Title: Once a Dad, Always a Dad
Author: Jessie Blackwood
Pairing: gen
Fandoms: Sherlock
Rating: G
Disclaimer: Sherlock Holmes and John Watson are not my characters, they are public domain. Anything that resembles Sherlock BBC belongs of course to Mr Moffat and Mr Gatiss and is theirs alone. The plot is mine. Any resemblance to anyone living or dead is otherwise purely coincidental.
Summary: Greg Lestrade has been a father more than once in his life, but then, once a dad, always a dad.


Greg has been a dad more than once in his life. He is the natural biological father of his little girl, Emily, who is not so little any more. She is fifteen, the image of her dad and, to her mother’s despair, Emily has her father’s stubbornness and moral code. She also has masses of common sense, compassion, focus and a great sense of humour, much to Greg’s fatherly pride.

Greg is also the titular father figure to his whole team, who come to him for advice and to cry on his shoulder and to share in successes and commiserate on failures with equal fervour. He is good with kids and unafraid of them, unlike Philip Anderson who regards all children as anklebiters. Every little kid reminds Greg of his own, and it is painfully obvious that Phil doesn’t have any. Kids like Greg, even. In a choice between Anderson, Donovan and Lestrade, they unerringly choose the tall, grey-haired, ageing Detective Inspector over the younger members of his team. Greg jokes that it’s probably because he reminds them of their granddads. He probably seems safe, familiar. There's irony for you.

If there are kids dragged in with their parents it is Lestrade who finds them sweets and juice and biscuits to keep them happy while their parents are being interviewed or giving a statement or reporting a crime. He finds them paper to draw on and pens to draw with and sits them at a desk (sometimes his own) to keep them out of mischief while their parents are occupied.

Sherlock is a handful that not even Greg can manage on his own sometimes. He has dragged the annoying young man with the ridiculously sharp cheekbones and pale skin and dark curls that make his skin seem paler out of more crack dens and ratty flats than he’s had hot dinners, far more times than he cares to remember, allowing the owner of that disconcertingly pale verdigris stare to sober up on his couch, tidy up in his shower, to eat his food and drink his tea rather than abandoning him to a night in the cells or the streets or Vauxhall Arches. No wonder his wife got sick of it all. Not that Greg actually minds. There is something about the man that transcends all the shit and makes it worth it to bail him out. He’s not sure what, but it’s there. He spots the seeds of greatness under the grime, the rare flashes of vulnerability that Sherlock only inadvertently shows, usually only when he’s ill or coming down from a particularly bad trip. Sherlock has presence, charisma and charm, despite being a complete prat about most things. Underneath the annoying cockiness and snark, there is a sweetness that somehow only Greg gets to see. Until John Watson turned up, that is.

John sees what Greg sees and is more than willing to shoulder the Sherlock burden on a more regular basis, leaving Greg to be a father to his team again and to anyone who needs it. It’s what he does. Once a dad, always a dad. He understands, he really does, what it means to be up at 3am for feeding and nappy changing, juggling a bottle of formula in one hand and a cloth in the other. He knows why Dimmock has bags under his eyes and seems to be yawning all the time but retains a certain deep-seated contentment. His wife only gave birth a couple of months ago. Life is never the same once you have kids and Greg knows that, and yet he still wouldn’t change that for the world. What parent would?

Sherlock admits that he himself is hard work, admits that both John and Mary have had ample practice for bringing up children considering their dealings with him. He can be infantile, acting like a spoilt child in a strop, demanding and foot-stampingly frustrating. He’s an overly-tall annoying toddler with a death wish, dabbling in dangerous experiments and brushing with death when ill-conceived actions result in dangerous confrontations. You might even class consulting detective work as an extreme sport the way Sherlock does it. Other people are content with base jumping or parcour. Sherlock loves the adrenaline of the chase.

That’s what triggers Greg’s worry button. Fathers the world over worry for their kids, and while Sherlock isn’t strictly Greg’s child—Greg is after all only fourteen years Sherlock’s senior—Greg has a fatherly interest in him, and that means that he worries. Can’t help it, it happens. He cares. End of story.

Between then, Greg and Mycroft try their best to save Sherlock from himself. Greg isn’t sure how well they manage, but they do their best. If Mycroft is dismissive of Greg then Greg forgives him in moments of high stress. Mycroft never shows just how worried he gets, but it comes out in the way he seems to close down and shrug off and project indifference to the world. Greg knows differently though. Mycroft can wave him away dismissively after telling him where to go to find Sherlock’s latest bolt holes but underneath Greg knows he’s in turmoil, wondering where his little brother is and if he’s finally bitten off more than he can chew. Hell, Mycroft doesn’t know for certain if one day he’ll be called to identify Sherlock’s body for real. Greg knows this, and forgives the minor government official’s seeming offhand behaviour because he knows that underneath the veneer Mycroft is very, very worried and trying not to let that show.

So Greg projects an air of professional calm and meets the man on his own terms, saying little and acting the good little policeman. It’s what Mycroft wants, and needs, and Greg finds himself wanting to act the father figure to this acutely vulnerable man who hides behind the shield of his suit and his Civil Service position. Greg knows Mycroft isn’t the hard man he wants the world to think he is. He’s an elder brother, and that is a job in and of itself. Elder brothers have an almost fatherly duty to their younger siblings and despite Mycroft’s assurances that caring is not an advantage, that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t care at all. If anything he cares too much, and what’s more, he knows it.

One thing that people know about Greg Lestrade is this; he’s always there for people, when they need him to be. He thought his wife needed him, and nearly threw his career away on always being there for her and for his daughter. When push came to shove, though, she didn’t need him, had more than likely not needed him for a long time. Greg is still a bit puzzled about that. He didn’t see it coming and it knocked his confidence for a long time, but the divorce was almost a relief and he’s sworn off women for a while.

He’s still wondering about Mycroft’s invitation to dinner, and sees it as a thank you for services rendered. After all, he’s not about to pass up a swanky dinner even though he might need a small mortgage to update his wardrobe so he doesn’t end up looking like a poor relation. Mind you, everybody looks like a poor relation in comparison to Mycroft bloody Holmes, so it might not be required, as long as he has something a bit nice, you know, something to show off his physique, which Greg is careful to maintain and not just because he has to pass the police fitness exams. Doesn’t hurt to take care of yourself, and no matter that he’s caring for everybody else, he also cares for himself as well. This body has to last him a while yet, and he’s still enjoying life. There’s breath in the old dog yet and while he won’t see fifty again, he most certainly isn’t dead. Sometimes Greg doesn’t want to be a dad. Time to think of number one. He’d rather be the romantic lead for once. Ah well, you never know. Time to swap his dad-at-a-disco to the silver fox on the prowl. After all, swanky dinners do have a habit of developing into something more and Greg always was rather fond of gingers...