A/N: I will cut straight to the chase here and admit with alacrity that this fic was honestly not my idea. Nope. Didn't even occur to me, until I happened to read the lovely LastSaskatchewanSpacePirate's fic, entitled "What You Don't Know About Greg Lestrade". It absolutely blew my mind, and you should all read it. Without that piece, this one would not exist. I have taken her ideas, and expounded upon them. Please, please, please read her work first before you go on with this one. You will understand and appreciate it so much more if you do. Many thanks and hugs go out to LastSaskatchewanSpacePirate for letting me capitalise on her beautiful ideas and turn them into stories.
A couple chapters later on may be of my own doing, but really the seeds for all of them were of her sowing.
Link to her fic here: s/8104479/1/What_You_Dont_Know_About_Greg_Lestrade
Most people don't know or acknowledge it, but there was a time before John Watson. It's true. Sherlock Holmes was solving crimes alongside the London police before he ever met Doctor Watson, but it's not well known-about because there was no blog back then. The newspapers weren't obsessed with him, there was no fan following. It was just Sherlock, and the one person on the police force who believed in him.
And that person was Detective-Inspector Greg Lestrade.
Greg Lestrade believes in Sherlock Holmes. So much so that he very nearly died for him.
It was freezing that night in London. The weather authorities were predicting a snowstorm of epic proportions to rip through the area sometime around midnight, and Mother Nature was already mustering her forces. The air was frigid, and the wind bit icily at any exposed flesh, leaving it raw and red within minutes.
Sherlock Holmes was standing in the middle of the street on this particularly cold night. It was after eleven. He didn't shiver from the cold, numb to it, but his cheeks were pink from the wind dragging at him. His crystalline breaths came in short bursts as he stood stock still with his hands in the air.
Twelve feet away from him stood another man. He was bigger than Sherlock – broad through the shoulders, stocky, thick. He had a gun, and it was trained on Sherlock's chest. The entire man's body was trembling, except for that hand, that trained hand. He would not miss. He had even accounted for the windspeed as he took aim.
"Think, Michael. Think. You don't want to add another body to your resumé. That will not help your case," Sherlock said calmly. He daren't move. "Put the gun down. Come in for questioning. If you really didn't murder your wife, then prove it."
"I can't!" the man screamed. "Not when I've got to come up against you!"
Well, that's because you're guilty, thought Sherlock, but he had the good sense not to say it. "You haven't got to worry about me; only the justice system. I'm not the police."
"No," the man called Michael sobbed, "but you… you saw… you saw…" He let out a growl of frustration and steadied his gun hand, fixing his aim. His thumb clicked the safety off. "I haven't got a choice!"
Sherlock tensed. Officially, he wasn't here. Nobody but Lestrade knew he'd chased the suspect this far, and he'd lost Lestrade several blocks back. So there was no backup coming. Honestly, Sherlock hoped that Lestrade was utterly lost in the chase through the city, because he was unarmed and if he happened on the scene, Michael would probably kill both of them if he could manage it.
"Don't!" a voice said from behind Sherlock, calm and full of authority.
Speak of the devil. Sherlock cursed under his breath. "Go away, Lestrade," he commanded.
Michael looked conflicted, and even more terrified. He leveled the gun at the detective-inspector, who put up his hands and slowed his approach.
"I'm unarmed," Lestrade said as he drew level with Sherlock. There were only a few feet of space between them as they faced the murderer together. "Listen to me carefully. Put the gun down. We just want to talk to you."
"No," choked Michael. "I c-can't. I can't. Please." He turned the gun on Sherlock again. Sherlock was the real danger here. Sherlock had all the information necessary to put him away for the rest of his life, locked away in that incredible brain of his. He was the one who needed to die. He could let the other one go.
Lestrade glanced from Michael to Sherlock and back again. Things were looking grim. "Michael," he tried again.
"No!" Michael's voice was a scream now. He steadied himself. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry, Mr. Holmes, but I can't… I just can't…" His finger tightened on the trigger.
"No," breathed Lestrade.
The hammer cocked back.
"No!" Lestrade shouted and lunged toward where Sherlock stood, knocking the detective to the ground as the report of the gun echoed through the empty street. He heard Sherlock groan in pain as he fell and the gun clatter to the pavement as Michael took off running.
"Close call," said the detective-inspector, but the words came out oddly choked.
Sherlock was scrambling out from under him, looking more panicked than he had ever seen him. "Shit," the consulting detective muttered, his grey eyes sweeping over Lestrade's form.
The D.I. was lost as to his amateur partner's distress, until he looked down. Saw the blood. Not Sherlock's blood, but his. The pain hit him then and he went limp.
"Oh, no you don't," Sherlock said sharply. Then he was turning him over, pushing him onto his back. He found the wound by touch and by the light of the streetlamps. Low ribcage. Missed the lung. Good, but at that distance and with that particular weapon, the bullet might have ripped clean through to any other major organs that happened to be in the way. Sherlock rocked onto his knees and locked his hands over the wound, applying pressure and putting all his scant weight behind it.
Lestrade released a strangled cry and a string of expletives, limbs flailing against the pavement as bitter agony wracked his body.
"You are incredibly stupid," Sherlock snarled at him. His eyes scanned Lestrade's body, searching. He took in his pallid face, the sweat that had already started to break out on his skin, his uneven breathing. Then he looked for the phone. He must have it on him. "You stupid, brash idiot of a man. How did you even graduate from the Academy?" Sherlock's long line of insults was a testament to how bad the wound must be. He would be relatively civil if it were nothing. "Where is it?" he demanded.
"Where… is… what…?" Lestrade gasped, eyelids aflutter.
"Your phone, you imbecile. Your phone." Sherlock did not wait for an answer. Instead he freed one hand from the wound – increased the pressure to make up for it, much to Greg's dismay – and patted down the man's pockets. Found his phone in his front right trouser pocket. Dialled the station.
Donovan picked up the phone. "Greg, your –"
Sherlock interrupted her. "Sally, send an ambulance to sixteen Bayward Street immediately."
"Lestrade is down." The phone was pinned between Sherlock's shoulder and his ear as he replaced both hands over the wound. "Do it now." He lifted his head then, and let the phone clatter to the ground, forgotten. He had better things to do, like keep the poor sod awake.
"Open your eyes," Sherlock commanded. He rifled through the digital catalogue of his mind, calling to the forefront every medical text he had ever read (and not deleted). There weren't many; he didn't generally have much use for doctoring the living. "You can't go to sleep here, you're in the middle of the street."
"Cold," stated Lestrade.
A fat snowflake drifted lazily from the heavens and landed upon the end of the detective-inspector's nose.
"Yes, yes it is." Sherlock maneouvred out of his overcoat one arm at a time and spread it over the stricken officer, whilst keeping both his hands and all his weight upon the gaping hole in his chest. The blood loss was incredible. A pint at least, so far. If the ambulance did not arrive soon, Lestrade would bleed out. The consulting detective unwound his scarf from around his throat and it disappeared beneath the coat as well, now serving as a staunch.
"Oh shut up," Sherlock spat, but he was having trouble putting any venom into his voice. "You got yourself into this. If you'd stayed out of it, I would have him at the station by now, admitting his guilt."
"That's just not true," said the fallen officer. His voice was growing very faint.
Sherlock could think of nothing else to keep the man talking except to argue with him. "Oh I disagree entirely. I had the situation thoroughly under control. Couldn't you see that?"
"So it is. It'll be a white Christmas yet. Aren't you pleased?"
The bet in question was with Anderson. Whether or not it would snow tonight. What a stupid thing to bet money on. Sherlock didn't say so, though. He was too busy listening to the sirens and trying to gauge their distance from here.
"Listen… Sherlock…" Lestrade forced his eyes all the way open, staring at Sherlock intently. "Listen to me."
"Don't let them… push you around… you hear me?" He coughed, and the effect upon his body was ghastly pain. He winced, struggled for breath, and went on. "The others, they're… they're intimidated by… by you. Hell, I… 'm intimidated by you… But don't… don't let them… bully you…"
"I'm sure I needn't worry. You always seem to put them in their place."
"Yes… but… when I'm not… there… you won't have… anyone else to… defend you when you… act like a prick. So… don't act like… a prick… but don't… let them… push you about. They… will need you… still…" The effort of speaking was putting a great strain on his body, sapping his energy. His eyes rolled back.
Sherlock pressed harder into the wound, inflicting enough pain that he hoped it would rouse the D.I. He would have done something kinder, like tapped his face, but he couldn't risk removing his hands from the wound. Couldn't, wouldn't. "Well, then I guess you can't go on holiday," Sherlock said, forcing some annoyance into his voice. "Too bad for you."
"Sh! I'm trying to hear. The ambulance is nearly here, Lestrade." He had to utilise all of his self-control not to shout at them to kindly drive a little faster. After all, the streets were deserted.
The next hour passed in a blur. Sherlock rode in the back of the ambulance with Greg, rattling off numbers – pulse rate, respiration, proximity of the shooter and the model of the weapon, right on up through all the things the paramedics didn't care about, just to have something to say. He was worried. He'd never admit it, but he did not want to see Greg Lestrade die tonight. Or ever, really, but especially not tonight, especially not after having jumped in front of a bullet to save his stupid life. Eventually, one of the paramedics snapped at him to shut the hell up, and he did. He didn't say another word.
He was asleep in a waiting area chair when it happened. One minute he was out cold – a rarity, for him – and the next, someone was grabbing a fistful of his shirtfront and pinning him against the wall with excessive force.
"I will fucking kill you," hissed Sally Donovan, her face inches from Sherlock's.
Sherlock offered no retaliation, only stared into Sally's brown eyes with plenty of unspoken venom in his own.
Not good, then.
"They're saying he won't walk again. His career is over, and it's all your fault, Freak. I will fucking kill you. You weren't even supposed to be out there. You are not authorised to pursue suspects! How many times, Freak? How many times? Well, I'll tell you what, you'll not get a case from us again. I'll have you – " She was cut off as hospital security pried her away.
Sherlock remained where he was, back against the wall as Sally was led away by security. She was still screaming at him when they pushed her onto the elevator.
They're saying he won't walk again. His career is over, and it's all your fault. Sherlock closed his eyes and could see the trajectory of the bullet in his mind's eye. Coat, shirt, flesh, muscle. Missed the ribs, missed the vital organs. Plunging through the chest cavity. Burying itself in the spinal column.
All his fault. Detaching himself from the wall, Sherlock left. Left the rest of the police force in the waiting area and went home. For the first time in months, Sherlock rang Mycroft.
The monitor beeped with a comforting sort of regularity. Comforting for most people, probably. For Sherlock it was maddening, like a hammer striking a nail into his temple. His hands were shaking as he stood by the hospital bed containing Lestrade. The left one hung at his side, clutching onto a packet of papers. The right was wrapped around an absurd assortment of helium balloons attached to a stuffed bear. The bear was holding a plastic sign that said "Get Well Soon!" and it irritated him to no end.
After a time, Lestrade stirred and blinked his eyes open. It had been days since the shooting; he was coherent now. "Sherlock…" he said, a tad surprised to see him.
"Here." Without prelude, Sherlock thrust forward the hand holding the papers. "You need to sign these. I've marked the spaces, you just need to write your name."
"What are they?" Lestrade asked, admiring the sight of Sherlock with a stuffed bear and balloons.
Sherlock seemed to notice what he was staring at, and set the balloons on the bedside table. "Those are for you. Sign these."
"What are they?" repeated Greg, blinking.
"Insurance stuff." He sniffed. "Sign it."
If not for the incredible amount of painkillers in his system, Lestrade might have asked more questions. As it was, his brain was addled, so he signed. Sherlock disappeared shortly thereafter.
A few days later, Lestrade was transferred to a different hospital on the other side of town. A doctor stood at the foot of his bed in his private room and described to him the surgery that was to be done in an attempt to restore his ability to walk. It was groundbreaking, she said, a new method that had been largely successful. He would still require PT, of course, but the surgery would up his chances considerably. If he was diligent, he could be walking again in as little as six weeks. Working again in eight.
"I don't understand," Lestrade said, shaking his head a little. "Where is all this coming from?"
The blond doctor smiled sweetly. "I really can't say. Someone out there is looking out for you, Detective-Inspector."
A few weeks later, Sherlock visited Lestrade in hospital again. Made awkward small talk and then interrogated him about his progress. And then left.
Within a month of the incident, Lestrade was on his feet again.
To this day, he doesn't know for sure that Mycroft Holmes was the anonymous benefactor who got him the groundbreaking surgery, and put him in the best physical therapy programme in the country. It's a favour that Sherlock never would have asked Mycroft to do for anyone else, but when he approached Mycroft with the idea, he was prepared to trade just about anything. Mycroft named his price, and Sherlock agreed without a second word on the matter. The papers were pushed through within the hour, and Lestrade inadvertently signed them the next day.
Sherlock kept all of this to himself.