AN: Ok ok so I know the timing doesn't really work, but I read a Mystrade story where Greg and Sherlock were friends and I couldn't resist. Besides, I can see this happening, in my head anyway. Also, I felt bad about the angst-y ending to 'Pride and Protection', so this is to make it up to you lovely people (now review for me please?)

So, I'd put Greg here at 18, with Sherlock nearly 15. I realize their age gap is greater, but I didn't want Sherlock to be younger so yup, artistic license is indeed a wonderful thing for reckless writers. They're both at a fictional English private school, it seemed to fit. Clearly it's not supposed to be canon.

This fic will consist of friendship, hurt/comfort, a little angst and a touch of humor. It's only RATED FOR SOME STRONG LANGUAGE.

This is the first of my third whump upload, and possibly last. Hope you like.

DISCLAIMER: Still don't own Sherlock. Still do own all my own characters and ideas.


"Hey! Hey Sherlock! Wait up a sec!" The tall, gangly boy just kept walking. Greg Lestrade rolled his eyes, hitching his bag up on his back and running to catch up with him. "Geez, give a guy a break, I just finished rugby practice." Once he was close enough, Greg reached out, grabbing the other boy's shoulder.

Sherlock flinched, going completely still and raising his chin, not even looking at Greg. "Look, if you're going to beat me, would you mind terribly not doing it somewhere obvious. It bothers M- my parents."

Greg frowned, letting go, and Sherlock turned to look at the older boy with one dark eyebrow raised, his sharp eyes narrowed. "Sherlock, I don't…I'm not going to hurt you."

Nodding, Sherlock smirked. "Yes, I can tell now. School rugby captain, younger sisters, and your parents split years ago, so you're the man of the house, pet dog, scholarship student. You can fight but you don't make it widely known, you've talked to me for three seconds without being rude, so a deluded sense of honor, empathy with being ostracized by your fellow students, instinct to look out for those you see as vulnerable. You're not a threat. What do you want ?"

"I was wondering if you'd like to hang out sometime." Sherlock, who had been about to walk away, paused and re-assessed Greg's kind, open face.

"Sorry, what?"

"I was wondering – "

"No, no," Sherlock interrupted rudely, and Greg simply shut his mouth, waiting for the younger boy to speak. Sherlock looked at him as if he'd broken some unspoken rule. "Did nothing I just said bother you?"

Greg shrugged. "It was a bit..blunt, but it's all true. Besides, I'm used to it with Mycroft." Sherlock's eyes widened in realization, and Greg fidgeted a little. "So, what do you think?"

A strange expression came over Sherlock's proud, handsome face, if Greg hadn't known the Holmes' better he'd have said it was embarrassment. Shoving a hand into his blazer pocket, Sherlock walked away. "Sorry, I'm busy."

Greg frowned, knowing that Sherlock did little other than study and 'experiment'. But he didn't comment, Sherlock would come round. He was sure of it.

Sherlock dropped his bag in his locker. He lifted his head at the sound of footsteps, counting silently - five, no, six sets of feet coming round the corner. He took a deep breath, sitting down in the empty changing room and watching the door. He didn't have to wait long, a moment later, a handful of his regular bullies came through the entry.

With an air of studied calm, Sherlock checked his watch. "Hello boys. You're late."

The first started with a punch to his face. Sherlock rolled his eyes, pulling back his own fist. "What did I say about being obvious?"

He managed to get in a few good strikes before they overpowered him. Sherlock wasn't a bad fighter, but it was six to one. Two of them held him while the other four grinned, cracking their knuckles in a stupidly clichéd promise of violence. Sherlock resisted the urge to sigh. "I don't suppose there's much point asking you not to do this?"

His answer was a brutal blow to his abdomen, stealing his oxygen for a second. Sherlock coughed, flinching as the other three stepped forwards. "Of course not."

The attack was relentless, fists and boots crashing into anywhere they could reach, his torso, his face, arms and legs. After a few minutes he was finding it difficult to stand on his own and almost grateful for the two thugs keeping him bound. A little while later, Sherlock had begun to lose track of time, and he couldn't see clearly thanks to a cut over his eyebrow that was bleeding freely into his vision. It hurt to breathe (again) and his legs were shaking, but he kept silent. The one thing he wouldn't give these morons was the satisfaction of seeing how much they were hurting him

The whole time they'd been shouting – the usual jeering, mocking, egging each other on. But now their tone changed, and Sherlock glanced up, blinking away the blood in his right eye and trying to focus with his left. That was new. Sherlock felt a shiver of adrenalin shoot up his spine, and began to struggle with renewed vigour. The boys laughed at his panic, though one or two looked nervous, uncomfortable.

Sherlock wasn't particularly surprised. Bringing a knife to the party was something of a game changer.

This was not something he was entirely willing to just stand and take. He was a very long way from stupid. Gritting his teeth, he tried furiously to escape the grip the two thugs had on his arms. This was stopped when one of them twisted his arm violently behind his back. Sherlock paused, glaring at the boy with the knife – one Michael Andrews.

Michael grabbed the other boy's chin with a rough hand. Sherlock had been…uneasy about this one for a while. He enjoyed their weekly sessions far too much. He wasn't gay, as far as Sherlock could tell, so it wasn't some sort of turn on, or psychological consequence of repressed sexual feelings. But it wasn't just frustration, asserting power to try and tell himself he was a man like the rest. It was…deeper than that. He liked Sherlock's pain more than the others. He was sadistic.

That much was obvious now, as he pressed his knife firmly against Sherlock's neck, coaxing a thin, stinging line of blood from his throat. "Come on Holmes. I know there's a human being in there somewhere. Don't make me force it out of you."

Sherlock knew that the smart thing to do would be to swallow his pride, to give in and at least try the slim chance of his co-operation buying him a little safety. However, unlike his elder brother, Sherlock found it far harder to just give in. So he did the stupid thing. The brave thing.

He spat in Michael's face.

"I'd like to see you try." It was a pointless challenge, but it made Sherlock feel a little better, more himself.

Michael chuckled, wiping away the blood and spit, readjusting his grip on the knife and grabbing Sherlock's shoulder. "Alright Holmes, you asked for it."

"Hey, Sherlock, Mycroft said you normally stay a bit later for extra track pract –" Lestrade broke off, taking in the situation before him with a comical expression of utter shock. This quickly morphed into a very deep, fierce kind of anger, and he grabbed a hockey stick from the bucket next to the door, holding it like a weapon.

"What the bloody hell do you think you're doing?" There was no response. Greg and the bullies eyed each other up for a few tense seconds, trying to figure out their next move. After a few more moments, Lestrade straightened. "Alright. You let him go, right now, or you face a police enquiry. This is assault. Somehow, I doubt any of those top universities would look too kindly on an ASBO. And there is no fucking way you're going to make me keep my mouth shut." This was more than enough of a reason for most of them to leave without another word - given the knife, most had been waiting for a way out anyway.

Michael stayed exactly where he was, clutching the knife at his side. Sherlock staggered, having lost his handy supports, and took a seat on the bench. An expression of concern flickered over Greg's face, but he focused on Michael, and the knife in his hand.

"Alright Mike. Just drop the knife, and we can leave all this behind us."

"What, so you can knock me out?" The concern in Michael's voice was fake, he didn't see Greg as a threat. Having rubbed some of the blood from his eye (it still stung), Sherlock watched Lestrade curiously. The older boy nodded, and Sherlock tensed as he put down his hockey stick, taking a few steps toward Michael with his hands in the air. Michael started to grin, and then, out of nowhere, Greg grinned right back and punched him, hard. There was a crack, and in the moment that Michael bent over double, clutching his now broken nose, Greg scooped up the hockey stick and used it to knock him out.

Michael fell to the ground like a sack of potatoes, and Lestrade grabbed the knife with his hand inside his sleeve, dropping it into his pocket. He bent down, pulling Sherlock's arm over his shoulders and helping him stand.

"Come on, he won't be out for long."

Sherlock grimaced, hating having to rely on someone else and insisting they get his bag (which Greg then proceeded to carry) before they left. Once they were outside the front of the school, they were met by Mycroft and the Holmes family Jaguar. Holmes the elder looked a little concerned, which for Mycroft was all but breaking down and weeping. Greg smiled, giving the boy a nod and helping Sherlock into the car. "I guess you're in good hands now. So, want to hang out some time?"

Through his bruises and the blood, Sherlock managed to look bewildered, disbelieving and condescending all at once. "Are you stupid?"

Lestrade's face fell, and Sherlock almost took it back. Instead he bit his tongue, pulling on his default expression of apathy plus a hint of boredom. "So I guess that's a no?"

Sherlock gave him a mock apologetic smile. "Sorry Lestrade."

Then he leaned over and shut the door, before Greg could see exactly how much he wanted a friend right then.

Sherlock had to take a few days off school after that. While he healed impatiently, he thought about Michael Andrews and his knife, and Lestrade and his courage.

A day after he came back into school, Lestrade found him again. Sherlock could ignore the rush of concern that he felt on seeing the state of the older boy, but he couldn't stop it. Greg was sporting a black eye, a split lip and something of a limp, not to mention the way he held himself; suggesting severe abdominal bruising, something with which Sherlock was all too familiar. He frowned.

"What happened?" Sherlock tried very hard to keep his tone as nonchalant as he could, and hoped he only imagined the light twinge of concern that rolled the words out of his mouth a little faster, a little louder than he'd intended.

Judging by the quirk of a smile at the corner of his mouth, Greg wasn't fooled. "What, with this? I wouldn't worry about me, you should have seen the other guy."

"I'm sure. What started it?" Sherlock knew he was being blunt, but then he normally was, and besides, he was impatient.

Greg tilted his head to the side, soft brown eyes watching the other boy warmly. Sherlock shifted a little uncomfortably under the kindness of the expression; it was hardly something he was used to. "Some idiot was mouthing off about a friend of mine, calling him a freak." He paused, and Sherlock gave a small, uncertain nod.

"So what did you do?"

"Punched him in the face." Greg grinned at Sherlock's raised eyebrows. "The rest, as they say, is history."

"You realize that was incredibly stupid, don't you? You can't take it back." Sherlock was fighting to keep disdain in his voice and the urge to smile from making itself known on his face.

Greg cocked his head to the side, giving Sherlock an earnest, appraising glance. "Yeah, I know. Apparently, being a friend of yours is somewhat dangerous. Is that why you kept turning me down, to protect me?"

Sherlock snorted, starting to walk away. "Don't try to think things over Lestrade, it doesn't suit you."

Laughing, Greg fell into pace next to the tall, strange boy. "I'm guessing that's a yes then. So me sticking up for you was stupid, right?"

"Precisely." Sherlock murmured in affirmation, smirking.

"But, you know, Mycroft says bravery is another word for stupidity, so if me sticking up for you is stupid then I guess that's just a Holmes way of saying – "

"You're doing it again." Sherlock interrupted, smiling by now in spite of himself.

"Doing what?"

"Thinking. It's annoying." Sherlock still half expected a punch in the face, and he braced himself, not quite ready to rely on this fledgling friendship.

In spite of the sudden anxiety on Sherlock's face, or perhaps because of it, Greg brushed off the insult and laughed. "So, want to hang out some time?"

Sherlock paused, staring at the ground as they walked in an uncharacteristic display of embarrassment. Greg caught the flush rising on his cheekbones and pretended to have missed it as Sherlock mumbled, with a stab at his more usual demeanour, "only if you promise not to think too much."

Greg chuckled warmly, seeing straight through the act. "I'll do my best."

This is just how I see their relationship, a bit dysfunctional, but essentially quite sweet. Greg looks out for Sherlock, and he appreciates it, though he'd never admit it. (and I am so tempted to do an angst-y post S2E3 drabble with Lestrade.) Next in the whumpage is a cracky little fic called 'Frying Pans.'

Hope you enjoyed it, thank you for reading,