The Many Names of G. Lestrade.
Summary: Lestrade doesn't have one name. It's quite a bit more complex than that. Character study.
A/N: Something that was going to be a bit of light hearted fun at fanon's inconsistent naming of Lestrade turned into a bit of a more serious character study. Enjoy.
Originally posted at LiveJournal: 30 March, 2011
His father normally calls him "Greg".
When he's achieved something of particular merit, his dad will refer to him as, "my boy!"
On the odd occasions he finds himself in trouble, he'll hear, "Gregory Geoff Lestrade!" in a tone that brokers no argument.
But what's nicest of all is knowing that no matter what, he'll always be his father's son.
Growing up without a mum isn't too bad. She's not dead, and his father isn't divorced from her. She's just... absent. They talk—not much—but enough that he knows the sound of her voice and the way she sometimes rolls her Rs.
She always calls him "James" though. Sometimes it doesn't bother him. Sometimes it does.
They normally talk over the phone, so he supposes she can't help herself and get confused. That is why she's in the hospital, after all; to get better, remember that James didn't survive labour and that Gregory is her only son.
She doesn't get better though. She ends up killing herself.
He still thinks, Just don't commit suicide. Still doesn't understand it—the act of taking yourself away from those who love you.
Gregory still instinctively turns his head when someone calls out, "James."
His sister and cousins all call him by his middle name.
They can't quite remember how that started, but his father has an amusing anecdote about how it involves an elaborate play featuring knights and dragons. On the other hand, his aunts all say it is because the girls think "Geoff" is a more handsome name than "Gregory", and his uncles all claim it really stems from a news piece they'd watched when they were really little.
So in the end, he's not quite sure what the story is, but he doesn't mind being called, "Geoff." It's their special nickname for him, in its own way.
During his pre-adolescent years, Gregory wishes he could be known as, "Gregory the Great."
He can't see why not. The name has a ring to it.
It reminds him of heroes. Gregory wouldn't mind being a hero one day.
When he is a teenager, he just wants to be called sexy by that girl in his class with the bright blue eyes. It isn't love, and it isn't lust, just that tentative infatuation some label as a crush.
Instead, he asks her out and she calls him creep instead. She never knew his name and he tries to forget hers.
At school, his English teacher always barks at him, "Eyes to the front, Lestrant!"
After the first few weeks, Gregory stops trying to correct the man and allows the blatant mispronunciation to occur. It lasts to the end of his schooling years.
Hell, he never said anything, so that teacher could very well still think of that as his name.
As an older teenager, he eventually does get referred to as sexy, but now he wants the pet names like sweetie or honey. He's had a girlfriend—more than one, to be honest—but he wants something a little more meaningful and serious than what he's had before.
God knows he doesn't tell the lads about that. Doesn't quite need other names to be added to his list.
They already call him, "Fox", mainly because he's quick with his feet and smart enough to get by. High school is a cruel and trying age – he supposed that he could have easily landed a nastier reference.
For a while he floats in the rift between no school and no real idea of his future by working at the local shops. During that time he's generally referred to as, "Oi, you!" which doesn't bother him as much as it should have.
One night as he is closing up shop, he sees a mugging. He does not move; he just stands there, shocked. Company policy rings in his ears: See a gun or a knife? Don't play hero, give 'em the money and pray to God they don't hurt ya.
Frozen, he watches a man hastily empty his pockets and hands over his wallet to a masked crook wielding a knife. It all happens so fast.
He calls himself a coward for not reacting. He could have called out, or got some help, or at least have done something.
A week later, he decides he wants to become a policeman.
They call him, "Rookie," which would be irritating if it weren't what they call all the new police officers fresh from the Academy.
Being a Police Constable isn't so much of the thrilling criminal hunts he might have once thought they were. The job involves far more paperwork, a lot of crying people, and more hours than he feels exist in a day.
It's draining, but it is pretty exhilarating when he gets called a Constable for the first time.
At work, everyone refers to him as "Lestrade" because it's easier. There are four other people named some variation of "Gregory" or "Greg", and he supposed his surname made him distinctive.
When he becomes a Sergeant, he can't be prouder. It's a title he worked hard for, taken a few years and a lot of blood, sweat and tears.
He spends the night celebrating with the boys at the pub. There's a fair amount of alcohol, but not enough that it gets out of hands. He excuses himself and steps outside for a quick smoke.
There, he meets Jennifer. It's only a few months later that they marry and he can call himself a husband.
He feels like he's on top of the world and flying high.
Eleven months after the small wedding, Gregory is a father.
Father, he thinks, still stunned. A dad. I'm a parent.
For the first time, he gets to name someone.
He calls his son Jack, murmuring as he holds his baby in his arm, wife sighing happily beside them.
Inspector is an odd title to be carrying around. He feels a little off balance. His wife tells him he's earned it, certainly earned it with all the hours he puts in. Which is true—he has been attending the lectures and the seminars and the extra training needed for all of this. He can't remember the last time he's had a good night's sleep.
But it is all worth it. Right? He asks his wife that.
Her voice is a little bitter when she calls him sweetheart.
"Jack is turning four years old soon," she says, "but I hope he knows you're his father."
"Of course he knows."
"Sometimes I wonder whether you do."
Years later, he'll look back and realise saying, "Sorry, I have work to do," is not the answer he should've given. He wonders whether that would've stopped anything.
Then he remembers getting promoted to Detective Inspector nearly a year after and realises that, unless he had quit his job then and there, nothing could've stopped the train wreck of his marriage crashing.
As a policeman, Gregory faces a torrent of names.
Idiot. Wanker. Prick. Poofter. Arsehole. Dick. Cock.
And those were the clean insults. But none of them hurt. He can disassociate from them, from the drunken calls and the angered shouts. He can put that behind him and walk away unscathed. Strangers can call him anything they like. It's no skin off his back.
Then Jennifer makes him a divorcee and suddenly everything around him collapses.
In the week after the finalisation of the divorce papers, Gregory meets Sherlock Holmes.
He is working on a string of violent assaults that seem unconnected. The Met are frustrated beyond belief and Gregory is really piling on the paperwork and overtime—not that he minds it so much as he once did. With his marriage broken, there's no real reason to go home, where it's empty and cold.
The crime scene is wet and cold, but at least he's doing something and not feeling absolutely useless. It's a new victim, bruises littering their arms, and he's stumped.
This Sherlock fellow waltzes in and in five minutes later, figures out his broken relationship from his missing wedding ring and tan line on his finger, not to mention the faint bits of shaving foam behind his jaw line. Sherlock calls him ignorant fool.
Before Gregory can say anything, Sherlock solves the case and walks away.
Two days later, Gregory makes up his mind.
The rest of the Met call him, "insane" and variants thereof, but Gregory asks whether Sherlock Holmes would be interested in a more permanent position in helping the Met solve crimes.
Sherlock looks at him with a calculating expression and says, "Good call, Detective Inspector."
He then scribbles something down on a scrap paper and says, "This is my website. Look into it if you need help. If you do, please make it interesting."
The Science of Deduction, Gregory reads silently.
"Excuse me, but what are you?"
"I'm a Consulting Detective," Sherlock replies carelessly. "But that's just a title. It doesn't quite matter. You'd need to call me regardless."
Gregory Geoff Lestrade.
It doesn't matter in the end what you call him, Gregory thinks. His son is over his place for the weekend—joint custody, sadly enough, allows him more time with his son than before when he was married—and they're building towers out of Lego blocks.
Jack finishes a haphazard tower leaning dangerously to the left, sucking his thumb all the while. That was a habit Gregory and Jennifer were hoping he would grow out of without much need for interference.
"Dad," Jack says suddenly, and that's enough to make Gregory smile.
That's all he needs to hear, really.
A/N: Wow. I ended up writing an entire back story. How random. This was meant to be a quick writing exercise. O_O
A part of me wants to write a spin-off where James really did survive and grew up in a foster home with the Moriarty family. OH THE HORROR.