|If You Were with Me on the Bridge
Author: Kryptaria PM
John sent Sherlock away. John's eyes had been entirely cold. That was a strange way to describe them, wasn't it? Temperature-based metaphor standing in for emotions. Messy, not empirical. Emotions have never really been Sherlock's area. Sequel to If You Were Mine.Rated: Fiction M - English - Angst/Romance - Sherlock H. & John W. - Chapters: 8 - Words: 16,527 - Reviews: 28 - Favs: 43 - Follows: 43 - Updated: 07-21-12 - Published: 06-27-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8262585
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Thursday, 11 Mar 2010
It was past midnight when the taxi dropped Lestrade off at 221-B Baker Street. The lock took some fiddling to open quietly; he didn't want to disturb Mrs. Hudson.
Just the thought of tossing Sherlock's flat was daunting, though not something particularly new. He'd done it a couple of times over the past few years when Sherlock's behavior became unusually erratic, even for him, and made Lestrade suspect drugs. Lestrade knew he'd been spending too much time around Sherlock the day that he'd found a baggie of tiny human bones in the bathroom cupboard and just put them back without comment.
He started a methodical search, taking his time and trying to think like Sherlock, at least as much as possible. He tried to ignore the half dozen stolen files from Scotland Yard, reminding himself that he was performing this incredible invasion of privacy strictly for Sherlock's benefit.
But Lestrade hadn't made it halfway through the living room before he realized it was absolutely bloody impossible to make this flat safe. He didn't find any syringes, but he did find nine different knives (two of which probably qualified as swords), a compact matte black crossbow, a mason jar of long fangs, and scalpels and razor blades everywhere. Lestrade would need a metal detector if he wanted any degree of assurance — not that a metal detector would pick up the chipped obsidian hatchet, much less the ceramic knife he found stabbed into the drapes.
When he opened a file box next to the sofa and found the shrunken heads — four of them, with hair still attached — he decided that staying here would do nothing for Sherlock's sanity. He couldn't make the place safe in a week, much less overnight, and after a cursory search of the usual places where a suspect might hide a stash, he turned up nothing more suspicious than a stack of kidney slices in the fridge.
Downstairs, a light flicked on as Lestrade exited Sherlock's flat. "Sherlock?" called a familiar voice.
"It's Greg Lestrade," he said, coming down the stairs. "Sorry if I woke you."
Mrs. Hudson gave him a warm smile, smoothing down her floral dressing gown. Her hair was up in curlers. "I was just making some tea. Helps me sleep. He's been a bit tetchy these past two days, poor dear. Have you brought him something?"
With anyone else, Lestrade wouldn't have considered discussing Sherlock's condition, but he'd seen real affection between Sherlock and Mrs. Hudson. "Not exactly," he said.
"Oh, dear. He hasn't done something, has he?"
"You said he's been... tetchy?"
"Mmm, yesterday and today. Not his usual boredom." She frowned thoughtfully. "Almost... worried, I'd say."
"Any idea about what?"
"No, but you know how he is. Doesn't talk. Doesn't let anything bother him — at least, that's what he pretends," she said with a sad little smile. "Were you looking for him? He hasn't been home for a few hours."
"When did he leave?"
"Oh, earlier this afternoon. He doesn't usually say where he's going. I wish he would, though. He's one to get himself into all sorts of scrapes."
She didn't know the half of it. But Lestrade didn't want to worry her, so he smiled reassuringly and said, "He'll be gone a couple of days. Staying with a friend."
Her eyebrows shot up. "A 'friend'?" she asked hopefully.
Lestrade sighed and shook his head. "Not like that." Mrs. Hudson's look of happy incredulity fell. Lestrade continued, "He's not doing so well. We're keeping an eye on him to... you know, just to make sure —"
"Oh." She frowned, her expression taking on a steely resolve Lestrade had never seen from her before. "Trouble with his old... habits? Poor dear. If you need anything — anything at all — you call me. Can you put my number in your mobile?"
Relieved that he didn't have to actually say anything like 'drugs' or 'assault' or 'suicide', Lestrade put her number into his mobile. He smiled a bit when she spelled out her last name without giving her first, leaving the entry as 'Hudson, Mrs'.
"I'd best be getting back to him. Sorry to —"
"Does he have his things?" she interrupted, glancing down at Lestrade's empty hands.
"His — Bloody — No. I completely forgot," he said with an embarrassed grimace. The long day was catching up with him.
"Don't you worry, dear. I'll fetch something for him. He'd be lost without his dressing gown. That'll make him feel better, you'll see," she said, bustling past him and up the stairs.
She was back a few minutes later with not one bag but two. "I do hope I packed the computer right. I put in the cable, too. Once, he said his computer wasn't working and called me to bring him the one my nephew got me one last Christmas. He spent four hours looking up bugs that eat corpses. Bugs! Put me right off my dinner."
Right at that moment, Lestrade felt like he would give anything to have Sherlock in a frenzy of research, even if the subject was carrion insects. Hell, that was useful stuff to know.
"And, you know something," Mrs. Hudson added, handing Lestrade the bags. "His wasn't broken at all — just couldn't be bothered to plug the silly thing in."
Normally, that would have made Lestrade laugh outright, but now, all he could manage was a little smile. "Thanks for the help, Mrs. Hudson."
"His toothbrush is in there, too, but no sense in packing all that soap and shampoo he likes. If he complains, you'll know he's right as rain."
That was the truth. "I can't wait, really. Goodnight, Mrs. Hudson," Lestrade said, and excused himself to go call a cab.
Molly tossed and turned, dozing off for a little while before waking again, worrying about Sherlock. Surely he'd recover from... whatever had happened. He'd go back to being brilliant and rude and gorgeous and alive. He'd never thank her for taking care of him, but that was okay.
After Molly disturbed Toby for the fifth time, he gave up on getting comfortable on the bedspread. He leapt down and yowled at the door to be let out. Maybe warm milk would help her get a few hours of sleep. She opened the door for Toby, put on her dressing gown and slippers, and followed the cat downstairs.
Not wanting Sherlock to wake in the darkness, Molly had left the range light on. She glanced towards the sofa but couldn't tell if Sherlock had fallen asleep or simply hadn't moved. He didn't react when Toby jumped onto his hip and curled up in a ball.
Molly stared. Reminding herself that she needed to get some sleep, she turned away and set about finding a saucepan without making too much noise. On a night like tonight, she needed her mum's old recipe: milk, sugar, vanilla, and nutmeg. She made enough for two. If Sherlock were awake, perhaps he'd like a cup.
Molly was just pouring the second mug when she heard a noise at the front door. For one moment, she panicked, remembering Greg's warning. Then she heard a key in the lock and realized it was just Greg returning.
"Everything okay?" she whispered to Greg as he put down a couple of small gym bags and a laptop bag.
"Yeah. Picked up some things for Sherlock." He dropped her keys on the foyer table, hung his coat on the rack, and took a small paper bag out of the pocket. "How's he doing?"
Molly shook her head. "He..." She gestured to the shadowy figure still lying on the sofa. "He hasn't..." She shrugged.
Greg went into the living room and bent to peer down at Sherlock, frowning in concern. Molly had never seen him look at Sherlock like that before — at least not at the morgue. There was something obviously affectionate underneath tight-furrowed brows and deep frown lines. It made Lestrade look older, but not in a bad way.
Greg returned to Molly's side with quiet footfalls. He shrugged. "His eyes are shut. Looks like he's sleeping, but it's always hard to tell, with him." He put a hand on her shoulder. "I know you're worried, but you really should try to get some sleep."
"I can't," Molly said, though she did feel a little better, now that Greg was back. "I just made some warm milk, if you want," she offered, though Greg didn't exactly seem like the comfy-robe-and-warm-milk type.
"That'd be great. Mind if I put this in the freezer?" he asked, holding up the paper bag.
"Sure. I mean, okay," she said curiously. The top folded over several times; whatever was inside was very small. As she watched him put the bag in the freezer door, she wondered if it were some kind of medication, but decided it would be too personal to ask.
Instead, she brought the two mugs over to the kitchen table and sat down opposite him. "So, what did you find? At the flat, I mean. Was someone there?" she asked delicately, not wanting to ask if he'd found a body.
Lestrade took a deep breath and picked up the mug, fidgeting with it. "Remember Sherlock's 'assistant' from the Pogrebnov autopsy on Sunday?"
"John? He seemed nice. Oh, God! Did something happen to him?"
"No! No, he wasn't... Nobody was there at all. But that was his flat, the one Sherlock called you to."
"Oh. That's odd," she said.
Greg looked away as if uncomfortable or embarrassed. "I, ah... think that Sherlock was there for a date."
"Okay — Oh," she breathed, looking back at the figure on her sofa.
"Damn," Greg muttered. "Sorry, Molly. I know you've always liked — God, I've made a right mess of this."
"No, it's... it's fine," she said, pushing back her disappointment. So what if Sherlock was gay? It wasn't as if she'd ever had a chance with him anyway. She knew that. "So, John's his... boyfriend?" she asked, trying not to sound jealous.
Instead of answering right away, Greg sighed and ran a hand through his hair before picking up his mug. "I dunno. Part of me can't help but hope so. He seemed like a steady, normal bloke. Might be just what Sherlock needs."
Jealousy welled up inside Molly, and she bit her lip guiltily. This wasn't the time to feel sorry for herself. She took a big sip of the warm milk and tried to gather her thoughts. "We should call him, if he is. I mean, not now, but tomorrow. He'd want to know," she added, thinking that if she were Sherlock's girlfriend, she'd certainly want to know.
"Yeah. Maybe," Greg said uneasily. "Anyway, I went by Sherlock's place afterwards... If you don't mind, I really think he's better off staying here."
"Of course! I mean, it's no trouble. And Toby likes him."
Greg smiled tiredly. "Thanks. I'll stay as much as you'd like. Not like I'm living at home —" He stopped himself and shook his head. Molly didn't want to ask, but she snuck a glance at his left hand; he was still wearing his wedding ring. After a moment, Greg continued, "Anyway, Mrs. Hudson, Sherlock's landlady? She said she'd come by and help out, if you want."
"Okay." She realized that sounded grudging, so she added, "I mean, I'd like that. I never have much company except Toby. The guest room upstairs is all ready. If you think Sherlock's okay on the sofa, that is."
"Probably happier on the sofa than anywhere else."
Molly smiled and finished her milk. "Well, we should really get to bed," she said, and then rushed to correct herself, "I mean, I should go to sleep."
Greg just nodded. "Me, too. I'll just leave him his things, in case he wants to change out of that suit." Greg stood, put his mug in the sink, and retrieved one of the gym bags and the laptop bag from the hallway. He put both near the coffee table and looked down at Sherlock for a few seconds.
Molly hovered in the doorway, waiting to show him upstairs to the guest room. But instead of joining her, he stood silently, looking down at Sherlock. Greg rubbed his right hand hard across the back of his neck, his left hand shoved deep in his pocket. His shoulders slumped heavily. Though she couldn't see his face, Molly could read his concern in every line of his body.
She wanted to encourage Greg to get some sleep, but couldn't intrude. After several long moments, Molly quietly slipped upstairs, leaving Greg to watch over Sherlock alone.