A/N: Sorry I'm taking so long with my Mistake stories, just finishing up an ending on one of them, so those will be up if I can get some time to write this afternoon. Here is a actually long-ish oneshot, different for me, I know. I had a conversation with MoreThingsInHeavenAndEarth after reading her story Going Cold (read it, it's good!) about Sherlock's drug history, and I got to thinking. This is the result :)
"When you're drowning, you don't say 'I would be incredibly pleased if someone would have the foresight to notice me drowning and come and help me,' you just scream." John Lennon
SH SH SH SH SH SH SH SH SH SH
"Why do you care?"
DI Giles Lestrade sighed, laid his finger on the light switch in his guest room. The question was one that could be taken in any number of ways, but coming from Sherlock Holmes, where he lay cocooned in blankets on the hide away bed, it was sincere, and disturbingly curious, as if the asker couldn't fathom anyone caring.
"Because, I need you with a clear head, Sherlock."
SH SH SH SH
Lestrade had known for a long time that Sherlock dabbled in recreational drugs. For as long as he'd know Sherlock, there had been the occasional day when his eyes would be just a bit too glazed, or his speech just a little slurred. He always wore long sleeves, but Lestrade was sure there would be a tidy line of track marks along his elbow.
However, it wasn't until about a year after he'd started going to Sherlock Holmes for help on his cases, that he noticed an increasing frequency in the times that Sherlock would be solving a case high as a kite. He still solved them, that was the thing, and no who didn't know him would guess that he was on something as he rattled off the answers every time. But Lestrade could tell.
He knew the life that Sherlock led, the difficulty he faced with that brain of his always going at full speed. He couldn't begin to understand, but he sympathized. So he turned a blind eye, as long as Sherlock wasn't too obvious about it. He let him deal with his life in whatever way he chose. He wasn't employing him; technically he was just asking for advice. He let it slide.
And for a while, it seemed to be fine. The cases were consistently closed, more often than ever before, and Lestrade was content to allow Sherlock this one vice, one that could be conveniently ignored.
Then, things started getting worse. The cases stopped closing. People died. Murderers escaped, and Lestrade watched Sherlock Holmes slip into a downward spiral of drug use, and depression. He'd always been thin, but now he looked skeletal. His face was pale, cheekbones jutting out, and eyes shadowed, curls flat and lifeless. Sherlock's great mind was affected too. He made mistakes, and continual fatigue made even coming to the crime scenes difficult.
Finally, after much too long on the sidelines, Lestrade had had enough. Drug users needed help, and since it seemed that Sherlock had no one in the world that cared about him, that help fell to Lestrade to provide.
At the next crime scene Lestrade pulled Sherlock aside, wincing at the bony arm he felt under the suit coat.
"Sherlock, this has got to stop." Sherlock's eye's flashed.
"I assume you're talking about the drugs?" He responded coldly, and tried to pull away. Lestrade kept his grip, though a part of him winced for Sherlock should have been able to pull away from him.
"Yes, it's about the drugs!" Lestrade hissed. "This can't go on, you're killing yourself!"
"Unhand me, Lestrade." Sherlock's voice was low. Lestrade leaned closer, right into Sherlock's personal space, and spoke fast. He was aware that they weren't exactly in a private place, and he didn't want Donovan or Anderson to overhear; it'd just give them something else they could use against Holmes.
"I'm not kidding, Sherlock. Right now, a sneeze could knock you over. I can't let you do this anymore, not legally, not morally. This ends, or you're looking at your last case with Scotland Yard."
Sherlock's eyes widened momentarily, and then narrowed. "I'd like to see you get on without me."
Lestrade chuckled without any mirth.
"You probably would. Thing is, Sherlock, that at the rate you're going, I'm not sure you'd get the chance."
Sherlock huffed a breath out.
"I'm not going to die." He sounded his normal condescending self, but Lestrade detected a weakness in the words, like he wasn't sure.
Sherlock had stormed off after their confrontation, and Lestrade hadn't seen him in over a week, when he got the call that Sherlock was inthe emergency room. Apparently, his landlord had found him convulsing in his room. He'd stopped breathing in the ambulance, and was now in the ICU on a breathing machine, and rapid detox.
Lestrade couldn't imagine why they'd call him, except that the landlord had remembered his name from the many times he'd called at Montague Street, and there was no one listed on Sherlock's next of kin.
There was a cocktail of drugs in Sherlock's system, and it took about four hours for him to wake up. Lestrade spent that time sitting by his bed, filling out past reports on his laptop. Lestrade could have gone back to work, but he'd felt that there should have been someone there when Sherlock woke, if only to tell him what an idiot he was.
Sherlock groaned, and shifted in bed. He blinked slowly, and then his eyes slid towards Lestrade. Brown met ice blue for a second, before Sherlock rolled his eyes dramatically.
"Should have known you'd be here." He mumbled, then he coughed. He rubbed at the nasal canola
"They called cause your landlord remembered me," Lestrade shut his laptop, and leaned forwards. "You're being an idiot."
Sherlock tried to roll over, but the IV pulled, and an alarm beeped. He settled for glaring at the machines. Lestrade rolled his eyes this time.
"Sherlock, half the drugs you had in your bloodstream were illegal. You almost died! Can you honestly say you're fine?"
"Are you going to arrest me?" His tone was flat, he stared at the ceiling.
"I should." Sherlock's eyes flickered towards him. "But, I won't." The blue eyes closed, and Lestrade held up a finger. "However, I do want something to change. I stand by what I said; I'm not coming to you until you're clean."
"Do you have a cigarette?" Sherlock was being deliberately obtuse, and Lestrade's patience snapped.
"You know Sherlock, I'm being very reasonable about all this, but if you're just going to ignore me then I—" Lestrade broke off, rubbing a hand over his face. "I don't know what I expected. Good bye, Sherlock. Let me know." Lestrade got up and walked away.
Lestrade didn't see Sherlock for a while after that, and the cases were that much harder to close; dots didn't connect, perps got away. Lestrade was about ready to call Sherlock back, because this was ridiculous, and he'd been solving the cases anyway, even when he was off his head, when he got a text from Sherlock himself.
-Off drugs. Let me work. SH—
Lestrade could barely believe it. He'd done it? He'd gotten clean on the threat of the work being taken from him? He called back, and it went to voicemail. Sherlock never answered his phone, so he left a quick message saying he was on his way over, then he locked up his office.
The DI let himself into the decrepit house on Montague Street, and up the stairs to Sherlock's room. He was in the attic room, mostly because people complained if they lived too near his pungent experiments, and noisy violin playing at three in the morning. Lestrade stepped up the creaky stairs, and noticed with concern that the flat was getting colder and colder as he ascended. He came to Sherlock's door and knocked before opening it slowly.
"Sherlock?" He called, now feeling rather awkward at just barging in, but he'd wanted to see for himself that the text was true. "I got your text."
Lestrade only saw Sherlock once the door was opened fully. The room, just a large empty space mostly, and filled with various items that most would classify 'junk', was icy, and the detective was curled up on the bed in the corner, huddled under a mound of blankets. What Lestrade could see of him looked rather awful. Pale and shivering, with heavy eyes.
"Bloody hell, Sherlock. You look like death itself!" Lestrade came further in, and tired eyes followed his movements. He then seemed to shake himself, and sat up a bit.
"I didn't invite you over." He murmured. Lestrade snorted.
"Do you ever?" Lestrade then shivered, and rubbed a hand along his arm. He could feel the cold through his wool coat. "It's cold as ice in here." He noticed that Sherlock was wearing his long coat and scarf in the bed.
"Brilliant…observation." The shivers had increased now that he was sitting up, and broke up his sentence. Lestrade sighed, and pulled a stool over towards the bed, taking a seat.
"So, you told me you were clean?" It was a question, looking for a confirmation.
"I am." He pulled up his coat sleeve, and Lestrade saw that the track marks there were old, a few days at least. "It's been three days. I'm…coming off the cocaine now. Causing the malaise and fatigue…" He trailed off, his clinical analysis fading into a shudder. Lestrade frowned.
"And the shaking?" Sherlock gave him one of his 'you and the rest of the world are complete idiots' looks.
"It's cold." Sherlock pulled up the blankets almost over his head, and lie back down, back facing Lestrade and the door. It was an inequitable demand that he leave. However, Lestrade stayed seated, feeling awkward, but with growing determination.
It was cold. Much too cold to let someone, anyone, try to sleep here. It wasn't just freezing; Lestrade was actually concerned about hypothermia. It was still early evening, and in this winter, it would only get worse. It was dangerous to leave him here alone, especially with the state he was in. He only had to convince Sherlock of this.
"Go home, Lestrade. I can… hear you worrying." Sherlock's voice was muffled in the bedclothes, and broken by a particularly violent shudder. Lestrade straightened his shoulders. That teared it. Sherlock Holmes was coming home with him, so help him.
Lestrade stood, and he saw the tense line of Sherlock's shoulders relax slightly. Well, he wasn't getting off that easily.
"Sherlock, you're going to freeze to death in here. Get up." Sherlock flipped his body to look at Lestrade incredulously. The look was so reminiscent of his own younger brother, on the many times he'd been tasked with getting his butt out of bed, that Lestrade found it easy to just grab the bedclothes and pull them off.
"Hey!" Sherlock sat up and scrabbled for the bedclothes, but they were beyond his reach. Then he sat back on his heels, kneeling on the bed, and glared. "I'm not going home with you. I'm not a stray puppy you can take in and cuddle." His voice was frosty.
"No you're not." Lestrade said, "But you are ill, and cold, and if I leave you then I'll have your death on my conscience." Sherlock rolled his eyes.
"Poor Lestrade and his bleeding heart-"
"Oh for the love of—Sherlock, just come! For one night, and I'll get you a portable heater tomorrow so you can survive sleeping in your own bloody room!"
"What so you can feel good about yourself? Filling your quota of daily service to the helpless and unstable people of the world, are we?" Sherlock was getting agitated now, still hunched in his coat.
"I'm trying to help you!" Lestrade felt his anger rising, fists clenched. Sherlock's face flushed; it didn't take a consulting detective to see that he very close to snapping.
"I don't need your help!" He sprang from the bed to pace the room. "You come in here, ready to save me from my pathetic little life like some shining knight on a white horse…" He was waving his arms around, tearing at his hair. "I don't want your help, I don't want anyone's! I'm…fine…"
Sherlock had stumbled, blinking, with a hand to his head. Lestrade stepped forwards, arms out to catch him if he fell, but he staggered back, and sat on the bed, gripping his curls.
He was subdued now, his entire body wilting in exhaustion. Lestrade took a tentative step nearer, and then sat next to him on the bed. Sherlock didn't do anything besides droop further.
"You're not well, and it's freezing in here. The offer's still up?" Lestrade commented without looking at him. He was close enough to Sherlock that he felt his heavy sigh. There was silence for a few moments.
"Agitation is a symptom of cocaine withdrawal." Sherlock stated without inflection. "So is paranoia."
Lestrade was silent as well for a long minute. This was as much of an apology as he could ask for from Sherlock Holmes.
"So you'll come?" Sherlock gave a clipped nod, and crossed his arms over his chest.
"Good." Lestrade cleared his throat, and stood. After a reluctant moment, Sherlock followed suit.
After a short cab ride, during which Sherlock seemed to be hard pressed to keep his eyes open, though he did make a valiant effort, they pulled up in front of Lestrade's flat.
Sherlock was silent as he followed Lestrade unsteadily up the stairs, still wrapped in a blanket. He didn't talk the whole time Lestrade spent opening the door, or fixing up the guest bed. Lestrade didn't speak either.
It wasn't until he had Sherlock in the bed, bundled up in as many spare blankets as he could find that Sherlock asked why he cared. Lestrade could see the true questions behind the words. Why are you taking care of me when no one else ever has? What does it matter to you whether I kill myself with drugs? Why are you doing this?
Lestrade figured that Sherlock had spent the last half hour of silence analyzing his actions; he knew that logically it couldn't make sense to the genius. Yet he was dong it anyway.
He pursed his lips, and thought carefully about his answer.
"Because I need you with a clear head." Because I need you to function, and be whatever sort of happy you can be, because London is a better place for it. Because even though you're a rude, screwed up, genius kid, I care about you, whether I like it or not.
For a moment, Sherlock's eyes met his, and Lestrade imagined that he'd heard all his unspoken words. There was a pondering silence, no longer simmering, or awkward or tense, and Lestrade watched the gears in Sherlock's head processed this. Then he closed his eyes, warm at last, and relaxed under the covers.
Lestrade smiled softly, and turned to flip off the light.
SH SH SH SH SH SH SH SH SH
A/N: I hope you liked that, thanks for reading! Please let me know what you think, reviews are better than chocolate!