Borrow my Friend and Drink his Beer.

"Am I free to go now, Inspector?" Sherlock asked impatiently.

Lestrade sighed and flicked distractedly through the paperwork on his desk, "What? Oh...yeah..."

Sherlock made towards the door but found himself stopping when Lestrade muttered, "I need a drink," under his breath. It was more than just a 'bad day at the office' tone. The consulting detective would normally ignore such things so was surprised himself when he turned back to look at the older man more closely. All the signs were there.

"Your daughter is ill." Sherlock said. It wasn't a question.

Lestrade's head snapped up, "How do you-?"

"Obvious," Sherlock stated.

The Detective Inspector let out a hollow laugh, "Of course it is." He continued to shuffle his papers for a moment. He expected Sherlock to leave not wait for an explanation. Today was different, it seemed, so Lestrade clarified, "Its appendicitis. She's fine. I mean, she's still in the hospital but she's..."

"Fine," Sherlock finished.

Lestrade sniffed, "Her mum is with her."

"That's...good."

"Hmm," Lestrade half smiled at the younger man who was looking uncomfortable; at least, for once, he was making an effort to be supportive.

"John has beer," Sherlock suddenly stated.

Lestrade quirked his brow; where was this going?

"In the fridge," Sherlock continued, "It takes up too much space."

"As I understand it, you keep body parts in the fridge; I think John should have all the beer space he wants."

Sherlock rolled his eyes but then fixed his gaze on the floor, "You should come and drink John's beer."

"Why would I..."

"You said you needed a drink."

Lestrade was momentarily caught off guard; Sherlock was, albeit in a very Sherlock way, inviting him to a beer at Baker Street? A smile tugged at his lips, "Don't you think John should get to say who drinks his beer?"

Sherlock's eyes found the older man's face again, "John understands." Lestrade knew Sherlock wasn't only talking about the alcohol. John understood so much more. He was also helping Sherlock to understand; it would never be said, but deep down they both knew John was the reason why Sherlock hadn't left Lestrade's office five minutes ago.

The Inspector shook his head lightly. He really did not want to have to sit alone at home tonight and despite their oddities, or the one big oddity, the company of the Baker Street residents did appear to be the lesser of two evils.

"Let me get my coat," he decided.

...

John was flicking through the TV guide when the two men appeared. He'd had a busy day at the surgery and was after something non-taxing to watch.

"Hey, Sherlock. Lestrade," he said looking up; he raised his eyebrows a fraction at the latter's entrance.

Sherlock made his way into the kitchen as Lestrade hovered in the doorway.

"You want to sit down?" John asked although it was clear he was really seeking an explanation. Not that he minded the Inspectors presence but it was a little unusual for him to be reluctant to enter the room; not a case related visit then.

As Lestrade moved to sit down, Sherlock said loudly, "Lestrade needs one of your beers, John. You don't mind."

John glanced towards the inspector who was suddenly feeling out of place; he hadn't known John long and they had never socialised together and although he had known Sherlock for quite some time, he had always scoffed at the thought of spending anytime outside of work with him.

The doctor, however, sensing something was wrong, quickly made Lestrade feel welcome, "Get me one too, while you're there," he shouted across, rather unnecessarily it would seem as Sherlock was already back and handing him and Lestrade their drinks. He then proceeded to take off his coat, sit down and snap open his laptop as though his work was done.

Lestrade and John sat in silence for a moment.

The Inspector broke it first, feeling as though John needed a reason for his presence even though he was not in any way being made to feel uncomfortable or unwanted, "My daughter is in hospital."

"Oh," John frowned, "I'm sorry."

"She's...ok. Appendicitis."

"She's better off without it," Sherlock unexpectedly inputted, "Useless."

Lestrade snorted, "Have you still got yours, Sherlock?"

"Unfortunately."

John took a swig of his beer, "How old is she? Your daughter?"

"14," Lestrade sighed, "She lives with her mum in York. I've haven't been able to get up there."

The doctor noticed then how tired Lestrade appeared. A few sleepless nights would be a safe bet; all the worry for his daughter and then the guilt of not being there.

"She'll know that you're thinking about her," John told him.

Lestrade nodded, "I've called a lot. It all happened so fast."

"Appendicitis often does."

"I'm going to visit next week."

"Well, I hope she has a speedy recovery."

"Thanks," Lestrade smiled, he raised his bottle slightly, "And thanks for this."

John shrugged; it hadn't been him who had invited the detective inspector over but he found himself responding with a thoroughly meant "Anytime."

"And thank you, Sherlock," Lestrade stated loudly as to pull the consulting detective's attention towards him.

"It is John's beer," Sherlock replied, focus still on the computer.

"Don't be an idiot," That got his attention, Lestrade thought, as Sherlock fixed him with an irritated glare, "Thank you," he repeated meaningfully.

Sherlock stopped trying to be menacing for all of a second, bobbed his head a touch in acknowledgement (although, both Lestrade and John could tell he wasn't entirely sure what he was being thanked for) and then went straight back to his laptop.

John watched the exchange with interest; he would be asking questions later. For now though, he knew his duty; provide support, distraction and general good company to someone who was not feeling at their best. Lestrade was in safe hands.

...

Lestrade ended up staying for dinner; Mrs Hudson insisted they all eat a proper meal. John knew she was taking advantage of this being one of Sherlock's windows, straight after a case, where he actually ate but she also seemed very happy to fuss over another guest.

The evening as a whole was exactly what Lestrade had needed and it still made his head spin that Sherlock had orchestrated it. The doctor and the detective inspector had the makings of a good friendship; they had arranged a trip to the pub to watch the footie the following weekend. And what's more, Lestrade suddenly felt like he could be a friend to Sherlock. Or that the younger man would consider him one. Seeing Sherlock, at home, in ordinary circumstances, had given Lestrade a different perspective than usual. It seemed the consulting detective could relax and be less intense company.

...

"Did Lestrade tell you about his daughter?" John asked when it was just he and Sherlock left.

"He didn't have to," Sherlock answered. He was currently lying rather haphazardly on the couch as the pair of them watched some crap television.

The doctor rolled his eyes, "What was it this time? The small crease in the collar of his shirt?"

"That was one element, yes."

John blinked, "Ok...Sherlock, I-"

"He said he needed a drink. You have beer," Sherlock interrupted.

"So does a pub."

"A pub doesn't have y-" Sherlock stopped suddenly. He flinched microscopically but John caught it. John was understanding. However, he wasn't entirely sure where to go next in this conversation.

"Sherlock...I..."

"It was clear he needed a friend too, John," Sherlock's voice was carefully neutral.

John tried to suppress the huge grin that wanted to take over his face as he looked over at the man fast becoming his best friend. His best friend who apparently had no heart, "Good job you were there for him then."

Confusion was such a strange yet endearing expression to see on Sherlock, "John, you were the friend."

The doctor chuckled fondly and echoed Lestrade's earlier words, "Don't be an idiot."

Again that utterance earned a deathly glare from Sherlock but John laughed and went to make a brew.

...