Disclaimer: I am not Steven Moffat or Mark Gattis or the BBC or in any way possible and so therefore do not own this interpretation of Sherlock Holmes ... unfortunately.
Author's Notes: Spoilers for The Fall. You have been warned. Also this piece hasn't been beta'd. Otherwise this is a post-ep fic with Lestrade as the central character and a heavy dose of John. Poor John. Just christ. Like seriously. The whole episode was brilliant - Andrew Scott especially was beautifully twisted as Moriarty.
Because it's Sherlock Holmes, it is Lestrade who gets the call.
He was sitting there, coffee in hand. Just sitting there, and drinking his coffee, trying to be calm, trying to be on top of it all. Because his wife has left him, he doesn't see his kids anymore – or hardly at all he should say what with his job and that they are now living in Dorset with the in-laws. He's good at keeping on top of it because he's the one they all come to for help – when Sally's mother took one too many pills he was the one she called, and when … so many whens. He was the one Sherlock Holmes came to when he was impossibly strung out and high.
Because he's Detective Inspector Gregory Lestrade, and so it is no surprise to him when Sally comes into his office (he hates it because it cant be true but he's grateful because even if she is wrong thank god she had the bravery to consider something he couldn't – she did her duty). She stares at him for a moment, her voice positively quivers as she tells him Sherlock Holmes took a swan dive of St Barts.
Sally hates Sherlock, always has. This was her moment of triumphant in a way and yet … when faced with the consequences of your actions, no matter how justified, the common man will doubt themselves. He can see that doubt there for a split second, that moment of 'what if I did get this wrong' even though she isn't because of all that evidence. Sally hates Sherlock. She hates deathsuicidemurder even more.
He moves like lightning, and it seems as if the entire Yard is following him as he storms out of the office, no coat, the coffee sinking into the carpet as he slams on the accelerator, the sirens roaring, pounding in his ears because Sherlock Holmes can't die. This can't be true. Surely he wouldn't.
He doesn't no what to think, doesn't know who to turn to, doesn't no what to do. Ice has gripped his heart, as a hundred tons pulls him down. He reaches Bart's, pushes through the crowd, barking orders, his stomach heaving at that blood. So much blood, so much blood. Too much blood. Why Sherlock? Why the hell would you do this?
The rain feels so cold as it falls.
Thought and action meld together. He closes his eyes squeezes them shut. Draws a deep breath. He needs to be in control. He needs to hold it together. Silence descends but for a moment. Another breath. Slowly, slowly now, as his heart hammers. His eyes open, he sees Sally taking control. He looks back to that blood, so much of it, now running into the drain.
The coppers are keeping back the crowd, people are being questioned – what happened, what happened, what happened? What did you see? See? Hear? A roar of voices and questions, his eyes sweep over the crowd and that's when he spots a smaller crowd, much smaller. Only four: two women, a small boy and an elderly man. They're surrounding a bent over figure, who is against the wall, head down. A familiar figure.
"John," he breathes.
Sally glances his way, and then follows his line of sight.
He can only nod as he moves through the crowd, pushing through them all. He comes across the crowd, flashes his badge and kneels down: not too close, but close enough to be there in case John needs to watch out. John is a soldier, he reminds himself. Jumper-wearing, jam-eating, tea-lover John Watson is a soldier. He's had 'bad days'; he's killed people. He has just lost his best friend, even if it was a false friend at that.
Except those laughs they share together, the petty bickering at crime scenes between one another … that can't be faked, got it can't. Even if Sherlock is a fraud with everything else, even if that is the case than please, his heart prays, let their friendship be real. Let it be.
"John," he says softly, calmly.
There is no response except more breathing, more staggered careful breathing as John is fighting for composure.
"John – it's okay, perfectly okay,"
He doesn't even know why he's saying that but he needs John to know its okay to just break down, that they've all been shocked, that this is all terrible horrific, that this isn't fair and John can break down.
No response, he didn't expect any.
"He's been like this for a while, Inspector," says one of the women, "We should probably get him inside or something,"
Lestrade nods but keeps his eyes trained on John. The soldier. The soldier, the soldier. Sherlock's warrior, his blogger, a man who gets lost in his nightmares – he can still remember one night, early on. It had been when John had just moved in and while Sherlock refused to come down and share Friday Night Drink's at the Pub, they all figured John might not. He can remember sitting and really getting to know the Doctor – or as best as he could: about his sister, her drinking, his mother, her cancer, his father, the lorry, the drive to make his life mean something and how together they both shared their first – both alien circumstances but that same hollow feeling that spreads so very deep and breaks apart at you slowly.
John is a soldier.
"Look at me," he orders.
John's body stiffens in response.
A fluid movement as John stares at him, with eyes that Lestrade wished were dead, empty because what they contain now is fire and ice, the rage of an angel, the pure essence of everything that haunts John Watson late at night. Everything is there, burning in his eyes.
"It isn't okay."
Each word is singular. Spoken slowly. Emphasis commanded with ease.
"It is not okay."
Lestrade is all too aware of how John's right hand is clenched, and how the Chief's nose was not only bleeding but broken, dislodged and out of place.
He doesn't move though.
"You fucking turned your back on him," seethes John, "He is the one thing that fucking matters. The one thing and you just turn your back. Friendly fire. Fuck you."
Lestrade can only nod, and knows not to speak because nothing will comfort John now except that desire to let go.
"He trusted you. He doesn't trust people. He doesn't have friends. He doesn't …" John swallows, body starting to shake.
Lestrade reaches out then, his hand coming to rest on John's worn leather jacket. He squeezes, to let him know that he will not be alone. They are all hurting. He breathes in – stars erupt on the side of his head, head throbbing, voices yelling and John's on top of him, straddling him, hand resting on his throat, firm, fingers slightly curling, his fist frozen an inch from his face.
The Yard is around them, trying to calm John down, Sally's voice telling them not to grab him but to wait. Civilians flash their camera phones, and there are voices and shrieks. It's a circus. It's the jungle. Lestrade shuts it out as he focuses in on John Watson and those eyes.
They meet together: him pleading, pleading for John to come back to himself, to get off, and that he understands for fuck's sake. That he's there for him. And then there is John: so furious but so shocked with what he's done because John Watson doesn't know who he can turn to at the moment. He's lost, floating, adrift, falling.
The hand leaves his throat, John pushing himself off and remaining on the ground. Officers move to arrest him but he finds his voice, orders them to stop, to leave them alone. They aren't sure because they all know who John Watson is: they read his blog, they see his picture in the paper occasionally next to Sherlock. They know.
"I'm taking him to the station," he lies to Sally, as he gets up, pulling up John with him.
She nods, understanding.
John doesn't fight him back to the car. Just comes along behind him back into that numb state of mind. He sits besides Lestrade in the passenger seat, and Lestrade grips the steering wheel, driving slowly and carefully as his eyes water slightly.
No not now, he tells himself. Get John sorted – and then. His heart tears itself a new one as he considers Mrs Hudson. What a cluster fuck. They're landlady, not their housekeeper: always so nice, putting up with Sherlock's antics and the Yard busting in every now and then for a fake drug's bust, Offering them tea and biscuits. He bites the inside of his lip, tasting copper.
"This isn't the Yard," says John, his voice with an infection of emotion.
Lestrade nods. "No, it's my place – I think you could use a break,"
He parks the car outside, gets out, moving quickly over to open the door for John but he's already up and out. Once again John is following him, perfectly silent. As they wait for the elevator Lestrade can see John favouring one side. His mind flickers back to a house in Brixton and a stranger with a cane being brought along to a serial suicide.
"Do you expect me to sleep or something?"
Lestrade doesn't answer him until they are inside his flat.
He is truthful because he knows while some people that turn to sleep to escape, John Watson is not one of those people.
"There's some food in the fridge, watch what you want, there's a boxing bag in my study, and the hot water can take a while to get started and there are some towels in the right cupboard – I need to head back but John, please for the love of fucking god do not leave this flat,"
"You can't keep me here,"
That line is meant to be spoken by someone who would run away but he can tell that just by looking at John, that he will remain here until Lestrade comes back. He's too tired to do anything else.
"No, I can't … but I'm asking you," replies Lestrade, all the same.
He heads towards the door, needing to get back.
"What about Mrs Hudson – I need to …"
Lestrade turns sharply. "John, please. I'll take care of it."
Because that is what he does.
He goes to see her next, holds her in a tight hug, makes her a cup of tea which she pushes aside, pulling out a bottle of Old Scotch and they share a drink together. He lets her know that John is safe and is at his. He'll bring him back tomorrow. The landlady nods.
After that he then goes and deals with the investigation, all too aware that there is going to be an internal affair investigation on him and his team. He picks up Sally, goes sees Molly at the morgue who stands so stiffly, biting her lip, not crying as they stand over his broken corpse, white sheet over him to preserve whatever dignity remains.
"I don't think he's a fraud," she calls after Lestrade and Sally.
He doesn't look at Sally in the eyes, heading back to the Yard. There are questions, phones ringing off the hook, the higher-ups bustling in and out, Anderson sitting at Sally's desk, eyes unfocused, while Sally makes him coffee. He doesn't drink it. Lets it go cold.
At home John is lying on his coach, half-asleep with bloodied knuckles and an uneaten full bowl of pasta on the floor, next to the coach while The Simpsons title sequences plays on the television. He turns it off, picks up the bowl and cleans up. He grabs a couple of blankets and drapes them over John. The soldier nods at him with thanks. This is the moment Lestrade could sit down and talk with John.
Instead he turns off the lights and goes to bed, stretching out.
His chest tightens, his eyes growing wet. He turns onto his side, pulling over his duvet, curling into a ball and that's when it hits him. He breathes in, tears obscuring his vision. It can't all be true. He doesn't want it to be true. Sherlock Holmes can't be a fraud. Christ, that isn't possible. He's a rude, arrogant twat who deserves a good spanking but in no way is he a fraud. There is no way. Because while there are many cases that work themselves up too neatly there are all those others where John gets hurt and there is hell to pay.
Sherlock Holmes can't be dead. He isn't dead. It's just another game, a fucking game. A mean trick. Sherlock will turn up again, his older brother Mycroft will exert his 'influence' and they'll be back to catching criminals. A dry sob escapes him, he sucks down air like a dying man. He can't deal with this. He can't. He just wants to rewind time and have his family back. Come home and have a glass of wine with Maggie, while Ellie sneaks home late with another piercing and they have a row ('Dad I'm fifteen for Christ sake!'), which ends in them watching old episodes of Top Gear and debating cars. Him taking out Peter out for ice-cream and to hear about his 'girl problems' (which makes him chuckle late at night with Maggie as Peter is only eight).
He wants go back to running after Sherlock's brilliance and sharing amused looks with John. He wants it to be the way it should be, the way it's meant to be. He needs Sherlock to come back and to become a good man. He cannot go through with this – he cannot have this ending.
Somehow he does go through with it. Somehow things slowly pick up. Internal investigations go on but he keeps his job. All charges (battery of a police officer, escape) are dropped in regards to John as it soon becomes clear to the Yarders that 'Doctor Watson is not to be bothered'. When Lestrade heads outside for a smoke, he salutes the CCTV cameras, knowing Mycroft is watching over them.
He attends the funeral. Hardly anyone is there. John. Mycroft. Mrs Hudson. Molly. A man called Angelo. A scattering of others – Sherlock's infamous homeless network no doubt. He stays until it's only him, Mycroft, Mrs Hudson and John. They share a look before Mycroft takes them back, leaving John and Mrs Hudson standing at his grave.
He doesn't want to deal with this.
But he has to.
Author's Notes: I hope you enjoyed this piece, and that it helps in the wake which is The Fall. Any and all thoughts are very much appreciated.