Title: Waiting

Spoilers: None

Summary: Lestrade awaits news of John and Sherlock at the hospital.

Author's Notes: The first of two companion pieces. I wanted to do something with the parent roles that Lestrade and Mrs. Hudson play in John and Sherlock's lives.

Medical stuff is as accurate as I could make it, but some of it has been fudged for storytelling's sake.

There was something particularly grim about hospital coffee. It was even worse than the coffee at the station and Lestrade was under the impression that was the worst coffee in London, if not the entire United Kingdom. Yet, somehow he was on his third cup as he waited for news of John and Sherlock. The waiting was where they got you, he supposed. The waiting was what made you think you needed coffee, no matter how disgusting or expensive it might be.

There was really no need for him to sit around and drink bad coffee. There was no obligation. But Lestrade felt that isomeone/i should be waiting and giving a damn if John and Sherlock were all right. They weren't official employees; he had no paperwork telling him their next of kin. For all the hours he'd worked with them he didn't know anything about their families - if they had any or who they might liked called. He seemed to vaguely remember John mentioning a sister and Sherlock speaking of his mother, but he had no numbers to call or names to go by. Besides, if Donovan or Dimmock or even Anderson were hurt, he would wait for them. And, to Lestrade, Sherlock and John were just as much 'his' people as they were.

There was also the guilt that he hadn't found them sooner. The only clue they'd had to go by was Sherlock shouting 'aerosol!' into his mobile before it was cut off. In fact, given the strange interworking of Sherlock Holmes' mind, it was a minor miracle they'd been able to figure out his line of thought at all. But Lestrade couldn't help but feel that if he'd been a little cleverer Sherlock and John wouldn't have been as badly off as they were.

By the time they'd gotten to the warehouse, it had been cleared out, leaving only Sherlock and John behind. They were held in separate rooms, both badly beaten up and both more concerned that the other was being taken care of first.

John had taken a 6'5" constable clean off his feet when they found him and was about to clonk him with a piece of concrete when Lestrade managed to call him off. He was obviously concussed, repeating himself unnecessarily, having a bit of trouble with his s's and occasionally losing focus in his eyes and grabbing on to Lestrade's arm as though he were going to fall over, even though he was on the floor. One of his wrists was bent at a wrong angle, though he assured Lestrade that it wasn't his 'scalpel hand'. As though that was what Lestrade was worried about.

He'd left John in the care of the constable, who was very good natured about being attacked and in fact seemed to find it amusing. Lestrade kept his name in mind as someone who might potentially work well with Sherlock.

Sherlock himself was across the main room in a small office, curled up in the foetal position when they found him. His face was black and blue and his breathing was hoarse with pain. He started talking the moment Lestrade crouched down beside him, first asking if John was all right, then snapping at Donovan that he'd rather have a monkey with a chainsaw see to him than receive medical attention from her, then starting in on a long diatribe about his attackers. It was such a long, rapid diatribe that Lestrade eventually gave up trying to remember it and simply turned on the memo ap in his mobile and held it out for him while he ranted. That's why he'd downloaded the bloody thing in the first place, after all. Once Sherlock was done, he'd asked once more if John was all right and promptly passed out.

That had been about three hours ago now and John and Sherlock had been in surgery for one and a half of them. Donovan was back at the station, running down the leads that John and Sherlock had given them and occasionally sending him snarky texts regarding the relative usefulness of Sherlock's report. For all of his brilliance, Lestrade had to admit that when it came to getting descriptions of people, John's concise approach had more value. It was far easier to put out a BOLO for a man with black hair and a scar than for one who'd broken his leg as a child and probably had at least one Polish parent.

Eventually the surgeon who was looking after Sherlock made his way in to the waiting room and over to Lestrade. He was a pompous, snotty sort of man who walked with a swagger and refused to use anything but medical jargon, no matter who he was speaking to. Lestrade understood exactly one thing of what he said - Sherlock was out of surgery. That he was certain of. He also thought, from what he could piece together, that the internal bleeding was worse than they'd originally thought, but had been stopped. Sherlock was now in some place called PACU, which the doctor explained, in an extremely patronizing manner, was where patients went to wake up after surgery. The doctor refused to make any predictions about whether or not Sherlock would recover, but assured him that for now, he was resting comfortably.

The clock on the wall of the waiting room had just hit midnight when John's surgeon came in. She was a small, attractive oriental woman who came up barely to Lestrade's shoulder and smiled in a way that made you smile back automatically. She sat in the next chair and leaned in to speak to him.

"Dr. Watson has been out of surgery for awhile," she said. "But he woke up from the anaesthetic a bit combative. I wanted to make sure it was just a result of the sedation and not a sign of a more serious head injury than we first thought."

"John isn't usually combative," Lestrade said. He thought about that for a moment and then added, "unless it's necessary."

"It's not uncommon with military personnel, especially those who've been in the heart of things like Dr. Watson," she said. "He's calmed down now. His friend woke up and said 'John, you're being ridiculous' and he settled down." Lestrade smiled at that. "He's resting comfortably now. The internal injuries are minimal, though the break in his wrist is pretty serious. We've got that sorted out for now. He'll probably be in the hospital for a few days for monitoring, but he should make a full recovery."

Lestrade let out a long, involuntary sigh and nodded. "Thank you," he said. She smiled and he smiled back.

"Both Dr. Watson and his friend will be in the recovery unit for the next few hours, until beds free up for them on the ward," she said. "A nurse will come out and tell you when they've been moved, unless you're planning on going home?"

Lestrade thought for a moment and then shook his head. "I'll be here," he said.

She nodded and they stood up together. He shook her hand before she left and thanked her again.

He felt more relieved than he expected to feel at the news that both John and Sherlock would be all right. He'd always felt very protective of Sherlock, who went through the world without looking where he was going and Lestrade felt like someone needed to make sure he wasn't going to walk into something or fall into a pot hole. Now he had John, who was a genuinely good person and was, achingly slowly, inching Sherlock into being a good person, or at least a less indifferent one. Whatever their flaws or virtues, they were his people. And they were, for the moment at least, okay.

Now it was time for more waiting- and another cup of coffee.