Title: How to Acquire a Consulting Detective

Disclaimer: These characters are borrowed, not mine.

Spoilers: None.

Pairings: None.

Rating: T

Warnings: Mentions of drug use.

Wordcount: ~1350

Summary: The first three times Lestrade meets Sherlock, with an unexpected appearance by Mycroft.

The first time Gregory Lestrade meets Sherlock, there are no murders, or kidnappings, or lunatic bombers—in fact, none of the things that Greg will come to almost automatically associate with Sherlock in a few years. Greg is only a sergeant, and Anderson hasn't even come into into the picture yet.

No, it's the cocaine. Of course it's the cocaine.

Greg hates seeing lives consumed by drugs, hates it more when they're young. Male, nineteen, says the file, and the tiny, neat puncture marks on the inside of both elbows tell Greg far more than he wants to know.

"Sherlock Holmes," he reads off the top, shaping carefully the unfamiliar name. "Possession of cocaine, a Class A substance. Anything you want to say about that?"

"What's there to say?" The reply is sharp, petulant. "It seems a simple enough conclusion. So is the fact that your wife is having an affair."

"That's not—what?" Greg hadn't confided in anyone of his suspicions—had almost convinced himself that he was just being paranoid. "Who told you that?"

"Your deodorant and your cuffs." The boy's blue-grey eyes are slightly unfocussed, but no less cutting for that. "Really, Sergeant, how have you not noticed? The standards in this place are slipping—if there were any to begin with."

Greg fights his rapidly growing annoyance, because it would be unprofessional to yell at this boy, so scrawny as to consist entirely of corners. "Look," he says finally, managing to sound merely irritated instead of murderous, "I'm trying to help you."

That only earns him a disbelieving sneer. "You're a police officer. Your job is to find and catch criminals, not to help people." The last two words are spat out with an alarming vehemence. "Well, you've caught me. So why don't you lock me up and wash your hands free of the whole affair?" The boy leans back in his chair, a study in nonchalance.

Except...despite the slight, Greg is a good police officer. And there's something in that lifted chin, the deliberately open posture that tells him that Sherlock is scared.

No matter how defiant Sherlock is, he's still so very young.

"And are you?" Greg asks, softly, calmly. It's quite like trying to tame a wild animal.

"Am I what?"

"A criminal."

Sherlock snaps shut like a trap. "That's not a standard question," he says stiffly. "And you can't possibly expect to get an objective answer."

"You don't understand what I expect." Greg stands up. "I'm going to let you off with a caution."

"A caution?" An eyebrow, raised in disdain. "Bad policy. No wonder the crime rates are so high around here."

Behind Greg's eyes, a headache is slowly forming. "Stop talking before I change my mind." He hands off Sherlock to to a passing constable with more than a little relief. But as the black-haired boy is escorted down the hall, Greg can't help but try one more time. "Sherlock!" he calls. "I don't want to see you in here again, you hear me?"

A brief shrug is all he receives for his troubles. Sherlock doesn't even turn around.

Four months later, Sherlock is sitting in front of Greg again. This time, he's somehow managed to acquire a black eye along the way.

"Who did that?" Greg nods at the injury, feeling inexplicably outraged.

"It's not important."

"Just answer me."

But Sherlock doesn't, only sits there taking quick, shallow breaths while the bruise darkens. He looks even skinnier than before, fragile and just a little bit lost. "You've moved out," he says suddenly.


"Did you finally confront your wife? You've wanted to for a while. But no, you wouldn't do something like that, not without—oh."

"What are you on about?" Unfortunately, Greg thinks Sherlock already knows the answer.

"You found them together, didn't you? But you moved out, not your wife." Sherlock cocks his head to the side and scrutinises Greg thoughtfully. "I see," he declares after a moment. "You're too kind. If she loved the children that much, she wouldn't have had the affair."

"Shut up!" Greg finally loses hold on his fraying temper. "First of all, this is none of your business. Second, I'll be the one asking questions. Was it cocaine again?"

"Haven't read the report? No, it was heroin."

The way he drops the name so casually—as if they're talking about what Sherlock had for breakfast instead of what dangerous drug is running through his bloodstream—is infuriating. "Fine," Greg says tightly. "I'll have someone take you to lock-up."

It occurs to Greg, much, much later that Sherlock had looked almost happy as he rattled off his conclusions.

Mycroft Holmes.

Greg hadn't even known that Sherlock had a brother, let alone one who dressed in tailored suits and wielded an umbrella like a sword.

"Hello, Sergeant Lestrade," says the man, all careful smiles that aren't smiles at all. "I understand that you've taken Sherlock into custody."

"Did someone contact you?" Greg frowns. "Sherlock didn't mention anyone at all."

"No, of course he wouldn't have. I'm afraid he's always been a bit too...wild for his own good." Mycroft's rueful tone is pitched just right to invite sympathy.

Greg doesn't give it.

The man sighs, and when he next speaks his voice is much more authoritative. "I'll be taking my brother with me. Please don't feel the need to file a report; it won't be necessary."

"That's against regulations," Greg points out.

"Is it?" A mild question, but it makes Greg's spine stiffen all the same. "I'll have the requisite paperwork sent over."

The next morning, there are orders from high, and no evidence that one Sherlock Holmes has ever been arrested for possession of heroin.

The Holmes brothers are going to drive Greg mad.

When the two of them meet for the third time, seven years later, Greg has been promoted, and Sherlock comes in voluntarily.

"Detective Inspector Lestrade," he says, sweeping into the office like small whirlwind, "I need a look at the murder victim."

"What murder victim? And who let you in here?"

Sherlock waves away the second question with a vague gesture. "Let me examine Alison Hewitt."

"That case has been ruled a suicide. And how do you know about it, anyway?"

"No, no, it can't possibly have been suicide. Look at the teaspoon!"

"What teaspoon?"

"Exactly! The sugar bowl's out, tea-tray's neatly arranged, but there's no sign of the teaspoon. "

"What's that got to do with anything?"

The look Sherlock sends in response is pure contempt. "If Alison Hewitt had actually poisoned her own tea before drinking it, why would she have felt the need to hide the teaspoon? It's obvious that someone else poisoned the tea, then took the teaspoon. Perhaps to hide the fingerprints, perhaps for another reason. She drank the tea, though, so she either trusted the poisoner or chose to be poisoned. I need to see the body to conclude one way or the other."

"I can't just let you investigate this. You're not even qualified—"

At that Sherlock's eyes flash darkly. "You've moved back in with your wife," he starts, "but you're using separate bedrooms. Trust issues? Possibly. One of your children—daughter, I would guess—has recently been sick. A man named Anderson might be transferred to your forensics team, but you're not sure if he's right for the job. He's not, by the way—I've already spoken with him. You have an unsolved murder on your hands, and I'm more qualified than anyone in this building. Now, are you going to let me see her or not?"

"You should really stop talking about my family," Greg says wearily.

"Not the point."

With a sigh, Greg Lestrade makes a decision that will change his life. "Are you clean?" he asks.

"Yes. For five years now." Sherlock smiles, and the expression is sharp, pure.

"Five minutes, and then I want you out."

As Sherlock bounds out of the room, Greg wonders if he's just imagining the muffled "Thank you."

And that's how New Scotland Yard acquires a consulting detective.

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