Characters: John Watson, Greg Lestrade, mention of Sherlock Holmes
Word Count: 780
A/N: Written for sherlockmas Afterglow Fest, for the prompt For some reason I’ve never quite warmed to Lestrade, although I know a
huge part of the fandom loves him to pieces. If you belong to that part of the fandom, here’s an extra challenge for you: Convince me. Show me why you love Lestrade.
Warnings: Drug use. Death of OC.
“I see you always wanted to be a policeman then,” John Watson waved an old photograph showing three small boys wearing police helmets.
“No more than any other six year old boy,” Greg Lestrade laughed.
“Which one are you?”
Greg pointed to the smallest boy in a striped t-shirt. “That’s me. That’s my older brother Paul; it’s his daughter whose engagement party we’ve been invited to. The other one was my cousin Stephen.”
“And you were the only one who grew up to wear a real helmet instead of a plastic one?”
“Paul got an engineering apprenticeship and Stephen, well, he went the other way.” Greg stopped and looked thoughtful.
“I’m sorry to have asked.”
“No, it’s okay. Just brings back some bad memories. Stephen was bright, everyone expected him to go to university and do really well for himself. The summer before he went he got into drugs and then into petty crime. He still went to university – from what I could gather it was thought that once he was away from certain unsavoury local characters he would be fine. Unsurprisingly that wasn’t the case.
“Anyway, we lost touch. Stephen was Paul’s age, he and I had never had much in common and Paul had better things to do than worry about a druggie cousin. It was a few years later, when I had joined the Force and there was a drugs raid at a squat. The door had been forced and we’d been told to check the building to find anyone who hadn’t done a runner. I went into a room and saw a bloke stretched out cold, with a couple of ugly gashes on his arm and neck. I approached him cautiously, as we’d been taught, and saw that it was Stephen. I remember shouting for my sergeant and thinking what a total waste of a life, and then losing my breakfast, but little else.”
Greg fell silent. John left him to his memories; he had seen enough people die before their time to know when words would make no difference. After a while he said “Does Sherlock remind you of your cousin at all?”
Greg gave a small smile. “Yes. Stephen was very quick. Always leaping from one thing to the next and waiting for the rest of us to catch up.”
“So when you met someone else threatening to go the same way you were determined to do all you could to prevent it?”
“Yeah. I suppose you could say that.”
“Does he know any of this?”
“On one occasion when I was practically at my wits end with him, I accidentally called him ‘Stephen’. It didn’t take him long to work out the whole story and to accuse me of being sentimental.”
“What did you say?”
“Told him I didn’t fucking care what he thought I was, but I wasn’t going to let another stupid bastard die on my patch if I could help it.”
“How did he react to that?”
“Said that if I was going to be so tedious about it, he’d have to find another patch.”
“Helpful. What did you do?”
“Walked out. At least I’d opened the door to his flat and got half way through it when I turned round and went back in. Then I lost my rag with him completely. Told him what it had been like for my aunt and uncle and how everyone seemed to blame me because I had found Stephen’s body. Sherlock said he’d write to Mycroft to ensure he knew I wasn’t responsible. Then I left.”
John nodded and Greg continued “A couple of days later I had a phone call from Mycroft. He said he understood that I was not to be held accountable for his brother’s fate. And he thanked me because this was the first time in three months that he had heard from Sherlock and he was extremely grateful for whatever I had done that had caused him to make contact. I couldn’t believe that Mycroft was taking it in such a positive light. Sherlock’s never mentioned the episode, but after that he seemed to have turned a corner and I never found him in quite such a state again.”
“It seems to me that there are a lot of people who should be very grateful for what you’ve done.”
“Don’t be daft. I’m only doing my job as best I can. Just like you I’m trying to keep people alive.”
John’s expression said he thought there was much more than that, but he knew that it would be pointless to say so. Instead he waved a bottle of beer and their conversation drifted on to other things.