The problem with Sherlock, Lestrade thought amiably to himself, was that as well as being ridiculously clever, he was horrifically stubborn. This was probably the key reason that John Watson had shown up in front of his door at a quarter to seven in the evening, one hand outstretched to knock, the other hand twisted in the back of Sherlock's collar.
For a minute, Lestrade toyed with the idea of asking what exactly was going on before remembering that this was Sherlock and since when had he ever made sense? Full of psycho-babble terms and the tendency to talk complete and utter bollocks, the man probably had security cameras installed beneath his hair just so that he could record people and study them later.
"Is there a problem, John?" Lestrade crossed his arms over his chest and leaned back against his door. Truth be told, he could do without an evening of Sherlock causing some kind of chaos in the kitchen and he'd been looking forward to settling down to some mindless violence on the television before having a full night's sleep.
However, apparently Sherlock was once again going to change his plans.
Watson pushed Sherlock forward slightly before releasing his collar and running his hand through his hair, looking immeasurably stressed. "I've just- I've had it!" He said loudly after a brief moment. "He insults my girlfriend- yes, she's my girlfriend, Sherlock- he plays the violin every time that I speak, he keeps on blowing up the microwave and he never, ever replaces the milk!"
For a moment, Lestrade was reminded of a scenario between a childminder, the child's mother and said child. He shrugged. "So? He's like this all the time." He gave a loud sigh before raising his eyebrows and pursing his lips. "What do you expect me to do about it?"
"I'm standing right here, you know." Sherlock decided then that actually, he really didn't like people talking about him as if he wasn't there and declared his presence in the typical way that only spoilt six year-olds (and Sherlock, of course) could pull off quite so naturally. Lestrade felt a momentary rush of sympathy for Sherlock's mother and of course, the ever-present Mycroft, who was still sending him texts informing him that Sherlock was due to visit his entire family that weekend. He hadn't quite summed up the courage to reply just yet, even though it had been a close call when Mycroft had texted him to ask if Sherlock was practising safe-sex.
Yes, he mused, that had been an incredibly awkward moment.
The frowning face of John Watson brought him down to Earth with a crash. "Look, I was just wondering if you could...I don't know, keep him entertained for the evening."
Sherlock grimaced at the poorly-hidden innuendo in John's words and turned a wide-eyed gaze towards Lestrade, once again reminding him of a naughty child.
"I believe that Sarah will start to think that you're either inclined towards men or that you're working for the police agency if you don't leave in," Sherlock held his watch up towards his eye and squinted, "at most, eight and a half minutes." He put the watch down again and fixed Watson with a sharp look. "I'd get going."
For a split second, Lestrade might have thought that John Watson was slightly endearing as he sputtered indignantly something about how Sherlock couldn't possibly know that and that he was bluffing before an uncomfortable silence fell and Watson shifted uneasily.
"Well," he said awkwardly, "I suppose I should be off now then."
Sherlock offered no parting words and for a moment, Lestrade wondered if the man was resentful for leaving him with himself, before realising that Sherlock was probably just waiting for the right moment to make a scathing comment.
For a few seconds, they watched John walk away hurriedly before finally breaking into a jog. Sherlock waited until he was a small speck on the distance before he glanced at his watch. "Six minutes. Chop chop, John." He murmured underneath his breath.
Lestrade gave Sherlock an incredulous look. "You did all of this to make his girlfriend jealous?"
It wasn't so much that he was hurt that Sherlock had used him to complete his master plan as being disappointed that Sherlock had once again lived up to his expectations. It felt a bit like a kick in the teeth, to be quite honest.
"No, I did it because I was..." Sherlock searched for the right word. "Bored. I was bored."
Not trusting himself to say anything that wouldn't trigger an inevitable fight and lead to him kicking Sherlock out of his flat, Lestrade headed back into his flat, miserably viewing the sight of his armchair in front of the television which had looked so promising earlier in the evening. He heard Sherlock close the door behind them and fought not to tell Sherlock that bolting the three locks on the door was as necessary as turning off the light before going to bed.
Sherlock inhaled, raising his head before spinning on his heel to face Lestrade. "I'm in the mood for Deal or No Deal. Oh, and some tea, please."
Lestrade was a little amazed and briefly entertained the thought that Sherlock was improving from the customary 'please' that Sherlock had added before realising that actually, he was still being pushy and it was probably the grammar-school upbringing that had been drilled into him.
"If you want tea, you'll have to make it." He didn't break the eye contact that Sherlock had initiated until he was certain that Sherlock had understood him, before he realised that he was still treating Sherlock as if he was the junkie he'd met all those years ago. Sherlock also recognised the tone, if the spark of anger in his eyes was anything to go by. Lestrade dropped the subject.
"Unless you want me to set your kitchen on fire – which I will inevitably do, given that I've never made tea – I'd recommend that you make the tea." Sherlock's tone was icy and Lestrade set to work putting the kettle on and finding the teabags an old ex-girlfriend had left behind years before. Idly, he wondered if teabags went out of date before hoping that they didn't because he had a feeling that Sherlock would throw a full tantrum if he didn't have a mug of tea.
Lestrade had dealt with Sherlock's first full tantrum about two months after the two had begun working together. It had been case after case and Lestrade had desperately thrown a dividing line between the two of them – he didn't pay attention to anything the man said if it wasn't relevant to the case and he certainly didn't pay attention to the man's eating and sleeping habits.
Predictably, Sherlock had worked himself into the ground before anyone had said anything.
Oddly enough, it had been Donovan who had mentioned that the "Freak" hadn't been arguing with her and had looked almost disappointed as Sherlock made his way silently into the police station, dark circles evident underneath his eyes. It had just taken one little thing – a photograph placed in the wrong spot on the timeline – and he'd blown up at everyone, ranting about them being "incompetent, blundering idiots". Lestrade, being the most senior officer (and really, the only person that Sherlock would communicate with) took Sherlock into the main office, took a deep breath and dialled the number of the man who possibly terrified him even more than Sherlock himself did.
Understandably, Mycroft had been more than a little annoyed.
"Do you want sugar or milk?" He threw Sherlock a peace offering of sorts – the man would probably be more annoyed if he actually acknowledged his mistake – and listened, relieved, as Sherlock listed the various ingredients that he included in his tea.
After carefully positioning himself an arm's width away from Sherlock on the sofa, Lestrade took the television remote and pressed onto the TV guide, watching Sherlock's face range from mildly interested to verging on annoyed as he discovered that Deal or No Deal was not in fact on.
"There's 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' instead and..." he scanned through the quiz channels quickly, skipping past the children's shows, "'Blind Date'."
Sherlock merely glanced across at Lestrade before turning back to face the television expectantly.
"So you want 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire', then."
It wasn't even ten minutes into the show before the two were having an argument.
"Sherlock, how can you not know that Tony Blair was born in Scotland? It's general knowledge!"
Sherlock frowned before shuffling down in his seat and pulling his coat closer around himself. "It's not important, and it's not relevant to my interests." There was something in his tone of voice saying Leave it! but Lestrade couldn't hold back a ducked grin, no matter the glare that Sherlock threw at him.
"How high is your IQ, anyway?" Lestrade questioned curiously.
Sherlock peered at him above his steepled fingers and frowned. "Nothing worth mentioning." He said breezily and Lestrade read the undertones as 'bring it up again and I'll set fire to your flat while you sleep'.
"Alright then." He gave a shrug, mentally making a note of the fact that the great Sherlock Holmes might have been able to solve three cases in one day, but he didn't know anything about the world that he was living in.
"Shut up." Sherlock said suddenly and Lestrade recognised the warning signs of a mild tantrum so left it, giving a grin as the adverts came on. He leaned back on the sofa, crossing his arms and was just about to settle down before-
"If you're going to kiss me, I'd rather you do it now."Sherlock informed him tartly. "I've re-wired your microwave to see if I can shut down the entire wiring of the block of flats."
Lestrade gaped."Right. Well, that's definitely put me off kissing you."
Sherlock glanced across at him, looking mildly affronted. "You should make me food now. Please." He added, as an afterthought.
Lestrade was tempted to refuse to give Sherlock food before realising that that would be petty and he'd probably lose his job the next day. He frantically scanned his mind to remember if he actually had food in his cupboards before heading into the kitchen to seek out a dusty jar of tomato sauce and half a bag of pasta shells, once again left behind by the old ex-girlfriend.
"We're having pasta." He poked his head back into the living room and eyed Sherlock suspiciously, seeing the man poking around on his laptop.
Sherlock twisted his mouth to the side of his face. "I can't remember if I like pasta. Aren't you supposed to ask first?"
Lestrade made a valiant effort not to strangle Sherlock, who was now pressing random buttons on his laptop and watching them expectantly. "Sherlock, we're having pasta."
He didn't wait to hear Sherlock's reply before heading back to the kitchen to cook the pasta. With any luck, John would be back to collect Sherlock before it got late. Failing that, he'd tell Sherlock to leave when he was planning on going to bed.
The pasta itself took only a few minutes to cook. However, serving up food and getting Sherlock to actually eat was a task within itself. Sherlock, being the person that he was, had taken it upon himself to explore every inch of the flat and analyse every speck of dirt and dust.
"You've repainted the skirting board over here." Sherlock muttered to himself, "If you wanted to repaint, you would have done the whole room. Why just the skirting board?"
Lestrade stood in the doorway between the living room and the kitchen, hands placed firmly on his hips. "Sherlock, it's been ten minutes since the pasta's cooked. You have to eat now."
Sherlock looked up from his position on the floor, carefully examining the skirting board. "What?" He inhaled lightly and looked up at Lestrade, "There's a case – the girl, he hid the fingernails beneath the skirting board, swapped them-"
"What are you talking about?" Lestrade was beyond confused as Sherlock waved his hands around frantically, motioning to the walls.
Sherlock got to his feet and brushed his knees off before picking up his coat and addressing Lestrade slowly. "An unsolved case three years ago. I need to go and-"
And with that, Sherlock Holmes left the flat and Lestrade completely and utterly confused.
It took the best part of fifteen minutes for Lestrade to finish his pasta and sink down ungracefully onto his spot on the sofa before he realised that there was no chance in Hell that he was going to be able to concentrate now. Sighing, he switched off the television before turning his attention to a pile of reports heading up for deadline alarmingly soon and coming to the conclusion that his earlier dream of a nice, calm evening had gone completely to Hell.
He'd learnt a long time ago that Sherlock came and went where he wanted to, something the two of them had exchanged words over many times before Lestrade would relent and grant Sherlock permission to some obscure crime scene. Mind you, he thought to himself as he worked his way through a handful of the reports, that was just the way that Sherlock was.
Setting down his pen and pretending that he'd been staying up only to get the paperwork done, Lestrade rubbed his forehead, feeling the tense lines. That was the trouble with the police – it was rewarding but it would turn your hair grey and your skin wrinkled in no time at all.
After bolting the door securely (another precaution that being with the police had taught him; he'd been more than a little paranoid about his own safety for more than a few years now), Lestrade made his way to his bedroom, not bothering to change before he slipped underneath the covers. The evening had been, he thought sleepily to himself, more than a little disappointing overall. And with that, he finally closed his eyes and slept.
What felt about three minutes later, Lestrade woke up to the sound of someone drumming their fingers against his bedside table restlessly. "Well," he said carefully, "this brings back memories."
Sherlock was sitting beside his bed, his cheekbones stark against his face in the dim light of the streetlamps outside. Lestrade swallowed hard.
"As I said before, your microwave is about to shut down the building in roughly four minutes." Sherlock looked proud of himself for a moment before adding, "I thought you'd appreciate being informed."
Somehow, Lestrade doubted that Sherlock would be able to grasp sarcasm.