~~Today was supposed to be a simple one for Greg. Well, simple as in no serial killers or psychopaths on his tail, simple. The biggest case that his division had faced in a long while had come to a close a few weeks ago, and Greg was still wallowing in the afterglow of a whole long weekend's worth of time off, as he and Donovan waited in the slow moving traffic that marked London as a capital among Britain's cities.
But a harried rap on the police car's window reminded Greg that there was no such thing as a simple day. He wound down the car window, coming face to face with a wide-eyed young woman, anxiety written throughout her hazel eyes. "I'm sorry to disturb you, sir," she began, "But there's a man on the top of the hospital roof over there, and it looks like he's gonna jump, and I saw your car and wondered if you might know what to do, and...." Greg cut off her rambling with a glance to Donovan, before responding, "It's not really my place to do anything, but we'll come, don't you worry miss. Hang on." With that, he pulled out of the main traffic flow, and around the ambulance station of St Bart's hospital.
To be honest, this wasn't what Greg was trained for. Really, the young woman should have called someone else, who knew how to stop someone jumping, rather than a man who had played a part in driving one of his only friends off that very roof a few years before. Sherlock may be back now, it may all have been a fake, but to Greg, that memory was still very, very real.
Jumping out of the car, Greg looked up, eyes searching for the victim, and breath catching as he saw who it was. The ghostly white skin tone, the mop of fluffy dark curls, the unmistakable Belstaff coat rippling in the wind left no doubt in his mind.
Sherlock Holmes was up on the roof of St Bart's again.
In most cases, the onlooker's heart would have been said to have stopped. Greg's, however, flew into overdrive. "Sally, talk to him. Keep his mind busy, don't let him jump. I'm going up." He barked, turning away before she could reply, and hearing her shocked voice calling "Frea- Sherlock Holmes, what the fuck are you doing?".
"I've have thought that would be pretty obvious, Sergeant." Came Sherlock's icy response. "I'm taking a long walk off a short building."
"You've played this card before, Holmes." Sally called up. "Been here, done that, got the t-shirt- you've done the dramatic death off a tall building before."
"Last time wasn't real, though, was it? This one is. Now, stand back, Donovan. Go and tickle Anderson's fancies instead of bothering me."
"Sherlock, don't be ridiculous. You may be a highly functioning sociopath, or whatever you call yourself, but you're also a man. And Greg's only friend. Does he really mean that little to you? Do you honestly not know what last time did to him? You may not have been here, but you saw what those two years did. Don't do this again."
"Sally, stand back."
"Sherlock, please, don't do this. What has Greg done to deserve this?"
"I said. Stand. Back." Each word was punctuated, yet soft as an autumn breeze.
"It's too late, Sally. Stand back."
From inside the building, Greg had no idea what was going on on the rooftops above him. For all he knew, Sherlock could be dead by now. "I can't do this again. Not again. I've lost him once, I said I'd never let him go again..." Greg's mind raced with him as he bolted through corridor after corridor, desperately searching for a way up onto the top of the building. Finally spotting the green fire door, Greg put his shoulder hard against it, and stumbled out onto the rooftop.
"It's too late, Detective Inspector. I've made my choice, and I'm going through with it. Don't make this harder for yourself."
"I don't care, Sherlock. I'm not leaving this rooftop without you."
"Oh stop it Lestrade. You survived two years without me; you can go on easily enough."
Greg scoffed, slowly edging towards Sherlock. "Can I? Those two years, Sherlock, were the worst of my life. I'm not doing that again."
"Looks like you'll have to."
"No, it doesn't." Greg said, taking one final step. "It looks like if you jump, then we both do. I'm not doing again."
"But you, Greg, have something to live for."
"And you haven't?"
"Was an abusive bastard, I know. But he's in therapy. So he'll be back soon."
"Or he'll be off playing happy families with Mary and the baby."
"But they're all there for you!"
"And what about Mycroft? He'd go to the end of the earth to keep you safe."
"Also off playing sweethearts."
"Anthea, or whatever her name is."
"And so's Molly, for that matter- happily engaged, no longer hanging on every word I say. Rarely even there to hear what I say."
"But Mrs Hudson...."
"Is undergoing hospital treatment for her hip. Won't notice if I'm gone. There's no-one left, Lestrade. Everyone's gotten on with their lives. No need for me anymore."
"And what about me, Sherlock? Or do I not count?" Greg's eyes flashed. Hurt. Anger. Pain. Sorrow. Each expression was clearly visible within his warm brown eyes, as he looked up at the skinny young man.
"Just because they've changed, Sherlock, doesn't mean that they don't still care. Because, trust me, they do."
Sherlock's mouth opened to protest, but Greg quickly carried on. "I know that I'm only a policeman, Sherlock. I'm not the brightest there is, I know that, but I care. It might not look like it at times, but you're all I've got left. The wife's gone, and I have n big brother to bail me out. No parents, no family, no best friend who would shoot a man in my defence after knowing me for a day. If you jump, I quite literally have nothing left. Stay, and there's something left for me."
Sherlock's eyes were burning from the strength of the wind whipping around them, and as he turned to look at Greg, you might almost have thought that he was crying. Almost.
Looking down, he saw Greg's hand stretched out, offering him a hand down from the perilous heights.
"Come down, Sunshine. We all need you." When Sherlock snorted, he added "I need you. Not just for the cases, but as a friend."
"You've got an odd taste in friends, Detective Inspector, if your only one is a suicidal sociopath."
"He's not. My only friend is a good man, a genius even, who's lost himself inside his mind. He needs a hand out of it, and that's what I'm here for. Come on, Sherlock. Take the hand."
When Sherlock turned to look down again, Greg made his final plea. "Remember, we're in this together. You jump, I jump. You come down, so do I. Please, Sunshine, come down. For me."
Doubts written across his countenance, Sherlock reached out, fingers brushing Greg's, before switching to a harsh grip as a sudden blast of wind sent him lurching backwards, barely keeping his grip on the edge. But Greg's sturdy hands were wrapped around his biceps, bracing him, keeping him from harm, guiding him away from the high ledge, and towards safety. Greg's warm arms wrapped around him as he stood, shaking with tearless sobs, as he came to terms with what he had almost done. Greg's heavy breathing helping him steady his own. Greg's hand on his back as he led him out of the hospital, past the shocked onlookers, and towards the car, where Sally stood waiting, orange shock blankets and comforting hugs prepared for them when they arrived. The relief on her face when Sherlock emerged, and her comforting hand on his shoulder showing the softer side of the Sergeant.
The quiet, simple way in which Greg took care of him was entirely foreign to Sherlock- none of Mycroft's cold disdain, nor John's dramatic temper flares. Just calm, steady support.
Support that was there whenever Sherlock needed it, that didn't depend on reasons, or moods, or tempers.
It was just Greg.
And that was all Sherlock needed to make it through.