Okay, so I couldn't resist writing a little more Lestrade. You can find the sequel to this under the title 'Close To Home'. Thanks for reading, and yes, this time it really is the end.
It's a week or so after when John finds himself at the pub with Lestrade. Sherlock stayed home, tapping away at the keyboard on John's laptop with a familiar gleam in his eye, but he pressed his card into John's hand. "Buy him a drink on me," causing John to grin. "Been learning how to deal with people you actually like, Sherlock?" There's just a grunt, but John knows he's right.
The whole force is out tonight, and John and Lestrade find themselves pleasantly merry without having bought a drop themselves. "So," John starts, clapping a hand to the DI's shoulder. "Lestrade."
"Greg!" the man shouts over the noise.
"Greg, then. You never told me what happened!"
"Oh, the usual. Bunch of bloody kids, half of them didn't know which end to even hold the guns at." John laughs, and feels someone tap him on the shoulder. It's a young man, one he's sure he recognises from the odd crime scene here and there.
"He's being modest," the man interrupts, placing another pint in front of Greg. "If he hadn't been there we'd have been in trouble." Greg tries to wave the man away, but John grins.
"Yeah – they weren't nearly as inexperienced as he's making out. Couple of the lads would've ended up in hospital if Greg here hadn't been running the operation." John turns, and sees the DI sinking into his seat, a hint of red creeping into his cheeks.
"Oh really? Tactical genius, is he?"
"That he is – we brought in about thirty kids, cleared the entire warehouse, and got away with no more than a couple of bruises!"
"Oi, Brad – it's your round over here!" someone shouts across the pub, and the man mock salutes then leaves. John turns round with a roar of laughter.
"Not planning on telling me?"
"Didn't want to brag."
"Didn't want to brag? You bloody deserve to, you fantastic man." Greg grins, and leans back against the bar.
"Anyway, what about you? Last I heard you broke into the place by yourself and got in a fight with the main man?"
"Ah, you know me – not gonna go down without a fight now, am I?"
"Suppose not -" John notices the room go oddly quiet, and turns in his chair, his balance wavering slightly. There's a familiar figure stood at the door, lean and ever so slightly awkward looking. He meets John's eyes, and John goes to meet him at the door.
"Sherlock?" The taller man is looking around nervously, eyes never quite stopping on anyone.
"I came to, uh…what they did – um, I…" John smiles, places a hand on his forearm, and feels him relax slightly.
"To say thanks? Just buy them a round." Sherlock looks at the floor, and John laughs, tugging him over to the bar. "Okay, I'll buy them a round, using your card, and I'll tell them it's from you. Better?"
"Yes. Much. Er. Yes." They go to the bar, and eventually the whole force has a pint in front of them. Sherlock stays close to John, who guides him over to where Lestrade is sitting. "You?" the DI shouts, his ears starting to go red from the alcohol. "In a pub? Bloody hell!" Sherlock looks awkward, and John shifts so that their elbows are touching.
"I told him I'd need a hand getting home," John lies, "It's your fault - you and all those pints you kept sneaking in front of me!"
"You didn't have to drink them! Anyway, s'good to see you." He slaps Sherlock roughly on the back, and John sees everything in perfect detail – the hand connecting, the way every inch of him tenses, ready for flight, his eyes darting around the room, the automatic flinch closer to him – and grabs him around the wrist, feigning a fall. "Drunker than I thought," he says, flashing a brilliant smile at anyone looking. "Should probably get home, on shift in the morning." Sherlock looks down at him, all concern, and John shrugs "You know what Sarah's like."
"I'll take your share of free drinks then, shall I?"
"You do that, Greg, you deserve it." He opens his arms, and shares a brief hug with the man. "Have a good night!" John begins to make his way out of the pub, and, after hordes of handshakes and hugs goodbye, they stagger into the cold air.
John straightens up almost instantly, and gestures round the corner. Once away from the entrance, he stops, and leans against the wall. "You alright?"
"Y'know…" Sherlock looks away for a second, and then nods."Yes. I am." John nods back, and then Sherlock frowns slightly.
"Course I am. Why'd you turn up anyway?"
"I told you, I wanted to show gratitude."
"And…?" John needles, and Sherlock glowers.
"Come on." He starts to walk away, and then turns back to ensure John is following. Sure enough, John catches up to his side, and then catches his hand. Sherlock doesn't look at him, and to the outside world, doesn't even react. But to John, who can feel the faint squeeze in return, he knows exactly why Sherlock came and what he means. Thank you. John barges his arm against the taller mans, throwing him off balance for a moment, and gets a brilliant smile in return. "Idiot."