"Hullo!" Lestrade grunted sleepily.

"Talk to me, what've we got?" He half sat up and squinted at his bedside clock, it was still five o'clock in the morning. "Who's dead? And where did it happen?"

"Um, Greg? Hello? It's me, Alex!" The tinny voice on the end of the line exclaimed with a laugh.

Lestrade blinked groggily for a moment or two. Then he jerked fully awake. "Holy shit! Alex?"

Alex let out another laugh. "Photographer, brunette, no criminal record, and we used to shag. Hi! Remember me?"

Lestrade grinned. "Yeah, I remember. Haven't heard from you in ages! What's going on with you these days? You still looking for that mysterious Czech one night stand of yours?"

Alex snorted. "No, his name is Slansky. How hot is that? He's a bartender."

"Mhm, nice." Lestrade grunted.

"Not just nice, it's awesome!" Alex gushed. "We're together, he knows a little English and he's teaching me Czech. We moved to New York a year ago and I got a professional photography gig over here."

"That's great!" Lestrade grinned, then he paused. "Wait, 'over here'?"

"Yeah, it's pretty permanent that we're living over here, we've both got long standing jobs and all. But one of Sky's cousins recently moved to Dorset and we're going to go visit. Thought you might want to hang out a bit while we're over there. I can't wait to introduce you and Sky, you guys will get along great!"

Lestrade was silent for a long while. "Sorry, it's still five in the morning over here, Alex, I'll get back to you on that topic when I'm more awake."

There was a pause on the other end as Alex calculated the time difference. "Oh, shit, I woke you up? Sorry man! I'll call back later!"

"You do that."

Lestrade hung up and lay back down. This was going to be interesting.

"I can't believe I agreed to this." Mycroft groaned to himself, then he turned to Sherlock. "I can't believe you agreed to this!"

"I bribed him with cases." Lestrade smirked at the two Holmeses.

"Greg, I really hope you know what you're doing." John fretted quietly.

Lestrade grinned back nervously. "So do I."

There were three cars waiting to take them all to Dorset, one for Lestrade and Mycorft, one for John and Sherlock, and a van for Anthea, Donovan, Molly, Dimmock, and Mrs. Hudson.

"I promised Mum I'd visit with friends." Lestrade shrugged helplessly. "Good thing she's already met most of you all." The only people who had yet to meet Beatrice Lestrade were the women, Anthea, Donovan, Molly, and Mrs. Hudson. Dimmock had met her once at Lestrade and Eva's wedding a long time ago.

Beatrice was enthralled. Maisie was spazzing in excitement. Eva was looking forward to it and the two men both had healthy levels of caution. Little Darren was single-mindedly excited to see 'Uncle Greg' again.

"I have a feeling that this will end in tears." Mycroft said aside to Lestrade as he prevented Sherlock from sneaking any experiments into his car.

Lestrade just crossed his fingers.

Beatrice thought Dimmock and Molly were a pair of bunnies. That was the first thing Lestrade thought when he saw his mother cooing over the couple.

Beatrice Lestrade was not a woman who 'coo'ed. Not to people anyway, not even to Darren... and Darren was adorable.

Maisie wanted to marry Anthea's stilettos. And if Peter didn't keep an eye on her, she totally would. Anthea would give them her blessing.

Lestrade always knew his family was crazy.

Mycroft and Sherlock were lodged in each others' proverbial horns for the eighth time that day. John and Donovan were being thoroughly charmed by Darren who would not leave his mother's lap in the presence of so many strangers. Mrs. Hudson was having tea with Paul and talking about something or another.

Lestrade just sat and watched his family and friends with a great sense of satisfaction.

Why? The house was still standing.

Proud moment.

Alex and Sladsky joined the party the day after and Anthea and Lestrade had to keep one of them between Mycroft and Alex just in case something happened.

Just to be on the safe side.

Mrs. Hudson thought the pair were total darlings. "Mrs. Turner's got married ones." She boasted. "And soon enough, I'll have my own married ones." She said brightly, glancing around to make sure Sherlock and John were not around to overhear her.

"Oh, we're not married yet." Alex chuckled.

"Not yet." Sladsky nodded in a tone that indicated that it was a matter of time. Mrs. Hudson and Alex looked at him. The Czech reddened and hid his face in his hands. "No, no. Not meant to tell." he groaned helplessly.

Alex just laughed and patted his shoulder. "Not yet?"

"Not yet. June." The bartender confessed sheepishly.

Maisie and Donovan 'aww'ed.

"So, you're getting married." Lestrade smiled when he, Alex, and Dimmock were coming back from a shopping trip from the nearest grocery.

"Yup, apparently." Alex beamed. "Who would've thought, right?"

"Seems like a really good guy, that Skad-... huh?" Dimmock faltered.

"Sladsky." Lestrade and Alex chorused. "Or, Sky for short." Alex added. "Pronounced; skee."

"So, you boys single?" Alex asked them.

"Nope, me and Molly are dating and Lestrade's dating Mycroft." Dimmock replied.

"So you did end up with him?" Alex crowed gleefully. "I knew it! Good for you!"

"It was a kind of recent development, actually." Lestrade admitted.

"What? I remember you liked him years ago!" Alex exclaimed, aghast.

"Alot's happened in the last three or four years." Lestrade groused.

"Sherlock died." Dimmock nodded soberly.

"Mycroft covered the whole thing up." Lestrade continued sourly.

"You got fired and moved here to Dorset." Dimmock reminded.

"For three years."

"And then Sherlock came back."

"So did Mycroft."

"They all went to Dorset to drag you back."

"I almost didn't come."

"But you did. And things went back to how they were."

"And then Christmas happened."

"And New Year's."

"And we got together." Lestrade concluded. "...And then Sherrinford happened."

Lestrade's two companions stopped and looked at him strangely. "Who?" They asked in unison.

"Nevermind." Lestrade shook his head as the house drifted into view.

"But I really am happy for you, you know." Alex smiled at his friend. "Mycroft scares the shit out of me, but he seems to be a good guy... under all that."

"Waaaaay deep down." Dimmock nodded sagely.

"Shut up." Lestrade laughed.

"Mycroft and Greg, sitting in a tree." Alex sing-songed. "F-U-C-..."

And Lestrade tackled him into the rhododendron bush in the garden outside the house. Mycroft stood in the doorway and watched them with a bland and slightly disappointed expression that said 'In a tree? Really? That's the best you can come up with? I expected more from you.'

Lestrade thought he'd love to kiss that face. But he didn't. Darren was in the vicinity.

There was a quiet knock on the door of Mycroft's hotel room that night. Mycroft considered ignoring it for a moment before answering.

Alex was standing in the hall, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, a small box tucked under one arm. "Um, hi."

Mycroft blinked. "Good evening."

"Um, I promised Greg these wouldn't see the light of day, felt bad to Sky for keeping them, thought it was a waste to just throw them away." He held the box out to Mycroft. "I think it's fine to give them to you because you're Greg's boyfriend. Um-... don't hate me for them, okay?"

And the photographer was gone.

Mycroft locked the door after himself and opened the box on his bed. Ten minutes later, he called Anthea. "What day is it today?"

"Feburary the 18th." was the reply.

"Hm, odd. It's not my birthday..." Mycroft hummed thoughtfully and hung up.

Lestrade found the pictures of himself that Alex took in Mycroft's possession the next day.

"Mycroft, give them back!" He lunged, mortified, but Mycroft held the pictures out of reach.

"No, I got them from Alex and it would be quite rude to just give them away." Mycroft smirked.

"That sneak-...!" Lestrade calmed himself down forcefully. "Mycroft."

"Yes, Gregory?"

"Give them here."


Lestrade pressed his lips together and gave up with a huff, flushing red. He wasn't even dressed for some of the shots for God's sakes!

He was going to kill the photographer. Slowly and painfully.

"So, how's life?" Maisie asked curiously when the two siblings were finally alone for once. They were hanging around outside in the garden while everybody was inside.

"...Interesting." Lestrade replied as nonchalantly as possible.

"Oh, I heard a pause there." Maisie smirked. "How interesting are we talking?"

"The kind of interesting that makes you wish for boredom." Lestrade rolled his eyes exaggeratedly.

"Are we talking about your sex life here?" Maisie teased.

Lestrade leveled his sister a look. "I'll pretend you didn't just ask that question." Maisie tossed her head back and laughed.

"Greg? Can I talk to you about something?" Maisie asked after a prolonged moment of silence.

"What is it, Maisie?" Lestrade asked, slightly startled at his sister's uncharacteristically seriousness. He had been trying to fix the damage done to the rhododendron bush, but it could wait.

"I - um - I wanted you to know before I told everybody else." Maisie trailed off and Lestrade nodded encouragingly. The woman took a deep breath. "I'm pregnant."

Lestrade was hugging her before the information had even had a chance to sink in properly. "Christ, that's wonderful news!"

Maisie yelped at the sudden hug, but hugged back tightly. "I know, right? Peter and I got married so long ago, I thought it'd never happen! I thought I might be infertile or something!"

Lestrade would forever deny it... but he cried. Just a little.

It was okay though, because Maisie was busy bawling her eyes out.

Lestrade didn't think he had ever been prouder of his sister.