Disclaimer: I own not the brilliance that is this show, these characters, or the actors that portray them.
A/N: The first of several, perhaps. Sherlock Holmes, a la BBC. It's rather brilliant actually.
Set post-Season 2, and probably not at all how it was planned.
Lestrade took a deep breath and knocked on the door to 221b Baker Street. There was a shuffling sound from inside, and then John Watson opened the door, dressed in the most threadbare jumper Greg had ever seen. He tried for a smile as the other man opened the door a little wider, trying to see out of the gloom of his flat.
"Hello, John? It's me, Lestrade."
John slammed the door in his face.
Three days after Sherlock Holmes' fall from the hospital roof, and John was still in shock. He'd gone home, right away, actually, as if immersing himself in Sherlock's things, Sherlock's experiments, even Sherlock's bloody scarves would dull the pain a little, and perhaps he'd be able to forget that awful phone call.
It didn't and neither did he.
He didn't leave the flat, didn't go out, only saw the people he couldn't refuse-mainly, Mycroft and Mrs. Hudson. He didn't want the sorrow and condolences of people who hadn't known Sherlock, or worse, who had known him and hadn't cared.
People like Scotland Yard.
Deep down, John knew that really wasn't fair, that Lestrade had cared in some fashion or another. But right now, all he knew was that Lestrade had betrayed them, had arrested and humiliated and forced Sherlock into that horrible jump.
John was not exactly Gregory Lestrade's Biggest Fan right now.
A knock at the door sounded and John stifled a sigh as he went to answer it, wondering if there was some polite way to ask people to just bug off and leave him to solve the difficult problem of how on earth he was supposed to survive life without Sherlock.
"Hello, John? It's me, Lestrade."
On the other hand, sometimes politeness was overrated. John slammed the door in his face.
Lestrade's next try was lunchtime the next day, and he took Sally Donovan with him; for no particular reason except he didn't want to go by himself, and anyway, he was her boss and could make her.
They climbed the stairs to 221b Baker Street together, then Lestrade took a deep breath and knocked.
This time, John opened the door all the way. He stiffened when he saw Donovan.
"What," he said coldly, "on earth possessed you to think bringing her along would be a good idea?"
Sally bristled a little but Lestrade winced. In retrospect, bringing the person who had constantly belittled and insulted his friend was a rather idiotic plan. He opened his mouth to apologize.
John slammed the door in his face.
It was a whole week later before he called again.
Lestrade actually felt sick. He'd had the strangest feeling all week of being watched, and also experienced the singularly strange sensation of having his mind taken over by Sherlock Holmes. Logic and deductions kept spinning through his mind, making him doubt himself and what he'd chosen.
To the dismay of Donovan and Anderson, he'd reopened the Moriarty file.
Contrary to Sherlock's derision, Lestrade actually was a good detective. The pieces fell into place, slowly, and over the course of a week, but fall they did, and each one landed with the same accusing CLANG.
Jim Moriarty existed. The "actor" who claimed to have been hired by Sherlock Holmes was an alias, and indeed, the man himself was found later on top of the hospital roof, apparently after having committed suicide. He was a perfect match for DNA, fingerprints, and facial recognition software. All of the records of James Moriarty mysteriously reappeared in the government files, showing signs of someone having erased them, necessitating reconstruction.
Sherlock had been telling the truth.
John had a right to know. Lestrade briefly thought about just calling or texting him, but decided that it needed to be told in person. He owed them both that much.
He knocked softly, swallowing hard and contemplating the likelihood of John just up and shooting him. The door opened and John swore.
"Before you slam the door on me," Lestrade heard himself say, quickly. "Please, just hear what I have to say."
John's face was impassive as Greg told him everything they had uncovered.
"We're getting word out to the press," he said awkwardly, knowing what a poor compensation it was. "John, Sherlock was never a fraud."
And then John spoke, voice so full of pain and righteous anger and just a little hint of smugness that Lestrade flinched. "I know."
"John, I'm so-"
John slammed the door in his face.
He wasn't really sure why he kept trying. John didn't want anything to do with him. But a half-notion of a remembered friendship kept bringing Lestrade back to Baker Street, day after day after week.
Today, as he was climbing the steps, he heard voices in the flat. He paused by the door, shamelessly eavesdropping.
Mrs. Hudson was saying, "Now, dear, I know you're 'avin' a rough time of it, now, an' I can't blame you, but I also can't 'ave you slammin' doors so all the time. Other tenants, they do complain so."
Lestrade missed John's reply, as he was wondering where the complaining tenants had been when Sherlock was shooting at the wall. He did catch Mrs. Hudson's small noise of sympathy and understanding.
Mrs. Hudson's voice got louder as she came to answer the door. "I'm just saying, dearie, that it's not fair to the others, to 'ave this bangin' an' carryin' on so-" she opened the door.
Lestrade stood stiffly, hat in hand.
"Er, hello, Mrs. Hudson."
John stood up behind her, but Mrs. Hudson was already slamming the door in his face.
The first time he tried to go to Baker Street for help with a case was an accident. Honestly, he wasn't sure what had come over him, but one minute, he was in a cab on his way home from work thinking about a baffling case, the next, he was running up the steps to the familiar flat and pounding on the door, eager to ask Sherlock's opinion on the subject. It was only after John's pathetic jumper and sad face appeared at the door that Lestrade remembered.
"Oh, joss," he gasped, staring at John in horror. John raised an eyebrow. Greg swallowed shakily. "I forgot," he said softly, still watching John as the doctor's eyes filled with pain. This time, Lestrade turned away before John could slam the door.
The second time, it had been two months, and he was trying to get John interested in something, anything. An odd case would help, he was sure-aware that he was treating John like he used to his flatmate but not caring-even if Sherlock wasn't here to help with it.
Only afterwards did he realize how preposterous that idea was. It was irrelevant anyway. Lestrade never even got to plead his case.
He knocked and waited for John to come to the door. When he did, Lestrade stared.
The jumper was gone, and in its place was a long robe of some kind. John was leaning on his cane. His eyes were bleary, as if he hadn't slept, and from the look of his thin, haggard face, he hadn't been eating much either.
Lestrade couldn't stop the first words out of his mouth. "Oh, Lord. You're turning into him."
John slammed the door in his face.
It had been a long day. Lestrade collapsed onto his sofa with a groan. First the murder, then having to chew out Anderson-again-and then John slamming the door on him-again… It had been a very long day.
All Lestrade wanted to do was relax now, maybe have a drink and probably just sleep. Sleep was good. It was really good. It was also something he didn't have more than a passing acquaintance with, but he was working on that. Over all, Lestrade couldn't think of anything he'd rather be doing more than sleeping.
The knock sounded at his door just as he was drifting off on the sofa. Sitting up irritably and rubbing his eyes, he glared at the offending piece of wood.
Mentally debating for all of two seconds just how likely the person was to simply go away if he pretended he wasn't home, he finally got up and trudged over to the door. He pulled it open with perhaps just a little more force than was strictly necessary.
When he saw who was on the other side, he slammed the door shut again.
Amidst all the-insane, absolutely bloody fantastic-thoughts flying through his head was one both maniacal and triumphant. Snap, but it feels good to be the one doing that.
Three months after Sherlock Holmes took a swan dive off of a hospital rooftop, Lestrade found himself once more climbing the stairs to 221b Baker Street.
He paused, briefly, at the door, looking over his shoulder, then, like the first time he'd tried this, three months ago, took a deep breath and knocked.
John opened the door, this time properly attired in John-clothing, took one look at who was standing on his threshold, and slammed the door in Lestrade's face.
Every previous time this had happened, Greg had turned around and went back down all those stairs. He never tried twice the same day to talk to John.
This time, he waited, knowing that once John's brain caught up with his reflexes, he'd be opening the door again.
John's first reaction upon seeing Lestrade's face on his doorstep-yet again-was to slam the door. So he did.
And then his mind registered who had been standing behind Lestrade.
The two on the threshold were treated to a chorus of choking, half-strangled and dangerously high-pitched giggling from John on the other side of the door. He was also talking to himself.
"No, but that's impossible!"
"Why? Didn't you ask him? And you know he'd do anything for you, 'cause you were mad at him and he hates that."
"I'm hallucinating. I knew this would happen eventually, it's only natural. But…"
"But Lestrade's there too, and he seemed to see it too…"
"He could be part of the hallucination."
"Good Lord, you're not that far gone!"
"Stop encouraging me."
"Why am I talking to myself?"
"Get it together, John!"
The sound of a slap came through the wood and Lestrade was giving his fellow visitor a worried look, wondering if he should knock again, when the door opened again and John leaned casually against the frame. One side of his face was bright red.
"Care for a cuppa?" he asked nonchalantly.
Lestrade exchanged glances with his accompaniment and then slowly entered the flat, nodding to John as he did so. Once past the doctor, he turned to look back at his companion, who was apparently locked in a staring match with John.
"John?" he said uncertainly. The man shook himself and took a deep breath, stepping away from the door.
Just across the threshold, and for the first time in three months, Sherlock Holmes took a breath of his own and stepped into 221b Baker Street.
Lestrade sat rather stiffly at the kitchen table as John puttered about with the makings of tea. Sherlock stood behind him, a silent presence leaning on the wall, never taking his eyes off of John. Feeling the awkwardness of this entire situation, Greg shifted uncomfortably.
He knew he was staring, just like he knew Lestrade was uncomfortable and his reaction to both of these things was the same. He didn't care.
John was looking… well, quite honestly, he was looking awful. Didn't the man sleep anymore?
Sherlock absently cataloged the symptoms of fatigue in his friend as John went about brewing tea. Shaking hands, pale face, dark circles under his eyes. That plus the fact that John had lost weight spelled everything out clearly for Sherlock.
Well, mostly clearly.
Alright, he had a sort of vague, half-idea of what John was going through, having experienced something similar when his father had died. John was… grieving. At least he thought so. It was of course entirely possible that John was suffering from post-traumatic stress due to all of the business with Moriarty. Nearly getting shot over and over again will do that to you. Or so he'd heard.
Realizing that he was zoning out as he studied his friend, Sherlock jerked back to the real world, where John Watson's shaking hands were about to cause the demise of their only teapot.
John was beginning to be frustrated. He'd been trying to get water into the bloody teapot for two bloody minutes and the stupid bloody thing wouldn't hold still. He glared at the offending piece of crockery and contemplated smashing the thing against the wall, just for spite. He half smiled then, because smashing the tea things was something Sherlock used to do…
The pot dropped from his suddenly nerveless hands and he winced, expecting the crash and the shards of glass flying up to hit his bare feet.
It never came.
Large hands with long white fingers had appeared out of nowhere and caught the teapot before it could fall to the ground, and now he found himself being gently maneuvered out of the way. Vaguely, he recognized the sound of running water, and registered that someone-Lestrade, that's Lestrade, Watson-was steering him over to the table and sitting him down in one of the chairs. He stared straight ahead, unseeing, and then, because this was disconcerting, decided to close his eyes and have a legitimate reason for not being able to see.
A few minutes later, a cup of something hot and steaming was pushed into his hands and he automatically raised it to his lips, blew on it gently, and then took a sip.
It was all he could do not to spit it right back out. Far too strong, with far too much sugar, not at all how he liked his tea and exactly like Sherlock used to make…
He opened his eyes then, blinking hard. He was looking down at the cup of undrinkable tea, which was held steadily in his unshaking hands.
He looked up. Sherlock and Lestrade were both watching him, identical expressions of wariness and worry on both of their faces. He exhaled slowly.
"I," he declared slowly. "Have not had a cup of tea that disgusting in months."
A brilliant smile broke out over Sherlock's face and he seemed to be trying not to laugh. Lestrade looked a little nonplussed, but relieved. John set aside the awful tea and stood up, ambling over to the counter to pour away Sherlock's bloody attempt and make a decent cuppa.
"You," he observed to Sherlock, "are not a hallucination."
"No," his friend agreed softly. "I'm not."
John turned around and faced him, putting his hands up on the counter as he leaned his back against it. "You," he said, "are a git."
"Yes," Sherlock said.
"And also, you're insufferable and annoying and just plain mean sometimes."
"And I'm really, really mad at you right now."
"You have every right," Sherlock said quietly, staring down at him.
"Really," and now John sounded like he was trying to persuade someone. "I'm furious."
"Of course," his friend approved. "You should be."
"I really am."
"You've said so."
"Really," John said, not at all convincingly. Sherlock simply nodded encouragingly. They stared at each other for a minute, eyes wide and faces almost the same shade of pale.
Behind Sherlock, Lestrade made the nearly fatal mistake of trying a sip of Sherlock's tea and began choking. They ignored him.
"Oh, hang it all," John said finally, throwing up his hands. "I'm so happy to see you alive, I couldn't be mad if you paid me."
Sherlock smirked at him. "You missed me?"
John gave a sort of half-sob, half-laugh and said, "Oh, joss, yes."
Lestrade continued to choke in the background. They continued to ignore him.
Sherlock looked a little uncertain now. "Do you want-" he paused and then started again. "Should we hug now or something? I really have no idea of protocol in this situation."
John looked thoughtful. "Perhaps we'll just shake hands," he said, sticking out his-steady, steady, by George, it had been awhile-hand. Sherlock took it firmly and they shook grinning at each other like fools.
Lestrade finally managed to get himself under control and stood up, deciding that now would be a good time to leave. John had probably forgiven him now that he'd brought Sherlock back, and so he didn't need to be sticking around here where a person could die of tea-poisoning and nobody would notice. He made for the door.
John called after him as he was leaving. He turned on the threshold of the flat and found John beaming, just a foot away from the open door.
"Thank you," John said, with heartfelt sincerity, coming forward to grasp the door.
Lestrade reached out and grabbed the doorknob before he could, flashing John a smile of his own as he did so, truly glad for the other man's sake, but just a little bit smug.
"You're welcome," he said, and then slammed the door in John's face.
A/N: Joss, that was fun. *giggles* I'll have to do this again sometime…
Title is from Ashe Watson (hehe, Watson, I just noticed that…) and her song "Slamming Doors."
So, for my first foray into the fandom, how did I do? Fans, tell me. Non-fans who are only here because you found this story on my profile… you can tell me too. ^-^ (Hi, Wolfskater.)