difficult for him to get leave. When I found out he had been shot, I lost my mind. I'm just glad he's home." Sherlock glanced over at John and began preening like a peacock as he watched his husband. "Love is no mystery to me, I just thought it wasn't worth my time, before him. I married a great man, Lestrade, he's a decorated war hero, he got me sober, and I owe my life to him."
The room was silent. No one, not even John knew what to say to that. Sherlock Holmes never talked highly of anybody, he never even spoke softly of anybody, but yet, there he was, his eyes fixed on his husband, sparkling and proud like nothing Greg Lestrade had ever seen in the years he'd known the detective. Maybe the man has a soft spot after all.
Mrs. Hudson seemed to share the DI's thoughts, and wiped a year from her cheek. "Oh, Sherlock." She reached out and squeezed Sherlock's arm with a loving smile, then turned to John. "You're a bee charmer, John Watson, that's what you are. You're a bee charmer." She murmured before pressing a kiss to the solider's cheek.
As Greg Lestrade watched the expressions of the two men, one who knew and loved very dearly, no matter how annoying he was at times, and the other that he had just met, but was already quite fond of, he sat back and smiled to himself. He barely knew John Watson, but just sitting there, he could see how happy he made Sherlock. On a regular day, the detective would have insulted him half a dozen times already, but so far, there was nothing. He couldn't remember the last time Sherlock smiled this much either.
Greg leaned back against the wall, listening quietly to Sherlock talk about the case, and give off detail, all while John was watching him like he was the most amazing, beautiful thing he had ever seen in the entire world, and every so often, Sherlock would catch his eye, and his cheeks would turn adorably bright shade of pink while he tried not to stutter over his words, which only made it worse. He looked so high on life, even Greg couldn't help but smile.
His phone vibrating in his pocket cut off the lovely thoughts, and the DI quickly took out his phone, and read the text from Sally Donovan. "They found another body, Sherlock." He said, interrupting the detective's sentence.
Sherlock and John shared a look. "Can John come?" He asked, sounding strangely like a little kid. "He's a doctor, Lestrade."
"Sherlock, I can't..."
"John can come if he feels up to it." Greg replied, making Sherlock grin.
The soldier pushed himself out of the chair, with some effort, but of course, Sherlock came right away to help. "I think I can handle checking out a body, but I won't be running after anybody." He said, sending a teasing glance towards his husband.
Sherlock laughed and pressed a gentle kiss to his cheek. "I'll let you kept up."
"No, you won't. Go get your coat, you git."
With an obvious eye roll, but a loving gaze, the detective ran off to grab his coat that was in the other room, leaving the other two alone in the room.
The DI looked back at the soldier, who was pulling a black jacket on over his shoulders. It was obvious that he was in a bit of pain, but that didn't seem to deter him. "Are you sure you're okay to do this."
John nodded. "Oh, yeah. Besides, someone needs to be able to keep up with all of his... Ebullience." He said.
Greg laughed. "I suppose that's one word you could use. You have seemed to soften him a bit."
The soldier paused, and for a moment, Greg thought he had offended him, but then he smiled, and his features softened, the soldier look completely gone. "Sherlock has a good heart, he just... Doesn't always know how to use it the right way. But, when he does, his heart becomes pure gold." His voice trailed off just as Sherlock re-entered the room.
Sherlock seemed to notice that they were talking about him, and he looked suspiciously between the two men. "What?" He demanded.
"Nothing, love. Go hail a cab. You still have to fill me in on the other bodies." John replied.
The detective's eyes brightened, and he quickly walked off downstairs toward the waiting street.
Greg watched him go, then turned back towards the soldier. "Mrs. Hudson was right about you."
"You're a bee charmer."
John only laughed.