Disclaimer: Sherlock is not mine. I simply use the characters for recreational purposes and spend far too much time crying over Reichenbach.
Gregory Lestrade, appointed Detective Inspector no more than two months previous, lifted the yellow tape and slipped easily beneath, followed closely by his young sergeant. The sickly-looking redhead had been appointed at the same time as himself and Greg was starting to wonder whether the boy was up to the strains of the job; he constantly looked like he was about to faint.
A transfer would be a pain if it came to it; Greg didn't even want to think about the mountain of paperwork it would entail.
He strode past the forensic team, busy stripping themselves of the ugly plastic suits, and caught sight of a haggard, white face watching him intently from the back of one of the squad cars.
The youth had stumbled into his crime scene raving about blood splatters and the murderer owning a Yorkshire terrier.
While he was reeling off a detailed description of the killer, from her shoe size to her eye colour, someone had tentatively wrapped a hand around his elbow and requested he come to the Yard to give a witness statement.
They'd been granted with a cracked chuckle and the answer that he'd been five miles away when the murder had occurred.
Detaching himself from the officer's grip the young man had then begun to prod the victim with his toe.
Behind him someone had screamed. Anderson.
It took three men to escort him away the first time.
After the fourth Lestrade had decided enough was enough and had had him cuffed; the shouts of 'idiots' and 'barbarians' had not helped ease the DI's pounding head.
He stared for a moment longer even as those red-rimmed eyes glared back; pupils blown, skin swarthy.
Something caught in his chest.
He must have stopped moving, though exactly at what point he couldn't be sure, as his sergeant was suddenly pressed flat against his back. Lestrade took a single step forward, spinning on his heel and nodded his head towards the squad car containing their trespasser.
"Take care of that one, will you Goodwin?"
"But sir…" Lestrade narrowed his eyes into his most intimidating stare, well aware he needed to give it more work.
His sergeant gave a confused look, pursed his lips momentarily but then hurried obediently away.
Lestrade didn't like delegating the task; something about it seemed far too important to give it over to his somewhat incompetent subordinate. If he wasn't half-way through a rather messy murder investigation he would do it himself.
Tentatively, with his gaze constantly flicking back to the stationary marked car, the Inspector slipped into the silver BMW that was waiting for him. Time to get back to the Yard; he had a press release to organise.
"Detective Inspector Lestrade."
The young woman, who had very nearly given him a heart attack, didn't even look up as he entered his office, her eyes fixated on the glowing screen of her Blackberry.
She was also sat in his chair.
He shut the door with his elbow, his fingers tight around the cardboard carton. The coffee inside was scalding hot and absolutely appalling, but years of three o'clock drop-in's at the same dingy café just around the corner from the yard had given the tongue-twistingly bitter beverage a sentimental place in his nightly-mid-case routine.
"That's what it says," he answered sharply; well aware it hadn't been a question.
He took another step into the room, his free hand fondling the cold edges of his keys in his pocket. He glanced quickly to the door and back to her,
"How did you…?"
He was sure he almost got a smile for that, albeit a condescending one.
A few more taps on her keypad followed before she slid the device out of sight and lifted herself gracefully onto her feet.
Something about her passive expression made Greg feel as if she were still barely paying attention; he wondered, just for a second, whether her phone was directly plugged into her brain.
She turned her head, looking directly at him, but he felt more like a window, her gaze passing through, barely noting his existence.
"If you'd be so kind as to come with me Detective Inspector."
Lestrade bit back a chuckle and took a small sip of coffee, the tip of his tongue burned.
"You're kidding me right?"
The look he got in reply made it clear she most definitely was not.
He felt his voice change in his throat, deepening to an authoritative rumble.
"I'm half way through a murder investigation, if the Super wants…"
Another pull of her lips upwards and Greg liked to think she would be quite beautiful if she smiled properly.
"This invitation does not come from the Superintendent, Inspector."
He should have known. Since when did Wilson have pretty, young women deliver his messages.
"Then who …?"
The words came out on a sigh.
To be honest he didn't really want to know; he had a press conference to do-second in two months, he despised them already-and these murders wouldn't solve themselves.
Stepping up to his desk he laid his coffee carton down and forced on his most severe expression. The woman did not seem to notice, just continued to gaze at/past him with the same disinterest. Greg cleared his throat.
"As I said I'm in the middle of an investigation, so if you wouldn't mind…"
There was a muffled buzz and she was back on her phone again, tapping away. Greg hoped that was the end of it, a funny feeling in his gut told him otherwise.
"You've only just made Inspector," the sound of her voice jarred him despite the fact it was all polished edges and smooth vowels, "haven't you Mr Lestrade?"
She didn't say anything more.
She didn't need to.
Despite what the wild-haired youth had told him earlier, he was not an idiot.
He knew a threat, however thickly veiled it was.
"Give me ten minutes."
She looked at him this time, properly; her dark eyes like knife points stabbing him right between the eyes.
She stepped past, her knuckles white around the small square of her phone and pushed open the door.
For a short moment he considered shrugging , settling himself at his desk and working.
For an even shorter moment he wondered if a short shove and a turn of the lock might do it.
His stomach squirmed.
Begrudgingly he left the office, hearing her fall into step behind.
Lestrade turned right into the earnest face of his youngest constable.
He watched as the young man flicked his eyes to the immaculately dressed woman on his heels one eyebrow quirked slightly.
The DI raised a hand.
"I'll be back in twenty minutes."
There was a short, sharp cough from behind.
"Better make that thirty."
The young man's face twisted into a puzzled expression but Greg didn't have time to reassure him, her toes were nearly treading down the backs of his shoes. And even if he did he, half expected the barrel of a gun to be pressed against his neck at any moment.
Instead he walked.
By the time the sleek, black sedan drew to a halt Greg had lost all sense of direction.
He'd asked as soon as he'd slipped into the dimness of the backseat but unsurprisingly She had said nothing, one side of her mouth pulled up slightly, the only sign she had even heard him.
He gave a grateful nod to the driver as he slipped out, but the man kept his head bowed as he held the door open, face obscured by the peak of the old-fashioned cap set with mathematical accuracy upon a head of unruly, copper curls.
Opposite him She was making her own way out. Her Blackberry was gone again, Greg wasn't certain if that gave him a thrill of triumph or concern. He almost missed the comforting tap-tap of her fingers in the same way he imagined a tortured prisoner missed the sound of his own screams when left alone for weeks on end.
She caught his eye over the polished roof and motioned with a subtle tilt of Her chin to a point somewhere behind his shoulder.
He turned, seeing nothing except…..There! Just to the left, where the light met the shadows, he could swear something moved.
Without looking back he started towards the point, strides even.
Would that surprise them? No doubt they were expecting fear, but Gregory wasn't afraid. He was pissed-off; very, very pissed-off.
There was a clang somewhere above and the darkness around him dissolved in a blinding flash.
He blinked. Once. Twice.
"Good evening Detective Inspector Lestrade."
Through the red-white haze a figure materialised.
Tall, lean and swinging an….umbrella?
Greg scowled; this wasn't quite how he'd imagined an urban crime-boss. He was wearing tweed for fuck's sake!
"What the hell is!? I don't remember signing up for a role in a gangster movie."
The man laughed, a plum chuckle too tight to be real.
"You're sense of humour precedes you Detective Inspector. The Godfather II isn't it?"
Greg froze, the lines in his forehead deepening while the other man's lips curled into something more like a true smile.
"Your favourite 'gangster' movie."
It wasn't a question.
The man had obviously had him followed.
It should have scared him; Greg was surprised by how little it actually did.
He just wanted to get back to his office, get back to his work, get back to solving those bloody murders. Of course there was a probability he never would.
He swallowed down the thought, he would face that issue if and when it came to it.
He lifted his eyes, meeting silver ice and Greg got a shudder of déjà vu.
"What the fucking hell am I doing here?"
"Language Inspector, language," he was being tutted at…tutted! The last person to tutt at him had been his mother; one easy way to get Greg Lestrade's back up.
Another smirk lifted the corner of the man's mouth.
"Do you talk to your nieces with a mouth like that?"
"What the fucking hell am I doing here…" he repeated, pausing for far longer than necessary before adding a sharp, "sir?"
There was a second bout of laughter, slightly looser than the previous one but it did nothing to ease the tension across Greg's shoulders; he could practically feel the knots tangling themselves along the length of his spine. He was going to feel this for days.
"I'm in the middle of a murder investigation."
The man's smile didn't falter as he responded shortly.
"As you keep telling us Inspector."
Greg stepped forward, the tattered hem of his mac brushing against the smart fabric of a suit that looked like it cost more than his monthly pay-cheque.
"You know," he began, drawing himself up to his full 5'11" and yet feeling tiny, "if you wanted to disrupt a police investigation there are more subtle ways than making veiled threats and kidnapping the overseeing officer."
There was no chuckle this time but something sparked deep within those frosty eyes, blue overcoming silver for a split second.
"Veiled threats?" he repeated and despite the lack of laughter he sounded genuinely amused, "She must like you."
Greg quirked an eyebrow, casting a quick glance to the solid shape of the car behind him; there was no sign of her.
A purposeful clearing of a throat pulled Greg back; the umbrella was swinging again, small creases etched around the man's thin mouth.
"I have no intention of delaying the hand of justice," it sounded somewhat sarcastic, "If anything I wish to aid you Inspector Lestrade."
The umbrella stilled and a paper file appeared, held steady in the small space between the two men.
The detective paced back and cautiously took the folder, conscious that a pair of hard eyes was watching his every movement, both rapt and indifferent. Lestrade flicked open the cover with one finger, eyes rapidly scanning the grainy images; he instantly recognised the emaciated silhouette edging its way through the series of photos.
He didn't understand.
"CCTV footage," the suited man confirmed, Greg had to admit he was far better at hiding his contempt than the fellow in the pictures, "showing the man you have in custody currently was five miles from your crime scene at the time of Miss Murphy's murder."
"He was charged with wasting police time," it annoyed Greg more than it should that he sounded more confused than smug, "Not murder."
A ridiculously bogus smile manifested itself on the soft edges of the man's face, his eyes still cold as ice.
"Nobly put Detective Inspector," the smile faded, "unfortunately I fear some of your colleagues have jumped to the wrong conclusion."
Greg didn't deny it. The hate he had seen in Anderson's eyes when the man had pushed his shoe into the dead woman's open mouth was potent enough for him to believe the flippant forensic would personally frame the man if it got him away from precious evidence.
Opposite the taller man nodded, eyes scanning across Greg's face as if he could read the thoughts scrolling through his brain.
"Take it, always best to play safe."
But that wasn't it. There was something else, dancing behind those quicksilver orbs.
"There's something else."
The other man started, merely a quick flutter of eyelashes but Lestrade hadn't made DI for nothing.
He pulled his best 'interrogation-stare' as Goodwin liked to call it amidst inappropriate giggles.
"I'm not releasing him," he shook his head firmly; whatever power this man had, Gregory Lestrade could still control what happened in his own investigation.
Besides Greg knew the boy. Oh, they'd never met before this evening but he'd seen plenty like him before, haunted by the same irresistible burn in their veins…..Amy….he swallowed and re-fixed his don't-fuck-with-me face.
"A night in the cells will do him a world of good."
He expected an argument. Or at least some form of rebuke.
All he got was a short nod and an as-you-see-fit-Inspector.
Greg's puzzled frown returned and his grip on the folder increased.
There was still something he didn't quite understand.
"Why are doing this?"
The man stiffened. Not hugely, merely the absolute hardening of the line of his shoulders but Greg noticed….just.
A thin smile stretched his lips.
"Just a concerned citizen."
Greg gave a throaty chuckle, earning a glare in return.
"No….." he paused, staring hard at the man; brown hair thinning slightly on top, sharp features with the barest hint of roundness as if he'd lost weight recently, grey-blue eyes…familiar grey-blue eyes.
A few more seconds passed, Greg felt those eyes like cold needle points…eyes, eyes, eyes.
"He's your brother."
The man raised an eyebrow, lips quirking up on the same side. Greg took it as a sign that he was impressed.
"London's finest indeed."
The lack of sincerity in his voice however dampened any smile that had been creeping onto Lestrade's face.
Not for the first time his fist twitched, itching to feel the smooth edge of that chin.
Instead he forced on a smile.
"I'm an older brother myself." As I'm sure you know. "I know the spiel."
The other man didn't look convinced. His voice was oddly flat when he spoke, as if he were trying desperately to hold something back in his throat.
"My brother has a singularly remarkable mind Detective Inspector," Gregory scoffed and received a poisonous glare in response, "unfortunately if he is not constantly stimulated he becomes utterly intolerable."
Greg bit his tongue.
The man was skirting around the issue and he didn't do skirting. His family had done it for years, and look at how that had ended.
The truth was his brother was a crack-head.
He pursed his lips tightly.
This was not his problem and he'd be damned if he was dragged in to watch another young life self-destruct…not after Amy….he couldn't.
Squaring his shoulders again he took a defiant step away.
"I don't see how this has anything to do with me."
"Sherlock is very good at puzzles Inspector Lestrade," Greg already didn't like where this was going, "and he has a rather morbid fascination with murder."
"Oh no!" He stepped back again, frantically shaking his head. Was this guy completely insane! "I can't have him wondering around my crime scenes, I'd lose my promotion within a week."
A nasty expression flickered across the brother's face and for the first time during this kidnapping, Gregory Lestrade felt the cold fingers of fear wrap around his throat.
"It can be arranged quicker."
His tone was cold, ruthless, like ice water trickling down Lestrade's spine.
You don't have to shoot a man to kill him, Greg thought.
"My brother is rarely wrong," he continued, the ice less obvious but still laced through each word just enough so that Lestrade couldn't forget, "The same cannot be said for the Met." Greg scowled. There was no need to be rude. "You would do well to listen to him. Besides, I can most certainly make it worth your while."
The hand appeared again, the same one that had offered up the file for inspection but this time a cheque fluttered between the lithe fingers.
The inspector's anger re-ignited, fed by the man's blind arrogance, his plum voice, that bloody-presumptuous-fucking-trying-to-buy-me-cheque. He could feel the heat in his cheeks as if someone had lit a fire within him; his knuckles were itching again.
"I don't want your money…" Greg spat, watching with narrowed eyes as the scrap of paper disappeared again. The man continued to look expectantly as if expecting another request, "…or your …influence."
There was another flicker of feeling, too quick for identification.
Greg stood firm.
But there was no explosion, no whirlwind of fury that hit him just a rather exhausted sigh, a stretched smile and gentle words, almost pleading…almost.
"Then I ask this brother to brother."
The two men made eye contact, brown and blue earth and ice, and Greg could finally see everything.
That familiar pull in the pit of his stomach returned, worse than ever before.
As men who have failed those they love.
He didn't say a word. He didn't need to.
"Thank you for your time Detective Inspector," the thin smile remained, "I will let you return to your investigation."
The umbrella twirled.
The darkness returned.
The man was gone.
Sighing, he pushed his fingers against his closed eyes as a wave of fatigue swept over him leaving him breathless.
Slowly, as if he had lead-weights attached to his heels, he sauntered back to the sedan and slumped against the leather seats. Beside him She tapped away on her phone, eyes working tirelessly over the minute text scrolling endlessly across the screen as the engine purred into life, the low vibrations like a mother's lullaby.
He wished for his bed.
Greg smiled broadly at the grizzled man behind the desk.
"Hi Jonas," he leaned heavily against the counter and fought the urge to lay his head down and sleep; he'd never quite made it to his bed. He cast a fleeting glance down the dull corridor.
"Where's the boy who came in with Goodwin last night?"
"Cell 12 sir but…"
Lestrade gritted his teeth. He should have known.
"Released?" he growled.
Jonas nodded warily as Greg leaned heavily against the counter, his forehead hitting wood with a dull thud.
"Last night sir. Orders from on high," the Inspector lifted his head again and shook his head gently. It wasn't Jonas's fault after all; he should have figured there would be some sort of breakout, although faking orders from the DCI to release a small time addict was seriously pushing the boat out, brother or not.
"I assumed you'd signed it off."
Greg didn't remind Jonas that a police officer should never just assume anything. The man had been in uniform for longer than Greg had been alive; it seemed impertinent to tell such a station-legend how to do his job.
Instead he gave another nod, another smile and graciously stepped away.
"Brilliant," he mumbled under his breath, blunt fingernails leaving marks in his hands as he clenched his fists in his pockets, "Just fucking brilliant."
He padded his way through the maze of corridors, irritability rising until he caught sight of his office.
A quick glance at his watch told him it had just gone eight; an hour's worth of uncomfortable sleep awaited him but it was sleep nonetheless.
The door swung inwards as he reached for the handle, Greg groaned.
He pushed hard, trying to make an impact and secretly hoping whoever was waiting for him, Blackberry girl or not, got a face-full of door in the process.
"For fucks sake," he sighed, the words accompanied by an eye-roll for added drama, "I wish people would stop doing this."
The quicksilver eyes of the young addict glared up at him from his chair.
His face had been scrubbed of grime and he had changed his clothes to something less ragged, but the wildness was there surging beneath the surface.
Dress him up in an Armani suit and he'd still looked like he'd just escaped from a zoo, Lestrade thought grimly, or an asylum.
There was no missing the accusation in his voice; Greg faltered, glanced back towards the door-closest escape route-before shutting it gently behind him.
He flopped heavily down into the second chair.
The young man's eyes narrowed to burning black slits.
"Don't be so obtuse," he hissed and bought his palm down hard against the desk; the crack made the inspector wince, "How much did he offer you?"
Lestrade didn't respond.
"To spy on me," he growled, practically vibrating with anger, "Mycroft is so predictable."
"The fat git in the three piece who had you kidnapped yesterday."
A frown etched itself across Greg's face.
"How do you…?"
"Predictable!" the addict screamed into the gloom.
Greg half expected his team to burst in, weapons drawn, fearing his bloody murder was occurring under their very noses. But there were no-blazing guns, not even a curious glance around the door.
Opposite the man continued to talk, voice lowered to a low snarl and bowed lips curling at the edges.
It was not a pleasant expression: Greg shuddered.
"You sold your soul to the devil last night Inspector."
And then Lestrade laughed.
A proper laugh from deep in his belly.
The man opposite-Sherlock, that was his name!-looked at him as if he'd grown another head.
To be fair Gregory couldn't explain his reaction himself. No doubt it was a mixture of exhaustion, relief at not being shipped off in another ominous black sedan and complete bewilderment at the strange affair he'd inadvertently gotten himself caught in.
"Actually I didn't," he finally squeezed out around his chuckling, "No sale," Sherlock looked even more confused, Lestrade took an odd sense of triumph in that expression, "I told your dear brother to stuff his money."
This time Sherlock laughed.
At first it sounded awkward, as if his throat was unused to forming such noises but it quickly loosened becoming something that could easily have been made by a hyena. Soon he was bent over double, hands on his knees and face pressed against the desk. It was somewhat saddening to watch; Greg wondered how long it had been since the young man had laughed so freely. Or how much cocaine had been on the menu for breakfast.
He was slightly red-faced when he stopped; an impressive feat for a man who earlier had appeared entirely bloodless.
"I'll bet that shocked him," his low rumble was rawer than before, "More people should say no to him," Lestrade didn't miss the bite of hostility, "it might deflate that bloated head of his."
There was an odd squeezing sensation in his chest, the same one from the warehouse and the crime scene. Greg leaned forward in his chair slightly, catching the younger man's gaze.
"You know," he dragged out the words, awaiting the explosion to follow, "He probably just wants to help…."
One glance at Sherlock told him to stop while he had the chance.
"I don't need his help," came the snake-like response, the silent anger a hundred times more terrifying than the screaming.
Greg instantly remembered ice.
My brother has a singularly remarkable mind Detective Inspector.
Lestrade looked at him, the addict in designer clothes.
Amy. Amy. Amy.
And something inside snapped; he actually felt it, head jerking up to see if Sherlock had heard the crack too.
The pain in his chest faded.
Slowly he raised his hands, hoping the good-humoured motion would go some way in easing the tension.
He looked from the hollowed-out face to the door, a half-smile set on his lips.
"Fancy some coffee?"
The question, or perhaps it was the smile, seemed to throw the boy for a moment, the muscles beneath the pale skin twisting and shortening until his expression settled on something just a little less haughty than its predecessor. A calculated nod followed and Lestrade could almost see the man working out the perfect angle, the exact number of lifts and falls required to show the adequate amount of agreement.
His smile lifted a fraction as he began to ease himself out of the chair, followed just a little behind by the young man. Greg allowed himself the tiniest sense of victory.
Sherlock was extraordinary.
He was also arrogant, rude and held no regard for social norms. That much reminded Greg a bit of himself during his punk-rock years.
The drugs were, according to Sherlock, a distraction from the tedium of the world. A necessity needed to stop his brain imploding or something like that.
And what a brain it was.
Sherlock had told him half of his life-story from a glance at his clothes and a ten-second study of his fingernails, and he would have continued if Lestrade hadn't stopped him.
There was, of course, the very real possibility that the young man had access to his brother's hackers and the assortment of data they had gathered on him, but Greg didn't give much credit to that theory. The young man took too much pleasure in spouting his self-proclaimed 'deductions' for them to be snippets from memorised lists.
Besides it was obvious he took no joy in working with the other Holmes.
And when Sherlock had moved onto his theories regarding the recent murders in Soho the detective had listened with an open ear and much-nodding, watching as silver eyes warmed with the realisation that someone was actually listening to him.
The two parted company at nine, making Lestrade slightly late back to the office. But he couldn't blow off the feeling that it had all been worth it.
Over the next few days Sherlock continued to pop up unexpectedly at the Yard, usually at the most inconvenient times and always with a new clue or a fresh deduction.
Lestrade had tried to make the morning coffee a regular thing, thinking the routine would be good for the bounding, young man and may reduce the number of office invasions he had to put up with per week. The first morning Sherlock didn't turn up, the second he was twenty minutes late.
It didn't take long for Lestrade to discard the idea.
But it wasn't until the investigation reached day six and a witness stepped forward describing a dark eyed, blonde haired woman in a business suit that Greg began to really believe. The discovery of a terrier hair was the final nail in the coffin.
Anderson was just going to have to learn to cope with his animosity.
Day seven, Greg contemplated, case closed.
He sighed and pulled the orange cotton tighter around his shoulders.
Beside him sat Sherlock, his own blanket discarded carelessly at his feet after having thrown it repeatedly at the ambulance crew who, by some grace of God, had not hit him but rather shoved it back into his ungrateful grasp.
Sherlock was right of course.
The ambulance was complete overkill; still it was nice to know his colleagues felt some sense of responsibility regarding his state of alive-ness.
Not that it had been that dangerous. They had caught the woman off guard, her next location predicted with uncanny accuracy by the genius to his left, and she had dropped her weapon before making a run for it.
He and Sherlock had given chase and two blocks later had tackled her to the ground.
All in all a rewarding evening.
"So you were right."
He glanced side-wards, catching the arrogant ass mid-smile and despite the infuriating smugness Greg felt his own mouth lift fondly.
"You sound surprised Inspector."
Lestrade bit his tongue; he would let the young man have this one.
"Are you always going to be this smug when I bring you in to help?"
The promise of more puzzles and crazy chases did not go unnoticed by Holmes, who suddenly seemed to have something caught in his throat.
Greg turned away; Sherlock wasn't good with-what did he call it?-sentiment and the detective felt like he was intruding on something intimate.
It was then that he noted a distinct silhouette against the flashing lights of police-cars and the sulphur-yellow from the streetlights.
Mycroft. He even had his damned umbrella.
The two men locked eyes across the milling crowd of uniforms and winter coats, and Greg had to fight the intense urge to sprint the distance and land a well-trained fist on that pompous mouth.
A short nod was given but Lestrade didn't return it, turning his attention back to the younger Holmes.
He wanted Mycroft to understand Sherlock would get his help without the need for threats or bribery or coercion of any sort.
Detective Inspector Lestrade would not live in an older brother's pocket.
He bumped Sherlock's shoulder playfully with his own,
The young man didn't stand, just stared stubbornly ahead.
"Where are we going?"
"When was the last time you ate?" Greg cocked an eyebrow, a trick his mother had used on him time and time again, almost always successfully, "A year ago?"
The reaction was immediate just as he'd planned.
"Technically," Sherlock began, his voice re-gaining that aristocratic quality lost in the midst of the adrenaline rush, "if that were the case I would…"
"Sherlock, do you know the meaning of exaggeration….or a rhetorical question?"
If it were possible Sherlock looked even more affronted than before.
"Of course I do Inspector. Exaggeration: the act of mag…." he stopped dead, clearly noticing the ridiculous grin plastered across Greg's face.
"Shut up Sherlock," it came out more as a chuckle than a serious order and as Lestrade glanced up he noted, quite contentedly, that 'the other Holmes' was gone, "just shut-up."
Lestrade was surprised to find his office empty and for a split second, while his mind was obviously still fuzzed from eight hours of fitful sleep, he missed the lazy drool and limitless energy of the youngest Holmes.
Oh God. He took in another deep breath. Oh Holy shit, Mary mother of Jesus.
He dropped into his chair and took the mug into his hands, savouring the almost scalding heat and taking in another lungful of the bitter, absolutely-heavenly fragrance.
Coffee. Good coffee. He took a tentative sip. Bloody-excellent coffee. When he found out which member of the team had left it they were getting a raise…or maybe Goodwin's job.
Swilling a second mouthful he pulled one of the towers of paperwork towards him; time to get started. If he made good time he might even get home for dinner.
His eyes scanned the form. They reached the bottom, he blinked and looked over it again.
He plucked another sheaf of the stack to his right and looked over it, then another and another.
He couldn't believe it. Every tick-box, every dotted line: all filled. All that was required was his signature at the bottom of a few, the only spaces that the cursive hand had left blank.
There was a buzz from inside his coat pocket, interrupting his silent songs of thanks to his secret saviour.
With a soft groan he fished out his phone, hoping upon hope that it wasn't another case. Surely it was illegal to demand more work after a 159 hour week.
The message blinking up from his screen was a simple thank you, signed off by the ominous initials MH. His mouth twisted up into a vague smile as he brushed his thumb over the keypad.
He sighed again and took another gulp of rapidly cooling coffee, lifting the mug into the air with a gentle chuckle.
"To you Mr Holmes," his smile faltered, he dropped the drink and took up his pen, "may we never have to meet again."
So this might turn into a little Mystradey-headcanon-series-thing...depening on what happens with uni and everything in the autumn.
I very much hope you liked it.