A/N: This will be continued soon, but I need to get to bed- I'm exhausted after work, dammit!!- so this is all we've got for now.
Thanks for your support,
It was a cold, harsh London night at the beginning of November, when Greg Lestrade was called out once again. What had appeared to be a simple case had taken a sudden turn towards a much darker motive, forcing Greg out into the streets, leaving little Sass under the watchful eye of Molly. She insisted that she didn't mind, but Greg still felt bad for dragging her out this late at night. But now he was praying that this... mess would be over and done with in time for Sass' birthday, on the 17th.
After walking slap bang into the middle of a screaming match between Sally and his new forensics officer, both of whom had reached breaking point under the stress of trying to get through a trying case on a few hours of sleep to last the week, Greg managed to get to the bottom of things, only to find that they couldn't do anything until the morning, and that his coming in had no effect on anything whatsoever. (Except, perhaps, for the amount of time wasted arguing.) Gutted and frustrated, Greg marched his way out into the car park, hands automatically reaching for his cigarettes. He was determined to kick the habit once and for all, now for Saskia's sake more than anything, and he had done so for a while. But when Sherlock fell, then everything fell apart- not just his resolve, but his entire person. Speaking of Sherlock, he thought, I was gonna visit him earlier. He hadn't been to Sherlock's grave for a good few months, and he knew that it would become overgrown if he left it much longer.
A sharp ringing sound made him pause, glancing around before dismissing it as his mind playing tricks on him again. Regretting every movement, he brought the cigarette to his lips, and fumbled with the lighter, only to freeze when a voce echoed out in the black stillness that surrounded him.
"Those things will kill you."
Greg froze. A thousand thoughts flitted through his mind in those few seconds, as everything he thought he had known for the last two years was turned on its head. Words stumped him- there was no way he could express what was going on inside his skull, as he didn't know himself. In the end, it took just three words.
"Ooh, you bastard."
"It was time to come back."
And there he was, slipping out of the shadows of death into the light of life once again. Sherlock bloody Holmes was not dead.
Just then, Greg didn't know what to think, nor what to do. He'd worked on more murder cases then you've had hot dinners, but never, ever had the victim come back to life. Was it just the hallucinations of an overtired mind? Or was it a miracle?
"You've been letting things slide, Graham." Nope, Greg's mind told him, it's just a bastard. "Greg!" He retorted.
"Greg." Came the soft echo. The smart-arse, stupid little bastard- but wait- Was Sherlock Holmes actually agreeing to something he had said? And why the break in eye contact? The sudden loss of volume? Was that... shame in his eyes? No, Greg corrected himself. It wasn't shame- Sherlock loved to make jokes out of his name, so it wasn't embarrassment. It was fear.
Greg didn't know how it happened, but one minute, he was prepared to hit the bugger, but the next he had him in a hug so strong that it knocked the breath out of both of them. And yet Sherlock didn't move away like he would've two years ago. The roll of his eyes was audible, yet insincere, and soon enough, he relaxed into the embrace.
Greg saw the bruises on Sherlock's face- fresh and blooming, even under the dim light of the car park- but he didn't ask just yet. There was a time and place, but that time wasn't now.
In the end, they both ended up trying to break the silent at the same time. "D'you have somewhere to go tonight?" Greg asked, just as Sherlock started "Where did you acquire a daughter, Lestrade?!"
Both paused, and blinked owlishly, before Greg continued.
"Crime scene. Simple homicide, caught in the act, but little Sass was left with nowhere to go, so she came back with me. She's only four, bless her heart, and yes, of course it was sentiment, I know. But honestly, Sherlock- where are you going tonight?"
Sherlock's face was a picture, but he kept his mouth shut, in a very smart, if decidedly unSherlockian move. "I... I..."
"Let's phrase this differently. Do you want to stay with me? You know, until you've got things sorted out?"
"That... would be mot appreciated, thank you Lestrade."
"You can tolerate a young kid?"
"I can out up with Anderson. What do you think?!"
And so ended one of the strangest evenings in Greg's life. But with Sherlock around, surely the number of those would be on the rise again soon.
The next morning, Greg was awoken by voices. Confused and still half asleep, he stumbled through to the living room, only to hear an indignant squeak from Saskia. "But orange smarties taste of oranges!!"
"I can assure you that the taste of oranges in an orange startle is triggered purely by the brain's connection with the colour orange-"
"Sherlock? There is actually orange oil in orange smartest, which makes 'em taste of oranges. Sorry, but Sass wins this round." Greg yawned heavily before continuing. "Now, I was going to introduce you two, but it looks like you've already met. Have you offended each other yet?"
The silence said it all as an intense staring match ensued between two pairs of blue eyes, which ended abruptly with a promise of eggs for breakfast if they both got dressed quickly enough. Both daughter and detective skedaddled, and Greg noticed, not for the first time, quite how childish Sherlock could be when he wanted to.
Sass was first back to the kitchen, and sat at the table, swinging her legs back and forth. "Dad?" she asked.
"Yes, Sass?" Greg dreaded to think what was coming next.
"Well, he can be. But he can awesome pain in the bum."
"But you still put up with him?"
"Because he's my friend, and that's what good friends do."
"Where did he go, whilst he was dead, Daddy? He wouldn't tell me." Saskia's innocent blue eyes shone with curiosity, and Greg had no answer.
"I don't know, Sass. I'm just glad he's home."
Silence prevailed in the kitchen, until Sherlock ambled through, making Greg jump out of his skin, much to Sass' amusement.
"Oh hush, you!" Was Greg's only response, before they all sat down to eat.
Greg was surprised that Sherlock didn't try to protest when he was told to eat, but it was obvious that his time away had changed him considerably.
"Don't start that again, Sherlock. You already play that game with me. You need a new one for Sass." Greg interrupted briefly, before stepping back out of the conversation.
Sighing, Sherlock corrected himself. "Yes, Saskia, what would you like to ask?"
"I was just wondering where the bruises on your face came from. Did you walk into a door? Daddy did that once- it was really funny!!"
Sherlock smirked at Greg before continuing.
"Sadly it wasn't so simple. Whilst Lestr- I mean, your father was glad to see me again, my friend John didn't feel the same way, and was not too pleased to have been tricked into thinking that I was dead."
"So he beat you up?"
"For lack of a better expression, yes."
"But how would that help anything?!"
Sherlock looked startled. "It let his anger out. And I did fake my death by jumping off an incredibly high building before his very eyes. The fact that I did so to save his life, and two others in fact, didn't seem to make the blindest bit of difference, but that's how John Watson works. Tick him off, and you're doomed." Sherlock let out a dry laugh. "I suppose I got off fairly lightly."
"But that's not what friends do- that's what bullies do!!"
"Not in the real world."
"Yes in the real world. My real father- not Greg, the bad one- used to beat my mummy up all the time, and call her names, and give her bruises like yours. He was a bully, and he wasn't my mummy's friend, and then he shot her." The end of Sass' spiel came out in a rush, and Greg reached over to put an arm around her shoulders, drawing her into an awkward, one-armed hug.
"But this was only once. I'm sure John will come round eventually."
"Sass is right, Sherlock." Greg chimed in, breaking the heavy air around them. "John shouldn't get away with that scot-free. He needs to know that taking your anger out on other people is wrong."
"And I'm certainly going to tell him that."
"Nope. I will." Greg said, brow furrowing. "I'll catch him after work; ask him to meet me at my office or something, and take it from there."
And so, leaving Sass in Sherlock's hands (he claimed to have gathered "experience" in his time away, but Greg wasn't sure.) Greg set out to meet John at Scotland Yard.