Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Notes: This operates in the same universe as "Nothing's All Black, But Then Nothing's All White" but can be read separately. They're merely some missing scenes from the new series, as I felt Lestrade needed more screen-time. Title comes from Stephen Sondheim's "No One Is Alone."
Lestrade gazed at the sky, marveling at the number of stars they could make out here in the countryside, away from the city lights. He didn't often get the luxury of a clear country night, even on holiday, and wanted to take advantage of it for the few hours they had left out here. His gaze fell on a particularly bright point of light, and he debated for a while whether it was a star or Jupiter. The time of year was right for either, he knew.
"Jupiter," a voice said behind him.
"Do you think?" Lestrade said without turning, hearing the crunch of leaves that signaled Sherlock's approach.
"I know," the other man corrected, and held out his hand as he came to stand at Lestrade's shoulder. Lestrade sighed, and handed over the packet of cigarettes.
"John's going to kill me, you know. Promised I wouldn't keep sneaking you the damn things."
Sherlock tugged a cigarette from the pack and handed it back to Lestrade. He pulled a lighter from his own pocket and said, "But you never could say no to me, could you, Detective Inspector?"
"No, indeed not," Lestrade admitted readily, and they smoked in silence for a moment, each gazing at the sky. Lestrade knew what he was looking for, but could not imagine what Sherlock had found so intriguing. He wasn't about to ask, though, for it might break the spell and chase his companion off. They had so few moments like this anymore. It seemed that the only time they could talk was over a cigarette; a shared vice.
"Besides, John has hardly my powers of observation. It won't take too much to fool him."
"I wouldn't underestimate that doctor of yours," Lestrade said, and smiled to himself when Sherlock didn't bother to correct him. "Why did you pretend not to know my name, earlier?"
He felt Sherlock shrug. "You were being irritating. Showing up here, on my case?"
"Your brother asked."
"Since when did you do whatever my brother asked?" Sherlock shot back. "I seem to recall you giving him a black eye the last time he had the misfortune of kidnapping you."
Lestrade grinned at the memory. "Yeah, well, this time he seemed to really be looking out for your best interests. And I still had time off from the holiday, so here we are."
Sherlock hummed around his cigarette, and after a moment asked, "How are the girls?"
"Well, I think. Really well. Angela's seven now, can you believe it?"
"She was learning to walk when we first met."
"God, that's right. I'd forgotten." Lestrade took a drag on his cigarette. "They miss you, you know. You should come 'round and see them sometime."
"Hmm," Sherlock said. "At your place or their mother's?"
Lestrade felt his spine stiffen. "How did you know about that?"
"That you're getting a divorce, but haven't told them yet?" Sherlock snorted. "It's practically written all over you, Greg. And let's not forget that you showed up without your ring. That's not very wise, considering you'd be seeing me. Did you really expect me to not notice?"
"We've been keeping trying to keep it quiet," Lestrade muttered. "Wanted to give 'em one last holiday before it all goes to hell. I've already found a new place. Amanda's getting custody, of course. Better that way. I'll see 'em a few times a month. But we're trying to keep things as normal as possible until we work out all the details. Family trips, dinner when I can make it home, that sort of thing. Dunno if it's right, but it's what we're doing. And the girls seem happy enough."
"Amanda's still seeing the PE teacher." It wasn't a question, and Lestrade wondered what gave him away. Or rather, what gave Amanda away.
"He'll be moving in soon as I'm out."
Sherlock cursed under his breath, quietly, but it made Lestrade jump all the same. He rarely swore, and doing so usually signaled true anger.
"It isn't right," Sherlock hissed, and Lestrade raised an eyebrow.
"I didn't realize you had become so invested in my personal life."
"You're the reason I'm alive today," Sherlock snapped. "I've watched your children grow up. How can I not be invested, Lestrade?"
Because you're Sherlock, Lestrade resisted saying, and instead busied himself with his cigarette for a moment.
"I worry for them, most days. My kids," he said at length, though he didn't know why. He hadn't ever said as much to anyone, not even to John on pub nights when they'd had enough drink to coat their minds and loosen leaden tongues. "But sometimes all I can do is worry about myself."
Lestrade took one last draw on the cigarette and then dropped it onto the cobbled stones, grinding it out with the heel of his shoe. He went on. "Tonight, out on the moor - I was bloody terrified, Sherlock. We all were. And yet, that's nothing compared to the terror I feel when I think about my life in a month or so. I won't have my wife; won't have my kids. The girls have been alive less than a decade and...and I still feel like I've known them forever. I don't know anything else. What the fuck am I going to do?"
He gave in and pulled out another cigarette.
"I don't believe," Sherlock said finally while Lestrade fumbled for his lighter, "that I'm in any position to offer you advice, Lestrade."
Lestrade snorted as he lit his cigarette. "No, s'pose not. But you don't need to; you've done more than enough already."
He felt Sherlock frown. "I don't follow."
"When I worry about the girls," Lestrade said softly, thankful that it was dark and he wasn't looking at his companion, "I think about you. Oh, not like that. Honestly. No, I mean that your parents split up, too, when you were fairly young. And you turned out all right."
"I believe there are very few who would agree with that assessment, Lestrade," Sherlock said, and his hesitant tone told Lestrade that he had been surprised by the words.
"Fuck 'em," Lestrade said promptly, and Sherlock grinned. "I don't know what I'm going to do, really I don't, but I have at least that going for me. They're going to be fine, because you were - because you are. S'all that really matters to me, in the end."
"Why did you come?"
The question was brisk; the segue, abrupt.
"I already told you that," Lestrade said carefully.
"No, it isn't like you to do Mycroft's bidding. You could have sent any number of officers out here, but instead you chose to come yourself. Why?"
Lestrade drew deeply on the cigarette, and didn't speak for several moments.
"He called me personally," he said at length. "He's never done that before, you know. And he sounded...so very out of sorts. He'd seen what happened the other night - said you were terrified out of your mind. Affected horribly by whatever you saw out there on the moor. God only knows how he knew about it, but he did. He told me about your conversation with John -" and here Lestrade felt Sherlock wince, apparently ashamed over his harsh words towards his friend, " - and said he wanted me to send someone out to check on you."
"Someone. And yet you came yourself."
"You came," Sherlock said slowly, turning to face him, "because...I was afraid."
And he'd never thought of it like that before, but Lestrade supposed it was true. He hadn't even considered for a moment sending another officer, and had been tugging on his coat and halfway out the door before Mycroft had finished the phone call. Lestrade cleared his throat and met Sherlock's gaze steadily.
"You needed me."
Sherlock let out a strangled laugh and turned back to the moor, bringing the cigarette to his lips with a slightly-less-than-steady hand and blowing out a frustrated puff of smoke.
"God help me," he murmured finally. "Yeah, I did."
"Did it help?"
Sherlock grimaced in the dark. He finished his cigarette, and shook his head when Lestrade offered another.
"It was good to see another familiar face," he admitted at length. "After...well, after the night before...I was not myself. Seeing you there, at the inn...I was relieved."
He trailed off and didn't elaborate. Lestrade nodded to himself; he'd done the right thing, then.
"When are you heading back to London?" Sherlock asked, clearing his throat and changing the subject swiftly as Lestrade ground out the remains of the cigarette and turned to go back to the inn.
"First thing in the morning. Been a hell of a time, here. I'll be glad to get home." Lestrade shoved his hands in his pockets and hunched his shoulders against a sudden chill. "You should come 'round for dinner this week. And bring John."
Sherlock frowned. "Why would I bring John?"
"Well, the girls are gonna want to meet Uncle Sherlock's new -" Lestrade paused, considering, " - blogger."
"We're not..." Sherlock trailed off, the protest dying on his lips. "Never mind."
"I know you're not," Lestrade said patiently. "But he's still a part of your life now. A big part. So come on, you'll love it."
"I believe you mean that you will love it, Lestrade. You always did enjoy a show. But subjecting John and myself to hours of Amanda quizzing us? No, I believe we will pass."
"You'll get to spend time with the girls," Lestrade tried. Sherlock said nothing, and he nudged the detective with his elbow. "C'mon, you haven't seen them in months. Not since - well."
"Adler. Yes, I'm aware." Sherlock paused at the base of the staircase that led up to Lestrade's room.
"Ellen fancies she's nearly as tall as you now. Had a growth spurt not all that long ago; can't stop talking about the day when she finally gets to tower over you," Lestrade said around a smile, and watched the corner of Sherlock's mouth twitch. "Oh, and you'll be proud - Angela nearly burned down the kitchen last week. You've been a terrible influence, uncle."
Lestrade paused, and then added, "And it'd be nice to pretend for a few more hours that everything's all right. One last dinner. What d'you say?"
"Very well," Sherlock said, punctuating his words with a brisk nod. "How about Wednesday evening?"
"Six-thirty work for you?" At Sherlock's assent, Lestrade said, "Great. I'll tell Amanda. Try not to get yourself killed before then."
"Don't tempt me," Sherlock sighed. "Good night, Lestrade."
He turned to go down the short hallway that led to the room he was sharing with John, but Lestrade called him back.
"I haven't been able to say this in years, so I'm gonna savor it while I can," Lestrade told him, smirking. "You were wrong, you know."
"Oh?" Sherlock arched an eyebrow, clearly humoring him. "What about, exactly?"
"Y'don't have just the one friend."
And with that, Lestrade turned to go back up to his room, leaving a thoroughly dumbfounded Sherlock standing in the corridor.