Disclaimer: I own nothing. All characters and plotlines mentioned belong to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat.
A/N: I have no idea why I'm doing this. This is not a fandom I ever thought I would write for. Mostly because the material in the show is so flipping hard to live up to and I suffer from monstrous insecurities. But Lestrade will not leave me alone and this had to be written down. Sincerely doubt I'll be writing anything else for this fandom, but I really hope you like what I've done.
Lestrade's reaction to Sherlock being alive was, in terms of acting, my favorite reaction after John's. The expression, the line delivery, it was just perfect. And my mind made up all these things that Lestrade might have been thinking in those seconds where he was just frozen in place or staring at Sherlock. This is the result.
"Those things will kill you."
Greg Lestrade had never been a man given to sudden and violent rushes of emotion. Even during his surprisingly long, messy divorce he had always been able to maintain at least some semblance of balance. So when the voice he never thought to hear again sounded out of the darkness, he experienced a paralysis unlike anything he'd ever known.
Shock came first, naturally. Followed swiftly by disbelief, a small grain of acceptance, a bit of chagrin as he realized he now owed Anderson ten pounds, a whisper of relief and, of course, anger. They all swirled around, conspiring to literally freeze him in place. He felt the lighter flame against his hand becoming slightly uncomfortable, but he was completely incapable of doing anything about it.
How in God's name had the bugger managed it?
After a few seconds, although it seemed almost an eternity to Greg, it was the anger that finally pushed ahead of all the rest. The focus allowed him to regain his power of speech and he quickly put it to use.
"Oooh, you bastard."
Greg watched as Sherlock stepped out of the shadows, scarf in place, coat collar turned up as usual. He had the urge to scoff at that. The one time he'd managed to get John Watson to speak about Sherlock (mind you, he'd had to get the man drunk first), the good doctor had expressed frustration with the consulting detective's habit of flipping his coat collar up. John had claimed Sherlock did it so he would look 'cool'.
"It's time to come back," Sherlock spoke again, bringing Greg out of his slight reverie and causing yet another storm of emotions. Why now? Why fake his death in the first place? "You've been letting things slide, Graham."
Another surge of anger. The man retained more knowledge than the Encyclopedia Britannica! Why could he not remember Lestrade's bloody first name?!
"Greg!" the increasingly irritated Detective Inspector snapped.
"Greg…" Sherlock corrected himself without apology. Well, he hadn't apologized for letting everyone think he was dead. Why would he apologize for something like getting a name wrong?
Lestrade could only stare at Sherlock as he weighed his options. There were so many things he wanted to do. Punching seemed like a good place to start. Questioning was another. Questioning in a very loud manner sounded even better. Or even questioning with punching. Best of both worlds.
In the few seconds before he reacted, a million things went through Lestrade's mind. He thought of the emptiness in John Watson's eyes at Sherlock's funeral. An emptiness that he continued to notice on the rare occasions he had seen John in the last two years. It was only the last time he saw him, a few weeks ago, that Greg had noted any difference. A spark of happiness which had been absent for so long Greg didn't think it would ever return.
He thought of Anderson. Oh, he'd never developed a strong friendship with the man. From day one of their acquaintance, Greg had known Anderson would be someone he would merely tolerate and be civil to. It was only out of a sense of loyalty that he continued to speak with him. Anderson's guilt over Sherlock's death had quite literally driven the poor man mad. It cost him his marriage, his job at the Yard, and whatever sort of relationship he had going on with Donovan.
Ah, Sally Donovan. She had dealt with her own guilt in the same way Greg had. By throwing herself into her work and becoming nearly indispensable to Lestrade, who had been impressed by how much easier she was to get along with when Anderson wasn't around. There had been one night, however, when Sally confessed how she felt about the part they had all played in Sherlock's suicide. It was something she still felt very keenly, he knew.
He knew she did because he was the same. Sherlock's suicide had affected him more deeply than the empty house he came home to one night just a few weeks afterwards. Upon reflection, he supposed that was more telling of his relationship with his wife than anything else.
Like Sally, Greg had thrown himself into work, devouring anything he could get his hands on which contained caffeine. Sleep was his least favorite thing in the world. Because when he slept, he pictured Sherlock's body falling from the roof of St. Bart's. He hadn't been there, hadn't seen it happen. But it was easy enough to imagine. And when it wasn't Sherlock falling, it was John Watson taunting him, blaming him for Sherlock's suicide. Something which had never happened in real life, although Greg was sure John wanted to do so very badly.
He thought of Mrs. Hudson, whom he had taken to visiting on a fairly regular basis. Sherlock's death had hit her hard and John's apparent inability to face her only made things worse. Most of his early visits had consisted of her trying to keep up a brave face and sometimes failing. Greg hadn't minded being there for her. In some ways, it had even helped him to be the shoulder to cry on.
But back to the problem at hand. Punch? Question? Both? Greg didn't know what to do. Everything hitting him all at once was just too much to handle. His mind somehow fixated on the moment he'd been told of Sherlock's death. Molly. Molly had been the one to call him, her voice wavering in what he realized now had been a very fine performance. If Sherlock had to fake his death, who better to recruit as an assistant than St. Bart's very own Molly Hooper? He remembered the crushing sense of loss which had felt very nearly like a physical blow, the flash of clarity as he finally allowed his instincts to push aside the logical evidence of Sherlock being a fraud, the despair when he realized he had helped drive a man…a friend…to suicide.
And in that moment of remembering, Greg Lestrade let his instincts take over once again and did the first thing that came to mind. He reached out and pulled Sherlock Holmes into a hug, finding to his slight amusement that he was not at all offended when the other man made no move to reciprocate.
This was one of the times, Greg reflected as he let his relief chase away everything else, when he would let Sherlock's seeming disregard for other people's feelings slide. He could do questioning later. As for the punching…he would leave that to John. And possibly Mrs. Hudson.