Hello, all!

This is just a quick one-shot to get a few ideas out of my head, before I work on other stories. I promise that my two WIP fics are still being worked on (yes, even Momentum, although it's been a while). This is something that would not leave my head until I wrote it out.

Detective Inspector Lestrade is easily one of my favourite characters in the show. I've been dying to do some form of expansion on his character, and initially planned this to just be practise and a way to flesh out my own personal take on him. It ended up coming together a bit more nicely than I had expected, so I wanted to share it with you guys. I had a ton of fun with it. Hope you enjoy!

Title: Alpha Male Complex
Rating: T (possibly K, but can't be too sure)
Warnings: Mentions of drug use, homosexuality, angst, Sherlock being a brat
Summary: There are five things that Lestrade cannot bear to tell his colleagues, and one thing he eventually learned to shove in their faces.
Disclaimer: None of the characters belong to me. Age estimates are probably off. This is pure fangirl adoration and nothing else.

Although some people that he worked with complained and made the effort to challenge some of his decisions, there was no questioning whether Detective Inspector Lestrade was a well-respected man in the Met. He was one of those people that were born to lead, but he was not a demanding boss. He did respectable work, even without calling on a source of 'outside assistance'. He was a fair man; his calm, patient nature made it very difficult to get him to raise his voice. But he was very deserving of authority. He could shut a loudmouth constable up with a mere look, and never failed to go toe-to-toe with anyone in the investigation when challenged.

Hardly an extraordinary man, Gregory Lestrade yearned for no glory and no attention. He was fine with being 'normal', which happened to be one of the greatest insults that a certain consulting detective could come up with. Like so many things, it rolled off his shoulders and left his pride without so much as a dent. He actively worked towards normalcy. Anything that others might see as unique or interesting about him, he swept under the rug. Just a boring, aging bachelor who was married to his career. He would rather be that than let his comrades know some of his true colours.

There were five secrets about Lestrade that he did not want the rest of the Met to know:

When Greg was a child, barely eight years old, he witnessed a near-tragedy. While on holiday in the country with the family, he and his brother Mason had spent the majority of the week swimming in the lake. Even in July, the weather was chilly, but they had been determined to spend every available minute in the water, throwing mud, catching frogs, pushing each other off the slick rocks – generally acting like boys. It would have been one of the fondest memories that he could have of his childhood, except for what happened on the fifth day.

It had rained fairly heavily the night before, but they had rejoiced upon seeing a sunny morning. It had started like all the other days, with them wrestling on the dock trying to shove each other in first. Gregory won the battle, sending his older brother into the water with a victorious splash. What happened next, his young mind could not really fathom. Nobody had warned them about the undertow currents after foul weather. Mason was not very good at treading water, and he was involuntarily moving into deeper parts with the current. Before long, he was struggling to stay afloat. He was drowning.

Gregory merely acted on instinct, jumping in after his brother. They both struggled against the waves, as the younger brother and better swimmer attempted to keep them both above the water. It was a battle, but they fought towards the shore. By that moment, Mason had ceased to breathe. A frantic Gregory had to run to the house for help, and after watching his father pound on his brother's chest with little success and the ambulance take him away, there had been a change in him.

Mason was not released from the hospital until several weeks later. Gregory had not understood the massive change in his only sibling at the time, but as he grew older he learned. He had been permanently damaged by nearly drowning and being in a coma for twenty-two days. Although still a capable human being, the older boy had breathing and circulatory problems, and had sustained minor brain damage. Some said that Gregory was a hero, but he lacked the ability to forgive himself for what he had done. And, even in adulthood, he was sure that his brother shared the same sentiment.

The true fallout of that summer was a deeply rooted fear of open water, which Lestrade still carried with him to this day. He could not stand on a bridge over the Thames without shaking. Hell, he hated the very idea of baths. Though, he never voiced this. Not to anyone. It was his job to be strong where others faltered, and to be the man that feared nothing, not even serial killers. He just silently resigned himself to trembling and grinding his teeth until he was granted the chance to get as far away from the source of his anxiety as possible.

When approaching his adolescence, Gregory lashed out a little more than most boys. Puberty was tough on him, and he was doing ridiculous things like smoking and vandalizing by the age of fifteen. He got excellent marks when he tried, but for the most part he didn't care. School councilors had assured his mother that it was merely boredom. He wasn't unruly because his father was away with work or anything like that. He was restless, like many boys were. So they tried to shoehorn him into every activity possible. He liked running. Karate was interesting. But he did not find his talent until he met his high school sweetheart, Alexandra, in the eleventh grade.

She was lovely and patient, the perfect opposite to Gregory during those years. Alex was also one of the theatre kids. The ones that put on plays once a year, that parents seemed obligated to go to, and siblings had to suffer through. After being dragged to a few rehearsals of that year's show, The Wizard of Oz, he got roped into helping with the sets and costumes. For the longest time, Greg refused to admit that he had fun with it. His deadly boredom seemed completely eradicated during those hours. He was allowed to come into his role as a leader, easily bringing a chaotic stage into order with a few simple words and his strong presence.

It was not until the next year that Alex had convinced him to audition for the next play. At first, he wanted nothing to do with the spotlight. And he had no bloody idea what 'perfect bass-baritone voice' meant, either, but he was not going to make an idiot of himself in front of all of his newly acquired friends. But he was blindsided with a script, and his girlfriend handed him a tape of music and told him he had two days to prepare. The look in her eyes said that she could suddenly put an end to their fun little habit of sneaking backstage to snog. She was seventeen, and already knew how to motivate men.

He did the audition out of complete obligation (and his fondness for snogging), and much to his surprise and horror, got the lead role. He didn't even think he was decent at singing! But Alex, patient as always, guided him through it. And before they were doing dress rehearsals, Greg was in love with it. In hindsight it was the perfect outlet, since he had the role of a very aggressive character and had all the permission in the world to shout until he didn't feel the need to shout any more.

There had been controversy amongst the school and parents about staging such a violent show, about a murderous barber with a lust for revenge. But the musical theatre instructor had made the appropriate changes to make it a little less horrific. And damn it, Greg felt on top of the world on opening night, when the show went off without a hitch, the cast got a standing ovation, and he lost his virginity backstage merely two hours after. There had been something strange about Alex volunteering them both to stay behind and clean, and it was a miracle that he had not protested.

However, the fun of his 'stage career' was not very long-lived. The second that his father, who was working in central London at the time, caught wind of his theatrical accomplishment, it was not received well. He refused to drive out of the city to see the production, but he did make the trip after it was all over. And he swiftly put an end to Gregory's interest in pursuing it as a hobby after graduation. There was no argument to be had; his son was not going to be gallivanting about in costume to make 'an idiot and a faggot' out of himself.

After that day, Gregory grew resentful. Luckily, his sense of rebellion had calmed over the years. He simply went back to smoking, and went into a bout of depression. He focused on his admittance into college, police training, the sort of 'practical' crap his old man was pushing him to strive for. Alex dumped him halfway through the summer. And since then, he never told a soul about his shining, brief career in amateur theatre.

By the time he was promoted to Detective Inspector, everyone at Scotland Yard knew that Lestrade was not in the best place in his life. Despite the wonderful advancement in his career – his bloody dream job, for God's sake – someone was determined to ruin it. A thirteen-year marriage going swiftly down the drain seemed enough to put a damper on anything. But he adamantly kept his stressful work life and his hellish home life separate to the best of his ability.

He had loved Lisa when they met. She had been so joyful, so theatrical; a trait that he may have unconsciously felt attracted to. But after a decade of marriage, it turned into other things like 'demanding' and 'dramatic' and 'why the hell do I do this to myself every goddamned day'. The miserable banshee left him two days before Christmas. Within two years, she had the house, the car and the dog. His bloody dog, which she didn't even like enough to walk.

Greg was back in the bachelor life at the age of thirty-eight; awful food, tiny flat, no money, and no spirit. He was already graying at the temples rapidly, tired every day, and merely living to work. Not for the money, because most of it went either to the government or his ex-wife. No, he worked for the sake of catching murderers and sexual predators. Because his father had drilled the idea of being useful and practical into his mind. He hated himself when he was unable to solve a crime. And, despite his dedication and intelligence, some mysteries were just too far beyond his abilities.

It was at this point in his life when he met Sherlock Holmes. They had hauled him out of a murder scene, where he had been snooping around. This kid, with track marks on his arms and alarmingly sharp eyes, had dissected Lestrade's life in one breath in the interrogation room. Nobody else was there to hear it, but he said it for Greg's ears only;

"You were a doormat for your ex-wife. You still are. She took everything, because you loved her and could not bare to see her anything but well off."

It would have been worth the black mark on his record to punch a suspect – this arrogant, heartless sod - in the jaw in the middle of an interrogation. Because that was something he didn't want anyone else in the world to know. But he held himself back and ignored it, because his job was all he had. And he would hate to prove him right.

He did everything he could to hide it. It was the source of much shame and self-loathing, especially since it was standing proof of how frail his willpower really could be. Since becoming a single man again, Greg began smoking like a chimney.

The day he had proposed to his now ex-wife (and ever-looming dark cloud in his life), he had sworn off of tobacco in all forms. It had been a choice made with countless reasons. Lisa hated the smell, he was finishing police training and needed to keep his health up, and his family's unfortunate history with cancer – these were just a few reasons. It had been difficult. Almost physically painful. But he did it for her and their new life together. So it was only natural that he start lighting up again the second she kicked him out of the house.

The position of Detective Inspector, he learned, meant a fair bit more authority and responsibility than he had anticipated. It was stressful, and he found himself doing everything to gain and keep the respect of those working with him. That meant hiding his worse habits, his dependency on cigarettes being one of them. He never indulged at work, even when the cloud lingering from the designated smoking area tempted him sorely. It would show such a fragility in him, if they were to see how often he craved nicotine. He kept the gum and patches in his desk, stashed under files like they were some incriminating drug. He went through them at an alarming pace.

This adamant sense of self-control only snapped once. After a long week, and at the end of an investigation of a brutal double murder, he could not help himself. There was something about seeing a young couple stabbed to death for their wallets that just set him into an irreversibly horrid mood. The moment the sweeping of the surrounding park was over, Lestrade left the coroners to do their work and stalked off to the opposite end to retreat behind a line of trees.

His hands never shook. Not since his first six months as an officer, when he had been thoroughly desensitized to violence and the cruelty of mankind. But for a whole pile of reasons, there was a definite tremble in his fingers as he fished the carton out of his coat pocket and fumbled with the lighter. He wanted to blame this all on Constable Donovan, who had gotten in his face about the presence of some unofficial help at the scene. She had crossed the line, and almost roused him into shouting. But Greg was controlled as always, and now had a new flame of internalized anger to deal with later. In the back of his mind, however, he knew it was not her fault. She was likely right in what she had said.

Two drags in, the Inspector already felt better. How ridiculous it was that a dose of nicotine could be the difference between a decent day and wanting to hurl himself in front of a bus. The wet leaves around his feet and crisp air felt less like a dreary autumn day, and more like a personal piece of paradise. The crime scene and the leering eyes of his colleagues seemed miles away, and Greg felt like he might actually sleep tonight. What a nice change that would be.

All the fine hairs on the back of Lestrade's neck suddenly prickled and stood on end, and his short-lived bliss felt snatched away from him. It would have been so tempting to just ignore it and continue smoking, but his policeman's instinct didn't allow it. He turned his head to glance over his shoulder, and immediately heaved a sigh. A cloud of smoke and mist curled and escaped into the air, followed by his sense of peace.

"Oh good, you're still here," he growled, turning to face Sherlock fully.

The young detective was eyeing him carefully, and for a brief moment it was something of a standoff. Both of them had their proverbial hackles raised after that particularly ugly encounter. Greg suddenly felt very displeased about letting the other see him smoking while on the clock. Sherlock, however, just quirked a tense smile.

"I'm going to assume that I overstepped my boundaries somewhere."

"Let this day go down in history, then." Despite the utter surprise of hearing Sherlock admit that he had done something wrong, Lestrade was in no mood for dealing with him. The younger man should have scampered off by now on some great case-related epiphany, but here he was, still determined to make his life a consistent challenge. Sherlock seemed to only be amused by his curt reply, and he stepped closer. There was still enough tension to keep him well out of arm's reach.

"You never smoke when working. My efforts to put Donovan in her place set off a domino effect in the team." There was a bit of genuine curiosity in his voice, like he was actually perplexed as to how his vicious comment about the woman's habit of sleeping with colleagues had caused such an upset. Lestrade set his jaw and looked away, again calling on his talent of ignoring his own annoyance.

"You just don't do that, Sherlock. Not on the job. Not when I call you in to help."

"She was challenging your decisions as a leader."

"Yes, I'm very aware of that. But I think I'm capable of handling it."

Silence followed, and Greg turned away again to take another drag. He was silently fuming again, and he loathed to let it show. Especially with this man around. Before he realized what was happening, a slender, gloved hand plucked the cigarette from between his lips. He hissed a curse at Sherlock, who helped himself to a drag while easily sidestepping the blindly attempted swing. The young man's eyes seemed to sparkle with delight. Whether it was from the treat of nicotine or the childish glee of stealing the Inspector's cigarette literally from under his nose, it was anyone's guess.

"I'd ask for one, but I figured my chances weren't stellar." Sherlock beamed as he handed the cigarette back over to the older man. Thoroughly irritated now, Lestrade took it back and calmly stomped it out on the wet ground. There was some joy in seeing the look on the detective's face as he wasted half of a perfectly good cigarette. It was like someone told a child that Santa was not real, their parents were divorcing and their pet rabbit didn't actually run away, but was in fact buried in the garden. All simultaneously. The satisfaction of that actually trumped his own agony of throwing away good nicotine.

"You have enough horrid habits as it is." The Inspector said very matter-of-factly, giving a thin smile. He then left the other standing there behind the screen of trees, finding himself to be in remarkably better spirits. His willpower cracked a little more, and he glanced over his shoulder as he walked towards the road. Sherlock was smiling.

It was a lot easier to stop smoking after that day.

Greg came to an entirely alarming revelation a couple of years after his messy divorce. Although it took a few floundering relationships and fruitless casual encounters, he eventually reached the ultimate truth. Women didn't do anything for him anymore. It was a little horrifying to him, a man who had grown up in a strictly conservative household in the seventies and eighties. Over time, the facts were too obvious to ignore. So he tried to reason with himself – desperately.

It didn't have to mean that he had switched teams, so to speak. Maybe it was because of his awful marriage. Or he hadn't found the right person. Or the fact that he was constantly busy with his work. When he was not at a crime scene or his office, he was chasing after Sherlock Holmes and pulling needles out of his arm.

Sherlock. The infuriating bugger. In the couple of years that they had known each other, Lestrade had become his glorified babysitter. He had learned over time that, somewhat like him, when the young man was not working he went into a state of depression. He did anything at all to rid himself of boredom, including using money he didn't have to buy cocaine and getting higher than a kite. It pained Lestrade to see it. Such a great mind going to waste, although he was sure that everyone at the Yard was secretly trying to make him overdose with the sheer power of their collective will.

With some dry amusement, he tried to remind himself that blaming Sherlock Holmes for his sudden disinterest in women was probably suggestive in itself. He was just a distraction. Some misguided bastard that he was trying to help. With a great sense of duty, Greg dropped by the horrendously messy flat on Montague Street at least twice a week, sometimes bringing food and always doing a routine scan for drugs. Although, as Sherlock would smugly point out from his place sprawled on the couch, the younger man was much better at hiding things than Lestrade was at finding them. But usually he found a good percentage of the stash.

He deviated from this routine only when he absolutely had to. And he did so one evening, when work had him staying at the office late to work on reports (and needing to fudge some because a certain someone had to go and compromise evidence). He went straight for home late that night, braving the chill of London's winter and just pining for bed. Maybe even a stiff drink. It had been a bloody long day.

When opening the door it his flat, Greg nearly dropped his keys in surprise. There, perched on the end of his sofa and watching the door like an expectant housecat, was Sherlock. He watched as the detective's lips twitched into an amused smile, before looking towards the windows to see if any were open. But it was not cold in the sitting room. Instead, the old, neglected fireplace had actually given new life with a cheery fire.

Sherlock was in his flat, and possibly had access to matches. That drink was looking better by the second. Lestrade just stood in the doorway, pinching the bridge of his nose.


"You didn't come by. I was wondering where you had been. Mind closing the door, Inspector? You're letting the heat out." So nonchalant, like he actually lived here. Much to his own surprise, Greg obeyed. But the door was closed with a little more force than necessary. He did not like it. This was his place, his home. His safe haven. And it felt like someone was stepping into his personal territory without invitation. But it was Sherlock; such things never crossed the detective's great mind. His damp coat was shrugged off and thrown onto its hook.

"How did you know where I live, or even get in?" The moment he asked this, he regretted it. The younger man did not even dignify it with a verbal response, but rather fixed him with a look that just implored him not to be so predictable and unimaginative. So Greg just sighed and went to something else. "You could just call me."

"I figured you were busy."

"So you break into my flat?"

"There was no hurry for you to get home. I knew you'd get here eventually." Another amused smile. Lestrade found himself having to take a deep breath before resigning and going to sit down on the couch. The nearby fire warmed him right up. If it weren't for the intruder in his home, he would feel completely at ease. Watching the younger man turn around where he was perched to look at him, he had to shake his head to himself. The look in Sherlock's eyes was one that he did not usually like. A shiver crawled up Greg's spine at an excruciatingly slow pace. It was one of those looks that were so unique to him. The attention and assessment of a surgeon cutting into a live human. Sherlock rarely made it a habit to read the Inspector these days, but he was doing that just now.

"Is it sad that I'm getting jaded to this sort of thing?" he asked, fingers rubbing together idly in a stress-inspired desire for a cigarette. Sherlock tilted his head a little, keeping up this near-feline behavior. He seemed to shift to sit on the couch a bit more properly, although he was still facing Lestrade. It was unnerving.

"You're going through a crisis." The statement was so plain, so flat, that the urge to slug him was just as strong as it was when they had first met. Heaving an exasperated sigh, the older man just gave a humourless smile and made a wave, inviting the other to just let it out. That was all Sherlock needed. "You've taken up smoking again, working at least seven more hours a week, and you have stopped inviting women over. You're going through a sexual identity crisis."

"Wait, wait," Greg sat up a little more and let himself show just a bit of his shock and irritation. One hand made a wild gesture to cut the detective off. "What makes you think you know a damn thing about that- not saying that it's-" He cut himself to pause and collect his thoughts. "Who says I have any less female traffic through this flat than usual?"

Rising to the challenge, Sherlock smirked. That familiar look in his eyes sprung up; the one that just screamed delight in his own genius, and the thrill of deducing. Lestrade began to regret arguing it just for the sake of pride, because he knew he was just going to get stripped down – proverbially – for his efforts.

"The top of your chest of drawers, shelves, and other neglected surfaces were dusted about four weeks ago, but not once since then. You used to keep up the tidiness of the place, but these days you don't go to the same effort. That says you were trying to impress, but no longer feel the need to. Cheap bottle of wine in the fridge, opened and half-drained of its contents. You're not a wine drinker, Inspector. You fancy whiskey more than any other type of alcoholic drink. It's been there for some time, at the very back behind middle-priority items like condiments. And your cologne bottle hasn't been touched in at least a month, guessing by the stiffness of the top and how it has a defined ring of water and diluted shaving cream residue around it on the counter." He was on a full-fledged rant, and Greg could only watch and listen with thinly veiled amazement. Okay, so he wasn't jaded to this. To Sherlock. He still managed to astound him now and then. The detective paused. "Shall I go on?"

"You may as well keep going. Otherwise you'll just explode at some point from withholding your own brilliance." There was sarcasm in Lestrade's voice, along with faint amusement and perhaps the slightest bit of affection. He was hardly upset anymore that Sherlock had taken the time to snoop through his place. Or even look in his bathroom and in the fridge. He must have been very bored, but a mild invasion of his privacy was better than having the other shoot up.

So Sherlock, with his appallingly incredible talents of observation and deduction, went on about the frequency of sheets being washed, the amount of leftover take-away in his fridge, the increase in work habits and utter decrease in mood, and how it all applied to the Inspector's unfortunately slow romantic life. Oddly enough, he was not smug about it, like when he revealed to someone how obvious it was that they just had a shag in the back of a car the night before. He was glowing with mental stimulation, but not shoving it in the other man's face. Just stating facts and sounding thrilled to be exercising his mind. Once he wrapped his head around it all, Greg was finding a hole in this theory.

"And what makes you believe this has anything to do with some sort of gender preference epiphany?" God, why was he letting himself sound so sure about it? He knew it only encouraged Sherlock. He was also only proving his own discomfort with the topic when he moved to get up and migrate to the kitchen for that drink he had promised himself. He listened as he fished through the cupboards for the bottle of whiskey and a glass, aware that the detective was not saying anything. Greg glanced back over his shoulder and rolled his eyes when he noticed that he was being watched again. Intently. Sherlock was obviously trying to observe him and piece together solid ground for his thesis. Was this how a gazelle felt under a leopard's gaze?

When pouring his own drink, he sent a questioning look towards the other. Sherlock suddenly cracked another smile and gave a light nod, his black curls bouncing a bit with the movement. The others at work had seen it; the occasional exchange of an almost silent language between the two. Lestrade had faint pride knowing that very few people understood the eccentric young man enough to share such a connection with him. He brought over two glasses, and the rest of the bottle tucked under his arm just in case.

"Well?" he asked as he handed Sherlock his drink and set the bottle on the coffee table.

"Well," the detective returned, not breaking his gaze. "Either you're still desperate to see me make a mistake in my deductions, or you're looking for me to give you an excuse to accept the fact that you are so far in the closet that you are bumping elbows with the White Witch."

Greg had to make a full pause after he sat down, staring at Sherlock with a dumbfounded expression. "Did you just use my apparent sexual identity issues to make a Narnia reference?"

Unbothered, Sherlock reclined in the sofa so he was practically lying across it, legs settling on the older man's lap and stunning him even more. "It was on the telly last night. Bloody awful movie, choking with obnoxious religious overtones. But yes, I'm implying that you are repressing these feelings to an extreme degree. Possibly because of your family's homophobic tendencies, but more likely because you are the Alpha Male type and have issues with letting anything compromise your masculinity."

Lestrade took a heftier sip from his glass than necessary, and swiftly shoved the legs off of his lap. Wonderful. He had an intruding, sociopathic addict playing his therapist. Though, he was fairly sure that the point of a counseling service was to allow you to talk about your problems, not have them presented for you. He took a deep breath and shook his head.

"You aren't exactly the ideal person for me to be talking to about this." As he spoke, he found Sherlock's legs promptly reclaiming their former place. The Inspector fixed him with a firm glare. Although, he knew it never worked on him. It only made the other grin.

"Whiskey and an observant friend. I don't think you could ask for a better opportunity to face this sort of problem head-on."

The use of the word 'friend' had Lestrade pausing from his second effort to shove Sherlock's legs away. It was like getting hit on the side of the head with a bag of bricks. He watched, perplexed, as the detective took a casual sip of his glass. The slight wrinkle of his nose, disturbing the otherwise porcelain appearance of his face, suggested that it was not to his taste. But he kept drinking it anyway. Greg had to swallow a sudden lump in his throat.

"What did you-"

"You heard me perfectly clear, and you won't hear me say it again."

From that point, there was an understanding between them. Well, more than an understanding; a deeper connection. They found acceptance within each other, for exactly who they were. And an unspoken trust flourished where there was once conflict and suspicion.

Within a year, Sherlock was clean and Lestrade was well on his way to accepting himself as a homosexual male. And these two things only happened from months of arguing, comforting, stubbornness, patience, and the occasional mind-blowing shag. Although a little more comfortable with his identity, Greg never spoke about it to anybody. It was one of the few things that Sherlock knew he just could not say out loud in front of the Inspector's colleagues. They both knew it was ridiculous of Lestrade to fear losing their respect because of it, but it was just how it was. He would come to terms with it eventually, but there was no rushing it.

Detective Inspector Lestrade was not the most proud man in London. He knew how to let abuse roll off his shoulders and when it was a good time to back down from a conflict. But he was a leader by nature. People respected him because he never lost his head, yet he would defend anything he believed in to the death. He believed in catching a murderer at any cost, in the good of mankind, and in his own judgment. And he lived by this every single day.

He also trusted Sherlock Holmes with his life, and the lives of those they were saving.

It used to be something he would not even admit to himself. It was a bloody mad thing to feel about a sociopath with a childish streak a mile wide, and Greg once shared the opinion that he was not to be trusted. But in the course of five years, after endless cases that spanned from simple murders to having a madman's gun to his temple, he learned that he could always count on Sherlock.

The detective was not entirely reliable, running off at the drop of a hat after some invisible evidence and sometimes scaring Lestrade by disappearing for days on end. But when he was needed, on a professional and personal level, he seemed to fabricate out of thin air. Nobody else in the Met knew him like Greg did, and they still despised him for sweeping into crimes scenes, making a scene, and leaving them with answers and dented egos. They were hostile. They still challenged the Inspector on his decision call him every time. Despite his authority, he could not put and end to their foul opinions. But he finally made his own very clear when their comments pushed him too far.

It was after he had helped John Watson haul Sherlock out of the pool of a collapsing community center. After he had talked the heavily concussed detective into going into and ambulance with the promise that he would follow. After he had been violently ill in a side alley as the internal tremors from diving into deep water caught up with him. After he came to accept that he no longer felt bitter towards Watson, because he had helped save the one life he could not bare to see snatched from the world.

It had been an offhand statement from Donovan that set him off. Lestrade didn't hear the entire thing, but he had caught a muttered, "-pity the sniper missed." The Inspector, who was in the middle of trying to dry his soaked clothes with a blanket from the departed ambulance, promptly snapped. He threw the blanket onto the hood of the cruiser and turned on heel to face her.

"I find it very despicable of a police officer to wish any sort of harm on a civilian, regardless of personal conflicts." As always, he spoke calmly. And his voice was dreadfully low, carrying something that sounded almost like a venomous snarl. She was not permitted to get a word in. "You may have a problem with Sherlock Holmes, but I could not care about your opinion of him if my life depended on it. And rest assured that if the gunman did have good aim, I would be wishing I had the chance to take the bullet for him. Go home and prepare for an early performance review in the morning."

From there, Greg went right to the hospital. He happily faced the task of helping John hold Sherlock down as he was being examined and stitched up. He caught a nasty cold from being in damp clothes and in a building full of sick people all night, but it was worth being there. As was finally finding common ground with Watson. And getting chewed out a little by his superiors for abandoning his place at the investigation of the pool.

Sherlock was worth it. That was not a secret he could keep.