Ad Astra Per Aspera

"Sherlock?"

Sherlock stared up at the face looming over him in the rain. Through the atmosphere and the mist collected on his eyelashes, he saw panic and worry and surprise.

"Sherlock, what the hell?"

There was suddenly the warmth of something against his forehead. He didn't move; it wasn't unpleasant.

"You're burning up and you're drenched! Where the hell have you been?"

There was pressure under his arms and Sherlock was suddenly being hauled to his feet. He stumbled to find his footing.

"Get inside!"

Lestrade placed his hand against Sherlock's back and, while Sherlock would have argued any other day, he let Lestrade guide him into the flat.

"Where have you been? It's one in the morning... Are you going to take that coat off?"

His coat was drenched. Water was dripping steadily, almost in a small stream, from the bottom of it. The sleeves were saturated, heavy against his arms, irritating the wounds there. His hair was plastered to his head, curls falling into his eyes.

He was oddly exhausted.

Lestrade made a noise before he gripped the buttons on the front of Sherlock's coat, quickly unbuttoning them.

"Are you with me, Sherlock?" Lestrade asked, pulling the heavy Belstaff from Sherlock's form. Sherlock listened to the wet-sounding thump it made as it hit the floor without much interest.

"Sherlock," Lestrade repeated. He gripped Sherlock's shoulders, shaking him slightly. Sherlock looked idly at Lestrade's hands before Lestrade sighed. "Sit down." He guided Sherlock to a chair.

Sherlock sank into it heavily.

It took him a few minutes, but he gradually became aware of his jacket and shirt being discarded, another shirt, much wider and infinitely more dry, replacing them, blankets being piled on top of him, over his shoulders.

"Sherlock, I'm going to find some pyjama trousers, and you're going to change into them," Lestrade said. "Stay here."

It wasn't until Lestrade was out of the room, had been out of the room, that Sherlock replied with a near silent question:

"Where else would I go...?"

By the time that Lestrade had returned, Sherlock had kicked off his shoes. They had water in them and, while his feet were already soaked, he had no desire to prolong the discomfort. He had drawn his knees up to his chest and was hugging them close. He had his chin resting on his knees, eyes closed.

"Sherlock, go take a shower. Sherlock."

Sherlock opened his eyes.

"Go take a shower."

Sherlock glanced at him briefly before he stood, brushing past Lestrade. He walked back to the bathroom- the flat looked the way he imagined it would- closing the door quietly behind himself.

He had never been to Lestrade's flat. Lestrade always came to his flat when he needed him. Sherlock didn't do social visits, Lestrade knew that, and he had never asked Sherlock to visit. Sherlock was fine with it, even though that meant Lestrade turning up at odd hours for help on a case.

Odd hours aside, Sherlock never turned him away.

(He may call him an idiot for bringing him a dull case, but he didn't slam the door in his face, either.)

He glanced at himself in the bathroom mirror.

His hair was plastered to his forehead, he was pale as snow, there were dark shadows under his red eyes. There was gooseflesh covering his body and he was able to see his reflection trembling.

He wanted to curl up and sleep.

Instead, he turned to the toilet and let himself be violently sick for a few odd minutes as he finally let the building nausea get the better of him.

When he could stand, he removed the large shirt and stripped his trousers off. He stepped into the stream of hot water in the shower.

His muscles began to immediately relax.

Sherlock closed his eyes.

It wasn't much better to close his eyes. Just because he couldn't see didn't mean that his mind couldn't think. Just because he couldn't see the track marks littering his arm didn't mean that they weren't there. Just because he couldn't see the lack of activity outside didn't mean it wasn't quiet. Just because he couldn't see the tedious walls of his tedious flat didn't mean that they weren't tedious.

Just because his eyes were closed, it didn't mean that he was alright.

There was a knock on the bathroom door.

"Sherlock? It's been ten minutes and you've got a fever."

Sherlock sighed heavily and fumbled to turn off the water.

"I've found trousers that will fit you, in a pinch. I'll leave them outside the door."

Sherlock didn't respond, just found a towel and methodically dried. He pulled the shirt back on, shivering slightly as he peered outside the bathroom door to find the trousers. They did fit, in a pinch- Sherlock was tall and thin, Lestrade was not- but only when he drew the drawstring ridiculously tight.

He stumbled back to the sitting room.

"I've made you tea," Lestrade said, pointing to the coffee table. A singular mug of steaming tea was sitting amongst the manila envelopes and newspapers.

Sherlock picked it up, curling his fingers around it.

Neither of them said anything for the longest time. (Twenty four minutes.)

"I need help," Sherlock said, finally, very quietly, and into his cup of tea. He did not look at Lestrade.

The fact that he had to ask, well, admit that he needed help was enough to make him turn around and walk right back out into the rain. But, he'd realized, after walking straight into a mugging and having Mycroft berate him for his stupidity- his stupidity! The nerve!- that he needed... something.

"With?"

"Detoxification."

Silence descended once again and Sherlock ignored the awkward sensation gripping the room. He couldn't be bothered with sentiment, but if he could, he was pretty sure that he would be self-conscious or embarrassed. At the same time, even though he didn't associate himself with sentiment, there was a strange feeling assailing him that he couldn't seem to identify.

It annoyed him.

"Okay."

Sherlock looked up when Lestrade responded. He didn't know what exactly he had expected, but he had just admitted to a Detective Inspector that he had an addiction. But, Lestrade said nothing about that, simply said 'okay'.

Lestrade was looking at him. There was shock and surprise and sadness, but also something in his expression reading that he was pleased.

Sherlock looked back at his mug of tea. "Talk to my brother, Mycroft. Both of you will need to search my flat." He looked up again. "Don't be dull. Search everywhere." He looked at his mug.

"Okay."

"I trust that my brother will make sure that this does not result in arrest."

Getting arrested for possession was the least of his worries. He was allowing a Detective Inspector to search his flat; he was telling him to. Mycroft would deal with the boring, technical details.

"You can stay here."

Sherlock looked at Lestrade blankly. "What?"

"I'm not bloody well going to leave you alone while you detoxify. It's going to be the worst time of your life, I won't lie. But I won't let you go through it sitting in a dark flat by yourself," Lestrade said firmly.

Sherlock hesitated before nodding slowly.

"Withdrawals will be brutal. You'll hate yourself for giving it up." Lestrade paused. "But you'll hate yourself even more if you don't."

Sherlock took the last drink of his now cold tea.

"I'll need to get some of my stuff. I don't understand why I have to stay here, but since you insist on it, I'll need some clothes."

"In the morning. Right now, you need to get some sleep."

Sherlock shuffled further back into the recliner, pulling his knees up to his chest.

"Not in the chair, you clot. The couch is suitable." Lestrade's firm tone of voice was fading. Sherlock realized that Lestrade had the personality for a police officer. He was dim, but he reacted well. He was intent when he needed to be and relaxed when danger had passed. He could be a good cop, if he used his brain a bit more.

"I like the chair," Sherlock retorted.

"Sherlock."

"Go to bed, Lestrade."

Lestrade sighed heavily, shaking his head. He stood and turned for the hallway to presumably head back to his bedroom.

"Sherlock?"

Sherlock glanced back at him briefly.

"You'll get through this."

Sherlock watched Lestrade for a moment. "Yes. I will."

Lestrade smiled tiredly before continuing to his bedroom.

Sherlock looked back at the wall.

"Thank you," he muttered, a half second later. The word was barely audible, but from the pause in Lestrade's step, Sherlock knew that the senior officer heard it.

"Yeah," was the only response he received before there was the soft noise of the bedroom door closing.

Sherlock sighed quietly, closing his eyes.


When Greg awoke in the morning, feeling exhausted, he found Sherlock Holmes in his sitting room.

The lanky consulting detective was curled up sideways in the lounge chair. His legs were drawn up and he was taking up an impossibly small amount of space between either armrest. His head was resting on one armrest, his black curls spilling haphazardly onto the fabric. His face was pale, but his breathing was even, and it was easily the most peaceful that Greg had ever seen the detective.

Smiling quietly, while studiously ignoring the sinking feeling that this would be one of the last peaceful nights that Sherlock would get during detox, Greg grabbed the afghan off the back of his sofa and drew it over Sherlock's sleeping body.


Caring!Lestrade is something that I don't get to write much, as much as I love it. This is also my first fic before John met Sherlock! Lots of fluffiness between our favourite Consulting Detective and Detective Inspector.

Some credit must be given to Storylover18 as well, without whom I probably would never had had this idea at all, to be quite frank!

"Ad Astra Per Aspera" means "Through hardships, to the stars", or something to that variant.

Your thoughts would be, as usual, lovely! Thank you!